A trip down memory lane

Coming back to the South Island of New Zealand was a real trip down memory lane for John and I. Ten years ago we arrived here separately to explore. In Motueka, our paths crossed on the balcony of a backpacker’s, over a pasta dish I agreed to join John on a two day hike with an overnight stay in a rock shelter… and the rest is history. Playing such an important role in our lives, New Zealand had a place in our hearts ever since. Therefore, it was clear for us – right from the start of planing this big trip – to travel again to the other side of the world, but this time as husband and wife with two kids in tow.

It was very special to backtrack some of our early steps as a couple… with the girls, showing them a few of our favourite places and telling them the stories from “back then” all over again. But also to experience many more new Kiwi adventures – as a family.

Testing our new camping gear.
Lake Tekapo


John on Mt John.


On a hike along Lake Tekapo.


Morning glory on Lake Alexandria.


Lindis Pass


Wet weather programme: Puzzling World, Wanaka.


Swiss reunion with Nicole and Urs in their cosy garage bar.
The much photographed “Wanaka tree”.
Our tent on the campground in Wanaka… and snow on the hills and frost on the car. Brrrr!
Lake Wanaka in the morning.
Blue Pools


Searching for greenstone on the beach.
Dramatic sunsets in Hokitika.


A greenstone carver at work.
Pancake Rocks


Drawing a zoo into the sand of Rabbit Island.
Welcome to our zoo!
Taking the water taxi to Torrent Bay (Abel Tasman Track).


Hiking the first part of the famous Abel Tasman Track.


Lunch break.
Oh no!


Hello, Sir!
At Emma’s AirBnB, playing with dogs…
…and rats.
Evening walk to Wharariki Beach.


Meeting the baby seals.


Beautiful sand art.


Moving into our driftwood house on Whariwharangi beach.


Playing cards by candle light at Whariwharangi Hut.


At separation point early in the morning. Even the seal is still asleep.
Whariwharangi hut: Our home for the night.
Back at “our” rock shelter.
Warming up in Flora Hut.
Very idyllic, isn’t it?
Bye, bye Flora Hut.


At Smiths Farm Holiday Park.


Chasing waterfalls…
…and glow worms.
Last sunset on NZ’s South Island (Cullen Point, Queen Charloote Dr).
Leaving NZ’s South Island on the ferry from Picton to Wellington.

Some of our highlights:

  • Driving to the Lake Tekapo area on the Fairlie-Tekapo Road and spending some time around the most turquoise looking lake we’ve ever seen, was just breathtaking. We enjoyed a hike from our campground to Mt John and back along the lake in gorgeous weather. The light pollution here is so low that stargazing is amazing – even without telescopes. And we can highly recommend the campground of Lake Tekapo Motels & Holiday Park & Lakefront Lodge: Just a few steps from the lake, the facilities are very clean and the toilet / shower block is heated!! All in all, it was hard to leave.
  • The scenery around Lindis Pass that reminded us so much of the beautiful Scottish Highlands.
  • Combing the beaches on the West Coast for Greenstone. John was convinced that he had found one. We actually all were… until a professional greenstone carver in one of the galleries shattered our enthusiasm. Still a nice stone though.
  • Dramatic sunsets at the end of very wet days in Hokitika.
  • Staying at Emma’s homely AirBnB in Richmond and meeting her and her lovely family plus all their animals (dogs, horses, sheep, chicken, rats). Our girls wanted to move in permanently.
  • Whararaki Beach: A mystical path to get there, unique sand art, stunning sunsets, impressive rock formations and super cute baby seals. We all thought this place was special.
  • Hiking the last section of the famous Abel Tasman Track (Wainui Bay to Whariwharangi Bay), building a driftwood house on the beach, moving into Whariwharangi Hut for the night (a brilliant hut!) and being taught a new card game (500) by some Kiwis – by candle light. Bordering on romantic.
  • And straight away another night in a hut with no electricity or running water: Venturing up a 4×4 road (in a normal car) towards Arthur’s Pass (the first mountain John and I hiked together), speed hiking to the infamous rock shelter and back to Flora Hut where we made a fire to keep us warm while sleeping in the rudimental bunk beds. Cosy.
  • Taking it easy, eating home-baked muffins, feeding sheep and wandering off to the glow worm forest while staying on Smiths Farm Holiday Park.
  • Living in our new two bedroom tent. We can’t wait to make the most of it back home in Switzerland.

The learning curve:

  • We were so naive! We literally arrived in Christchurch with two nights booked and a rental car organised. All the other nights, we thought, we’d book as we go along. That’s how we did it 10 years ago. But that’s not how it works anymore! After a sleepless night in Christchurch trying to find affordable accommodation for a family (but not succeeding), we changed our plan and bought a tent.
  • The Nissan Sunny is a pretty ugly car, but has a boot like a tardis. Soooo spacious. Much to the amazement of onlookers we packed in two rucksacks, one suitcase, a six man tent, sleeping bags, blow-up matresses and our food!!
  • Prepare yourself for chilly nights when sleeping in a tent in NZ from mid March onwards. In Wanaka, we found the surrounding mountains covered in snow and the car covered in frost one morning. Thanks to some friends who organised warm duvets for us we made it through the following night.
  • We are almost certain now: It always rains on the West Coast of NZ’s South Island. Third time here – third time wet, wet, wet.
  • Sand is a killer for cameras. Well, we had actually known that before, but got caught out again. When we presented the sand grains behind the lens to the manager of a photo shop, asking what we should do, he said: Throw it away and buy a new one. Even though it hurt a lot, that’s exactly what we did.


5 thoughts on “A trip down memory lane

  1. Loved this Blog and what great memories for me too guys… Wanaka is a special place.. I take it you did not try the skydive of Tiger Moth flight there ? ;-).. (Just for the ‘smug’ record, I did jump from 16,000 feet and lived to tell the tail..)
    Safe travels…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Too many fantastic pictures to comment on!
    The Lake Tekapo, and then some others, immediately reminded me the Maori name ‘Aotearoa’ – land of the long white cloud.
    Now I know why!!!


  3. I am so impress! And I’ll say it in Spanish, they say that poets show their feelings in ornate words … … and when poems are recited, they make even more sense, if the poet knows how to declaim … Well, these wonderful photos, I do not know who took them … but. Myblueberryhouse, is making us know your heart and the beautiful feelings you are feeling right now … and how lucky we are to be enjoying ourselves with you, such a wonder … but the perception they have of each space they visit and as they demonstrate its around, it’s how they are: in the soul, Thank you very much, Nicole, John, Sophie And Lily for such a special gift to the eyes … and also to the Soul … There are gifts that do not come in a package! I am fascinated and admired!


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