© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

Making Our Way to 100% Pure New Zealand Wilderness

© NZPocketGuide.com

85 Days on the Road

Ian and Pam from the Okiwi Bay Holiday Park have a surprise for us this morning, (other than with a delicious breakfast). It looks like we’re going to have a morning paddle in the bay!

Our Okiwi Bay hosts have organised some kayak rentals, so we are meeting Helen down at the beach who gives us both a fishing kayak each. We’ll be fishing for pictures and videos more than fish, so the extra space to put our equipment is pretty handy.

Renting a kayak with Helen is as easy as just asking at the Okiwi Bay Holiday Park/Shop and they organise Helen to drop some kayaks off at the beach. When we say we’ll be done in two hours, Helen asks us to just leave the kayaks on the beach and she’ll come pick them up.

Kayaking in Okiwi Bay

The bay is still as a statue. The water is clear with a hint of turquoise and there is no sign of life other than a few birds and one fishing boat unloading. It’s so quiet and relaxing out here. We can just take the time to glide along on the water and feel the sun on our face.

After following the coastline of the bay with all its coastal cliff, pebbled beaches and bush, we land back on the beach. There’s nothing left to do than leave the kayaks here for Helen to pick up later.

The awkward moment when you over-pack for a one-night stay…

We’re back at the holiday park with plenty of time to pack for d’Urville Island. We are only stay one night on the island but it’s always embarrassing when we turn up with two backpacks and a box of equipment…

How far is d’Urville Island?

Ian and Pam give us a feed of mushroom soup and pizza then Virginia from d’Urville Island Wilderness Resort arrives at the holiday park. Not only is she bringing us to stay the night in their accommodation on the island, but she is taking us on an epic journey to get there!

We must travel down what we can only describe as a finger of the South Island that looks like it is stretching out to touch d’Urville Island. A long and winding gravel road then a boat ride lies ahead. Once at the tip of the finger, known as French Pass, we will be hopping on a boat and maybe catching some dinner along the way. It’s safe to say that we’re getting well and truly, unbelievably, insanely off the beaten track!

As we bomb up the twisty-turny gravel roads in a 4-wheel-drive, we are pretty glad that we don’t have to do this road in our campervan.

The road to awesomeness

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A French Pass adventure

First, we pass through the regenerating forest of the Magrief Reserve to finally arrive along the ridge of this long peninsula stretching out to sea. The cows and sheep occupying the hills of French Pass really have some of the best views in New Zealand right here.

The road finally ends in the tiny settlement of French Pass where Virginia’s partner is waiting with the boat and their two dogs. There are a few supplies to take back to the island, mostly beer, which we help load. Then we are on our way.

Dogs are hilarious on boats

The dogs are hanging their faces out of the side of the boat, like you see them do hanging their heads out of car windows. They too are watching as we pass small islands, are surrounded by high mountains, and get ever closer to d’Urville Island. On one side of the sky, there’s the sun setting behind the island, while the moon is looking monstrously huge on the other side of the sky.

Ash stops the boat. We can’t land without catching dinner, or else we will go hungry. Virginia is casting a line to see if there is anything…

Fast-paced fishing!

Within seconds, Ash is asking: “Have you got anything?!” Woah, does he really expect her to catch something so quickly?! Virginia reels out a small blue cod which is too small to keep due to the fishing restrictions (take a look at Fishing in New Zealand).

We move along the island a little further, now it is Laura’s turn to drop a line in the water. Other than a barely memorable fishing trip watching her dad when she was a youngster, she has never fished before. Virginia gives the instructions and in no time Laura has a catch! Again, too small, but Laura has the hang of it to continue fishing, while Virginia and Ash grab a rod too.

The big catch

Robin is filming the moment it happens: the big catch! Laura knows she definitely has something. She’s reeling her heart out, keeping the line straight, feeling a bit of a rush to be honest! We can see it through the clear water before she even gets it out: tonight’s dinner!

The blue cod is big enough, so we take it with us, along with Ash and Virginia’s catches, to have with chips and salad tonight!

We dock on the island and, wow, there is no one here! This little section of New Zealand is ours tonight!

Batter, bubbles and boiling backpackers

Ash starts filleting and battering the fish, while Virginia is behind the bar getting the beer and bubble out. She has also set up a hot tub on the beach outside, which is slowly warming up with a gas heater for a hot tub session under the stars.

Indeed, the fresh fish and chips are freakin’ delicious, as is the ice cream sundae for dessert! When we go to check the temperature of the hot tub, which is pretty much boiling away, we’re starting to think we are for tomorrow’s dinner…

Hot tub under the moon

Nevertheless, we say goodnight to our hosts and jump into the hot pool on the beach watching the clouds move over the stars, while the moon lights the whole sky.

Tomorrow, we’re getting back out on the water to catch some fish – since Laura is a pro now and Robin needs to give it a go. Plus, we’ll be heading back along the amazing French Pass and making our way to New Zealand’s sunniest city, Nelson. See you then!

Our very own late night hot tub in the middle of nowhere

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See you tomorrow!