A cruise out on the magnificent Doubtful Sound is an incredible experience and one that you won’t want to miss on a trip to new Zealand
We’re not sure quite how we could describe it adequately– even the first explorers got it wrong and incorrectly named it a Sound – which is a river-fed waterway, when in fact it is a Fiord, since it is a glacier-fed expanse of water. Anyway, who cares about the names – the fact is a trip out on one of the worlds most beautiful stretches of water is truly unforgettable.
Were we mad enough to undertake the last walk on the Milford Track for the season with snow forecast? Yes we were! – along with another 35 brave souls who we met up with on the first day for the trip over Lake Te Anau to Glade House, the first lodge on the track. It’s only a 30 min walk to the lodge, if that, so plenty of time for us to get settled in, have a shower, test the flush toilets and have coffee and cookies before our introductory nature walk with Grace, one of four guides who accompany each group on their walk. The guides are not only superbly trained in mountain safety and interpretation, they’re also very sociable and empathetic with everyone on the walk – so a big thanks to Masako, Grace, Richard, and Helen.
Along with six other Brits we met up at Wilson’s Abel Tasman Guided Walk Office in Motueka in preparation for our three day guided walk along the coastal path.
Darryl Wilson kindly stopped by for a chat – he’s been operating the guided walk with other family members for around thirty years now and a very impressive operation it is. Prior to departure everyone is given a Wilson’s holdall to put their gear in for the trip and this gets transported by boat to the two lodges you will stay in during the walk, at Torrent Bay and the Meadowbank Homestead – so all you carry is a daypack with lunch in and swimming togs.
We flew out from Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 – all shiny and whizzy-dizzy with right-on restaurants, computers everywhere and the usual branded shops, but no flight announcements, so of course only just made the plane!
Excellent service on Singapore Airlines – along with Air New Zealand, I think it’s one of the best for flights to New Zealand. The on-board media system is amazing, you’re really spoilt for choice as to what to watch – I plumped for the boxset of The Wire series and a documentary on the 1960s, which must have whiled away at least 4 hours!
A great day trip out of Auckland is a cruise across to Waiheke Island, followed by a bus tour on the Waiheke Explorer, which takes in all the main sights during a two hour tour, leaving you to explore further in the afternoon – perhaps connect with a wine trip (of which there are many), or just relax on one of the beautiful beaches.
Something of a nightmare to think of packing to cover temperatures in three countries – since we’ll be in the humidity of Singapore, the relatively pleasant temperatures on New Zealand’s North Island, but possibly cold nights on the South, particularly on the Milford Track, so I’m definitely into a multi-layered approach.
I also find New Zealand must be one of the best places in the world to get your washing done “en route”, pretty well every hotel or Bed & Breakfast we stay at has laundry facilities, and on some occasions, I’ve found our hosts have even done the washing while we’re out enjoying ourselves!
Three days to go before we head off for New Zealand. Can’t remember how many separate trips this is to God’s Own – but it never ceases to amaze me how it’s always a mad panic to clear up the paperwork, sort out the technology and get packed.
Barbara and daughter Sarah (12) are with me for the first part of the trip, via Singapore and then walks on Abel Tasman Coastal Path and the Milford Track.
In between the track walks, we’ll catch up with friends at our favourite Bed and Breakfasts, and check out some of the latest New Zealand experiences – looking forward to a trip with Wanaka River Journeys and enjoying an overnight on Doubtful Sound.
Following its busiest season to date, Hollyford Track is launching a new 2 day hiking product for 2014-15.
The new ‘Ocean to Alps’ guided walk is a 25 km (15.5 mile) trek though some of the most spectacular scenery that New Zealand’s rugged Fiordland region has to offer.
Work has now commenced on a NZ$58m, 6000 square metre extension of Wellington Airport’s main terminal building and apron.
In 1999, when Wellington’s main terminal building was opened, around 9,500 passengers passed through the airport each day. Today, on average, the airport processes over 15,000 passengers per day, and on busy days up to 20,000.
New Zealand’s vibrant ‘City of Sails’ invites you to sample some of its culinary delights as it once again hosts one of the country’s most glamorous food festivals, ‘Taste of Auckland’.
The annual ‘Taste of Auckland’ food festival is designed to give food lovers the chance to try signature dishes from some of Auckland’s finest restaurants. At the festival, top local and international chefs will showcase their skills and teach you their culinary secrets. Returning festival favourites include the Fisher & Paykel Chefs Kitchen, the Ultimate BMW Experience with Josh Emett, and Peter Urlich curating the Magners Cider Bandstand. New and exciting features for this year’s festival include the Dilmah Tea Garden, NZ Avocado Urban Garden Party, and the G.H.Mumm Champagne Bar.
If you are visiting Auckland this month as part of your New Zealand holiday, be sure to partake in the mouth-watering delights of ‘Taste of Auckland’. Celebrate the start of summer with some of the finest food New Zealand has to offer, learn from culinary superstars, and enjoy the festival atmosphere.