Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Nick spotted two sets of familiar shoes as we descend the stairs to baggage claim.  With each step our friends were revealed to us from toe to head.  Suddenly our tired bodies and minds, from 33 hours of travel, felt an overwhelming joy and slight mania at having arrived.  We exchanged hugs and some stories of our travels as we waited for our bags to take their turn around the carousel.  On our drive to M and J’s home fireworks exploded in the sky.  Apparently everyone was excited about our arrival.  Well, that and it was Guy Fox day. 

Almost immediately after arriving at their home, J took off to pick up our friend B, who had flown into Christchurch the day before and hitched a ride with J’s friends to Dunedin.  B planned to stay for 6 weeks, which put us in holiday/travel mode.  After a few days in Dunedin all 5 of us headed north to kayak the Abel Tasman and explore the area M and J had lived in years ago.  One of J’s friends and two of B’s friend, who happened to be traveling in New Zealand, met up with us for our week long adventure kayaking, tramping (hiking), eating, camping, etc… 

After this adventure, the 5 of us spent some time in the Nelson area for a few days.  We had our first fish and chips since arriving, shopped at the Saturday market in Nelson, and tramped (hiked) to a hut in the Nelson Lakes area.

We had all planned to go back to Dunedin with M and J, who had some engagements to get back to, but spontaneously M and J suggested we use their car and take our time getting back down south.  So Nick, B and I set off on a couple weeks adventure around the south island.  Here are some highlights and photos from our first month spent traveling around the south island!

***************Abel Tasman***************
We're ready to go! 

One of our rest spots along the way

That's a dolphin in the background.  We were lucky enough to have a whole pod swim past us.  One went right under Nick's kayak!
After 2 days of kayaking (kayaking further north is not permitted) we hiked part of the track and made it to this beach crossing which can only be done an hour or so each side of low tide.  

 On the water!
**************The Golden Coast************
Nick found wind in Motueka!

Ahhh, Shamahala.  This backpackers was a little piece of paradise!  The man who owns the place allowed us to pitch our tents and enjoy the property for a few days.

The sweetest camping spot ever! 

My favorite part...the tea house! 

We hiked through sheep paddocks to get a view of farewell spit, the most northern part of the south island.  Do you think these sheep know how lovely their daily view is?

 Nick and sheep :)

You can't see the end because it was so windy it created a big sand cloud.

*************Nelson Lakes**************
We started our hike amongst the clouds


View from the tent in the morning
Blow hole at pancake rocks

***************Arthur's Pass***************

The road to Arthur's pass...
 A very curious Kea (high mountain parrot) checks out the car...

Then promptly attempted a break in.

Nick bonded with the Kea on top of Avalanche peak.

I protected my snacks from the cheeky keas who swooped in just as we got to eating our lunch!

On our way down avalanche peak, a very steep climb!
*************Lake Coleridge*************

Our trusty car, courtesy of M and J.  We named it Falcore.

 "Freedom" camping at Lake Georgina (near Lake Coleridge).  Freedom camping means camping outside of campgrounds without facilities.

Lake Coleridge.  Nick picked this destination due to the wind potential, ie kiting potential, but there was no wind this day...

*************Aoraki/Mt. Cook*************

En route to the end of the road and Mt. Cook Village

 We hiked up to Mueller Hut for the night.
 Aoraki/Mt. Cook

***************Milford Sound***************

We had to go through this mountain to get to Milford Sound

When we got there it kind of felt like southeast Alaska without glaciers...

Our dinner spot was so peaceful before being attached by sand flies...we later realized we were cooking at sandfly point.


Laureen said...

You two have hit the ground running! I love the pics...will keep checking up on you! Ta, Luvs!

chandra* said...

I SO appreciate your blog Kelly! Wonderful photos. Brings back memories from me and Shawn's 2 months there in '99. Abel Tazman was one of my favorite tramps. Will look forward to future posts to keep us vicariously warm through our winter. :)