New Zealand
Traveling with a group.
Route: Queenstown Christchurch.
First day
We've just met. 10 tourists and 2 wonderful guides. The rest of the tourists are all from the USA.

After several hours in the car they put us on the ship, then 45 minutes by bus - bright colors of plants are incredible. Each millimeter seems to have several plants. It's very humid and lot's of moss. We went out to take a picture - the driver says, if you stand still a bit - you will be covered with the moss.
We came back to the boat. It was mystically beautiful. Kayaking and even swimming.

We continue to get to know each other. In a group a lot of senior citizens. Interesting people.
Now we are waiting for a big ship.

I like their humor: they say on the ship that we have all the necessary protective equipment. In case of emergency, do not panic - we are a team of professionals and we also panicking professionally :)

And the bus driver: "And fasten your seat belts, please. In this case - your body will be easier to find.

James Cook was in these fjords. And he decided that there were only islands and rocks without any plains.

We spent the night and morning on the ship, surveying the beauties of Doutfulsound.
Second day
We returned to the firmament, had lunch with delicious sandwiches on the lake and drove by car to the beginning of the pedestrian track. We walked for about 3 hours. Incredible, mystical forest - all in the moss, so soft, bright. Story! And the trip was uncomplicated, as I like. And especially - that in the shade) It was wonderful!
Then we drove for 15 minutes to the beautiful town of Tinau. 4000 thousand of the population, cozy, on the banks of the next beautiful lake. We settled in a small Hotel and went to a local cinema to watch a new dock movie about these places, which was shot with the help of helicopter pilots.

A small room with big chairs, you can drink alcohol, the film is only 30 minutes - really beautiful! Saw the places we visited over the last 2 days from a bird's flight on the big screen - just wow! And with a super soundtrack! The film is called Ata Whenua - Shadowland (Fiordland on Film). And then all together in the large room of the hotel dined wonderfully. We got to know people even more. Such a cool team.
Of course, we again lamented why we had bought this expensive tour - we could have organized all of this ourselves. I've been an advanced tour operator for a long time already actually! We cried and laughed! But the company is good and you can completely relax: everything is organized - tickets, accommodation, food, and a route.

But we already miss our home on the wheels.

Tomorrow we have an early breakfast - at 7 in the morning, at 8 we suppose to leave. There will be a bicycle track. I hope I don't let you down Karina!
Third day
Despite the early rise, we did exercises - Karina, long and difficult, I'm my 7 minutes ones. And Karina was proud of me!

We drove a couple of hours passing by beautiful places. And then there was a mountain bike track! Along the river, gorge, in the fields. Halfway we stopped for a snacks oranges and chocolate. Finished on the twice-famous bridge: architecture and the first bungee jumping. We looked at people doing this. Crazy! Our guide has done this 4 times. He says the coolest is the first. Because you don't know what to expect. And the stuffing of adrenaline rolls over.
The whole group wanted to continue tracking. But our guides said they did not expect us to be so cool and fast. Usually almost halfway participants go on foot - gravel, difficult turns and climbs. In short, the continuation option was not provided, then there was an hour drive up to the mountains. The beauty is incredible! Karina and I drove this section already, only in the other direction. We drove through the Alps (this is the name of the mountains).
We arrived in the cool, stylish town of Wanaka. We were accommodated in a cool hotel, in super rooms on the first line, overlooking the lake.
To the city - 20 minutes walk. Karina immediately took advantage, of course. And I pushed for half an hour and rented a bike. We had meet in the city.

The dinner was wonderful!

What is interesting: a cool hotel (written 4+ stars), and the pedestrian passage along the lake is open! ) This is democracy and inclusive, I think.

Tomorrow we will have a very busy program: there will be a flight on a small plane, a knee-deep passage through a cold mountain river, an ascent to a mountain of 180 meters and a steep descent (300m). And then a trip in a jet boat (at high speed with sharp turns).

The flight over Siberia (yes, yes - that's what this valley is called!) It was wonderful! Small airplane (Can accommodate only 5 passengers). Beautiful views for 25 minutes.
A serious campaign had to be canceled - after the rains the river spilled and now there is not knee-deep, but down the throat. Too dangerous.

Jet Riding is a cool ride! Everyone really liked it! They drove to those places that were examined an hour ago from an airplane.
Then we drove up to the beginning of a small track - 30 minutes a steep climb and a viewing platform at the top. Again this amazing, mystical forest. Everything is covered with moss. It's fresh, not damp.
After we had another walk to the blue pools. Beautiful, but crowded. Karina, of course, got a deep.
Early breakfast, at 7.45 already we plunged and left. After 20 minutes we arrived at the start of the route. They warned that there would be pretty steep sections. Up - about an hour and a half approximately. And as much down. Height - about 800 meters. I will not say that it was easy for me, but there was no particular strain either. At the top we were waiting for another beautiful view. Three lakes at once. And the mountains around. Not hot. Grace.

On the descent (rather steep), Jody from our group stumbled and rolled a few meters down through the bushes. It was very scary. Because we did not see where she landed. But from the sound and her voice after a few seconds it was clear that she was ok. Phew. Brave old woman. It's good that she didn't dislocate anything, she didn't turn it up.

Then there was a lunch at Wanaka, half an hour of free time and a 3-hour drive to the vicinity of Mount Cook. I have never seen such a beauty. A gorge surrounded by colorful mountains!
Oh yes - Karina was proud of me today for making it through. I myself was amazed at how soon I ascended. My soul said - we will go on real trips in Switzerland. And tomorrow we'll go together on a 7-hour hike. I'm scared!
Dinner was the best: and a buffet with various dishes, the main thing is the view! From a huge panoramic window - mountains! And in this restaurant, there is a mirror panel transforming the reflection. I started playing with my reflection. The waiters supported me, and our group decided that I used drugs.

Then everyone joined. It was fun!)

So, tomorrow, Karina and I, just two of us, will go on a long, 7-8-hour hike. But the weather forecast is bad - maybe we will not go. Then two "short" routes, 3 hours each.

And since I smoke Iqos - no less than normal cigarettes (almost pack a day) but it's much easier to go uphill!
There was heavy rain in the morning. We made two trips. Both are beautiful. The first - among the mountains for 3 hours, with a strong wind and rain! Not everyone went. That was exciting! And the second - very short - climbed the steps to the hill with a beautiful view.

At 7 in the morning next day we already loaded our suitcases - we get up so early. We had a bike track along Lake Pukaki. The irony is that the beginning of the track was exactly in the place where Karina and I spent 3 days in a minivan at the very beginning of our rally. Karina, of course, swam in the lake;)

After the bike track, we went to Lake Tekapo, where Karina and I spent the first night, when the policeman woke us at 6 am. Near this lake is Mount James with a large observatory. There is also a small church, built recently, but in the old style. And a monument of collie dog. They are taking care of sheep here.
Tonight, our Playback performance took place. In an unusual house built in 1856. Beautiful, small, antique and at the same time - modern. It had a living room with a fireplace. Despite the general fatigue, the"last" evening and an early morning rise, everyone gathered after dinner. This was spectacular. Bill from our group, a professional drummer, picked up various objects as percussion and did an excellent job as a musician! He had experience of improvisation before and it was clear that he was high. Although, for the first time. Karina and I have not been together for a long time on stage. And only two of us. Everything went smoothly, interestingly, with enthusiasm and depth.
of the journey.
After breakfast, we set off to meet the local dolphins - the smallest in the world. We were given swimming suits, of course. Water temperature - 15 degrees. In a motor boat, we rode along the bay, saw dolphins very close, twice plunged into the water. But the dolphins did not want to play with us. What the surprise - part of the money was returned to us, because dolphins did not swim right between us, did not play.

After was lunch, right on the beach, just like all the locals do. I brought a surprise for everyone - local champagne and white wine.

And Karina bought all the participants a small fluffy kiwi with a"voice. And for Jody, a big sheep. Everyone was touched. And so are we. It was in the "French" Akaroa.

Then we reached Christchurch and said goodbye.

At the airport, they handed things over to the left-luggage office and went to inspect the local large Antarctic museum. Fun, diverse and cold at times. There is a room where even a snowstorm is imitated).

4D cinema with a documentary and special effects: shaking, snow, water and soap bubbles. Live disabled penguins, which were selected by volunteers and scientists, an exposition about the first expedition at the beginning of the 20th century.

Then there was a 45 minute flight to Queenstown. The same place at the airport where the guides met us 8 days ago. Miss our group
And again - a beautiful road along a huge lake. We stopped at the waterfall, again walked through the magical forest and visited a farm for growing red fish, Karina tasted a sandwich with pleasure.

And later, starting with Bruce Bay, the wild east coast began. The ocean, a deserted beach with many branches (all sizes and shapes), stones, wind. Grand places.

We reached almost to Mount Cook. Found a camping for the night (with a shower and electricity). It started to rain, the sky turned grey, but still we went to the village and visited the local hot pools.

It was impossible to take pictures. Such a pity - it is very beautiful place. Three large rounded pools with different temperatures (maximum - 40). And most importantly - instead of walls - the jungle! So beautiful! And in the pools there are big stones. And there is a shower with hot water.
We had breakfast, washed bed linen, with grief in half - while I figured out how to pay and use washing machines.

And we went on a wonderful excursion - first on kayaks through the lake, and then an hour on foot through the forest of the Jurassic period. The beauty! On the way, the guide told our small group (9 people) about trees, plants and local kiwi birds. This is the only path in this forest, you can only get on kayaks. So we were there alone. And around the lake forests and mountains - we were ourselves. So unusual for Switzerland or South Africa. And usually for New Zealand.
In the evening we arrived in the small village of Okarito. Inexpensive private camping by the ocean. Immediately went for a walk along the shore. Incredible. Such wild places with a bunch of beautiful snags, stones, the sound of the ocean, rocks. At every turn, natural installations. Such a"synchronization" with inner silence.

At the same time in the campsite - all I need: toilet, shower and a few people.

Karina made a wonderful dinner. They ate already under the stars. And there were them, oh, how many. Later at night and before dawn, I went to the toilet - even my head was spinning from the Milky Way!
Early in the morning we went camping ourselves. The plan was this: before the high tide, walk along the shore for 1.5 hours, then climb the cliff and return to the campsite. The owner of the camping strictly warned that at 10.30 a tide begins and it is very dangerous to be ashore. Of course, we spent more time: we stopped for funny videos, looked at all these stones and driftwood, I took a photo. And the moment came when we realized that we did not know and did not see when to turn onto the cliff. And the ocean is approaching. And we found out that we are a cool team: without noise and dust, we still found a way. And this time I was right: Karina thought that we should return slightly to an incomprehensible sign, and for me it was obvious that we should reach the edge of the cliff and there would be a way up. At the end everything was fine:) We walked through the woods - beauty again! Climbed to the top - Karina praised me!
We hardly found a place to spend the night, went to the city, bought food, had dinner right on the beach. And we visited in the night an amazing place where luminous insects look like a starry sky. Amazing!
We visited today a wonderful place - Tree Top Park. Bridges between trees at bird's eye view. And again, these amazing trees of the Jurassic period. They survived due to the special climate of the islands. The beauty!
Then we returned to the city of Hokitika, where Karina went on a special tour to find special stones. And then she herself polished them in the workshop. It's so joyful to see Karina inspired and childishly happy! Child of nature - everywhere collects feathers, stones, snags. I admire her!
I rented a bicycle and went to explore the area. It is unusual to see cows almost on the ocean)) A quiet village outside the city, pretty houses, a long bridge with a beautiful view.

In the village I found a sign on the pillar "101 km". ;)

NZ has its own Alps, Siberia, and Hokitika has its own Carnegie Building (not Hall).

While Karina was having fun with stones, I tasted Chardonnay in a local bar. There are a lot of stylish cafes, restaurants, shops in NZ. And at this cafe they also have several reproductions of Banksy, which also pleased me.
In fact, Hokitika is difficult to call a city in my understanding. And all the other towns on the West Coast.

So that you understand - this is the very center of Hokitiki.

Despite the fact that there is even a museum, monuments, a public library (in the Carnegie building) and a huge supermarket.

I really like this West of the South Island. It is quiet, wild, with few buildings, no noise and a lot of nature.
Wherever we were, the tourism infrastructure is very well developed. Many tours: on foot, in kayaks, various planes, bicycles, jet boats.

And especially happy that there is no garbage anywhere! He is not on the tracks, nor along the ocean, nor in the lakes. And even in towns and villages. It is so pleasing to the eye!

Of course, there are a lot of dead animals on the roads (possums, rabbits). It is sad. They are here, imported 200 years ago by Europeans. They also destroyed local birds fauna. Even the local symbol is the Kiwi bird (locals call themselves Kiwi) on the verge of extinction. Only 5% of kiwi survive in the wild. Therefore, rodent traps are set in the forests. Birds are bred in nurseries and released into nature by adults.

This little night bird has no wings. The female lays only one egg, which is the size of a third of her body. So at the end of pregnancy, she can't even eat. Her birth is like the birth of an 8-year-old child. Of course, these birds are very vulnerable to alien predators. 200 years ago they had no enemies.

The morning was cloudy.

Unhappy possums were walking here and there. They were brought from Australia by people. And then they regretted it. With deer is the same story. Without predators, they bred too much and it's putting in danger the Eco system. There is a special helicopter shooting service.

We drove passing by a very beautiful wild places! Already breathtaking!

And most importantly - we drove a bug along very rough terrain. I drove! Karina was not afraid to go with me! Just a children's delight! Well done!

After there was a long drive to the very north, in the vicinity of Nelson. It was raining, the wind, the car was storming. Karina is a super driver. Found a good place to spend the night. Free camping. But there is a good toilet, water and even a grill!