16 Days on the South Island

Mar 16th, 2017, 12:36 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hiking winos, I like that. A couple after my own heart.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2017, 01:00 PM
  #22  
 
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Hiking winos...

You would have fit in well with us and some others in our Milford Track group. The bar was a busy place in the lodges each night.
ms_go is offline  
Mar 17th, 2017, 10:44 AM
  #23  
 
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Thanks for posting - lots to process...
Craig is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 07:02 AM
  #24  
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Franz Josef

3/9 We headed off to Franz Jose and what a beautiful ride this was. We stopped at the Blue Pools, the water was crystal clear. Some crazy girls jumped in, it must have been freezing. We also stopped at Fantail falls.

I asked our Kayak guide in Milford what we should do on the drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef and she mentioned Jackson Bay. Although this adds 2 hours to the trip we’re glad we did it. Along the way we saw very small dolphins surfing the waves. They were so small I wasn’t sure they were dolphins but the locals said yes.

We had lunch at the Cray Pot, the only game in town. It was very good, we had stuffed cray fish and squid. Only complaints, we had to spray for the sand flies and sea gulls hovered looking for hand outs.

We made several more stops on the way to Franz Josef. One stop was at Bruce Bay. I was taking pictures when an older gentlemen stopped and asked if he could use our phone as his phone was dead. His car wouldn’t start. Unfortunately we didn’t have service. So I took his information and was going to go back 5k (he was going to walk) to a phone and call AA, their AAA. Before I headed out I tried an old trick. He kept mentioning his starter so I had him put the car in neutral pushed the car about 3 feet and wahla it started. He and his wife were so excited and we were thrilled to help some Kiwi’s in need.

We completed our journey to Franz Josef and checked in the Westwood Lodge.
http://www.westwoodlodge.co.nz/

Our room was huge and beauitiful. We had a large patio with amazing views of the glacier. We had happy hour on our patio and the Alice May restaurant sent a driver to fetch us, what a treat that was. The food was delicious and you’re probably sick of hearing this by now but the weather was so nice we were able to eat outside.

3/10 Oh heck, we have to put sunscreen on again! The lodge served a wonderful breakfast and then we were off to our kayak adventure on Lake Mapourika.
http://www.glacierkayaks.com/
It was us another couple and our guide Zak who was great. Zak asked us not to look back until we got to the far side of the lake and when we did wow! The mountains reflecting in the lake was breathtaking and we could see Mt. Cook too. The other couple had been at Mt. Cook the day before and although Franz Josef was only 30K away it took them 6 hours. Zak took us into a creek that made us think we were in the amazon. Zak also took pictures all morning and the send them to you free of charge so you have to worry about your equipment. I wished I had brought along my 35mm though.

Back to the lodge to change and we headed off for Lake Matheson. We got a bite at the café, very good and then did the walk around the lake.

Back in Franz Josef we stopped and walked part way to the glacier.

Happy hour on the deck and then Blue Ice sent a stretch hummer to fetch us for supper. I enjoyed the designated drivers in Franz Josef.

After dinner, I made the mistake of sitting on our porch and the next morning I found that I’d been bitten bad and itched like crazy. I felt like a big dummy, I made it this far without problems and now this.

Next Stop, Christchurch

pix.sfly.com/y9W-kHS3
phishears is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 10:22 AM
  #25  
 
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Still following along. I also just had a chance to look at all your photos and it looks fantastic. My favorites are the ones of Mount Cook; the mountain looks very impressive and majestic. The waterfalls of Milford Sound are quite neat too.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 10:23 AM
  #26  
 
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I'm confused about these drivers in Franz Josef...most everything is within walking distance.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 10:35 AM
  #27  
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Christchurch

3/11< We woke up do a down pour. It was bound to happen sooner or later. We left Franz Jose early as we had a big drive ahead of us to Christchurch. We had planned to stop along the way but the weather deterred us.

Driving Arthur’s pass was something else. The low clouds were lifting so we decided to make our drive even longer by going to Akaroa for lunch. We’re suckers for water and had read about all the coves. We had lunch at the Brassiere Kitchen, very good.

After lunch we made our way to the Commodore Hotel in Christchurch, our last night in New Zealand. This was our first hotel, the rooms were nice, they could use some updating but spacious with comfortable beds.

Dinner at Twenty-seven Steps http://www.twentysevensteps.co.nz/the_spa really good.

A lot of the city is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake but this street was untouched, or so it seemed.

After dinner we returned our car at the airport and, shuttled back to hotel.

3/12 More rain, time to go home. Our flight from Christchurch to Auckland was great but the American flight from AKL to LAX was delayed because the flight time had changed due to daylight savings time in the states. So the crew was an hour late, everyone seemed a little frazzled as they were scrambling to make up the time.

Thanks again to everyone here who helped us come up with an itinerary that wasn’t nuts. 2 nights or more is a must when traveling we’ve decided. I wish we could’ve stayed another month but we have a Chocolate Labrador, Maggie Mae, that we can’t be away from for more than 3 weeks at a time, pathetic isn’t it.

I know this is kind of long winded and a lot all at once but hopefully you can skim through and get some ideas for places to stay and eat. I find that if I don’t do this all at once it doesn’t get done.

This was truly one of the best trips we’ve ever been on and can’t wait to go back.

Next stop, Spain and Portugal, next year.

pix.sfly.com/D2yh11DP
phishears is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 10:43 AM
  #28  
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I'm confused about these drivers in Franz Josef...most everything is within walking distance.

The Westwood lodge is 1.7km out of town. I guess we could've walked but it would have been on hwy 6 in the dark. After driving from Wanaka I was happy to give someone else the wheel.
phishears is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 11:02 AM
  #29  
 
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Ah, gotcha.

Thanks for taking the time to post, really enjoyed it.

Funny about the Commodore Hotel, we stayed there on our first trip to the SI in 1993!
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 01:28 PM
  #30  
 
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Thank you again. I enjoyed the opportunity to tag along with you.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 03:02 PM
  #31  
 
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Thanks from me too, lots of food (ahem) for thought.
sartoric is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 08:40 AM
  #32  
 
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Awesome! We are headed to the SI in May and hope to have some of your luck with weather. Your photos are amazing and have made me even more excited for our trip. Thanks for all of the details on food and wine!!
lilyclaire is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 03:50 PM
  #33  
 
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Fantastic trip report and pictures! Thanks for posting.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 19th, 2017, 06:10 PM
  #34  
 
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Nice report! It's like I was there with you. We also did the Wanaka Canyoning trip and had a blast. And I don't think there's a single person that hasn't said "can't wait to go back." That should be NZ's slogan.
paulg is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2017, 12:37 PM
  #35  
 
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Thanks for posting. We were also there about the same time so it's great to see some of the same places. Unfortunately we were there with a small tour, 16 people, but still a tour. If DH had been able to travel to NZ, I know I would have planned this myself and visited some of the other wonderful places you've highlighted. Sounds like a great combo of food, wine and adventure.
Clousie is offline  
Mar 5th, 2019, 03:26 PM
  #36  
 
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Wanted to say thank you to phishears for this great trip report. After reading it, I booked the Lakestone Lodge for 2 nights. It was a WONDERFUL stay - such a unique and beautiful place! I don't think I would have found it except for your report. We had dinner both nights at the lodge and thought it was two of the best meals of our trip. We left with many email addresses from the various people we met - everyone had wonderful stories to share around the fire after dinner and we enjoyed getting to know fellow travelers. Again, BIG thank you for posting!
AtlTravelr is offline  
Mar 7th, 2019, 05:55 PM
  #37  
 
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Loved this report!

We are planning a driving trip of similar duration and route and have similar interests. I will use this report as a starting point for confirming lodging. Your choices look amazing. I hope we are blessed with similar weather!
famof5 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2019, 09:56 AM
  #38  
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Your'e Welcome, glad I could help. I'm just seeing this months later. We just got back from Croatia and I'm working on a trip report for that trip.
phishears is offline  
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