My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds

Tripoto
15th Apr 2018
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Driving through New Zealand feels like a surreal experience that humbles and astonishes with every passing mile. Equipped with a rental car, a sturdy tent, a DSLR, and a thirst to indulge in the wilderness, I began my journey from Auckland and made my way to the southern most tip of the North Island - Wellington.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The near 12-hour drive between the two major cities in the North Island could have been exhausting in any other country, but driving through NZ was as rejuvenating as a spa treatment. The 700-odd kms that I covered that day was sprinkled with unknown mountain ranges, valleys, gorges, forests , and many more stunning, rapidly-changing ecosystems.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Staying in a hotel in New Zealand is like reading a book with your eyes closed - an utterly pointless exercise. The camp sites in this country are located in some truly remote and gorgeous venues. Pitching a tent and staying outdoors until your eyelids get heavy is the only real way to travel here.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Getting to the South Island required hauling my car into a giant ferry known as the 'Inter-Islander'. This experience on its own is quite fascinating as well.

Vehicles lining up to dock into the Inter-Islander

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Wellington - the capital of NZ, is a gorgeous city as well. It looks its best when admired from the coasts as we can see the innovative real estate planning carried out by the Kiwis in order to inhabit some truly remote locations.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Wellington's negligible but growing skyline

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The journey from Wellington to the South Island was a little over three hours long, but it gave me a chance to enjoy a brilliant cruise and take in some stark scenery along Wellington's coast and the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

About an hour into the journey you could really start to see the sights change and the textures of Marlborough Sounds - my next destination began to emerge out of the water.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Numerous species of Whales and Dolphins inhabit these waters and it pays to keep your eyes peeled for these majestic mammals

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The Southern Alps made a dramatic appearance at one point as well

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The green in the water comes from 'Phytoplankton' - an important bacteria that kick-starts a massive food chain

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Another Inter-Islander making its way back to the North Island

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

After two hours of coasting through the Pacific Ocean, we began to see the islands that form a part of Marlborough Sounds - a national park forming the northern-most tip of the South Island.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Legend has it that the Maoris took this very same route in order to first make their way to the South Island, a fact that makes this journey truly historic!

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

First sight of Picton - the town on the northern most tip of the South Island

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

A view inside the Inter-Islander

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

After landing at Picton, I quickly made my way to my campsite before nightfall. It was a cozy spot next to the water called the Aussie Bay Campsite and it offered a remarkable view of the surrounding body along with a grand sighting of the Milky Way belt (as seen in the photograph below).

The Milky Way becomes a guiding light during the night and can be seen almost everywhere across the country. The density of the stars, however, vary from one location to another

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Day three began with some dark clouds looming overhead (hard to miss the rains in NZ at any point during the year). After a couple of long days, I didn't mind relaxing today and just driving around taking in Marlborough' sights and sounds.

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

While standing in the same spot, one can see the clouds rush in and out of a location in quick time (as seen above and below

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Get ready to spot some double or triple rainbows after the rains

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Despite being a relatively lazy day, I got a good sense of the beauty of Marlborough Sounds and managed to take in a beautiful sunset at my campsite with a pipping hot cup of coffee

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The fourth day was going to be all about Marlborough Sounds' premiere walking track - the Queen Charlotte Track. With numerous legs offering varied vantage points, this was a trek I was eager to take on, and it gave me more than I could have ever imagined.

The walk begins with a trek through some gorgeous native forests that is placed right alongside some beautiful bays

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The lows of the trek would open up to some Bays that are worth spending some silent moments with

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

The highs were truly spectacular, opening up to some panoramic views studded with bright blue waters and overlapping islands

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Spotting the Tui - one of NZ's most famous and intelligent song birds. Listening to a Tui unleash its dual voice boxes is a phenomenal experience for trekkers

Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja
Photo of My Big Kiwi Adventure Log I: That Glorious Journey from Auckland to Marlborough Sounds by Rahul Poonja

Exploring the Queen Charlotte Track was an absolute pleasure and it remained one of the highlights of my entire vacation. I would go on to continue to explore the rest of the South Island's untamed beauty during the rest of my vacation, but that is a story for another day!

Day 1
Photo of Auckland, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Day 2

When campsites are peppered with views such as the ones from the photographs (above and below), its hard to pay 50 NZD to stay indoors and keep away from the view. The campsite I went with is called the Lake Domain Reserve and it is just a few minutes outside Wellington.

Photo of Lake Domain Road, Rimutaka Hill, Lake Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Photo of Lake Domain Road, Rimutaka Hill, Lake Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Photo of Lake Domain Road, Rimutaka Hill, Lake Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Photo of Lake Domain Road, Rimutaka Hill, Lake Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Day 3

(The Native Birds of NZ are truly unique and fascinating, not to mention abundantly visible across the nation)

Photo of Aussie Bay, Momorangi Bay, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
Day 4
Photo of Queen Charlotte Track, Black Rock, Marlborough, New Zealand by Rahul Poonja
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