Cruising the Sound

It’s eighteen years since we last visited Milford Sound, a visit tinged with sadness when we thought we would be unable to stay in New Zealand. It was before the tourist boom hit the country and only a couple of boats offered trips out into the Sound. Now half a dozen of them line the […]

Milford Track Day 4

Quintin Lodge to Sandfly Point: 21km (13.5 miles) Another day on the Milford; another 7.30am start. We don’t set off as a group today and, for the first few km, Neil and I are alone. Travelling as part of a large group I’d worried that we might spend a lot of time in a queue […]

Milford Track Day 3

Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge: 15km (9 miles). Plus 90 minutes (5km) return to Sutherland Falls. Today is the biggest challenge of the Milford Track: crossing the Mackinnon Pass, a day of ascent and descent, very little actual putting one foot in front of the other without lifting or dropping it. I don’t mind the […]

Milford Track Day 2

Glade House to Pompolona Lodge: 16km (10 miles). Mt Sentinel is still snoozing behind cloud as we walk away from Glade House. It’s 8.30am and the air is chilly and damp. Some of our party are wrapped in multiple layers and waterproofs, but I know once I get walking it won’t take me long to […]

Milford Track Day One

The Milford Track begins with a bus ride. Well, ours does anyway. I’ve written before about my feelings towards carrying a heavy pack and sharing sleeping space with strangers, so it should come as no surprise that we chose to walk its 54km guided and supported. This means we carry only our clothing and toiletries […]

The Road South

Travelling from Wellington to Queenstown by car takes two days. If you want to get there faster, you have to get on a plane. An added complication is that you have to cross a body of water, Cook Strait, apparently one of the most challenging in the world, where a lot of water tries to […]

Tama Lakes

By NZ standards, the Tama Lakes walk, around the Whakapapa side of Mt Ruapehu, isn’t difficult. Until the first, or lower, lake the track is mostly wide and hard-packed gravel, some rocky parts and a couple of wet areas where water has adopted the path as its own (a common occurrence anywhere water runs down […]

Timber!

Driving along a highway a couple of years ago we were forced to stop whilst a few trees* beside the road were felled. We turned off the engine and settled in for a long wait. I was fascinated. A bloke with a chainsaw – which he wielded like it weighed a kg or so – […]

Dodging Politicians

I wrote this a few weeks ago, for no reason other than it popped into my head. I thought I might post it on here someday but it’s a bit random so wasn’t sure. In the light of recent events in (supposedly) the largest democracy in the world it seems strangely prescient. This is not […]

Hobbiton

An oak tree stands above us, its leaves rustling in the breeze. It’s the leaves that give it away – in September in New Zealand a deciduous tree wouldn’t be in full leaf, and the rustle has too much of a rattle about it; this tree is a fake. It’s not the only fake thing […]