‘What we did next’ in New Zealand

22 March 2023 | 0 comments

We waved the Ramblers off in Christchurch and set out.  Time to visit new places and connect again with old friends. We travelled off the beaten track, off grid, and discovered more – of a lot….

First stop: the Banks peninsula, a couple of hours’ drive from Christchurch. The Giant’s house mosaics inspired us, the rugged hills and bays surprised us, the influence of the French settlers amused us, and our walk onto the pa, only possible at low tide, rewarded us with far reaching views. The  ‘luxury’ Halfmoon hostel was full of old world quirkiness. Here’s the Giants house Mosaics:

And some other shots of the Banks Peninsua

After this welcome unwind from leading, Tim and I spent a week on separate adventures: that’s another blog to write. Re united a week later, we set off to Stewart Island, the island off the South of the South Island, and wow.

The 20 minute flight from Invercargill to the island is unmissable. Almost the smallest plane I’ve flown on, and perfect weather, Stewart Island Air has been justifiably voted as one of the friendliest little airlines in the world. We knew we were in for a treat when the lady at the check in desk told us the pilot would come and meet and collect us when it was time to board.Just as surprising on the return flight – as we waited in the minibus at the end of the airstrip, our driver gets her binoculars out to check the ?strip, ?airsock…and radios the pilot with the wind speed and direction. The joy of getting back to basics!

Oban, the only ‘town’ (more, a small village) on Stewart Island, is laid back and has a wonderful feel of community. Whilst it caters well for a constant trickle (never a stream…it’s just too small) of visitors keen to hike, people carry on with daily life of school, fishing and socialising. If it’s your birthday, greetings are posted on the village shop notice board. If you need some camping gas,  pick it up (free) from the storage cupboard at the post office, which doubles at the check in terminal for your flight.

Ulva Island, a small island in the bay, is finally ‘predator free’, leaving the bird life to flourish. The sound and quantity of sightings was extraordinary, my favourite was the saddleback. The ferry was an olde world delight, your ticket was written on a tree leaf, one that you used to be able to use as a postcard, until the 1970’s. We also spotted the elusive kiwi on a wonderful evening bush walk.

We walked the Rakiura track, one of the ‘Great Walks’ of New Zealand. A lot of the walk is in the bush, but the lushness and biodiversity is sensational and  the sounds of the morepork and kiwi at night were special to hear. Our first night’s campsite was high on a hill in the bush, a lovely clearing with a walk down to the sea. On the second night we had the whole (mile long) Maori beach and camping area to ourselves. I just hope my photos do it justice.

I must not forget too include our picture of the kiwi, taken at night:

No sooner were we back than we were off on yet another really wild adventure,,,so much so it needs a blog post all of it’s own. The great Whanganui river trip



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