It’s been quite some time since we last posted anything and we’re long overdue an update, so here’s what we’ve been up to since December 2017.
Road tripping once more
Towards the end of November we took a week off work to explore some parts of the South Island that we missed on our original trip.
We travelled up the West Coast from Wanaka towards our final destination of Nelson Lakes National Park.
Our first stop brought us to Franz Josef where we were going to walk the Robert’s Point Track the next day.
At 5 hours return, it’s a fairly moderate day hike, however in some parts the path has fallen away and it’s a bit of a scramble to get through the bush for short distances. Once you get to the top, the views of the glacier are fantastic. With glacial ice receding at an alarming rate, most of the ground level hikes don’t manage to give walkers a sense of the size, scale or beauty of these rivers of ice gauging out the landscape. From ground level they tend to look like muddy-fronted cliffs, which is a bit of an anti-climax. It’s best to get a bit of elevation and look down on them.
After a night in Franz Josef, we moved on up the coast stopping for a night at the campground run by The Empire Hotel in the sleepy town of Ross – a great old pub with a friendly welcome and huge portions of food – before moving on to our campsite at Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes.
We spent a two days there, hiking the St Arnaud Range Track and enjoying the scenery (although Nelson Lakes really just a slightly less impressive version of where we live so we weren’t bowled over by it) before a combination of knee injuries, rain and sandflies persuaded us to move over to Christchurch for a day of shopping.
However, that was not before we had stopped off for a night in Hanmer Springs. Here we treated ourselves to an evening in Hanmer’s hot springs and an absolutely incredible dinner of dumplings at MK Restaurant.
From Christchurch we headed back through Arthur’s Pass for a couple of short walks.
We’d been to Arthur’s Pass before, on our original roadtrip, back in November 2016. Then it was the first place in New Zealand that really took my breath away. As we moved south and explored more dramatic scenery in the intervening period I was hoping it wouldn’t be a disappointment this time.
Unsurprisingly, Arthur’s Pass was as beautiful as I remembered it. Despite rain on the first night, the weather cleared and we got to enjoy our walks in glorious sunshine.
Rather than cutting right through Arthur’s Pass towards the West Coast and a familiar route home, we went back East and took a backcountry road towards Lake Coleridge and a night at the quaint Rakaia Gorge Campsite in the shadow of Mount Hutt, where we got a front row spot over looking the river. Later that evening we popped over to the bar at Mount Hutt Lodge for a couple of drinks. We were the only punters there so got chatting to the owners and discovered that the landlady had – many years before – set up the ski school at Cardrona, the resort we’d been learning to snowboard in the winter.
With just a couple of days of our break left, our next stop was at Lake Pukaki where we were mesmerised by the views of Mount Cook up ahead of the milky blue of the lake, edged by lush lupins. We also had a quick nosey around the Mount John Observatory which was quite interesting, but would obviously be a lot more fascinating at night time. Sadly both time and money were against us so we’ll have to save the stargazing for another trip.
After Lake Pukaki it was back home to Wanaka through the Lindis Pass, another trip around part of this stunning country behind us. There will be plenty more to come between now and when we head home to the UK later in 2018.
Other things we have done recently
Without going into too much detail and boring you all to tears, here is a quick list of other things we have recently done.
- Hiked the Invincible Gold Mine Track in the Rees Valley
- Celebrated Christmas in midsummer
- Had a visit from our friends from home, Alison and Kieran
- Attended a wine tasting at Maude tasting room in Wanaka
- Attended another wine tasting at Rippon vineyard in Wanaka
- Baked in a 35 degree centigrade heatwave
- Took a boat trip to Mou Waho island in Lake Wanaka
- Moved house
Photos of other things we have done recently
Here are some photos from the Invincible Gold Mine Track, Rippon Vineyard and Mou Waho island.
Fun fact: Mou Waho is the only place in the world where you will find a lake on an island, on a lake on an island in the sea.