Month 15: Travel Summary
Oh my goodness – it has taken us so long to put together this monthly summary!
- It was an action packed month
- Since returning to the UK we’ve slipped a bit on the updates. But stay tuned. We’re attempting to catch you up on all the details of our time in New Zealand before beginning our next big adventure.
Month 15 and the beginning of 2017 began with a roadtrip to Akaroa, just an hour and a half drive from Christchurch. The incredible views from the pass sum up just what we love about roadtrips: The opportunity to take ourselves off in any direction, with a many stops as we want along the way. In scenic countries, such as New Zealand, the freedom of your own wheels is a blessing indeed.
Lush green hills populated with sheep and stunning blue waters spread out below us. The road wove down into town which is distinctly French is character. After all, it’s only place where the French managed to gain a foothold.
Akaroa’s other famous residents are the blue penguin. We spent two days at Pohatu Penguins with a family of sheep farmers who very quickly realised they were living in the middle of a penguin colony. They are devoted to the conservation of this little bird.
And set up camp at the DOC Whitehorse Hill campsite ready to take the steep climb to Mueller Hut the next day. It was one of the most gruelling hikes we did in New Zealand, yet it’s a firm favourite. After climbing 2200 stairs, we then scrambled up loose scree and met a fierce headwind as we took our first steps on snow in over two years.
It was a great trip but knowing what came after, we wouldn’t do it again as we got to see them all for free…
We then made our way down to the Catlins which is when a ‘weather-bomb’ hit. It POURED with rain. Great fun in a little two-man tent. Not. (Actually we stayed was lovely and the owners made us incredibly welcome especially as we spent our time hiding from the rain in the communal lounge hoping to get to the Cathedral Caves – we couldn’t.)
After a brief stop to dry out in Invercargill, we headed up the road to Manipouri. On a rare sunny day, we drove along the incredibly scenic route to Milford Sound. The sound may not have been like a mirror for us, but it was very dramatic.
And we saw more dolphins (still no great photographs!)
After the success of our Milford Sound trip, we decided to risk the storm clouds and take an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound.
Hiked up Ben Lommond.
Ate the famous Fergburgers
We ended the month by walking a stunning section of the Routeburn Track. Of all New Zealand Great Walks, this is the one we wished we had managed to book. You need to do that months and months in advance though.
Looking back, we packed a lot into January, yet surrounded by nature and so much beauty, it didn’t feel rushed.