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2017 New Zealand Trip - Part 3

Now we are in New Zealand having landed from Sydney in Christchurch Airport in the South Island.

At the Airport bought a Spark 60 day, 3GB mobile Phone Sim for NZ$49 (about £25). O2 will charge me £4.99 per day which over the 30 days would be £150!!!! Who says roaming charges have been reduced! If you are travelling to New Zealand or Australia please take note of this. Spark are the best 4K network in New Zealand, (I had done my research).

Next we picked up our Hire Car from EZI Car Hire, a New Zealand company. The car was waiting within easy walking distance. Modern Toyota Rav 4 with all the bells and whistles and only 10k kilometres on the clock. (Compare this car hire performance with the car hire in the North Island, when I write that part of the blog).

Jumped into the car, joined the dual carriageway outside the airport and headed for Kaikoura in the north.

Because of the recent earthquake, we had to go up the inland road as the coast road was impassible. The inland road used to be just a farm-service road but had to be upgraded as it was the only other road available.

What a delight to drive in New Zealand's South Island - NO TRAFFIC except the occasional HGV. Reminds me of what the UK used to be like.

We stayed the night in a nice studio apartment.

The next morning we drove just a few miles to Air Kaikoura. There had been sightings that morning of 2 Sperm Whales in the bay, so we set off in a Piper with another couple to see the Whales.

When we were back on the ground, we set off to our next stop, Nelson in the very north.

Unfortunately, the coast road was still closed so we had to retrace our steps the way we came as far as Murchison, a diversion of many, many kilometres. 242km direct but we travelled 413km. , over 70% more and 2 hours longer. Anyway, the roads were quiet with almost no traffic so we made good time.

We stayed in the De Lorenzo Apartments, five minutes walk down the street to the town centre. On their recommendation, we went across to the Trailways Hotel where we were just in time before the restaurant closed. We had a Lamb Roast Dinner which was superb, the best!

Nelson is a small town around the size of Huddersfield, with a couple of smallish supermarkets and many shops. On the Saturday, there was a craft market.

The cathedral was "distinctive" in its dark grey and the tower looked like it belonged to a UK Fire Station, however, it was nice inside.

Nelson is also home to the jeweller, Jens Hansen, who made the ring used in the films of the "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit".

This ring is actually 5" in diameter and can be viewed in Jens Hansen's shop.

We left Nelson and headed across country and down the west coast towards Fox Glacier. We were staying overnight in a beach side apartment near Greymouth. Once we hit the west coast road, the weather changed and it rained all the way down.

We stopped at the Pancake Rocks.

Pity about the weather as the views could have been spectacular. (We also saw some seals on the rocks).

We arrived at our Beach Apartment and spent a cosy night while the rain poured. The next morning, we continued down the coast until we reached the Franz Joseph Glacier where the weather improved.

Nelson to Fox Glacier was 483 km (300 miles) with a driving time of 6.5 hours, fortunately we broke the journey by staying overnight at Greymouth, in the rain.

To be continued in Part 4.

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