I just noticed I have not updated my website for the last two weeks, but it seems a lot longer, so much has happened since. I am currently travelling with my parents and since they want to see all of New Zealand in 3 weeks, days tend to be pretty filled with driving, sightseeing and hiking.
The 1st day I picked up my parents and sister from the airport and we explored the city centre of Auckland. The 2nd day we went to the War Memorial Museum and drove up to the Bay of Islands, where we made a cruise on the 3rd day, exploring Russell and Waitangi afterwards. The 4th day we went to see some huge Kauri trees, before driving back to Auckland. On the 5th day we drove through the Coromandel peninsula to Wangamata, riding in a crazy homemade railway and visiting a beautiful beach on the way. The 6th day we went to Rotorua, where we saw lots of geothermal activity (geysers and mud pools), and had a Maori concert and hangi in the evening. The 7th day we visited another geothermal area and drove on to Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park. The planned hike was cut short by the rest of the family since it started raining, but I still hiked for 3 hours, mainly because I took the wrong path at a crossing. On the 8th day we had to get back to Wellington to catch the ferry, but all the roads on the West Coast were closed because of the worst rainfall in a century, so we had to take a detour and drove more than 550 km in one day, arriving at the ferry only half an hour before final check-in. The receptionist at the Grand Chateau Tongariro said we would be very lucky to get to Wellington that day. Well, we made our own luck. In total we drove about 1950 km in 7 days on the North Island.
The 9th day we woke up in Picton on the South Island and hiked for 3 hours with views of Queen Charlotte Sound. On the 10th day we drove to Marahau, where we hiked for 3 hours in Abel Tasman National Park, getting there and away by watertaxi. On the 11th day we drove to Hokitika, just stopping for pancake rocks and a recreated gold mining town on the way. The 12th day we went to the Franz Jozef Glacier, but did not even get out of the car to see it, because it was raining cats and dogs and very windy. We did get to see the Fox Glacier, but relaxed inside for the rest of the day. On the 13th day the weather was a lot better and after a visit to Matheson Lake we drove back to Franz Jozef Glacier and got to see it after all. From there we went to Wanaka, stopping for a few waterfalls along the way. On the 14th day (today) we hiked for 3 hours in Wanaka with picture postcard views of Lake Wanaka. In the afternoon we drove to Queenstown, where we are trying to figure out which activities to do.
Overall the last 14 days were pretty intensive, with lots of driving through this beautiful country. We had all some really nice sunny weather in the beginning, lots of rain on the bottom of the North Island and at the glaciers, but great weather here as well. But I guess a country with lots of sun would not have the Lord of the Rings landscapes that New Zealand has, so a bit of rain is inevitable.