Chaplog tries hard In which an ageing climber comes to terms with life closer to the ground.


Whanganui Journey

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 1:20 pm


The Whangaui river

The Whanganui Journey is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. It is actually a 148KM Canoe trip. Day 1 Cherry Grove to Poukaria 36Km, Day 2 Poukaria to Ohauora 48Km, Day 3 Poukaria to Ohauora Tieke 40Km and Tieke to Pipiriki 21.5. We had two days where we saw no one. We helped a pair who had had an accident and we capsized ourself on the last day. A magic trip that was exhilarating and exhausting. Each camp site had its own resident rat(s) and one evening we watched a Possum scare a rat away from some food.

The Photographs


Oamuru Kaikora

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 12:01 pm

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Sperm whale Kaikora

The East coast of South Island was not so interesting after Otago Peninsula. We drove up to Oamaru had a good look round a once affluent Victorian town with a harbour. We set off North and we were just starting to think about where we were going to stay and then we received a text from Carol and we decided to stay in Christchurch again. After we left Christchurch we headed up to Kaikora. We wanted to see the sperm whales and large quantities of dolphins. We did.



Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:03 pm

Victory bay and Sandfly bay Otago Peninsula-3597

These spherical boulders – septarian concretions – are found on a number of beaches in New Zealand as wave action exposes them after storms. We enjoyed the short stop on our journey to Oamaru.

The photographs


Otago Peninsula

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 11:48 am

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Male Sea lion – Allan’s beach Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula looked too me a little small and too close to a large town to be that interesting. I was wrong. The wildlife was amazing we walked on the beaches to see sea lions, penguins, seals and albatross on the tip of the headland.

The Photographs


Great White Sharks – Stewart Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 2:44 pm

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Great White Sharks on Stewart Island

I was not sure whether to dive in a cage to see Great Whites. I knew I was not going to dive with them without a cage! Looking back a few months later I am very pleased I did do it. They are so large, powerful and graceful. I was surprised by the amount of space at the front and the sides of the cage that were not covered. I learnt that this allowed TV sized cameras to be held outside the cage. At one point a shark hit the cage and I ended up lying on my side. Very exciting and expensive!

The Photographs


Stewart Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 6:02 pm

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The coast near Port William Stewart Island

We travelled to Stewart island on a fast catamaran it was quite rough but we were not sick! I packed up for the three day walk and Lynne came with me for the first section. The walk started in the drizzle but I had a fantastic time particularly at Port William hut in perfect weather. We visited Ulva island to see the birds. On getting back from the walk we went Kiwi hunting and spotted one next to the golf course.



Fiordland Underwater

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 12:32 pm


There was one other diver on board who was interested in photography we had some good dives.

The Photographs

Description of the dives


Fiordland Dusky and Doubtful Sound

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 9:37 am

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The Tutoko our boat for the week

We had wanted to visit Fiordland but were not going to do one of the long walks. Most people go to Milford Sound as there is road access and it has possibly the most dramatic scenery. We had the time and I wanted to dive so we were looking for a different experience. We were lucky to find a small boat that did a five day cruise and offered diving. We found out later it is mostly used for hunting tips. The helicopter trip in was exiting and the whole trip was a very special experience.


Jacksons Bay

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 5:38 pm


Enjoying fish and chips at the Craypot in Jacksonville

Without a tent we stayed in a lodge. We had one reserved for us in Queenstown so the stress levels had been reduced. Lynne’s tendon was now fully mended so we set out on a full day’s walk to Clearwater bay and back. We treated ourselves to fish and chips in the famous Craypot cafe.



Okarito and Hokitika South Island New Zealand

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 3:24 pm

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Hokitika drift wood sculpture competition

On our way to Okarito we had lunch by a beach that had just had a driftwood sculpture competition this one did not win but it is the one we liked the best. It was very windy. The tent saga started here. When we arrived at the camp site for Franz Josef Glacier it was rainy and very windy. A short while after we had put the tent up one of the poles broke and went straight through the flysheet.

The photographs



The Inland Pack Trail

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:56 pm

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When we visited Mick and Carol in Christchurch. Mick was extolling the virtues of this walk. The weather was perfect and I did the three day walk in two not taking a tent. I slept out under the stars. I did however miss the track at dilemma creek going too far upstream but it was blocked by fallen trees and as I was wading the river I met a large eel. I was out of the water and had taken a photograph before you could say…

A fantastic couple of days that I will always remember. It would have been easier to have done it in the other direction as I would have not missed the turn off and I could have slept in the ballroom – a massive overhand, see photograph.

The photographs


Return to the West Coast of South Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 5:07 pm


Reflections in the water on our walk< \i>

After we had visited Carol and Mick in Canterbury we returned across Arthur’s pass to Pancake rocks. We stopped at a climbing area for a walk. Lynne was now doing longer walks.

The photographs



Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:48 pm

We went to stay with Mick and Carol just outside Christchurch. Mick and Carol were staying with their son and his wife. They were living on a lifestyle plot owned by Elena’s parents. We went walking and visited the devastated Christchurch centre. It is amazing what you can do with containers! The demolition is still taking place two years after the event.

The Photographs


West Coast of South Island New Zealand

Filed under: General — Tags: — Mike Chapman @ 4:04 pm




It rains a lot in South Island and particularly so on the west coast.  We had been told that if there is a break in the weather go for it. The weather forecast was wall to wall sunshine so we headed for Punakaiki which has some coastline called pancake rocks.  I  think the journey along this coast with temperate rainforest literally overhanging the sea was special.  A dramatic coastline of high cliffs, white beaches, surf, rainforest and wildlife a plenty.  We stayed at Pancake rocks.

While we were there we got in touch with Mick and Carol and we headed over Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch.

The photographs


Kayaking in Charlotte Sound – staying at Mistletoe bay

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 7:15 am

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fur seal in Charlotte sound

We booked a kayak for three days and two nights lodging in a hut that Lynne expected to be very basic. I knew what it was like as I had booked it. Lynne was very aprehensive about the whole trip. As I expected it turned out fine. On arrival I went to check our cabin, it was en suite with carpets and a settee. Lynne at this point was standing in some mud next to the kayak and was expecting the worst. I confirmed that yes the hut was basic but we would survive. Her face was a picture when she saw where we were staying!

We got drenched in a thunderstorm but watching sting rays, the fur seals and the bird life made up for it. I walked up the local hill to see some fantastic 360 degree views.


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