South Island Road Trip

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    Posted: 04 Nov 2022 at 5:57pm
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Hey guys, not sure if this is the right area in the forum for this but I'm sure smudge can relocate if need be.

Have not been as active as usual on here recently, work and life has meant my ocean time has suffered a hit. Decided to take 2 and a half weeks and go explore the South Island and wow. Would highly recommend fellow North islanders if you haven't had the opportunity to go see what the South has on offer I would say go do it!

Some of you know, I am a twin. For our 27th Birthday I decided id go see the South Island with my sister (probably the last time we go on holiday with each other we live different lives). Just wrapped up 2 weeks down south, we packed all our junk into the back of the ute and set sails, rocked and rolled our way over from the North island to the South island in a moderate 3m swell. I got really excited when fellow passengers started to turn green and puke their guts out. Thought to myself this it. This could be the first time i've been sea sick. Atlas. No luck. Still not lucky enough to experience sea sickness.

Cracked on for the first night to be at Lake Tennyson, had full intentions of going through Molesworth station to get there. Doc were operating and doing some aerial dropping. Ended up going through Rainbow road and for $60 it was incredible! some amazing country, the fly fishing guys down south are extremely lucky. Absolutely stunning. Was blowing a gail and we had the lake to ourselves at night.


Woke up the following day and started to mosey our way out along the 30km stretch of gravel road. Ute was kicking out on every corner and I couldn't for the life of me work out why, thought this has to be the loosest gravel road in the country until I realised had accidentally bumped the Rear diff lock on.. That solved that one. Next stop Haast! A blimey what a wet n wild night that one was! (and not in the good way, with my sister remember guys)


Quickly learnt that stubbies on the west coast in the south island don't make you a man. I am still scratching like a crackheadd with the mosquito / sandfly bites... Woke up and cracked on down to Jackson River. Was starting to get pretty ripe so had a hot shower.. Had a nice warm 36 degrees coming out of the portable hot water system (My guestimate). Best shower I've ever had.. Paradise and cleanliness. Too good.


Fast forward a couple of days, punched down to Nevis Valley. Reading all about the history and seeing how they had their own little establishment in the middle of no where was fascinating. Found a cute little spot just off the main track to spend the night, was a tropical -4 over night. My sister enjoys taking some photos. She decided to give astrophotography a crack.
Some interesting photos, but I was rather happy I stayed in my warm sleeping bag


Got up at 6am, everything was frozen, it was a bit chilly. Headed on out at 7am after plucking up the courage to leave the warm comfort of the sleeping bag. A couple of the water sections on the road did pop up over the bonnet but nothing major, fair amount of the road had been washed out, Diff lock and 4Lo made climbing up the banks possible. I think open diff vehicles would have had to turn around.

Went on through to Skippers Canyon, absoutely incredible. I have a lot of videos but not a lot of photos. This was the highlight of my trip. Reading about the gold rush. Seeing the School and hotel with the history still locked away inside etc. Awesome stuff. The last main bridge is currently under repairs and the guys working on that... hat goes off to them. My height radar says no!

Next highlight was spending a night at the bottom of the South at Purakaunui Bay. 
We arrived fairly early around 9am ish and had plenty of time to kill. Watched the seals come and go on the beach. The DOC lady for the Catlins area was incredible cool to talk with and does a wonderful job at keeping the facilities clean. Asked her about the campfire situation, she had no issues with them provided they are safe and reasonable. Picked up a bag of rubbish around the area as I was disgusted with the state of the place left by others. Knabbed the best spot for the night which later on turned out to be a mistake (long walk to the ****ter). Made some minor adjustments to the fire pit from previous people and sat down and enjoyed the evening, listening to the waves roll in and having a few yarns.




From here we went to the Touristy spots, woopity doo. False representation of NZ, tourists and just snobby folks around the Queenstown area. Go figure (my opinion). 

Skip forward to Mt Cook, incredible. Spent 2 nights in the camp ground there. No complaints just the what seems to be usual for the south island trend of rabbit issue. Walked to Hooker Valley. Played the how many Kiwis to Tourist ratio. Said hello to every group there and back. Only 2 kiwis rest were tourists which I found interesting. 

Went and checked out the '4WD' track (2wd was no issue at all) at the tasman glacier which has had a small washout.. you can go 2km and come to a rather large drop off. Used to go to a hut which is now tramping / chopper in country only however still incredible!





Now unfortunately making our way to Lake Tekapo after parking up to grab a pie for lunch. The Dmax decided to throw up a check engine light. No dramas. Had a poke around and figured I'll make my way to the branch I work for in Hamilton in Christchurch. Scanned the engine light. MAF sensor or faulty ECM. Cleared the code decided to head up to Picton and cut the trip short. Ute was starting to suffer some power issues and I knew the turbo had decided to pack a sad. Picton parked up at the ferry terminal. Turned the ute off. Got tickets for the ferry (3 days earlier than planned) and check engine light back on.

After a little bit of poking around in the engine bay, spotted the issue. Seals on the turbo are cooked, oil is going through the intercooler and spewing a bit into the intake. Hence the MAF sensor playing up. No worries though 500mls of oil is all that was required, made it back to Hamilton. Isuzu dealer has confirmed turbos stuffed. Awaiting to hear regarding warranty. (Has already been replaced 24,000kms ago with the revised turbo as turbo failure on the 2016-2019 built Dmax is common)

Still have 3 days left of leave, not sure what to do with my self now! Had an absolute wonderful time, bloody glad I dont have to try live out of the ute for a while. The fridge kept playing up on the trip also. Back half was frozen front half at about 4degrees, hard to slice frozen block of cheese...

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote JustAnotherSpearo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2022 at 5:59pm
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Forgot the part where I decided it was rude to not swim at the blue pools, the tourists thought I was mental for stripping off into the undies and going in for a dip! Had icy shards in the water, reminded me of swimming through that weird jelly fish stuff that floats on the surface of the water every now and then. Good times!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Fish Addict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2022 at 6:52pm
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Great report and pics Thumbs Up
The South Island is a wonderful place.  I did a circuit about 6 years ago with the missus.  We both want to do it again.
Thanks for sharing.
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This is so cool. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2022 at 7:44pm
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Wow, best report I've seen in ages J.A.S. The SI is so cool eh! Pity about the ute, I really rate the Isuzu, but yeah stuff happens. Great to hear from you.
Best gurnard fisherman in my street
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Great read thanks for sharing that. Definitely another SI trip in the to do list. 
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The next one I think will have to be a boys trip that involves taking rifles and dive gear I reckon.. Would also recommend not doing it when fuel prices are at an all time high.. around Haast was $2.93 for diesel and I whimpered a little bit squeezing the pump trigger.

I think building a off road styled trailer or having a off road camper for my use would help a lot, especially having something you can sort of unhook and leave to come back to. The unpacking and repacking the tray perfectly to fit everything is wasn't super fun in the rain
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Yep - SI is awesome.
I know what you mean about small space , unpacking etc. I have travelled to more countries than I can count. Drove a Kombi from London to NZ basically, lived in it for 2 yrs. Seen a lot of places. But the SI takes the cake, and the biscuit. And on our doorstep. Lived there for a yr, travelled a lot of it and done a camper trip around it. But worth doing again. And again. Planning one for next yr.
Great report to remind us of what we have on the doorstep. No spearing in Lake Tennyson tho :-(
Alan
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My two HB (and Vtu) fisho mates have been planning a SI trip for last 3-4 yrs. The more beers we have, the longer and more complicated it gets. But the plan is to tow 1-2 boats south, maybe fish Wgtn, weather permitting, kaikoura area, then down to Milford. Well, that the plan. So far it has only got as far as opening beer. Who knows?
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Alan, grab a few more beers and sit down with the fellas make it happen I reckon! Milford was an experience for me. Drove in the pouring rain and the mountains were essentially crying with all the waterfalls. 

Deer Flat was my pick if we were to stay a night however with no reception the DOC guy was old school and everything had to be booked and locked and loaded before arrival even with with a DOC camp pass. So spent the night in Te Anau Top 10 instead. (fair play is stated on the website) The shower pressure there was so impressive! Couldnt have it on full blast was like a waterblaster. 

Taking a boat down or two would be a dream, the roads down there are in a much better state than the North Island too.
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You looked really well set up for your trip.
Lot of planning gone in to that. Thats where we fall down right now. Don't get past the beer part.
Yes - need to make it happen. Will get on to it.
Good report and pics.
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Good stuff JAS. Cut and paste to NZHS, they love that stuff and you might get some offers of hunting or a place to stay on your next road trip. If you could get a kayak on that truck somehow that would open up a lot of fishing/diving opportunities. What do you think of roof top tents?
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awesome report, thank you! Enjoyed reading this with my morning coffee.
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Originally posted by MB MB wrote:

Good stuff JAS. Cut and paste to NZHS, they love that stuff and you might get some offers of hunting or a place to stay on your next road trip. If you could get a kayak on that truck somehow that would open up a lot of fishing/diving opportunities. What do you think of roof top tents?

Would never go back to a swag after the roof top tent, especially in the South Island for these reasons. Quicker to set up, is up in 45seconds. Little bit slower to pack away being a soft shell however still quicker than a swag. Its water tight, little noisy in gail force winds but to be expected.. The mattresses are extremely comfortable. I had 2 sleeping bags, 3 pillows, 2 duvets left in the tent the whole trip. 

If you ever want to give it a crack MB let me knoe and you can borrow it anytime
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Originally posted by Alan L Alan L wrote:

You looked really well set up for your trip.
Lot of planning gone in to that. Thats where we fall down right now. Don't get past the beer part.
Yes - need to make it happen. Will get on to it.
Good report and pics.
Alan

The changes I would make if I could roll back time would be a larger inverter the 350W is fine for laptops and charging / fridge but I think 2000W for a toastie sammie maker and a air fryer would open up a world of options.
My second deep cycle battery is shoved under the bonnet and only 75AH. In hindsight given how much this ute has gobbled of my money now, I would have gone with a canopy and put a 200AH battery in the canopy along with a bigger inverter. 

All of my wishes can be solved with a well setup offroad camper though. Would love to do a trip with my parents before they are unable to at some point. Food for thought
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Originally posted by JustAnotherSpearo JustAnotherSpearo wrote:

Would never go back to a swag after the roof top tent, especially in the South Island for these reasons. Quicker to set up, is up in 45seconds. Little bit slower to pack away being a soft shell however still quicker than a swag. Its water tight, little noisy in gail force winds but to be expected.. The mattresses are extremely comfortable. I had 2 sleeping bags, 3 pillows, 2 duvets left in the tent the whole trip. 

If you ever want to give it a crack MB let me knoe and you can borrow it anytime


Thanks mate, that's cool. I'm so over regular tents. Ideally would get a campervan as we have the boy, so we won't be doing anything too adventurous, but they are seriously expensive. A rooftop tent is a consideration. What brand is it?
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Excellent reading thanks for taking the time and effort to create your story
You can never have enough fishing tackle
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Nice report JAS. Yep South Island is just stunning ....Thankyou for posting. Did it on a motorcycle years ago. You haven't lived until you take a  west coast wood Pidgeon in the chest at 120kmh!
It feels like a totally different country down there aye.
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MB, after a long time doing homework, I went with Feldon Shelter. They are a bit more expensive than other options but the build quality is considerably better from what I saw. All parts are alloy or marine grade stainless fittings. Which given I do mainly camping next to beaches etc appeals somewhat. The only battle is condensation which I just open all the windows up and sleep with a beanie on with the colder nights which solves the issue.
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Originally posted by Schampy Schampy wrote:

You haven't lived until you take a  west coast wood Pidgeon in the chest at 120kmh!
Did it taste any good?
Alan
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