Skip to content

Back in New Zealand and Land Touring

February 12, 2014

We returned to New Zealand after a wonder month back in the States where we enjoyed family, friends, and especially our grandson Caeden. We spent a frantic 10 days getting the campervan ready for our trip to the South Island (shocks, tires, etc.) and doing boat chores. Our inverter/charger on the boat bit the dust just before we left so our first stop was Auckland where we dropped the unit off for repair. Then we settled into a relaxed road trip.

Our first night out was at Mt. Maunganui on the North Island east coast where we enjoyed an evening hike around the mountain followed the next day by a hike to the top where we were rewarded with a 360 degree view of the coast. We next travelled to the volcanic region where we soaked our stiff hiking muscles in mineral hot springs and hiked the geothermal Waimangu Valley which we highly recommend.

We headed further inland to the Tongariro National Park and camped at the base of Mt Ruapehu. We rose early the next day to hike to the waterfall. Much of the hike provided stunning panoramic views of the Ngauruhoe volcano and the valley below.

We arrived in Wellington on 4 February to catch the ferry to the South Island. There was plenty of wind in the channel and we were glade to be traveling in something bigger than Persephone. We spent the night in Picton and woke to a dead car battery, complements of damage to the wiring when the shocks were replaced. We quickly resolved the problem and were on our way. About this time we received the bad news that our inverter charger is too old to be repaired and we need a new one!

We drove up into the mountains and stayed at Hanmer Springs where Brian finally got his fly rod out and did some fishing; but no fish! Then it was back to the ocean to visit Christchurch where we were amazed at the destruction that is still evident from the 2011 earthquake. We visited the Antarctic Center where we experienced an Antarctic blizzard and had a very uncomfortable ride in a SnoCat.

We spent a night on the picturesque Banks Peninsula and visited the French town of Akaroa. Then it was back to the mountains and Arthur’s Pass where we again stretched our legs on a nearly vertical assent to the Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall. That night we learned how terrible the sand flies can be and spent the evening in the van playing cards.

The following day we drove to Mt Cook (Aoraki) where Sir Edmund Hillary trained for his historic climb of Mt Everst (he’s a real Kiwi hero). It was overcast and we thought we might not see the mountain, but as we approached the skies cleared and we were awed by the views. We found a campsite and set up our camp chairs so we could enjoy the view while basking in the sunshine. In the morning we hiked 10km into the Hooker Valley to the base of Mt Cook. Again the skies cleared just as we started our trek and the views were fantastic.

The next day we drove to Oamaru on the coast where we visited the spherical rock boulders at Moeraki and watched the rare yellow eyed penguins return from the sea after a day of fishing.

We are now in Dunedin where we are camped down by the beach and preparing to explore the city and peninsula over the next couple of days. The weather turned rainy last night and there is talk of snow! But this is the first weather we have encountered and can’t complain. We will post again after our trip to Stuart Island.

Packing for the trip to the South Island

Packing for the trip to the South Island

Evening hike around Mt. Maunganui

Evening hike around Mt. Maunganui

View from the top of Mt. Maunganui

View from the top of Mt. Maunganui

Geothermal hike in Wanganui Valley

Geothermal hike in Wanganui Valley

4km hike through the geothermal Waimangu Valley

4km hike through the geothermal Waimangu Valley

Geothermal hike in Wanganui Valley

Geothermal hike in Wanganui Valley

Mt Ngauruhoe in Tongariro Nat'l Park

Mt Ngauruhoe in Tongariro Nat’l Park

The lodge in Tongariro Nat'l Park with Mt Ruapehu in the background

The lodge in Tongariro Nat’l Park with Mt Ruapehu in the background

Hike to the waterfall in Tongariro Nat'l Park

Hike to the waterfall in Tongariro Nat’l Park

View from atop the waterfall in Tongariro Nat'l Park

View from atop the waterfall in Tongariro Nat’l Park

Ferry crossing to the South Island

Ferry crossing to the South Island

South Island sheep

South Island sheep

Christchurch is still rebuilding

Christchurch is still rebuilding

Antarctic Center in Christchurch

Antarctic Center in Christchurch

Bumpy ride in a SnoCat at the Antarctic Center

Bumpy ride in a SnoCat at the Antarctic Center

Bumpy ride in a SnoCat at the Antarctic Center

Bumpy ride in a SnoCat at the Antarctic Center

Devil's Punchbowl waterfall hike at Arthur's Pass

Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall hike at Arthur’s Pass

Arthur's Pass

Arthur’s Pass

Mt. Cook

Mt. Cook

View of Mt. Cook from our campsite

View of Mt. Cook from our campsite

Mt. Cook from Hooker Valley with glacier at the base

Mt. Cook from Hooker Valley with glacier at the base

Hooker Valley trail

Hooker Valley trail

10km trail up Hooker Valley, Mt. Cook

10km trail up Hooker Valley, Mt. Cook

Rare yellow eyed penguin returning from the sea

Rare yellow eyed penguin returning from the sea

Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders

From → Travel

One Comment
  1. Carolyn McDonald permalink

    Absolutely stunning and beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing and keep them coming! Miss you guys!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: