A Travellerspoint blog

Day 170 Dunedin, New Zealand

Friday 25th November 2005

sunny 20 °C

Visited the only castle in the whole of New Zealand today that being Larnach Castle which was built in 1871. It’s a very small castle but very much worth a visit and the gardens are definitely worth going to see.
Next we drove over to Penguin Place and we were hoping to lots of penguins in the areas however we didn’t realize that you actually have to pay to see them and none of us were prepared to do that as the prices were a joke, so we continued along the coast to the Albatross Colony for a quick stop before driving back.

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Larnach Castle

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Gardens at Larnach Castle

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Gardens at Larnach Castle

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Gardens at Larnach Castle

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:50 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 169 Dunedin, New Zealand

Thursday 24th November 2005

sunny 18 °C

Had a walk around the centre of Dunedin first and had a look at St Josephs Cathedral, The Town Hall, Robert Burns Statue and also the Railway Station which is quite an impressive building. Then we picked the car up and drove over to Baldwin Street which has the Steepest Road In The World and upon looking at it there was no way our gutless car was going to make it to the top but I wanted to walk to the top anyway. At first I started to jog up the road but without even making it halfway I was already out of breath so decided to walk the rest. Every year they have a race to the top and the quickest time is around 2 minutes so these guys must be super fit because I would be happy to get up there in double that time. From the bottom of the road it doesn’t actually look that steep but once you stand at the top it looks unreal and I wouldn’t even like to cycle down it its so steep.
After walking back down we then drove out to Signal Hill Lookout which gives you a great view of the whole of Dunedin and then headed back to the hostel to relax for the evening.

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St Josephs Cathedral

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Robbie Burns Statue

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St Pauls Church

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Sports Hall of Fame & Railway Station

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Sports Hall of Fame & Railway Station

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Baldwin Street

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Baldwin Street

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Baldwin Street

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Baldwin Street

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Me,Ibon,Simon and Jill at the top of Baldwin Street

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Posted by Reece Sanford 12:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 168 Te Anau-Dunedin, New Zealand

Wednesday 23rd November 2005

overcast 16 °C

Spent the whole day driving and after getting to Dunedin Jill, Ibon and myself went for a short walk around the town although the rain then started to pour down. However then we bumped into Alex a german guy who was on the Milford Sound cruise with us and we all decided to find a pub and have a few beers and here we stayed for the next 4 hours.

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 167 Milford Sound-Te Anau, New Zealand

Tuesday 22nd November 2005

sunny 16 °C

I couldn’t believe how well I slept on the boat as I was expecting it to be rocking from side to side all night but it didn’t move at all, however I was hoping to get a lay in but everybody got woke up by someone making an announcement as to what they next few hours lay ahead of us. Luckily though it did mean I would make breakfast on time and it was my first fry up in a long time.
Next we headed back out to the Tasman Sea and the waves made the boat rise up and down a fair bit as well as making my breakfast nearly come up in the process. Before we headed back to the harbour we pulled up really close to a waterfall where a few of us brave people got a good soaking from the freezing but refreshing water, it certainly did wake you up if you weren’t awake already and after that we managed to spot a few more penguins before the cruise was over.
The sun was surprisingly still shining which made it a pleasant drive to Te Anau.

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Me at Milford Sound

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Milford Sound

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Waterfall at Milford Sound

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Milford Sound

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Sunset at Te Anau

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Sunset at Te Anau

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Sunset at Te Anau

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Ibon at Milford Sound

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Seal at Milford Sound

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Penguin at Milford Sound

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:45 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 166 Milford Sound, New Zealand

Monday 21st November 2005

sunny 18 °C

Well where do I start, I think today is nearly if not on a par with the boat trip in
Pahia to the Bay Of Islands.
We were booked on the Friendship boat and were due to sail at 4.45pm and it was costing us $145 and that was a reduced fee to. To my amazement the weather today couldn’t be any more different compared to yesterday. The sun was shining and apart from abit of a breeze it was a perfect day and even better as we would be able to get great views while out on the boat later.
We sat around reading in the hostel till around 2pm and then went off for a drive to look at some waterfalls and then had a short walk around the sea harbour before again we met up with Ibon who had been walking the Milford Track over the past 4 days and he had gotten totally drenched with the pouring rain over the past few days.
We boarded the boat at 4.15pm and as there were only going to be 11 of us on a fairly small boat I was looking forward to it a lot more than the boat that had 60 people crammed on it. I always find small groups tend to get on a lot better than huge ones and people tend to chat more and get to know each other but also its easier to relax and chill out if you want to. The plan was to sail out of the Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and look at some of the spectacular sights along the way like raging waterfalls and various animals like seals and penguins. Then eventually we would find a place to stop and relax for the night and get up early and go kayaking for abit before heading back to the harbour. Well everything was going great for the first 2 hours or so we thought but then the captain comes up to us with a dilemma. He says hes having problems with the generator so either we could stay on this boat and probably have no power, lights or heat for most of the night or all of us jump on the Milford Mariner for free and join them.
Well the Milford Mariner would of initially cost us over $400 each and you get ensuite rooms, a bar, 3 course meal, huge breakfast and on a totally upmarket and much bigger boat. At first I was disappointed as I quite liked the little boat we were sailing on however everyone else wanted to leave so I joined them along with the 3 free bottles of wine we were given.
So eventually we all boarded the Mariner and found it to be full of mostly fat rich miserable unsociable old gits and here we were a fairly young bunch of troublemakers gatecrashing there party and we had paid a fraction of the price they had.
That night we enjoyed the free wine and a few beers and an awesome 3 course meal but the only problem was we weren’t sure if we would be getting the chance to go kayaking, however after some gentle persuasion they decided to let us go out before it got dark. Ive only ever been in a canoe once and was really looking forward to kayaking and it was just a shame it was only for around 25 minutes, however it was a lot more tiring than I thought it would be although I had just stuffed myself with endless amounts of food and wine. After the kayaking we sat around chatting for a few more hours before retiring to bed about midnight.

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Milford Sound

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Milford Sound

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A rainbow from the waterfall

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A rainbow from the waterfall

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Milford Sound

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Me kayaking at Milford Sound

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Me kayaking at Milford Sound

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 165 Queenstown-Milford Sound, New Zealand

Sunday 20th November 2005

rain 12 °C

Another day which was spent all day driving although there was plenty of nice scenery and mountains to look at along the way although the closer we got to Milford Sound the worse the weather got. This place is on record for getting over 7 metres of rain a year, which is insane. What else was insane was the tunnel you have to drive through before you actually get to Milford Sound. People started to dig this tunnel with pick axes in 1935 and it wasn’t actually finished until 1953 and looking at it you wonder how on earth its actually still standing in one piece.
We arrived at the hostel around 4pm and got our first taste of middle of nowhere life when we were told the power in the hostel is turned off between 11pm and 6am so there was a frantic rush to get cameras charged up and ready for the overnight boat cruise the following day.

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:42 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 164 Queenstown, New Zealand

Saturday 19th November 2005

sunny 22 °C

After 2 fairly late nights it was starting to catch up on me so we didn’t get out till around 12pm. We drove back to Wanaka and past the scene of my driving offence and onto Puzzleworld. What they have here is a mix of things from a huge maze to get lost in and I did plenty of that, then inside theres a large mixture of puzzles for you to solve and finally some seriously bizarre rooms that are really hard to explain unless you see them for yourselves like you walk upwards into a room but this pool table looks like its flat but when you put a pool ball on the table it actually rolls. Then theres a room where you look into it and it looks normal but when you get into it and one person stands in 1 corner and another person in the other corner 1 person looks like a giant and the other looks like a midget. Just check the photos if it doesn’t make sense.
After that we had a quick walk around Wanaka which is another very picturesque place before heading back but not before stopping off at what can only be called ‘The Bra Fence’. Apparently a few years ago some womens bras mysteriously turned up hanging on this fence and over the years several more have been found and its got so bad that the fence has actually been raised for more to be hung on it.

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The Bra Fence

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Posted by Reece Sanford 12:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 163 Queenstown, New Zealand

Friday 18th November 2005

sunny 20 °C

Not a very eventful day today as I just spent the day walking around the town.
That night Jill and I went out for a few drinks and met up again with Simon and Rachel and I turned into a very long and drunken night out for me. Most of the night was a blur and all I can really remember is ordering a kebab then walking to a shop to get some chips and then somehow walking up the hill to the hostel and falling asleep in the lounge while watching a film before getting to my bed about 3am.

Posted by Reece Sanford 12:39 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 162 Queenstown, New Zealand

Thursday 17th November 2005

overcast 22 °C

Queenstown is very much like Taupo or in other words its another place that is into extreme sports or as I like to call them things that scare the shit out of you. The only difference being that in Queenstown the prices are bumped up astonishingly high although seeings as I don’t want to give myself an early heart attack I wont be doing any bungy jumping, sky diving or paragliding and besides I came here to see the scenery and not to throw money down the drain in a matter of seconds.
So today the nearest I got to an adrenaline rush was first going up in the cable car and then 5 runs down the luge.
Once back at the hostel I sat in the lounge minding my own business when I get one hell of a shock. I realized some guy was standing near me and talking on the phone but I didn’t really have a proper look at who it was. Well after 15 minutes the guy gets up and says ‘Hello Reece’ and I turn round and its Ibon the mad Spanish guy from Franz Josef. I couldn’t believe it, there was me thinking he would be miles away by now and here he is standing next to me. I was a hell of a surprise but I have to say it was great to see him again, so we all made plans that night to go down the pub together and have a few beers.
Well what a crazy night it turned out to be as we also bumped into Simon and Rachel again (funny how we always meet those 2 in pubs). Then there was Ibon who after a few pints and a few cocktails that for some reason come in teapots proceeded first to tell us how shy he was and then before you knew it he was grabbing random women and either dancing with them or getting his photo taken with them. As Simon was at the casino and Jill then left us around 11.30pm, Ibon and I hung around for a few more beers before stumbling back to the hostel around 12.30am.

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Posted by Reece Sanford 12:36 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 161 Franz Josef-Queenstown, New Zealand

Wednesday 16th November 2005

sunny 18 °C

Today started as a very enjoyable and scenic drive to Queenstown but by mid afternoon turned into a very expensive one for me. Just after stopping off at Wanaka for lunch we continued onto Queenstown and got stuck behind this old couple driving ridiculously slowly. As the roads were very twisty I took my time in finding a safe place to overtake them, or so I thought. After getting past them within 30 seconds I noticed a police car up my arse flashing his lights and I pulled over thinking he wanted to get past, however it was me he was stopping. All 3 of us trying to think what I had done wrong before the policeman comes up to me and says “Hello sir how are you today”, to which my reply wanted to be “Well it was fantastic till you stopped me you tosser” but instead kept my mouth shut. Anyway his excuse for pulling me over and also fining me £60 was because I apparently went over broken yellow lines when overtaking which you can do in England and also because apparently I couldn’t see more than 100 metres in front of myself, however when we went back to the same road 2 days later you can actually see for 400 metres on the stretch where I overtook. People did say New Zealand police were arseholes and how right they were. Despite my protests there was no way this guy was letting me off so he issued me my fine before wishing me a good day the muppet.
So after getting delayed we then made it to Queenstown which has an amazing location nestled nicely beside the lake and surrounded by mountains with a few still having a small covering of snow on them.

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Mountains at Wanaka

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:37 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 160 Franz Josef, New Zealand

Tuesday 15th November 2005

sunny 16 °C

Today we walked to another glacier in the area this one being the Fox glacier which I thought was a lot more impressive than the one yesterday. In the afternoon we walked around Lake Matheson where apparently you can see reflections of Mount Cook in it however the weather was pretty poor so we never got the chance.
In the evening I stayed at the hostel having a beer and talking to Ibon and Jesse from Holland and it turned into a very funny night especially after Ibon getting drunk on half a bottle of beer and him nearly waking the woman up in the room next to us at 11.30pm. He did however manage to take some fantastic photos that night of the southern cross and Mars and kindly gave me a copy of them to.

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Fox Glacier

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Fox Glacier

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Lake Matheson

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Southern Cross (taken by Ibon)

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Southern Cross (taken by Ibon)

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Franz Josef at night (taken by Ibon)

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:35 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 159 Franz Josef, New Zealand

Monday 14th November 2005

semi-overcast 14 °C

All 3 of us had initially considered doing a half walk on the Franz Josef glacier but most of the people we had spoken to told us it wasn’t really worth it for the money they were charging and a full days walk was out of my budget range so instead we took the car to the car park nearby and went for a 90 minute walk to get as close as we possibly could to it. The rest of the day was spent trying to update my diary and also meeting the crazy Spaniard Ibon who would be staying in my room.

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Franz Josef Glacier

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Franz Josef Glacier

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The view from Franz Josef Glacier

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 158 Punakaiki-Franz Josef, New Zealand

Sunday 13th November 2005

overcast 15 °C

Spent most of the day driving although I did get a chance to look at the Pancake Rocks along the way which was very much worth the visit. Arrived at Franz Josef around 4pm and the Gloworm Hostel we booked into looked very nice and I would certainly recommend it to anyone staying here in the future. That night we went to a local pub where we bumped into Simon and Rachel whom we had meet in Nelson and were soon to bump into them several more times along the way conveniently in other pubs along the journey.

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A faint rainbow.Our view from the hostel at Punakaiki

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Pancake Rocks

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Pancake Rocks

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Pancake Rocks

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Pancake Rocks

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Pancake Rocks

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Pancake Rocks

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Blow holes at Pancake Rocks

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look out for crazy cyclists with only one wheel

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:33 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 157 Mutton Cove-Punakaiki, New Zealand

Saturday 12th November 2005

sunny 18 °C

Had to wake up fairly early this morning as I had a 2 hour walk to catch the bus and had to be there before 10.45am. I set off around 8.15am just in case I accidently took a wrong turning but in the end everything went well except the rain started on the last hour of the walk and I made it to the bus stop with plenty of time to spare. The next part of the trek though would be by bus and I wouldn’t be in Punakaiki till 8pm to meet Simon and Jill at the hostel. Even though I was expecting it to be a fairly dull bus journey it actually turned out to be a very enjoyable and pleasant trip. I managed to stop at Pupu Springs along the way and spent the rest of the time talking to several very nice people on the various buses I ended up on, and also the scenery most of the way was pretty spectacular at times.
Finally though I got to the hostel around 8pm and at last I would get the chance to have a nice hot shower, something I hadn’t had for 4 days.
And before I conclude the day I would like to say a big thanks to Dennis for letting me join him on the Abel Tasman Walk and for kindly providing all the accessories to make it possible. It was a mindblowing experience and a pleasure mate and happy travels for the future.

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The end of the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk

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Pupu Springs

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 156 Onetahuti Beach-Mutton Cove, New Zealand

Friday 11th November 2005

sunny 24 °C

Actually managed to get a reasonable nights sleep last night but was still up around 7am.
Today involved yet another long walk and we had to be on our toes as we had to cross 2 low tide crossings which would in fact save us a lot of time and walking distance. About 2 hours into the walk I was already feeling abit tired however things soon looked up when to our amazement we passed the Awaroa Lodge and I decided to get what I first thought was sausages and fried potatoes but turned out to be sausages, mashed potato, mushy peas and onion gravy quite possibly one of my favourite meals. I was also tempted to have a nice cold pint of lager but decided against it seeings as it would of dehydrated me later on. After the meal we couldn’t hang around to much longer because we had the 2 low tide crossings to make and a few people Dennis had met at the hostel in Nelson didn’t make them in time the previous day and were waist deep in water. Luckily for us though we got to both of them in time and then continued the pleasant walk to Mutton Cove which would be our last camp site before we went our separate ways with me continuing the walk onto Wanui Bay to catch the bus and Dennis making his way back along the track for 2 hours to get the nearest water taxi available.

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Dennis a top guy and fantastic travel companion

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Mutton Cove

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:28 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

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