Day 21 Franz to Greymouth
Our optimism was misguided - Franz lived up to its reputation as the wettest town - 5 metres of rain per year. No flight!
Travelled to Greymouth. Visited the Big Sandfly and John sampled a road kill possum pie - tasted the 1080 - the 1080 was better than the possum.
Arrived at Greymouth. The CBD was closed for the annual street motorbike race - amateurs pretending to be professionals. Lots of noise - a good place to keep clear of. Went to Pancake Rocks - a layered limestone rock formation. John found lots to be of interest. Sampled another ice cream - this time Snowflake brand.
Travelled back to B & B. A very interesting lady called Mary - an expert on everything but a very lovely lady.
Day 22 Greymouth to Christchurch
Spent morning in Greymouth. Went to Monteith Brewery. Sampled the local delicacy - whitebait.
Boarded the TranzAlpine to travel via Arthur's Pass to Christchurch across the snow capped mountains and the Canterbury Plains. John spent most of the time in the open viewing carriage suffering from 'white capped mountain' fever.
Shuttled bussed to accommodation and then to the Christchurch Casino for dinner. Backed dolphins and No. 6 but to no avail.
Day 23 Christchurch - Bundaberg
Shuttle bus to Airport in the morning to see planes struggling to land in the gusty winds. Went on VIP tour of the Antarctic Centre. Went behind the scenes to see penguins up close. Went on the Hagglund Ride - an Antarctic people mover- and survived the blizzard simulation.
Arrived Brisbane around 4.30 pm. (7.30 NZ time). Did the Customs thing and arrived back in Bundaberg at about 10.30 (1.30 am NZ) - big day!!!
Location: Franz, New Zealand
Day 17 Doubtful Sound
Woke to a snow covered landscape - magical! Had another hearty NZ breakfast with home grown bacon and eggs in the homestead. Set off for our day of majestic landscapes. We cruised across Lake Manapouri (NZ's most beautiful lake - and I agree), coached across the Wilmot Pass - rainforest covered with fresh snow and then cruised Doubtful Sound - longer, deeper and bigger and less commercialised than Milford Sound. John caught 'snow-capped mountain' fever and has lots of photographic evidence!
Returned through Mossburn for a taste of venison and journeyed through Queenstown - this time it was bathed in sunlight and very scenic.
Saw Lakes Wanaka and Hawera during twilight time as we travelled to Makarora Wilderness Lodge for our overnight stay in an A-frame.
Day 18 Franz Joseph Glacier
Woke to see snow capped mountains from our bedroom window. Travelled through Haast Pass to see the Gates of Haast - waterfall with huge rocks.
Travelled up the scenic West Coast and John got his perfect reflection photo - snow capped mountains reflected in the Lake.
Arrived at Franz. Checked into our accommodation and went out to the Glacier. Walked through the terminal moraine to climb up on to the face of the Glacier - surreal!
Went kiwi spotting (yet again) and the result was the same - NIL.
Day 19 'Franz'
Woke to the sound of heavy rain - as predicted for the wettest town in NZ. It appears our scenic flight is in doubt. Fresh snow on the mountains so the breeze has a chill factor.
It is now midday and the rain eased for the moment. We are ever optimistic!!
Between the showers we went to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson. A beautiful walk but not a day for the perfect reflection photograph.
Booked on the scenic heliflight for tomorrow - here's hoping!!!
Location: Franz, New Zealand
Day 16 Queenstown to Lumsden
Felt the effects of another earthquake during the early hours of the morning. Had a beautifully cooked breakfast overlooking the lake and mountains. It snowed on the mountains during the night so it is a bit chilly this morning. Visited the local possum factory where they make garments out of possum fur and deer skin. Could have bought some possum fur nipple warmers and a willy warmer!!!
Travelled back to Queenstown looking for sunshine. Found a little - enough to go on the Shotover Jet Ride - exhiliarating!!!
It's now raining lightly but are hopeful for fine weather for tomorrow for Milford Sound.
Travelled to Lumsden then to Te Anau to check the state of Milford Sound Road. It has been closed all week due to an avalanche caused by earthquakes and rain. Will be closed for a few more days. Decided to take a cruise to Doubtful Sound.
Went to our Farmstay at Mossburn - the Deer Capital. The farm was Pembroke Station - 5000 acres with sheep, cattle and deer.
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Day 13 Methven - Mt Hutt
Left Christchurch and travelled across the picturesque Canterbury Plains. We were not able to go ballooning as hoped because of the weather so we went to the local Methven Trots. John should have backed Number SEX as it was a clear winner. Mixed with the locals and was really quite entertaining.
We then went to the Brown Pub to watch the Rugby League Test. We sat next to the open fire and basked in glory. The locals moved themselves into the public bar and cried in their beers and we were the only ones left in the lounge area - until after the Trots finished.
Day 14 Lake Pukaki - Mt Cook
Awoke to heavy frost - but no snow. There was thick ice on the car and the grass crunched underfoot - so John says! We had a hearty NZ breakfast before setting off on the inland scenic route to Geraldine where John sampled - chocolate, cheese and preserves. We then called at Mt Pleasant daffodil farm - flowers everywhere. Did you know there are over 1400 different varieties of daffodil? Neither did I.
Then on the Fairlie. Met James MacKenzie the NZ bushranger and his sheep dog Friday - in statue form.
Then the ultimate of all the quaint churches that we have seen here - The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo. When inside the church it looks as though the altar sits on water.
Went to Mt John Observatory with a 360 degrees view over Lake Tekapo and surrounds.
Our accommodation was a cottage on Lake Pukaki - simply stunning views over the water and we could see Mt Cook and Fields of Pellinor - Lord of the Rings fame.
Earthquake 6.7 on the Richter Scale. People felt the earth moving in bed - but we slept through it!!
Day 15 - Queenstown
Visited Mt Cook village and saw Mt Cook - the Cloud Piercer - doing just that!
Travelled the scenic route via Cromwell to Queenstown - the Thrill Seeker Capital of the World - that is if it stops raining.
Travelled to Glenorchy - rain, rain, rain! We can only imagine how beautiful the scenery would be with steep mountains with snow coming right down to the lake, etc. We could see it but not in its full glory.
Our accommodation was right on Lake Wakatipu - hot log fire - relaxed.
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Day10 Havelock - the Green Lipped Mussel Capital of the World
Delivered mail to those places that do not have road access on the Pelorus Mail Run. The weather was overcast but did not rain. An exceptional day - saw lots of colourful characters. The scenery was exceptional - saw mussel farms, gannet colony for John. Went to Slip Inn Restaurant to sample the famous Green Lipped Mussels.
Day 11 - Blenheim - Hanmer Springs
Travelled through Marlborough wine country to Blenheim. Called and sampled at St Clair and Montana Wineries. The Sauvignon Blancs were outstanding.
Continued on to Kaikoura - a very scenic seaside town. John walked amongst the fur seals. It was only later that we found out that you should not get too close!!
Hanmer Springs - saw snow capped mountains and the scenery was awesome!. SAW bungy jumping and climbed Conical Hill for fantastic views.
Day 12 - Christchurch
A fantastically fine day. Toured the City on the Tram, took a Punt Ride on the Avon River, walked through the Botanical Gardens and saw absolutely beautiful tulips and other bulbs. Then took the Gondola to view the city, Canterbury Plains and snow capped mountain ranges. Walked back along the Avon to our Hotel. A great day!!!! Christchurch is certainly the pick of all the cities so far!!!
Location: Havelock South Island, New Zealand
Day 4 Bay of Islands to Coromandels
Travelled south - visited Whangeriei Falls. Stopped at Warkworth to sample great NZ pies. Travelled back through the 4 o'clock Auckland traffic chaos. Crossed 1km long single lane bridge across the Firth of Thames. Stayed at Oceanview on Thames B & B - a hearty NZ breakfast with the works!!!
Day 5 - Coromandel Peninsula
Travelled on the 309 road - Waiau Falls. Saw 13 massive kauri trees at Kauri Grove.
Waded in the hot spring pools at Hahei Beach.
Tramped to Cathedral Cove - magnificent. Well worth the walk!!
Travelled south through Paeroa - home of the famous kiwi softdrink - L & P.
Arrived at Farmstay at Wairere Falls. Had our own little cottage. Milked 240 gurnsey cows. (very small compared with 1500 herd in South Island).
Day 6 - West to White Cliffs Station
Travelled to Matamata - Emily's pick of all towns in NZ - so far. John went to Hobbiton of Lord of the Rings fame. Country in mourning after the All Black loss in the World Cup.
What is the difference between an All Black and a teabag?
The teabag stays in the Cup longer!!
Travelled to Cambridge - Town of Trees and Champions. Visited the Cambridge Horse Stud - home of 6 Melbourne Cup winners.
Next was Otorohanga Kiwi House - saw Northern Brown Kiwi and Spotted Kiwi and the silver fern.
Arrived at White Cliffs Station quite late. Angus cattle and sheep.
Day 7 White Cliffs - Marton
Toured White Cliffs Station over very steep gravel roads - through locked gates etc. Visited the white cliffs - very rugged coastline and John walked through the 89 years old Te Horo Sheep tunnel to the ocean.
Travelled through New Plymouth. Missed seeing Mt Taranaki because of the weather. Disappointing but that is life in NZ!
South to Stratford - named after Shakespeare's home town - Romeo & Juliet glockenspiel clock and saw our first rhododendrums in flower. All streets named after Shakespearian characters. Saw 13 Fonterra milk trucks in 5 minutes.
Visited Nigel Ogle's Tawhiti Museum - History in dioramas - excellent.
Arrived in Marton - John saluted the statue of Captain Cook each time we went past it!! - Cook was born in Marton, England. Visitied Luke Kleinschmidt - Emily's cousin!
Day 8 - Wellington
Travelled to Bulls where John drank 'milk from Bulls' at the local dairy (corner store). Went on to Feilding - home of Murray Ball of Footrot Flats fame.
Stopped at Kapiti Coast to sample the famous Kapiti ice cream.
Next stop - Wellington. Stayed at the Sharella opposite the Botanical Gardens. We had views of the tulips. Visited the Beehive - Parliament, Te Papa National Museum and back to the Gardens by the Wellington Cable Car.
John went on the Sanctuary by Night tour at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in search of kiwis.
Day 9 Interislander Ferry to Picton
Caught the 8.25 am Ferry in pouring rain. A very smooth ride across Cook Strait. Raining in the South Island.
Our hire car is a brand new Ford Focus with only 7 km on the clock. Took the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive to Havelock.
John tried some green lipped mussels - an acquired taste! Visited Ernest Rutherford Memorial - the father of the Atom.
Day 10 Havelock
We are going on the Mail Run Cruise around Pelorus Sound.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Day 1 - AUCKLAND
Arrived in Auckland on Flight One Eight SEX. Collected the hire car in pouring rain to meet the 4 o'clock regular traffic jam in downtown Auckland. Visited One Tree Hill and John had his photo taken with sheep - lawn mowers!
Lost heavily at Sky Tower Casino.
Day 2 - AUCKLAND TO BAY OF ISLANDS
I have not worked out Auckland weather yet - we had hail, squalls, rain and blue skies all within the first half hour. Visited the SkyTower - too windy for the sky jump and John was upset!!!!!
Travelled north through sheep and dairy cattle country - beautiful scenery. Not used to all the green!!! Passed through Dargaville - the Kumara Capital of NZ (sweet potatoes).
Arrived at Absolute Bliss in Paihia in the Bay of Islands. Totally impressed with our B & B which was upgraded to an apartment. Excellent views of the Bay - Absolute Bliss - pure luxury.
Day 3 - BAY OF ISLANDS
A perfect day with blue skies and the water was like glass. Took a half day trip around the Bay of Islands. Went through the famous Hole in the Rock - twice!
Visited the township of Russell - the historic first capital of NZ. John had his Red Lion Beer at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel - the first hotel in NZ.
Visited Waitangi Treaty House and had to take our shoes off in the Maori Meeting House. John 'touched' the giant waka - war canoe.