New Zealand

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    • Day 87

      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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    • Day 84

      2 days of 4x4 fun around the mountains

      December 22, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      We were up and away by 6.30am to meet Pete and Cathers friends. But firstly we had to get up and over the range in the way. After 30 odd mins we were off the tarmac and onto the dirt road. The Thomson gorge. Great scenery, we were only slowed down by the gates you have to open and close every few Km.

      Met up with Jimmy and Emily. Jimmy was our guide as had done the trails before. A bit further down the road we met Lois and Ed, a couple who had moved from England 6 years ago.
      With the 3 vans loaded, all occupants filled with coffee we were on our way. These tracks are very cool, they just wind their way up and down valleys, along the top of ridges along the mountains and down through streams you need to drove through. Steep sided drop offs along the way. Some great driving by Pete took us safely through. We stopped off at a spacious hut for the night. Plenty of room for all 8 of us. A kitchen and dining room. Fresh stream flowing past for filling up drink containers.
      Mega error, we only took 4 bottles of beer, one bottle of wine and a hip flask of brandy. Polished them off whilst eating some traditional pasta stodge and playing bananagram.

      Day 2.
      Set off with great views and more great weather. After a few hours we started to head back downhill and back into civilisation. We headed for a lunch spot and had a smoked salmon bagel and toastie.
      There was an old mine next door which had been turned into a lake, so spent some time skimming stones until our arms hurt.
      Here we left Ed and Lois and started heading north with Jimmy and Emily. Went along a valley floor with several river crossings. Then climbed up to the top of a ridge. Again epic views. On the way down to the main road We came across lots of sheep and cows. One of the bulls had the most enormous bollocks I've ever seen! Would not mess with him.
      Made it to the main road and went back to Wanaka.
      All completely pooped we didn't feel like doing much. But some friends were out in town, so went out for a curry then joined then for a G and T. Felt slightly land sick after all the jiggling from the 4x4 journey.
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    • Day 83

      Let's get festive

      December 21, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Had a leisurely morning around the house, getting things prepped for the 4x4 trip. Packing up everything we needed and making shopping lists. Pete and Cathers had helped to organise a Christmas production through their church. They needed to be there a bit early, so Hannah and I did some shopping around the town. Had a massive ice cream and sat on the lake front until it was time to head to the show.
      Show was great with lots of festive singing and dancing. They had lots of tasty smoked salmon mini pancakes after, so we hung around for a while to make sure that no food was wasted. 😁.
      Off to the supermarket to stock up on food for the trip.
      To keep us in the festive spirit we went home and watched Home Alone. Keep the change you filthy animal.
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    • Day 75

      when the party's over

      January 17, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      Nächses Ziel Wanaka. Leider nur für eine Nacht, aber es wäre eine längere Zeit deutlich wert. Es ist für mich wirklich unglaublich wie die Leute es schaffen in diesen Städten im Süden zu leben. Sie sind ja sehr schön, aber im Umkreis von einer Stunde (sehr schneller) Fahrt befindet sich einfach NICHTS. Absolut gar nichts. Es gibt die Stadt und dann nichts. Dort zu leben könnte ich mir auch nicht vorstellen. Aber gut, jedem das seine.
      Unseren einzigen Abend in Wanaka haben wir dann zusammen am See verbracht, bei kuschligen 27°C😊🌞
      Es ist echt faszinierend, wie man schwitzend am Strand liegt und gleichzeitig einen guten Ausblick auf die Schneebedeckten Berggipfel hat.
      Bevor wir dann morgens weiter gefahren sind habe ich mich tatsächlich von ein paar Leuten dazu breitschlagen lassen auf einen Berg zu wandern... super. Die Aussicht war aber wirklich sehr schön.
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    • Day 119

      Driving south to a 3 day walk.

      January 26, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Got ourselves sorted for a 3 day hike on Hump Ridge trail. Packed everything, got some food from the shop and headed towards the South Coast.
      Again the interesting change of scenery from hills and mountains to more looking like Devon and Cornwall.
      We checked into the walk office and got our hut pass. Then went to a nearby campsite. Chilled out in the sun having beers and updating the penguin app.
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    • Day 120

      Hump Ridge 3 day walk

      January 27, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      We had been looking around since about Feb 2019 to find a 3 day great walk to do. Unfortunately everything was booked up. We asked at an Isite in Te Anau if there was any alternative and the lady suggested the Hump Ridge Track on the south coast. Not quite a great walk but will soon become one.
      Pete and Cathers had done it and said it could be fun so we signed up.
      The Hump Ridge track cost just under $500 NZD for 2 people. This includes a bunk bed and porridge at 2 huts. We thought this was pretty steep, much like the first day.

      Day 1 up 1000m along beach and up through forest.

      Day 2 down back through forest to sea level.

      Day 3 is relatively flat.

      The downside to walking through forest, is that you do not really get any views at all. The forest does change as you climb / descend, but it does get a bit tedious without the view to break it up. It felt like very old forest at the top of day 1 with green old mans beard type moss hanging in the trees.
      I had Harry Potter on audiobook so I was happy tracking along.
      The best views were at the end of day 1 after about 7 hours walking. Even better views were a 30min summit walk above the lodge. We decided to do this on the morning of day 2 rather than the evening of day 1. Ended with some boil in a bag sausage and mash and some wine we had walked up.

      After the summit on day 2 we started to make our way down the ridge. Unfortunately we were decending into clouds, so from the 1 lookout point and luncheon rock we saw nothing but white.
      We descended to sea level, passing some impressive viaducts. Quite a few boggy bits of walk. Got to hut number 2 which was covered in Sandflies. So no sitting outside. We walked down the beach, but again got beaten back by hordes of sandflies.

      Day 3 we stocked up on porridge and set off. Got to a beach and saw some surfing dolphins which was cool. About 13km into the 21km walk you start retracing your steps. The last 5km started to get hard work with the feet hurting. We got some heavy rain for the last 30min, luckily mostly under trees apart from the last 5 min dash back the car.

      Overall a reasonably good walk, but for the price you pay and the views, not sure it was worth it. But we did only have 5 other people staying in our hut, so there was plenty of space. I guess the price deters the tourists. If you love forests, this is the place for you. If you are looking for epic views, probably try other places in NZ.

      Drove back to Wanaka and zonked out for the evening.
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    • Day 123

      Cardrona Distillery tour

      January 30, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      With Pete at work and Cathers also working, we made our way to the Cardrona Distillery. Met a very knowledgeable lady called Linda who taught us all about making Whisky, Vodka and Gin. She took us on a tour of the distillery, showed us their stills and explained the process. It has only been running for 3 years, so still very young for whisky. The tasting was still very nice. Their sipping vodka tasted a lot like Pear Drops.
      After the tasting I thought it was probably best not drive just in case, so nipped round the corner to an old western style restaurant for dirty chips and deep fried gerkins. Met Pete and Cathers later for a chilled evening.
      Calves were pretty sore from all the walking.
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    • Day 124

      Millennium track bike ride

      January 31, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Cathers joined us to play today. We started off by stacking wood to get Pete and Cathers ready for winter. It was a very windy day, so wanted to wait for it to calm down a bit before doing any other activity. Then we set off on a bike ride along the West side of the Wanaka lake along the Millennium track ride. One of her favourite rides in the area. It was a great track with a few fun bits which you could go pretty fast. We stopped for lunch and a sheltered spot. Then went along to the headland for a cheeky cider.
      Late in the afternoon we made our way back to Wanaka for a shower with the hose back at the house. Baking!
      Had an icecream then went up for happy hour overlooking the lake to wait for Pete to finish work. We joined and we had deep fried Oysters and fish and chips.
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    • Day 125

      Mt Cook

      February 1, 2020 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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    • Day 128

      Rainy day in Wanaka

      February 4, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

      Got up to some big rain. Lots of the west coast had had land slip damage overnight. No damage here, but it limited our options for the day.
      Tidied up from Super Bowl then got to booking the next phase of the holiday.
      Have now booked Hobart and the Philippines. Surprisingly took all day to sort it.
      Pete and Cathers got back and we went to Rhyme and Reason for a pint. Locally brewed in the same barn as the bar. Very cool.
      Back home to make some red curry and get settled in with a fire to watch Man on Fire.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Wanaka, ואנקה, WKA, ワナカ, 와나카, 瓦納卡

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