Gordon and I left to meet up with our daughter Hannah in sunny Sydney for a week, followed by 3 weeks in magnificent New Zealand. We must thank you Paul for arranging the perfect itinerary for our trip around the South Island. I know we would never have discovered, (if we had planned ourselves,) the exceptional accommodation with breath taking views or experienced New Zealand's wildlife so closely.
I have been reviewing my journal and sorting photographs into a keepsake book and still cannot believe what we achieved and saw. Starting at beautiful Lake Tekopo, stopping on route in Oamaru and at the amazing Moeraki Boulders and on to historical Dunedin, this was just the beginning of a memorable holiday. I must say Gordon's 60th birthday the next day was jam packed, the great Taieri Gorge train ride in the morning and the not to be missed informative Elm wildlife walk plus Monarch cruise was one of our many highlights. We can claim as good as any wildlife expert, Fur Seals, Sea Lions, Yellow Eyed Penguins, Barracuda and Albatross!
I am so glad you suggested the Wairaurahiri jet boat adventure and overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. We had such an adventure despite bruises, sand fly bites and getting a drenching, we loved it all. We managed to set another NZ In Depth sponsored stoat trap for which Johan is very grateful. I must mention food, Johan's barbecue was amazing in the middle of nowhere and dinner on the Southern Secret a treat, especially serving my caught Blue Cod and Sea Perch.
Onward, we went mad and bought a wonderful Fiordland acrylic in Queenstown, shipped home successfully and now proud of place on our living room wall. I think by now we were seasoned adventurers and we could not resist the half-day Fox Glacier Walk and helicopter ride to the snowfields- just fabulous.
Our final 3 days in the South Island were spent at Golden Bay - Gordon and Bess provide wonderful hospitality and an oasis of tranquillity - not to be missed. However no time for too much relaxation, there is the fantastic Farewell Spit Eco tour to enjoy and learn about migratory birds and seals, plus more stoat trap laying. Just time for a spot of kayaking and walk to the Te Waikoropupu springs before crossing on the Interislander to Wellington the next day.
Would you believe Hannah had planned a full itinerary while in Wellington, we climbed Mount Cook before brunch, cable car to the Botanic Gardens, university tour and the excellent Te Papa Museum in the afternoon. Thankfully you had booked us into the wonderful Museum Hotel and we took you up on your restaurant recommendation The Ortega Fish Shack and had a superb last meal with Hannah.
Thank you again Paul for a trip of a life time, your organisation and attention to detail is to be highly recommended. No doubt we will be back to discover the North Island knowing we can rely on the personal care and attention from NZ In Depth.
Julia, Gordon and Hannah Love