Now the blog is only 45 days behind actual time and you can read about the first part of our South Island foray.
We woke up on the fifth day of our trip in Hokitika and we headed up the west coast of the island and ended in Westport. We had a freedom camping spot in Westport that was right on the beach and pretty great. We found a book, Touring The Natural Wonders of New Zealand, that is great for helping plan our road trip. t lists a bunch of stops that you can make on just about every major road in New Zealand, which means that we rarely are driving for more than an hour before we stop.
We then headed inland to Nelson Lakes National Park. It was a semi rainy drive where we discovered that Moses’ wipers probably would not pass a warranty of fitness (a mandatory vehicle inspection that happens every 6-12 months depending on your vehicle age, a lot more stringent than ones in the states). At the first lake we encountered, we discovered sandflies and decided to head on to the next lake in the hope that the sandflies would be better (which they were). We then went for a hike through the forest along the lakeshore and then settled onto our picnic table for some Settlers of Catan while we waited for our laundry to run (NB: national parks have some nice camp sites).
We then went for a hike on the Mt Robert Circuit around the lakes, where some clouds set in, and it started to drizzle. We did not see a single person on the hike which was pretty nice. It is nice to be traveling in shoulder season when there are not a lot of people around. We started our trip on Labor Day weekend (occurs in late October in NZ), which had a lot of local traffic, but it died down by the middle of the week since people had to go back to work.
Our next step was Renwick in the Marlborough wine region. We decided to stay two nights there and rent bikes for one day to cycle to wineries. We went to eight wineries and one brewery during our nine hour excursion. The wineries are set up so that most of the tastings are free, but some wineries charge a couple dollars for the tasting. I have to admit that a lot of wine tastings add up over time.
Our last full day on the South Island we finished our loop back to the east side and the town of Kaikoura. We had a great trip and didn’t even make it to the main tourist areas or the big mountains on the South Island. That will be for the next trip.