Auckland Winter

The big grey

Auckland’s 328 metre high Sky Tower

A peculiarity of Auckland city is that it’s so often overcast, not particularly cold, just that the sky is dull and given to drizzle and light rain. Actually in wintertime the beaches and outdoor recreation areas are far less crowded so don’t be put off getting out for some fresh air.

The city itself is all about cars, shopping and eating. It’s about cars because you need a car to get anywhere and to know where you’re going, you need a good navigator or a GPS unit. Over the past 20 years, the city has evolved miles of confusing motorways and it’s very easy to go in the wrong

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Christchurch - Nelson

Via Lewis Pass – Drive time 5 – 6 hours

Maruia River upstream from the thermal springs resort.

From Christchurch take the Northern motorway or Marshlands Road, there is usually heavy traffic through the towns of Woodend and Amberley to the turn off at Waipara. This is not a particularly exciting drive through flat farmland and it pays to keep to the speed limit as the police are often out looking to catch their quota of speeding motorists.

The road opens out through the wine growing area of Waipara where you need to turn left (Nelson can also be reached via Kaikoura and Blenheim, but this route will add an hour or so to the journey).

At Waipara

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Christchurch - Dunedin

Allow 5 – 6 hours. 364 km via SH 1

Highway near Dunedin

There are several routes out of Christchurch, from the central city and it’s usually more convenient to head on to the southern motorway or Blenheim Road which follow out onto State Highway one heading south.

If you’re in the north or west of the city, it is usually more convenient to head for the airport and the city bypass route which joins State Highway one at Hornby.

The traffic is often bumper-to-bumper any time of day, but after Templeton one can usually pick up a little speed and there are even a couple of passing bays before Rolleston. This is one of Christchurch’s newer satellite

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Christchurch to Dunedin

A personal journey – 2009

Picnic at Tinwald

My wife and I left Christchurch around 9.30am in a tolerant unhurried mood negotiating the city traffic. Departing from the city north, we drove out toward the airport onto the city circuit. Approaching Hornby the traffic became slower so we turned down Waterloo Rd to avoid the congested Hornby junction.

This took us to Templeton where state highway one traffic was thick and fast. There was also a queue to turn right to head south, so a quick left turn and a right into the next street where we turned had us heading south leaving the queued cars we had just bypassed still waiting.

Aside from the heavy traffic, the

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Christchurch - Arthurs Pass

145 Km. Allow two hours without stops

Fun in the snow on Porters Pass

This route is sometimes closed by snow in winter, so if you’re travelling then, you’re advised to carry chains.

From central Christchurch, the good and near straight two lane highway (SH 73) begins at Yaldhurst and passes through the rural townships of Kirwee, (pub and store), and Darfield, a growing rural town with several cafĂ©’s, a small art gallery, crafts shops, hotels, motels and backpackers. Just through the town is the turn off point to Methven, Rakia Gorge (picnic, walking, jet boat recreation area) and the Mt. Hutt Ski area.

For those in a hurry, take the Old West Coast Road, which bypasses these

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Waterside quaintness

Almost destroyed as it was the epicentre of the February 2011 earthquake, today the town has reopened and the port restored.

Lyttleton is a busy port and harbourside town and suburb of Christchurch. The harbour offers a safe anchor for the largest of ships, from freighters to cruise liners which call regularly and has a range of watery activities. You’ll find yachting, water taxis, a ferry to Diamond Harbour, boat tours to watch dolphins or you can explore local history such as the harbour defences created during the past world wars.

The wharves have very limited public access, although it is not so long ago there was free and uncontrolled access, which was great for fishing and

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Christchurch earthquakes

Update March 2015

All seems fairly quiet on the eastern front, we have had a few minor tremors over the past few months, and like most people, I have not noticed them and they have not caused any concern.

Update November 2014

Actually few people remember the last aftershocks as there have been a few minor tremors in 2014, however earthquake activity seems to be moving away from Canterbury. Geonet has the latest earthquake data.

Update June 2014

The Christchurch earthquakes continue to subside. The significant quakes have been nearer Wellington and far to the north near of New Zealand. The Christchurch rebuild is well underway and the city is very busy, and the cross city traffic

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Mt Aspiring National Park

Home to some great walks

Mt Aspiring National Park borders Fiordland National Park in the Southwest New Zealand to comprise the World Heritage Area known as Te Wahipounamu. The Park covers 355,531 ha and was established 1964. Mt Aspiring (the mountain) is a complex of impressively glaciated mountain scenery centred on Mount Aspiring (3,036 m), which is New Zealand’s next highest peak to Mount Cook.

The park spans a large area, from the Haast River in the north to the Humbolt Mountains in the south. Large valleys, carved out by ancient glaciers, dissect the high mountain ranges and Mt Aspiring itself is viewable from near Wanaka and Haast.

Mt Aspiring is known by Maori as ‘Tititea’

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Te Anau

A home in paradise

Looking over Te Anau Township

Located south of Queenstown and situated on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau, (New Zealand’s second largest lake) you’ll find the town of Te Anau. The town it’self is small with a base population of about 2000 that can expand to over 6000 in peak season.

Te Anau has a good range of accommodation and restaurants as well as supermarkets and other services.

Southern adventure destination

Te Anau is the gateway to Milford and Doubtful Sounds, and the many famous walking tracks including the Kepler, Routeburn, Hollyford and the world famous Milford Track.

Te Anau makes an ideal base from which explore Te Anau

Milford Sound

Just Awesome

Within Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a fiord sculpted may thousands of years ago by glacial ice; the mountains rise almost vertically for a mile or more from the ocean and as remote as it is, Milford Sound is one of the worlds rare scenic jewels that must be seen to be appreciated.

There is limited food, petrol and accommodation in Milford. In winter, access is not totally guaranteed, as the road can be closed briefly by slips or avalanche and the small airport can be closed by fogs or high winds. Rain forests cling to the steep mountainsides and the area typically gets 5 – 9 metres of rain per year. So

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