Tag Archives: South Island

Thursday 19th September

We drove from Nelson to Picton today. there’s a short direct route, but we’ve got all day . A pass through Nelson lakes national park, much nicer.

We stopped at Nelson lake to take a photo of the most photographed pontoon in the world. Our photography on a phone camera can’t compete with the big boys. We had to wait for a couple who obviously thought they were professional taking 1001 selfie’s. I’m one of the worlds most patient people but seriously! So in the end we just moved in front of them and took a quick snap

After our photo they carried on, copying our pose and a million more even though other people were waiting. Bloody tourist.

We had lunch in the park by a shallow Pebble river so peaceful the only thing to spoil it was flies, yuk. Sand flies are a real problem it stings when they bite you and afterwards they leave a really itchy spot.

When we got to Picton we had a look around town a small port where we need to catch the ferry tomorrow back to the north island. The car ferry began operating in 1962. Before that it was a small inter-Island ferry from 1899.

Tuesday 17th September

Our wedding anniversary, it rained heavily all night but it turned out to be a lovely morning. It’s starting to warm up over here so time to get our summer clothes on!

After making mike his treat breakfast of bacon and eggs bap (me eggs) it was business as usual and back on the road. This time we’re headed to a city. Nelson established by English settlers in 1841. The 9nth most populated city in nz with 61 thousand residents. Named in honour of admiral horatio nelson. It’s sunny climates at the top of the south gives it the highest amount of sunshine in New Zealand.

So back over the pass, juicy did well no over heating today, we make our way passing vine yards and fields full of grids ready for growing hops, nelson is also known for its craft beer.

Tonight we are staying at a proper campsite right on the beach as I wanted to use a kitchen instead of our small single ring stove. Spoilt right. Mike is addicted to pies and it’s easier to make pie, mash and mushy peas in a kitchen!

All washed down with a bottle of local red. And jam roly poly for pudding. Loving life.

We then enjoyed another stunning sunset over the sea and distant mountains ended a perfect day. Tomorrow we are staying in nelson a day off sitting in juicy.

Monday 16th September

Today we drove over takaka hill. A big climb that proved challenging for poor juicy, she was threatening to over heat on the way up, making funny gurgling sounds. Poor thing we’ve traveled over 4 thousand kms over mountains and she’s not missed a beat. We pulled over at a look out spot to let her cool off and have a spot of lunch.

At the top of the pass we did a short walk looking over wainui bay. Local legend has it that a lizard like creature who devoured men and snaring women. He captured a local woman who was too cleaver for him, she lulled him to sleep and escaped from his cave. The people of the town set a trap and set him on fire at the top of takaka hill. He tried frantically to dig his way home but was consumed by flames. He’s charred scales turned to stone,and was strewn around the hills.

Saturday 14th September

The weather is still not great today rain rain and more rain. We drove the Arthur’s pass road,the highest highway across the southern Alps. It climbs steeply rising over 3000 ft through dramatic scenery, forests, mountain passes. The tiny village of Arthur’s pass lays in a valley 3 miles from the summit, originally a campers site for the contractors mainly tunnel workers for the 5 mile rail tunnel. It took 10 years for the 2 ends to meet and another 5 years before the first train to travel through it.

Highlights of the day today was stopping for a cup of tea in a old stage coach a quirky old place voted New Zealand’s most interesting hotel. It’s been serving the Wild West 1865.

The natural highlight today was a large limestone rock formation at castle hill. Eerie and impressive almost spiritual.

We are now camped out in a mountain pass that closes over night so should be a very quiet night.

Friday 13th September

Friday the 13th and a full moon! What could go wrong? Torrential rain all day. No sightseeing as we couldn’t see our noses in front of our faces. We didn’t venture out of the camper to take photos, photos of what? We couldn’t see any thing! The road was twisting around the mountain following the west coast.and we decided to stay in a campsite as the wind was blowing the sea right up. Better safe than sorry.

We are in a sea side town called graymouth not much here, so a brief look round then check in. We are the only tourists here so made the most of the facilities. Hot tub followed by cooking in the kitchen and lounging around in the tv room. I’ve had worst days.

Thursday 12th September

Today didn’t start to well. We only stay on commercial campsites when we need to. Catching up with washing, using showers and wi fi. Wi fi over here is a luxury, normally we can use McDonald’s or libraries even shops but here it’s rare. We prefer to as they call it here wilderness camp. Yesterday was a day that we stayed in a site. Did the laundry and connected to wi fi.

Good job we did. In the middle of our night some scumbag in the USA decided to wipe out our bank account. It’s a good job we only keep a couple of hundred pounds in it at a time. As I was connected to wi fi the app informed me of the transactions and I could freeze the account straight away. The bank was brilliant and a new card has been issued. I can pick it up from a friend in Australia. And after a brief chat to the investigation team hopefully I should be reimbursed lost funds. Nightmare.

Apart from that we are both healthy and living the dream. Small set backs. we spent the day driving along the west coast.the west coast climate is wet and we experienced heavy rain for the first time in months. We both said that today we are glad we’re not cycling.

The landscape around us is dramatic. Rugged mountains, lush rainforest, waterfalls and rushing rivers.

Wednesday 11th September

We are in Wanaka.

A major holiday spot popular in the summer for water sport as it is located on the southern end of Lake Hawea,1,345ft deep. And in winter good for snow boarding and skiing. As it is located close to the mount aspiring national park.

To get there we took the Lindis pass used by early Maori and then later in 1858 used by the first European John McLean to settle in the area to establish a massive sheep holding station holding up to 1,500 sheep. We got stuck in rush hour.

Tuesday 10th September

We are headed today to Twizel on the recommendation from Dave the guy we met on Baldwin street. He said the colour of the lakes were turquoise and it would be the best view of mount cook. He wasn’t wrong.

Twizel is a new town built 1969 as a construction town for the upper hydro-electric development scheme. The power from the hydro-electric station provides one third of New Zealand’s electricity. Once the hydro scheme had been completed the town was retained by local people who exploited its proximity to excellent fishing lakes and mount cook only 37 miles away.

We had a lovely campsite one lake ohao popular for swimming but it was way to cold for us to try it out. Instead we went for a evening walk to enjoy the natural beauty.

Monday 9th September

Traveling further into the mountains we visited the alpine town of Queenstown established in the 1860’s gold rush. It backs onto the remarkables mountain range and has enjoyed a boom in tourism now being a leading international resort for adventure sports. Next stop 13 miles from queenstown was Arrowtown a picturesque preserved gold-mining town.

It’s Main Street still has its old colonial shops and buildings at one end and tiny miners cottages dating to the 1860’s the other.

Our journey continued over Kawarau river next to the suspension bridge where the worlds first bungy jump took place 1988. The bridge was built 1881 provided a permanent means to cross the river replacing the punt.

We camped up tonight at the side of lake dunstan another stunning location and we had the place to ourselves.