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Part 3 New Zealand Adventure

The New Zealand Adventure

New Zealand is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited! Definitely going back some time soon for a longer stay!

Day 1.
Travel Day: Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel)

I arrived every late into the City so only managed a few beers in this party town and then a quick tour the next day. Got some really cool photos form Mount Eden (an extinct volcano). We then headed south towards Waikato and across the Coromansel Peninsuila. On our way to Hahei we stopped in the old town of Thames and took in the beautiful bay views at Tairua trig station. In Hahei we did a 2 hour walk to see the magnificent cathedral Cove, some of us went sea kayaking. We also walked through limestone caves and cliffs to one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches. Then we headed to Hot water Beach where we dug holes in the sand which fill with warm water that comes from the natural geothermal springs underground. Spent most of the day lazing in these natural spas.

Day 2.
Travel Day: Hahei to Raglan.

We headed back over the Coromandel Ranges and down into Waikato. We Pass Hmilton NZ’s 4th largest city on our way to raglan – surfers paradise. Spent most of that day sun bathing and watching the surfers and learning to surf. I spent 2 nights in Karori Lodge in the bush as it so, so chilled out.

Day 4.
Travel Day: Raglan to Maketu.

Waitomo is famous for all its caves, many of which are lit naturally by Glowworms. I went on a Spellbound Glowworm and caves tour which was brilliant. There were so many other things to do here such as black water rafting on rubber tyres through the caves and abseiling into the caves from a 100ft drop! We took the scenic route over the Arapuni Dam to Rotorua. We stopped en-route to go zorbbing!! It was so much fun. Basically 3 of us climbed into a rubber ball (filled with water) inside a giant hamster ball. We then stand up and try to run down hill…No chance of standing! We fall all over the place as we roll down the hill! It was brilliant!
We then headed across to Maketu for our unique and very special stopover at our cultural retreat. We stayed with local Maori, prepare a traditional ‘Hangi’ meal and learn about Maori traditions in their purpose-built Marae.

Day 5.Travel Day: Maketu to Taupo.

We drove to Rotorua and it stank as do most geothermal areas.
We went to visit Whakarewarewa for a specially developed walk through a historic Maori village and geothermal area. If you have seen my photos you will see how amazed I was! We then head south to Taupo and its great lake (the world’s largest crater lake), via Huka Falls. In Taupo I did my sky dive agh!

Day 6.Travel Day: Taupo to National Park.

We drove around Lake Taupo and stopped to explore the volcanic (floating) rock before heading to the active volcanoes of ‘Tongariro National Park’. It was here that Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings was filmed and It was here that I did what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks – the ‘Tongariro Crossing’. It was may I add one of the most gruelling! It is supposed to take 8 hours but I finished in 6 – no wonder it near killed me! I was so proud of myself. It was worth it just to see the fantastic views across the volcanic plateau (complete with steaming craters).

Travel Day 7: National Park to Wellington.

We drove to Wellington via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. We stopped for gumboot (Welly) throwing in Taihape, I was crap! Had a great night out in Wellington, will def go back again!

Day 8.Travel Day: Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman).

I got the ferry across to South Island today. Driving through Picton we went through the famous Marlborough vineyard area. We stopped at the coastal town of Nelson and Motuek on our way to our night stop of Marahau on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Parkn – which I also walked around for hours! Loved the farm so much we stayed another night!

Day 10.Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to West Coast Cultural Stop.

We headed south through the Buller Gorge to the ‘Wild’ West Coast which stretches for over 400 kilometres. For the next night we stay in a historic hotel in Barrytown near Punakaiki, one of the most beautiful spots along the coast. Barrytown is not a town, a mere 3 houses and a pub which we all got dressed up and drunk in! We stopped on the way for the Westport seal colony and to explore the awesome Pancake rocks and their mighty blowholes.

Day 11.
Travel Day: Barrytown to Franz Josef.

Some of the gang went bone carving while I was nursing my hangover! We drove into the heart of the West Coast, where time almost stands still. We stop in Hokitika to look at the greenstone factory…really wish I had bought some as really expensive everywhere else! We then headed to Franz Josef, a town squashed between the Tasman Sea and the mighty Franz Josef Glacier, the head of which can be seen from the town itself. We stay at a lodge in the middle of the rainforest tonight. We went on an excellent bush hike up to the glacier face. I also took a helicopter scenic flight and got up onto the fox glacier and Franz glacier. Look at my pics as I can’t describe how they took my breath away!

Day 12.
Travel Day: Franz Josef to Makarora.

We head to Lake Matheson for some amazing upside down scenery viewing and then travel through to the mountainous Haast pass where we did a number of walks.

Day 13.
Travel Day: Makarora to Queenstown.

On our way to Queenstown we pass by the beautiful lakes Wanaka and Hawea and stop briefly in the town of Wanaka for a look around before heading to Queenstown. Just before Queenstown we stopped off at the famous A.J. Hackett bungee site, in the Kawarau gorge where some mad people on the bus threw themselves off a bridge (bungee attached!) Had 3 mad nights in Queenstown! Oh and had the Freg Burger…massive and delicious! Spent a day on the beach and a day going on long walks and up the mountain!

Day 17.
Travel Day: Queenstown to Tuatapere.

I totally enjoyed one of the most scenically amazing drives yet on our way to Milford Sound. We travelled around Lake Wakatipu, passing staggering waterfalls, and a magnificent descent from the Homer Tunnel 3,000 feet to Milford Sound at sea level. At Milford, I took a boat trip to travel deeper into the Sound. That afternoon we headed out of the Sound and up to Lake Te Anau.

Day 18.
Travel Day: Tuatapere to Invercargill and Stewart Island.

This morning I took the ferry from Bluff to visit New Zealand’s third major island ‘Stewart Island’. There is so much wildlife here its unbelievable – hence more long walks! We stay in a cute little cottages on the island and caught the first ferry back in the morning.

Day 19.
Travel Day: Stewart lsland to Dunedin.

Today we explored the deep south. We head along the southern coast to the remote Catlin’s wilderness area. Here we took in the petrified forest, heaps of wildlife including seals, sea lions, albatross with 6 foot wingspan and penguins. We cruised through this rugged area towards the Scottish town of Dunedin. I went on the famous Speights Brewery Tour and sat on santa’s lap during a tour of the cadbury’s chocolate factory! Another session to taste the local beer 🙂

Travel Day 20: Dunedin to Christchurch

I took this long public bus journey today as I am running out of time.

Day day 21:Travel Day: Christchurch to Kaikoura.

Early start again! Headed up the coast – a great scenic drive to Kaikoura. I went whale, seal and Dolphin watching…wow!!!

Day 22: Kaikoura to Christchurch

Another public bus dive back to the lovely Christchurch. Lots of sight seeing before I head ‘home’ to Australia in the Morning! Can’t believe my big NZ adventure is almost over!

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