NZ 2012 – Day 12 – Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura to Christchurch

Aug 26, 12 at 11:55 pm

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Day 12
Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura to Christchurch

Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura - Christchurch

Point A (Starting point) = Hanmer Springs
Point B = Kaikoura
Point C = Christchurch

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It was a really chilly day with the sky, all cloudy and gloomy. We hit the road as early as possible as we had booked a boat tour for whale watching at Kaikoura.

The journey took about 1.5 hours. It was raining by the time we reached Kaikoura and ultimately, the Whale Watch where we signed up for the whale watch tour. The Whale Watch office sits beautifully by Kaikoura coast and it also serves as one of the train stops for Coastal Pacific line, operated by KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.

The Kaikoura Peninsula extends into the sea south of the town, and the resulting upwelling currents bring an abundance of marine life from the depths of the nearby Hikurangi Trench. The town owes its origin to this effect, since it developed as a centre for the whaling industry. The name ‘Kaikoura’ translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ (‘kai’- food/meal, ‘koura’ – crayfish) and the crayfish industry still plays a role in the economy of the region. However Kaikoura has now become a popular tourist destination, mainly for whale watching (the Sperm Whale watching is perhaps the best and most developed in the world) and swimming with or near dolphins. There is also a large and readily observed colony of Southern Fur Seals at the eastern edge of the town. At low tide, better viewing of the seals can be had as the ocean gives way to a rocky base which is easily navigable by foot for quite some distance.

When we first arrived, we were taken aback by the meter high waves crashing violently to the shore. The sea looked really choppy and we were not sure if we should continued with the tour. While waiting up, we were constantly be informed of the sea condition and Whale Watch did a magnificent job by giving us appropriate warning about getting seasick due to the rough seas. One of our friends decided to sit back as he was quite prone to seasickness. Although we had paid for the tour before we came to NZ, they still gladly refunded us the full amount. As for my friend, he ended up wandering around Kaikoura town on its own while we were up in the high sea.

The three of us decided to continue with the tour and bought a pack of non-drowsy seasick pills for use later. We were given a short briefing and thereafter, we were chauffeured by bus to the jetty.

Whale Watch @ Kaikoura

NZ 2012 – Day 11 – Greymouth to Hanmer Springs

Aug 26, 12 at 10:14 pm

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Day 11
Greymouth to Hanmer Springs

Greymouth - Punakaiki - Hanmer Springs
Point A (Starting point) = Greymouth
Point B = Punakaiki
Point C = Hanmer Springs

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2 more nights left until our scheduled flight back to reality. After our epic glacier hike, it was time to seek something different again.

Greymouth
Coastal road

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes

NZ 2012 – Day 10 – Franz Josef to Greymouth

Jul 25, 12 at 1:21 am

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Day 10
Franz Josef to Greymouth

Google Maps - Franz Josef to Greymouth

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Our journey so far has brought us to many and incredible things that we have not seen before. We have seen the ridiculously breathtaking lakes, mountains and seas. What else is there we have yet to explore? Walking on glacier? Let’s do it!

We were dead worried prior to signing up the half day glacier walk package. We totally had no idea how difficult the walk would be. We played mind games with each other trying to convince that the walk would be a fun one, but deep inside, we know it will not be an easy walk.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides is just a mere 5 minutes walk from our hostel. After signing the indemnity form, we were ushered to a room to get our walking boots, crampons and jackets. Then, we waited for the bus which got us to the starting point of the walk.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides
Franz Josef Glacier Guides

The Franz Josef (Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere in Māori) is a 12 km long glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km to the south, it is unique in descending from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest.

NZ 2012 – Day 9 – Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier

Jul 24, 12 at 12:56 am

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Day 9
Wanaka to Franz Josef

Google Maps - Wanaka to Franz Josef

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We started the day with overcast sky, and sensing that rain would come soon, we hurriedly moved on to the day’s itinerary.

Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is located just a mere 5 minutes drive from our hostel and it is one of the must-visit places in Wanaka.

Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity. For over 35 years this remarkable business has entertained and amazed visitors of all ages attracted to this beautiful part of the world. Puzzling World offers the world’s first “3-D” Great Maze, incredible Illusion Rooms, a Puzzle Centre/Café, large Gift Shop, eccentric architecture and the intriguing Psychic Challenge.

Puzzling World

NZ 2012 – Day 8 – Queenstown to Wanaka

Jun 19, 12 at 8:52 am

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Day 8
Queenstown to Wanaka

Queenstown to Arrowtown to Wanaka

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We were definitely having a great holiday so far! Starting from the minute we touched down until Day 7, we have been enjoying our limited stay in NZ. With all the activities that we had so far, we did not realize that our trip is coming to an end soon. We just wanted to enjoy the moment as much as we could!

Our Day 8 started at Queenstown, and we drove leisurely towards Arrowtown, located about 20 minutes drive away.

Arrowtown
Autumn

NZ 2012 – Day 7 – Queenstown

Jun 14, 12 at 11:30 am

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Day 7
Queenstown

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Our day started with typical breakfast consisting of bread, muesli, mushroom soup, soy milk and energy bars. Way too healthy for us. 🙂

We then took a brief walk to the Real Journeys office located just 3 minutes from our hostel and immediately we saw the classic TSS Earnslaw Steamship docking proudly at the jetty.

TSS Earnslaw @ Queenstown
TSS Earnslaw