Sunday, 6 April 2014

Nelson Lakes

Straight through the Wairau Valley Blenheim is connected to Saint Arnaud and the beautiful Nelson Lakes, Rotoiti and Rotoroa. We stayed a night at a DOC site there and were greeted in the morning by countless sandflies. Oh how we missed them...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mission Impossible: Finding work in Blenheim - Jobs, Jack's and Cyclones.

Having seen most of the South Island, after the stay in Christchurch we made plans to start work and restore our savings again. Up we went, along the coast with a pleasant stop in Kaikoura and to Blenheim. The area of Marlborough is famous for its wineries. Vineyards cover every inch of land.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Climbing around Christchurch

Our second stop in Christchurch was filled with a lot of sunshine and rockclimbing. Our amazing hosts took us to several locations around town, in the forest, on top of the hill, and hidden on the end of a usual residential street. Christchurch has a lot to offer to climbers, and afterwards you can just stop by at the beach to cool down. See for yourselves:

From West to east - Arthur's Pass

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Coast and Glaciers

The southernmost pass over the alps is the Haast Pass, quickly crossing in between the mountains following the Haast river. It is fascinating how different the weather can be on the two sides of the Island: as we started off, the mountains where barely visible behind thick rainclouds. After maybe 20 minutes of driving, the sky was crisp and blue and sunshine greeted us on the westcoast.
As we learned, it often is the other way round, with the West Coast getting all the rain. We were lucky and the clouds got stuck in the east this time.

The whole West Coast is quite remote with only a few settlements along the only highway there. We took the way south first, a beautiful road through the unique West Coast forest to Jackson Bay. There you can find some nice bush walks and a funny Fish& Chips restaurant located in an old caravan.

Back to Queenstown & Wanaka

Before heading over the alps, we returned to our favourite area: Queenstown and Wanaka and the beautiful Mountain ranges around them.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Up to Aoraki

Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park

On the road to the tallest mountain in New Zealand you can take in all the striking blue glory of Lake Pukaki. The Highway leads along its shore, crossing farmland and logging forest. The stunning colour of the lake created by minerals washed down from the mountains makes you overlook the not so pretty wasteland of choppped trees around it.
The mountain becomes clearer and taller with every mile and slowly you can guess how big the snowy peaks actually are. With its 3724 meters, Mt Cook towers over the few houses in the valley.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Elephants rock!

On our way through Waitaki Valley towards Mount Cook there where some nice spots we stopped shortly to enjoy the landscape. Some of them were old Maori rock paintings - sadly, most of them are faded already, but here and there an info panel shows how they have looked like. 
The country along the road offers some fascinating rock formations the Kiwi ancestors used for shelter.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Steampunk City!

Just another small town along the highway? Not at all! Oamaru is the most amazing town we have seen so far. Before you enter it, an old rusty tank announces the entrance of the 'Steampunk Capital of NZ'. That made us curious, but we thought it is just a small movement of Steampunks who take that claim because they are the only ones to represent that style in Kiwi country. It does look like any other small town at first – but as soon as you get closer to the waterfront, it reveals its magic.
Whole streets consist of victorian style buildings with beautiful ornaments, artful pillars and rustic wooden interior. Old carriages stand in the middle of the street and from time to time you see someone riding a 19th century style bicycle (huge front wheels, tiny rear wheels) as if it were completely normal. The oldest street is filled with shops selling handmade wares of all kinds – here you get the first glimpses of Steampunk jewellery and clothing, and the shop owners proudly present their wares by wearing them.
Vintage cars are found on every corner, not only for watching but for everyday use, as is common in New Zealand (everything that doesn't literally fall apart gets a warrant of fitness here). Rounding the streetcorner to the wharf, some seemingly random industrial gear stands rusting on the railway lines and lies scattered around it. At a closer look you find the aging metal painted or otherwise turned into artworks.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Waddling Wildlife

The Yellow Eyed Penguin colony next to the lighthouse in Moeraki town is an amazing opportunity to see the waddling birds up close, especially in the hours before sunset when they come ashore and present themselves without any fear of the gawking humans on the other side of the fence.

When you arrive at the lighthouse, there is one path with a little gate going straight down to the ocean – the one on the right leading along the fence is the better one, because there you can spot the young ones on their hideouts and later on their favourite places at the rocky shore.