Donnerstag, 6. Dezember 2007

More Heaphy Track Pics

Barbara just uploaded her photos of the Heaphy Track. Have a look on her site.
Click on the photo to see them all

Samstag, 1. Dezember 2007

Heaphy Track

I just finished the 82km Heaphy Track.
This was the most beautiful walk I have done so far in New Zealand. The variety of the landscape was amazing. I booked it for four days but ended up doing it in just 3. The first day I did just 16km along the flat coast. But on the second day I got to the hut where I planed to stay at lunch time so I decided to push on and walked a total of 36km that day. The last day was another 30km and the last 2 hours seemed very long - maybe because it was all down hill and the landscape didn't change that much or maybe because my feet were getting sore.
Here are a few photographic impressions of the track with some descriptions. But I was more focused on walking than on taking pictures.

Dienstag, 27. November 2007

Beautiful West Coast

We traveled up the beautiful West Coast and are in Westport now. We had very good luck with the weather and the scenery here is just amazing. We stopped to look at the world famous Pancakes Rocks...
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...and the sandstone formations at the Beach at the end of Truman Track.
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Yesterday we walked the second part of the Inland Pack Track as a day hike. Just amazing.
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We had our lunch break in the Ball Room, a massive rock overhang.
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On the way back we explored the Fox River Stalactite Cave. The formations in there are just beautiful and the best thing about it is you can just go in there on your own. But bring a torch.
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In two days we gonna start the 82km Heaphy Track from oposite ends to save the mony for the bus ride.
Barbara has some more Photos on her site too.

Freitag, 23. November 2007

Copeland Track and Glaciers

We just walked the Copeland track to Welcome Flat hut.
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At the hut there are natural hot pools. So nice to soak in the hot water after 7 hours of hiking
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...and then cooling of in the ice cold river.
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We decided to say an extra night and walk up Scott Creek all the way to the snow - quite a climb.
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The next day we walked - well more raced - back to the car par. We completed the 7 hour hike in just over 5 hours.
After a little rest we drove to the Fox and France Joseph Glaciers.
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Now we are just driving further up the West Cost and then up to Takaka.
Barbara got some now shots too. Check out her Photo Site (Link on the right)

Montag, 19. November 2007

From Invercargill (ashole of NZ) to Fox Glacier

Invercargill is really not a nice place. If you are there just stock up on supplies and get out of there. The local Uni has even no fees to attract some students there.
We stayed at Monkey Island for some days - beautiful beach - and collected some Paua shells.
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I found some drift wood with some stones trapped in the roots - "soft beats hard"
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At Gemstone beach just around the corner we found some more nice stones and this crazy beach home.
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From there we made our way to Fiordland. "Probably the most beautiful drive in the world!"
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We did the day hike to lake Marian...
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...the short walk to the stunning waterfalls - "The Chasms"...
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...encountered some cheeky "Kea"...
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after a cruise on Milford sound...
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... we climbed up to Key summit - well worth the effort.
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After spending four days in Fiordland it was time to make our way to Queenstown and Wanaka.
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But with crowds of backpackers we just felt like getting out of there and headed for the West coast. The drive again was just amazing.
Now we are in Fox Glacier Village but 85$ for walking on ice for 2 hours is just too much. So tomorrow we gonna start the Welcome Flat (Copeland ) Track.

Barbara took some really cool shots too.
[click on photo for more pictures]

Donnerstag, 8. November 2007

Rakiura Track - Stewart Island

We just did the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island. (DOC Info Site ) This 3 day (36km) hike is one of the great walks in New Zealand. And great is was - the bush was just amazing and some of the sea view were just stunning. Unfortunately the weather was not always on our side, especially on the second day we had quite bit of rain and hail.

Freitag, 2. November 2007

Dunedin to Invercargill

Central Otago Rail Trail
This old rail trail has been converted into a nice bike trail. We did the first two days of the three day tour.
When we realized we wanted to stop biking the Rail Trail after a day of brutal winds, we decided to get back to our car and come back to pick up our bikes. We stopped the trail in Oturehua and wanted to return the bikes to the bike hire shop in Middlemarch in the morning to avoid getting charged for an additional day. The 'catch-a-bus' service had long-gone by that time, so the only option was to hitchhike! As this was Barbara's first hitchhike experience, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that it isn't only psycho killers who are interested in picking up strangers. It was almost 100km back to our car in Middlemarch, so we expected several rides to get there. The first lady was a grandmother coming home from work. The second ride came from a skydiving instructor from Queenstown who had a 2 week old baby at home and was driving to Palmerston because his father had just had a heart attack. He was well-traveled himself, and at that point in need of a distraction. The third and longest stretch of 50km was a bit trickier but led us into an incredible evening with a very kind and generous Kiwi family. As we waited on the road for the 3rd ride, the sun started to go down and there wasn't a car in sight. We noticed a house across the road with several cars in the driveway. We were pretty much stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I stayed with the bags and Barbara went to go ask for help. The house belonged to Rose & Mo who were just about to have supper with their 2 boys. It turns out we weren't the first strangers to come knocking on their door for assistance! Although it's not the only house in the area, it is the most visible in an area that is all farmland. Mo kindly agreed to drop us off and Rose insisted we come in "for a feed first"!! We spent the evening eating and chatting and learned a heap about the region and country from them. Such a great experience!!

Drive through the Catlands
The drive through Central Otago and the Catlands was very beautifully. I was fascinated by the ever changing landscape.

We picked up some eggs at a farm and there Barbara finally got to cuddle a little lamb.

On of the high light was Nugget Point.

Waterfall Day
Yesterday we had our waterfall day ;-)

Fire in the tunnel
There was just a small sign on the side of the road for this old rail tunnel. It turned out to be the perfect location for some fire staff playing.

The lost Gypsy
This old bus is loaded with little gizmos and gadgets. Feels like being on a play ground. So much fun!!!!!

Push to gurgle

Shag Point
We made it to the south most point on the South Island.

Freitag, 26. Oktober 2007

Christchurch to Dunedin

Warning: Some of the pictures in the following post could be disturbing for some people!
We finally left Christchurch behind!!!
On Barbara's Birthday we did a SKYDIVE together! Really crazy to jump out of a plain.

On the way down to Dunedin we saw some seals, shags, the first penguin and this cool old boat shed.

Barbara likes hugging hedges now!?!

These round boulders on a beach half way between Christchurch and Dunedin look like they are from outer space

Seaweed impressions in still...

...and motion
[I'll upload teh video later, this internet cafe is just too slow]

The last few days he have been staying at Otago Peninsular. Really nice but most the time the weather is pretty crappy.

A day on a sheep padic:

You might come across a nice little sheep tail like this and wounder why they loose them.

The little baby sheep still have them.

The farmers put very strong rubber bands around them

so all the circulation gets cut off and they fall off. The farmers do that so that the sheep don't get their own shit all over the tail.

You will probably also find a lot of bones.

And maybe even a dead sheep.

One of the sheep skulls is now on the front of our van and hopefully will keep away all evil.

We had some bad luck with the van before. The wind was so strong that it blew the driver's door out and now its buggered up and doesn't open any more. I hope I'll be able to fix it up back in Auckland with Sanchio. Also the van tends to over heat when we go up steep hills. We just had it in the garage but after half a day of working on it they still didn't find the problem. They wanted us to come back on Monday but we think we will just leave. It's only a problem when going uphill, on the flat its totally fine and I just don't want to spend any more money on cars.

Montag, 15. Oktober 2007