A Travellerspoint blog

The West Coast, New Zealand

Grey and rainy !

sunny 15 °C

This guy knocked out electricy for likely the whole town!

This guy knocked out electricy for likely the whole town!

The next two days would prove to be a lot of driving up the west coast, with a few scenic stops and walks along the way. It rained a lot, so we did't mind putting in the miles. We stopped first at the Blue Pools, which is a river whose waters are really an emerald green, and gorgeous. We also stopped at Thunder Creek and Fantail falls, named after the fantail bird we kept seeing, but sadly, would not slow down enough to be photographed. We skipped over the famous glaciers since we knew we'd get to actually walk on one (without shelling out $450 pp to ride a helicopter to it), in Patagonia. We drove to Okarito Lagoon, which is a nesting ground for kiwi birds, however, since they are most active at night, we didn't see any on our short wetland walk. We slept that night in a holiday park in Hokitika. The next morning we continued up the west coast to Punakaiki to see the famous pancake rocks on the beautiful coast. We also walked the Truman Track, a short walk through forest to the coast. After several more hours of winding mountain roads, we finally stopped for the night in Motueka, the last "big" town before Abel Tasman National Park, where we would be hiking and kayaking the next few days. We paid the 50 NZD for our site and took advantage of the pool. When we went over to jump on the bouncy blowup park, we were disappointed to learn that the electricy was out, all over the city, as someone had crashed into an electric pole with their car (see photo below). With no electricity, that is, no cooking, no hot showers, no internet, we asked for our money back and decided to freedom camp near the park instead (we had checked in only 10 minutes earlier). We cooked up delicious fajitas for dinner, read, and watched the rest of a movie. We went to bed glad that most of the driving for the south island was over, and we had 4 days left to enjoy the park and wine country!
Nous passons les deux prochains jours a remonter la cote Ouest, avec quelques vues interessantes, mais principalement un temps pluvieux et brouilleux (du verbe brouillard, conjugue au present triste). Nous nous arreterons tout de meme aux Blue Pools, qui est un coin de riviere (eau de montagne) ou l'eau est turquoie-intense. Puis Thunder Creek et Fantail Falls, du nom du petit oiseau (Fantail)que nous voyons a plusieurs reprise. Nous ne nous arreterons pas aux Glaciers Franz Joseph et Fox, principalement car nous marcherons sur un autre plus tard dans quelques semaines, ailleurs. Et nous ne nous sentons pas de lacher 450 $ par personne. Et de toute facon, les helicopteres ne volent pas aujourd'hui (brouillard). Bref, nous taillons la route au nord, arrivons a Okarito Lagoon, lieu de vie des Kiwi, ces petits oiseaux endemiques, symboles national local. Nocturnes, les oiseaux ne feront pas leur apparition durant notre courte marche. Nous dormons ce soir la dans un camping a Hokitika. Le lendemain, nous remontons la cote Ouest vers Punakaiki pour voir les fameux rocher "pancakes", du gres en strate, forme sous les eaux. Nous marcherons aussi le long de Truman Track, un petit chemin le long de la cote. Nous finissons la journee par un camping au nord de Motueka pres du Parc National Abel Tasman. Apres avoir payer 50 NZD, nous plongeons dans la piscine, puis nous dirigeons vers le "bouncy castle". Celui ci cesse de fonctionner a la vue d'un Loic trop enthousiaste. ll s'avere que l'electricite est coupee dans toute la ville. Un Chauffard a pris rendez vous avec un poteau. Bref, pas de chateau gonflable, pas de cuisine, pas de douche. On prends nos cliques, nos claques et nos 50 NZD et on part camper gratuit un peu plus au nord. Fajitas+Film (Gandhi) pour finir la journee. Ce sera notre derniere grosses journee de conduite pour un temps !

Us with the pancake rocks

Us with the pancake rocks


Pancake rocks up close

Pancake rocks up close

The blue pools

The blue pools


Fantail falls

Fantail falls

Jungle along the Truman Track

Jungle along the Truman Track


Coast of the Truman Track

Coast of the Truman Track

Slide at the pool in the holiday park we stayed at, for 10 minutes

Slide at the pool in the holiday park we stayed at, for 10 minutes


Climbing wall in the pool

Climbing wall in the pool

Posted by jillandloic 17:23 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Te Anau, Queenstown and Wanaka

sunny 27 °C

Meeting with friends

Meeting with friends

We woke early in Te Anau in order to meet Loic's friends, Vivien and Myriam, who were passing through on their way to Milford Sound. As always, it was good to meet up with old friends, and for me, make new ones. We then drove to Queenstown and hiked Queenstown Hill, a steep hike, with stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains. We continued on to Wanaka, where we swam in the lake and collected a map of the local hikes. We continued further along the highway, passing Lake Hawea, and decided to stop and freedom camp with a gorgeous view of the lake and mountains. Looking forward to an early morning mountain hike tomorrow!
Nous nous reveillons tot pour prendre un cafe avec des amis en visite sur l'ile (Internet, c'est magnifique). Merci Myriam et Vivien pour la pause cafe ! Amusez vous bien a Milford Sound ! (ca faisait en gros 7 ans que Loic les avais pas vu !). Nous reprenons la route vers le Nord, direction Queenstown. Nous suivrons le trek de Queenstown Hill, pour toper le sommet local qui surplombe la ville de Queenstown. Petite ville balneaire en bord de lac. Magnifique emplacement au coeur de l'ile du sud. Nous continuons au Nord vers Wanaka, aussi situee sur un lac, avec quelque jolies plages et en ville d'etape vers les sommest locaux. Nous continuons plus au nord, et nous arretons sur les berges du Lac Hawea pour la nuit, en camping gratuit/sauvage. Superbe vue pour le reveil :)

View of Lake Te Anau from our campervan

View of Lake Te Anau from our campervan

Meeting with friends

Meeting with friends

View of Queenstown

View of Queenstown


Entering Queenstown

Entering Queenstown


Does this mushroom on Queenstown Hill remind you of the smurfs

Does this mushroom on Queenstown Hill remind you of the smurfs


Mountains surrounding Queenstown

Mountains surrounding Queenstown

I love the high-heeled wedge sandals on this VERY steep hike

I love the high-heeled wedge sandals on this VERY steep hike

View of Lake Wanaka surrounded by mountains

View of Lake Wanaka surrounded by mountains

Freedom camping north of Lake Wanaka

Freedom camping north of Lake Wanaka


After a brief swim in cold Lake Wanaka

After a brief swim in cold Lake Wanaka

An amazing freedom camp spot

An amazing freedom camp spot

Posted by jillandloic 23:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Catlins and Milford Sound

and a surprise visit by dolphins

sunny 20 °C
View Adventures of a lifetime on jillandloic's travel map.

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin

Day two of New Zealand we decided to drive the southern scenic route through the Catlins. Our first stop was Nugget Point Lighthouse, which, though foggy, proved to be a stunning scenic coastal walk. We also made the short walk through rainforest to Purakaunui Falls. We stopped and had lunch at the Florence Hill lookout, and walked along the beach reaching Cathedral Caves, just as the tide was beginning to come in. We ended our day at Curio and Porpoise bays, which were absolutely majestic to walk around. We spotted several Hector dolphins swimming near the shore, only a few meters from a lucky few tourists willing to brave the icy cold waters. We drove a little further and freedom camped in Fortrose, ending the day with another pretty sunset on a beach.
Nous descendons plus au Sud en suivant la route touristique des Catlins. Notre premier arret sera au phare de Nugget Point. Malgres le brouillard, la vue du bout du monde sera quand meme vertigineuse. Nous suivrons aussi le chemin a travers la foret tropical jusqu'au Cascade de Purakaunui Falls. Un peu plus a l'Ouest, nous nous arreterons manger sur le point de vue de Florence Hill, puis marcherons sur la plage pour visiter les Cathedral Caves, formees par les flots. Ce sera aussi notre presence au point le plus au Sud de notre voyage en Nouevlle-Zelande, et en general, le plus au Sud dans notre vie ( 45eme hurlants, et tout, et tout...) ! Nous finissons la journee a Curio et Purpose Bay, a prendre l'air marin, et attendre la venue des pingouins. Ils ne viendrons pas. Sniff. Nous serons consoles par des dauphins Hector, qui iront chatouiller les pieds des surfeurs courageux (pas nous). Nous nous arreterons sur une pelouse en bord de mer a Fortrose, pour y passer la nuit (gratis), avec un coucher de soleil imbattable (le plus au Sud du monde que nous ayons vu jusqu'a present.

nugget point

nugget point


nugget point lighthouse

nugget point lighthouse

purakaunui falls

purakaunui falls

Florence Hill lookout

Florence Hill lookout

tide coming in at cathedral caves

tide coming in at cathedral caves


cathedral cave

cathedral cave


at the beach with cathedral cave

at the beach with cathedral cave


inside cathedral cave

inside cathedral cave

Curio bay

Curio bay


Curio bay (2)

Curio bay (2)


waves crashing at curio bay

waves crashing at curio bay


us at curio bay

us at curio bay


hector dolphin swimming in curio bay

hector dolphin swimming in curio bay

Freedom camping in Fortrose

Freedom camping in Fortrose

Day 3 we got an early start and drove all morning to Te Anau, the gateway town to Milford Sound, to resupply, and then headed straight for our campsite. We still had plenty of daylight and fantastic weather, so we hiked the Key Summit trail up to an amazing lookout and small alpine lake. We camped along a river, still an hour from Milford Sound, but the nearest "legal" place to camp. In the morning we started off early for our 9 am cruise. The views of the sound were amazing, being surrounded by waterfalls and mountains, and finally, a view of the Tasman Sea. My favorite part were the Bottlenose dolphins, the largest dolphins in the world, that jumped closely along side our boat for a while. On our way back to Te Anu we stopped at the Chasm, a massive waterfall, and Mirror Lakes, but settled into camp mid-afternoon for some much needed internet and rest, since Jill was battling her 5th cold this trip!
Le lendemain, nous nous reveillons tot et arrivons a Te Anau, ville etape pour Milford Sound. Nous faisons les stocks et repartons dans la foulee pour un camping a mi chemin de Milford Sound. Nous prenons notre place de camp et repartons vers 15h pour une petit ascension du Key Summit, 3h allez-retour. Depuis le sommet, la vue sur les anciennes vallees glacieres est imparable. Nous dormons avec le bruit du ruisseau local et nous reveillons a 6:30am pour rejoindre Milford Sound et notre visite du Fjord en bateau. Superbes vues des falaises du Fjord, des cascades puis de la Mer de Tasmanie. Nous y verrons aussi nos amis les otaries (toujours a jeint) et un groupe de dauphins a gros nez qui jouerons dans le sillage du Cata pendant quelques minutes. Superbe experience. Une fois a terre nous nous arreterons au Chasm, une cascade impressionnante, et les Lacs des mirroirs. Nous nous arretons a Te Anau pour la soiree et nous reprendre des forces (Jill a attraper la grippe)

The Key Summit

The Key Summit


Milford Sound

Milford Sound


Milford sound again

Milford sound again


Male and 5 pups in Milford Sound

Male and 5 pups in Milford Sound


Glacier in Milford Sound- expected to be melted in 20 years

Glacier in Milford Sound- expected to be melted in 20 years


Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin


7 or more dolphins swimming along sid our cruise

7 or more dolphins swimming along sid our cruise

This bird landed on our campervan while waiting at the Homer Tunnel

This bird landed on our campervan while waiting at the Homer Tunnel

Mirror Lakes, Milford Sound

Mirror Lakes, Milford Sound


The Chasm

The Chasm

Posted by jillandloic 22:25 Archived in New Zealand Comments (4)

Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

South Island

semi-overcast 18 °C
View Adventures of a lifetime on jillandloic's travel map.

View of the Otago Peninsula

View of the Otago Peninsula

Our first day in New Zealand we picked up our campervan, bought groceries and hit the road. Since we had a long drive from Christchurch to the Otago Peninsula, we only made one quick stop at the Moeraki Boulders, a beach littered with oddly round boulders. We got our first of many glimpes of the gorgeous, cliff-lined coastline of the south island. Our first night we learned the ropes of cooking in our campervan and enjoyed a beautiful view of the hills of the Otago Peninsula from our campsite.
Nous arrivons en Nouvelle-Zelande ! Nous dormons pres de l'aeroport et prenons reception de notre campervan pour les 29 prochains jours ! (Au passage, notre horloge-smartphone decide de ne pas changer d'heure et nous arrivons deux heures en retard partout) Nous remplissons les coffres et prenons la route direction Otago a 5 heures de route. Nous nous arreterons en route au site de Moeraki Boulders, et ses boulets de gres ronds. Nous y voyons aussi nos premieres scenes du bord de mer de la cote Sud-Est de l'ile du Sud. Nous passons la fin de soiree a decouvrir les joies de la cuisines gastronomique en campervan (pates bolo).

Loic on a moeraki boulder

Loic on a moeraki boulder


Jill on a moeraki boulder

Jill on a moeraki boulder

reminds me of Wisconsin

reminds me of Wisconsin


lunch in the campervan

lunch in the campervan

Camping with a view in Portobello

Camping with a view in Portobello


Amazing beaches on the Otago Peninsula

Amazing beaches on the Otago Peninsula

sheep

sheep


Our full day on the peninsula we began with a drive up to Sandfly Bay, which took us over scenery we're sure was a contender for a Lord of the Rings movie. We passed so many sheep herds and green hills with dramatic views of the bay. We hiked down to the beach on steep sand dunes, reaching one end of the beach with some seal lions sunning themselves on the rocks. We drove to our next destination and ate lunch in our campervan (we're loving having our home with us at all times!), and then hiked to the Pyramids, which is a few hills that are shaped like pyramids. The walk led to another isolated beach, as well as past more fields of sheep. I'm beginning to think New Zealand must supply the entire world with wool, based on the number of sheep we've seen. We then drove to the end of the peninsula, the Royal Albatross Centre and Pilot's beach, where we watched more seal lions playing in the water, and tried to photograph royal albatross flying overhead.
Nous passons notre journee sur la peninsule d'Otago a decouvrir les sites principaux. Nous allons a Sandfly Bay et profitons de la vue magnifique. Nous arretons de compter les troupeaux de moutons et les vallees de champs et de monts qui reecrivent la palette eds verts. Magnifique. Nous allons visiter nos amis les otaries. Pause dejeuner (c'est pratique un campervan). Puis direction les "Pyramids", deux monts coniques en bord de mer. Troupeaux de moutons. Vallees vertes. Nous atteignons la point et le centre des Albatros Royal et Pilot's Beach. Nous y voyons d'autres otaries (a jeint) et n'y verons pas les pingouins jaunes. Par contre, les Albatros feront une apparition innattendue.

seal lion at sandfly bay

seal lion at sandfly bay


Sandfly bay hike

Sandfly bay hike


At sandfly bay beach

At sandfly bay beach

Sheep on the pyramids hike

Sheep on the pyramids hike


Loic and the pyramids

Loic and the pyramids

View at Royal Albatross Centre

View at Royal Albatross Centre


Seal lions at Royal Albatross Centre

Seal lions at Royal Albatross Centre


Royal albatross

Royal albatross

Posted by jillandloic 23:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Sydney, Australia

Last stop on the island...

sunny 46 °C
View Adventures of a lifetime on jillandloic's travel map.

Us with the opera house

Us with the opera house

We landed in Sydney and took the train to Chatswood, where our hosts and friends Jean and Anthony live. Over the weekend they took us to the Blue Mountains where we did several scenic walks. We stopped for cold drinks at the Church Bar, an old church converted into a really cool bar. On Sunday we saw more of the city and stopped for a swim at one of Sydney's many beaches. On Monday, we did some sightseeing of our own along the waterfront and to the opera house, stopping for a swim at Manly beach. Our last day was a half day, so we did a shorter walk in Chatswood through a forest near their home. What we enjoyed most in Sydney were our evenings with friends, sharing wine and travel stories.
Nous atterrissons a Sydney, et retrouvons nos amis Jean et Anthony dans la banlieue nord de Sydney (Chatswood). Durant le week end ils nous promeneront autour de Sydney, a la decouverte de plusieurs des sites typiques. Nous allons tout d'abord au Nord-Ouest, visiter les Blue Montains, ou nous faisons quelques courtes promenades et y decouvrons des vues super sceniques. Pour essuyer les 46 degres celsius, bous buvons un coup au The Church bar, une eglise reconverti en pub. Le dimanche, nous visitons les plages de Sydney, et le bord de mer a l'est de la ville. Lundi, nous allons decouvrir la ville en passant par le port, l'opera et en finissant par Manly beach de l'autre cote de la baie. Le mardi, nous passons la matinee tranquille a Chatswood, en nous promenant dans les bois locaux. Super moments entre amis, a partager nos histoires et quelques bons verres :) Sydney semble etre super agreable!

3 sisters in the Blue Mountains

3 sisters in the Blue Mountains


Visiting the Blue Mountains

Visiting the Blue Mountains

Us at the gap

Us at the gap


Jean and Anthony with us at the gap

Jean and Anthony with us at the gap

Jean and Anthony made the famous crushed avo sandwich

Jean and Anthony made the famous crushed avo sandwich

filming The Bold and the Beautiful at the opera house

filming The Bold and the Beautiful at the opera house


Jill and the opera house

Jill and the opera house


us with the arbor bridge

us with the arbor bridge

Posted by jillandloic 21:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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