Monday, April 21, 2008

We stayed in Te Anau for a couple of days and met these delightful German girls who shared our hostel space with us. They kindly offered to give us a ride south as they were going to Invercargill. The picture below is the coast near Invercargill. It actually snowed six inched in Te Anau the night before we left. The countryside was beautiful. sorry I didn't get any pictures of that.

One of the stops on the car ride was a short hike to two beautiful waterfalls. Here are our new friends, Lisa (left) and Sarah.

That same day we did another short walk on a river trail.

This was our turn around spot.

That night we had a difficult time finding a hostel since we arrived in Dunedin after dark and the map was so small the light dim. Sarah and Lisa did a great job finding their way. Next morning we went for coffee and ended up at Mc Cafe. Sarah and Lisa convinced us that they would have good coffe and pastries. Steve admitted that it was the best cup of coffee he had had in New Zealand.From Dunedin, we went up the east coast of NZ. Here was a stop at a beach with some oddly shaped rocks.

having a rest

moving heavy things

the weather was perfect!
We are now in Christchurch relaxing and getting ready to go to Auckland tomorrow and then to Australia on 4-24.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Steve got a lead from a US fisherman that has been fishing in NZ for thirty years that the Whitcome has great trout fishing... so we set out on this tramp. Gordan from the hostel in Hokitika gave us a lift to the trail head. This area is not maintained by the Department of Conservation so the trail is missing in many places where the mountain has slipped. The book said that determination was needed to find the trail at times. This turned out to be the case.

This was the first river crossing of our hike along the Hokitika River and then up the Whitcome gorge. We met up with four other hikers that helped us get across. A crank on each end is used to hand crank the person in the bucket across the river. Look at the color of that water!

Our first day was only a two hour hike so we didn't have to get a super early start. Since this was listed as a difficult hike we only brought the bare essentials and left our other gear with Gordan at the hostel. This is the Rapid Creek hut where we stayed. It sleeps six. A spring out back bubbled out of the ground for delicious drinking water. We had the place to ourselves.

Steve raced out and got a fish right off. Hooray, some protein for dinner. I cut it up in little bite size pieces and made a trout/veggie stir fry over quinoa. The rest we had for breakfast.

some beautiful mosses on a rock.

After walking for hours up and over boulders the size of cars, the ligaments and muscles that go over my knees were screaming for relief! This was definitely a hard hike. At one creek side crossing I slipped on a rock, bashed both shins and the weight of my pack tried to hurl me in the water. It took all my strength to hold on and pull out of it. I had to sit holding my shins for awhile before going on. Many crossings were not worth finding a dry place to cross and we just plowed in shoes and all to have a better footing while crossing swift current.

big boulders and beautiful water everywhere

Frew Hut on the second day. We arrived in plenty of time for Steve to find the holes with big ones. He was gone the minute we arrived. My legs were killing me so I read and re cooperated from the hike.

The view from the hut.

Here is the fish Steve caught from the Frew Hut
Happy fisherman with his catch of the day.
Since my legs were stretched to their limit, I was thinking I could not go on and Steve came up with the great idea of paring down to the barest of bare essentials and putting them in his pack while leaving mine at the hut since we were coming back in two days. So we took just the sleeping bags, food for two days, stove and pans. That way I was able to continue but not have to carry a pack. That was just the solution cause I wouldn't have made it otherwise.
Steve spotted a fish in this hole the next day while we were hiking. He snuck down while I watched in order to give the thumbs up if the fish stayed in the hole. I enjoyed watching him cast his fly several times and see the fish come up and grab it. Fish On!

playing the fish

caught the fish

proper fish picture

can you find the trail?? We had a hard time too. Lots of boulder hopping and brush busting on this hike.
A view of the river from the forest part of the trail.

Price Flats- almost arrived at the last hut we were staying at.

taking a little break at Price Flats.

dinner on the bunk of Price Flats hut, another hut that sleeps six. Most of these huts have a rain gathering system from the roof so their is running water if the tank has water. Another hut to ourselves.

The next day we turned around and hikes out heading back to Frew Hut. Here's Steve taking a little break.

Another fish.

At the end of the hike we waited for our scheduled ride sitting on our packs. Here I'm being visited by a Weka looking for a hand out.

After this hike we rested for a day and then caught a bus going south. This is the Fox Glacier along the way. WE were ahead of schedule and the driver took us up there since we had time to kill.

The bus ride was beautiful and took us all the way to Queenstown (9 hour ride). This is the view out of our hostel window. Such a gorgeous setting for the town. I would like to have stayed and looked around town.

The view from town across part of the lake.

Next morning we were on another bus bright and early headed to a secret fishing hole that Steve heard about from the same guy that told him about the Whitcome River. This is a picture from the bus window. The same lake that Queenstown is on, only further south.

It was a rainy day, perfect for being in the bus.

We jumped off the bus at some obscure spot and the ladies we had been chatting with, I'm sure thought we were nuts. They wished me luck. This is our little campsite. Such gorgeous country!!

A spring creek with some awesome fishing. Steve was smiling from ear to ear.

A view in one direction from camp where I kept the fire going, read and fixed dinner(s). We stayed two nights. No fish pictures but the fishing was super. big monster browns!
We walked back up to the road where the bus had let us off and waited for the bus but must have been late cause we never saw it. Instead we thumbed and were picked up by a sweet German gal with her 10 month old baby. She was going to Te Anau, so we did too. More gorgeous countryside along the way and fun getting to hear someone else's story. Te Anau is the jumping off spot for three of the great walks and going to Milford Sound so it is a bit busy. Steve walked to the river while I updated the blog and we will be leaving tomorrow to go farther south. We are sharing our hostel space with two darling German girls that have just finished University and are touring NZ in a rental car. They are giving us a ride. We have to be in Christchurch by 4-23 to catch a plane to Auckland to leave for Australia on the 24th.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The bus from Wanganui took us to Wellington where we caught the ferry to Picton and stayed the night in a hostel. Hitchhiking the next day we made it to Tapawera where we got a ride to the trailhead of the Karamea Track. Halfway through that track we crossed over the Wangapeka saddle and continued down a new track to the end of that hike. The same guy that dropped us off came and picked us up and we stayed at his hotel for one night before catching a bus to Hokitika where we have be lounging on the beach for several days before going back into the bush for a six day hike.

Approaching Picton from the ferry.

This is one of the huts we stayed in that was built into the cleft of a rock. This swinging seat was in the patio/fire area.

Here is the inside of the hut with the slant of the ceiling being the rock itself. The sleeping pad is up on its side.

The second day of hiking we got rained on so we waited in a delightful hut with three other folks and set off the next day. Steve is walking in his rain pants since the brush is soaked. This is day three. No pictures of hut #2

A peek through the woods down to the Karamea River on the way to the Karamea Bend hut. What a hard day of hiking. There was so much downhill that our legs were aching by the time we had gone the 11 miles.

Evening at the Karamea Hut where Steve caught a huge brown trout (65 cm)

Getting ready the next morning to leave this plush roomy hut. We always seem to get out the door around 9:30 am each day after our oatmeal breakfast.

Approaching Crow Hut where we made tea and took a nap before continuing our day of tramping.

River crossing, yikes!

A landslide from the nearby mountain created this lake where we had a rainy tea party before reaching the next hut.

A view up the valley from another hut where we stayed. While Steve was fishing in the evening, the rain came down so hard I was shocked. So glad to be in a hut instead of a tent.

Hiking through the sun dappled woods.

On the bus going down the coast on the way to Hokitika