www.aotearoa.dk / the pictures
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Transport - Driving in New Zealand - AA - FDM service
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In New Zealand there is far between everything - at least from a Danish point of view. A car makes travelling around much easier. There are numerous possibilities - specially for "normal" tourists - whether you want to drive yourself or go by bus. Try ie to take a look at www.travelnz.com and see what they have to offer (and be sure to check every corner of their homepage, they really have a lot!).
We hired this mobilhome from Wendekreisen. Les than a mobilhome can do of course, but it's great because you are allowed to camp out as long as you leave nature the way you found it.
The only disadvantage by travelling this way is that you won't make contact with all the friendly and helpfull people that you would find at camping grounds and backpackers places. I'm not saying that it has to be a problem, but keep it in mind.
Backpackers places are cheap accomodation, and you'll find a unique atmosphere and obligingness. Don't do yourself out of his (and furthermore you will get a lot of insight and good advice for free).

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By the way they drive in the left side of the road, but you'll get used to it. Genrally speaking the traficrules are the same (just converted to driving left) with one important exception:
That you must stop/wait for ANYTHING approacing from your right is not that difficult, BUT that this also applies when you are to make a left turn at a crossroad and there is an oncomming car heading the same way is completely illogical.
Take a look at the sketch. The red car must wait for the white car to pass.

 

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The New Zealand AA is affiliated with FDM in Denmark, so if you hold an FDM membership you basically have the right to the same services form AA as you have from FDM. Just remember to bring your FDM membership card with you.
Otherwise you should seriously consider buying a ½year membership of AA. Check AAs homepage for furhter information.
Alle serious car-rental companies offer AA 24 h roadassistance, (and if they don't - go find another company!) but it is nice to have the right to their legal (and other) advice as well.
AA publish touring maps covering all of New Zealand and several handbooks ie this about accomodation. They are for free and you get them at all tourist ofices and most camping grounds.
All main roads are on those maps. Use them they are fine.

 

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As mentioned earlier there is far between everything.
So be prepared that this is where you'll spend most of your time and how you'll se most of New Zealand.

 

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One-lane-bridge.
A New Zealandsk speciality, today mostly found on The South Island. In a way they symbolise the fundamental New Zealand mentality.
You have the time - you take your time - "no worries mate".

 

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A road-possum (the kiwi-name for a run down opossum).
You'll se roadkills - especially opossums - everywhere.
Opossums - in everyday language "possums" - are the greatest pest in New Zealands and the worst example of what can happen when humans interfere with nature.

Imported from Australia by the fur industry, now uncontrolled spread all over the country. DOC (DOC = Department of Conservation) estimates, that today there are more that 70 millioner opossums in New Zealand.
Opossums have no natural enemies in New Zealand and thrive in the lush forrests. They are a menace to New Zealands indigenous unique nature and endemic birds. Opossums are nocturnal, so you seldom se them in daylight. On the other hand Kiwi's se it as their civic duty to run them down anywhere and anywhen opportunity offers.

 

Fiskeri i New Zealand
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Fishing rights.
There is no governmental fishing licence in New Zealand and fishing in salt water is free.
All fresh waters are owned by the gowernment and here you need a fishing licence.
There are 2 different. One covering Taupo Fishing District (Lake Taupo and feeding rivers), another covering the rest of New Zealand.
Licence for Taupo can be bought in the local area and a weekly licence costs (in 2005) NZ$ 30.50. Licence for the rest of New Zealand for a whole year costs NZ$ 88.
It's that easy, and it's cheap, but you need to know, that what you buy is the right to fish, not the right to access the fishing water!
Through land owned by the authorities "DOC country" you have free access, but much of the country is private, so you have to get landowners permission before entering. I assume that it is unnecessesary to point out that it's common sence to pass along field boundarues and fences.
In practice Fish & Game has done the work for you and you'll se their signs everywhere showing where the landowner has permittet access to the water. Should there be no signs you must seek out the landowner and get his/her permission.
There is nothing to worry though. Most landowners will gladly grant you permission and will be thankfull that you took the trouble to ask. Many times you'll get valuable tips about the fishing in return.
Courtesy pays.

The gear.
New Zealand is flyfishing country - at least when speaking about fresh water.
You will walk long distances in trackless areas, so 4 or 5 pcs rods carried in tubes is the only right thing.
First choice is a 9' - 9½' flyrod #7 - 8 or #8 - 9 for nymphing, wetlining and salmon fishing. There is no getting around it. It simply is impossible to handle those heavy nymphs and equally big indicators with lighter rods. I will also suite lake fishing with heavy wetflies ie weighted wullybuggers and still not be to violent for the smaller wetflies. Finally it will be strong enough for the salmon fishing (as we are not talking about salmon that gets the size they do Mörrum).
Rod no. 2 is a 8½' - 9' flyrod #5 - 6 for fishing dryflies. It is typically big fish you target when dryfly fishing, not small graylings and brooktrouts like back home in Denmark, so I wouldn't recommend a ligther rod.
If you do have the room for it, bring extra rods. If your luck runs out 5 km away from your car and 200 km from the nearest tackle shop, they may save you day.
Your reels should have a propper brake and be capable of holding your line plus a good length of backing. Also here you should consider bringing a spare reel.
In general the fish are verry shy. Often you only get one shot. Therefore you should awoid lines in bright unnatural colours. A clear translucent (colourless) flyline is far and away the best. Otherwise go for light discreete greenish or bluish colours.
Shooting heads or WF lines according to your own temperament.
Tapered (forfang) is not used when nymphing, only wetlining and dryfly fishing. If you don't have it already, buy yourself a roll of fluo-carbon line 0.26 - 0.30 mm as you get there.
Flies? well - I have shown some in the respective parts. In general I'll say: buy them down there. They are cheaper (than in Denmark) and the local dealers know which flies are in season when you get there. You won't find the nymphs they use anywhere else anyway.

Please read more about the fishing, flies etc. further on.

 

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From of the coast they only do baitfishing. I can't say that you can't catch fish fly- or spinfishing, but hardly any locals do it.
Real surfcasting equipment would be the right thing to have, but you'll get far with a 9½' - 11' castingrod with casting weight between 20 and 100 gr plus a baitcasing reel with 200 m strong 0.40 - 0.45 line.
Be preparred to catch lots of small fish, but don't be surprised if a ray or a shark suddenly takes your bait.
Buy sinkers and hoks down there, you won't fnd it back home (at least not in DK).
Bait is available everywhere, bigger petrol stations often have a freezer with bait.
The typical tackle is with 2 hooks of different size and a run through sinker. As bait you use pilchards or smal mackerel. First you put the sinker on the line, then you thread the smallest hook and finally you tie the biggest hook at the end of the line. Hook the baitfish through the head with the outermost - the biggest - hook. Make a clove hitch around the tail of the baitfish with the line between the second hook and the sinker. The backmost hook should now just hang loose between the outmost hook and the hitch. The sinker slides on the line behind the baitfish.
A big nice soft swing and out goes the whole lot.

 

Auckland, Wellington
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Skytower by night.
Most overseas planes fly to and from Auckland - The City of Sails.
Auckland is the biggest town in New Zealand, and to much annoyance for the capital Wellington, Auckland is for most Kiwi's Auckland "the big smoke" = the place where things happen.
As any other big city Auckland has many sights ie is Skytower one of the places you must visit.
In return Wellington has the New Zealand Museum Te Papa Tongarewa, a place you shouldn't mis either.
And for sure there are 1000nds of other exciting places to visit, but this is not the place for enthusiastic descriptions of Aucklands and Wellingtons excellences and "what-to-do"s.
For that I can recommend a visit to www.AucklandNZ.com ans www.WellingtonNZ.com.

 

Bay of Islands
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In Russels and surroundings Bay Rod & Reel, Russels was the place where we got the best info.
It cannot be said to often: ask the locals. They know what's going on and when, and they gladly share their knowledge with you.

The "who-do-you-think-you-are" attitude doesn't exist in New Zealand and there are no secretiveness about the good places.
Having said that, you should know, that they do not always have the same approach to fishing as we have, and (saltwater) fishing from of the coast with lures or flyfishing hardly exist in New Zealand. At least we didn't find anyone who knew anything about it.
On the other hand, they have everything in control about what goes on more that 100 m from the coast.
From of the coast they only go in for baitcasting / surfcastin. Most common is fishing from boat, which - when you know why - is not hard to understand.
If you stand on the shore and a decent fish takes your bait, the chance of loosing it due to the razor sharp rocks is big. And the fish are where the rocks are, so it's useless fishing where there are no submerged rocks.

 

Heading towards a rock at Waihihi Bay.
The day before we had been driving around spotting places and found the rocks just arround the left corner looking both promising and within reach (also if the tide should come in).

 

Within the first 10 min Per has hooked something. A kahawai has taken his bait. It doesn't look as intense as it was, but he is standing with a 20 pound saltwater rod.
The reason why we brought this heavy gear was that we wanted to try shakfishing from of the coast. We never got to it though. The locals just shook their heads, they simply couldn't relate to fishing shark just for the try of it. You have snapper, john dory, trevally, kingies, kahawai etc. and big game marlin and tuna, all good tasty fish within reach. Shark is something you stay away from and wish far away. They are no good for eating, they are potentially dangerous, they eat the fish you catch before you get them on board. So why on earth should anyone ever want to waste their time fishing shark? and then just to release them again!!!!

Nevertheless I have a feeling, that maybe we did try it anyway. The first night in Oneroa Bay something just tore the line of my reel, even though I had the brake on my Ambassadeur 6501 tigthened as much as the line would hold. After approx. 100 m the underwater freighttrain ripped the line on some rocks so we never found out what that was.
I have NEVER experienced anything like it - a 20 kg Mörrumssalmon is nothing compared to this.
So maybe ... who knows?

 

Per posing with his nice big kahawai somewhere between 1½ and 2 kg.
But - as we had just begun, we were both confident that there were more where that one came from, so the fish was released after the picture was taken.
What we didn't know was that this should turn out to be the only propper catch and besides the only kahawai that day.

 

The rest of the day went catching small greedy snappers like this one. They really were a pest. They attacked the bait long before it ever reached the bottom. There must have been loads of them because they attacked like a machinegun, and if we retrieved the bait slowly a whole school of them followed all the way to the surface.
We caught some other species that we couldn't identify and Per repeated his succes from yesterday evening by catching af seaperch (this time a small one though).

 

Later that afternoon we drove back to Russels and walked along the shore to the right to some rocks, where we fished an hour's time before the tide came in and we had to withdraw.
The catch wasn't mush better there. The picture shows the biggest fish, a trevally way under half the size it should be (of course this one was released as well as the rest).

 

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The last day n Russels we booked a charterboat. Now was the time to go for kingfish, marlin and tuna!
We had good weather, no wind and blue sky. We started catching baitfish - small mackerel - and it took us about 10 min to fill the baitfish tanks.

And that was the end of our fishing luck that day.

 

In stead of catching kingfish we were quite good at catching barracouta (and ever though they look alike, they are not related to the barracuda).
Here you see Per holdning a "barra" on just about 1 meter, but that wasn't what we were looking for.
Neither was skipper Hamish, he really hated them. "They wreck my gear", which was true. With a set of teeth that makes a pike look friendly they chewed everything to pieces.

(It took quite a while to persuade him to alow us to lift one up just for taking this picture!)

 

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Past noon we sat up for marlin and tuna.
The gear is really heavy stuff.
As bait you use enormous silicone woblers like these that you drag behind the boat in the surface of the water.

 

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Rods and reels are also "a little" heavier then the normal coast fishing gear from bach home.
It didn't halp no matter what, I guess the fish had gone for a swim that day.

Fishing for the great predators is done on the edge of the continental shelf, and the fsh follows the great warm seacurrents when they start to reach down to New Zealand in december.
The high season is from middle of January until end og April / beginning of May.
Part of the story is that you don't just go out and catch a marlin! On the other hand is the chance for catching a tuna great - at least when talking about the high season.
What I'm saying is not a "fishermans excuse for no catch" but meant as consumer guidence for others planning big-game fishing.
In one way it's the most exciting fishing you'll ever get. Facing prey up to 700 kg with an average of 100 - 200 kg is enough to send shivers down your spine. On the other hand it's deadly boring - as long as you don't catch anything! Skipper does all the work, and all you have to do is watch and wait!

Prices vary from 500 - 3000 NZ$ for a boat incl. all equipment for a day. Manny boats arrange ½day trips.
Once again: ask the local tackle shop. Many boats specialize in certain species and there are great differences in the commitment of the captains. Some do it for the tourists - other for the serious anglers.

We engaged with Blue Sea Charters, "Baska Voda" and there was nothing in the matter with his engagement.

 

Lake Rotorua, The Maori Arts and Crafts Institute / Te Whakarewarewa
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Maori student on Te Wananga Whakairo Carving School at The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua. Here young Maori students are tought the old carving traditions and the culture behind.
I don't want to enter a deeper discussion about Maori (New Zealanders of polynesian origin) versus pakeha (white - mainly of european origin - New Zealanders) but just conclude that a lot is done to preserve and aknowledge the Maori culture in a wide perspective.
And certainly not for the tourists only.

 

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Nevertheless Maori culture is a great tourist attraction. Here we are welcomed by a Maori warrior before entering Te Aronui, the Maori marae = gathering place / church / community center, to see and hear traditional songs, plays and the wardance "The Haka".
A play for tourists - yes, but for Maori this is a holy ceremony, and should in decency be taken serious and with appropriate dignity.

 

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The view of a part Te Whakarewarewa, a big thermal actice area in connection with The Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, with the central Pohutu geyser ever blowing.
In front you see the characteristic New Zealand fern trees.

 

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Boiling mud from one of the many mud-pools in the area. The mud contents a lot of minerals and is said to have healing effect on skin diseases.
It's not exactly recommended to take a bath in the boiling mud though.

 

Lake Rotorua, fishing
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O'Keefes, Rotorua
Therer are more tackle shops in Rotorua, but O'Keefes is with no comparison the place where you get the best and most competent advice.
Listen and learn, they know what they are talking about!

Here is a link to one of the best internet sites about fishing in Rotorua and it's surroundings.

 

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A selection af flies for Lake Rotorua
Top: a selection of Wully-buggers in black / brown / olive, weighted and not weighted.
Middle: 3 local olivegreen + 1 grey zonkerfly plus a fly with phosphoresent body (and yellow eyes) for the night- and evening fishing.
Below them: Hamills Killer and
bottom: 2 variations of Grey Ghost.
Hooksizes: 10 - 8 - 6, small flies to Lake Rotorua, bigger flies for the surrounding lakes.

 

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Getting ready for fishing from our bellyboats in Lake Okareka just south of Lake Rotorua. We had great expectations to this kind of fishing, but found out why it is not common in NZ.
Fishing in lakes is concentrated around the rivermouths, and like in many other countries, fishing from bellyboat is equalled fishing from boat, which means you have to respect the 300 m no-fishing zone around the rivermouths.
All serious lake fishermen have as the greatest matter of course their own boat - with all the conveniences it implies.
So if any of you think about bringing bellyboats to NZ - forget it!

 

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Hamurana Stream just before the outlet on the north side of Lake Rotorua. Gin-clear water. You cannot see it, but the water in the middle of the stream is 3 - 4 m deep. We spotted a couple of rainbows but had no chance to fish at them.

 

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Flyfishing for rainbows in Lake Rotorua just outside the mouth of Hamurana Stream.
We used small olivegreen imitations of smelt, which is the preferred prey for the rainbows and brownies in the lake. In the evening a local fly pattern with phosphorescent body, a wing of peacock herl and a red tail was the absolute favourite.

 

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A tiny 35 cm rainbow from Lake Rororua.
Dusk was the "hot" time of the day. During the day we had the rivermouth to ourselves, but as daylight faded the locals came down jst to check out the water. This one was taken on the fly with the phosphorescent body.

 

Lake Taupo, Tongariro River

After Rotorua we headed further south to Tongariro River. I suppose the Tongariro River is the best known river on The North Island. It feeds Lake Taupo in the south-east corner and has a tremendous rise of rainbows (but the high season is (of course) not November - December but July - August).
Lake Taupo and the rivers feeding it is the only region in NZ that is not covered by the general freshwater fishing licence. For further info please visit DOC's homepage about The Taupo Fishery.
Tongariro River runs close by the city of Turangi where the tackle & outdoor shop Sporting Life Turangi is situated.
The shop has a homepage, that is updated daily with info about fishing, weather and waterconditions. These guys know literally everything you'll ever need to know about the fishing there.
In Turangi you'll also find the Tongariro National Trout Centre. Here is a good oportunity to gain insight into the strange world that the fish live in - and it's for kids too!

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Flies etc. for Tongariro River.
Top left: Strike indikator.
For inscrutable reasons anything else than yarn is banned as strike indicator, så there are no other options. Homemade of polypropylene yarn (which in itself is water repellent) or like this pre-made. Before use you impregnated the strike indicator with siliconespray.
No tapered tippets here. The tippet is made of the best and most invisible 0.26 to 0.30 monofile line you can get. Fluo-carbon is far and away the best.
You always fish with 2 nymphs. A whacking great heavy one as sink and a non-weighted nymph og eggfly as the primary fishing fly.
The rig is made as follows: Tie 1½ - 2 rod-length of fluo-carbon line as tippet to the end of your flyline. Fasten the strike indicator in the joint (if you use loops and the pre-made strike indicator this is very easy). Tie the heavy nymph to the end of the tippet. Tie a new length (35 - 50 cm depending on your skills) of fluo-carbon line to the bend of the heavy nympf. Finally tie the non-weighted fly to the end of this line. The distance between the 2 flies should be 20 - 25 cm.
We hired a quide Ian Jenkins for 3 hours to show us around and to teach us the basics of fishing the Tongariro River. It really was worth the money, he is a pro. Just casting these heavy nymphs and big indicators requires an entirely different casting technique.  

By the way we made the observation that the rainbows took the eggfly, the brownies took the nymph - with no exceptions!

 

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50 cm rainbow caught nymphing "the Tongariro way" in Breakfast Pool in the Tongariro River.

 

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This picture tells better than words how important fishing is to Turangi.

 

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The view to Breakfast Pool in Tongariro River with Major Jones Swing Bridge in the back.
It was just in front of the poplar trees on the right bank, that the rainbow above was caught.

 

Tongariro crossing

Having said Turangi and Tongariro, then you have also said Tongariro Crossing.
Just south of Lake Taupo is the Tongariro National Park including the mountains Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe og Mt. Ruapehu.
You simply have to walk the Tongariro Crossing, don't cheat yourself for this experience!!
It's a 17 km walk, that anyone in good helth can do - in summer at least. It'l take you 7 to 8 hours and there are 3 steep ascents, the rest is a stroll.
The highest point is the Red Crater with 1866 m. You can make a detour (+ 2 til 3 timer) to the top of Mt. Ngauruhoe (2287 m), but in return that part is not for wimps and requires that you are physically fit.

 

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Mangatepopo Valey to Soda Springs ~ 2 hours.
You begin in about 1100 m. This first part of the Tongariro Crossing passes through the flat terrain of the Mangatepopo Valey. This is the view into the valey just past Mangatepopo Hut and with Mt. Tongariro in the back.
The morning mist is still in the air and the shadow is from the promontory of Mt. Ngauruhoe.

 

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Halfway through the Mangatepopo Valey, where a stream of lava once stopped you have the first easy ascent (not one of the 3 steep ones). Hereafter the valey changes. Distinctly more rough and it gets harder for the vegetation to hold on. We are now just about 1300 m.
The picture is looking back towards the promontory of Mt. Ngauruhoe i baggrunden. You nearly anytime expect a horde of orc to come rushing against you.
Manatepopo Valey ends at Soda Springs (20 min detour) in about 1400 m at the foot of Devils Staircase.

 

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Devils Staircase ~ 45 min.
You know why it's called Devils Staircase when you like here stands on top of it and look back down into the valey. This is the steepest ascent (and only climb) of the standard walk. 300 m ascent through rugged lava with a gradient between 45 og 60 º.

 

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For the tough there is a detour to the top of Mt Ngauruhoe. Allow at least an extra 2 hours for this.
The picture is taken halfway up in about 2000 m looking towards Mt. Tongariro (1967 m) and the South Crater.

South Crater to Red Crater ~ 1 hour.
The walk through the South Crater is completely flat. From here you start ascent to the Red Crater, the highest point of the standard walk. This is also the second hardest ascent of the walk. The grade is nowhere more than 45 º, but it can be slippery. The reward is a breathtaking view, where you in clear weather can see all the way across The North Island from Hawkes bay in the east to Mt. Taranaki in the west.

 

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If you turn south and weather permits, you have the most spectacular view of the walk across the South Crater and with the majestic Mt. Ngauruhoe rising against the blye sky.
Incidentally Mt Ngauruhoe was used as Mt. Doom in Peter Jacksons filming of professor J. R. R. Tolkiens masterpiece "The Lord Of The Rings", and Frodo og Sam's climb up the mountain was filmed on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu 15 km south of Mt. Ngauruhoe.

 

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To the east is the Red Crater itself with the fantastic og characteristic red and black colours. The solidified magma from the walls of an eruption went is harder than the surrounding rock and stands back after the rock has been eroded.

 

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To the southeast: the view through Outere Valey. You can easily see the lavaflow from an earlier eruption.

 

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Two close-ups of the slopes of the crater.
A reminder that the area in fact is an active volcano. The vapour you see against the slopes is not clouds, but sulphurous steam evaporating through the slopes.

 

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Looking north-northwest: the view of a corner of the Central Crater against Te wai-whakaiata-o-te Rangihiroa (Maori and means Rangihiroa's Mirror) or (in English) Blue Lake, situated in the North Crater and with Mt. Rotopaunga in the back. The lake is "tapu" = holy to the Maori.
The picture also shows how rapidly the weather may change.

 

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The author in front of the Emerald Lakes.
Due north lies Ngarotopounamu or Emerald Lakes. Unfortunately this picture is taken against the light and does less than justice to the lakes. It's half-way through the walk and now is the time to take a rest and enjoy the lunchpack and the views.
At the same time you can get your bum warm. You won't sit long before you can feel the warmth from the volcano, and if you dig a hollow, you feel the heat immediately.

 

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Red Crater / Emerald Lakes to Ketetahi Hut ~ 2 hours.
After the descent to the Central Crater (about 1700 m) commes the third and last ascent up to the Blue Lake, in just about 1800 m.
From there you walk round the North Crater and through the ravine between Mt. Tongariro og Mt. Rotopaunga where you meet this magnificient view with Lake Rotoaira and the mountain range Mt. Kakaramea / Mt. Tihia in the back.

 

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Further ahead in the midst of the beautiful alpine landscape on the northern slopes of Mt. Tongariro lies the last hut on the walk the Ketetahi Hut.
From here it's downhill all the way.

 

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Ketetahi Hut to the pick-up parking area ~ 2 hours.
After Ketetahi Hut the walk passed through a peace of private land where the Ketetahi Springs are. The Ketetahi Springs is a sulphur stinking reminder of us walking on volcanos. The stream from the springs - Manga-a-te-tipua Stream or to be completely correct one of the feeding brooklets - is poisonous, full of ie sulphoric acid, boric acid, ammonia and other nice stuf as magnesium, calcium and iron compounds.
The water (or whatever you'd like to call it) in the brooklet is hot up to somewhere between 75 og 90 ºC.
The walk ends with a loooooong walk through native bush, where you  - except in 2 places, where you cross a couple of old congealed lavastreams from an ancient eruption from Te Maari - all the way slowly descents. On several occasions the path follows the Manga-a-te-tipua Stream.

 

Christchurch, Rakaia River
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Cathedral Square in Christshurch on a windy summers day with the cathedral and Neil Dawsons beautiful sculpture Chalice.
Chalice is 18 m high and was erected for the celebration of the new millennium and the 150 years jubilee for the foundation of Christchurch and Cantebury.

 

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Rakaia River with the Southern Alps in the background.
About 1 hours drive south of Christchurch the State Highway 1 crosses Rakaia River.
The roadbridge across the river is 1,8 km long and was upon opening in 1939 the longest roadbridge on the southern hemisphere.
The city - and I think that you'd have to be a kiwi to call it a city - of Rakaia is a sleepy small town with less than 1000 inhabitants.

Rakaia River is one of the largest - if not the largest - salmon holding rivers running east, and due to the salmonfishing Rakaia has named itself "The Salmon Capital of New Zealand". Comming from the north there is a camping ground on the left just across the bridge. They sell tackle and know what is happening and where in the river.
The season is from October to April with January - February as the ultimative high season.

 

Buller River and tributaries
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Dryflies
Most kiwi only fish with nymphs. In gin-clear waters of course and only for sighted fish.
If the water had the least colour to it, the standard comment is: "fishin' 's no good today mate, a waste of time".
On the lakes - and of course only directly in the rivermouths (otherwise it's trolling or nymphing from anchored boat over the weedbeds) - they fish with wetflies. But they don't fancy it.
The only alternative is dryflies when there is a hatch of insects or when ie it's season for the green beetle (who is a poor flyer) being blown or drops into the water.
So it's a good idea to bring a box of dryflies. Good and reliable patterns are ie: Royal Wullf, Green Humpy, Kakahi Queen, Twilight Beauty, Adams.

 

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Buller River is one of the mightiest rivers on The South Island. Starting halfway between Blenheim and Westport at the spring of Lake Rotoiti close to St. Arnaud and is followed by State Highway 6 westwards to Westport.
For anglers the most interesting part is it's feeding rivers and the main stream from St. Arnaud to 11 km past Murchinson, where SH65 branches towards Christchurch.
There are fishingspots enough for a whole life in Buller River and tributaries and without help you're lost.

Fortunately Fish & Games is there to help.

 

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Maruia River.
Runs from Murchinson to Springs Junction and several places along SH65 there is good access to the river. Half-way is Maruia Falls formed by an earthquake 1929. Fish cannot pass the Maruia Falls, newertheless the river holds a good population of brownies both up- and downstream of the falls.
We camped on the riverbed about 17 km before Springs Junction and fished the following morning on a strikingly beautiful part of the river. We didn't catch anything, but from the bridge across the river we saw several really big brownies.

 

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Owen River, a somewhat smaller tributary to Buller River about 18 km upstream from Murchinson.
Owen River is absolutely to be recommended, but about 1 km up the river there is a fishing lodge, så I assume that the fishing preasure in the river is relatively high.
Thats why we went up the river as long as we could get. Here we are at the upper end of Owen River in one of the few places, with very easy access to the river.

 

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Stalking trout in Owen River.
Owen River is dreamland, but not easy on the upper part, where it runs in a gorge.
Owen River is gin-klar and ideal for spotting trout as the trees along the river gives shadow and reduce the reflections of light in the surface of the water.

 

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Low morning skies in the mountains.
The weather changes quickly in the mountains and it can get freezing cold at night.
Morning atmonphere from the upper part of Buller River.

 

Lake Wanaka
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A selection of flies for Lake Wanaka.
Again it is nymphs. In Wanaka Sports Centre the place for local fishing-info they told us, that an important food-basis is snails, and that you in general will catch fish on olive-coloured dragonfly nymphs plus the universalnymphs GRHE and Hare-and-copper.
The flies on the picture is: Left row from top: Dark Lord, Hare-and-copper Gold Bead, Zug Bug (usable a snail imitation) and Copper Johnny Copper Bead. Right row: Dragonfly Olive, Pheasants Tail Copper Thorax, Hares Ear, Hare-and-copper.
To be fished the standard NZ way: big weighted nymph in front followed by a smaller non-weighted nymph. When fishing in a lake you use no indicator and retrieve the flies as you would do fishing a wet fly.

We found out that the locals do not wade in the water at all, they just walk and fish from the shore. In Paddock Bay where we were fishing they don't use any wading gear at all.
Brown trout has a territory that they patrol and they come all the way in to shallow water (10 - 20 cm of depth).
The locals do not fish for rainbows. Why? They would then have to wade in the water which would scare away the brownies!

Besides that this would mean flyfishing for fish that you don't see, and that's definitely not for kiwis!
Sight-fishing for brownies requires sunshine and little to no wind. The sunshine was sporadic and little wind was only in moments.
Besides that we were used to fishing blind, so we did wade in the water, albeit we did it careful.

 

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And it did pay off.
Per with his rod flexing, a rainbow has taken the nymph.
We waded in ankle- to kneedeep water and fished over scattered weedbeds about 1 meter's depth. That's where we found the rainbows.
The rainbows followed the flies just to the edge of the weedbeds before taking. Retrieve should be done in quite fresh speed, so it was certainly not snails that the flies imitated.

 

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A shiny 45 cm rainbow fresh out of Paddock Bay.

 

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A nice 2 kg 55 cm brownie from Paddock Bay.
I had just lost a hot-tempered rainbow and had gone ashore to give the water a couple of minutes peace and to change my flies and tippet.
What you cannot see on the picture is, that it was quite windy and even though the water was crystal clear, it was impossible for us to spot the fish.
As I started again, I began catching from the shoreline. This one stood on less than ½ m of water and took the fly on my third cast on the way out (once again - listen to the locals!).

 

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Per was really lucky that day.
Brown Trout 50 cm.

 

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Paddock Bay with Harris Mountains in the back.
It doesn't get more beautiful.

 

Queenstown
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The Remarkables, Queenstown.
The mountains stand as a permanent scenary behind Queenstown, and there is something breathtaking about them. For fans of Tolkien it's worth noticing that The Remarkables are used at the Misty Mountains in the introduction to part 2 of the trilogy "The Lord Of The Rings" "The Two Towers", where the camera pans over the mountains and zoom down to Gandalfs battle against the balrog in Khazad Dûm.
New Zealand is Middle Earth, not just in Peter Jacksons fabulous filming of professor J. R. R. Tolkiens masterpiece "The Lord Of The Rings" but also in reality. Much af the films certainly are made digitally, but the landscapes and the inspiration exists live in New Zealand. You can only understand this once you've been there. Have a taste on the internet here, here, here or here.

 

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Embrace the fear
Queenstown is the place for extreme sports.
Parachuting, hanggliding, paragliding, parasailing, bungyjump, 4WD off-road trips of all kind, diving, fly-by-wire, white-water rafting and -surfing, golddigging, skiing and and and - the list seems endless.
Find it all on the 2 homepages of Queenstowns here og here. Per took the jump from 12.000 feet - 45 sec. free fall - a kick a... experience. Book at NZone. They jump in Rotorua and in Queenstown; choose Queenstown, that's number one.

 

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Kawarau Bridge, 43 m bungyjump with A. J. Hackett.
The place where it all started.

 

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Been there - done that!
You just have to try it! Yes - it will cost you some efford to do the jump. But afterwards you can walk on water! It really does something to you.

 

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You can fish in Queenstown too.
Lake Wakatipu holds both rainbow trout and salmon, and there are many interesting feeding rivers and streams. In the northern end at Glenorchy, Dart River runs into Lake Wakatipu, and the rivermouth is famous for it's excellent fishing. Fishing is said to be best at Kinloch Station at the end of 19 km gravelroad.
We went there in pouring rain and had an afternoons exciting fishing, where we could see the fish taking nymphs just below the surface of the gin-clear water. We had he fish nibbeling, but not actually taking our flies.
A few days later we had better luck fishing at the mouth of Wye Creek on the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu where the rainbows - and this is how they looked - followed the lure all the way in to about 5 - 10 cm of water.
As said so often before: ask the locals, the fishing varies depending of the weather and the season.

 

Ahuriri River, Tekapo Canal, Temuka River
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45 cm of shining steel beauty from the Ahuriri River.
From Queenstown we headed nothe to the Tekapo Canal. On the way we stopped just north of Omarama, where the Ahuriri River crosses State Highway 8. On the left hand side there is a parking ground and you can fish just by the parking ground. We sneaked up the bank and saw a god fish seek shelter under a shrub. In the third cast it took the eggnymph.
Not the biggest, but definitely the most beautiful fish of the entire trip - this is how a rainbow should look.

 

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The salmon farm in the Tekapo-Pukaki Canal.
Here they on a yearly basis rise 120 tons of king salmon (chinook salmon).
Due to that there is a population of runaway chinooks, which far exceeds the amount of natural food in the canal. They survive on the excess food from the farm, and the fishing mainly takes place just downstream of the farm.

The fishing is famous because the fish reach considerable sizes (above 10 kg). Since the canal is human made, fishing with natural bait is allowed, and baitfishing with worm is the only kind of fishing practiced by the locals.
It's effective - no question asked, within one afternoon 2 locals caught at least 5 fish.
If you ask me it's ridiculous. Put-and-take fishing in a dead straight canal with no variation whatsoever - and in NZ where there is so much sublime natural fishing water.

 

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A 60 cm 2.3 kg king salmon from Pukaki Canal.
This is how they look.

 

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Our last stop was at the lower end of Temuka River. Here the section underneath the SH1 roadbridge and downstream to the railwaybridge is interesting and has easy access.
You can drive all the way down to the river that branches into several streams.
It had rained the day before, so the water was coloured. Nevertheless we had contact with 3 nice fish within 3 hours of fishing.

There are some big holes and combined with the coloured water this is yummy for a spinning fishing dane.
Here Per poses with a 60 cm brightly coloured brownie from Temuka River.

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