I think one of the best ways to explore New Zealand is by just getting out to nature and do some hiking. As this amazing country offers one of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes I have ever seen!!
Together with Simon and Ewald we hiked two "Great walks" of New Zealand.
According to the Department of Conservation (DOC) of New Zealand there are in total nine "Great walks" (= trails in the most awe-inspiring landscapes of NZ) existing.
Those trails are located on both islands, have an average length between 50 - 120km, are very well marked, pretty easy to hike and there are lots of camp sides and even huts where you can stay overnight.
Queen Charlotte trail
Once we arrived on the southern island of NZ, the weather was for casted pretty well. So we organised our stuff and made our way to Picton. A small sleepy town on the north coast of the south-island, where the trail starts.
First a boat gets you out to Shipcove, which is the trail head. From there you hike 60km along the coast of the "Queen Charlotte sound". It is actually not one of the "Great walks", but has the potential to become one in the next years as the popularity of this walk is rising...
The weather was pretty rainy on our first day and therefore the trail was very wet and muddy.
During the first break I lost the only trail map we had to a duck. Yes, a duck!! The small thief just wanted some of my cereal bar. I gave her (or him) the map instead and thought once it recognised it is not eatable, it will drop it on the ground. But the duck took the map and vanished in the
forest. I tried to follow and catch the duck, saw the map once more in the forest (still in the beak) and then it was gone...
On the next day the weather was much better. So we decided to make a short side walk to a lookout, where you can see the whole sound and the thousands islands of the north coast. There we also
met our small friend from yesterday again...
It was totally rainy and super windy on the last 21km on our third day. But during the last kilometres it cleared up and the sun came out. So we dried our soaked and dirty clothes and relaxed on the web at Anakiwa (end of the trail), waiting for the boat to pick us up back to Picton.
Abel Tasman trail
and deep primeval forests. Really a "must-do" in New Zealand!!
We rented one double and one single Kayak and did the first two days by paddling along the coast of the trail. It was a pretty cool experience by doing a section of the trail by the Kayak. We were able to explore the coastline with its sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. Where we saw lots of seals relaxing and sunbathing. They are totally used to Kayakers and not shy at all. So we could get pretty close and almost touched them...
Landing and starting on the shore with a Kayak is a thing need to be learnt! It is not that easy to get out/in the boat as it is pretty shaky, especially with the single Kayak. I fell in the damn cold sea and got totally wet on my first attempt and Simon did no way better on the next day, but it was great fun!! :-)
For the last section of the trail we left our boats on the shore and hiked for one more day north to the Seperation point. This is the official end of the trail and from there you have a great view of the wide open ocean and on a clear day you can see the long stretched shoreline of the Golden bay on the horizon.
We spent one more fu..ing cold night on the camp side before a water taxi took us back to Marahau, where we started our adventure 3 days before. We totally enjoyed the nice sunny boat trip back along the coast and the captain took us for a side trip to the most photographed rock
on the north coast, the split apple rock...