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Over Hill and Under Hill

Feb.6th-17th 2011

on the east coast somewhere between Picton and Kaikoura

on the east coast somewhere between Picton and Kaikoura

on the east coast somewhere between Picton and Kaikoura

Since we never made it to meet in Marburg in the past two years, we finally managed it to meet up with Patrick here at the other end of the world :o) We started in Christchurch, the biggest city on the South Island. But after 2 desperate days of trying to explore the nightlife (which isn’t exactly existant), we left for the backcountry. 6 days we traveled together and enjoyed the beauties of this Island. For me it was all new but since Patrick and Kathi both have been here before, they knew where we could go and what we might do. So the 1160 kilometers were no problem and apparently no distance in this country anyway :-)

daytrip tp Akaroa, fish n chips for lunch

searching for internet reception… incredibly that Christchurch has the worst connection in the whole country

We aggreed on two destinations: a two-days-walk on the west-coast to the Welcome Flat huts and a daytour to Mount Sunday. The quickest way to the west coast from Christchurch leads over the Arthur’s Pass to Fox Glacier. Right before the Arthur’s Pass we stopped at the Castles Rocks where we spent the whole afternoon, enjoying the sunshine.

hanging out at the castles rocks

hanging out at the castles rocks

hanging out at the castles rocks

hanging out at the castles rocks

hanging out at the castles rocks

the outcomes of staying out too long in the sun

In Arthur’s Pass Village we met a whole bunch of super-athletes at our hostel which were actually on the Coast-To-Coast-Race. Athletes from all over the world come here for this transalpine-race in order to compete on the 243 kilometers in a triathlon of running, cycling and kayaking. We were told that some of them even do the race as „the longest day“, which means they skip their rest for the night in Arthur’s Pass Village but do the whole distance in approximately 10 hours. Respect! Even with Hank it took us approximately 3 hours of driving to get here and this is only half of the distance to the coast!

Arthur’s Pass is home to an almost exstinct and special species of parrots who lives in the mountains: the Kea. These cute but unfortunatley very cheeky birds gave Hank a very hard time as they are incredibly playful and additionaly to that they love rubber gaskets. Let’s say they reorganised Hank’s air condition, providing us with a constant blow of fresh air…


After a very pleasant walk to the waterfall „The Devil’s Punchbowl“ on the next day, we got on the road again, heading west where loads of rain was waiting for us… A thunderstorm from the Tasman Sea which brang a lot of cold rain… a final check on the weatherforecast made it final: our trip to the Welcome Flat was not possible (Annotation: you have to cross a few rivers which are not safe anymore to cross when the water rises too high).

The Devil’s Punchbowl

The Devil’s Punchbowl

wisdom, provided on the menu board in front of a café somewhere along the way

Okay, change of plans and a new destination! Lake Tekapo with a short stop-over in Wanaka in order to get further in the direction of Edoras a.k.a. Mt. Sunday which was our destination for our last day together. We passed another Pass, the Haast-Pass this time, to get back to the east side of the island. The weather really was better here indeed. After a short stop at Mount Cook – the biggest mountain in New Zealand – where we went for a walk through the Hooker valley, we reached Lake Tekapo. Wow, this landscape is incredible! When we went for a walk on Mount John, we passed an astronomical observatory – the southern most in the world as we found out soon- which has opened for public for the last 5 years. Of course we immediately booked a star-gazing tour :o) Wrapped up in thick jackets and warmed up with hot chocolate we passed the night on Mount John, gazing at stars, clusters and galaxies while listening to the explanations and stories from the observatory staff members. The landscape around us was breathtaking as well…. the moonlight drowned the mountains and lakes in silvery-glittering light. We will always store this night in our memories even though the moonlight was a little too bright for Patrick and Saturn didn’t appear in enough colours for him ;o)

Hooker valley near Mount Cook

Hooker valley near Mount Cook

Hooker valley near Mount Cook

The alarm clock woke us up too soon but we had to get up as we had to vacate our rooms and there were still some kilometers between us and Mount Sunday. (Annotation for those who don’t know what Mount Sunday meant for us: This is the location where they filmed „Edoras“ for the Lord of the Rings-Movie.The landscape is so perfect for this that they hardly computer-generated anything). The 50 kilometers gravel road were a stretch for Hank but he made it and it was defenitely worth the risk!

Now we are already back in „The Old Country House“, our Backpacker in Christchurch, where we already stayed the week before and enjoy the last night together with steaks and red wine before we have to get Patrick to the airport before daybreak.

13 Kommentare auf “Over Hill and Under Hill”

  1. Patrick sagt:

    Ooooh maaaan, beautiful ! I’m already just blown away by the colours since here the colour palette is basically lot’s of variations of grey :(. Miss you guys, have fun, it was awesome :))) !
    Cheers and hugs, Patrick

  2. Raewyn sagt:

    Once again – absolutely gorgeous photos. Makes me want to go explore NZ!! Sorry you never got to do Welcome Flat. But great you experienced Mt John. Looking forward to reading of your next adventures.

    • Kathi sagt:

      Wow, this comment from a Kiwi who also lives in one of the most beautiful regions I’ve ever seen really is a great compliment! Thank you so much Raewyn! We can’t wait to come (back) to your place :o)
      Chris and Katie

  3. Margaux sagt:

    I’m so jealous ;) It’s all so beautiful! Question: what lens did you use to take the picture with the road sign?

    • Chris sagt:

      Hi Margaux,

      great that you like our Photos! For the road sign shot I used a wideangle lens at 25mm.

  4. Krissi sagt:

    Sagt mal, wie KRAAAAASS GEILE BIlder macht ihr denn da? Es ist wunderschön sich die Fotos anzuschauen :) Da krieg ich gleich wieder Fernweh. Ende des Jahres ist es bei mir auch wieder soweit: NZ, ich komme!
    Wünsche euch noch eine fantastische Reise!!!!! Drück euch ganz lieb!!!

    • Chris sagt:

      Hey Krissi! Super schön hier von dir zu lesen und noch schöner das dir die Photos so gut gefallen :-)
      Wir freuen uns immer darüber, wenn wir ein wenig die Reiselust wecken können. Cool du fliegst wieder mal nach NZ, nur Urlaub? Wie lange? Erzähl mal! :-)

  5. Dirk sagt:

    Hallo! Hoffe ihr seid Okay? Höre gerade das es in Christchurch schon wieder ein Erdbeben gab, seid Ihr noch dort? was davon mitbekommen?

    Ganz liebe Grüße
    Dirk und Anke

  6. Heiko sagt:

    Hallo ihr beiden,

    haben auch gerade von dem Erdbeben gehört und machen uns Sorgen. Hoffe es geht euch gut und ihr seid unverletzt!

    Liebe Grüße,
    Heiko und Sandra

  7. Christian sagt:

    Hey ihr beiden,

    wir machen uns Sorgen wg. des Bebens.
    Hoffentlich wart ihr schon raus bevor es losging und es geht euch gut…
    Bitte bitte postet so schnell wie’s geht!!!


    Yvonne und Christian

  8. Rike sagt:

    Hallo Ihr beiden!
    Ich schließe mich meinen Vorrednern an!!
    Alles klar bei euch???
    Liebe Grüße

  9. Martina sagt:

    Hallo Ihr beiden! Geht’s Euch gut?Wir haben von dem Erdbeben gehört und hoffen das bei Euch alles in Ordnung ist! Meldet Euch mal zu Hause!
    Liebe Grüsse

  10. Christian sagt:

    Habe eben von Katja gehört, dass die beiden sich gemeldet haben und es ihnen gut geht.
    Ich nehme an, wir werden bald wieder was von ihnen hören… ;)