A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: GSensible

Even more South Island

all seasons in one day
View RTW on GSensible's travel map.

After leaving Te Anau we stayed overnight in Twizel. Past Twizel was gorgeous views of Mount Cook. This place would be amazing for skiing

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We spent a couple of nights in Christchurch, explored the town, art galleries and I even went to the local swimming pool for a bit of exercise :-)
We took the transalpine train accross to Greymouth and back. We were lucky to get good weather on the way west and I managed to squeeze into the outside carriage and take a few pictures. The weather was grey and drizzly on the way back, just like home!

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Next stop up the coast was Kaikoura. We found a fantastic cottage to stay in and the weather was brilliant so i headed off for an afternoon horse ride :-)
Then whale watching day approached, the trip was pretty expensive and we were made up to have a gorgeous sunny day, "calm" day for it. I'm not much of a boat person but it was fairly choppy for my liking! not surprising really when you are in water over 1,000 meters deep....

Guaranteed to see a sperm whale or 80% of your money back, you obviously don't see much but here's my picture anyway:

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We were hoping to see some dolhpins and not have to take a separate trip, we were lucky enough to see a massive pod of dusky dolphins who were happy to perform around the boat for us :-)

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Posted by GSensible 04:19 Comments (0)

More south island

Beautiful mountains everywhere

all seasons in one day
View RTW on GSensible's travel map.

We drove through amazing mountain scenery, past more beautiful lakes, fields of lupins and ended up in beautiful Wanaka

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We stayed in a little house in a stunning setting, without doubt the nicest place I have stayed so far. The weather was good, not warm enough for swimming but a glass of wine in the hot tub was definitely the order of the day.
From Wanaka we took a trip out to Mount Aspiring National Park, this was a really nice day, chilling out.

Next we were off for our jetboating trip at shotover canyon, this was pretty good fun. The water was constantly hitting you in the face and was freezing, I felt like I had had a facelift and my face was permanent stuck in some clown laughing pose!

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We moved onto Te Anau, our base to see Fiordlands. The weather forecast was looking a bit dodgy so we booked for 4 nights in a little cottage overlooking the lake, so we could take a trip to Doubtful sound in the good weather.
We took the drive to Milford Sound on one of the days, I can see how nice it could be on a sunny day but it wasn't meant to be

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On another bad weather day we went for a scenic drive, over the course of the holiday I had come to believe the statistic that there are 10 sheep per head of population and I wonder if this is more than double that in South Island! we have driven through so many tiny little towns with all the shops closed and no one around, its like something out of a movie!

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Finally our day arrived to go to Doubtful Sound. The weather was phenominal, blue skies, sunshine and the lake was as calm as a milpond. To get to the sound we had to take a trip accross lake Manapouri (almost and hour) to the Manapouri hydro electric power station. After a brief tour at the power station we took a bus over the mountain pass to reach the top of the sound. From here our boat trip began. It was a calm day and we went further than many trips out to sea. Aparently if you see more than 2 minutes of sun on Doubtful Sound you have had a good day.

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Posted by GSensible 21:55 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

South Island

Walking on ice...........

all seasons in one day 12 °C
View RTW on GSensible's travel map.

Our first look at the south island was arriving on the ferry into Picton through the Malborough sounds. What a start to the sightseeing :-)

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We then drove through beautiful vineyards making a mental note to stop this way on route back to the ferry. Carried on through beautiful hills and Mountains stumbing upon Lake Rotoiti on route. Coming out of season was a good idea, there was only one other couple to share the lake with

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We spent our first night in Murchison, a tiny little town on route to the West coast. We found a little motel run by a lady who has lived there all her life and rented her massive 2 bed house for the night. It was kitted out in a retro 1950's style and had amazing views all round and its own garden. Making the most of the sunshine she let me borrow her son's bike and I headed off for a ride in the countryside

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We headed over towards the coast, the scenery was again very pretty, we managed to get the last room in town in the place called Greymouth, it wasn't much to write home about but I did catch a lovely sunset on the beach

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Next we headed south and I went for a walk at Cape Foulwind lighthouse, as I struggle to brush my hair I think this is very well named.

Next stop a smelly sea colony where we watched all the seal pups playing in the ricky surf and here I realised how far away from home I had come!

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From here on in the weather was pretty miserable, much like home, grey drizzle :-(
We arrived in Franz Josef and took the hour walk to the base of the glacier. I have to say it didn't look that impressive, kind of unreal. I really wanted a closer look so I booked myself on the Heli hike for the next day. I woke up bright and early and it was fairly clear but the cloud closed in within half and hour and my trip was cancelled :-( Instead we headed to the coast for the day and within half and hour we were out of the cloud and lying on the beach in the sun!

I rebooked my heli hike for the next day and this time it went ahead as planned. My entire group was 11 girls and the pilot certainly gave us a spin in the copter on the way up. The glacier was a much grander sight from above. After donning our crampons we set off for a bit of a wander around the ice. It was chilly up there but when the sun came out it was lovely and warm. There were a few pools of beautiful blue water and some lovely blue ice caves :-)

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Posted by GSensible 21:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

North Island

Smelly springs and cloudy mordor

all seasons in one day 16 °C
View RTW on GSensible's travel map.

Check out the sunset on the plane flying here...pretty!

After clearing Bio hazard at Auckland airport I was hit with the 15 degree reduction in temperature since Cairns :-(

When my parents had arrived on their flight we all headed to their friends north of Auckland. That was a much nicer welcome to New Zealand after the smelly motel the night before, cosy bed with electric blanket :-) Thanks Anne

We then headed south in the rain to the bubbling springs of Rotoroa. Pretty much as expected..... lots of steam and the smell of rotten eggs. We carried on South and ended up basing ourselves in Lake taupo for a couple of nights. This was stunning........

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We drove to the Tongariro National Park and took in the sights, the weather was gorgeous. Still snow on the mountains

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I toyed with the idea of doing a skydive but on my own I knew I would loose my bottle.
We then headed down to Wellington and spent the afternoon at the viewpoint taking in the view and watching the planes coming in over the cook straight. I had heard terrible stories of how rough the water in this straight could be, but the day we got on the ferry it was sunny skys and light wind. Lucky me, no seasickness today :-)

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Posted by GSensible 15:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

The east coast and the magnificent reef

Too late for Whales.......too early for Turtles

all seasons in one day
View RTW on GSensible's travel map.

Our trip up the east coast took 2 full weeks winding our way from Brisbane to Cairns.

We firstly headed for Noosa for our first night. The annual triathalon was being held that weekend and it was rammed.... no late entries allowed (phew!) so we headed up the coast. We couldn't find anywhere to stay in the delightfully named Gympie so we took a random road that lead us to the coast. We ended up in a place called Tin Can Bay. This sounded shite but when we woke up in the morning we were right next to the water..... pretty nice in the end

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We then drove up through rainbow beach which was a little disappointing (probably because I have the pleasure of seeing the coloured sands of Alum Bay any time!!!) and arrived in Hervey Bay to hear that we were a week to late to see the Whales on their way South :-(
We only stuck around here for one night and then headed north to arrive near Rockhampton to see the turtles....... too early, :-( that's mother nature for you!

Anyhow next stop Airlie beach.... wicked, after a long drive through the bush, sugar cane coal mining we arrive for the main event of the East coast, we stayed here for 4 nights.
There is no beach to speak of here, it's all about the Whitsunday islands and the barrier reef so on our other day we headed north to Bowen and a really nice beach at Horseshoe Bay

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Next day was a full day snorkelling the reef and in true flashpacker style a helicopter trip to see it properly.....Well worth the money, it was incredible seeing it from the air, just like I had imagined and you can't see that from a boat, it has to be done :-)

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It was an amazing day out and finished with a sunset over the harbour :-)

We were due to go to the Whitsunday's the next day but it was raining. We extended another day and we were so glad we did. To fit as much as we could the chosen mode of transport was seaplane to Whitehaven beach (god I love flashpacking!) It was raining but it soon cheered up for champagne on the beach in total seclusion :-)

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After an overnighter in Mission beach we went straight to Cairns for 3 nights. We took a much small boat out to the reef from here, it cost more than the last one but was again well worth doing. I saw so much more fish and coral, sadly I only saw a turtle from a distance! (I have been in search of these since Borneo!)

The weather wasn't great for the remainder of the time so we took in the sights around Cairns and I managed to do some Christmas shopping (no busy West Quay for me :-)!).

We spent another night up in the Northern Queensland rainforest in a cabin, in the smallest town (Daintree) I have ever seen! We drove up to Cape Tribulation, I didn't see any crock's but maybe that's a good thing :-)

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I made the most of the humidity, swimming in the pool until I turned pruney!

I finally saw loads of Kangaroo's on my last day and was treated to hearing one of the local on the phone.... fair dinkum! Well I've seen and heard a fair bit of Oz......

New Zealand here we come :-)

Note to self: Update blog more often!

Posted by GSensible 02:07 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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