Unspeakably unique, thundering quite, magically real, this is the Jungle, my Jungle, my Nature where I was creeping, I was tearing of joy, I was feeling alive as never been in my life in this timeless Nirvana!
13.11.2016 New Zealand / 12.11.2016 Rarotonga – 12,4km
We left Christchurch with a 11:00 flight to Auckland.
The drop off at ACE was perfect, no problem, fast and the shuttle to the airport last just few minutes.
Arrived in Auckland we decided to send another bag direct to Rarotonga and to leave mine at Ibis hotel, where I will sleep at my return.
In the international you could find the yellow bus that would drop you to the hotels close to the airport for 6NZ$ only. The bus is regular every 30 minutes.
Ibis Hotel is really close to the international and you could even walk 15 minutes (880 m)
Crossing the International Date line, even if it’s an imaginary line on the surface of the earth let you feel really strange…
I will arrive yesterday night and I will live twice the 13th November!
Our new time zone is -23 hours Auckland time, -11 hours Zulu Time
The Catlins are marvellous, even with a grey sky, the rainforest you find all around you will make you alive… and more than this!!!
The lake Wilkie is dark and give you the opportunity to see the different stage of the forest that will decrease until the sea border. Really amazing!
Then on the way the most photographed waterfalls of New Zealand.
At Owaka we had breakfast. The lady of the shop on the move told us that she would come in April 2017 in Italy, from Sicily to Valentino Rossi’s town to have a pizza. She is a fan!!!
We arrived at Dunedin with a grey sky, no sun, so we had just a quick look of this beautiful city,
a drive in Baldwin street, the Wrold’s steepest street
and just drive in the Otago Peninsula until Portobello. I guess that Dunedin will worth at least a day, but we must move and we drive then to Oamaru.
When we arrive to our family, we were really happy about our choice. Amazing location, warm welcome, great children, delicious Shefferd pie and lovely cats and dog. Then we started to play with the children. It made everybody laugh!with the pillow war, one shot total exploded one muffin! 😂😂😂
But we booked the Penguins view in the Blue colony and after dinner we just move to the show…
Yes, the show, this is the right word. NEVER EVER IN MY LIFE AGAIN!!! The commentary was too loud and was completely scaring the penguins, people all over, too close with the animals that was waiting too long to come back to the nest. The tunnels that drive the penguins to the tourists!!! Please do not go!!! Better to wait and to see just one or none, in the wild and not scaring them like in this terrible touristic show!
We met then 2 scared penguins in the road to home… the road should be closed! Those are animals!!!
Today is a relaxing day. Just spent few hours with our great and amazing family.
We had a walk around the garden, milked the goat, saw the chickens, the baby goats and the sheep that think to be a goat… amazing!
Then after seeing the two children cooking, we drove through Oamaru, to see the artist street, with plenty of rare books and artists selling their products.
Then drive to Christchurch.
Now, I was expecting an active city, full of people outside in the road, like Wellington, even better. It could be the lazy Saturday around 17:00, the fry of the sky, but I could feel the sadness in the eyes of the people. Frankly speeking, not so much to see, not so much to do… just few shops, all around Chinese.
The owner of the house where we sleep, Chinese as well, live here since 16 years. She is happy, she would not change Christchurch with Wellington, never with Auckland. She told us that the reconstruction started with people’s houses, then, just last year, with the building in center…
Anyhow, everything is an open construction site and leave the ineluctable sadness…
And when you wake up in the morning and you see the sun after the heavy rain, your day could be only a great one!!!
An easy walk of about 2,5 km to arrive directly at 750m from the Franz Josef Glacier… Amazing!!!
The road to the Fox Glacier Town is really beautiful and we drove directly to the lake Matheson to see the reflection of the Mount Cook. You can see the amount Cook while you are driving!!!
And now we are deep in the rainforest and then the sea, at Bruce Bay. Tasman sea, the ocean with big breakers.
Then again rainforest, until lake Paringa, a breathtaking lake where people fish the Whitebait. The season last only 2,5 month, until the 14 of November. So we are lucky and the whitebaits really delicious!!!
After Haast, we will start a winding road to theHaast Pass (a little more than 500m height) to arrive in the Lake District!
Marvelous! I tried to make some shot, but the panorama are so beautiful and unique!!!
We spent the night in Wanaka, just relaxing and having some beer and wine.
Today was a rainy day, but this is the west coast and the South Island…
We start from Cape Foulwind to see the Seal Colony; just few of them, but agai, a must to see. The panorama is breathtaking, with a long sandy beach and the rocks that are popping up from the sea.
Two gulls are in the mating season and the male is dancing in front of the female. So cute!
We had a stop over in Charleston, I guess 2 people city, not more, for a egg and bacon and then we drove through the coastal highway, the sea on the right, rainforest on the left… the perfect daydream
We visit the Pancake rock with a miserable stormy weather… the tide was low, so no splash inside the multiple holes, but the rocks itself were incredible. It really seams a multiple layers of pancakes!!!
Hokitika is the city of the jade and the whitebait… nothing more.
Along the road to Franz Joseph there was raining cats and dogs!!! We also stopped because we were not able to see.
We just decided to spend our time just relaxing in the hot pools having a dinner and planning for the day after…
And then, as if by magic, the Franz Josef Glacier appears!
Takaka is an hippie town and the organic market is every Saturday. You can find really great and delicious product, people are peaceful, happy and smart and worth for sure a visit!
The same I should say about Pupu spring, the cleanest spring in the world. A short track drove us through the bush full of fern until the spring. The water is so pure and crystal clear!
When we arrived to Westport, after 270km, we were quite depressed about the weather and the ugliness of the city… so we decided to leave our luggage at the hotel, where you can feel as being in Biennale
and to drive 100km more in the north to visit Karamea… the end of the world!
The road to Karamea is winding, with plenty of house to sell and a great spectacular path through the rainforest,
then appear an improbable city, where there should have been a petrol station… but closed!!! So tank before!
All the people wear plastic boots and should remove their shoes to enter into the supermarket…
Close to the beach of Oparara, a men with his child on a Quad, driving like crazy taking the dog out for a run through the beach…
We drove to the end of the road, with a foggy and variable weather, with the complete feeling to be close to the end of the world…
Just few people, some houses, and the magic of being at the end of the world…
Driving around Napier is really strange, it seems to be arrived in a Charlestown movie!!! The city was completely destroyed by an earthquake and rebuild in the 30es. Worth a visit!
The road between Napier and Wellington is simply gorgeous, full of vineyard and pasture… every corner should be immortalized, but then you need really to spend your whole life in New Zealand… sounds good, isn’t it?
I was thinking that Wellington was a terrible city, basically because of the weather… but we found a beautiful sun, with blue sky, lovely temperature and wind. I love Wellington, I guess that is my favorite city until now… the one that I would choose if I ever decide to move in New Zealand. Great shops, full of life, pub and I would have love to see the great explosion of night life… unfortunately I plan to move on, passing through the Cook strait… next time then!
I must say that if you have a car and you will travel with Interislander ferry, you should arrive 2 hours before the departure, in any case not later that 1 hour before! Unbelievable!!! A waste of time, but the cruise it’s magic, spectacular, fabulous! We did it around 17:00 and we arrived in Picton at 20:30 just few minutes after the sun set. Really amazing!!!
Picton is a little town that seems to be painted on a rock.
From here you can drive the beautiful and winding Queen Charlotte Drive. A must to to and see, as this 30 km that drives you to Havelock, are full of scenic lookout on the Sounds.
I do suggest ask to drive a part of the road to French Pass. Very demanding, but with spectacular view. We just drove until Okiwi Bay.
Then we continue until Nelson. I do not know why, it could be the weather or other, I did not like at all Nelson. It is a flat city with some industry and wineyard. If you need to stop, don’t choose Nelson!
And then we start driving thorough the “Hell” to arrive to the Golden Coast… magic!!! Takaka, where we slept, is an hippy town.
We spent the full afternoon visiting the north part to Wharakaiki beach. Spectacular, breathtaking! And if you have more time, I do suggest a walk to discover the tongue of sand of Cape Farewell. We just saw it from Puponga. Amazing!
Then we are at the Mussel inn, to try the green mussels, homemade beer and the pavlova cake. Everything completely organic!