Walter Peak, Fjordland, Sandflies, Glowworms and a reunion

VERY SOUTH – and going ZigZag the Passes

Heading south we spend a night under the oldest suspension bridge of NZ, where we met surprisingly the couple on their bicycles from Walter Peak again –RESPECT! We continued south on small coast roads and ended it up in Curio Bay. A lovely simple private nature camp site, where you can meet penguins and seals… and if you wake up early enough you can go for a swim with the dolphins and their youngsters in the bay – like Kerstin DID ;-) and will never forget!!!

Enjoying the Catlins we had a stop at the “Curios Gallery”, something you have to have a look at if you are around: IT IS REALLY CURIOUS – and fun!

X-mas we skipped more or less – just spending it going up the east coast, passing Duniden and cooking in the evening our regular camp dinner: 2 minutes rice, with fresh asparagus, mushrooms, chicken and a glass of wine – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

On the Boxing Day we had the streets more or less for our self – of we went to go on the Danseys Pass which goes to the goldfield town of Naseby – great off road mountain track. Additional we did the loop to the blue Lake.

Another beautiful day was waiting for us while going up over the Arrow Junction to Wanaka and spending the night at the lake.

The West Coast was waiting for us… long sandy beaches left hand and rainforest to the right going up to the glaciers. Again incredible nature all in one!

The Arthurs Pass is one of the MUST DO for us. Beautiful, mountains, Keas AND another Africa Twin at the side of the street, UPPSPSSS what´s that? The AT was never sold in NZ. So we had a chat with the owner who imported it from UK…

On the way back to the east coast the weather was changing slowly to gray and rain so we ended up the first time in a hostel double room in Kaikoura. Hard to find any dry place at this time between Chrismas and New Year – but we took the chance to sort out our pictures and update the bolg. Beside we enjoyed of course the day with relaxing, gambling and cooking in a good equipped kitchen.

The New Year is close… we do not know where we will be again, just hoping the rain will stop and then we will see…

Fjordland,  Sandlies, Glowworms  and a reunion

After escaping the sandflies and having a great ride at the lake side in the early morning we came back to Queenstown to catch our steamboat taking us over to Walter Peak. It took 45 minutes with this boat to cross the lake with wonderful views and lot of learning about this machine. All was original, powered with coal and steam… great piece of steel!

Walter Peak is a farm, running mostly for tourism nowadays so we preferred to go straight on the track – 90km unsealed road. Lovely weather, great landscapes and the only people we met was a couple on their bicycles.  We reached Te Anau in the Fjordland at the end of the day.

On the way to Milford Sound we had a nice reunion with David, who is travelling with his BMW already for 2,5 years around the world. We went together to Milford Sound and had a lovely time together, listening interesting stories and trying to ignore the sandflies attacks. On the way back we said good bye to David to have a closer look at the Glowworm Caves in Te Anau.

 

 

Falling in love with the wild South Island

First of all HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!

Time is running and we do not have much of internet connection available, way too many photos to analyze and then to share with you. At the moment the backlog is 1400 pictures… there is not much time for that… but will be… hopefully in the close future ;) now it is already 11AM and a long day riding and some great remote passes are awaiting for us, so we have to hurry again. Believe it or not we run through a lot of stress here!

The following we wrote somewhere in the mountains a week ago. Have a look:

December, 18th  – Falling in love with the wilder South Island

We left Christchurch behind with new destination: Akaroa, part of the Onawe Island. Beautiful clear weather and a nice summit road with limited numbers of caravans made it an enjoyable stay for a night and some trips around. Surprisingly on the way out of there, we met again our two “Aussi-friends”, Marc and Adam once again which we met b4 in Hamner Springs; this time with their new company, Karl, who just arrived from Germany, Solingen. We exchanged some news, said once more good bye and continuing our way direction mountains.

Again we were very lucky with the weather, when we passed Mt Hutt and settled for the night close to Geraldine on a small DOC (Department of Conservation) camp at the riverside. Lightening a fire and seen big green eyes out it in the dark, OPOSSUMS! (everybody hates them here because they eat everything, including the last Kiwis), we enjoyed the wilderness…

Unfortunately the next morning we were completely covered in fog – everything was WET and you only could see silhouettes. Nevertheless we decided to stick to our plan going the highest mountain of NZ: Mt Cook, 3794m. The ride was nearly a blind flight… fog, rain, thunder… bloody hell. In Lake Tekapo we had a stop to take gas, still raining but clearing up a bit. So we continued. 20km before Mt Cook village we were completely wet, it started thundering and we could not even imagine a mountain from the view, we decided to turn back. We had a night in Twizel to dry out and the next day the sky cleared up. At noon we reached Mt Cook village and we spend a wonderful day riding to the glaciers and tramping to the glaciers. It was amazing!!!

We want more of these!!! The plan was to do the Thomson’s track close to Cromwell the next day. Brrrrr, waking up with heavy rain and wet feet in the tent we were not in such a good mode. What to do? Packing everything together! Nobody knows when the rain will stop again up here in the mountains.

Trying to escape the rain and freezing, brrrrr we were caught with speeding by the police – lovely day! In the end we found a nice little camp on an Vineyard, rented a workers cabin to get dry out everything again…

Thomson’s track second try: An incredible wonderful day hard to describe with words!!! Enjoy the pictures if you like –we were just fascinated by the landscape which we crossed on the gravel road (We had our first river crossings… more on YouTube later on)… But this was not the end of this lovely day: we chosen a doc camp north of Queenstown to stay, Skippers School. There was another breathless gravel road waiting for us (another 40km offrad!) We stayed the night alone, shared with birds, rabbits and possums up there in the mountains. Soooooo beautiful!!!

Today we crossed Queenstown, checking out the ferry for tomorrow which will bring us to the next gravel pass, starting at Walter Peek station and going direction Te Anau. We did some shopping, had some chats and now we are sitting in the Kinloch camp at the very north of the biggest lake of NZ: Wakatipu, in the shadow of the snowed mountains. It is quite windy currently up here, but actually we are happy about that because her are millions and billions of sandflies around and the wind pushes at least some of these monsters away! Anyhow to survive these bloody sandflies at the South Island we change the repellent frequently.

Last statement for today: The time is running MUCH TO FAST HERE!!!

 

UPDATE SKIPPERS SCHOOL:

Time to go to the South Island – stormy welcome

We spend another day with lovely Lynnie in Wellington before we took the ferry direction South Island. Unfortunately it was grey and rainy and the same way the South Island welcomed us.
Ignoring the rain we went the direction which was planned: North!

Next day the weather looked much better again and we went up to Farwell Split and spend a great time on the hidden campsite at the very end of a gravel road, Wharariki Beach. In the middle of green hills close to endless wide white sand beaches amazing rocks and many seals were waiting for us. The owner of the campsite gave us a contact where we can get a new back tire and as a good bye he passed us a big pack of fresh fish for our next dinner which we had in Abel Tasman, Totaranui – yummy, but therefor we got tortured by sandflies – autsch! We will need to get different repellent!!! Nevertheless it is a beautiful place with a lot of tramping possibilities and many small yellow sand beaches and rocks for fishing.
Further on the way to the mountains we had an appointment to get a new back tire in Nelson. After the change and giving a helping hand to a BMW driver ;-) we stayed the night at the mountain lake Rotoiti in St Arnaud. Unfortunately we had to change our planned route cause all gravel passes are still closed until after the Boxing Day… so we went over the Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs and enjoyed the hot pool springs up there in the mountains. On the camp site our neighbors were two “Aussis”, Marc and Adam with their bikes and a Scottish guy living in South Africa – we spend a nice evening with stories wine and beers together.
An incredible clear day were waiting for us and as we had the possibility to stay not that far away a night in Christchurch at the place of Warren and Lex we could chose interesting mountain tracks and the nice little gravel coast roads to get there.
Warren and Lex welcomed us warmly and invited us for dinner. We had a wonderful sleep in a cozy warm bed and having fresh washed nice smelling clothes again!!! THANK YOU! They offered us to stay as long as we want but as the time is passing so quickly we need to go ahead… so much more to see!!!
We just recognized they put the new tire the wrong way up… Sascha just left to a close garage to get it done the right way. Hopefully they can do it quickly. Actually it is not that easy here in Christchurch after the earth quakes. Many shops are still closed or having reduced opening times or opened temporary business in different places. It will take a while until life will get to “normal” here again…

Apropos normal! Last but not least: Sascha´s face is back to 99%! Thanks to all of you crossing fingers here!!!

December 4th, Hitting down from Napier to Wellington

Meeting our old friend on the other side of the earth was a great experience J We spend a great time in Napier together! After remembering old times, rolling the dies and “analyzing” live in NZ we choused the small streets direction south through a green hilly landscape with thousands of white dots on it, called cheeps… lovely… curvy and after some hours we reached a place called “Castlepoint” in the end of nowhere with incredible nice rocks at the sea side and another light house to explore. Some nice walkways made us stay and enjoying the surrounding…

 

Continuing direction Wellington we contacted Lynnie, who welcomed us so hearty at her lovely home in Matara – next to Wellington in the lovely country site close to the see… She offered us her car to have a look at the see side. We had a sunset walk at the beach close to the house. When we arrived back some friends of Lynnie were already waiting for us to show us how to feed the eels at their small rive which runs smothlz next to their farm and after that an amazing dinner was waiting for us… when suddenly an EARTHQUAKE!!! was shaking us! It was just for a second but very intensive, no biggy for the locals (actually they are living on the ring of fire)! What an experience!

 

Today we had a closer look at the capital of NZ: Wellington – we went down the hill with the cable car after we had a look at the cable car museum. When walking the sea site we accidentally joined a Harley Davidson meeting where we saw one more Indian from 1943, we went to the annual market fare of Wellington and in the end we enjoyed some hours in the great Te Papa Museum. Te Papa we recommend to everybody passing Wellington!!! It is one of the most interesting, interactive and best-equipped museums we have ever seen and we could easily spend there more hours, even days! GO and have a look whenever you can! And the best thing is that it is for free!

 

One more day left in Wellington, before we will take the ferry to the South Island….

Due to some questions/complaints i raised the quality of the picture to 1024×1024 max resolution … let me know if it is better now….