Chris and Andy had a great time doing a 10 day tour of the South Island, tramping (hiking) and checking out stuff for our forthcoming adventure tourism business.
Chris, Andy, Iain Grant (another vet) and his friend Neil squished into the 2CV for the (surprisingly comfortable) journey down the West Coast. We had stunning weather every day we were in the car, and constant rain or snow (and I mean constant!) ever time we went tramping! Typical!
Our first tramp was over the Paparoa range from the west coast to Blackball- no views at all from the top due to cloud! Enjoyed the walk through lovely forest though- and ended up at the wonderfully down at heel 'Formerly the Blackball Hilton' Hotel (the formerly was added after threat of legal action from the Hilton chain), where Chris bumped into someone he knew (this happened frequently all over the South Island).
Had clear views of Mt Cook on the way to our next hike- in Mt Aspiring- a 3 day tramp in utterly stunning scenery, made more dramatic by the mist and snow (we made a snowman on the pass and its almost midsummer!). Despite the weather, we all really enjoyed ourselves!
At Queenstown, Neil and Iain went off to visit Milford Sound. Chris and Andy went up to Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula - a lovely place, and somewhere Andy had not been before - it reminded him of coastal North Wales, rocky bays, farmland and steep hills to 800m or so. We took a boat out to swim with the bite-size Hector's dolphins - a magical experience with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin. We met some interesting characters too - including a sure winner for a David Bellamy lookalike contest- a botanist called Hugh Wilson, who manages an 800 ha reserve near Akaroa.
Coast near Karamea (above). Crossing Siberia River.
Ian & Chris (and Anton the 2CV) at Nelson Lakes Home