18.12.2012 - 03.01.2013
The ferry over to the South Island was very uneventful as the weather wasn’t great. Coming into the sounds is supposed to be beautiful but unfortunately all we could see was a thick layer of mist!
After a quiet night in we started the Queen Charlotte track. We got the boat back through the sound from Picton to the start of the walk. We were lucky as after half an hour on the boat we came across a pod of about 20 dolphins feeding. It was amazing to see and they came right up and under our boat.
We were dropped off at Ship Cove, the starting point of the Queen Charlotte track, 71km from Anakiwa at the end. After a hefty climb at the start we were rewarded with breath taking views all across the sound.
From here we headed back down to sea level where the rest of the days walk was relatively flat through lush bush. The weather slowly got worse throughout the day but we made it to our first campsite by 4pm after walking 26.5k’s that day.
We set up camp straight away, made some food and chatted to some other walkers who were doing the same track over a longer time frame than us.
Tiredness soon kicked in and we retired back to the tent.
The next morning we were greeted by much better weather, and also another big climb to start the day. The uninterrupted blue sky made the turquoise water around us look amazing, glistening in the sunshine. The views throughout the day were fantastic and after 24.5k’s we arrived at our next campsite, Cowshed Bay. We soaked our aching feet in the sea before treating ourselves to a cool glass of wine and a cider at a 5 star hotel down the road from our pitiful patch of grass our tent was set on.
Another early night led to our final day on the track. Just 20k’s for the day but the start was a killer hill not made any easier by the blazing sunshine. Luckily it was all down hill after we reached the top and quite an easy ending to our walk. We got a water taxi back to Picton from here, jumped in the car and headed down to Blenheim, New Zealand’s largest wine region.
Blenheim is a bit like Mendoza in Argentina. A lot of vineyards offering wine tastings. We drove around a few and walked around one called Framingham. As we had ‘been there and done that’ we didn’t stay for long as most of the vineyards were either closed or were expensive so we headed off to the peninsular town called Kaikoura.
The drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura was amazing. We went down SH1, which is inland then slowly aligns with the coast. As you get closer to Kaikoura the snow capped picturesque mountains come into view. We found a campsite, pitched up, had some dinner and then headed into town for a few drinks. Even though it was a Friday night the town was dead so we headed back to our campsite. The next day we wanted to go to the sea to see if we could spot any of the abundance of wildlife we read about, including whales, dolphins, seals, penguins etc… We drove around to the end of the peninsular and only found 2 lazy seals lying on the rocks. The day was a bit miserable so we didn’t stay for too long. We did stop at the world famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ trailer to get a snack of steamed mussels for me and a scallop sandwich for Paul, yum!
As the weather was rubbish we decided to drive onto Christchurch a bit early. WE found a nice cabbin, and had an early night as it would be an early start the next day as we were flying to Sydney to visit Pauls sister and her family for Xmas and New Year.
The flight to Sydney went smoothly, we arrived early in the morning to a blazing hot day. Sarah’s kids Rocco and Carla were very excited to see their uncle Wallrus.
We had a fab time in Sydney, Chrismas day was amazing. We went to the beach down the road almost daily, took the kids to the museum, went to Manly and spent New Years eve watching fireworks on the beach.
Sadly our holiday from our holiday had to end and we flew back to NZ on the 3rd Jan to finish travelling the beautiful South Island.