Here we are finally in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful countries in the world! We only have two months to explore it but we hope to see as many incredible things as possible!

To make it easier for you to read, I’m going to put the news from the bottom up, so you don’t have to go down and go down and go down the page as you go through the eight weeks 🙂

Marlborough Sounds

We wake up and leave straight away from the parking lot on which we spent the night. We were told that some dishonest people break the mirrors if people do not leave the parking lot in time….

So we are going towards the aerodrome. This morning I’m going to do the second part of my friends’ birthday present: a flight over Abel Tasman. We arrive super early so we have breakfast in the parking lot. Around 9am the pilot comes to pick me up and tells me that I am alone. There is another pilot with him who has 35 years of experience in the area and who will comment. The landscapes are super pretty and seeing the bay under the sun is totally different! It’s fun to see all the places we’ve been walking. The hike seems less difficult from the sky: D The pilot shows me places where they shot the Lord of the Rings but I understand half of what he is saying in the helmet so I’m just taking a photo. An hour later I find the boys who went to drain and put water in the van.

Since we have two days before going to the North Island we decide to go and visit another region that looks very nice: the Marlborough Sounds. We will have to take a very winding road to get there and being in the middle seat, that is to say that the journey will not be the most pleasant! But hey, at least it makes me glute!

We are therefore leaving for this new destination. The landscapes are magnificent. Quentin tells us to tell him when we want to stop … we will stop almost every five minutes … It’s superb! The Sounds mountains are sunken valleys. The rivers have hollowed out valleys which were later invaded by sea water. This is what gives original landscapes with hilly mountains like waves (the photos will be more understandable than my text I think). We spotted a DOC campsite in front of a fjord. We decide to go spend the night there. Good choice, the site is magnificent! We put ourselves next to an old idiot who asks us to park further because tomorrow morning he wants to be able to extend his parasol … I look at him with contempt then we move. Maybe I’ll pee on his big motorhome, to be continued …

We go out of what to make a small aperitif on the pontoon. There are stingrays and eagle rays! Very cool ! I leave the boys to go cook. We will have the meal on a bench in front of the fjord and we will see a very beautiful sunset (we will see the sky change color because the sun will be on the other side).

Clément sets up his tent, we start a film that is too bizarre, Sausages, it’s very trash and only Quentin appreciates, Clément will fall asleep on it.

This morning I am motivated again to do my gluteal abs! So I decided to go running but the trail was very wet last night because of the heavy rain so I turned back and I decided to go do my sport at the end of the pontoon. It’s super nice.

The boys are having breakfast by the sea while waiting.

We’ll take our time this morning. We have a 1.5 hour drive to reach the headquarters of the mussel: Havelock! Since the time that I want to taste the New Zealand mussels!

The road is beautiful to go there. We spot a very pretty restaurant which makes us want to settle down for lunch. We will make a very good choice because the meal will be delicious! The local mussels are huge, they must be twice the size of a French mussel! We resist taking a dessert, even if Clément will do everything to make me fall!

We hit the road to visit another part of the Sounds. The road will be pretty, we will pass in a forest but there will not be too many points of view. We spot a campsite and an hour before arriving there the road becomes magnificent! We are still amazed by the beauty of the landscape! We still take hundreds of photos. Cows will block our way. Clement will try to scare away a little calf who is so afraid that he will constantly cut us off.

We appreciate the landscape. Clément decides to take the last few minutes on foot frustrated at not being able to take even more photos. Quentin and I arrive at the campsite. It is super good! Farmers have provided a gigantic piece of land and have installed toilets and cold showers. It is located between the sea and the mountain. We are lucky because there is a sign indicating that this summer camping is free! We can’t believe it! The owners are really great! We are waiting for Clement to go see the beach. She is super beautiful. We see small islands in the distance. The sun is slowly setting, so the boys go to get an aperitif and then, when we’re done, we’ll go higher on the mountain to see the sunset. It’s freezing cold ! The strong wind is very fresh. We try to advance the cooking of the meal at the same time to avoid dinner at 10 p.m.

As the sunset is less bright than expected we go back down and have dinner. I’m going to do the dishes then when I come back the over-excited boys because they think they’ve seen UFOs! Well I can hardly believe them but they are shocked by what they saw in the sky. I think they were close-by satellites but we will probably never know; we will see if Clément is still in his tent tomorrow morning! When they have recovered from their emotions, we start a film. When we hear Clement’s first snoring we will stop to go to bed.

I wake up earlier this morning and go to the gym on the beach; It’s super cold but I’m glad I found the motivation.

We have breakfast then we leave the campsite in the direction of the start of the Mount Stokes hike. It’s the highlight of the Marlborough Sounds. It’s not clear what to expect. We only know that you have to plan for 5 hours of walking and that there is an elevation gain of approximately 600 meters.

We start the hike and Clément overtakes us in thirty seconds. We cross a very pretty forest full of roots and stones. It’s going up well, it’s not so obvious. An hour and a half later we arrive at the top and there we are happy to have suffered! The landscape is superb! We have a 360 degree view of the valley and the fjords; we even see the North Island! We take our time, we have lunch in front of the landscape then we go down, being careful not to get hurt. Clement went even faster than us. We find him in the van and then we drive towards Picton, the town where we will take the ferry tomorrow morning. We will make some photo stops along the way.

We make a stop in town where we will fall for a packet of cookies and overly stylish sunglasses.

Tonight we will sleep at the same campsite where we had slept with Quentin the day before Clément’s arrival. It was nice and there were showers. When we arrive we are surprised because there are not many people. We’re going to shower … it’s cold !!!! we take an aperitif, we have dinner, we start a film again and we go to bed at the first snoring of Clement.

Abel Tasman Track

For the four days of trecking I will sum up  I didn’t want to write! Sorry…

 

On Tuesday we wake up then we go directly to where we can park the van. We have breakfast there then we will wait for the boat. We are picked up directly at the parking lot with the boat; it’s towed by a tractor, it’s quite surprising! The tractor brings the boat to the sea and we will make the crossing for about two hours. The weather is horrible, it’s raining heavily! It is supposed to improve so we remain positive … well not me I am super negative when it rains and even more when we go for a treck and everything will be wet! but I keep my negativity to myself as much as possible. Clément is sitting next to a Breton who just talks !!! he seems to be on the same route as us.

We get off the boat, wait for the rain to calm down and then we go! It’s too weird to carry heavy bags. Quentin galère… far too much for my taste. I ask him what he has in his bag and he tells me that he has taken all the food; gas and other stuff! There I dispute it because we have just started, it is going up well and it risks destroying your back! I ask Clément if he can take stuff from him with me, and Clément agrees willingly (he is much more muscular than the two of us together and it looks like he has wings when he walks with his big bag!) . Quentin rejects the proposal then at one point Clement insists and we have lunch on the path, in the rain then Quentin ends up giving us things to lighten his bag. It gets a lot better all of a sudden! We will walk four hours like that, there will be a few showers, by point of view, nothing very interesting. I already feel that the hike will not please me. We will still see a beautiful steep coast with sea lions. At the end of the afternoon we arrive at the campsite. It is in front of a magnificent beach. We put up our tents and then have dinner watching the sea.

Wednesday is sunny day! It’s good to morale ! We pack our things after breakfast and then we start the hike. My legs hurt. The path is always the same: forest and few points of view. I’m bored even if the weather is nice. I drag myself and the more the day goes on the more difficult it is. Quentin is fed up too. Clement is happy however. It was much faster than us. At one point I let them lengthen the ride and I decide to wait for them on the beach. I pass by places where we walked the day before. It’s prettier in the sun! The beach is magnificent. It makes you want to bathe too much. But we don’t have time, we have to cross a passage during low tide. When they come back we continue for a while before crossing at low tide. I can’t take it anymore, I hurt everywhere! We stop for lunch in front of a hut, it’s good to rest. There is a cafe nearby but we will be wrong. Clement wants to go see suddenly he goes alone and we meet at the campsite. We’re hanging out with Quentin, I’m having too much trouble walking! Two hours later we are almost there and Clém has managed to catch up with us by lengthening his route and having a beer! It has wings it is not possible! The campsite is still on a superb beach. We meet Breton who just talks, talks, talks but I listen to it halfway, I’m exhausted and we try to recover from our walk and pitch our tent. In the evening we spot two pretty girls pure Clément but he is too shy. We go for a swim before night falls, we have dinner and we go to bed.

Thursday left for a big day of walking. There it will be a little nicer because we will see more landscape through the forest. By cons my body can not go anymore, I have blisters, hip pain and my brain tells me to stop this ordeal! We will leave Clement on the way who wants to extend his ride by going to see waterfalls. We will see very beautiful beaches, we will have lunch on one of them. We will meet nice people then in the evening, I am exhausted that I ask Quentin to go see the river without me. He leaves without his bag and I pitch the tent. No sooner do I get out of business than that, Breton !!!! arghhh !!! I wanted to take a nap. He speaks, speaks, speaks … without stop. I’m struggling with the wind. He’s so busy talking that he doesn’t see me struggling.

Okay, no nap for me. I suggest she go chat on the beach while waiting for the boys to come back. Two hours later everyone and back and completely exhausted. We dine in front of the sea. The beach is really very beautiful here too and it looks a lot like Brittany. We discuss and then we go to bed.

On Friday I made up my mind to go on a boat instead of an additional 4 hours of walking. It’s raining and there’s no way I’m going to go on a rotten hike in the rain. So I wait for the taxi boat with the boys and then when I’m in there they leave. The crossing seems short and will cost me the skin of my buttocks … I take out all the things, do some tidying up, go and shower gently at the campsite next door then I will wait for them at the cafe. Quentin arrives soaked and Clement waits for him to shower. They spotted a shower nearby. When everyone is there we will celebrate the end of the treck at the restaurant before setting off again!

The north of the South

After a good morning and a cold shower we go to Picton to look for Clément! He has been in New Zealand since December and is now coming to do part of the trip with us!

We arrive at the ferry before him and when we see it it makes us extremely happy! We embark it and we start our new adventure with three!

We’ll have lunch in town and then we’ll drive to Nelson; we absolutely must go to the DOC office to check our reservations for the hike and see if we can change it. The ranger tells us that they are going to close a part because of a fire risk. So we will not be able to hike as planned. On the other hand, it helps us to reorganize everything and gives us lots of great places not to miss! When everything is settled we go for a walk in town then have a drink. We take the opportunity to do some shopping then we go to our Okay2Stay campsite. We have to sleep in a vineyard.

We drive then we arrive at the vineyard. There is nobody. We settle down, do our stuff and start preparing food when the owners arrive. I give them big signs and then they tell us that we have planted our place !!!! But what a bunch of idiots !! We are too embarrassed! They tell us to finish our meal and come and see them afterwards and that we can stay in the evening anyway. We are too ashamed but it still makes us laugh. We finish dinner and then we decide to go to the other one, where we were expected. I contact our hostess to explain and it makes her laugh. I will warn the people we have entered (they know the girl we are going to) and I thank them again and ask them to apologize for the squatting !!!

So we leave having fun. Night is falling. We end up finding the vineyard. We park and then we prepare our things before going to sleep!

We will wake up late compared to usual. There is nobody else than us in the vineyard parking lot. We get ready then we go up to the restaurant. The place is super pretty! The restaurant is charming and surrounded by vineyards and a beautiful garden of fruit trees.
We come in and meet Carole, the person I was in contact with. She welcomes us with a big smile and asks us how long we are visiting New Zealand. She shows us the menu for breakfast and our eyes go straight to the window full of beautiful homemade cakes! We’re going to sit outside then I’m going to order. She is amazed by everything we are going to eat! But since everything looks too good we have a hard time choosing so we take everything! In short, we wait while talking and then when the meal arrives we enjoy! We spend a little time in the vineyard, which is really nice, then we head towards a small peninsula two hours away. We make a shower stop, for me only, the guys feel clean…
The road is pretty. We will make some stops to see points of view. We discover that Clément is even longer than me to take photos!
We arrive on the peninsula called Farewell Spit in the middle of the afternoon. It is not sunny but at the moment it is not raining so we are happy. We make a small photo stop then we will have lunch in the parking lot at the start of the ride. Clement’s eyes are squinting on pretty girls, it’s funny. When we’re done we’ll take a walk for a few hours. We walk along the sea on the first part; it’s not super pretty and full of swan droppings. An hour later the landscape changes and it becomes much nicer. We climb on a dune then we follow a kind of path that goes to the beach. The dunes are very beautiful and the vegetation around makes the landscape special and more cheerful. We walk in the sand to a super nice beach. We’ll be walking along the beach for over an hour. I will try to take photos of the boys who are not complaining too much and Clément will take a hundred photos of seagulls. We take our time well then when we return we decide to find a place in a free campsite. Luckily there will only be one place when we arrive, in any case we will decide that it will be a place! We start to cook, it’s nice outside. The girls in the van next door chat with us, they are nice. We will spend a quiet evening then Clément will set up his tent in the woods next door. We will each go to bed, all a little tired, even if the day hasn’t. not too exhausting, except maybe for Quentin who had to drive!

We will wake up late compared to usual. There is nobody else than us in the vineyard parking lot. We get ready then we go up to the restaurant. The place is super pretty! The restaurant is charming and surrounded by vineyards and a beautiful garden of fruit trees.
We come in and meet Carole, the person I was in contact with. She welcomes us with a big smile and asks us how long we are visiting New Zealand. She shows us the menu for breakfast and our eyes go straight to the window full of beautiful homemade cakes! We’re going to sit outside then I’m going to order. She is amazed by everything we are going to eat! But since everything looks too good we have a hard time choosing so we take everything! In short, we wait while talking and then when the meal arrives we enjoy! We spend a little time in the vineyard, which is really nice, then we head towards a small peninsula two hours away. We make a shower stop, for me only, the guys feel clean…
The road is pretty. We will make some stops to see points of view. We discover that Clément is even longer than me to take photos!
We arrive on the peninsula called Farewell Spit in the middle of the afternoon. It is not sunny but at the moment it is not raining so we are happy. We make a small photo stop then we will have lunch in the parking lot at the start of the ride. Clement’s eyes are squinting on pretty girls, it’s funny. When we’re done we’ll take a walk for a few hours. We walk along the sea on the first part; it’s not super pretty and full of swan droppings. An hour later the landscape changes and it becomes much nicer. We climb on a dune then we follow a kind of path that goes to the beach. The dunes are very beautiful and the vegetation around makes the landscape special and more cheerful. We walk in the sand to a super nice beach. We’ll be walking along the beach for over an hour. I will try to take photos of the boys who are not complaining too much and Clément will take a hundred photos of seagulls. We take our time well then when we return we decide to find a place in a free campsite. Luckily there will only be one place when we arrive, in any case we will decide that it will be a place! We start to cook, it’s nice outside. The girls in the van next door chat with us, they are nice. We will spend a quiet evening then Clément will set up his tent in the woods next door. We will each go to bed, all a little tired, even if the day hasn’t. not too exhausting, except maybe for Quentin who had to drive!

It is hard to get up this morning, except Quentin who is ready soon enough! At the same time it is almost 9:30 am…
We have breakfast and then we go to explore another corner of the peninsula. We embark on a long walk. We will cross fields with sheep and cows. The tall golden grasses bring out the green of the shrubs and ferns. There are pretty panoramas. It’s gray but we avoid the rain. We will go to see beautiful beaches, we will see arches dug in the rock. Three hours later we return to lunch in the van. There are peacocks and a curious duck. They feel that our meal is going to be good. The duck will stay until the end and will even bite Clement’s hand while trying to steal his bread!
After lunch the boys leave for another walk on their own. The weather is overcast and it is raining. I don’t want to walk in the rain even if the scenery is pretty. So I take this opportunity to quickly depilate and write my blog!
When the boys come back, we start to fetch water, drain and shower. We come across a public shower. THE weather is still so bad. There is a supermarket across the street from where we are parked. Quentin gives me the money and entrusts me with the task of finding something to cheer us up. So I’m leaving. I fill up on cakes and find good bread and roast chicken! As soon as you arrive at the van, you open the packet of cookies… you smash it!
Since it’s too ugly and going to the free campsite now it’s a bit sad we decide to go for a drink in the “city”. Quentin offers to buy take-out fries to eat with roast chicken. We are easily convinced with Clément. There is a bar. To joke I say that I would take a burger well but in fact, it will really end like that. We decide to stay for dinner and have a drink! In addition the waitress is rather pretty so we carry Clement so that he goes to place the order. The meal is delicious. I eat without hunger, which suits Clement because he will eat half of my dish. Quentin also struggles but will finish everything!
When we’re done and we’re getting tired, we’ll park at the campsite. Clement finds the motivation to pitch his tent in the rain.

Well, I didn’t sleep well, but it will do the job for the day. Quentin got up early and so did Clément because the rain flooded his tent. Quentin helps Clement while I try to wake up. We eat breakfast and decide to find a cafe with internet. It’s still bad weather and we don’t have anything special to do. I had to take a helicopter tour but it was postponed.
We’re going to the city “. We go around the main street then we will find a nice cafe with a good internet connection and enough to recharge our electronic devices.
A good hour later we decide to go shopping for hiking. We’re refueling for the four days we’ll be spending in Abel Tasman National Park.
The weather changes but we do not despair. Quentin wants to go see a beach not far away. We go there and by change the sun points the tip of his nose and it does not rain anymore! We get out of what to make the meal, it’s Clement who sticks to it this time. I motivate myself and I go swimming! It is cool but the beach is so beautiful that it was hard to resist! Quentin goes there too. Cooking takes a lot. From time to time we only have a small stove.
We have lunch in front of the sea. We take advantage that it does not rain. At the end of the afternoon I will take my cold shower first. The boys go back to bathe. When they are showered, we take the opportunity to make our hiking bags. We put everything on the table and distribute everything.
We pack up all our things and then we’ll see where we’re supposed to take the boat tomorrow. We take some information and then like the bar looks nice … let’s have a drink! It costs us a lot to have Clément with us in fact: D But hey, it’s nice, we will work again in a year! We take advantage of the moment then we will look for a free campsite a little in the forest. Lack of bowl it is closed. So we risk parking in secret in a corner behind the bushes. It’s late and we don’t want to drive for hours for nothing. Clement sets up his tent and we go to bed after eating a sandwich on the go. We hope it won’t rain tonight!

Glaciers & Arthur Pass

After pushing the alarm clock (Quentin wanted to push this time!), We get ready to go for a hike that we had not planned at the base but that the ranger had advised us in Wanaka: Alex Knob. It’s a great hike; according to indications it would last 8 hours round trip and have a positive elevation of about 1000m. But since we are not afraid of anything, we decide to try it. The weather is great this morning, at least until we start hiking.

The ride will be in the forest. One should be careful with each step so as not to fall on a root or on stones. The forest is very pretty; you don’t feel the drop and it’s not monotonous. We hear helicopters flying all along it’s pretty unbearable! There was even a sign at the start of the hike to warn walkers of noise … we haven’t seen a single animal, so they must be very afraid of noise! This is where we realize that business is business, no matter what pollution it will cause. We believe that New Zealand is a country that takes care of nature but in fact no, it is like everywhere, even sometimes worse than elsewhere because people do not know how to recycle everything … in short …

Unfortunately for us, the weather seems to be overcast. We see nothing from the first two points of view. We decide to continue anyway, and we did well when in fact we were in a fairly dense cloud that completely dissipated once at the top!

We arrive two hours later at the top and there we have a magnificent view of the Franz Josef glacier. It’s splendid ! We meet an American who is very friendly. We give him hiking tips on Wanaka. We enjoy the landscape for a long time. We are really happy to have seen at least one of the two glaciers because it was not won!

We descend quietly but there too it seems endless. We are starting to feel the last four days of long hikes. I’m really sick of it, I almost hurt myself when I fall (I only have a few bruises). We can’t wait to get down there! When you get there it’s relief. We are happy to have been able to ride but very happy to finally be back.

We decide to go squat the campsite where we had slept the day before. There is no reception per se so we are going to shower and use the kitchen before setting off again.

We’ll drive two hours today; it will save us time for tomorrow. I’m exhausted, I find it hard to stay awake.

At one point we stop at a rest area with an agency that offers helicopter tours. I can negotiate incredible prices! Prices that we will certainly never have again. But Quentin doesn’t want to do it and I feel guilty about doing it without him (especially since I have two others waiting for me in four days that my friends gave me for my 30th birthday). So it’s with the belly ball that I say no to the guy who does not come back himself! Anyway, we’re leaving and I won’t say anything in the car until we get to the cafe where we are going to spend the night. We’ll sleep in the parking lot of a cafe. We are not obliged to pay but as we are nice we will surely spend more than if we had slept in an ordinary DOC campsite!

We are taking our time this morning. We slept well. We decide to have breakfast at the cafe. Its good.

Today we are going to a place in the middle of the mountains, called Arthur Pass, so that tomorrow we are at the start of the hike we would like to do. But before that, we will make a stop to go and see interesting geological formations: the pancakes rocks. Scientists still find it difficult today to explain how these formations were created. It’s very pretty anyway, it looks like slices of rock superimposed on each other.

We take our time to look at this unusual landscape and then we hit the road. We’ll get to Arthur Pass super early. Quentin wants to go for a walk but I don’t want to rest to be in shape tomorrow. So I leave it while I write for my blog.

After getting ready we embark on the big hike which is supposed to last 8 hours. This time we took more water and the snack!

The first part is quite annoying because we limit climbing on large stones. There are 1000 meters of positive elevation on 3km approximately so we will shit! We climb quickly enough then we pass in a small forest before seeing the sky and the valley. The beautiful landscape and the not so complicated hike … would we be disappointed? Hmm … a little. We continue anyway and it is towards the top that everything changes! Here we understand why it was worth it to come here! We walk on the crest of the mountain and it is a magnificent glacier which stands on our right and a chain of mountains which stands in front of us! We admire the landscape for a good half hour then when people arrive we descend everything by another path. The descent is long and I’m sick of it. I will break my face at the end … I will hurt myself and I will hole my leggings but I would not break anything by luck!

Back down we are happy with us because we only took 4 hours! So suddenly we will have to change the program.

We’re going to have a shower and then we decide to go eat a steak pie at the restaurant. Good choice, we will enjoy!

We decide to move forward. Quentin spotted a place that interested him.

The road is magnificent. We pass in the mountains; their colors are sumptuous! We take full view!

At one point we see a sign with caves so we stop. The scenery is great and we decide to go lower. We realize by following people that it is possible to enter the cave but that once you have to swim! The water being too cold for us, we decide not to try it!

We go back up and take a little stroll before exploring a great site a little further down the road. There are stones in the middle of a valley. These stones are huge and have very varied shapes. The landscape is splendid and Quentin is super enthusiastic. We’ll spend over an hour walking around and taking photos.

In the evening we drive a few more hours before finding a nice free place to put the van and sleep.

This morning we drive to Kaikoura. I’m going to fly to observe sperm whales from the sky; it’s one of my birthday gifts for my 30th birthday.

We arrive and we learn that my flight is delayed so we will do the laundry and have a coffee while waiting. When it’s time Quentin is waiting for me in the van.

I get on the helicopter with two other girls and off we go for a great outing! The pilot will fly us over a huge group of Dusky Dolphins. It’s too good to see it from the sky! Some people jump into the water and make antics!

Then we will try to see the sperm whale which has immersed a little less than an hour before we take off; it should rise to the surface. We’re doing laps, it makes me nauseous because the pilot tilts the helicopter all over the place. Five minutes later we finally see it, full length! It’s extraordinary!!!! It’s too wonderful to be able to see that! We can see it so well! We will stay for a long time flying above then when we leave we will see a second one! What a great adventure!

I go back to the super happy van but with a stomach ache and nausea. Quentin worked on the hike that we have to do in three days to try to shorten it because we should have bad weather.

We decide to go see the peninsula. I’m really not well suddenly I let Quentin go for a walk alone. Half an hour later I decide to go find him. I did well to go take the air because the peninsula is beautiful! I can find him and we go back to the van together. He is happy with his walk; he was able to approach birds and sea lions! Great!

As it is getting late we go to sleep two hours away. The road is nice but there are a lot of works that slow us down. The campsite where we had to go is not accessible but luckily there is another one just before. We go there; there are a lot of people but there is a nice place. We will pay and we meet the ranger who tells us to go for a walk in the cave tonight because we should see shiny glasses !! So cool ! So we have dinner, we make our living then around 9pm we get out of the van. The sky is beautiful! We can see the stars and the Milky Way too well. We try to take photos but it does nothing. We go into the cave and there we discover little green spots everywhere! We are too happy! We will spend an hour inside observing them and trying to photograph them. When you leave the cave the moon is high and has a very beautiful color. We finally return to the van to lie down.

Wanaka

We wake up later this morning. There is intermittent rain. I look at the state of the roads on the internet and it’s always the same. We are blocked for another 24 hours here! Besides, it’s a holiday.

Nevermind. We have breakfast then we pass the time all morning. In the middle of the morning, Quentin wants to move. We decide to go for a walk. I’m looking at the state of the roads … we can go to Wanaka! So, we’re not going for a walk anymore, we decide to resume our program where we left off. We will be lucky, the route we have chosen will allow us to reach Wanaka in 4 hours without having to worry. On the road we will see landscapes that will remind us of Scotland. We will also see a magnificent lake surrounded by high brown mountains.

We decide to settle in a free parking lot for the night. We are not alone but we will find a good place. We are really happy to have been able to reach Wanaka! suddenly we toast then we go to bed.

Come on, let’s get up! We take our breakfast then we go to the DOC to check that the hikes we would like to do in the area are open. Luckily they are. So, as the clouds appeared over the mountains, we decided to make one that we had discovered on a blog three days ago. It’s a big hike, there is a 1000m drop and 17km hike. But we are not afraid of anything! We go to the parking lot and we go! It’s super hard, anyway I’m struggling. The slope is very steep and it only climbs. The landscape is very beautiful although covered. We climb without stopping then we arrive in a cloud. A girl told Quentin not to worry because once the cloud has passed, the peaks will be discovered. So we continue and indeed, when we have passed the cloud, WOW !! Too handsome ! We see the lake, the mountains and almost all the peaks. As we move forward the sky is completely uncovered and a 360 ° panorama awaits us at the end! We see all the peaks and several blue lakes! That’s wonderful ! We take advantage of the view for a while before going back down. The descent will not be obvious because the slope is steep and it burns my toes but hey, you have to go down! We feel like we are going on a new hike because the landscape looks different with the sun and cloudless. It’s really splendid!

Once downstairs Quentin offers to go see for another hike but at the same time we are discussing taking a plane trip. There are some who leave from Wanaka and who also go to Milford Sound. I call the agency while Quentin is doing the oil change and finally he is ready to go and offers to ask them if we could have a look now! Good bin, I call and the guy tells me that the couple who also wanted to leave would like to land at Milford Sound. We don’t care, but since he wants us to come, he gives us a little discount! Very cool ! So we rush to buy something to eat because we’re too hungry (it’s 3pm soon) and we go to the airfield. We are waiting for the couple then the guy we were talking to who looked like 18 and makes him our pilot! I’m lucky I’ll be all alone! Suddenly access to two windows! The flight is ma-gni-fi-que !!! We take full eyes !! We fly over glaciers, rivers and we arrive over fjords. When we reach the Milford, it’s a whole spectacle before us. The plane is shaking in all directions, I’m not super reassured but it’s still great! We land and the pilot tells us that we only have 30 minutes to go and see the point of view. So, we go for Quentin, followed by the other two. Five minutes later, when we get to the point of view, Quentin is excited! He cannot hide his joy because the show is beautiful, but also because we are, in a way, privileged. Normally at this time of year hundreds or even thousands of people find themselves where we are; but in this present moment, we are only 4! It’s like we’ve privatized Milford Sound. We take advantage of the landscape and then we go back to see the pilot very happy. The second part of the flight will be just as beautiful. We will pass over glaciers and mountains. We will see our future hiking trails. Back on land, we thank the pilot and we go cheerfully. Quentin is too happy and tells me that in the end, there is no point in going back to the south to see this since in the end we saw much better than we would have seen on a hike. I’m a little sad that I can’t do the three beautiful hikes but it is true that in the end it is a lot of time and money lost to return to the south of the island. We will do some nice hikes in the north!

As it is still early, we decide to go for a walk in Wanaka. There are quite a few people by the lake. Unfortunately all the shops are closed. There is a cafe that makes “Patagonian” ice creams… they are necessarily good! We are putting it off until tomorrow! We take a little tour then we return to the free campsite the day before. Luckily we will have the same place. We dine, we chill then we go to bed.

The weather forecast was for rain this morning but in the end it was pretty nice. We have breakfast after a short sleep then we will get information from the DOC before starting our next hike. Today we are finally going to do the hike we had to do after tomorrow’s; since the weather is good, you might as well take advantage of it!

We go to the parking lot which is full but there is a small place. The hike is going up well but it’s less horrible than the day before! We will first see a pretty, dark lake surrounded by mountains. An hour later we will arrive at the top of Rocky Peak and from there we will have a breathtaking view of Lake Wanaka. Its turquoise blue color is superb. The landscape is as beautiful on this side as on the side where we had seen it the day before. We look at the landscape for a while before going back down. The hike will only take us two hours.

Back down we decide to go to the campsite. Tonight we pay for a good campsite because we want to cook, do laundry and have showers and toilets. But the main reason is that this campsite is a five-minute drive from tomorrow’s hike which will be worse than yesterday’s … and Quentin would like to do the sunrise; we will therefore have to leave around 3:30 in the morning. He surprises me every day my Quentin! The campsite is not bad. We cook, we have lunch (it is still 3 p.m., we are really super offbeat). And who says camping with cooking necessarily says pancakes! So I will make pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning (and for dessert and afternoon tea because I always make ten tons …).

When we’re done we’re going for a walk in town. Luckily the glacier is open! Good bin no choice, ice cream! They are huge and delicious, like in Patagonia. They are too big, however, it fills my stomach; maybe i should have taken only one ball.

We take a quick tour around town, very fast, then we come back because we’re cold and almost everything is closed (5.30pm…). Back at the campsite we each do our small business then we will go to bed without eating (good maybe one or two pancakes) because we are still in digestion.

The night was very short or nonexistent. It is 2:30 am when we wake up and 3:15 am when we start the ascent of Roy’s Peak. We thought we were alone but it is a highway of motivated and morning hikers that we will climb this morning. There are about fifty people on the way to see the sunrise. So we start the hike to the front with the lighting of the full moon as an accompaniment. You can still see the path and the lake below. We have a super good pace this morning; we double everyone on our way. Quentin even feels himself growing wings, so much so that I repeat to him not to wait for me. We will climb without stopping. We will arrive two hours later at the top completely exhausted (I speak for myself, Quentin seems to be fine). It’s a duck cold up there. The wind is freezing; I no longer feel my body and I tremble like a leaf. We decide to take refuge behind some sort of shelter; there is a group of a few young people seated and glued to each other; they offer to join them, which we do. Quentin takes out his thermos of tea and tries to warm up; he offers it to everyone else. We will wait in the cold for an hour before we can start to appreciate the landscape. When the landscape lights up enough you get up and watch the sun color the mountains and the lake. The landscape takes on a pink hue before gradually finding its vivid green and bluish colors at lake level. We admire the view before descending quietly. The descent is steep and seems endless to us. However, we discover the landscape and the path that we took at night. It is rather pretty and offers us beautiful panoramas of the lake.

When we get down we are super happy. We decide to return to the campsite to do laundry, take a shower and have breakfast. We take our time well then we go to visit the small market of Wanaka. We will pass the fish & chips and let ourselves be tempted by fried salmon that we will eat in front of the lake.

After lunch we leave towards Fox & Franz Josef glaciers; Quentin wanted to start the road. We’re so exhausted that we’ll take a nap break after an hour’s drive.

We will only drive three hours in total; the landscapes will be magnificent. We will see glaciers, lakes and rivers.

We wanted to hike to see the Fox Glacier but once at the intersection the road is closed. On the sign is written that the trail is closed because the road was destroyed due to the floods… well, one more disappointment. So we go to the village of Franz Josef. Quentin is tired of driving so we decide to go to sleep at a campsite. The end of the day will be brief and we’ll go to bed quickly.

Stuck

We wake up late but we slept well! We hear cars in the restaurant parking lot. We dress and we will see what we can consume. We see a guy who greets us, Brian, the owner. He welcomes us and tells us to go inside; it doesn’t look annoying; he tells me they don’t have many people with Okay2Stay.

The restaurant is very pretty. The menu doesn’t make us want for breakfast but their cakes look appetizing! So it will be coffee-cake! We take advantage of the calm to make a few calls and then we head towards Queenstown via the Scenic route. By the way we stop in another bar which offers a shower service. We sympathize with two young people who made the whole interior of their van! It’s super good !

It is gray but it is not raining yet. Quentin spotted places to see on the road. We will see a cave, too dark and too narrow to venture too far.

We will go to a very beautiful forest to see trees that are over 1000 years old!

We will see lakes but the mountains will be in the clouds. I decide to call the company for tomorrow’s flight, just to check that there is still a flight! I did right to call because it is canceled! They suggest we come back on Wednesday. So we’re going to have to revise our program a bit because the weather looks really bad.

We go to a village not too far away and we redo everything according to the weather. We hope to be able to do all the hikes we had planned. Like tomorrow it’s going to be ugly Quentin offers to go to a good campsite to take advantage of a kitchen and toilets. He spotted a little walk for tomorrow afternoon and like that tomorrow morning we will make … pancakes! Because with our little stove we have to buy gas every other day! This thing is really not economical!

I spot a campsite that has room and we go there. There are so many people! We see that there is a bbq! Very cool ! Good bin we’re going to go looking for meat for tonight! There is a mini-market and which says meat says … beer and cider! Shopping for the evening will cost almost the same price as overnight at the campsite… in short, we pretend nothing and we return to the campsite to settle in the common room while waiting for all the people to finish their meal (they all eat super early ). The evening will be relaxed.

The weather is still as bad this morning. We go to breakfast in the kitchen, we prepare pasta for later then we try to put everything away without getting too wet. It’s a cold duck, you can’t see the mountains; in short, it smells like a bad day!

Quentin would like to try a walk, just to do something for the day. So we decide to park at the start of the hike. We will wait an hour and a half, time to watch a movie, before the sky calms down. When it is no longer raining we decide to do part of the “kepler track”; It’s a two day hike but we don’t have enough time to do it and it isn’t sunny enough so we will only walk for three hours. This ride is easy. We pass in a magnificent forest which runs along the river taken by Frodo and the community of the ring; we will even see another landscape of the film, the lake with all the dead in it … but hey there will only be moss in it! We appreciate the ride then on the return we hit a beautiful rain that gives wings to Quentin; the return will be much faster! We will come back all dirty and wet from the forest but at least we will have done something!

We were supposed to fly over the glaciers but it looks like there is a big problem in Milford Sound and they have to evacuate people; suddenly we do not know if we will be able to do it and the weather is not very encouraging. I call the girl and I tell her that we will come anyway tomorrow morning and that we will see on the spot. We therefore leave in the direction of Queenstown. We drive well then at some point there is a deviation… the road is covered with water! Well, we have yet another possible route so here we go. More than an hour later, we are still being tricked, the road is also blocked because flooded! We are told that it is not possible to reach Christchurch! Good bin no plane and suddenly we are really annoyed because it will upset the whole program! We are told that the road is blocked further as well and that it is better to spend the night in the area. We push a little to the village of Lumsden. There is free parking there but it is full! As we have no choice, we park in a square hoping not to have a fine! It’s raining and ugly. We watch a movie and then I decide to go to the convenience store. There I see a policeman who seems to be disembarking. I explain the situation to him and he tells me that this is a case of force majeure so no one will be fined! Cool ! Okay, let’s spend a while in the van with Quentin, then I suggest he go have a drink in a pub. The pub is super nice. There are lots of people like us, stranded and bored! We like the place and Quentin offers dinner here. Why not ! We have dinner then I propose to him to change the program of New Zealand; to zap the North Island and return to the South after Marine’s marriage. He agree. The most beautiful things are found in the south. We are still going for a long hike in the north but the glaciers and fjords are in the south so we would rather try our luck in March! Cool ! We take advantage of the wifi and then we go to sleep.

It didn’t stop raining all night and now it’s big sun and not a cloud! We are not in a hurry and suddenly, as we decided to change all the plans we will have to cancel all the excursions that we had planned. So we’re waiting for a cafe with wifi to open and we’re going to sit there for a few hours. I’m going to make a lot of calls, send a lot of emails and call the car rental agency to find out if we could drop the car off at Christchurch instead of Auckland. Lack of luck it will not be possible, we will have to repay the ferry and make a lot of road, but hey, it’s the game my poor Lucette!

We decide to go back to the Catlins, there is a bit of sun so it should be prettier. We can even see the top of the mountains! We also wanted to try to see penguins again, maybe we’ll be luckier this time. We call Malcolm, with whom we slept on the soap farm. He is happy to receive us again! Cool ! We drive but lack of luck, the road is blocked to access the Catlins! No !! Good bin, we call back Malcolm who tells us to put ourselves in safety.

We decide to go back to Invercargill and try to go to the Okay2stay where we had slept near the sea. There are a lot of people on the section of road that makes the junction and we notice that in fact the road begins to be flooded. For the first time since the start of the trip, Quentin questioned our itinerary saying that we might be stranded. Certainly, it is a risk to be taken; but if we get stuck on the other side we have no chance of reaching Christchurch or Dunedin for a long time. We cross the bridge, it’s impressive to ride on the water like this and see the fields completely flooded. Once the road passed, Quentin told me that he would rather turn back and sleep on Invercargill. As everything is fine with me at this point, I accept and we go to find a place to sleep. Luckily, less than five minutes away, a pub offers showers and toilets for $ 5 and the possibility of staying in the parking lot for free! Very good ! We’re going there. The lady is very nice. We settle down. I’m going to shower. We take a nap then we decide to go to the pub where we will not finish dinner (very good meal by the way). We take this opportunity to redo the whole program. We decide to wait two to three days before taking the ferry tickets in case we can go to Christchurch for hikes. It would be really good because it would allow us to spend more time in the North Island! But hey, at this point we can only wait.

We return to the van to watch a movie and then sleep, hoping that the roads will be clear tomorrow.

Dunedin & The Catlins

The wind blew well last night, the van stirred well I had trouble sleeping; Quentin does not seem to have been embarrassed by cons! We were the only members of Okay2Stay sleeping here, it seems. There are already lots of tourists! So we have to leave everything closed to get dressed …

In exchange, for having slept in their parking lot, we decide to go have a coffee in the restaurant … but seeing their cakes it will be more like a breakfast 🙂 I take this opportunity to call Fleur.

When we’re done we’ll head towards Dunedin. We can’t wait to go there because this city was founded by the Scots and we compare it a lot to Edinburgh for its architecture! Quentin spotted that there was a street art circuit and we like to do that. It will only take an hour to get to town. We make a first stop at the station which is magnificent! The floor is made up of thousands of mosaics.

We stroll through the streets and shops. We’re going to get some info at the visitor center. There is a Scottish shop that sells haggis and short breads !!! So no choice, we take it! We’re having lunch in the main square and we decide to try a dish from here, ler chowder. It’s a kind of creamy soup with lots of good things in it: mussels, fish, calamari, vegetables … enjoy!

We’re going to see the local churches with Victorian architecture.

We finish the visit (yes it’s not very big) with the street art circuit. We see lots of super nice people! The artists are definitely very talented!

When you leave the city Quentin offers to go through the scenic drive. Fortunately he suggested that because otherwise we would miss the Tunnel Beach. We didn’t know what it was like going there. We park and then we have a super steep descent which gives us access to incredible viewpoints on a magnificent white coast! We descend to the beach from where we can admire the grandeur of the cliffs. On the way back, I am fighting with a family of Chinese people who are starting to give seagulls fries !! It is written everywhere not to give anything to animals because they do not digest and they can die but there are always imbeciles not to listen and read the instructions! Anyway, I get angry and Quentin doesn’t say anything a little embarrassed but he suspected that I was going to fight them … we go back up all the thinking quickly enough then we continue the road until our evening Okay2Stay. Tonight we are going to sleep on a farm where people produce homemade soaps made from goat milk!

When we arrived our hosts had forgotten us but we are still greeted with big smiles! The farm is cute; they have two dogs, full of goats and horses. Our host Malcolm shows us around and explains lots of things before introducing us to his wife Tracy, who is responsible for showing us and explaining to us how they make their soaps and shampoos. We are super excited by their natural products !! We take full! We discuss a little more then we return to our van. I’ll be working on the blog while Quentin looks at where to shower and what to do tomorrow in the Catlins. We will do part of the last part of The Lord of the Rings before going to bed.

On se réveille difficilement ce matin même si nous avons bien dormi. Tracy nous a proposé de la retrouver pour voir comment elle faisait la traite des chèvres et pour essayer!

On petit déjeune puis on va la retrouver. Elle est en compagnie de Mary qui fait la traite avec elle. C’est marrant de voir ça! Quand on les regarde ça parait simple mais quand Quentin essaye rien ne sort au début! On rigole, on discute puis on s’en va.

On va maintenant voir des fossiles de baleines! Manque de bol ce n’est pas aussi bien que ce qu’on imaginait du coup cela nous fera perdre un peu notre temps.

On retourne vers le village où nous avons dormi pour se doucher dans une piscine municipale. On arrive trop tôt du coup on va mettre de l’essence mais quand on revient c’est toujours fermé ! On abandonne et on commence nos visites de la région du sud de l’île du sud : les Catlins ! Il y a beaucoup de choses à voir ici, du coup nous avons prévu deux belles journées.

On ira voir de belles plages, de belles côtes, des cascades, des formations géologiques intéressantes, un musée (mais on aura la flemme de lire les panneaux) … On verra des lions de mer sur certaines plages, ils sont énormes ici ! On trouvera même un bar pour se toucher ! Quentin ne se sentant pas sal je me doucherai seule. On fera pas mal de route au final en allant voir un maximum de choses. C’est vraiment joli, ça me rappelle beaucoup la Bretagne et l’Ecosse.

En fin de journée on ira se trouver un camping pas cher pour passer la nuit.

 

We hardly wake up this morning even though we slept well. Tracy offered to find her to see how she milked goats and to try!

We have breakfast then we will find her. She is in the company of Mary who trades with her. It’s funny to see that! When you look at it it sounds simple but when Quentin tries nothing comes out at the start! We laugh, we chat and then we go.

We will now see whale fossils! Lack of luck is not as good as we thought it will waste our time a bit.

We return to the village where we slept to shower in a municipal swimming pool. We arrive too early so we will put gas but when we come back it is always closed! We give up and start our visits to the southern region of the South Island: the Catlins! There are many things to see here, so we have planned two beautiful days.

We will go to see beautiful beaches, beautiful coasts, waterfalls, interesting geological formations, a museum (but we will be too lazy to read the panels)… We will see sea lions on certain beaches, they are huge here! There is even a bar to touch! Quentin not feeling dirty I will shower alone. We will make a lot of road in the end by going to see a maximum of things. It’s really pretty, it reminds me a lot of Brittany and Scotland.

At the end of the day we will find a cheap campsite for the night.

Today is unfortunately rainy day. So we will not do much!

We’re already going to have breakfast. We decide to go to the kitchen (large room with two tables and sinks so we have to bring all our equipment). We sit next to a girl who has been traveling in New Zealand for 11 months hitchhiking! How awful ! Ahah let’s say that this is not our delirium! In any case she is very nice so we have breakfast together then with Quentin we go for walks.

We will make three stops to see waterfalls. We will have to take walks in beautiful forests to reach them.

Then we wanted to go see a huge cave, but it is on private property which only opens at certain times depending on the stops. So, we decide to go see if we can wait in front of the gate which is in the middle of a bend! We have just under two hours to wait and we are not the only ones wanting to arrive at the opening! So we park behind another van and we finish the Lord of the Rings.

When the lady opens the gate we go for it. We pay it and we park, then we take the path that leads to the sea. The beach is very beautiful. The tide is going down but it is not completely low so we will walk in the water to the knees or higher with the waves! I did well to put on shorts! Quentin walks too close to the rocks and takes a nice squirt in the face! Fortunately he had his coat closed! When you arrive in front of the cave it’s really beautiful! It is huge! You enter through one entrance and exit through another. Luckily we will be alone in it and we will avoid the crowd that begins to arrive when we leave the beach.

Once in the parking lot the lady asks us if we have already been in the cave because we are the first to leave; we explain to him that we braved my sea to enter it!

Next step, a beach that must also be seen at low tide, on part of the beach there are rocks with petrified trees encrusted in the stones! Superb! We’ll still wait for the rain to calm down before we go see this. We will be lucky, we will see dolphins too!

We were told that we could see penguins with some sort of yellow eye area after 6.30 p.m. As we hadn’t been able to see them the day before, we decided to give it a try today; only it’s only 4pm … we’re going to see to take a shower because Quentin really needs it. Luckily we are told that it is possible not far away. We go there and not bad luck there is a general power cut in the region right when we are about to turn on the water !! Okay, the guy tells us to wait an hour, but an hour later it’s not resolved. So we return to the point of view of the penguins and we prepare the rest of the trip. Quentin has a revelation, if there is a water cut it means that we can open the shower doors of the campsite next door! And yes! Well there is no hot water but the cold water still flows. So he’s going to shower while I wait for the penguins to arrive. I chat with a Belgian mother and her son, then four French women who arrive. We all wait together, then Quentin returns. We keep chatting and around 8 p.m. the abandoned girls then we but the two Belgians are still trying!

We are now leaving for our accommodation for the night which is a 2 hour drive. We will sleep in the parking lot of a restaurant and tomorrow we will have breakfast before hitting the road!

Mount Cook

Wake up before 6am this morning and go for it without having breakfast and break up the bed towards Mont Cook. We are planning to hike 8-10 am today.

We drive for an hour before arriving at the campsite, also the starting point for the hike, but unfortunately for us the mountains are covered! We were happy to walk but we decide to go back to bed for a while.

When I get up it’s noon !! And it’s still raining, it’s ugly and cold, it’s depressing!

Quentin is hungry, he hasn’t slept as much, so we cook in the van and then we still look at the “Lord of the Rings” (only 4 hours left!). At some point the weather seems to get better and depending on the weather the rain should stop. Suddenly Quentin would like to go for the two short hikes that we had to do in addition to the big one. Okay, let’s go! We prepare and we go.

The first will take place in very gray weather but as in the mountains the weather changes all the time, we will still see a pretty landscape, despite the greyness. We finally discover the mountains of the country, even in the rain and in the mist they are splendid! We will walk for 3 hours while contemplating the landscape.

We return to the van and we start at the starting point of the second hike. There are fifteen minutes by car and the road is magnificent! We are too happy, the mountains are huge and the light gives them a brown and gray tint at the same time, it’s extraordinary!

We arrive at the starting point and go up to a point of view; the way is only in stairs, it is good for the buttocks but it is hard !! When you get to the top you have no words, it’s superb! We find ourselves in front of a chain of mountains of different colors and shapes. Admittedly it is ugly but the mountain is still too beautiful !! We admire the landscape for a while before returning to the campsite to watch the film, eat and sleep. Tomorrow we will get up super early hoping to have more luck on the weather!

We get up faster in the morning even if Quentin pushes the alarm a little. I try to look out the window and there, impossible not to shout for joy, I scream very loud that it is too beautiful outside !!! We can see the top of the mountain, there is not a cloud and the sun is rising slowly! We are too too too happy! We take our breakfast, prepare the snack and the bags then we leave. We should have 8-10 hours of walking at the same time, we say that if we come back sooner we will start the route we should have done this morning and that we will finish it tomorrow.

We feel like growing wings with this weather! We are alone at the start then when the horrible part of the stairs comes ok see two girls higher who are five minutes ahead of us. The path is horrible, an hour to climb stairs! I hate it but I tell myself that I will have a concrete ass when I return to France and that will be class! In short we climb without flinching and there, the famous Mount Cook appears !! It is huge, majestic, covered with snow and there is not a cloud !!! We cannot hide our joy, we are too lucky today! We admire the landscape without stopping. We arrive at the end of the stairs, this announces that we have made a positive elevation of 600m already on the total 1000m. We pass the girls for the second part and we see a guy, surely a German, who caught up with them !!! But what do they eat in the morning these people ?! He’s going to the bottom! In short, we continue at our own pace. The second part is just as boring, it still climbs over 400m of elevation gain. It’s not easy because you have to be careful not to fall and injure yourself on the rocks. In addition we take quite strong gusts which sometimes make us fold on ourselves! When we get to the top (the German has overtaken us of course) it’s wonderful. It’s one of the best hikes I’ve ever had! I could not describe in words the landscape that we saw because it was just crazy !! I hope you see what I mean in the photos! We go to the final hut, so happy to have managed to do this hike and super proud of us because we went up in 2h15 !!!! Good German in 1h50 but he ate supernatural products in the morning it is not possible otherwise! We are too happy, we admire the splendor of the landscape, we take photos, we feel alone in the world (with the German who is very nice by the way). Getting on as fast as we can do our day’s schedule as planned! We will go down first and we will see dozens and dozens of people going up asking us if we have done it, in how long etc … suddenly we are farting with our time, normal! We go back down in two hours, then We go back to see yesterday’s point of view, Quentin would like to try it without the clouds. The weather has changed a lot since we started. We did well to get up early because they expected gusts at 120km / h !!!

Suddenly we are back to the point of view which this time is well discovered. We have lunch in front of this fantastic panorama, I smash my knee with a stone (this does not surprise Quentin) then we go back to get a shower … three days without a shower it starts to be long especially when hiking … we find some one and to save money we shower at the same time by hurrying to soap from all angles. It feels so good !!! We are now going to get a laundromat; it will take us almost two hours! We now have less than three hours to reach our place to sleep for the night. We took a kind of pass to be able to sleep with individuals such as farmers, restaurants, winegrowers etc. They allow us to spend the night at their place of work and in exchange we have to consume or buy something. We loved the idea because it should allow us to meet locals and discover regional products. So tonight we’re going to sleep in the parking lot of a cafe!

The road is very beautiful, we pass by a lake with darker colors which brings out the light color of the mountains. Where we are going to sleep there is a tourist site to see: the Moeraki Boullders. These are large, well-rounded stones that are probably formed by erosion and are now found by the sea.

We arrive at the cafe but it is closed. We’re settling in and we’re going to see the stones. There’s nothing crazy about it, we’re a little disappointed. In any case the place is pretty! We walk a bit then we will cook and dine on our chair in the parking lot. When the sun goes down we return to the van.

Christchurch & Banks Peninsula

Wake up at 5am this morning to finally leave for New Zealand. I’ve been waiting for this moment since we started visiting Australia’s east coast (since I got bored to death in Australia).
We try not to make too much noise so as not to wake Emma but on leaving she will throw us a goodbye.
We take an Uber and head to the airport. This time we are leaving with Emirates. The company is really good! The flight will be quite short. When we arrive in Christchurch we have to have all our camping equipment checked. A little over an hour later we leave the airport.
We take an uber and we go to our hosts. They left the key hidden outside the door to drop off our things.
We enter our room and there a horrible indescribable smell tickles our nostrils … I rush to open the windows and ventilate while we prepare to go out. When we are ready we meet the owners … no one shows up. Well, they don’t seem super fun so we’re heading towards the city center. The road is not very pleasant, we arrive in town in 40 minutes. There is street food so we take a Syrian fallafel, in addition the chef is nice.
We take a tour of the city, there are lots of small shops, cafes, bars and a market. We will make several “happy hours” while discovering the small town. We see a lot of buildings that were destroyed or partially destroyed during the 2011 earthquake. It reminds me of my visit to Hiroshima…
We will fall for a big ice cream with original flavors. The city has been partially reconstructed with modern buildings, some of which are architecturally beautiful. There is a lot of street art and the artists are very talented for the most part! We try to find out as much as possible by walking everywhere. We are tracking for tomorrow’s ride.
At the end of the day we come back taking our time, Quentin will take a three hour nap, and I will spend time on my blog and doing my little gym before going to bed.

Quentin has trouble waking up, he sleeps like a Loire. No, suddenly I have some things in mind for the wedding so I make a few calls while waiting for my sleeping beauty to wake up.
Once up, we get ready and then we go to town to brunch! On the road we will see lots of beautiful street art that will make us make lots of detours.
The restaurant is cute and the meal will be super good and will give us lots of good ideas for our return to France, to be like we’re super cooks!
After this hearty meal we go for a stroll in town. Quentin is still shopping! I’m starting to drop the case, I reserve myself for NY, there I know that I will find clothes! We stop in several shops then in several places to drink glasses … We will resist the call of ice …
We go to another neighborhood and see where the van rental agency is. The vans are really ugly inside, I hope it will be at least clean otherwise it will shit!
Coming back at the end of aprem Quentin still finds some nice things to listen to on youtube: the testimony of a woman who made a toxic shock with her cup… in short, we listen, I freak out, I send to my friends who are going also freak out then i write my blog. Quentin is super tired, it’s strange that he wants to sleep so much … suddenly we order food on the internet (ubereats is not bad when you have a big laziness) before going to sleep.

In tribute to Dave, a very talented French singer, we called our Australian van Vanina (https://youtu.be/gG5abwgyX7k). We decided to call our Australian van Vanina 2 in her memory.

We set off to get Vanina 2 after closing our bags. On the road there are lots of new super beautiful street arts! When we arrive at the office we do the paperwork and we are made to watch a sort of New Zealand traffic code video then we will check in the van. It is not super beautiful; lack of bowl we have one with drawings of hawk and ducks … I don’t like it, it is not super nicely tagged and suddenly it goes even less unnoticed. However, much to our relief, it is clean inside and looks well organized. We discover the famous portable toilets which it is certain that we will not use except in case of extreme emergency. We don’t have a fridge, but a cooler will mean shopping more often. Quentin is happy because it’s an automatic! Less stress in the ribs!

So we got our van, now we have to go get our things from our hosts. When we arrive the guy is in his household in pajamas and has nothing to do with us; I do not know what is worse between hosts who are absent or hosts who ignore you … in short, we make our living, we organize our van which is not so badly damaged inside then we leave to do shopping.

We go shopping and we discover local products: Italian kiwis !! But what a shame for a world famous kiwi producing country! So no kiwis but local apples.

After the races we’re going to have brunch in a super pretty restaurant that we had spotted on the internet. We will eat too well again, the dishes are generous, well presented and super good. We will be tempted by desserts and drinks that will be difficult to finish … ahlalalala gluttony … in short we start crawling towards the van.

We go back to the city to get information at the visitor center and we will see buildings that we had missed; these are old buildings with English architecture, it’s very beautiful. They are made of gray stones.

Well this time, we’re done with Christchurch! We leave in the direction of Akaroa, the French city in the Banks peninsula. We have an hour’s drive to get there. The road is beautiful, we finally discover the beautiful New Zealand landscapes!

Akaroa is the small French town of New Zealand. The houses are cute, the streets have French names, there are pretty shops and cute restaurants along the sea. We take a walk taking our time and then in the evening we go to look for a paying campsite since the one where we wanted to sleep which is free is complete. We found one not very far from there, in a sort of farm-camping-hotel. The good thing is that we are not far from a Maori church that we wanted to visit.

We settle down at the campsite then we cook ourselves. There are a lot of people and the kitchen is tiny! In the evening we will watch a part of the Lord of the Rings (well yes we get in the mood!); the sky outside and super beautiful. In the distance we see the bay covered by the clouds which are oddly very low, it is very pretty in any case. We are going to sleep late, tomorrow we must try to get up early to resume good habits even if it is day until late at night!

We set the alarm clock for 6 a.m. this morning, but we gently set it to 6.30 a.m. … we couldn’t get up! When we get up we are happy because we slept well in Vanina! The duvets and pillows are super nice.

We get ready, we have breakfast then we head towards the parking lot for a hike. Quentin wanted to change our starting point to go even higher.

We hit the road, it’s beautiful! The weather is clear as well so it’s perfect.

We arrive at the campsite and there we go for a 3 hour hike. We will pass on a farm and scare the cows, we will cross a small forest, we will see superb views of the bay and the surrounding mountains. In short we have fun! By cons it climbs so the recovery hurts the thighs! We will be alone all along! First hike on top!

When we’re done we go to town to shop and have lunch in a garden before hitting the road for our next destination: Lake Tekapo! It’s a few hours away. Quentin would like to take the “scenic drive”; Good choice! We take full view all along! It’s really super beautiful! We are lucky to be here it’s great! We drive for an hour in very beautiful landscapes, in a brown valley with on each side the sea. Then we will catch up with the normal route to go to the lake.

On the way a guy beckons us on the side of the road and as we are nice we stop of course! He needs to call a trailer so we’ll wait a few minutes before continuing. We find ourselves in another style of landscape, there are mountains in the mist whose summits look very high! It is very beautiful. The floor is brown because it’s summer. Half an hour later we finally arrive at Lake Tekapo. Its color is beautiful but I am not dazzled; the mountains are in the mist and there must be a hundred Chinese tourists running all over the place! So we will take a little tour to see the church which faces the lake and which is rather cute then we will go and get free accommodation near another lake, Lake Pukaki.

Unfortunately the weather is dark so it is hard to appreciate the beautiful turquoise color of the lake … it is not actually turquoise. There are a lot of people in the parking lot and no toilet … I will have to hold back until nightfall to discreetly pee next to the van …

We do a little tour then we watch the rest of the “Lord of the Rings” and when night falls I will pee my groooooos before going to sleep.

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