Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I took ourselves up into the Christchurch Port Hills for a bit of a leg stretch.
Starting from the Sign of the Kiwi, we wandered up the Sugarloaf Loop track, for about a kilometre or so before stopping at a marvelous scenic view point with expansive views of the South Island’s Lyttelton Harbour.
I thought I’d share a wee video of the views we had accompanied by a bit of native birdsong courtesy of the Department of Conservation (NZ):
Something to be said about visiting a new place, or revisiting an old place.
We recently found ourselves back in Fiordland’s Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) after a long hiatus, but the drive down through the Lindis Pass from Christchurch, and over Queenstown’s Devil’s Staircase reminded me that New Zealand’s roads, while they can be spectacularly scenic, are notorious for not taking prisoners. For the unwary and inattentive they can, and have proved time and again, to be singularly unforgiving.
Unpleasant driving conditions can also strike at any time of the year, and in winter you can often add snow and ice to this. Especially for our more mountainous, and southern roads, as well as most of the country’s alpine passes, of which the Lindis is a classic example. Many of New Zealand’s roads are also quite narrow compared to their foreign counterparts, and many of them don’t have verges, pull off areas, or even safety barriers. It is entirely up to the driver to watch the road attentively, ever attuned for the nuances of the road, and for inattentive drivers coming the other way, or out of sideroads.
Which brings me to the obvious: If you want to visit and enjoy our magnificent scenery (emphasis on the “and”) it may be worth considering taking a guided tour with an expert driver. Yes, it may cost you more than anticipated, but it frees you up from the responsibility of driving while trying to enjoy the scenery. You can concentrate on just enjoying the scenery while some one else does the driving for you. Depending on the tour operator you choose, the prices can vary considerably, but so can the level of service. Having said that, whichever option you go for, It’s should be far less tiring than driving yourself! On the other hand if you insist on self-driving, then allow plenty of time between destinations, take your time with plenty of rest stops, while being considerate of other road users, and above all enjoy.
For those of you that haven’t been there, or not been for many years, Fiordland and Milford Sound are among my top locations to visit.
Having worked in Milford Sound for the better part of three years, in the earlier parts of this century (sounds so long ago doesn’t it?) I fell in love with the place, and always enjoy going back. Having said that, the last time I was down that way, the weather was somewhat less than co-operative, and even if I’d made it safely in, I likely wouldn’t have made it out again!
A number of our tours subsequently take in Milford Sound and its surrounds, and our 6 day Fiordland Fantasy tour also features Doubtful Sound (seasonal and weather permitting).
Finally, two of those companies, and ourselves offer discounts to members of the Facebook Group: NZ Travel Tips (NZTT). so head on over there, and sign up if you haven’t already. If you have, then check out the NZ Travel Tips website with its myriad member discounts.! Note that any bookings must be made via the NZTT Website along with member discount codes for the specials to apply! (Hint: you may also be asked for proof of membership of the Facebook Group)
If you’re ever up around the Nelson Lakes National Park near the top of the South Island, and the weather co-operates, I’d strongly recommend the sunset from the shores of Lake Rotoiti.
When we were there recently, the setting sun caught the tops of the ranges in a stunning orange glow before fading to a delicate, almost ethereal, shade of pink that lit the entire sky and reflected in the waters of the lake.
Naturally, a couple of our tours pass through that way; our 3 day Nelson Lakes tour, and 5 day Top of the South tour both spend at least one night in St Arnaud on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.
Seasons Greetings. Merry Christmas (ok, its a day or two late!) and Happy New Year.
We are really looking forward to welcoming guests in the New Year, firstly from NZ, and if the indications and noises from the Government are to be believed, we may be welcoming guests from overseas (well, Australia anyway!) by the end of the first quarter or early in the second. Watch this space!
What a year! Who’d’ve thought we’d have been in and through another lockdown and still with elevated Covid-19 levels throughout the country, with Auckland and some other parts of the North Island at Level 3 and the rest of the country at Level 2! By all accounts those of us in the South Island, and Christchurch in particular, recently dodged the proverbial bullet when two covid-19 case were found in the city. The fact that we didn’t end up in Level 3 like our friends up North remains a mystery to most us. In a good way of course!
So where does that leave us at Koru Scenic Tours?
Going forwards, it’s been an opportunity in many ways, to review our packages, make a few tweaks to our website and generally tidy up a few loose ends. Nearing the completion of that process, we’re now looking to the future and what that might bring, such that we’re now looking at the possiblity of running a series of virtual tours based on our planned live tour routes, albeit shortened to suit an online production. I don’t know that I’d want to sit through an all day event live that, and certainly not a multi-day one which is what some of our live tours are. What that will look like we’re not entirely sure, but we’re looking at a number of different hosting options for these, including FaceBook Live, Youtube, Vimeo, and other options. There is also the possiblity of Podcasting some virtual events. We shall see.
Well the time has finally come! In the next few days we’re moving our Scenic Tours operation out from our photography website “Koru Wilderness Images” and into its own website with its own branding: “Koru Scenic Tours”.
We’ve already updated most of our social media platforms, and now its time to update the website itself, and this is it!