© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

Land and Sea Adventures at d’Urville Island

© NZPocketGuide.com

86 Days on the Road

If we were amazed to see a weka in the wild just the other day when we started our hike in Okiwi Bay the other day, that was nothing compared to what we wake up to today! The flightless native New Zealand birds are running around like crazy outside our cabin here on d’Urville Island.

While Laura is half sleeping and half working, Robin decides to go on an early morning hike to chase the sounds of birds and find a waterfall that has been enticing him since we arrived yesterday. By the end of the morning, he comes back to the cabin with stories of being closer to a tui than he has ever been before and how the weka were the ones chasing him!

A bitchin’ breakfast

Robin’s worked up enough appetite for a cooked breakfast with our hosts, Viginia and Ash. After that mound of food and barista-style coffees, we can barely move. Ash tells us there is an awesome hike behind the d’Urville Island Wilderness Resort which brings you to views on top of the island, but when we decide we can’t stand, he does offer an alternative. The 4 wheel drive.

Hilarity in the form of a vehicle

We’re pretty used to these vehicles now, whether it’s in the form of a Gator in Tarangakau or a family’s pickup truck on 4×4 training tracks in Makoura, but maybe we were not prepared for this. When you do an “unofficial” tour on d’Urville Island, Ash brings out a Jeep which is on its last legs. The windscreen is cracked, the wing-mirrors don’t exist, there’s a hole cut out in the roof so they can shoot deer from it… All in all, this Jeep would not pass a WOF (Warrant of Fitness). But who needs WOFs on d’Urville Island?! Let’s go!

The craziest 4×4 drive yet!

Again, we are always surprised about what these vehicles can do – but this time we are going at a faster speed! Laura’s bouncing around in the backseat, laughing like a maniac (which you have to be to enjoy this sort of thing), while Robin is just holding on for dear life. Ash, who used to race cars and often likes to catch some air when by himself, claims he is going much slower than usual. But he has his own fun, driving through bushes on Robin’s side of the car so Robin sh*ts himself. Even if we weren’t to stuffed to stand right now, we couldn’t have missed this crazy ride up the mountain!

d’Urville Island views

And here we are… The view! We can see all of one side of d’Urville Island, which then extends behind us. We see the South Island, and on a clearer day than today, we would have been able to see Wellington on the North Island.

The scenery on the way back down the mountain is pretty exceptional too, looking down onto the wilderness resort from a height.

Relaxing d’Urville style

Back at the resort, Robin rolls out of the Jeep in relief. We now have some time to relax, whether it’s on the jetty or sat by the fire outside. Either way, it’s peaceful, it’s serene, we love it.

After a lunch of seafood chowder and hot chips in the sun, Ash is getting the fishing boat together as we prepare to leave the island. Nooooo, we don’t want to leave! But… We want to go fishing… So conflicted!

On the edge of d’Urville Island

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Seal spotting!

Before casting lines and taking names, we make a stop at a small island between d’Urville Island and French Pass on the South Island. There’s a small seal colony sunbathing! Wah, seals are so cute! They barely care that we are there, as they look at us, roll over, and carry on sleeping. There’s even a seal wedging itself between two rocks while talking to another seal, for whatever reason.

A man and his land

At French Pass, we pick up a guy who has driven from Christchurch to have a look at some land on d’Urville Island that he wants to build on. Ash is giving him a ride over to the island, but the thing is, this guy doesn’t really seem to know where the land is. We release him into the d’Urville wilderness, perhaps being the last time we see him…

Laura’s battle with barracudas

Let’s go fishing! Since Laura is an experienced fisherlady now, she casts her line and gets the two fish limit she can get (due to the regulations of the area to keep fish populations high, see Fishing in New Zealand for details). While reeling the second fish up, a barracuda leaps out of the water to pinch the catch off Laura’s line! We’ve also attracted some cheeky shag birds too.

Robin’s biggest catch of the day

Robin is giving fishing a try for the first time. Virginia gives him a quick lesson, and he catches the biggest catch of the day… Then he struggles for half an hour trying to get his second one…

Riding the whirlpools

Ash is keen to show us one more thing before we leave the boat at French Pass. There is a body of sea that squeezes in a narrow gap between the South Island and d’Urville Island. With the changing tides, this creates whirlpools and rapids, the stuff you see in rivers! Not the middle of the sea! As our boat slowly turns around in whirlpool after whirlpool, we feel like we’re in Pirates of the Caribbean! We’re half expecting the kraken to appear at any minute.

The journey back down French Pass Road

We have had so many new and crazy experiences with the d’Urville Island team even in just one night. Now, all that’s left to do is to drive the beautiful French Pass road again with Virginia. We’re staring at the dreamy views, that we stopped at so often yesterday, as the sun is setting. However, it’s 5pm, both of us are feeling pretty knackered, and we’re meant to be driving to Nelson tonight.

Responsible decisions

By the time we get back to Okiwi Bay Holiday Park, it’s 6pm and we still have 1h30mins drive up winding roads in the dark to Nelson with a driver who can barely keep his eyes open. Yep, that’s not happening! It would be crazy and pretty dangerous to start that journey in this situation. We stay one more night with Ian and Pam at the Okiwi Bay Holiday Park. Pam clearly knew this would happen as she has made extra casserole for us!

Nelson is our destination tomorrow! Right after we get some sleeeeeppppp…….

On the main highway of the island!

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