A Travellerspoint blog

Te Anau and the Milford Sound region


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Te Anau and a DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite on the Milford Road should be our home for the next three days, to indulge our hiking hunger once again.

While we are still stationed in the middle of the city on the associated lake, we choose to tackle another section of the Kepler Track. So in the morning we fin our way to the control gate of the lake from where we walk along the coast to Brod Bay, before taking the 900 m climb to the Luxmore Hut. The changing environment of sparse forest near the lake to dense, green jungle, lighter mountain forests and finally treeless heights is impressive. Near the hut we can eventually even enter the Luxmore Caves at our own pace before heading back home. After 29 km and 8 h, we sure have seen a lot.

Anyone thinking that the next day should now bring some relaxation, is wrong. We leave to explore the terrain along the Milford Road, part of the Fiordland National Park. After brief stops for a walk around Lake Mistletoe, photos in the Eglinton Valley and at the Mirror Lakes, we reach “The Divide.” There begins or ends the Routeburn Track, which we explore to the viewpoint Key Summit. Once at the top, we will follow an unmarked trail, from Lake Marian Lookout south and after some time on the ridge are rewarded by great views of Lake Gunn and Lake Howden. Alone this last tour takes again 4 hours, so we set up our camp in the evening at the Cascade Creek Campground.

An early start is necessary, because we have the winding mountain road Milford Road to its end at Milford Sound to cope with, where we have booked a cruise before 10 am. In between we cross Homer Tunnel, raw hewn through the rock. The 135 minutes on the Milford Sound might cost 170 NZD, but are definitely worth the money. The views are impressive and waterfalls of 135 and 160 m height are relatively small, when the mountains around it stand many times this height. This is definitely an experience that we do not want to miss.

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But a cruise on Milford Sound is not enough for us that day, so we stop on the way back at “The Chasm” where the water masses have formed the rock in interesting ways. The second highlight of the day, however, is our trip to Lake Marian, a mountain lake, which is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The three-hour tour is on rough trails, over landslides, and tree roots, through the woods to a beautiful lake, on whose shores one could gladly linger longer.

Back in our Lucy, on the way to Mossburn, we agree that this day at Milford Sound and Lake Marian also belongs on our list of top days.

As always you find this article with even more pictures on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 08.07.2014 08:24 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Invercargill to Te Anau


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The day begins in Invercargill, as so often when we are in a city, with a 2-hour visit to the library to check mails and update the blog. After the duty is done it’s only a short walk through the city (as it is not that large), and then in its heart the Queen Park. This facility would be noticed positively in a town 10 times as big, but for a city with 50,000 inhabitants the location is absolutely top. A large, central park with a museum, a rose garden, 18-hole golf course is well maintained and landscaped.

From here it is straight to the west, with a nice stop on Hilltop Lookout over Riverton and then north towards the Fiordland. Our camp for the night is next to the old Clifden Swing Bridge.

When getting up, just across the fence we look into the faces of a flock of sheep which has taken position here, however, this is not uncommon in a country of over 40 million sheep. The trail continues to Manapouri and the lake of the same name. From here we head to Te Anau, the tourist center of the region. Once there, we use the afternoon to hike a part of the 4-day Kepler Track. This short 4-hour tour leaves us with a mix of wilderness adventure and “Lord of the Rings” impressions and raises the hope for more positive experiences in the coming days.

As always you can read this article with even more photos on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 24.01.2014 17:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Dunedin to Invercargill


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Dunedin is the first New Zealand town, which also leaves the impression of a being a city. Although it does not feel like 120,000 people, but at least there is an intact city center, in contrast to Christchurch.

In addition to a tour around the city, with views of the beautiful train station, churches and the steepest street in the world, we again were captivated by the free WIFI access in the library which kept us there for many hours, as regular blog updates take much time.

The next morning we leave Dunedin, of course not without another drive around the Otago Peninsula. The views here are definitely worth a 2-hour delay.

Moreover the way to Invercargill, the southernmost city in New Zealand, has many beautiful corners. First, we choose to enjoy the views from the lighthouse at “Nugget Point”, where we take some nice photos, which I can well imagine as posters.

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Following are once again waterfalls, first the Matai and the Horseshoe Falls, then the McLean falls, before it is soon 9 o’clock in the evening when we arrive at the Curio Bay Campground, where we are situated on a headland. Here we go for another one of our already obligatory steak nights with red wine (this time with T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks).

As always you can read this article with even more photos on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 24.01.2014 16:52 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

On the road to Dunedin


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The way from Lake Benmore Dam to Dunedin we start on a slightly overcast day. After brief stops at the dams of the large reservoirs of the region our first cultural stop is a Maori Rock Art Site. Most rock paintings have already been removed, and can only be seen at museums. The remaining fragments find little admiration of us.

The dreary gray day calls us to stop in the outside pink and inside pretty “Flying Pig Cafe”. Strengthened with a muffin we head to the Elephant Rocks, which lie in the middle of a sheep pasture, and need to be approached with consider care (sheep droppings).

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In Oamaru, we encounter the Pacific coast and are warned by a sign in town to watch out for penguins passing the road in the early evening. In the further course of the coast south to Dunedin, we are espeially excited at the lookout “Shag Point” at which several groups of fur seals can be admired. In addition, a green overgrown rock on closer inspection turned out to be a huge elephant seal.

As always you can read this article with even more pictures on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 24.01.2014 16:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Mount Cook region


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In order not to lose time and, of course, because only hiking for 3 hours does not move in line with our standard, the present-day tour is a combination of two popular tours in the Mt Cook area. First, a trip to the Hooker Valley, then the climb to Mueller Hut to the Sealy Tarns.

Already the journey to Mt Cook area, along the Lake Pukaki whets the appetite for more. If you then get off at White Horse Hill Campground and start your walk on such a gorgeous day with bright blue skies as we do, you will be confronted with lots of great impressions.

A mountain which stands in the spotlight almost the whole day is Mount Sefton, with snow and ice avalanches thundering down at the southern flank. Some smaller we have heard and one larger seen. The cascading levels and volumes are impressive.

The popular way through the Hooker Valley goes first to Mueller Lake, where we cross a suspension bridge before later after another suspension bridge it follows the Hooker River to Lake Hooker’s, located right at the foot of Mount Cook. This very nice easy tour takes about 3 hours there and back.

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Who leaves the White Horse Hill Campground in the other direction can ascend approximately 1000 meters to Mueller Hut, a recommended day trip. However, since we have already explored the Hooker Valley, we are only doing half of the height op to the Sealy Tarns, two small ponds 500 m above the valley. Already this climb provides a whole new perspective on the Mueller Lake, the Hooker Lake and the entire area. Especially having done the the Hooker Valley Tour before you can understand from here, where the path leads along. One last short trip to Kea Point and it’s back to our base camp the Glentanner Campground.

From there the next day brings us to the valley of New Zealand’s largest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Here we first go for the short walks to the Blue Lakes and at the entrance to the Tasman Glacier Lake. The view from the glacial moraine is impressive, even if only small “icebergs” in the lake are bobbing around.

Afterwards we start the trek along the glacier towards the Old Ball Shelter. At the beginning of which the old gravel road between the glacial moraine and the hillside is still well preserved. But then it turns into a large debris field of small boulders and gravel and after a brief further piece of old road you have to scramble over the crest of the moraine and then some old rock avalanches with large chunks. Our vertex of the walk is then about 20 minutes before actually reaching the hut, as a relatively new rock fall had spilled the path even further. In addition, it constitutes not only steep, but still very unstable and slippery obstacle, whose crossing could trigger further rockfalls.

After all, this day with a good six hours in the barren glacier area of the Mt Cook region has driven us again to round off the evening with steak and red wine.

As always you can read this and many more articles with additional pictures on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 07.12.2013 10:56 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Lake Tekapo


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Our today’s stage takes us from Geraldine to Glentanner near Mt Cook. Along the way, we make a long stop at Lake Tekapo using the corresponding Lake Tekapo Village, in order to shoot photos of the turquoise lake, that gets its colour because of the reflexions on the rock particles of origin glacier lake. Noteworthy on the way there is the gray weather at the start, that ends abruptly behind the Burkes Pass, where the clouds seem to get stuck in the mountains. The whole day at Mackenzie area behind is marked by a bright blue sky.

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To keep up with the training and to have an even better perspective of the lake, we decide to hike up the nearby Mount John with its observatory on the top. Our attention at the summit, however, was more focused on the Astro Cafe, where we stop for coffee with superb views of the lake below us, than the actual observatory. A wide loop along the lakeshore takes us back to the village where the supplies for the next 2-3 nights at the foot of Mt Cook are replenished.

As usual you can read this and many more articles with additional pictures on my travel blog

Posted by fkrebs 07.12.2013 10:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Little Mt Peel


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Our first night in Lucy (our campervan) in the Peel Forest Camp lies behind us and for today we have planned a daytour to Little Mount Peel. This tour is advertised at the campground as one alternative to discover the area. Two and a half hours to a nice viewing point at 1300 m is written there.

Looking forward to this, we head off from our campground, drive to the starting point a few kilometers away and get on walking. After more than an hour of steep ascent through the forest, we reach the treeline and realise with a litle dismay, that there is still a long and steep ascent waiting for us. Only now we start to realise, that this mountain might be lower compared to the Australian Alps and the coming targets, but that we start at only 300 m and hence have to climb a good 1000 m this day.

After having dealt with all the, sometimes very steep, climbs, however and are standing at the summit the strain is forgotten at the least. From here you can not only see all the surrounding peaks, but also the entire eastern plain of New Zealand up to the sea and the Rangitata River on its way towards it directly in front of us. To spend the lunch break with our sandwiches here is simply unique.

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The reward for the successful tour is, as so often with us, a piece of meat on the BBQ at the campsite in Geraldine, where we test also the new Vodafone SIM card, which allows us to call German and Polish fixed lines for just 2 NZD / for up to 60 minutes. (0.63€ 1 NZD or 1.58 NZD = 1€).

As usual you can read this and other articles with even more pictures on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 07.12.2013 10:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Arrival in Christchurch


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Our arrival in Christchurch is at 5 am and the flight from Melbourne took just over 3 hours.

Before starting off with our campervan, we have one and a half days in town. Unfortunately the city is still quite destroyed aft the earthquake in 2011 and a big part in the centre is fenced off. Especially the tower of the old cathedral is missing in the impressions you were supposed to get from town. On the other hand there is now a temporary town centre made from containers in which the city life is pulsating on nice days.

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More impressions on our destination for the next 2 months will follow soon.

As usual you can read this and other articles with more pictures as well on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 07.12.2013 10:39 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Melbourne & Australian Open

sunny 33 °C
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At the end of our first period in Australia we visit Melbourne, the second of the two big cities. Our timing could not have been better, as the start of the Australian Open falls into our four days in town. Hence we already have a program for Monday, but the other days have to be filled as well.

The first day is mostly about catching up with our friend Martin, talking about each of our travels from last year and the plans we have for 2013 and 2014. We have a lot of time for this, because we were so fortunate to be invited over for BBQ by his girlfriends family. Altogether we spend a very relaxed Sunday.

Monday is eventually our day at the Australian Open. We are at the playgrounds from 11 am to 9 pm watching matches or just enjoying the great atmosphere. As a Polish-German team we obviously watch Radwanska, Kerber and Janowicz play (and win). In addition we also get to see a few other top players like Li and Berdych. Without doubt this day needs to be added to the highlight list of our journey.

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Tuesday we head out to see the city, which can take a few hours even if you just walk through the CBD. But we are trained pedestrians by now and time is not an issue. As before we rather like to slowly pass through the city streets than do real sightseeing, and somehow it’s soon 7 pm, time to meet Martin and Corrie. After a nice dinner together, they join our preparation for New Zealand by watching “The Hobbit” with us.

Wednesday is finally the day we are leaving for Christchurch, but we still have most of the day to read, update our blogs and wash all our clothes.

With this the first 19 days in Australia have passed already. It was a great time and we are both looking forward at the thought of coming back here for even longer in 2 months time.

As always you can read this article with even more pictures on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 28.10.2013 18:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Feeding kangaroos on Phillip Island


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The last Stop before Melbourne is for us on Phillip Island, which is famous for its penguin parade. But we rather decided to just visit the western-most end and stop at the Wildlife park. This stop should rather take some time and we had to buy food a couple of times to get some close-up impressions of the kangaroos.

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Have a look at these two videos to get a quick idea of our day:

Phillip Island - kangaroos

Phillip Island – more kangaroos

And of course this day also left us with some nice pictures of our new friends, of which you can see more on my travel blog.

Posted by fkrebs 28.10.2013 18:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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