Tuesday, 26 April 2016

NZ: Heading North with Anja

With Anja and Gandalf (the car) along Lake Wakatipu with Glenorchy in the far far distance

We extended our time at Kinloch by one day as I wasn’t feeling too well and we wanted to climb Mt Alfred on the way out, and the weather was looking much better the following day. 

Mt Alfred was amazing – only 1375m but deceptively difficult mainly due to the weather conditions – the first ¾ of the climb are in the bush and pretty easy but the last ¼ is a scramble up a gulley, which when the rocks are covered in a layer of ice makes it pretty difficult!!! I was genuinely scared at points but all I can say is thank god for the grass as we were using that to haul ourselves up – it’s strong stuff! 

Tiny mushrooms growing in a rotten log

Scrambling to the top

Fear on my face!
Views are getting better

The view at the top was worth conquering my fears for, you can see for miles in all directions! It was nice seeing where I had spent the last month from above. 

Woweeeeee amazing views

Rees Valley and Lake Wakatipu.  Kinloch is on the bottom right of the lake

We ate 2 semi cold toasties then headed back down the mountain to the Trading Post where we said our goodbyes to the girls in the shop and had one last hot chocolate (the best hot chocolate ever, if you ever end up in Glenorchy you have to get one).

Our original plan had been to drive all the way to Fox but it was a bit of an overstretch – after running errands in Queenstown we only got as far as Wanaka before light was falling, so we settled in at the Albert Town campground for the night.  We woke early the next morning, surrounded by fog which was a bit eerie. 

We packed up and headed back on the road for our drive to Fox, where we decided not to stop in the end – our intention had been to do the Lake Matheson walk but as the clouds were down we wouldn’t have been able to see the famous reflection in the lake, so continued onwards to Franz where we did the walk to the glacier terminal.  We drove onwards to Hokitika and camped at the Lake Mahinapua campsite and the next day was spent being tourists in Hoki. 

A nice waterfall we stopped at

You'll find one way bridges like this all over NZ, on 'state highways'

Lake Mahinapua

We bought souvenirs, sat on the beach and did a Jade Factory tour which was fairly interesting.  I had wanted to catch up with Wayne (of the dairy farm) and had been trying to get hold of him for the last 2 days but to no avail.  We decided to rock up at his house anyway and wait until he had finished work, so we sat in his drive playing with his dog Blue until his neighbour turned up and told us he was down in Haast on a job and wouldn’t be back till Friday – bummer! So back to the campsite it was, via the Glow Worm dell which was pretty awesome, and we picked up a French guy called Vivian who shared his crisps with us and then pitched his tent so close to ours I couldn’t peg our tent down on one side.

Blue's smiling!

We paid for a hot shower at Hoki swimming pool the next day as we were getting pretty stinky, and started the drive to Nelson Lakes National Park via the Pancake rocks.

Again having underestimated the amount of time it takes to drive places, we reached Nelson Lakes after night fall and pitched our tent in a freedom camping spot there.  Tired and lazy we made cheese sandwiches for dinner and had an early night as the next day we were attempting our first multiday tramp, wahoo!!

At Justine’s recommendation we’d decided to do the 2 day Lake Angelus tramp, where you walk 12km up and along the ridge of Mount Robert, then back down the Speargrass Track the next day.  We spent the morning preparing and packing our bags full of food and water, left our valuables at the i-site then headed off on our walk.  We met some paragliders on the way and I secretly hoped they’d let us paraglide with them but no such luck…

Happy to have reached the top of the zigzags

The 'relatively flat' mountain ridge

Me looking like a professional

it went on and on and on....

and on....

and on!

The first part of the walk was a steep zigzag up the mountain side, then 6ks or so walking along the ridge.  The last 5ks were spent scrambling along rocks and scree slopes in high winds which was pretty hairy at times but we made it to the hut alive, yay! I have probably never been so happy to see a hut. 

Getting a bit treacherous now

Yessss only 30 more minutes to go 

and we found the hut!!!!! (to the bottom left)

We settled in for the night, making friends with 4 kiwis and playing cards until we were too tired to keep our eyes open (8pm, haha!).  We slept well considering you’re lying on a plastic mattress next to 6 other people, and woke early ready for the descent.  The clouds had come down and it looked pretty miserable outside – I wasn’t looking forward to leaving the hut!! But we had places to be, so we manned up and left the comfort of the hut.  It actually wasn't that bad outside – the wind looked gustier than it was and my swanky new rainjacket is really warm and windproof so I was quite toasty. 

setting off in the misty morning

Two of the kiwi boys we were playing cards with caught up with us when we got stuck at a creek and couldn’t decide on the best way to cross – having much longer legs than us they just hopped over, but with a bit of bravery we also managed to hop over without incident.  They walked faster than us and soon disappeared in the distance, but at the next creeks we found they’d left us little piles of rocks where they’d crossed to indicate the best crossing, which was such a lovely thing to do!!!  We caught up with them at a much larger creek where they had waited for us as they weren’t sure we’d make it across without their help, ha!! Very sweet of them and we ended up walking down the rest of the way with them.

We had booked into a more upmarket campsite (a whole $4 extra!) so that we could have a shower and shelter – even though we had only showered 2 days previously we were so stinky it was gross – the shower was much enjoyed!!! We saw one girl who'd been in the hut with us and her hair still looked perfect and luscious, and my hair was a dirty little greaseball. I just don't understand. We spent the afternoon sat in a lodge to abuse their wifi and have some well deserved dinner!

View from our campsite

Stinky and tired and sweaty and gross but happy we are alive haha

The next day was spent driving to Picton where we had a pleasant stroll around  and I realised that even though I have been there 3 times now, this is the first time I have actually wandered around the shops.  At 1pm we boarded our ferry and I said a sad goodbye to the south island!  I love it so much, I have had some amazing experiences and met the best people and I hope I have just as much fun on the north island!!


  1. Shame on you, you mixed up the photos...the first one of you beside the tree was at the lake angelus walk ;)

    1. oops!!!! I need you here to help me write the blog :)


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