A Travellerspoint blog

Te Waikoropupu Springs and Farewell Spit

sunny 12 °C
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After The Grove we drove on to Te Waikoropupu Springs. these are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand and repudtedly the clearest in the world. it was icnredibly peaceful walking around here and quite impressive seeing the surge of water pushing up from the spring.

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After a quick stop at a handmade choccy shop in Collingwood we drove around to the Farewell Spit. This is the most northerly point of the South Island and is a sanctuary to birds! It was such a relaxing place and we decided to settle down here for the night by the waters edge.

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Farewell Spit

The following day we visited Harwood's Hole - the biggest cave in the southern hemisphere. After a walk through the woods we came to a pile of massive boulders. After a careful clamber over them we came to the edge! It was blimming huge and very echoey! We couldn't see the bottom and didn't even try - this cave didn't have safety barriers! Scarey stuff!

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At the lookout at Harwood's Hole

Posted by nicdavid 17:06 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Abel Tasman National Park

sunny 17 °C

After a quick shower, charge of electrical goods and restock of food in Nelson, we headed out towards the Abel Tasman National park. We were interested in some sea kayaking.... after a quick search around we booked our day out on the sea and were getting excited! The morning arrived and it was a glorious day to be out on the water. We were dropped off after a boat ride to the furthest reaches of the park and hopped into the double kayak. We were getting used to synchronised paddling and avoiding the rocks dotted around the coastline! First stop was the marine reserve, a little island we circumnativgated where we were joined by the now familiar sea lions - this time they were very curious! We followed the coastline occasionally weaving in and out of the bays and by the end were riding the crests of waves for some speed! Woah!!! A fantastic day, we're well and truly bitten by the kayaking bug - we want more....!

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After our sea kayaking we drove to the northern part of the park for some exploring. We got up early and walked around some of the park. The views from the rocky lookout were fantastic and a great way to start out second day in the park.

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Then we drove on and explore The Grove. This was a weird and wonderful rocky outcrop in the middle of fields! It was a playground! Full of huge boulders, caves and little windy paths...

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View from The Grove

Posted by nicdavid 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Hanmer Springs and Marlborough Sounds

sunny 15 °C
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So, after all the hiking on glaciers we were in need of a little tlc and so headed to Hanmer Springs. Town of thermal springs! Bliss! There were so many pools to choose from but the highlight was definitely the sulphur pools. At 41C and stinking of egg our skins felt all shiny and soft! We also managed to squeeze in quick game of mini golf for David to get his revenge from Oz, before hitting the road again.

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On the way to Picton we found various seal colonies! There were hundreds of the buggers and they had a bit of a whiff about them. Arriving in Picton David booked his mountain biking on the Queen Charlotte Track.

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We found a little bay to camp down for night which was crawling with rabbits - hundreds of little red and white eyes hopping about the place en-route to the toilet! We woke early the following day to catch the sunrise and head over to the main harbour for David to catch a boat to start the two day 50km mountain bike track. After waving goodbye to Nic the boat cruised through Queen Charlotte Sound where David was greeted by some blue penguins (the smallest in the world!.) After arriving at Ship cove and a quick history lesson about Captain Cook the riding began, well, not for a hour anyway - it was so steep and slippery the trampers were finding it hard getting to the top! The downhill however afterwards was worth the effort. It was rough - steep, rocky, full of roots, drops, drainage gulley's to hop over - pretty much the works! This trend seemed to continue until our reunion at the half way point, where Nic had driven right the way round enjoying the views and extremely curvy road!

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Setting of on an adventure!

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The start...

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Waiting for Nic.....

After spending another night at a beautiful bay/inlet, we woke at dawn again for the second day of biking - this was pretty much the same as the first. The downhills were a wee longer and full of muddy corners to drift around whilst trying not to go over the edges which were very steep at times! Nic was waiting at the end after checking out jelly fish infested bays and relaxing in the campervan with a glass of wine!

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After a downhill section on the mountain behind

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Nic's view from the camper, complete with vino.......

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A well deserved rest!

That night we headed out to another part of the Marlborough Sounds after yet another endless switchback road and camped at a little fishing village. That night was the worst nights sleep so far - the wind and rain was immense. We were at last experiencing the full brunt of this so called rain! The suspension on the campervan was creaking because it was so windy. At 4am we nearly up sticks and headed for Nelson, but managed to stick it out!

Posted by nicdavid 15:58 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Glaciers!

Fox and Franz Josef Glacier

sunny 10 °C
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After Haast Pass we spent the night beside a lake with the rainforest covered mountains as a backdrop - perfect! We headed straight for the Fox Glacier. It was raining by this point so we donned our waterproofs and walked right up to the glacier's moraine. It was huge and only made us more excited about seeing the Franz Josef Glacier. With full bellies from a massive fry up at the Fox Glacier township we travelled down the road to Franz Josef town. Almost as soon as we arrived we signed up for a heli-hike for the following day!

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Fox Glacier

To say we were excited would be an understatement. The trip didn't start until 10.15am but we were up, giggling excitedly and trying to calm each other down by 7am!!! After the usual safety chats and the dishing out of gear we were ready. We climbed aboard the helicopter - Nic got to sit up at the front next to the pilot! We had the most perfect weather, blue skies and no clouds, we could see for miles and the views were just gobsmacking.

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View of Franz Josef Glacier from the helicopter

We landed on the ice, attached our crampons and then began our hike. We were on the ice for about an hour and a half, climbing through ice caves, over gullies and beside small waterfalls. The ice was a beautiful blue in places and just as we began to relax in the serenity of it all there was a small avalanche near the top of the glacier! We continued hiking beside a pristine clear lake and over jagged ice formations. The view from the glacier was fantastic and we both filled our cameras with endless pictures of ice, snow and towering mountains.

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It was all over too quickly and on the way back down we both got to sit up front, we had the best views in the house! By the time we had landed back in the town grey clouds had quickly worked their way over to the glacier - talk about perfect timing!

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Posted by nicdavid 23:17 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Catlins - Dunedin - Haast Pass

semi-overcast 7 °C
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Our rental car was now left behind for a better model - a campervan! We will have this beauty for 25 days come rain or shine - it will be very cold and the heating only works when connected up to external power! It (he - Nic has named him Dick after his number plate) has a gas cooker, sink, fridge, toaster and heater, our bed is the table/bench and the CD player keeps on jumping at very amusing places - Nina Simone can't half rap good!

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Dick

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Bangers and mash - our first meal in Dick

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Beddy byes!

We headed straight down to the south coast towards to the Catlins, via Clifden for some unguided cave exploring! We ended up staying at a view point with the ocean pounding the cliffs beneath us - nobody decided to join us that night, we fell asleep to wind and the waves!

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Just off the windswept cliffs...

After quickly stopping off at Invercargill for breakfast, we headed through the Catlins national park and found ourselves at the most southerly point of the South Island, Slope Point. We stopped off at a few bays along the coast and were confronted with a family of sea lions, a few penguins, fossilied trees from the Jurassic period and I guess NZ's equivalent of the 12 apostles, (no way near as commercialised!) after beating the campervan up going down all the dirt tracks they call roads! We spend a night amongst the swampy wetlands.

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Slope Point

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A quick growl! Maybe we got too close....

Dunedin was the next bit civilisation we would stay at, we were due a shower and a warm nights sleep. This place is abundant in its Scottish roots and has brilliant architecture. We braved the steepest street in the world and treated ourselves to a rented TV for the night (only two quid!)
Our next stop was just magical! We drove out to the Otago Peninsula to the only natural mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross. The season wasn't perfect for a viewing but boy did we get a good look! These birds are huge and have a prehistoric air about them. One pair were flying around, probably only 10 metres above our heads - considering their wingspan is on average 3 metres they seemed pretty close. . it was an experience we'll never forget! They were checking their babies were all good, which weigh in at a whopping 8kgs (fat little birdies!). We left this area not before stopping at NZ's only castle and headed inland for another random stop over. We then drove over Haast pass (one of only three passes throughout the whole Southern Alps!) which was awe-inspiring! We stopped over at another lake, which is pretty close to the fault line running down the dividing range before Glacier country time...

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Dunedin

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On the way up the world's steepest street!

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A well earned rest

Posted by nicdavid 22:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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