Tour of New Zealand ( S.Island)

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Blog entry by daltxguy posted 08-23-2008 04:47 AM 2484 reads 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Te Wai Pounamu, Aeteoroa- the Maori name for the south island of New Zealand. New Zealand consists of 2 islands roughly the same size but with 3 million people on the northern, slightly warmer island and only 1 million on the south island, the south island is clearly the winner in terms of beauty, wilderness and variety.

We currently divide our time between two places : Christchurch, the largest city on the s.island with roughly 60% of the entire population living in this area, and our favorite place in the world, Murchison with a population of 600. Murchison is the closest town to the location of our native and plantation forest. We also have a small house in the town itself. Though we haven’t made the full transition to living in Murchison yet, we are already integrating into the community and seem to know far more people there than we do living next door to us in the city.

On this, the tour of the s.island, we’ll start on the east coast, which is the Pacific ocean side, where Christchurch is located and then we’ll head through the Southern Alps, a formation of mountains created by the collision of the eastern Pacific plate and the western Australian plate forming the Alpine fault line running down the center of the island. The fault is marked by mountains, a continental divide, hot springs and lots of beautiful places and well, earthquakes too.

We’ll then travel north about 3 hours and have an extended visit of Murchison. Murchison lies just to the north of the fault line.

Finally we’ll travel another hour to the west coast, the Tasman sea, with Australia, “on the other side of the ditch” as we like to say around here. The west coast had a whole different look and feel to it, capturing most of the moisture from the Tasman and being a small narrow wooded rain-forest between the mountains and the sea.

Welcome to New Zealand!

East coast – the Pacific ocean

Christchurch – the Garden City

Heading into the mountains… Recent winter photos (July)

Notice that New Zealand native trees are all evergreen – notice the green under the snowfall!

Now over the divide. This is Arthur’s Pass area

And over the pass, everything becomes forested and green and we get to Murchison.
View of the town from one of the surrounding hills.

Panorama of the town from ground level.

Just a few steps from ‘downtown’.

and a view to the south at some of the 1200m mountains (~4000ft) – here snow covered in the winter ( this is a shot taken Aug, 2008)

Murchison itself is famous for being the epicenter of a massive 7.8 earthquake in 1929, the largest recorded quake in NZ up to that time and felt all the way to the ends of both islands. Lives were lost (17), buildings were damaged, uplifts created new waterfalls (Maruia Falls) and rockslides changed river courses forever but luckily the population density was very low and the devastation was not widespread. The bad news is that we are long overdue for another 8+ earthquake on the S.Island. Despite the risks, we still think we will be better off in Murchison than anywhere else. What’s the chance of being the epicenter twice. Don’t answer that. We still think this is our slice of heaven on earth and will plan accordingly.

And a few photos of our ‘native bush’, called Stainart forest. This is the view of Murchison from the highest point on our forest block – at about 400m ( ~1300ft). We are surrounded by Kahurangi National Park to the north and Nelson Lakes National Park to the east. You can just barely make out that the the river jogs back and forth in the valley. That’s from rock slides created during the earthquake!

One of our many 400 year old NZ Beeches ( this one is a Red Beech – the king of the forest here).

and another more typical view of our beech forest.

And now we’ll leave Murchison and travel further west – the rain increases and there are glaciers and bigger rivers and thicker forests still. Notice how clean the water is. Yes, we actually still drink from the streams here.

And we did it all in 1 day and we still have time to watch the sun set over the Tasman sea as it fries Australia. That’s probably what that yellow glow is :)

Hope you enjoyed this little corner of our world!

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

24 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5826 days

#1 posted 08-23-2008 04:52 AM

Beautiful. Just confirmed NZ as a future (and long) vacation destination. What a perfect slice of the earth to call home.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 5182 days

#2 posted 08-23-2008 05:19 AM

and the thing about NZ, is that it really looks better in reality. you don’t have to wait 3 weeks for the perfect shot – every picture you take looks like you worked on it for hours with photoshop. and the people… the people are really really nice. i love it here.

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 5162 days

#3 posted 08-23-2008 07:06 AM

Very nice, thanks for the tour. Hopefull I can make it over there some day. There certainley is some beautiful contry over there.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 5213 days

#4 posted 08-23-2008 07:46 AM

WOW… incredible. I’m lovin’ it… thanks for the tour.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View jft68's profile


23 posts in 5089 days

#5 posted 08-23-2008 09:07 AM

Fantastique !!!!!
that’s really something beautiful. Thanks Steve to share it with us !
Until now NZ and Christchurch were for me closely linked to rugby.
I also had in the past an english teacher comming from Christchurch giving me a broad picture of his lovely country. Last year I spent a week in AUS for my job activities but no chance to have a jump in NZ.
Maybe another day ?
Thanks again for the nice pictures.

-- Jean-Franco

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 5182 days

#6 posted 08-23-2008 09:17 AM

With Steve permission, here is a link to lots of pictures from the southern lakes (its a southern part of the south island not covered in his journey). Visiting Milford is still on my todo list… i tried to screen the pictures, but its still tons. as I said, its hard to go wrong. the pictures were taken with simple point and shoot camera….

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5413 days

#7 posted 08-23-2008 10:08 AM

Yes, Jean-Franco, mine is a biased view of New Zealand. I really like trees & mountains ( that’s not too hard to believe is it,as a Lumberjock?). You’ll notice no pictures of any rugby, beer drinking or sheep ( sometimes you can get them all in one picture) though goodness knows we are overrun by all of these things. There are 38 million sheep in NZ and probably 4million -1 beer drinking, rugby fans.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 5182 days

#8 posted 08-23-2008 12:23 PM


-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5243 days

#9 posted 08-23-2008 02:46 PM

New Zealand is one of my favorite places. I used to go there in the early 80’s with operation Deep Freeze. Christchurch was great entertainment. We used to go fishing over on the west coast, went over to the Cook Mountains, and down south to Dunedin. I’m sure, like every place else, it’s changed, but it still looks as beautiful as ever. Thanks for the post, Steve.

View Bruce's profile


38 posts in 5717 days

#10 posted 08-23-2008 05:45 PM

My son is in the process of moving to Wellington. He is there now and his wife and family will join him in a few weeks. He will be working for Weta Digital (Lord of the Rings, King Kong). He has been sending photos of the area as he hunts for a house to rent. We are very excited about coming to visit and see the North and South Islands. Judging from your photos you like to get out and hike, we hope to do the same when we visit. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. We hope to visit this coming summer sometime.
Bruce Ebling

-- Bruce Ebling

View Ampeater's profile


442 posts in 5246 days

#11 posted 08-23-2008 05:55 PM

My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by going to NZ. It was the best trip we ever had. I only wish that we had dropped the two days in Tahiti and added those to our stay on the south island.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 5253 days

#12 posted 08-27-2008 04:06 AM

Beautiful, i love the tour! I have always wanted to visit your bigger neighbor, but now I am thinking that NZ just might be the place.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5659 days

#13 posted 08-31-2008 01:32 AM

beautiful indeed!!! thank you

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

849 posts in 5332 days

#14 posted 12-31-2008 11:25 PM

NZ, Wow is it beautiful!! Nice pictures. So post some more.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View James Richardson's profile

James Richardson

13 posts in 4927 days

#15 posted 01-08-2009 07:06 AM

Nice Pics!

Refreshing to see a fellow NZer

Im from the “slightly warmer” North Island :D Tauranga to be exact

you did a good job in showing off our backyard!

-- JR.

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