Archive for april, 2014

NEW ZEALAND ROADTRIP – PART 1

fredag, april 11th, 2014

Just before chistmas Ginni and I met up in Auckland to continue our exploring of New zealand. We both had spend some time overseas to expand the budget. First we returned up to Paihia in the northern part, were we spend a couple days at Mark Hudson’s house to prepare our trip. There we met Connor and Ellie from UK, they work for Mark as kayak instructors. Thanks to them we could rent their car for our entire roadtrip which save us time and money instead of buying a car. It already had a name: ”Scooby Doo- the Subaru” and even kayak racks on the roof. Our friend Dave Ramsey had taking good care of our kayaks, hoist up in the roof in his garage while we been gone. Also checking up on s/y Misty which will remain this year in the boatyard in Waipapa.

Soon Scooby Doo got packet up to the brim with camping and kayak gear, water, food and our two kayaks on the roof, we were ready to head south. Our travel companions was three stuffet animals; Moose, Koala and Kiwi.  The idea was to get down to the bottom of NZ’s South Island as soon as possible, hopefully even to Stewart Island which is the most southern part of NZ. From there slowly work our way back up north.

First two days we beating the hightway all way down to Wellington were we took the ferry down to the south Island. Then from Picton we continued driving south along the east coast. In Christchurch we finally took a break from driving and went for a short sightseeing in town. In 2011 Christchurch was hit by a strong earthquake and many buildings collapsed. Some areas in downtown is now transformed into parking lots and it gave a sense of a ghostown. We continued east out on the Banks peninsula and at the very end of the road up on the hills we found a very cool accommodation called ”Onuku farm hostel”. A few buildings with common kitchen, lounges with internet etc. For sleeping they had ”Stargazers”, small huts only big enough to sit upright and with windows in the roof so you could watch the stars at night. The rain was pooring down and we were happy not to camp out in a tent that night. Next morning we did some kayaking along the peninsula in rainy weather. For the night we stayed on a beach camping on the north side of Banks peninsula.

We continued driving south along the east coast, next stop was Dunedin. After a shorter stop in town we went further out on Otago peninsula were we stayed at Portobello lodge. Not far from there layes the Royal Albatross center were the Royal albatross and Yellow eyed pinguins can be seen. Next day we did some nice paddling around the head of the peninsula in clear sunny weather.

We drove last bit down to Invercargill were we stayed for New years eve. The plan after this was to take the ferry down to Stewart Island but the forecast was promise days of strong gales and heavy rain so we decided to drive up to Milford sound on the west coast instead. And rain it came… Not far from Milford sound we stayed at ”Gunn’s camp” a historic place with basic huts and good atmoshere. Milford sound on a postcard shows the stunning fjord with surrounding peaky mountains but the day we were there most of the spectacular mountain peaks was hidden in the clouds. Despite the cold wind and heavy rain we were determined to do some paddling in Milford sound, so we did. Even without seeing the highest peaks it was still an amazing place with vertical mountains  and waterfalls every where. The wind and rain increased and at the end I was really cold in my thin insufficient kayak clothes, Ginni could handle it better in her drysuit. Afterwards we stopped by a coffeeshop / restaurant which also offered hotshowers which was just what I needed. The forecast showed that the bad weather was remaining and the road over the mountain pass will be closed in a few hours, so we started driving back toward Invercargill again. One relaxing day followed in Invercargill, I also supplemented my poor kayak clothes for colder weather which was needed for Stewart Island. In a hardware store in Invercargill (E. Hayes and Sons Ltd.) I was lucky to find Burt Munro’s famous original Indian motorcycle, The ”World’s fastes indian”. We drove down to Bluff, at the tip of south Island. Parked the car and loaded our kayaks on the ferry and went down to Stewart Island.

First night we stayed in a hotel in the main village Oban. This is a fishermans ”down to earth” village, locals with weathered faces and big rubber boots. Next day we went out for a couple days kayaking in Paterson inlet, just south of Oban. To begin with pretty nice calm weather but as later turned in to a strong gale. Our plan for the night was to camp in a hut in the south east part of the inlet but to get there we had to cross a bigger open part of the bay which was too exposed for the wind. The strong wind and rough sea made it almost impossible to get forward (atleast for me), so we had to find shelter in a cove close to Dundas harbour. We put our tent up and camped there for the night. I realized that my 20 years old tent which use to be really good, wasn’t so water proof anymore, we had puddle’s of water inside the tent when we woke up next morning. The wind had eased so we continued down to Ulva Island. This Island is a sancturay for wildlife espacially birds and there you can find a mixture of rare species. We hiked around the Island and later we found a nice camping spot on a beach not far from Ulva Island. Next day the forecast was showing a new gale approacing so we started early to paddle the remaining miles back to Oban. We have seen how fast the wind and sea condition can change down here so no time to waste. The rain didn’t wait long but the wind didn’t get as strong as they promise. We were back in oban before noon but still no sign of strong gales. Instead we went for a hike around the little town of Oban. The day after we took the ferry back to Bluff.

 

 

Scooby Doo-the Subaru packet up with kayaks and stuff, we are ready for heading southMoose, Koala and Kiwi checking the map where to goSome where along the roadNo lack of parking lots after the earthquake in ChristchurchOld church under restoration after the earthquake in ChristchurchKebabstand ChristchurchStargazer hut at Onuku farm hostelIn the Stargazer hut you can only sit uprightSimpel kitchen, Onuku farm hostelShelter from the rain in the common kitchen, Onuku farm hostelPaddling in rain along Banks peninsulaBanks peninsulaCave, Banks peninsulaHigh up in the clouds, Banks peninsulaView over Banks peninsulaPoor little bird fetus crash landed on our tentAlternative house projects outside ChristchurchIndustrial buildings, DunedinMorning paddle along Otago peninsulaHotel room InvercargillElephant of corregated plate, InvercargillBurt Munro's original Indian motorcycle inside a hardware store in InvercargillCliften suspension bridge outside Invercargill, built in 1895Ginni trying out the rope swing at Lake ManapouriHuts at Gunn's campHiking signs, Gunn's campNo sandflies beoynd this pointEglinton river along Milford highwaySheeps along Milford highwayGinni twinsToward Milford soundValley along Milford highwayMilford sound on a portcardMilford sound the day we were there, Ginni pointing at were the mountain peak use to be on a clear dayHigh humidity in Milford soundThe strong wind and spray from the waterfall was close to knock me over, Milford soundWet and cold in Milford soundInsane rain, Milford soundThe kayaks loads on the ferry to Stewart IslandView street, Stewart IslandStorage building in Oban, Stewart IslandSmall sailboat, Stewart IslandPaterson Inlet, Stewart IslandTwo kayak nerds ready for paddling, Stewart IslandFirst landfall in Paterson inlet, Stewart IslandAlbatrossGinni prepairing for lunch, Stewart IslandThe mooring can never be too big in these waters, Stewart IslandThe unafraid Weka bird, common around Stewart IslandThe strong upwind made it difficult to get forward, Stewart IslandMy 20 year old tent wasn't as water proof as it use to be, Stewart IslandCooking dinner between the showers, Stewart IslandGinni wrote a postcard on a leaf, as they did in the old daysSings of abandoned settlement on a remote place, Stewart IslandHigh tide in camp, Paterson inletReady for a new days paddling, Stewart IslandFearless bird on Ulva IslandSprouding fernBack in Oban, Stewart Island

 

NEW ZEALAND ROADTRIP – PART 2

fredag, april 11th, 2014

We drove north and passed by Invercargill for the third time. This time we took highway 6 north west toward Queenstown. Finally arrived we stayed at a peaceful campsite a few miles west of Queenstown, beside Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is NZ’s ”outdoor-sports mekka”, a busy town crouded with tourists and hip people, totally the opposite of Stewart Island. Anyway, lots of fun stuff going on around Queenstown and for me it was a good opportunity to try bungy jumping for the first time.

I signed up at AJ Hacketts shop in town which offers a variety of bungy jumps, swings etc. I chose the ”Nevis bungy”, NZ’s highest bungy jump, 134 meter high from a wire cable above the Nevis river. The center is located a few miles out of town up in the mountains. Just the bus ride to get there was an adventure it self with narrow winding gravel roads. Up there we were equipped with harness before we entered the lift cabin which took us out to the platform were we would jump from. Ginni joined me as well for taking pictures. After a short instruction and mounting of  the bungy cord around my legs it was time for the jump. I hold a GoPro camera in my hand to film it. The instructor lead me out to the take-off platform and first at this point I started to feel how deep the abyss was below my feet, this was a contrary to all logic. The instructor told me to smile at the camera in front of me and start counting down. No problem, my eyes refused to look down anyway, I smiled and jumped. A shortcut in my brain made me turn off the camera in the air but I turn it on again just after. I falled for a few seconds and after a while with hardly knowing if I was on the way up or down, but what a nice feeling! On the second bouns I released my feet with a string which turned me into an upright position instead of hanging upside down. A steel wire was send down along the cord and hoist me up again. Next mans turn. Back at the center we looked at the film made by the organizers of my jump and I was impressed how good they made it.

The weather had been great since we arrived in Queenstown and the next day we went for a few hours paddling on the lake Wakatipu. After that we started driving up north, following highway 6 toward the westcoast. We stayed at a campsite beside Lake Hawea for the night, then we continued up to Haast on the westcoast. Even here we were lucky to get thru the mountain pass before they closed the road because of too much rain. At the lodge in Haast we met two Swedish girls who been bicycling along the entire New Zealand and now had the last leg down to Invercargill. We kept driving north along the barren west coast which is windswept by the Tasman sea. We stopped by at Fox glacier and hiked up the trail to the foot of the glacier. From there you can sometimes see Mt.Cook but now it was too cloudy. Further up north we checked out some rare rock formations, were the limestone been shaped from the rough Tasman sea. Some of the trees even grows in a horizontal way because of the wind. From Westport we followed the road north east toward Nelson.

In Nelson we stayed for a few days, partly because some car repairs but also check the place out. Nelson is located on the north part of the south Island and despite the Tasman sea and Cook strait Nelson has some really nice climate. This is also a popular place for art and micro breweries which fits us good. Of a coincidence we met a kayak friend to Ginni in a bar, Oscar from Mexico and his working partners. They work as a kayak instructors in this area and gave us some advice for good paddling places. We went further east to Marlborough sounds which is a muddle of islands and peninsulas. Here you can drive forever on small winding gravel roads, very stunning. French pass and Titirangi to mention some great places we visited during the days in Marlborough sounds which also provided good kayaking. From here we continued to Picton and catched the ferry up to the north island again.

Ginni preparing dinner, outside QueenstownCamping outside QueenstownLake Wakatipu, outside QueenstownFlowers at sunset, OueenstownMetal art, QueenstownReady for bungy jumpbungy jump platform on wire cableFirst guy outView from the platformGetting ready for the jumpDown I goUp I coming againHappy bungy jumpersHappy Henrick at happy hourLake Wakatipu outside QueenstownLake WakatipuPaddling around the small Islands in Lake WakatipuGinni paddling, Lake WakatipuGinni facing the windLast bit to the camping ground thru a cow pastureOn the mountain pass over to Haast, short later they closed the roadSwedish girls we met in Haast, they bicycling thru the entire NZAlong the barren west coastGinni checking the horizon on Tasman seaFox glacier hikeMountain face below Fox glacierHiking up toward Fox glacierLower part of Fox glacierFox glacierGuided glacier tourSpecific rock formations on the west coastStriped limestoneTasman sea beating the NZ west coastWindswept trees on the west coastWindswept of the Tasman seaCoast around WestportSuspension bridge, LyellStreet musician, NelsonStreet art in NelsonWood house, NelsonCamo tree, NelsonOscar and his working partners we met in NelsonAlong the roads in Marlborough soundFrench pass, Marlborough soundsWest part of Marlborough soundToward French pass, Marlborough SoundThe winding gravel roads requires some good concentrationKayak sailing in Marlborough soundsFresh water creek, Marlborough soundsHiking up the fresh water creek, Marlborough soundsFern tree, Marlborough soundHours of driving on gravel roads makes everything dustyThe bay of Titirangi, were we also did some kayakingNarrow passage, TitirangiSome where in Marlborough soundsPaddle thru tunnel, Marlborough soundsThis cave went about 30 meters thru the entire rock

 

NEW ZEALAND ROADTRIP – PART 3

fredag, april 11th, 2014

Back in Wellington we started driving north toward Napier on the east coast. A pretty cool place with a long sandy beach were we stayed at a friendly hostel. Then further up north to Tauranga,  mostly to meet up with our friend William Redfern as we met in La paz, Mexico couple years ago. He’s now having his boat up in a boatyard in Tauranga and doing some work on it (sounds familiar?). It was nice to see him again. From here we went straight up to Auckland were Ginni would teach a kayak lesson for some people next day. Thanks to Russel and Larraine Williams (Canoe and Kayak) we could stay in their house for two nights. By now Ginni only had a couple days before her flight out of NZ, so we drove alway back up to Paihia and started organize and clean things up. Kayaks went back into Dave’s garage and rest of the gear back on Misty. I drove Ginni to the Kerikeri airport early in the morning and she was gone. Next time I’ll see her will hopefully be in Sweden in a few month.

I returned the car to Connor and Ellie and after that I had a few days of welding work on my neightbour boat ”Oyaragh” which owns by John and Jenny. Dave came by Misty and took me for a whole day motorcycle ride on his cousins huge farm property. Such a fun way to explore the great backcountry of New Zealand. A few days later I flew out of New Zealand myself for work overseas.

The harbour in Wellington were the ferry goes toward the south IslandOld abandoned hutRailway, north IslandBackroad around Mt.RuapehuHouse around Mt.RuapehuImprovement of our unwaterproof tentHiking in fern woodsChopped off fern treeAnother beutiful hike in NZ forestShaggy birds in their nestSmall road on the way northWilliam Redfern we first met in Mexico, now in TaurangaMount Maunganui, TaurangaSailboat seen from Mount Maunganui, TaurangaMost food stores in NZ have a good selection of micro brewed beerSkytower, AucklandMotorcycle ride with DaveHiking up the highest hillMisty in Waipapa boatyard, our basecamp in NZ