Europe, Asia, Australia and Oceania · 34 Days · 25 Moments · February 2018

John and Louise’s tour through New Zealand

13 March 2018

Doolan's retreat in Rotorua offered a nice relief from a bad nights sleep and vigorous exercise.

12 March 2018

Getting to Te Urewera is always interesting, when we got there we where awaited by Atamira the first guide we ever had on this trek. Getting to the bush camp we where surprised by a new acquaintance Hinewai, a cousin of the later Joe Doeherty who founded this trek and was a large positive force in regional dealings. After he died Hinewai took over the trek and in the last four years succeeded (imho) in filling the shoes. That evening the ladies cooked dinner and we had a stellar time chatting and eating. The night however was bitterly cold. The tents where luxurious and the beds where nice but it was still a tent. Louise and me decided keep our clothes on whilst in bed. The next day we planted some trees (as per usual) Kowhai this time. After which we got a guided tour through a local forest where Hinewai explained a lot of the local flora and fauna and their meaning in nature and to the Maori people. We concluded the tour with a nice lunch.

10 March 2018

Because most of the roads to the Blue Duck Station were taken out by several hundred slips we had to make other plans. The Powderhorn Chateau in Ohakune is a place we visited before so this was an obvious choice. We managed to get nice suite, enjoyed the pool and its restaurant.
After arriving at Wellington and getting our semi-electric golf cart we drove to the Arorangi Country Homestay and B&B. Which is like a regular B&B but with some extra's for movie buffs. They have an excellent home movie theater and decent wifi. It helps that the two sons of the proprietors are working with computers (on is even rumored to work with Linux). The bad news came via social media, then the news. Our next stay was basically a mudslide. So two days in our agenda ended up being a big brown nothing. Thankfully we could stay a while longer in this stay and with the help from Trivago ended up in Ohakune in the Powder Horn.

6 March 2018

After a six hour drive we end up in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough and via a really windy and only partially paved road get to the Spray Point Station where we find a stay called "Off the Mapp" (last "p" is silent). We found ourselves on the upper cottage overlooking the valley with a very affectionate dog, great view and no cellphone reception (again). This is our last stay in the south island. After this we drive up to Picton hand in our car and get on the ferry to Wellington.

3 March 2018

A few km above Greymouth beyond one of the most photographed bends on then SH6 coast road lies a small secluded batch. Getting in is a challenge getting out even more so. But it has all the amenities a vacationer could wish for with the exception of cell phone reception. Fantastic view, comfy couch, bath, shower (although really tricky and not for big people), and a fireplace. So we comb some more beaches (which had considerable less sand then I remember), read some books, listen to some really old rock-n-roll on a really old CD player. Try our hand and making a fire and not burning the batch down and generally goofing around. At night we had the privilege of having a full moon(ish) high tide at about 01:15 which made the batch sound like it was almost under attack by the sea. Very nice, thankfully we can sleep in.

2 March 2018

Located in Bruce Bay where the Mahitahi river flows into the sea you can find the Mahitahi lodge. The proprietors John and Jacqui are very welcoming and the location although remote is very nice. As usual we spent the day combing beaches. Louise still trying to find the elusive greenstone. This is all well and good but this is mozzie country and I am a popular item on the mozzie menu. Thankfully as a silly gift I gave Louise and me a hat that is also a mosquito net. Works like a charm. Since the day wasn't terrible warm I also had taken a sweater. Armed with the mozzie hat and the sweater I could sit and enjoy the scenery which was thoroughly affected by the results of cyclone Gita. At one time I counted 20 of these leaches on my legs looking in frustration for a piece of exposed skin. Not today you little shits.

28 February 2018

Vandaag zijn we gaan wandelen bij de blue Pools mooi, maar wel veel andere touristen desondanks een leuke omgeving voor een wandeling. Ook hier waren weer kleine vogels te zien die niet schuw waren 😊👍😀
After the doubtful sound cruise we went on to the wild earth lodge where we were welcomed by "mad" Pete and hist dog Cash. The lodge is a great stay with nice ambiance and good food. On one side you see the mountains adjacent to the Makaroa and Wilkin rivers on the other side the mountain ridge separating Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. And as with a lot of places no cell phone reception whatsoever. This helps avoid distractions when taking the odd walk or simply violate local musical equipment. Cash pitches in as makeshift training equipment. A pup the size of a German Shepard that doesn't seem to understand that play time can be over.

27 February 2018

We returned to the Southern Secret for our third time. This time was unlike any other we had before. But as always we had a great time. The fishing gods where not in a favourable mood so Jock Stewart fish where well represented but the coveted blue cod was not. This was offset by the fact that the conditions allowed for some kayaking. During this we where promptly met with a pod of dolphins. After dinner the cook played some lovely piano music and Louise got a hand at the piano too. After a decent sleep we returned to the dock to disembark only to be met by a spectacular display of will dolphins playing around the boat and in its bow wave.

24 February 2018

After a great time on Stewart Island we made our way to Kepler Oaks lodge near Te Anau looking out over the mountains and hills that make up the south part of fjord lands. There is a stiff breeze flowing but we have enough firewood and tea to brave the evening.

22 February 2018

Spentthe day at Ulva a predator free island where you get a feel for what New Zealand was like before.

21 February 2018

Today we took an inland flight from invarcargill to steward island. That in itself is a ride to remember. We stay at the Bay Motel is a simple but nice room with a great view over halfmoon bay. After dinner we found the local feathered thugs we hitting us up trying to get and easy meal. Kea a chicken sized parrot are quite intelligent and bold a few bits of bread and your visited by a gang of a half dozen of these enormous birds.

18 February 2018

We drove around and found this nice little beach.

16 February 2018

At the 16th of February we arrived at Kanuka Cottage a few kilometers east of Dunedin overlooking the Otago Bay. We've been to this Cottage before in 2014 and apart from some minor upgrades thankfully it hasn't changed much. It has its own little library, a cozy living room with fireplace a VCR and a stereo. We rediscovered an old Snoopy CD we liked whilst staying here. But mostly the view is really stunning. Even on a rainy day you can't help but enjoy the view. Liesje drove here for the most part from our last destination. In this she encounters most of what New Zealand has to offer in shitty roads, traffic and people. A baptism by fire she managed quite nicely. As a result she won't stop nagging about being able to drive the next bit.

14 February 2018

A quick snack whilst cycling the rail trail.

13 February 2018

We arrived at Dunstan House in Clyde which is a lovely house built in the nineteenth century. John and Maree are the proprietors, taking excellent care of the place. Tomorrow we’ll be cycling the rail trail so its an early one for us tonight.

12 February 2018

Yesterday we arrived from the Quickenberry at the Heartland lodge which is a b&b in a holiday resort. After a good nights sleep and breakfast we ventured out. We visited several beaches around lake pukaki (where I got burnt to a fine crisp), just to roam the beaches and take in the scenery. After that we drove to mount cook which is nothing but majestic scenery and very long stretches of road.
On our way to mount Cook we saw so many lovely sceneries 💝😊

9 February 2018

After an nine hour flight we arrived at Christchurch. We passed through customs easily enough and after some minor nuisances with the car rental we made our way to the Quickenberry. The Quickenberry made up for a lot Christine welcomed us with a nice cup of tea, Robbie added a nice piece of freshly baked chocolate pie. Sitting back and enjoying the view all we could think of was: “We are back again”

8 February 2018

We spent the night in the ambassador hotel at Singapore airport. After an 11:40 flight its nice to sleep in a bed and have a quick shower. Our next flight is the longer flight to Christchurch which should take off at ten o’clock at night local time. Although this is the last bit it is the one we dread most. For now its 24 degree weather and leisurely waiting for the gate to open.

7 February 2018

After the usual pre journey chaos we managed to make our way to the Schiphol hotel. Having spent a short night we manage to drag ourselves through the checkin and are now waiting for our gate to open. This is the fun part: all of the work has been done, all the T’s crossed all the I’s dotted and all we can do now is enjoy the journey.