Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hiking around Wanaka

As the snow still did not find the way to New Zealand and also as Wanaka is quite dead at the moment (which protects me from partying hangovers and lazyness), I had a chance to do few shorter hikes in the surrounding mountains. Three out of five days I've spent here was weather suitable for hiking (including one day being absolutely fabulous) and I managed to see following places:

1) Mount Iron - 548m high hill which is practically part of the town. 

Wanaka town and lake from Mt Iron

2) Rocky Mountain - again smaller, i think around 800m high (but this time very tricky - because of the rain turning the trail into river) hill with nice views on the other side of the lake

This unfortunately isn't a forest stream, but part of the trail... 

View from Rocky Mountain towards Wanaka

3) Rob Roy glacier - beautiful hike through the forest to the base of the glacier. 

Start of the trail - swing-bridge to 'nowhere'

The trail lead through this kind of rainforest...

...and ended up at the base of the Rob Roy glacier.         

The drive back to Wanaka was not bad as well..

4) Roys peak - 1578m high peak close to Wanaka with beautiful 360 views

Direction North. Wanaka lake and town and somewhere behind the last visible mountains is Mt Dobson.

Direction West towards Mt Aspiring (2nd highest NZ mountain), which is unfortunately hidden in the clouds. The small bumpy hill in the middle is Rocky Mountain (see 3)).

Direction South - towards Queenstown.

BONUS: sunset on lake Wanaka

Shot from the town centre lakefront

Maori festival with bonfires and free hangi (traditional Maori food)

So much from Wanaka. I'm leaving tomorrow and heading North back to Fairlie and Mt Dobson, where I should start the ski season on Tuesday with the first training day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pre-winter holiday travels

Before we get some decent snow down here so I can start my winter job, I managed to travel a bit and see few of the last places I haven't been to. Although the vast majority of the time I was stuck back in Queenstown partying and doing nothing (I hoped that this time I will keep myself busy by going skiing a lot, but there was one thing missing for the accomplishment of this goal: SNOW). I went skiing twice though and also traveled some beautiful places:

First time on skis in NZ. We decided to hike up Coronet peak skifield with few friends (the only ski area that was open), because paying $100 for skiing on melting artificial snow simply is too much. Despite the fact that the snow conditions sucked, I was incredibly happy to stand on the skis again. (Foto by Dudi)

 Coronet peak summit. Beautiful view over surrounding mountains, unfortunately not much snow in sight :/

I attended an All Blacks vs. England match! Really unforgettable to see live the players do the haka before the match.. And the whole road-trip to Dunedin was legendary as well :)

Milford Sound - breathtaking cruise through the fiord. Stunning views on the surrounding mountains, waterfalls, rocks with seals... Magic. 

Few guys took the close look on one of the Milford Sound's waterfall as an opportunity to take a cold shower.

Mirror lake. 

Lake Wakatipu on the way from Queenstown to Glenorchy.

Glenorchy - small village at the end of lake Wakatipu. Gateway to several mountain hikes - I visited on rainy day and was not too excited to go hiking in those conditions.

At least I have found a friend in Glenorchy -  local dog kept bringing me the stick for throwing :) 

Rainbow gate to the mountains

Arrowtown - quiet charming ex-miners town just outside busy Queenstown

Wanaka - Queenstown's little sister. Much smaller and quieter lakeside town with good skiing options just outside the town (no snow here as well though).

Lake Wanaka on sunset

Lake Wanaka from Rocky mountain that I hiked after heavy rain - not a good idea - the trail was sometimes looking like a river and I was off my feet more than on them.. 

As I'm writing this post, I received a call from my boss that we are starting the pre-season training next Tuesday, which means I have less than 1 week of my pre-winter holiday left... It might sound weird, but I'm really looking forward to start working :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

South, south, south...

As everything is ready for the ski season at Mt Dobson, there is no more work for me until the actual start of skiing.. And for that I need to wait for some snowing to happen.. So meanwhile I took off from Fairlie to take a break from my loneliness and head over back to the buzzy Queenstown. I did take a bit  longer road around the South to see some places I haven't seen yet:

Oamaru - nice little town with one particularly nice part - old industrial part of the port recreated to galleries and cafes.

Steampunk HQ - bizarre gallery full of skulls

 Moeraki boulders - strange perfectly shaped boulders at one beach - the creation process was described similarly to the creation of pearls.

Dunedin - 2nd largest city on South Island. On picture - main square. No idea who Robert Burns was, but the seagulls don't seem to like him :)

Dunedin railway station 

Dunedin railway station again - totally empty. Railway transport is not really big in NZ. Actually there are only 2 railways here. And in comparison with bus transport, the trains are unbelievably expensive.

At Baldwin street - world's steepest street

No exit, no turning. How the fuck am I supposed to get out of there then??

Above Dunedin

I sold my surfboard in Dunedin. Ironically next day after that I went to the surf beach with some surfing going on... But even if I had the board I would definitely not get in - the water is freezing cold! 

Nugget point in the Catlins - beautiful coastal - forest - farm area in the south 

Fishermen coming back home on sunset in the Catlins.

Sunrise in Catlins #1

Sunrise in Catlins #2

Little loud bird in the bay

Bluff - South of the South. The point where the road ends... That means I have done it all. From Cape Reinga to Bluff. 1400 kms. Still some places to see and some things to experience left though..

So now I'm back to Queenstown for few days/weeks?? God knows. Basically I'm just waiting for my boss to call me to come back after there is enough snow to open the ski season at Mt Dobson. Until then I will mainly be here and enjoy the fact that there are some people around me here :)) I might as well go skiing for the first time here as I already bought the ski equipment :)