Routeburn Track

The New Zealand Great Walks can be expensive undertakings. Quite apart from geographical challenges – getting to start points and from end points – the increasing popularity of the walks is pushing up the prices of the Department of Conservation (DOC) huts and campsites. The two ends of the Routeburn Track are 325km apart by…

Mount Aspiring National Park

Rees Track, Cascade Saddle and Matukituki Valley If I had to have a regret about our time in New Zealand, it could be that we did not spend more time in Mt Aspiring National Park. Part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site which makes up most of the bottom left corner of New Zealand,…

Kepler Track

We were in the Fjordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau looking for a good walk to do when we thought we would check the online booking system for the Great Walk huts and campsites. Normally the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks, all three of them in Fjordland National Park, get booked up well…

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

  We were told in our first week in New Zealand that if a Kiwi tells you something will be ‘busy as’, you should not believe them and go anyway. They live in a country 50 per cent bigger than the UK, with one fifteenth of the population (roughly four million), and most have never been on…

A Home From Home

About six months ago Gillian and I bought our first home together. Since then we have had a lot of questions but very few visitors. This post aims to correct this state of affairs. The Story of Sam We picked up Sam, our 1997 Toyota Estima, from a nice chap called Anthony in Christchurch. He…

Lake Waikaremoana

Lake Waikaremoana (why-carra-mo-arna, or something like that) sits within Te Urewera, a large, remote, densely forested area near the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The Waikaremoana Great Walk follows the western shore of the lake for 46km, sometimes hugging the lake, sometimes climbing high above it through the bush. Having watched the weather…

Whanganui River Journey

We are two people who like ticking things off. The sort of people who will put ‘write to-do list’ at the top of a to-do list, so we can tick it off when we have finished. So, obviously, when we read about New Zealand’s nine ‘Great Walks’, we thought we had better start ticking them…

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing forms part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit, one of New Zealand’s famed Great Walks. It passes through Tongariro National Park in the centre of the North Island, starting at Whakapapa at the base of Mt Ruapehu (2,797m), past the base of Mt Ngauruhoe (2,291m) and over the top of Mt Tongariro…

A Day in the Life of a Sea Postie

Jim Baillie thinks that he has the best job in the world. I think he may well be right. Three times a week he takes his boat out of Havelock harbour to deliver mail, groceries and gossip to the residents of the remote corners of the Marlborough Sounds. Apart from cruising around some of New…

Quick Update

Following a period of blog silence, we have been inundated by a request for an update. More to follow shortly now that we are settled in one place for a couple of months, but here, in brief, is what we have been up to for the last seven weeks. After a week in Christchurch we…

Quake City

As we got the bus into Christchurch from the airport last Monday, and then walked the couple of blocks from the bus stop to our hostel past large expanses of gravel and rubble, we wondered how long we could keep ourselves entertained in such a city. In every direction lay a damaged building, or a…

Californian Wild(and not-so-wild)life

We have spent much of our first few days in New Zealand sorting out boring things like bank accounts and mobile phones. I will write about Christchurch, which we are gradually growing to love, shortly. In the meantime, here are some photos of animals from our three weeks in California.