In 2011 we travelled through New Zealand for 6 weeks. We started in Christchurch, on the Northern island, headed North to sail in the Bay of Island, visit the culture cradle of the Maori’s and the impressive forest giants in Waipaua Forest. We continued to the South and enjoyed kayaking along the coves and white beaches of Coromandel island to head on to the area of Rotorua with it’s vulcanic acitivities and Maori villages. The Waimangu valley was impressive and not so touristic as the better known ….. The day tracking of Tongariro crossing was one of the highlights of the trip.
From Wellington we took the boat to Picton in the Marlborough Sounds. A great area to discover on land and on sea. Don’t miss the green mossels in Havelock! In Matueka we organised a boat to drop us in the very end of the Abel Tasman National Park and we reserved a kayak halfway the track. It was a great experience to track through the coastal jungle, enjoy the golden beaches with it’s birds and sealions. We had a small tent with us, a gascooker and some dry food (drinking water is available on the way). We almost everywhere where the only ones on the campsite what made it a real adventure feeling. Also the seakayaking was great (you can make the track by kayak if you like to).
After that we enjoyed the nice wines in the area around Benheim and continued South where we went to search for whales and dolphines from Kaikaura. We crossed the Southern Island from East to West over the Louispass via the skiresort of Hanmer Springs to Greymouth.
The hugh gletsjers of Franz Joseph and Fox where impressive, but there was heavy rain for days. Not surprising, it falls about … cm an year! Over the Haastpass we reached Wanaka on the shore of the beautiful lake. The village has a very relaxed atmosphere, nice bars, watersport facilities and more. From Queenstown we made a 2day trip to the Marlborough sound with a former fishing boat. It was the most impressive excursion in New Zealand! Only nature, no human presence, fishing fresh crayfish, kayaking, dolphines around the boat, waterfalls from the steep rocks, absolute silence at night under a cristalclear sky with millions of stars … a dream!
We ended our trip in Christchurch heavily damaged by earthquakes. The peninsula Akaroa was a nice last stop before flying home.