Holiday in the south of the South Island of New Zealand.
We flew from Hamilton via Wellington to Queenstown. We collected our Campervan and then found the Motor Camp we were staying in.
The Campervan was lovely vehicle to drive, once you got used to the 7 metre length of the vehicle.
Our Holiday plan was as follows, see map below. Click on the photo's to enlarge them.
We headed into Queenstown. We booked a ride on the Kjet jet boat, had lunch on the wharf, went for a ride to the top of the mountain on the Gondola, had a soak at the Onsen Hot Pools, had a great smoked piza for dinner then called it a day.
We headed back into Queenstown to have a ride on the TSS Earnslaw (a vintage Steamship) on Lake Wakatipu. The boat cruised over to Walter Peak Station on the other side of the lake. Beautiful day, beautiful views and a fantastic ride. It was really interesting seeing the steam engine being stoked with coal.
When we arrived back in Queenstown we had a famous Fergburger and chips for tea. Delicious! before we went back to the Campsite.
We left Queenstown and headed down to Te Anau. Upon arriving at Te Anau we arranged to go out onto the lake and to the Glowworm caves which were about a 30 minutes cruise on the catamaran. A Glowworm is the pupae (maggot) of a Gnat. The pupae attract insects by the light that it emits and catches them with a sticky filament which it excretes from its mouth.
The next four photo's are not mine as I could not use my flash in the caves.
The filaments the glowworms produce to catch insects.
We arranged to go on a guided tour to Milford Sounds. We decided to go with a local tour operator. Pick-up was at 7.45am and we returned to Te Anau at 3.45pm.
The driver gave us a terrific commentary along the way which we enjoyed. The road passes through the Homer Tunnel about 15 minutes out of Milford.
When we arrived at Milford Sounds we boarded a boat which cruised out to the mouth of the fiord. It was raining and there were many waterfalls flowing down the cliffs into the sea. The scenery again was spectacular. Unfortunately, Mitre peak was shrouded by clouds.
From Te Anau we drove down through Manapouri, Tuatapere, Riverton to Invercargill. Beautiful farming country and nice glimpses of the sea.
An early start, we drove from Invercargill to Bluff where we caught the Ferry over to Stewart Island. The trip across Foveaux Strait took about an hour before we arrived at Halfmoon Bay and Oban, the village on the Island.
Fortunately, the sea was very calm. Once settled in the South Sea Hotel we went over to Ulva Island with a lady we met called Angela (027)316 3077 who ran a guiding business called 'Beaks and Feathers'. Angela was a very experienced guide and showed us around the Island, pointed out lots of birds to us and gave us a really interesting commentary along the way.
We followed a bush track on Ulva. We headed back, after doing a loop of the Island, to pick up our sea taxi. Suddenly while walking along the beach we came across a mother Sea Lion. She was guarding her pup and was very cross that we had disturbed her. We had to retreat very quickly as she chased us along the beach, quite an experience.
Angela offered us her car so we could tour the Island, we thought this was very generous of her. There are not many places to go on the Island. We found the track to the Ackers Point Lighthouse and the historic Ackers Stone House. That night Angela took us Kiwi hunting along the sides of the airport runway. We were thrilled to see 5 Kiwi's in their natural environment. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the light right on my camera, so the Kiwi photo's which I have posted, are not mine.
Another early start, we crossed back over to the South Island to Bluff from Stewart island in the morning. Again we were lucky, the sea was calm.
We headed off in our van up through the Catlins. The road follows the coast and is a really enjoyable drive. We went to Waikawa Point and walked to the Light House and Curio Bay and had a look at the petrified logs on the coast. Then we walked to the Falls at Purakaunui then on to Kaka Point. After finding the Kaka Motor Camp we drove to Nugget Point and walked along to the Light House. Beautiful views of the coast, north and south and an easy walk along the track.
We set off early this day because we had a long way to drive. Leaving the Catlins behind us we went thru' Balclutha to Dunedin. We went straight to the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Heads which is at the mouth of the harbour. What a wonderful experience to view Albatross Mum's and Dad's feeding and looking after their young. The weather was very cold and windy, perfect for Albatross's to land on the headland and perfect for their chicks to extend their wings and practice the technique of learning to fly. Beth and I felt very humble watching these beautiful birds from the observation point. We enjoyed the experience very much. We could not get up close to the birds. The photo's of the Albatross's that I have included were, taken from the display at the Albatross Centre building.
From there we headed up the coast again to Pukeuri via Moeraki and Oamaru. We had a beautiful lunch at Fleurs Place in Moeraki but did not see the boulders on the beach because the weather was bad and the tide was in.
From Pukeuri we headed inland thru' the Mckenzie Country via Kurow to Omarama, where we found the local motor camp. The road passed Lake Aviemore and Lake Benmore and was a very enjoyable drive.
Another early start, we decided to travel up to Mt Cook this day. On the way about 15 minutes out of Omarama we diverted off the main road to see the Clay Cliffs. We had never heard of them so were keen to have a look.
The Clay Cliffs are a geological wonder; ‘badland’ sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by steep and narrow ravines.
The Cliffs were created out of layers of silt and gravel deposited by ancient glaciers around 4 million years ago. These layers were compressed, then uplifted by geological activity in the area, then as the high points began to be eroded pinnacles were left behind.
The cliffs are on private land and there is an honesty box at the gate where we were asked to pay $5 per car.
What a spectacular sight the were, the views back over the Ahuriri River Valley were also amazing.
We found the main road again and continued along to Mt Cook. The road follows along the banks of Lake Pukaki. Unfortunately, the cloud was very low so we could not see the mountain. After having some lunch we found the road to the Tasman Glacier Lookout. We climber a steep track up to the Glacier lookout point. From here we could see the face of the glacier and the lake in front of it, surrounded by the mountains. The cloud was low but the views were still very beautiful.
We continued our journey to the village at Lake Tekapo where we stayed the night.