Category Archives: New Zealand

New Zealand

Franz Josef

Fran 5

Arthur Pass top height

We left Christchurch on the Trans Alpine Express, a daily rail service that links Christchurch on the east coast with Greymouth on the west coast. The route took us across the Canterbury Plains and then up over the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass. The journey through the mountains was spectacular, we followed the course of two rivers (one of them called the Arnold River after a former head of Rugby School) crossing tall viaducts and passing through tunnels, one tunnel was over 8km long. In places we could see the track used by settlers and gold miners to cross the range in horse drawn carriages. As we started to descend from the pass we noticed that the river was flowing the other way, we had crossed the divide. Continue reading Franz Josef


It says it all!

The drive to Christchurch was once again very pretty, we drove south through farm land and started to see lots more sheep and some very large herds of cows. We didn’t stop for breakfast in Kaikoura, we decided to get on our way and keep a lookout for somewhere to stop en route, we were keen to get to Christchurch in time to have a look around. We passed through a couple of little towns but didn’t see anywhere interesting, then in what felt a bit like the middle of nowhere we saw a sign for the Mainline Station Café, we rounded the bend and there it was an historic wooden station building looking very welcoming. We stopped and went in to find a lovely, cosy old fashion station café still serving breakfast! The staff were friendly and the coffee and food excellent (as we are coming to expect in NZ) it was exactly what we were looking for and in just the right spot. We had a chance to look at a photo album showing how the station building had been moved from the railway line to its current location next to the main highway, it has been lovingly restored and a garden created alongside. Continue reading Christchurch


Kai 2
Street furniture Kaikoura

Marks decision to head south and pick up Highway 63 was inspired, we had a lovely drive south from Abel Tasman down through the fruit orchards around Nelson with the blossom just starting to come out. The road east took us along a wide river valley between towering hillsides, it reminded us of the Scottish Highlands. As we approached the town of Blenheim we drove through the Marlborough Wine region with vineyards on either side of the road stretching almost as far as the eye could see. We stopped for coffee in Blenheim, it was another modern low rise, town but it had a nice riverside park. From there we turned south and followed Highway 1 to Kaikoura. Continue reading Kaikoura

Marlborough Sound

Entering South Island with North Island in the background.

We left Wellington on Thursday morning taking a taxi to the ferry terminal to catch the 09.00 ferry across the Cook Straight to the South Island. We were leaving the buzz of the capital city for the costal wilderness of the Marlborough Sound, an area of bays and inlets, islands and headlands, mountains and forest. After two days of winds gusting 40-50 mph and facing a three-and-a-half-hour journey across one of the most unpredictable stretches of water in the world I can’t tell you how much we were hoping that the forecast of calm weather would come good. Sure enough Thursday morning dawned calm and sunny, we put on our trusty wristbands just to be on the safe side and boarded the Interislander Ferry. Continue reading Marlborough Sound