Archives for category: New Zealand

Arriving into Queenstown after another delayed flight (anyone seeing a pattern here) we met up with my Uncle Gerry who immediately threw us up in a helicopter to see the Remarkables mountain range and the Queenstown area from the skies. It was amazing! it was one way to get rid of the jetlag. We got a lovely clear day and we could see for miles around.

The next day, we took another helicopter ride to visit the famous Milford Sound. Another beautiful clear day as we passed over the Southern Alps region, passing by many of the locations that were used in the Lord of the Rings. Alfie our pilot did a lot of the helicopter camera work for Peter Jackson and was able to tell us all about it. On the way we stopped at a mountain top glacier for a few photos, the headed off to Milford Sound again. Milford Sound was breathtaking and the few photos that we did take just didn’t do it justice. Arriving back into Queenstown we headed off for a gentle jet boat ride, heading around Lake Wakatipu and up the Shotover river. It was pretty insane, reaching speeds of over 40 knots in a little less than 5 inches of river water the boat was then able to spin on a dime and scare the crap out of everyone. On our final day, Gerry took us around all the sights, sounds and tastes that Queenstown had to offer, including the amazing Fergburger. Which is one place not to miss if you love your burgers!

Leaving Gerry & Kaye’s the next day, we picked up our ‘El Cheapo’ car and headed off up towards Wanaka and onto Fox Glacier where we stayed in a hostel for the night. We headed off early to visit both Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. These were pretty awesome to see the power of these huge ice flows. We didnt hang around too long as the journey must go on so we hit the road again heading for Punakaiki and its famous pancake rock formation. We stopped just outside of here for the night in a lovely little hostel that faced directly onto the beach, we watched the sunset over the beach and relaxed for the evening. Next morning, we were up early and hit the road again, today we were heading for Nelson and arrived there just as it was getting dark. At this stage we were getting seriously tired from the driving, we had done nearly 1000km in 3 days and decided that the next day we had to rest once we got to Kaikora. So we headed off again to Kaikora and we ended up spending 3 days in the town.

Kaikora is a beautiful place, with a chilled vibe. We took it easy here and even did a bit of fishing. We headed out fishing on the sea with some huge waves all around us. The waves were over the height of the boat and a little scary at times. The sea calmed down eventually and we got down to a bit of fishing. Lisa showed me up rightly, catching 5 fish versus my 2! I think Pete must have been giving her lessons before we left. We hauled up some cray fish pots and dined on some delicious crays for dinner along with a healthy few bottles of white vino.

We headed into Christchurch to catch our flight out to Bali….only for it to be delayed and we ended up missing another flight…. we had to spend the night in Melbourne and catch another flight out the next evening. Will we get any breaks with these flights?

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The ash cloud snipped a couple of days off our North Island experience but that didn’t stop us. We just squeezed everything in to 2 days as you do. We landed in Auckland and hooked up with Sean a friend from South America, had a lovely meal that night in a seafood restaurant had a fairly early night after that. Next day we rented a car and headed up to visit a friend from home – Claire up in Tutukaka, a beautiful coastal village sitting in a sea bay with stunning views. The drive up the coast was cool the views of the rolling hills and mountains was very much like Ireland but then you would see tropical plants and realize it wasn’t. We had a night of catching up with great food and wine. The next morning we left very early to catch a flight to Queenstown which was cancelled again, but we got bumped to a earlier flight that was running tg.