Jill Hancock's New Blog



We finished walking and headed towards Christchurch to dispose of our van and fly home sooner than we expected. We passed by Maruia Falls, created by an earthquake in 1929 that caused a landslide which filled the river channel so the river was forced to find a new way. We briefly stopped at Hanmer Springs and then carried on down to the coast.
We placed our ad on the internet and then diverted to Banks Peninsula to drive out to Akaroa, a small touristy village with a huge cruise ship in the harbour.
It then just remained to fly home leaving drizzly Christchurch where the mountains were the only places escaping the all enveloping cloud and return to sunny Australia.

View and read the full blog here.

Nelson Lakes

We returned to Nelson Lakes after bypassing it early in our trip due to heavy snow on the mountains. We came down from Arthurs Pass and visited Carew Falls near Lake Brunner. A huge storm had gone through in Easter bringing down vast swathes of trees and the track was still not officially open but it was cleared enough for us to get through easily.

View and read the full blog here.

The Southern Alps

We arrived back at Wanaka with good weather for our walk to Aspiring Hut. We camped at the start of the walk and were treated to the sight of the full moon rising above the mountains and then a lovely sunrise the following morning. It was a nice gentle nine kilometre stroll through farmland beside the West Matukituki River with lambs gambolling and mountains rearing their snow topped peaks above. We planned to climb a ridge for views the next day so we ducked up another one on the afternoon we arrived. After two hard hours uphill we popped out of the trees to find a magnificent view spread around us. We could see up and down the valley and at the head was the sight of Mt Aspiring flanked by other mighty mountains.

View and read the full blog here.


Southland took us away from the mountains but still provided plenty of interest. We did our usual disappearing down caves and tunnels by visiting Clifden Caves. Unfortunately this one beat us. Ray didn't like the squeeze and stopped. I went on but not all the way as we met people coming out who said it was too deep. We tried from the other end and climbed down a ladder where I could hear a waterfall but it got too tricky. Our trip through Tunnel Hill on an old railway line was much more sedate and successful.

View and read the full blog here.

Mountains and Lakes

We moved from the west coast to the southern lakes area where there are lakes galore surrounded by high, snow-capped mountains. Everyone says this is a highlight of New Zealand and everyone is right. We began at Wanaka, a quiet town on a large lake ringed by mountains providing great opportunities for dramatic sunsets and sunrises.

View and read the full blog here.

The Wild West Coast

The west coast lived up to its reputation most of the time for us with rain, drizzle and wind but we managed to get good weather in the right places. We headed south down the coast visiting lots of old gold mining areas because we can't resist all those tunnels. The first one was one of the best, the Charming Creek walkway, which followed an old rail line that had been build through a wild gorge. We had tunnels, old machinery and to cap it off a superb waterfall.

View and read the full blog here.

Coal Creek Falls
(Coal Creek Falls)

Marlborough Sounds to Golden Bay

We juggled our travels to walk a couple of days on the Queen Charlotte walkway in brilliant sunshine and of course ended up setting off in the rain. We caught a boat out to the start and had the bonus of a pod of dusky dolphins fishing on the way. We set off up the hill with all the views shrouded by rain and ourselves getting wetter and wetter. It was a case of keep on walking to the campsite for a late lunch and watch the weather clear and draw us back to the lookout we had bypassed.

View and read the full blog here.

Wharariki Beach
(Wharariki Beach)

Last of the North and first of the South

After getting the van serviced and rewarranted we took a last look at the North Island at Tongaparutu River, a coastline studded with arches and formations. Unfortunately the weather and tide was against and we couldn't do justice to this stunning location.

View and read the full blog here.

Kaikoura Mountains
(Kaikoura Mountains)

Heaphy Track and Karamea

With a good forecast (our usual criteria for setting off on a walk) we got ourselves organized to walk the Heaphy Track. The selling point for this track is that it is varied and it certainly lived up to that with each day having a different setting. The hardest part with the Heaphy (and the part that Ray didn't like) is that it is 460km by road from one end to the other. Ray nearly opted out and said he'd drive around and collect me but he thought I might fall over and hurt myself! We found the option that suited us best was to pay a local service that would drive your car to the other end and this ended up working very well for us.

View and read the full blog here.

Top of page