New Zealand

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  • Day129

    Sawyer burn hut track walk

    February 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Got up and out by 9ish to go walk the Sawyer Burn Hut track. About 45min drive from Wanaka. It gives amazing views over lake Hawea and the hills surrounding it. Our way in was completely blocked by cows, so had to slowly creep through them.
    Took about 5 hours to do the full up and down, with a few sketchy bits where you needed to clamber near a shear drop. Forests, great views, wild flower meadows, all round epic.
    Got back home just before 5. We met with Pete and Cathers to headed to KiKa. A very fancy restaurant.
    This is what my sister would have classed as a 'if in doubt splash out'. Included a bottle of wine from Sam Neil's vineyard (from Jurassic Park)
    Came back home and debated the world whilst polishing off another 2 bottles of wine.
    The girls went to bed so Pete and I completed the first 3 levels of Halo 3. Old school play of 5 mins on and 5 mins off. By 1am we were ready for bed!
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  • Day18

    Delightful Dunedin

    February 7 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Our ship docked this morning at Port Chalmers on the mainland of NZ South Island. This was where Scottish settlers first arrived in 1848 on the ship John Wickliffe. Rather than go on an official tour, we took the local bus the 13k into Dunedin - New Zealand’s oldest city - given the Celtic name for Edinburgh by the early Scottish settlers. It enjoys the status of being the furthest city in the world from London.

    A highlight for me was visiting Dunedin Railway Station with its ornate Flemish Renaissance-style architecture and gorgeous Minton tiles on the inside - apparently this is the most photographed building in New Zealand. Scottish names and influences are everywhere in this area - St Kilda, Portobello, Musselburgh - the museum even had a preserved cable car going to Maryhill!

    We enjoyed a walk round the central Octogon area, featuring a pride-of-place statue of Rabbie Burns, and the excellent Art Gallery which included interactive exhibits involving hammocks and free tea making. At the Chinese Garden we had more tea and dumplings (although these were not as good as Alice’s mum’s homemade ones). We finished up at the extensive and fabulous Otago Settlers Museum - almost as good as Oban’s Museum yesterday - and this one was free! 😂

    On our departure from Port Chalmers, the ship passed an albatross colony, and there was great excitement as almost all passengers, including zimmers and wheelchairs, clambered up to the Crow’s Nest bar for a glimpse of the creatures. I have to say they looked much like the seagulls at Largs who steal your fish supper.
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  • Day125

    Mt Cook

    February 1 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We got up early to make the 3 hour journey to Mt Cook national park. Leaving the house at 7am we quickly stopped for some coffee and cheese scones. Cathers did a great job of driving while we were all very snoozy.
    Walked the 3.5 hr Sealy Tarns track, which was a lot of steps towards an epic view of Mt cook. The wind was strong and gusty at times making us hunker down to stay safe so close to the edge. Was great that the clouds stayed and bay and we had awesome views the whole time.
    We stopped for some lunch at the bottom and decided our legs were too tired for the other 3 hr tracks along the valley so we headed to the visitor centre. Great information about the national park and some scary stories of the many people who have died in the mountains.
    We did a quick walk to the Tasman glacier view point and then back in the car for the drive home. Sadly some heavy rain was coming in and the high winds continuing so it wasn’t the weather to stay over night.
    When back in wanaka we made some fajitas and finished our Harry Potter movie marathon.
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  • Day15


    January 4 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Arrived in Wanaka, have a really nice b&b here, with our own washing machine so we’ve had a chance to get a bit organised! Had a walk into town to get some dinner and ice cream 🍦🤤

    We walked 14km today! 💪🏻 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♂️Read more

  • Day18


    January 7 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    We’ve had a very chilled day today, after our long few weeks we thought we’d take a day off from planning and just walked around Queenstown, going from different coffee shops and doing a little bit of shopping. Tomorrow we have the morning in Queenstown and then we have a 4 hour journey to our next stop (Timaru), so we’re enjoying some downtime!

    Wir hatten heute einen recht entspannten Tag in Queenstown. Nach den vielen Touren/Fahrten dachten wir, dass wir uns heute einfach einen Tag frei nehmen. Wir sind lediglich ein wenig durch den Ort geschlendert und haben einige Male in verschieden Cafés eine Pause eingelegt. Morgen Vormittag sind wir noch in Queenstown und dann gehts in einer 4-stündigen Fahrt zu unserer nächsten Station (in der nahe von Timaru).
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  • Day92

    Stuck again

    February 6 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Despite the fact that we had quite some time the previous day waiting for the road to open, we didn't really have a good plan on what we wanted to do today. Knowing that we only had 5 days left in New Zealand and more than 700km to go, we knew it would be almost impossible to do any complete day or multi day hikes. We decided to drive to Wanaka straight away. There we wanted to have a look at the Puzzling World, which had illusion rooms and the world's first 'Great Maze'. The illusion rooms were fun and playing with our minds. The Maze was also fun originally but soon drove us crazy. The challenge was to reach specific points in a specific order, and we utterly failed and got stuck several times. We also read that the average visitor walks around 3.5-5km while the maze only has 1.5km... So that was our unvoluntary hike of the day. It was a good maze. The center also had very social toilets.

    Afterwards we felt mentally and physically tired. So we decided to leave other hikes for the next day and went to the DOC office to ask for nice walking possibilities in the area. Turned out there was a nice one right behind our chosen campsite for tonight. So that sounded perfect for tomorrow. For now we just visited #thatwanakatree and then left Wanaka behind to drive north. The campsite was very crowded but the view of the bay was gorgeous. We could chill on the grass next to our tent at sunset watching some water skiing.
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  • Day91

    The great escape

    February 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    The curiosity was high. How would the streets look? We moved the curtains away and... they were fine. It was sunny, as we had expected, and Riversdale hadn't flooded. The state website however still maintained that the road to Queenstown was closed due to flooding. So were most of the roads on the other side of us. We received another emergency alert: the inhabitants of Gore and Mataura were going to be evacuated and Riversdale should prepare to do so. We had a shower and packed our stuff. Another alert: Wyndham was also going to be evacuated. As this was further down the river, that didn't worry us too much. But we learned that a paper mill near Gore could release chemicals when damaged by the floods, so it felt better to get away from there. It didn't look like we'd be able to get to Queenstown through Gore anyway, so we drove back to Lumsden and put our hopes on that road opening again. The road conditions were fine on the way back there, a world of difference compared to the horrors of the night before. We drove to the closed crossing near Lumsden, monitored by a nice guy in an orange vest, to try and find out what the deal was. He claimed it was purely flooding holding them back from opening it, not slips or damage. With it looking quite good everywhere else that gave us some hope: surely it couldn't be that bad then.

    We went back to Lumsden and joined what felt like hundreds of other cars, vans and campers on a parking waiting for the road to open. Officially this was a legal overnight parking/camping for self contained vehicles only. However, joining an old train under a roof we found some tents that found shelter here last night. Just like lots of other people we were just hanging around on the parking lot, napping, writing postcards, eating lunch and once in a while checking the road status online. At 16:00 our parking spot neighbour told us the road was being opened between 16:00 and 19:00. It wasn't online yet, so we had no idea how they knew, but we and others got excited enough to give it a try. And indeed, orange vest guy was gone! In karavaan style we drove towards Queenstown, sometimes quickly stopping along the way because the nature around us was amazing. Apparently they opened the road for convoys in both directions, so sometimes we had to wait on stretches where only one lane direction was open. There was no flooding on the road anymore but in parts the fields next to the road gave a good impression that it was different here last night. And there were also parts with lots of dirt on the road and machinery to move it onto piles next to the street.

    About 1.5 hours later we made it to the other side. Campings in Queenstown were expensive and we had already lost quite some days and money because of the weather, so we decided to go further. A camping in Cromwell was our aim for the night. Our question if their grass was wet or a swamp, they answered with a laughter and an assuring 'it has dried up quite well'. So that sounded perfect. And we had just enough time to squeeze in the Halfway Remarkable viewpoint and a visit to the world's first commercial bungee jumping site before going there. From the viewpoint we could also see the effect of the flood on the water color and size of the river.

    When we finally went to bed, we really thought 'what a day' but like usual everything worked out well.
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  • Day60

    Day 60/72: Boxing Day Bungee

    December 26, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We woke up early and drove back to Queenstown, and passed Queenstown heading out towards Kawarea Bridge: the home of bungee jumping. This is where the first ever bungee jump was created, off a bridge 43m above a stunning blue river. The wait for the bungee jump was good fun, chatting to people and watching Tom jump first (I've never seen him look that scared...). You are attached by a harness to a loop, and when it's your time next they strap your feet together with a towel, thick pieces of velcro, and attach you to a huge elastic cord hanging off the edge (by both your feet and the harness around your waist).

    I was slightly nervous but okay until stepping out on the platform, and that's when I completely freaked out. It looks insanely high from up there, so when the guy was getting me to look at cameras and wave at things, I was busy freaking out and backing out of the jump. He took me back inside to calm down, and I was absolutely certain that I was not going to bungee jump that day. Once I had calmed down, however, I had another go, this time forgetting the cameras and just falling straight off the edge. Much much better. The rush is great, and we both finished it wanting to have another go. Once you're done jumping they let you down into a raft a couple of guys are in down on the river and untie you there.

    We watched a few more people do it, and a few more people back out, and then headed back to Queenstown. We spent the afternoon playing frisbee golf (safe to say neither of us are getting any better), and watched a part of a film.
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  • Day87

    It's Christmaaaaassssssss

    December 25, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Got up and found that he'd been! Stockings were full above the fire.
    Slapped on the Christmas songs and had some croissants and bucks fizz. Lovely way to start the day.

    Started off for a bike ride around the lake. Beautiful views over the mountains and with the clear blue lake. We took some shot glasses with us, so stopped every so often to have a little bit of wine.
    Stopped in at MJ and Tristans house. Initial plan was to go down to the lake, but the weather was forecast to be cloudy and rainy, so we nipped back to the house and got everything to set up camp at their house for the rest of the day. Ended up playing balls, eating cheese, guzzling wine, bbqing rump steak and soaking in their hot tub.
    Once we were all thoroughly boozed (mainly me) we cycled back home.
    Called the family and had a chat with them whilst they opened their stockings.
    All fell asleep whilst watching Abominable. 2nd time of trying to get through it. Maybe boxing day we will finish it off.
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  • Day131

    Bye New Zealand (with airline annoyance)

    February 7 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Spent the morning packing up and cleaning.
    Just before we were due to set off to meet Pete and Cathers for lunch, Hannah said best to check to see if we need to do anything for check in.
    I went onto the Jet Star website and.... strange our flight was still down as the one on the 22nd of Jan.
    We changed this flight on the 20th to leave on the 7th of Feb. Called them up, obviously no record of us changing the flight 😤So £280 quid later we were booked back on the flight we should have been on. (Losing the 60 quid extra we paid from the first flight for changeable tickets).
    Only took me 2 hours! of online chat to finally get a case number raised to complain. This has raised Jet Star to join Virgin and Flybe for my worst customer experience ever.

    Moral of this story, dont book with Jet Star! Always check you get an email confirming what you have done and take a screenshot of confirmation pages.

    Anyway...... rant done. Had a nice lunch of frozen margaritas and tacos. Then set off with team hall to get to the airport in Queenstown. Checked in early, so we could go have some food and a last beer.
    Got on the plane and we were off to Melbourne. Landed safe, and got a bus and Uber to our hotel.

    Bye bye New Zealand, you were great fun. I'm sure we will be back at some point.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Otago, Отаго, Otago eskualdea, אוטגו, オタゴ地方, ოტაგოს რეგიონი, 오타고 지방, Ōtākou, Wilayah Otago, 奥塔哥大区

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