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Old 26th December 2013, 02:44   #31
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Thanks for those posts, I was loosing interest to post as mine are the only ones mostly. Would not want to bore readers
Boring readers?? It is 2:43 AM now and I should be fast asleep 5 hours now. And here I am lapping line by line and snap by snap. Amazing stuff. It was a drive through NZ for me. Waiting eagerly for the rest of NZ.

I saw Bhavin's car has a Krishna Idol on the dashboard. Liked it very much.
The Bike with Orange frame on the InterIslander. What Make is that bike if you noticed. The baby trailer on the Honda Bike also looked good.

I read that at places you guys were out at friend's place up to 11 PM. Did you not feel concerned to drive to your motel back at such an hour in a totally strange place. I mean people think twice to drive at such hours where assistance is not available if you were to loose track.

Mesmerizing photos and captivating write up. Added NZ to my bucket list

This whole travelogue with all the links / details and snaps could make a nice book, a ready reckoner of sorts.
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Old 26th December 2013, 12:24   #32
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Please do not lose interest. In fact don't even think about shortening your narrative like your friend suggested.

Very interesting read. Looking forward for the rest eagerly
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Old 26th December 2013, 13:52   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Thanks for those posts, I was loosing interest to post as mine are the only ones mostly. Would not want to bore readers
Not getting replies doesn't mean that no one is reading the posts. There are many here who reads the posts, but don't leave a reply like "congratulations, that was wonderful", which does not offer any technical value to the thread.
Besides there must be more guests reading the posts than the members here, at any given time.
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Old 26th December 2013, 18:54   #34
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Dear Ramkya1,

Please keep on posting-waiting with bated breath. The wife too is anxious to read the post and see the pictures. You do what you have to do and that is give us the pleasure of reading and seeing. You log has made the lady needle me into planning a trip-so waiting for the details.

Regards

Jude

Last edited by Judemayne : 26th December 2013 at 18:57. Reason: changed the sentence
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Old 26th December 2013, 21:19   #35
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Ram Kris is gonna be very busy for the next couple of days, with the HVK All India Meet in RoK. Expect a silence till that is over.
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Old 26th December 2013, 22:29   #36
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

My comments in Bold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
Keep them coming. Atleast there is one person keenly watching!

Many thanks for answering my queries. A few more questions:

1. You mentioned "Amazing world" in Wanaka. Did you mean "Puzzling World"?

Yes, Puzzling world. Sorry, its a great place, you can spend from 9 am to 1 Pm there, kids would love it.

2. Are the rates mentioned in the websites of these motels the final ones
or are they rack rates? Can we get better price if we contact them
directly via phone/email?

If you book direct, you can shave off at least 10%, websites and agents make anything from 5 -10%, if you can get direct access.
But if you want confirmed bookings paying that 10% access is peace of mind.

3. What is the best way to get a local SIM there?

Buy the India Calling Card from a Pumjabi/ Indian store in Auckland, will give you directions soon to the store. It's cheaper than the ones you get at Airport, FOC on passport identity, no problem.

4. Are ATMs/money-changers generally available in towns?

ATM's only in major towns, credit cards in most places. Buy from India cash, you spend 3% extra on credit card.

5. I saw you've parked the car in a few places. Would there be designated
view points to park or can we pull over in any place without obstructing
the traffic? Any restriction on having a picnic (for packed
breakfast/lunch) on the road?

Park only in designated places and times in towns, out of towns, you can park off the road, no problem for eating in most places off town, park off the road, the whole country is an open picnic spot.

6. What about toilet facilities enroute? Would petrol pumps have them?

99% pumps have toilets, or most utility stores have them, we had no problem. In an emergency, the bush Southland is vast and wide so.....


7. Is Queenstown-Milford-Milford cruise-Invarcargill doable in a single day?

NOOOOOOO. Too much for a day, you'd not see much in between. Do Milford, overnight cruise, drive to Invercargil and then Dunedin possible, but it would be a shame, you'd be zipping past most places. Milford to Dunedin ideal to break it up in 2 days, spend lots of time from Invercargil to Dunedin. Wait for my story.

8. Do you've any information (or point to one) on unguided walks in Fox/Franz Joseph glacier?

Will give you a pointer, lots of walks around there, but none to the glacier, you cannot walk to the snow, only to a point away form it. The Heli-Hike is expensive, but worth it, you get to land on the snow with guided tours. Very Expensive. We could not do ANYTHING there, fogs, rains, was impossible to do anything there that day.

I'll drop Twizel and Doubtful sound for sure. Just wondering taking Milford overnight cruise just for the experience of staying overnight anchored in
some remote place. If I leave Milford around 10:30AM, can I reach Dunedin via Invarcargill by evening (480kms)? Or do you reco to stay for a night in Invarcargill and explore it?

Leave from Milford around 7 AM, Te An - 9 AM, Invercargil- 12 Noon, South Scenic route to Dunedin, reach there late by 9 PM. Can be done. If doing Inver from Milford and wanting to stay, take the Riverton route, interior, beautiful. Inver is good for a night stay, see the place, touch Bluff, the south end, 25 KM from Inver. Next day start at 7, do the SSR to Dunedin SLOWLY.

Thanks,

Prasad

Last edited by ramkya1 : 26th December 2013 at 22:32.
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Old 26th December 2013, 22:42   #37
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

@ mallumowgli: Thanks a lot, very encouraging.

@ Abes: Thanks, I guess there are more readers than members! Good. Yes, 27th adn 28th would be pretty hectic, so will start my T-log again from Monday on...

@ Jude: OK, Will keep it flowing.

@ ashkamath Thanks indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkamath View Post
Boring readers?? It is 2:43 AM now and I should be fast asleep 5 hours now. And here I am lapping line by line and snap by snap. Amazing stuff. It was a drive through NZ for me. Waiting eagerly for the rest of NZ.

I saw Bhavin's car has a Krishna Idol on the dashboard. Liked it very much.

He is a very devoted Krishna follower.

The Bike with Orange frame on the InterIslander. What Make is that bike if you noticed. The baby trailer on the Honda Bike also looked good.

I think it's a KTM

I read that at places you guys were out at friend's place up to 11 PM. Did you not feel concerned to drive to your motel back at such an hour in a totally strange place. I mean people think twice to drive at such hours where assistance is not available if you were to loose track.

No worry, NZ is a safe place, the GPS we had was accurate, it was the cold and the rain that was a bother. Many people drive at night, have read many blogs of locals doing a Q-town to Picton drive regularly.


Mesmerizing photos and captivating write up. Added NZ to my bucket list

This whole travelogue with all the links / details and snaps could make a nice book, a ready reckoner of sorts.
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Old 27th December 2013, 07:24   #38
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

The entry into South Island catapults you into another psychological experience, at least for us. We felt we were connected through the road to Auckland to our friend and familiar terrain and patterns. Added to that is the expectation of a fairy-tale land shaped by blogs, stories, discussions forums and readings, everyone talks so much about the South Island, NZ is all about South Island, so it seems.

Once you get off Picton, the drive to Queenstown is full of possibilities. You take SH6, go up to Nelson, Motueka the jump-off point to Abel Tasmen NP where you can spend 3 whole days walking, hiking, kayaking or just chilling out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abel_Tasman_National_Park

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...s/abel-tasman/

The drive through SH 67, actually up from Westsport, with Karamea Bay on the left, all the way to the western fringes of Abel Tasmen NP, Karamea river basin is reported to be an awesome experience demanding another 3-4 days. Karamea is a quaint Maori town with low population, access limited by one road, if it’s a quiet holiday you want in a remote area talking to nature, you would find it here, this is on my bucket list for the next tour.

Wine touring is a big hit around here, one of the best wines produced too. I know of a couple of wine experts from India who works here and cued me into the tours and region. One can go on and on about this, the linky below would give you lots of insights. Wine was not in our priority list, so we skipped the region, we also had limited time to do what the region has to offer.

http://www.tourism.net.nz/region/nel...urs/wine-tours

St. Arnaud is the gateway to Nelson Lakes Np, 3 days at least. The long walks, trekking, winter sport and lake activities are a heaven for the discerning tourist. Rainbow Ski field is reported to be good for snow worshippers, you can see it when you drive on SH63, we found the boards, but being summer, not much snow except on the mountain tops.

http://snow.co.nz/rainbow/

http://wikitravel.org/en/St_Arnaud

Once we pulled off the ferry, adjusted GPS to Punakaiki, we were all eyes and ears to see the land. It was drizzling, cloudy and cold. Picton to Blenheim on SH1 was beautiful, twisty, hills and clolurful, the colour of the season seem to be yellow. Blenheim to St. Arnaudd, about 100 kms, is a flyaway in most sections, we reached there by 2 PM. The land straightened out to flats, farm lands, straight roads as far as eyes could see, smooth roads and the horses under the bonnet raring to go.

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This was a road patrol car, we followed sanely for 6 kms, did not want a radar catching us speeding or reporting! Have heard of locals phoning the patrol cars or police stations the car numbers of tourists speeding and the cops chasing them and catching! They waved and smiled at us when we overtook them, they know we were tourists, the Apex sticker is a clear indicator.

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00156.jpg

The tacho kept climbing towards the red line, the tarmac was a black ribbon, the speedo smoothly crossing 150 with no vehicles in sight as far as the eye can see, testing track for cars. We were careful, when we did see a car, a reflection in the front or in the rear view mirror, we slowed down to 100, you just cannot stop the right foot riding the pedal!

St. Arnaud to Marchusion is about 60 kms, would take from 40-60 mts, we took 60 and reached there about 3 PM, refueled, bought some milk, provisions in the store there and relaxed walking around the store area for 20 minutes.

The free toilets maintained by the city council were spotlessly clean, but found the coloring and boards very different

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00177.jpg

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00179.jpg

We also got to talking with a few locals in the car park while we had the map spread out on the bonnet, they came and asks us if we wanted help, very nice farming couples who gave lots of information on the roads, town and people. They were warm, simple and you could see genuine friendship shining out of their eyes, just about made out day.

SH63 joins SH6 at Kawatiri, 25 kms on, road is downhill following the Buller river, twisting in many sections, we saw hardly any traffic. Once we hhit SH6, the logging trucks started appearing, one need to be careful about them from hereon, you would be driving for 10kms without anything in sight and they would appear on a curve without notice! A tired driver, low reflexes, wandering mind and you would have a nightmare, Boom! Red alert from here all the way till you see the Tasman Sea. Westsport is a good place to refuel, buy some food and use the rest room.

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00164.jpg
New Zealand: End to End-dsc00165.jpg

From Marchusion to Westsport the road climbs a bit, river with you for a long long way, the road twisting in and out of the forest, gorges and thick greens enveloping your ride. You can see the railroad following you, many places they share the same bridge, but not on the same track. The virgin beauty of the land, forest and greens, cannot be described, you have to experience the joy of riding.

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00166.jpg
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Westsport was not on our plans so we veered off left towards the coast, Westsport itself is another town of opportunities to go up north towards Abel Tasmen NP, many tourists do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westport,_New_Zealand

From Charleston onwards the road hits the coast, you can see the Tasman sea all way on the your right for the next 400 kms, yes, 400 till Haast! That’s why the drive on the west coast is such a great option and not so much trafficked unlike the east which is more touristy.

Our excitement mounts, we were just 30 kms of the Pancake rocks and the famous blowhole we’ve been dreaming of for months. The Tasman Sea on the right brings another dimension of excitement to the drive now, we were so full of forest and greens bearing down on us, you take a turn at Charleston and you the wide blues, empty, spraying surf on the right! What an experience to be lived. We pull into the parking lot of Punakaiki Pancake rocks at 5 PM, we could see some people here, cars, campers and a coach parked in the parking lot. Yipee, people at last!

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00185.jpg

When you are so much into the drive, you realize later you could have taken wonderful photographs, it completely got off the radar. We were so relaxed and enjoying the land and the drive till Charleston and stopped at a couple of places, took a few snaps, the drive was just into us, enjoying every sweeping turn, twist, the sound of the tarmac and the engine singing a soul soothing lullaby! Next drive on, we will take more slowly, more photographs will help us remember all those moments when we are grey and old.

======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 27th December 2013 at 07:49.
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Old 27th December 2013, 09:47   #39
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Linky to the Wellington to Picton Crossing

--Ramky
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Old 28th December 2013, 22:13   #40
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Interesting travelogue Ramky. I spotted this log earlier, but put it aside so i had time to read it in one go, and i did. The scenery looks a lot like Oz land, but more beautiful at times.

Looking forward to the rest of the writeup and hoping to be able to visit the place sometime.

P.S. : You may want to watch the Top Gear episode where Jeremy Clarkson gets a Corolla hatch and does a top-bottom trip across NZ.
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Old 31st December 2013, 13:46   #41
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

this is one of my list to do for a long time. Need to think about it in a year or two. Good TV. good information on the route. Thank you
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Old 31st December 2013, 23:10   #42
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@ Contactme27: Thanks, hope this help

@ benbsb29: Thanks. Valuable information about Jeremy, will look that up.

-----------

The little town of Punakaiki, is off Paparoa NP,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paparoa_National_Park

on the West Coast about 100 kms form Greymouth. It’s claim to fame comes form the Pancake rocks, unique limestone formations and the blow hole. You can do plenty more and easily spend a whole day there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punakaiki
http://www.punakaiki.co.nz/
http://www.newzealand.com/in/article...ck-west-coast/

After a long while we saw a collection of cars, campers, buses and some people, when we say collection, it was just a few. We were longing to see people and some signs of civilization after the long and lonely ride form Picton to Punakaiki, 370 kms, drive took us 5 hours plus with stops. We walked into the track which was high above the sea, there are many look out points from where you can see the pancake rocks. Many places along this walk, you can see layers and layers of limestone rocks in spectacular formations, jaw-dropping scenes. Reportedly, they were formed 30 million years ago from sea creatures, water pressure compacted them into shapes, due to seismic activity, the rocks came up and the winds put their chisel to work. The long rugged coastline, crashing waves, caves through which the sea boils in and sprays up and blow holes, God’s canvas!

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00187.jpg

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00197.jpg

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00189.jpg

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00193.jpg

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00200.jpg

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The blowhole spewing a rainbow! We were lucky, the light was at the right place, was an awesome sight!

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00216.jpg

This is a looped walk, can take from 20-30 minutes, depending on the time you spend there. We mixed with the milling tourists, there was a Japanese group from the Bus. You can see couples posing, asking others to take snaps, shutter bugs with expensive equipment thinking through their shots and guides explaining the story. We walk on the wodden bridge created for people to watch the blow holes and wait for the blow hole high with expectations. Salt water must have made huge caves under the rocks and water spews from blow holes in many places, just ensure that the tide is high, you have a sure show then. The Westport tide charts will work for this place too, we used it as a guide and reached around the high tide time.

http://www.metservice.com/marine-surf/tides/westport

New Zealand: End to End-dsc00218.jpg
New Zealand: End to End-dsc00220.jpg
New Zealand: End to End-dsc00240.jpg
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New Zealand: End to End-dsc00255.jpg

We spend about 30 minutes in the area watching the blowhole and spending time at other look out points and head back to the car park. The drive to Greymouth is along the coast, by 0630 we hit the town, Charles court Motel is at the end of the town, but in a quiet place right on the highway. Place was empty, the receptionist gives us the key and we check in for the night. Rooms were pretty spacious, the kitchen area big and the heaters working, was a very cold night.

http://www.charlescourtmotel.co.nz/


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Last edited by ramkya1 : 31st December 2013 at 23:26.
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Old 1st January 2014, 21:57   #43
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Had to snip out almost 30 minutes of footage to make it under 6 minute pack, 7 hr drive from Piction, Blenheim, St.Arnaud, Murchison, Charleston, Punakaiki & Greymouth along Buller River, Buller Gorge, SH63, SH6.

The blowhole video is getting processed, will load in some time.... till then.



--Ramky
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Old 2nd January 2014, 10:37   #44
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Great going ramkya, simply loving the travelogue !! I hope you are inspired for a second trip

You are covering NZ like no one have done it yet. Keep them coming.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:22   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Had to snip out almost 30 minutes of footage to make it under 6 minute pack, 7 hr drive from Piction, Blenheim, St.Arnaud, Murchison, Charleston, Punakaiki & Greymouth along Buller River, Buller Gorge, SH63, SH6.

======
I've read Greymouth area is well known for Jade/Jade-jewellery. Did you try buying any of these? Any specific shops you recommend?

Prasad
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