Monday, 10 August 2009

THE JOURNEY....PART 1 - the summary & map

The map of the whole journey - total time taken 9 days.
This allowed for 2 days in Dunedin and 2 days in Te Anau.
Distance travelled 2085 Km ... plus the odd bit of meandering around Dunedin and Te Anau and off the record shopping , eating etc.
Doesn't allow for GPS detours....
Recommended accommodation ( all Members of Heritage Inns of New Zealand)
Best Food (ever)
Best Takeaway
Most amazing sights
  • Inland Scenic Route 72 Christchurch to Geraldine
  • Road from Mosgiel to Middlemarch.
  • St Bathans
  • Country around Alexandra
  • Milford Sound and approach road after 500mm of overnight rain!
  • Drive alongside Lake Wakatipu at sunset on route to Queenstown
  • Chinese Miners' Settlement, Arrowtown
  • The summit of the Crown Range
  • Cadrona
  • Lake Wanaka at sunset
  • The Gates of the Haast,Haast Pass,Westland
  • The WHOLE of the West Coast
  • Arthurs Pass
  • Home to The Weston House, Christchurch

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Sunday, 9 August 2009



Well flippant is not what I want to appear...once again superlatives are right up there!
How do you describe a land of rain forest - not tropical - no snakes - verdant - green even(just kidding- I know what verdant means!!!)
Rain is a given - they measure it by the metre per year- it is legendary.Did I mention the sandflies???Well they are pesky little blood sucking insects that creep up on you and your exposed bodily parts - bite without any pain - and leave an unbearable itch that is too late to revenge.Insect repellent is a must ... don't argue or question - these are the Armageddon of the insect world.They are Al Gore's answer to global warming...they are hell!!!Be warned - I don't think anyone has died of them but if you could itch to death then it's a possibilty.As with most things (sales and husband) I over react and swell and scratch but it would not stop me from a visit to bushland that is the unspoiled part of NZ.As Len says - get over it...and I do!
But one thing is for sure if you come to the South Island of NZ then you will go to the West we did- through the Gates of the Haast up to Franz Josef Glacier and here we stayed at Holly Homestead.There Bernie and Gerard will look after you as if you were royalty.Wonderful rooms and facilities - gorgeous NZ crafted furniture by Dag Guest(Christchurch) - no website - just A1 reputation for quality.
The one thing that struck me about the West Coast is that with all the rain everything grows.They cut back the bush - it regenerates- quickly,almost overnight, it seems.
When you drive the main highway it is like driving along a road that has been landscaped.Low ferns, tree ferns and a mown edge - all very park like ,but they tell me ,it is as Mother Nature has done it- I'm not sure on this but local knowledge rules - so it must be right???However,spectacular it is - even when raining.
So on we drove, up through Hokitika,greenstone or NZ jade country, a quick visit to Shanty Town just short of Greymouth- back through Kumara and home to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass. Why so many links?Well,other people have written so enthusiastically about these areas that you need to check them not me - I will oversell these places - you need a little balance - just a bit of backup from the unbiased!
Was it good to come home to Christchurch - of course- but then we were heading North and another saga.....

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Use the reduce button to view journey Day 8

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..and time 9 days...allowing 2 nights in Dunedin and 2 nights in Te Anau



Oh well,that will teach me for talking too much...didn't like the font so I changed it , hit enter and lost the lot....the words I then used are unprintable!

Well back to the beginning- maybe it will be shorter - as I do ramble a bit...
We left Queenstown on one of those wonderful autumn mornings - crisp beginning leading to a beautiful day - not a breath of wind.A day made in paradise - a day for meandering, exploring, taking it all in. Plenty of walking, frequent coffees, lots of photos then only a couple of hours driving as we were heading to Wanaka - over the Crown Range - via the fabulous town of Arrowtown .Lunch was on the other side at the famous old Cadrona Hotel - won't bother with a link here to Cadrona itself - if snowboarding and sking are your thing a quick entry on Google will bring all the info.I don't think I would stay at the hotel but the lunch was fine a draft Speights...him indoors drank wine- really- not a Southern Man at all!!!
Getting a bit ahead of myself here - back to Arrowtown - a true gem - surprisingly unruined by tourism but we were there in the shoulder season - so the tour buses were hardly around.
Everything about the town is great - it has a lot going for it.Great food at Saffron ( a renowned restaurant) quirky boutique Cinema Dorothy Brown's.
The stand out highlight for us though was the visit to the Chinese Goldminers' Settlement - the Chinese also came for the gold but have been, up until recently, largely ignored by our historians but the contribution they made to our country has at last been recognized.I found it as a New Zealander, very moving. CHINESE MINERS' SETTLEMENT,ARROWTOWN

Having explored the little streets we decided that the lofty heights of the Crown Range beckoned .What a road (the highest sealed road in NZ)- well it is now - but when you read about the trek of those first settlers you have to admire their pluck and courage.We come from very hardy stock!The View was - well, I think you should see it for yourselves - make you own mind up - because I will just go on in a gushy, over the top(!!) way - as I do...But forget the European Alps - this is heaven- damn I said I wouldn't go on...but I did....


Well Cadrona is just over the mountains ( she says casually) and after lunch it was on to Wanaka.
After the beauty of the summit it was hard to be impressed with the last part of the drive but we were.There was more wonderful autumn colour - they have planted a lot of Poplar trees over the years - they are fast growing and make excellent windbreaks.Very useful trees - in the country - not so great in town.
I like Wanaka.As a town, it is newer than Queenstown but an elegant little place - very popular as a destination for Kiwis - quite a few holiday homes - nothing cheap - some flashy- but it has what you need plus a great climate.We stayed at Minaret Lodge - great accommodation with everything you might need - Fran and Gary were great hosts, in spite of the fact we were last minute arrivals and they were off to South America within a couple of days.Southern Hospitality - you can't beat it!


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Use the reduce button to view the journey on Day 7