Month 14: Travel Summary and Statistics

Month 14 was the start of our three month New Zealand adventure! This country has long been on our travel list and we were so excited to finally be there. We couldn’t wait to start our road-trip and activities completely took over, which may be why we’ve neglected to post anything since January…

But first, we spent a week catching up with family Eliza had not seen for between two and 28 years. It was great to be in a ‘home’ – something you start to miss when long-term travelling.

Then we went on a big spending spree in Christchurch’s outdoor shops to prepare ourselves for the cooler climate. And then we were ready to squeeze ourselves, a tent and all our necessary provisions into a little blue Suzuki Swift. That’s right, we are camped our way around New Zealand … in all weathers. We were hoping for summer and almost on cue the heavens immediately opened. It seemed to become something of a theme while we were here…

After a lot of deliberations, we set off in the direction of Hanmer Springs and after abandoning a very damp hike we warmed ourselves in the various natural hot pools that put the town on the map.

In Murchison, we set up camp overlooking the river and spent the next day rocking and rolling down the rapids with Ultimate Descents. So. Much. Fun.

In Nelson, we took advantage of the warm temperature and clear blue skies and took a gentle cycle ride along the Great Taste Route. Armed with a map, we went to Pic’s Peanut Butter Factory and lined our stomachs with their peanut, almond and cashew butters. They didn’t allow photography inside but cashew butter was our favourite.

We wound our way through picture-perfect vineyards and made stops at three, all of whom were more than generous with their tastings, causing us to become increasingly tipsy on our bikes.

On a wet and windy morning, we headed to the World of Wearable Art; an incredible collection of amazing, theatrical clothes and cars.

And then we set of on the stunning Abel Tasman Track, one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand.

On day one we ‘tramped’ as is it called in this part of the world, stopping every few metres to snap photos of turquoise waters and golden sands.

On day 2 we were supposed to kayak around the coastline, then walk the most beautiful part of the track between Bark Bay and Anchorage. The weather however, had different ideas… pouring rain reduced visibility enough to cancel our kayak trip. But with beds booked in Anchorage Hut, we had a 28km hike ahead of us, so set off in the rain to arrive before nightfall. It rained so much, our walking shoes were soaked and Chris’s waterproof jacket failed.

The welcome sight of chimney smoke greeted us at Bark Bay Hut. We wrung out our socks and shrunk them on the top of the stove, just as the rain stopped. All dried out, we began the rest of the tramp in brilliant sunshine. The colours on this coastline are unbelievable.

 

 

On day 3, we set out in kayaks. Tired from the previous day’s soaking and hike, our efforts were a little lacklustre. Still, we caught glimpses of little blue penguins as they dove in the water; smelt and then saw seals as they lazed on the rocks, and watched shags and other birds hunt and nest along the coastline.

After all that exertion, we rewarded ourselves with huge burgers at The Fat Tui.

We drove the winding road and hairpin bends over Takaka Hill, taking in the stunning views at every turn.

We took a detour to Te Waikoropupu Springs, said to be some of the purest and clearest water on earth. It’s held in high spiritual regard by the Maori and if you were thinking of swimming in them or filling your water bottle, forget it. No touching, just looking here. It’s sacred. Isn’t it beautiful?

We found Shambhula; a wonderful retreat with wonderful ocean views, daily yoga sessions, and beautiful gardens full of native plants and chattering birds. 

One of things we love about New Zealand is the little roadside stalls and markets selling local fruit, vegetables, eggs and jams.

We made fresh and colourful brunches with our newly purchased produce.

And went down the road to the famous Mussel Inn for home-brewed beers and Seafood Chowder.

We climbed rocks at Payne’s Ford.

Were sand-blasted on windswept beaches where we watched seals frolicking in the rock pools. 
And took an eco-trip out to Farewell Spit where we saw yet more seals.

Jumped down sand dunes.

Visited the lighthouse.

And saw the only colony of gannets to nest at sea level.

We caught an incredible sunset through the bows of a tree dumped there after a particularly fearsome storm.

And then it was back to Christchurch for Christmas with family.

We took a beautiful walk over Lyttelton Harbour.

Lazed in the Botanical Gardens.

Gazed at what remains of the Gothic cathedral.

Admired the ‘cardboard’ cathedral.

Paid our respects at the memorial for the 185 people who died in the Christchurch Earthquake.

And explored the regeneration of the city with the help of shipping containers at the Re:START mall.

Happy (Very Belated) New Year!

Stats of the month

Countries visited: New Zealand

Places visited: 8

Christchurch, Hanmer Springs, Muchison, Richmond, Nelson, Abel Tasman, Takaka, Farewell Spit

Money spent: £33.45 / $41.95 per person, per day

Distance travelled: 1764km / 1096m

Meal of the month: Home-cooked everything!

It’s been so long since we’ve had access to a kitchen we’ve been relishing every opportunity to cook for ourselves. Plus, it’s a good way to keep costs down in such an expensive country!

Next steps:

Next month, we’ll be heading to Akaroa, the only French settlement in New Zealand. We’re hoping to see the world’s smallest dolphin and penguins. We’ll then head inland for a spot of stargazing at Lake Tekapo and to Mount Cook; before making our way back to the East Coast and down towards the Catlins for dolphin, sea lion, seal and penguin sightings.

4 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Helen C 13 April 2017 (08:28)

    Great pics guys! That sacred spring is incredibly beautiful…and funny that the purest waters are called pupu 😉

    • comment-avatar
      forksinthepath 27 April 2017 (14:21)

      Thanks Helen. At least it’s not spelt poo poo 😉

  • comment-avatar
    Lins 13 April 2017 (08:32)

    Suzuki Swift❤️👍
    Cashew butter❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Xxxlins

  • comment-avatar
    forksinthepath 27 April 2017 (14:22)

    The little Suzuki did us very well. Love the cashew butter but it is so so expensive. A lovely treat!