Two months in New Zealand

The time between the end of the Arctic and the beginning of the Antarctic season is always very short and for it meant that I would be just 7 weeks in New Zealand. During that I time I needed to catch up with friends and work at home and squeeze in as many adventures with Stuart as I could. On our first proper weekend we went to Te Anau in the South Island, visiting Luxmore Hut and ploughing through knee-deep snow up to Mt Luxmore. The caves close to the hut were also worth a visit. We crawled and walked in for 30 minutes and still didn’t reach the end.

Another weekend was spent going up to the Central Plateau of the North Island. Snow had got quite thin by then but undeterred we lugged our touring skis up Mt Ngauruhoe. This was my first ski run of the season and I was a bit nervous about that not having been on skis for nearly two years but conditions were great. We had a few runs down into the crater before skiing down all the way from the top of Mt Ngauruhoe. My leg muscles were burning by the time I reached the bottom, but there was more to be done and so we skinned across the plateau und up Mt Tongariro. Unfortunately the clouds came in the start of our ski run was more feeling than seeing the slope. This was to be my last ski run of this season because summer was on its way and already next day we swapped skis against paddles and kayaked across Wellington harbour. On ward Island then had my swim in the season. Oh, I love New Zealand in spring, when in one weekend you can be skiing and kayaking.

More kayaking trips followed. An evening trips with a picnic out on Ward Island and a 70km kayaking tour at Labour weekend at the Coromandel Peninsula. We kayaked from Kuaotunu to Opoutere in brilliant weather. A little bit of head wind on our first day but nice tailwind most of the time. On our paddle we were accompanied by gannets that darted into the water mere meters away, little blue penguins, shags and I even saw a Kingfisher. The coastline is extremely beautiful between Hahei and Hot Water Beach and we took time to poke in all the sea caves and even paddled through a tunnel that cuts under a rocky headland.

Back in Wellington and being kayaking fit we then circumnavigated Kapiti Island as a day trip, leaving from Paraparumu Beach. This is a ~30km trip. The catch is that you are not allowed to land on Kapiti Island so we were in our kayaks for five hours. We had fantastic conditions and took our time, eating a nice sushi lunch and exploring the coastline. The swell at the southern tip of the island was small and allowed us to kayak through a large rock arch. On the northern tip of the island ten or more Fur seals were lounging on the rocks. A few were also in the water and it was fantastic to watch the close from the kayak.

Another weekend was spent with Stuart’s family at Castle Point. I took my new 14mm wide angle lens for a walk and did some star photography. Up again for the sunrise and a nice run along the beach.