The trip to New Zealand went
pretty well but we were delayed quite
a bit on the last leg from Auckland
to Queenstown. As we arrived
late all we did in the
afternoon was shop for
groceries and a cooler.
In the evening we walked down
to the center of town which
was quite delightful. We
shared a draft cider before
eating at an Indian
restaurant. We walked back
through the Gardens.
Next morning we made the scenic drive
to Glenarchy. On the way we made a
side trip to Moke Lake and after we
made it to Glenarchy we drove to
We then went to Shotover where we went in a Jet
Boat through a narrow river with rock formations on each
side - thrilling.
Back to the room where we ate leftovers from the
night before and then a walk into town to get ice
cream cones from Patagonia. The town was not as
lively as the night before.
The next morning we headed to the gondola lift that
took us part way up Ben Lohman Mountain. From
there we climbed another 2.5 miles to the saddle. We
waited a while there for the sky to clear both above
us and below us. We ate our picnic lunch, and on the
advice of a girl coming down, we climbed further up
the spine to get the good views. The summit was still
shrouded so we did not climb up further.
Back at the upper gondola station they had very good
luge tracks. We each went three times. After that we
went back to our room.
For dinner we ate Chinese at The Mandarin- good
food, good views.
In the morning we headed to Te Anau. As expected
there was nice scenery on the way.
Next to the glow worm excursion. We took a boat to
the glow worm cave which was interesting No photos
We then checked in at the Village Inn in Te Anau.
In the morning we went to Milford Sound which is
actually a glacial fjord. We took a boat ride from the
end out to the sea. It was raining which meant the
waterfalls were turned on.
In the morning we drove 2 hours to Invercargill for
our flight to Stewart Island. We were checked into
our room by 10:45. We walked around the small town
until our bus tour of part of the island that gave us the lay of the land.
That night we had a boat tour that took us to see
albatrosses, fur seals (and a shark chasing a fur seal)
and a penguin. We then arrived on an island to seek
the elusive kiwi. After 2 hours we finally found one.
Shortly thereafter we returned back to the boat and
were back at the dock at midnight.
The next morning we caught our flight back to South
Island and drove up the Southern Scenic Highway to
Dunedin. On the way there we hiked to Waipohatu
Waterfalls, next to Curio Bay to see the petrified
forest. Next were the Koropuhi Falls and McLean
Falls. On to Matai Falls, Horseshoe Falls and
Hunaleyte Purakaui Falls. Our last stop was the
Nugget Point Lighthouse.
We were somewhat late getting in to Dunedin but we
were able to grab a nice meal at the Rope and Twine
The next morning we headed to Mount Cook but
made stops at Moreaki for the boulders and also to
Elephant Rocks. Actually, the entire trip was very
We arrived at The Hermitage early enough to eat at
6:00 p.m. to give us time to catch up. Nice view from
the Hermitage Restaurant.
In the morning we headed to the Air Drome to take a
flight to the Tasman Glacier. Unfortunately it was
cloudy on the mountains so our trip was delayed. We
rescheduled to 3:30 p.m. and then went to the
trailhead for the Hooker Valley Track.
The hike took us one hour and 20 minutes to reach
the destination which was Hooker Lake, a remnant of
Hooker Glacier, which was a bit further away, all at
the foot of Mount Cook. The sky cleared so we had
good views of the mountain. We ate our picnic lunch
there before heading back. As we were getting set to
leave we ran into Vivian and Wing, a couple we met
and spent time with on the glowworm excursion.
The hike back took longer as there were more photo
opportunities due to improved visibility. We heard,
then saw a small avalanche.
We went to our room briefly before heading back to
the Air Drome for our flight.
The weather could not have been better. Five
passengers in our helicopter that landed on the
glacier. The skiplane landed soon after with its five
passengers. We greatly enjoyed being there, taking it
all in. We had a snowball fight, and due to my less
than full recovery from shoulder surgery, Teresa held
We went back via the skiplane. The takeoff was
interesting, it wasn’t us rising, it was the glacier
Back to the room. We ate at the Old Mountaineers
Cafe, Bar and Restaurant from which we could see
more of Mount Cook.
The next morning we went first to Blue Lakes and
Tasman Glacier View. This was a view from the
ground of much of what we had seen from the air the
That got us to lunch so we stopped at our room to eat
before heading to the trailhead for the Kea Point
Track. The end of this got us up close to Mount
Shelton and gave us a different angle of Mount Cook.
The next day was travel day to Wanaka. On the way
we took a detour to the Clay Cliffs. We encountered
a traffic jam along the way.
We then proceeded through Lindis Pass to Wanaka,
a small town hard against Lake Wanaka. It is trying
to rival Queenstown as a tourist destination. We
stayed at West Meadows Motel , about 1km from
town but an easy drive.
We hiked along the lake for a while then scouted out
the town. We saw a kebab stand as well as a gelato
We came back that night but the kebab stand was out
of lamb so we ate at a nice restaurant. Teresa had the
best Thai beef salad I have ever tried. My meatlovers
pizza was also good, just too big. I ate half to save
room for gelato. The chocolate was very good.
The next morning the weather was iffy so we went to
Puzzling World which inside was mostly interesting
optical illusion exhibits and outside a challenging
After lunch we rented e-bikes and rode for about 2 ½
hours around the large peninsula. After that we spent
1 ½ hours climbing up and down Mount Iron.
Our gelato was chocolate, double chocolate brownie
and M&M- all good.
The next day was another travel day to Franz
The trip was punctuated with various stops for
overlooking waterfalls and pools, most of which
involved hikes. These included Lake Wanaka
Lookout, Roaring Billy Falls and Knight’s Point
In the morning we went first to Franz Joseph Glacier
Walk which was a little disappointing as due to the
end of the trail being washed out we could only
tramp to the point where the glacier reached in 1908.
We took some offshoot walks from the main trail.
Next we drove to Fox, first dropping off our
hitchhiker at her helicopter tour destination, and
then to hike the trail of the Fox Glacier. Again, a nice
We then drove to Lake Matheson where we first ate
our picnic lunch, then took the rather lengthy but
easy walk in a circuit around the lake.
the mountains in the distance were shrouded over so
we could not get the iconic reflection of Mount Cook
in the water.
We did see some blue fungi.
First was Hokitika Gorge and the turquoise waters
from crushed minerals mixing with glacial melt. It
was a pleasant walk.
The weather became rainy so we had a quick stop at
Itaro Viaduct Lookout.
In the morning, in less than ideal weather, we first
climbed up to Devil’s Punchbowl for a good waterfall
view- not a long hike but rather steep.
Back to our room for lunch. Our place had a
communal kitchen and dining area which was well-
equipped and allowed us to meet other travelers.
The weather got very good about 3:00 so we went out
to first walk to The Chasm and then pick up a
portion of Arthur’s Pass Walkway Trail we had not done.
Dinner was at the Beasley Hotel. Teresa had the loin
of lamb, I had the chicken schnitzel. We shared an
oreo sundae for dessert.
In the morning we headed first to the
Point Elizabeth Walkway which was a dud.
Next to Motukiekiu Beach with its geologic
The Porari River Trail was a pleasant walk but no
Pancake Rocks was interesting and the Truman Walk
In the morning we drove to the entrance of Abel
Tasman National Park. From there we went on a
forced march of 12.8 kms. It went along the seacoast
and into the forest. We started at Marahau and
finished at Anchorage where we ate our picnic lunch
and caught a water taxi back.
We then drove to Kaiteriteri and from there to Little
Kaiteriteri which may have been larger, with a nice
beach and chock full of opulent homes.
March 18 was a glorious day. We took another eco-
boat tour. It started at 8:45 and we were back at
Beside the boat ride and discussions of the ecosystem
we had two beach stops; one for a hobbit’s second
breakfast and the second for lunch. Both beaches
were gorgeous and secluded; the weather was
perfect: sunny with a cool breeze.
We drove down to Kaikura stopping to see a coal
driven train and eating meat pies for lunch.
In Kaikura we checked out the beach before walking
through downtown. For dinner we had very good fish
First thing very early next morning was our whale
watching trip. Sperm whales are common in the area
and that is what we got. They dive very deep for
about 45 minutes to hunt but then surface for 5-10
minutes to do everything else including breathing. I
was first to spot the first one. After he dove we found
a large pod of dusky dolphins which were quite fast.
We then went back and found the same sperm whale
after he had resurfaced.
In the afternoon we did the Kaikura Peninsula Walk
though we did not keep to the right trail. A three
hour walk turned int a four hour adventure as we
took the idea of hiking around the edge of the
peninsula too literally. The path we blazed on the
rocks was blocked several times by huge seals, adding
some excitement to our trip. We had to make a steep
20 meter climb to get back to the trail after our one
We ate dinner late and it was dark and clear when we
returned to our room. We could plainly see The
Southern Cross, The Pointers and the Milky Way.
We headed to Picton in the morning on the Queen
Victoria Scenic Drive with stops at Cullen Point and
an hour or so loop walk.
We also stopped at Ngatuka Bay and Governor’s Bay
and a few more lookouts before arriving in Picton,
which is quite a seaport.
Our last full day on the South Island stared wth a 3
½ hour boat cruise. We met a girl from Hamburg
who was and avid surfer/hiker. We made a few stops,
the most significant being Ship Cove where captain
Cook made five landfalls to obtain water from the
creek, gather some food and even do extensive
repairs on his ships.
Lastly, we did a hike on the Snout Trail to Queen