We've finally got round to writing up our notes about what we did in New Zealand. I know it's been almost 3 years since we were there, but since Mike (Lucy's brother) will be heading there soon - it would be good to offer them some tips/insight about New Zealand.A lot of this is in note/bullet-point format, so here goes:
New Zealand (May 2003)Arrived in Auckland late Saturday night, got the Arport shuttle bus to the hostel, (can't remember the name). We were given a twin room, so we pushed the beds together, but somehow in the middle of the night they moved apart and we both fell on the floor.
Sunday 4th May 2003 Skycity view of Auckland. Took a walk around Arthur Park. In the evening we went for a curry. Monday 5th May 2003 Early start, got the bus to the Campervan hire place. The bus took forever, went all around the houses. Eventually got going when we finally found the right road to take. Drove to Matamota (or "The Shire"). We stopped for the night at Tirau - pulled up at a park - ended up at a local pub, they had a quiz night on... which was great fun. Tuesday 6th May 2003 Tirau is famous for its Big Sheep and Dog buildings, we kid you not, the two buildings actually look like animals. Drove on to Rotorua, decided not to stop at the park, but we saw the volcanic steam everywhere. Whaka... Thermal place and Mauri village. Drove on to Taupo stopping at the Lake, just in time for a beautiful sunset. Carried on driving into the night until we got to Tongariro National Park. We were so high up that we actually drove through clouds! Stayed at the campsite. Whakapapa Village. Met two Canadian girls, ended up playing cards all night with them. It was freezing cold, but the Canadian girls said that it was nothing compared to the winter back in Canada (minus 40'C - jeez). Wednesday 7th May 2003 We drove up to ski resort, went for a little walk. The mountain was used as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, as out of season it looks very volcanic. Stopped of at The Chateau Hotel, as this is where most of the cast/crew of Lord of the Rings stayed at during filming. Big Carrot - Ohakane. Turned off the main road to find the river filming location. Spent the night at Wartarere Beach Surf Club car park. We were told that we could be fined if we parked there overnight, but because of the time of year the police we quite lenient - so we risked it anyways. Thursday 8th May 2003 Wartarere Forests. Otaki - unsealed road, we found the filming location of the Hobits leaving the Shire. Wellington was full of Lord of the Rings filming locations. Mt Victoria, Embassy Theatre (with a massive Gollum peering above it). Dymock's bookshop. We got the 5:30pm ferry to Picton (south island). It was late when we got there, so camped in a lay-by which overlooked Picton, it was very scenic. Friday 9th May 2003 We took the Queen Charlotte's Drive route, which is a very nice scenic route to Nelson. The roads are very zig-zaggy (is that even a word?). When we got to Nelson we visited the jewellers that made the actual One Ring for the film. Wearableart Drove down to Greymonth. Saturday 10th May 2003 Found another Big Sheep building. Went to the Glaciers, but was raining so hard that we couldn't see them clearly, but still great views. Stayed the night at Te Papa Atawhai conservation campsite (Department of Conservation). (Pleasant flats???) Sunday 11th May 2003 Argued all day, (several days on the road finally takes its toll). Headed down to Wanaka, stopped off at the Blue Pools (walked across a rope bridge). There was an amazing road-side waterfall. Visited Puzzling World which was great fun! Took a nice walk around Wanaka Lake. Parked up at the local campsite, then wandered into Wanaka town. Had pizza, then went to an Internet Cafe to email everyone (we hadn't had much Internet access recently). The weather was [quote] "bloody freezing cold"! Monday 12th May 2003 The weather was still (bloody) freezing cold. We drove down to Diamond Lake, (pasr Glendhu Bay). Headed up towards Queenstown. Stopped at the Cardrona Hotel for tea & cakes. We had lunch at the lookout. Went to explore the Crown Ranges Summit, but it was closed off! Tried to drive up the 'Remarkables' to access Lake Alta, (Alphine Tarn). Quick stop at Queenstown, then headed for Glenorchy. Tuesday 13th May 2003 Well, it finally had to happen... Lucy got a speeding ticket! The speed limit was 100 km/h and was caught doing 126 km/h, what was crazy was that Lucy was actually trying to reach 140 km/h (just to see if the campervan could do it!) Twelve Mile Delta; Close Burn Bay; Glendhu Jetty (duck feeding); Deer Parks Heights (where there was lots of Lord of the Rings filming locations; wild/tame animals: goats, deer, donkeys). Stayed at Lake Takapo. Wednesday 14th May 2003 Drove to Christchurch airport, on the way we stopped at Fairlie; Geraldine (to pay the speeding fine); Monunf Somers. Tried to find Mount Hutt township for pertol, whilst driving on fumes we found a pertol pump and discovered that the township doesn't exist! Got to Christchurch, finished food and dropped off the campervan, then headed for the Airport. Flew to Auckland, got to the hotel, had a couple of hours sleep before we headed to Fiji!