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 […]

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 […]

Close to the Wind

A few years ago Neil and I decided to learn to sail. Like our rugby players, NZ sailors are often described as the best in the world and, whilst I’m never going to run around a pitch carrying an odd-shaped ball, there’s something attractive about chilling on the sunny deck of a boat as the […]

On the Roads

There are two roads out of Wellington. Yes: two. Sheffield, a similar sized city, has more than half a dozen arterial routes leading away from it (the majority into stunning countryside I might point out), not to mention various smaller ones which, if you’re local, you can use to escape the traffic on the main […]