Day 1: After
a rather long and exhausting flight from Europe, we finally arrived in
New Zealand. The
first stop was Christchurch. As the weather was fine, we started exploring
the city shortly
after noon time. The first stop was Cathedral square, where we were lucky
enough to meet
the "Wizard" in full action. As this was the first day (or should I say
afternoon) in NZ, we
didn't do much else than stroll through the city center.
Day 2: Following
a first stop at the local Visitor center, we started exploring the city
leading us through the Botanical gardens with the Avon river. A visit at
the Canterbury museum
was next, and after a lunch break at the Arts Center, we joined a Tram
tour (terribly slow...).
To finish the afternoon, we took a journey on the Christchurch Gondola
to have an overwhelming
view over the whole area; Lyttelton harbour, Christchurch from above and
a great view towards
the Southern Alps.
Day 3: Today
was the day the trip would really start. Pickup of the camper van during
and after the necessary shopping for the next couple of days, we headed
Southern Alps leaving sunny Christchurch behind us. The chosen route towards
the West coast was via Arthur's Pass.
The closer we got to Arthur's Pass however, the more clouds appeared, and
brief stop here in order to see the Punchbowl falls, it really started
So it really became useless to stay any longer (the forecast wasn't too
we continued our route towards Westport on the West coast.
All the way, the rain wouldn't leave us anymore turning driving sometimes
to a rather
Day 4: After
a rather rainy visit of the Cape Fowlwind seal colony in the morning, it
decided to continue our way down the coast. A first stop was made at Punakaiki
with it's famous Pancake rocks. After a nice walk to see the rocks, the
and the cavern (all this of course in pouring rain), the next stop was
(the whole town was down for an hour due to general power failure) and
Greenstone and Bone carveries as well as some Glass arts. Unfortunately
the "nice" weather all day long, the sights of the beautiful coastline
to a strict minimum and finally, we arrived at Franz Josef, not even being
able to see
any mountains hidden by the clouds.
Day 5: Early
in the morning, everything had changed, bright sunshine..., helicopters
their way towards the glacier, and of course great views. We decided to
see Franz Josef village with the option to do some "helihike". As this
was delayed until
noon time, we optioned for Lake Matheson and finally walked all around
this beautiful spot.
On our return to the village, the helihike was further delayed to 3.00
(almost canceled) due to some upcoming clouds, so some time available to
the glacier valley. Some people had been waiting here for a couple of days
the glaciers, and yet again, the weather forecast for the next days was
So finally around 3.00 pm we took off for the glacier, and after a nice
overflow of the whole top, we landed and had about 3 hours to walk the
(strictly following our guide). A really great adventure...
Day 6: We left
Franz Josef in the early morning and shortly after arriving at Fox Glacier,
guess what... it started raining again and wouldn't stop for the rest of
As there wasn't much to do, we continued our way to finally arrive in Queenstown,
with a short off road stop in Jackson Bay (unfortunately either penguins
to be seen), all the way over Haast Pass and passing Wanaka.
This region must really be beautiful in normal weather conditions...