A Travellerspoint blog

Summary

sunny 25 °C

[*][list] It has been fantastic to share some of my travel experience with Antje and my Mum and to spend so much time together. Although some of the arguements between my Mum and myself which I wish could have been avoided.
However, I have the greatest best and friend and mother and we had so much fun and laughs. They are certainly crazy but also very funny.

[*]NZ is a beautiful country. Amazing scenary and so diverse.

[*]A 3 berth campervan is never big enough for 3 adults, you always need to go one size bigger than they tell you.

[*]By no means do they have as many sheep as everyone is saying. Apparently there are 20,000,000 sheep on 4,000,000 Kiwis but I wonder where they hide them. It seems far more cattle and possums!

[*]Don't rely on the weather for your trips and calculate a few more days in in case it's bad and trips get cancelled.

[*]I definitely have to go back to Kaikoura to swim with dolphins there where the groups are between 200 and 1000!

[*]Not everything that seems stolen is really been stolen, especially after 3 liters of wine! :-)

[*]Horse riding is still my passion and needs to be picked up again!

[*]Short distances can take so much longer in NZ due to the very hilly and curvy roads.

[*]Nothing can disappear in a campervan! :-)

[*]Daily showers really are not necessary!

[*]Health & Safety is not to be taken that seriously!

[*]If you have to catch a water taxi to avoid getting stranded over night, make sure you have plenty of time to get there and don't rely on Kiwi time estimates!

[*]Sandflies are the best kept secret of NZ but are a complete plague. Never experienced anything like it! Flies so small you can hardly see them but their bites itch like nothing else and last for approx. 3 weeks! They will drive you insane!

Posted by Julia1976 18:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Hamner Springs

semi-overcast 18 °C

From the west coast we drove all the way to Hamner Springs as that was the only campsite with power and it's just too cold now to camp wild. We woke up to the most incredible view of mountains. That's the great thing about a campervan you are quite often not sure where you ended up and it sometimes can be quite a surprise in the morning to find out where you are.
We went Jetboating here, after having missed out in Queenstown and it was great fun. The scenary was spectacular and the boat ride really good fun too. We did doughnuts if that's what you call them on water. It certainly was fun but I think it's something you do once, unless you have cliffs where you can get to even closer.

After some delicious pie I set out for my horse riding trip. Antje went shopping and my Mum came with me and went for a walk. That was certainly a highlight. The scenary was breath taking and with riding through proper rivers and really dense forest and mountains I felt like a proper cowboy! :-) My horse, Katie, was good and I was leading the group. Fortunately it was just a small group and I properly enjoyed it. It was such a great feeling to be back on a horse and then on top of that I had the fantastic scenary too. It just made me realise how much I love it and how much I have missed it over the last few years. So I made the decision to pick it up in London again and find myself a stable and play cowboy in Richmond Park! :-)
I certainly walked like a cowboy once I got off the horse. Damn! Didn't remember it being that painful but I suppose I just have to get back into it.

Our last day in NZ was spent with buying more souvenirs in Hamner, making our way back and stopping at a beach above Christchurch where we went for a walk and then tidying up the van, packing etc. We found a hotel just next to the rental company and also next to the airport, returned the van, I complaint again and we got another AUS $ 200 back which made us happy and we straight away spent on dinner in a very nice restaurant called Cook'n with Gas and had a great meal. At the hotel bar we had a few "Absacker" whereas Antje and myself of course went over the top a bit (got to end it in class...."-) ) so this morning was quite painful. For them it must have been far worse as they had to get up earlier (5am for them and 6amfor me) and Antje also missed her bed last night and fell next to it, so apparently she was quite bruised and sore which is the last thing you need on a longhaul flight.... it was a good night though...:-)

Posted by Julia1976 04:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Shantytown & Pancake Rocks

semi-overcast 18 °C

Shantytown is an old gold mining town we visited, which was great. Really nicely made with a steam train, post office, stables, hospital.... everything, even a brothel.
We were even panning gold and found some, which is probably put in there for the tourist. They fill it up for you in a little glas tube which says "Genuine Souvenir from Shantytown"... ha, ha.. genuine souvenir but not genuine gold.... Anyway, it was good fun and the panning is far more difficult than I thought.

We then headed for the Pancake Rocks which were great too, but unfortunately the weather was really bad. They look quite incredible and I can see how they got their names. The layers of the rocks look like pancakes, so that was great to see.

After that we stooped at another seal colony at Foulwind Cape, which was incredible. So many seals in such a small place. As the sea is so rough here they had several little pools which seemed like their playground but also like the pup swimming school where they teach them. So cute...
They were only mums with their pups and all of them shouting and screaming like little kids. So funny! We worth a visit and a great finish of the west coast. We are off inland now...

Posted by Julia1976 03:53 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Fox and Franz Josef Glacier

sunny 18 °C

For the Fox Glacier the good weather was back on our side again and it started with a fantastic morning and I quickly booked my Mum and myself on the Heli-Hike for the Fox Glacier and Antje decided to do the half day walking tour.
We drove for a couple of hours through amazing scenary which looked even more spectacular thanks to the great weather. Rainforest, mountains, of which some were still covered with snow, and the really rough Tasman Sea. What a view.
We were quite lucky as a couple of people didn't show up, so we could get already on to an earlier tour which started at 12pm.
Before we went on to the tour we walked around Lake Matheson which is famous for refelcting the mountains and glacier. A great walk around the lake with more stunning views.
The helicopter flight was great although quite short. I just love flying helicopther. I have only done it twice but there is something so special to it.... it's just an amazing feeling!
We landed directly on the ice! Spectacular! Ice everywhere, hence a glacier...:-), and we had to wear proper ice crampons around our leather boots and had a walking stick, or whatever you call them in mountaineering language...;-)
We walked along fantastic caves,wholes,crevasses, little lakes and rivers. Amazing how blue ice can be. It looked so pretty. We found a whole that was so deep even our tour guide said that in her 5 years working there it's the deepest she has ever found and told the other guides about it straight away. She kept throwing ice blocks into it to establish how deep it was. The noise just went on for ever... incredible. A person would have fittted into that quite easily too and we were just climbing over it. Again, health and safety is taken slightly more relaxed here. They have the same thing as in Australia and just make you sign a disclaimer saying they don't take any responsibility if you die. That jlaw doesn't exist in the UK or Germany. Companies there can't just make you sign such a paper... but I am glad they do it here, otherwise I would have never seen a glacier from that perspective...
The Flox Glacier is still growing and the global warming acutally helps it, as more and more water goes up in the air (from the sea in Australia) which then rains/snows down on the two glaciers. It really was another incredible experience to see a glacier like that. Slightly different when you just ski on it like I have usually done.
After 3 hours in the ice it got quite cold though, so we went to Cafe Neve which was recommened by the Swedish jeweller we met in Queenstown and they indeed had fabulous hot chocolate. As we still had to wait for Antje a couple of hours and were freezing we decided to stop for a quick glas of red wine in the only pub there called the Saloon. A really nice cosy pub with a big fire, which was just the perfect sitting after being in the ice. One glas turned into 5, what a surprise eh??, we met a really nice photographer from Oxford.
We then had dinner at Cafe Neve which was absolutely fantastic and a great recommendation from the Swede. I did have trouble remembering what I actually ate but I knew it was good! :-) It was such a funny evening though....
As went to bed really early we felt okay the next morning and got up early.

In georgeous sunshine we drove along the west coast and stopped at Franz Josef Glacier. From there we went for a nice 3 hour walk in Okarito. The first half was through rainforest which was leading to a lagoon and the second half along the black beach which the really rough Tasman Sea. Completely different and very beautiful. I don't think you can acutally swim in the sea there, as it's too rough and most of the time probably too cold too.

We stopped in Greymouth and are going to Shantytown tomorrow morning.

Posted by Julia1976 08:01 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Queenstown

rain 16 °C

From Milford Sound/ Te Anau we drove all the way to Queenstown which is a very cute little town and really busy, which is a nice change to our recent places. There is life in the evening and even loads of bars and restaurants to choose from! We were thrilled! ;-)
Loads of shops too...:-) That seems to be the first place where there is something going on. We had a look around and booked a Milford Sound flight for Mutti and a High Five Tour for Antje and myself! Yippeeehhhh... that is a Jetboat trip, Helicopter flight, Gondoal up to the mountain, a luge down the mountain and a movie to finish it off. How exciting! :-)
Although we were all really tired, Antje and myself decided to take advantage out of the fact of being in Queensland and went to a bar for "just the one". The pub was really nice and cosy and even had an open fire in the middle and we had a really nice evening. The bartender wearing his trouser so deep that you could see his crack was a bit unpleasant but never mind... well, actually what made it really unpleasant was that in his crack he stuck the towel he used for polishing the glasses.... urrggh........ we made sure they re-filled the same glasses we had! :-)
After several beers and the company of a weird Aussie we realised at 1am it was time to go home as we had an early start.
The next morning it was pissing down and my Mums flight was cancelled and our trip delayed to the afternoon, which was then cancelled after all too. We were already dropped of in the car park for the jet boating when they decided in the last second, it's raining to heavy and the drivers can't actually see anything which helps when you are rushing just a few centimeters next to some cliff in stupid speed. We were absolutely gutted, as we were so looking forward to it. That is really something you can't do everywhere and is quite special to Queenstown, but I suppose we can't complain, as we have been really lucky with the weather so far. We had better weather anyone I have met who has been here in the summer....
So we did some more shopping in Queenstown to cheer us up and then met with my Mum again to make our way to the glaciers...

Posted by Julia1976 07:42 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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