This is the last part of the coverage of the South Island. And it is a big one. Massive. This article is about the north east and North of the South Island including Kaikoura and the Marlborough Sounds. So help yourself and have a read. Or a look at the pictures. Or be crazy today and do both.

Enjoy whatever, Jakob


Kaikoura, crayfish capital, no Dolphins and Whales for me 26.5 – 28.5.2012

IMG_7328IMG_1512We had a calm night in Hanmer Springs on our freedom camp spot. Without any disturbance by the police. The only thing, left to do for us in this town, was the advised short track to the canonical hill. We drove to the car park nearby and went up the hill. It circled all around up to the top. It didn’t took longer than 25 minutes. On the top we had a decent view over the town and the nearby forests and rivers. Actually not too impressive but okay. At least one really different thing we noticed is how the forest looks like. Its not covered in the usual vegetation. It’s full of massive tall needle trees with only a few ferns on the ground. But that’s what’s special about this place. The weather wasn’t to good as well and so didn’t prolonged our stay up there. We then left already towards Kaikoura, which means meal of crayfish in Maori.


Kaikoura Town

And man, Luisa stopped approximately a thousand times. To take pictures. Every couple of kilometers Smiley


IMG_1641After I have seen enough lookouts and non lookouts I said I’ll wait for her in Kaikoura in the I-Site. It took ages until she arrived there. Even though we split up pretty late. But within this timeframe she managed to found out where to sleep, for free. And she got this information of a policeman who said there are always people staying overnight and there is a toilette. So really nice. But her other plan to catch up with some fisherman to get a whale or dolphin tour for free didn’t work, bugger. While she did all this I was forced to listen to two Spanish guys in the I-Site who missed their bus. Thy jumped out at a stopover and came back when the bus just left. They tried to draw attention, running, screaming … but the bus still left to Christchurch, without them. But with their luggage. And it’s a policy that the bus isn’t allowed to stop and wait or to stop and drop the luggage off. These sad guys needed to drive on the same day to Christchurch, book and buy a ticket and pick their bags up at the Intercity headquarter. What a shitty experience. For me it shortened the time to wait. At least it felt like that.

As Luisa finally arrived we had enough time to find out what to do the next two days we were planning to stay there. We went shopping, had a walk to the cool beach with its nearby snowy mountains and ate at one of the local fish and chips shops. And we went to one of the pubs. Luisa still didn’t give up on the idea to meet fishermen's in the pub. But what we met there was just a funny group of a hippie women with rare blond curled hair named Buttercup, her husband who offered us to stay at their place and two dodgy old jerks fiddling with Luisa the whole time, haha. It was a typical NZ evening. Everybody who have been in NZ knows what I mean. We’ve drank a lot, have been invited most of the times and where pretty wasted in the end. Not too wasted to arrive safe at our freedom camping ground to have a good rest.

new day new experiences

IMG_1565IMG_1552The very next morning was windy. Very very windy. The car shakes a lot when it is parked in an 90° angle to the incoming wind direction. It didn’t stop us after breakfast to do the peninsula walk anyway. We left our cars where we slept in them and started walking. Even though it was very very windy it didn’t rain and it was quite warm. directly after we left a mobile snack bar started to open up right next to our camping spot. Selling obviously seafood, that’s what the sign said. A good place to check out later when we finished the walk. The walk is nearly a circle. So you don’t have to walk anything twice and takes approx. 2h. IMG_1548It way took us a bit longer. In the beginning we met some sea lions lazing around on the footpath and heaps of seagulls. We did a Titanic remembrance photo shoot where the wind was holding you in position even though I leaned forward. And we’ve got inspired by the other people laying down words out of pebbles like M+J 2012, NZ 2012 … so did we. But what we put down in the end was a bit different. But definitely something that remembered us of the good old Verandahs group.



The other signs where a bit better positioned on the grass so that they are visible from the top of the cliff. Ours wasn’t too well located so it shouldn’t offend too many people Smiley

The peninsula is very nice. On the track you have a couple of good views over the island and some pretty beaches and cliffs. You can spot seals everywhere and a lot of sheep and sheep shit. In the end it even started to rain a bit. But only for a couple of minutes. And it caused at least a nice rainbow We had to pass the harbor. A good spot for Luisa to have another chance of getting a free whale watching and dolphin swimming trip aka fishing trip. But again no chance. Its understandable to try to save around 500$ for both. It didn’t work out. So in the end she decided to pay for both of it but next day. I would have loved to to these trips too, but I at least have seen heaps of dolphins and may still have a chance of seeing some on the way to Great Barrier Island.


IMG_1620When we headed back on the street leading to our cars next to the beach we had the most wonderful sunny weather. The sun, the beach and the weather altogether was amazing. Everything so bright and shiny, just beautiful. The perfect moment to check in at this snack bar called The Original World Famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ. We tried a lot of their dishes like the potato wedges, Whitebait Fritter, Crayfish Fritter and a Paua Fritter. Actually we wanted both to try a whole or half of a crayfish. But it was just too expensive. And I already had some chances to have some for free at the places where I’ve been to and just hope for another one.




But the crayfish fritter was a good start and delicious. As well as the rest of the food. Only in my imagination things like Paua (kind of a mussel) Fritter and Whitebait (tiny almost transparent fish with head incl. eggs) Fritter are a bit disgusting. Anyway everything tasted really good and was as fresh as you can have it. Altogether with the chairs and tables, decent cutlery and plates at the beach with sunny warm weather was just as good it can get. In these moments I always remind myself of where I am to not get used to it too much and enjoy it as much as I can.




After Lunch we went into town to pickup the bag of food Luisa forgot a day ago in a shop. We used the chance to go again to the beautiful pebble rock beach. The day before the weather was not too good but now it was perfect. Still a bit windy but good wind. Usually wind breezes are cold but in this instance they were more than 20° warm and felt good. So we took a seat and chilled out for a while. We had again dinner in the fish and chips shop from the night before but enjoyed this time the warm tropical weather outside at our camping spot and sat there until 10:30pm or so. Usually it would have been way cold this time of the day to sit outside. But it was still warm wind blowing and we had a nice starry sky with shooting stars. I don’t have a picture so I here is just another random picture from Kaikoura, haha. Oh I just found the night sky pics from there. but this one is way more funny.

IMG_7415Havelock and Marlborough Sounds – 28.5.2012 – 4.6.2012

I left on this morning beautiful Kaikoura. Again with beautiful sunshine weather it was the perfect day for Luisa to do her dolphin and whale tour. I headed that time already to Blenheim. But on the way I had numerous stops.


IMG_1663The scenery was just a bit too beautiful to just pass it. The way to Blenheim took longer than I actually stayed there. Its not a nice town and maybe a place for Germans to get a fruit picking job but not more. After visiting the library, Burger King and the Warehouse it was time to leave again. But where to. I still had time until the 4th. of June. Way too much to spend my time between Blenheim and Picton or in each of these towns. So I decided to send Jim a text to see if he is there. Jim is Jimmys father and once owned the Armstrong Locksmith Shop before Jimmy and Rachel took over. Last time it didn’t work to stay overnight there, but this time it did. It didn’t take long until I arrived in small Havelock, Green lip Mussel Capital of the world, nothing I’m too impressed of. Nobody needs to ask, I didn’t give these a try so far. Cause I was there way to early and not 100 percent sure if I would have entered the right property I camped nearby at the waterfront, went for a walk and started cooking. I had plenty of time cause Jim won’t be home before 10am so I used the time to cook, eat sweat and sour chicken and watch the TV-Show Scrubs and Chuck.


IMG_1679Then at 10 pm I met him first time. And he is so like Jimmy. Very similar at least. And that’s a very good thing. He was also really nice and friendly. We drank a tea and chatted for a while about, lets say all kind of topics. He advised me to got to French Pass. The road supposed to be really nice and there are also a few hiking tracks and a lot DOC campsites to stay at for free or maximum a couple of Dollars. So that’s the plan. He also offered me to come back anytime after that to have a rest. Wicked.





Heading to French Pass Day One

IMG_1682Fortunately Jim left the house open for me to take a shower. After preparing some stuff like refilling water and buying some grocery's I left towards Nelson to turn on half way right onto the road leading to French Pass. But on this day I didn’t directly went there. I drove to Tennyson Inlet. Everywhere you go in the Marlborough Sounds you end up driving huge long detours. There is usually only one road, mostly gravel, and windy like hell. It takes ages to drive a couple of km. Even though my slow and safe driving changed over the month to a more rough driving behavior. Its not that I am sliding through curves, most of the times not, but it is interesting how fast you can do on a metal road driving straight and through curves.





I__ stopped at the Tennyson Inlet and began to follow the Nydia Track (a known non track off the tourist routes. But I didn’t do the whole track. To be honest just a couple of minutes. The full one would take two days and needs transport back. Cause I wasn’t able to do the full track anyway I decided to take the first exit to the beach and follow the shore for a while. All these little beaches and cliffs are completely abandoned. There is nobody, absolutely nobody except a few small boats in the inlet. I climbed for a while around and try forget the things at home my mother reminded me of. Until I got stuck at one point now way to get further. I’ve already passed some other difficult passages but this one was to mean. So I turned to go back. There I realized that it wasn’t high tide turning to low tide it was the other way around. So I hurried up a bit to not get to many problems. IMG_1691Especially at the difficult spots from before. I only spent at one spot a bit of time on the way back. I spotted Robbie the seal laying around on the rocks I was supposed to walk on. After taking some pictures and videos I scared him off. It wasn’t too easy cause those animals here are very friendly and not too shy. But he got lost in the end opening for me the way to get back. Now I often had to went through fallen trees instead of underneath them which caused some scratches. But I was back at the start of the beach where I went down early enough to not be forced to went into the water. In the sun its warm but in the water it definitely isn’t. I took a seat at a safe dry spot and stared for a while at the water while flicking tiny rocks into the water.


IMG_1743Then I left to a small settlement where a campground should have been. But there was none. Only a World Ends Road. Quite true this name at this spot. So I left to another spot called Elain Bay. I had to drive there around 40 km back almost out of the Marlborough Sounds to then turn right onto the right road heading already towards French Pass. Till then I already had numerous terrific views on secluded bays the high fjords right next to them. I stopped a lot for taking pictures and did a short walk to a viewpoint when the sun almost disappeared behind the fjords and turned the blue sky into an yellow orange at the horizon. I arrived in the dark at the Elain Bay DOC. I only chatted with the only one guest there. A Dutch women who seems to be addicted to hiking. She did around 28 hikes in the last couple of month. Impressive. I had the leftovers of the sweat and sour chicken and went after a tea to bed.


Heading to French Pass Day Two

Since a while I am so lucky with the weather down on the South Island. I didn’t have once really bad weather down there. Unusual for this time of the year. But the summer was unusually bad, the winter the opposite. This day also was cloud free. Not much wind. Only at night its getting very cold down there, especially when its cloud free.


IMG_1810I__ had a deluxe meal for breakfast. An Omelet with Parmesan and bacon and baguette with butter. Deluxe I tell you. Cooking in this scenery is also a different experience. You wont believe how much you can cook in one pan or with minimal amount of fresh grocery's. I continued to drive up to French Pass. The way there was stunning. The views from the road high up down to the segmented islands and fjords from heaven. It really feels like paradise here from time to time. And then the landscape got even better. The road winds it way up to the pass and keeps on this height for a while.




IMG_1799You have most of the times a great view onto the ocean side with all the spacious farm land and the sheep. On the other side you get views on secluded inlets and bays. It would be great to have a helicopter here. Every now and then stopping admiring the nature, taking pictures or for small walks to take more pictures.







IMG_1828There was the first glimps on French Pass. It is not a pass like on a Mountain. It’s a place where water passes between low and high tide caused by the huge land and Island causing very strong visible currents. The water is pushing through the narrow with usually 13 kmph to redeem a 0.5m height difference between each end of the narrow. This water flow is causing underwater whirlpool twister reaching in a channel down 70 meters. Its called Jacob’s hole, juhu. Believe it or not there is a known family living there since hundred years. Some of them, lets say every 20 years swim over to the other side reaching it alive. Those NZ locals are mean. I went to a viewpoint there to have a closer look at it from the top and went down to the beach next to it to try to get around the cliff to eyeball it. I didn’t get there. It was too difficult and after a couple of minutes my hands where already bleeding a bit caused by these sharp volcanic rocks. They give good grip but its not very comfortable.


From there it wasn’t far to the French Pass settlement. Out there only a few fishermen live there. Most of the others are houses to rent or similar. This time of the year there is not much going on out there. Its really remote out there.








I__ parked my car on the DOC camp ground. This time I had to pay by the way Smiley. But I was invited for lunch by a nice *Jafa couple round about 50 years old. They sold their small business in Auckland and travel around in New Zealand since 3 years. Last year they bought a almost fancy bus and use it for this purpose now. With solar panels, bikes, toilet and shower. All the luxury unnecessary stuff Zwinkerndes Smiley. Anyway we had a nice talk and they told me they prepare shell fish with garlic spaghetti and self made Ciabatta. At that time I still thought it shell fish is a fish. But when I’ve seen them cooking I remembered it. In German it would be named like mussel. For us everything with a shell is a mussel.


IMG_1806Anyway I had to eat it. And it was good. They cooked them in white wine and put the cooked spaghetti with the shell fish together. Together with the Ciabatta very good. But one bowl was enough. and I wouldn’t still cook it for myself. This shellfish meat/organs are just scary. The seafood in the sun reminded me of Kaikoura. To compensate their hospitality I served at least some Whittaker chocolate. After the late lunch I went further down the bay to the bench reading to catch the last sunbeams. In the shade its so cold and it started to get very windy. And not in a good way like in Kaikoura. Cold stormy wind. When the sun went down I jumped into the sleeping bag into my bed and tried to watch some shows. But I ran out of power after minutes on my Netbook and my 2nd charging battery in the car seemed to be empty. So I had nothing to do except sleeping. Its terrible when you know its 6pm, dark and cold and you cant do anything. There is not much then get lost in thoughts or better take a nap. Btw, two days later I found out that the battery wasn’t empty. the cable between the transformer and the 2nd battery went loose.

Back @ Jims



I__ went so early to bed that I woke up before sunrise. That’s very unusual for me. But a wonderful sunrise made the getting up procedure tolerable. And it was way calmer this morning than it was yesterday. The guys I had lunch with the day before even had to park their car further away from the beach and in an different angle to not get too much shaking around. Slowly with heaps of stopovers everywhere possible I drove back towards Havelock. It was quite early and I was hungry. So I went to a recommend café where they have home made pies. They where just delicious. Her these pies are famous and something like a NZ specialty. Maybe also British. Its pastry (Blätterteig) formed like a tiny pie, filled with eg. steak and blue cheese casserole, curry chicken, bacon and egg, minced beef (mutton, yuck) …, closed of with a lid out of pastry again. They usually offer a big variety and it took me a while, but now I really do like it. If you get fresh homemade ones they are just delicious. There in this tiny café I had two, one with chicken curry and another one with a divine apple pork filling. I fulfilled my need for delicious food but I also needed to get Wi-Fi. A bit of a task in Havelock. This town is so small they don’t have a library. But another café located at the wharf had free Wi-Fi. After I had a coffee and a beer and some TV-Shows I met Jim for another talk and a tea.


We watched the news to get some more information's about a Czech women murdered by a guy nearby Wanaka. She was a backpacker hitchhiking when he picked her up. He killed her and then this stupid fuck killed himself. I hate things like this happening. Its crazy, somehow here you have the impression to be safe, nothing ever can harm you and you live almost without a lot of thoughts what can happen when you climb there, boogie board in the ocean with strong currents, hike alone, skydive, hitchhike or similar. And usually nothing happens at all. It is safe here, but it seems that everywhere a crazy dude can come by and harm you. Even here in this part of the world. Where they usually show the cow with the biggest udder or the sheep shear tournaments in the main news.

Anyway, my plan was to leave next morning, again to Marlborough Sounds but another part, and head afterwards to Picton. But Jim invited me for Dinner after I’m back from the Sounds. So I changed my plans.

Marlborough Sounds Part Two

Again I had to prepare for leaving 2 nights. After that I drove further into the Sounds. But not via the road leading to French Pass like last time. This time I drove towards Picton to turn left onto the other main road through the sounds. I know it sounds repetitive but It was beautiful. A road leading through beautiful bushes with the ocean besides passing amazing isolated bays. And the weather was still so calm and sunny with no clouds at all. Perfect, picturesque autumn.


IMG_1889I__ planned to drive way further into the sounds. The thing is there is the probably best hostel in NZ located in Hopewell. To get there you have to drive for a tiring more than 50km long road with many twist and turns. Or alternative use the water taxis. No option was mine. Unfortunately the hostel was closed over this time of the year. A lot of attractions, hostels or whatever use this time of the year to refurnishing, reconstruct or just close for holidays. Good on them but it’s a bit annoying when you travel exactly this time of a year to these places looking forward to go there for a year and not making it. Disappointing sometimes. But I cant complain. There isn’t too many I missed out on the whole time. Most of the things I wanted to and even more I didn’t plan to do happened.


IMG_1907So the alternative solution was to camp on a DOC again. At least it saves some money. I drove a lot of long tiring metal roads to get there. Its very isolated up there. In one of the Pubs in Kaikoura we chatted with a guy from a NZ quire and he told us he is living up there somewhere without any electricity. Now I can imagine why. It’s a lovely part of the country but I didn’t stay on the campground there. Nobody would have checked if I would have paid the fees, but it wasn’t worth it. It was located in a cattle paddock with a lot of poo scattered everywhere. It was quite hard to avoid walking into it. It just took to much effort to relax there. And also the facilities where non existent. Maybe in summer nice with a lot of people but not like this. So I had to drive all the way back until I reached the inlet with the road circuiting it to get back on track where the good DOCs are. I picked the first one I passed and settled down. Almost nobody there as well so again just cooking and TV-Shows. How sad is that. But at least in a nice scenery. On the way to this site I hit something beneath my car with a rock lying on the road. I tried to drive over it an I thought I did and hit just the engine fender metal. It was quite a hard hit underneath it. But days later I found out it was worse.

on Queen Charlotte


IMG_1922Those stupid Wekas ran around the car all night long. They are so nosy. When I opened the door they would love to just jump in inspecting every little part in it. If you leave your stuff outside, like a bucket with water and shell fish in it without supervision they’ll come and pick each shell out of the bucket and drop it next to it to see what it is. A hundred time. They are ridiculous stupid, and they look like that. When I prepared my breakfast one of them where circling around my car targeting the open door to jump in until I blocked it. They are for sure the most stupid animals here.

After breakfast I drove to a spot where the Queen Charlotte Track passes. One of the Great Walks in New Zealand. I thought of doing it, but it was way to expensive and I did quite a lot of hiking. But at least I wanted to see a part of it. So I parked my car up there and walked it for a while up to a lookout  giving a good overview over the sounds and where the track leads you to. It was even possible to see Picton and the Interislander coming in from there. The ship I’m leaving the South Island after two more nights. Cool.


IMG_1945From there I went all the way down via the James Vogel memorial track (they failed obviously to remember to take care of it since years) to Mistletoe Bay. A lovely small bay with a peninsula walk I’ve done afterwards. Not too spectacular but nice to do when you are down there anyway.

Because it didn’t stay where I wanted to stay original I went to far out the sounds already to find the next camping ground for the night. I ended up on a non camping ground more a picnic area next to the street. But good enough for the night. And at least from one side the car was out of sight from the passing cars avoiding the police and hunking horns of funny locals.




back @ Jims again

this will be my last night at Jims. Because I didn’t brush my teeth and need to shave I went to the harbor in Havelock. There is a Toilet/Shower facility free to use. I didn’t found the showers but at least I was able to shave and brush my teeth. Its weird doing this when every now and then other people pass through. Its not too weird here in NZ. Sometimes you see people at a MC Donalds going into the bathroom unwashed and unshaved coming out looking refreshed. Washed their hair …. It’s normal but still for me a bit weird.


So I met Jim a bit later to fix some ITC stuff and we headed to his sister. Jim wanted to cook but something went wrong with his oven. That’s why we went to his sister to eat there. She cooked the whole evening a delicious roast. With roasted Pork, Potatoes, Kumaras, different veggies with dark gravy. Typical NZ food, almost Maori food. And afterwards we had a delicious hot sugar/chocolate pudding with custard. A real Maori desert

leaving the beloved South Island

My last day on the South Island. Already. I drove this very morning to Picton to catch up with Sebastian. I knew he will be there later, but I wanted to spent the time in the library. Unfortunately this Monday was a public holiday. Queens Anniversary to be more precise. And the queen must have unplugged all Wi-Fi cables there. So no free Wi-Fi not library. But I found a nice café with internet and good cheap coffee. So I spent a while there. Later that day I got a text that Sebi won’t show up before 6. So I wasted my time somehow until I almost had to leave to catch the ferry.


IMG_1891I__ began to drive to Subway on the way to the port. But I noticed some weird sounds coming from underneath my car. I stopped and had a look. And even though I have no idea or knowledge about cars even I knew something is wrong with the right rear shock. It came somehow off and is now loose hanging down scratching on the road while driving. Shit why always my car. And so close to catching the ferry at 10pm on a public holiday. And it was already 5:30pm. For god sake, but at least since my last flat tire problem I’m AA member. Yehaa. The showed up soon after my call. This guy only had tape to fix it! He tied a couple of layers around the shock and the metal hinge until it seemed stable. Usually he would have done it with wire, but he and I had none. So sticky tape was the very next best solution. Obviously I had to take care from now on not to drive to fast over bumps or in curves until I get it fixed. At least I was happy not being trapped in Picton. So I went to Subway and had a ridiculous cheap 7$ footlong sub (be ashamed of you Subway Germany) and went afterwards to the port waiting in line to get onto the ferry. Very soon Sebastian and another friend showed finally up and we had our reunion talking the hind legs off a donkey (had to look this idiom up Smiley). After driving onto the ferry we continued our never-ending trash talk. Except having some drinks and chatted a lot the transfer was without any big happenstances. We thought it might be a good idea to take a late night ferry because of the different scenery. But in the end we didn’t pay attention at all and also at night you don’t see anything in the sounds. Good we both did the first trip at daytime. IMG_1879


After arriving at 2am back on the North Island we had split up again. It was of course unplanned but before I could continue I had to repair the shock. The AA guy said it won’t be too expensive. Maybe just a bolt I must have kicked off with this rock on the road in the sounds. At that moment I realized that it must have been caused by this shitty rock on the road. Bugger. So Sebi drove to Palmerston North that night. And I ended up camping in Wellington Johnsonville in front of the mechanic to get it done first thing in the morning at 7am.

Resume of the South Island

IMG_1672In the beginning the first couple of days after I arrived it seemed to be not able to hold up to the high expectations. Everybody, locals and foreigners, lionize the South Island so much with all their features that you get your expectations high up. You think it is a island mountainous like Austria but with high peaks covered in snow. Bat that not. Or lets say not only. It is like that but not everywhere. The South Island is way better then this. It is so divers. In the north, in Marlborough Sounds, you have wonderful green almost tropical vegetation with fjords and crystal clear blue water. Northwesterly is the Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson and Golden Bay with the most amazing yellow sanded beaches, awesome weather all the time, summer feeling. Further south west the west coast with its impressive cliffs, pancake rocks and blowholes. Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier offering to hike with crampons on there. Wanaka and Queenstown the fun center of the South Island made to do a skydive, party in the clubs, adore the scenery, eat a cookie ….






Milford Sound my maybe most favorite spot at all with great hikes and a divine scenery. The South of the South Island, Steward Island isolated with its 340 residents and one pub. Followed by student town Dunedin where I did a lot of Tours, went to numerous sights like Tunnel Beach, Moreaki Boulders, the Otago Peninsula and other places nearby. Further north almost in the middle Mt. Cook National Park with the terrific Mueller Hut hike and the best possible view on the night sky and Mt Cook. Christchurch … don’t talk about that, but Akaroa a cool small French township. Hanmer Springs with its nice hot springs. And last but not least Kaikoura with its magical sunrises and sunsets, its beautiful light.


So not everywhere high mountains. But almost everywhere exciting landscape. After visiting almost every part of it, it is way better I initially thought. And I didn’t even spent time in winter in Queenstown or Wanaka. Now it is even more magical. This part of the world is splendid with beauty. So much to see and do that in the end I realized: I have to come back. There are still parts I missed, didn’t went to at all, things I didn’t to and others I wasn’t ready too. For example bungee jumping. I planned to stay longer and I should have but it is hard to estimate how fast you have to travel around to make it in a specific time. And then of course you are always restricted by money as well.

At all the South Island is a place you have to go. Its beautiful.



*Jafa: Slang for just another fucking Aucklander. Most of the people out of towns and in smaller Towns call flash or snobby visitors like that.