We have covered plenty of distance since our last blog! It is about 2000km so far for NZ. After Queenstown we have been taking in the scenery and the wildlife as we travelled through Te Anau, Invercargill, Caitlins, Dunedin, Omaru, Akoroa and finally Hamner Springs.
Te Anau it rained and rained and rained which we sort of expected of Fiordland so we did a lot of sightseeing of the lakes from the car. We did stop off at a small information centre and watched a few videos on the areas geography and wildlife but Carl was a bit disturbed as there was a stuffed Boo there and he got a bit sad! Ferrets are vermin out here as they eat all the indigenous wildlife, including the biggest parrot in the world which is so big it cannot actually fly.
After Fiordland we headed down to the most southern city in the world. It was a tad industrail so we only had an overnight stay there as we preferred to head down the the coast through the farmland to the Caitlins coast to see the wildlife. The Caitlins were beautiful and we became keen wildlife photographers jumping in and out of the van to see seals and spot alledged Penguins. We sat for almost an hour in a hide waiting for Yellow eyed penguins and little blue penguins and not one w*** turned up. The sealions and seals however are plentiful and have been keeping us amused.
We stopped in Dunedin and it is student central! It was like living on campus. In Dunedin though is the worlds steepest street, Baldwin street so we raced to the top. Our photos illustrate how knackering it was! We also hitched a lift with a local and his son to the Botanical gardens which were very pretty and we werent killed which was an obvious bonus. Carl is not into the hitchhiking but the man was so polite we couldnt say know and he gave us loads of free local knowledge.
After city living we headed up to Penguin town, aka Omaru. Carl did not believe how Penguin obsessed they were but when we stopped for diesal and Carl made polite small talk the cashier got out the Penguin Post to tell carl exactly what time and how many little blue penguins would be coming in. The weather was awful though and it was a tad late for us so we bought a postcard instead and went looking for wild penguins ourselves. We failed miserably and just found more seals!
We have headed north but the weather is thwarting us at every turn. We went to the french outcrop of Akoroa which was beautiful as we took the summit drive through the volcanic mountains and there had been snow so everything was crisp and white but it was too choppy for us to do what we had planned which was swim with dolphins when we got to the harbour. Carl bought us fudge though so I was happy enough. We also found a pearl studio/museum so we learnt all about the native shell here, Paua.
The weather has made us change plans a little but we decided to outsmart it by heading to Hanmer Springs. It is an amazing little alpine village with hot spas. We sat in boiling sulpher pools whilst overlooking the mountains. It was an incredible sight and so strange to be sat in a bikini when you can see snow and mountains evrywhere. I was ok as I have such hot baths but Carl did come out very pink. The only off putting thing was the super eggy smell of sulpher but after a while you didnt really notice.
More wildlife spotting for us now as we head to Kaikoura. We are trying to check the weather and are trying to get ahead of it but it is not quite happening. I think we will go further north to Nelson and Marlborough for our sky dive as it is just too cloudy here. All the aerial tours of whales have been cancelled due to the clouds but fingers crossed we will have a fine weekend.
Keep us posted of news back home
Love Kat & Carl