New Zealand
Southland District

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  • Day18

    Stewart Island - Rakiura Track

    January 23 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Stewart Island, la "3ème île de la Nouvelle-Zélande". Une immense forêt dense la recouvre, avec ses rivières à méduses, ses plages isolées, ses sentiers boueux, et ses kiwis, très bruyants le soir mais difficiles à apercevoir. Porte d'entrée : Oban, un port minuscule et accueillant avec quelques maisons qui s'étagent sur les collines alentours et entre les arbres. Les mouettes y sont féroces, et nous poursuivent en une meute affamée pour nous voler nos fish&chips! Le Rakiura Track est un sentier de randonnée (Great Walks) qui parcourt la région autour d'Oban en 3jours, autonomie complète et petits campings au long du trajet. Temps superbe et magnifique chemin, qui nous porte d'une baie paisible à une autre, vers une petite crique cachée bordée par la forêt, puis on s'enfonce au coeur du bush, des collines et des rivières, on traverse la péninsule pour déboucher sur une autre baie ensoleillée, et l'on suit à nouveau la côte pour revenir à Oban.Read more

  • Day90

    Stuck in a flood

    February 4 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    We returned to Manapouri at around 14:30. The goal was to drive towards Queenstown and sleep in our tent again on a campsite along the way. It was raining here again however, and it would likely not stop until midnight. Nevertheless, we figured we could camp as the weather the next morning would be dry and likely sunny. We had already researched some good campsite options as well. The car was thirsty for fuel, and our app Gaspy said the best place for that would be in Mossburn. But on the way there it didn't take long before the road was closed. A friendly guy in orange vest told us that due to flooding we'd have to take a detour. In hindsight, this is when we should have turned around and found accommodation back in Manapouri or Te Anau. But we weren't aware of the severity of the situation. Sure, it was raining, and this particular road was just closed, but surely it's not as bad as in Fiordland?

    We only just made it to Mossburn taking the detour, with less than a liter left in the tank, and we fueled the car. But we started wondering if we could camp tonight at all. We saw more and more puddles on grass fields and also close to the road. We realised we couldn't camp tonight unless we wanted to try out how good our mattresses can float. Queenstown accommodation was booked out unless we felt like spending over 240nzd. There was a nice camping with cheap cabins 4 km north of Mossburn, which sounded perfect. But... the road to it was closed due to flooding. We figured we could still get there via a different road taking 44km. That turned out to be wrong. At the crossing to it near Lumsden another nice guy told us that this road was closed too, which also happened to be the road to Queenstown. He mentioned it might still be possible to go to Queenstown via Gore but that he expected more road closures throughout the day as the water levels were rising. Airbnb and Campermate mentioned some motels and hotels in that direction and Lumsden already looked a bit crowded and what was there was expensive. Not knowing where else to go, we continued in direction Gore.

    The rain got more intensive and the road conditions worsened. Several times we had to pass through flooded road parts, which were tricky to control our Suzuki Swift in as the water tried to push it to the side. We reached Balfour, but their only Motel was booked out. We continued another stretch to Riversdale. At this point it was getting a bit desperate, we were sick of driving in these conditions. Riversdale's Hotel was booked out, too. They told us Gore was also booked out. We felt stranded. We considered sleeping in our car or pitching a tent on a small not too flooded piece of grass in the center of Riversdale. Both didn't sound too good. A Suzuki Swift isn't really the car for sleeping. The Internet now told us there was a state of emergency issued for the area. We decided to go back to the hotel and asked if they knew someone with a couch or a floor or at least a roof. They discussed a while, called someone else in the town until eventually two road maintenance workers who stayed in the hotel offered to share a room (they had one each) and give their other one to us. We were incredibly thankful. Especially when we later in the evening received an emergency SMS alert asking inhabitants of Gore to prepare for evacuation, and the river that caused that was flowing nearby Riversdale too. The hotel room wasn't cheap but cheap enough, and the in-house cafe served us a nice pizza dinner. We were mainly glad we could finally relax, and that we didn't end up trying to camp.
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  • Day107

    Milford sound

    January 14 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Early start of 5.45am in order to drive up to Milford Sound for our 9am boat tour.
    Very calm still morning with a little mist hanging in the air. We stopped a few times to take some photos, but didn't linger for too long lest we would miss out on the free car park. Got to the boat with 15 mins to spare.
    Boarded and sat on top. Quite a chilly morning, but we had enough layers on to keep warm. Amazing scenery with 150m high waterfalls and over 1000m high walls on either side. The whole trip took about 2 hours with a few points where the captain drove the nose into a waterfall.
    We worked our way back down the Milford road, stopping at a few spots to take some photos, fill the bottle up with glacier water and make some hot ham rolls. Hopefully not too hot as it was just baking from being in the back of the car.
    Saw a nasty crash part way back where a 4x4 had flipped. No idea why.
    Got back to Te Anau and chilled out on beach on the lakeside. Finally managing to catch up on some updates from the last 2 weeks.
    I was feeling like either I had mega hayfever or a bit of a cold, so we retired to the campsite by 7.30.
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  • Day106

    Driving towards Milford Sound

    January 13 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Left Wanaka with the Mazda which Pete and Cathers had kindly lent us.

    First stop was Arrow town for honey tasting and wander. An old school village which felt much like an American western type set.

    Then a short hop down to road to Queenstown for a pie from Fergbaker. Hannah said the burger place next door called Furgburger was famous. But the line was huge so we couldn't be arsed to wait.

    From there a fairly easy drive to Te Anau camping. We gathered some info from the tourist office and did some shopping. With not much to do in town we had a beer and went to the cinema to watch the new star wars.
    No clouds in the sky when we got out so quite a chilly night.
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  • Day108

    Te Anau and Glenorchy

    January 15 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Got up later as I was feeling a bit sniffley the night before.
    Took a walk to Dock Bay over a hydro electric dam.
    Nice hour long walk with a beach at the end.
    Stocked up on some fizzy sweets and set off towards Glenorchy.
    Arrived and got setup in a campsite. I wanted to have a look at a couple of lord of the rings filming sites, so we set off towards a place called Paradise.
    Saw a tour bus dart off into the bushes so marked that in my head to come back to.
    Great views of mountains from Paradise as you would expect by the name.
    Doubled back to the potential lord of the rings spot. No idea which one it was, no signal to find out and Hannah couldn't be bothered to explore, so we moved on.
    Drove past Diamond lake and onto Isengard from LOTR. Big wide valley with mountains behind which they super imposed the white tower onto. Very cool.
    Back to the sleepy town of Glenorchy for a massive icecream sunday and a walk around the lake edge and through the Glenorchy lagoon.
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  • Day16

    Te Anau

    January 5 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Today we drove from Wanaka to Te Anau after breakfast at around 9 a.m. As soon as we arrived in Te Anau, we decided to visit the bird sanctuary and took a walk at the Te Anau Lake. In the afternoon we went to a restaurant in the town and then sat at the lake for a while.

    We’ve booked a full day tour for tomorrow that takes us to the Milford Sound fjord. We’re already very exited about it 😊

    Wir sind heute nach dem Frühstück um ca. 9 Uhr von Wanaka nach Te Anau gestartet. In Te Anau angekommen, haben wir uns dazu entschieden den Vogelpark zu besuchen und einen Spaziergang am Lake Te Anau zu machen. Am Nachmittag waren wir dann noch kurz im Ort um etwas zu essen und saßen dann noch gemütlich am See.

    Für morgen haben wir eine ganztägige Tour gebucht, die uns an die Fjordlandschaft Milford Sound führt. Wir freuen uns schon sehr darauf 😊.
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  • Day115

    Heading east to dunedin

    January 22 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Woke up in the morning and got the tent packed away quickly! Getting quite a system for setting up and packing away.
    On our way out of Owaka we stopped to get some supplies at 4Square and checked with the local I-site any must do’s along the route. She recommended driving the South scenic road, even though it was a bit longer.
    Our first stop was Nugget Point, walking out to a light house at the end of the cliffs. Great views. Then we carried on along the coast and past some beautiful bays until we arrived in Dunedin. Heading straight to St Clair beach to have lunch. After our pit stop we set up our tent at a nearby campsite and then went to the Settlers museum. A huge museum with lots of interesting Maori history and some cool transportation and communication items through the years.
    We left the museum when it closed and then enquired about a Speights brewery tour, to learn more about what the locals drink. Interesting tour and able to pull our own tasters.
    On our way back to the campsite we spotted a dominos, with a $5 menu and thought we’d save our noodles for another day! It wasn’t quite like home but at £2.50 a pizza, can’t really complain.
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  • Day116

    More factory tours

    January 23 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Had a plan this morning to go to Tunnel beach at low tide, but unfortunately it was a bit grey with rain coming in. Decided instead to continue the factory tours and found a local place making chocolate. Finally found some parking close to the factory and had time for a coffee next store, where they make peanut butter.
    The OCHO chocolate tour was really interesting, offering a background of the company and their direct purchase from Pacific islands, which means they pay the communities that supply to beans. We were then able to watch the process in action, and hearing about the different steps.
    We were then able to test some of their chocolate and compare it to other brands.
    The weather wasn’t improving much so we decided to head back towards Wanaka where Pete and Cathers had let us know the sun was shining. On route we stopped to get some cheese at a little supplier. It was a slightly weird place with limited information about the origins of the company and their production lines. But some tasty cheese.
    Amazing views once again throughout our journey and back to wanaka and chilling out lake side. Cathers and pete were busy early evening but we joined them for food once they were done.
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  • Day118

    Hawea River paddle

    January 25 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    After a few too many ciders at the rugby we were slow to get going this morning. But Cathers made some cheese scones and we got some coffee which helped us get organised with a plan for the day. Decided on another SUP adventure so drove out to the Hawea dam and set up the car logistics.
    We were unsure how quick the flow would be but it looked ok to give it a go.
    Quite quickly I went in after getting caught out by a rock in the rapids and for a little while I was worried about what else we might come along. But after a few successful goes through some rapids I got more confident and everyone was enjoying the river and the sunshine. As with the last paddle we underestimated the distance and finally got off the river after nearly a 9 mile paddle. Making us late for our next plans for a backyard vineyard. We quickly got some supplies and joined friends at the lake. They pick a local vineyard and get all the wines they can from the local shops and do their own tasting session, with tasty platters. Lovely way to sample what the vineyard has to offer without having to drive and a lot more wine and food for a lot less money! Another great day in New Zealand 😊
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  • Day59

    Day 59/72: Christmas!!!

    December 25, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Merry Christmas!!!! What an exciting day. So strange waking up on Christmas day to sun and heat, we even had a white Christmas if you count the snow that was sprinkled on the mountain peaks around Glenorchy. Tom called his parents and wished them a Merry Christmas Eve night, and then we opened our stockings! It was great, sitting there in the van with a cup of tea, fairy lights, Christmas tree, holly and mistletoe hanging around. Not traditional but great fun!

    We then went out for a run before it got too hot. Beautiful scenery, running around the smaller lakes of Glenorchy with santa hats and saying Merry Christmas to other people out for walks. We got to the main lake and ran along the jetty, threw our stuff down and jumped straight in to the amusement of many a tourist who took photos. One woman had recorded the whole thing and sent us the video! Very odd way to start a Christmas day!

    We then ran back to the campsite and had shower and cooked ourselves a well deserved Christmas breakfast of eggs/bacon or salmon on toast. Feeling very pleased with ourselves, we chilled out and unvelied our other presents for each other, and then went to find a spot on the lake. We drove around to the other side, which was a bit of a catastrophe because we ended up doing through a ford and then getting to a bigger one and having to do a 17 point turn on a tiny gravel track and going back up a very steep hill, where we stopped at the top to walk down to the lake edge only to be attacked by flies and mosquitoes and upon trying to leave, lost the car key so couldn't escape! We scurried and slapped for a good 5 minutes before locating the lost key in its very safe place on the gear lever and getting away faster than a car from a bank robbery. We then swatted all the flies in the van for the rest of the journey back to Glenorchy, listening to Christmas songs and stopped at the lakefront we were at that morning. There is a small park on the front, so we chilled out there for the rest of the afternoon, jumping in the lake when we felt too hot and playing cards, frisbee and snoozing. It was very relaxing.

    That evening, we made our Christmas dinner (chicken and potatoes, simple yet tasty) and tucked into our vast array of cheese that we'd managed to collect over the past few days. It was fantastic, and we had a bottle of wine out of paper cups, and let the sun go down as we chatted and ate. We both called our families on their Christmas morning. A really nice Christmas day all in all, and Glenorchy was a brilliant place to spend it in!
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Southland District

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