A relatively light year for travel by my standards, with four trips cancelled and a number changed due to Covid (which finally made it to New Zealand on a large scale this year). I made my first overseas trips since early 2020, spending a month in the UK / Switzerland seeing family and hiking, and a month in Nepal hiking.
Lower South Island, December / January
A fortnight long road trip from Te Anau to Dunedin, covering effectively the Southern Scenic Route without being conscious of it when it was planned. It included three days hiking the Hump Ridge Track, day cruises on Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound, time in Arrowtown, Queenstown, Bluff, the Catlins, and a sunny end in Dunedin.
A long weekend break by the beautiful Lake Tarawera, short on decent weather, but the lake was still wonderful to swim in and the National Army Museum was a good stop on the way up.
Central North Island, April
A great ten day road trip through National Park, Rotorua, and Napier, including a detour to cycle over two days the excellent Timber Trail, lots of days walks, fun on a tandem bike in Napier, and geothermal wonders in Rotorua.
Weekend break in the Wairarapa with a couple of lovely short walks.
UK, June / July
My first trip overseas since February 2020, returning to the motherland to see family. Lots of time in Surrey, day trips to London, and a week away in Devon. I packed in an awful lot of historic houses and gardens, museums, and a number of full day walks.
From the UK I made a five day trip to Interlaken to do three epic full day walks. Swiss scenery and the infrastructure they’ve built to enjoy it are incredible, downsides are the expense and crowds.
A long weekend return to my former home for a decade, to attend the Auckland Writer’s Festival. I also had time to revisit some of my old regular haunts – Auckland Museum, Wintergardens in the Domain, Auckland Art Gallery, and Mt Eden.
A month long trip to the first new country I’ve visited since January 2020, exploring Kathmandu and it’s satellite cities, and spending three weeks hiking the Kanchenjunga Circuit in Far East Nepal. I was sick for most of the trip (though ironically not with altitude sickness), so didn’t enjoy it that much at the time, but writing the blogs and sorting the photos has helped put things in perspective. Very much type 2/3 fun, I.e. not much fun at the time but definitely memorable.
Banks Peninsula & Hamner Springs, December
A lovely ten day trip a fortnight before Christmas, which turns out to best the ideal time to travel, as no one else does! The Hanmer Spring Thermal Pools lived up to their reputation, as did the new ones by the sea in Christchurch. I did some great day walks, and finished by walking the three day Banks Track which exceeded my expectations.
Pukehina and South Island again for Christmas / New Year
Last year went well so I’m doing something similar again this year. Family time in Pukehina, near Tauranga, for the classic Kiwi Christmas by the beach, followed by a trip around Central Otago, Queenstown, Wanaka and Tarras. This will include the Central Otago and Lake Dunstan bike trails, lake swims, day walks, and finish with three days tramping and camping in the Matukituki Valley.