Existing Member?

Roon the Globe Nadia's trip around the world in 365 days :)

Kia Ora - NZ South Island by camper!

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 15 May 2011 | Views [790]

We arrived in Christchurch late on Tuesday night, apparently just narrowly missing an aftershock that evening. Soon after i read that they have had around 11 aftershocks in the last month alone, so they have by no means seen the end of the earthquakes. We were also told that it's going to take around 10 years to rebuild the city, it's ashame the media seems to forget that after a natural disaster there is so much to be done to rebuild people's lives and they just focus on it as big news for a week or so, as per usual. Anyway enough of my rant!

On our first night we had a comfortable nights sleep in an airport hotel and were up bright and early to pick up our campervan in the morning. After a quick run through on all of the equipment, we set off on our first day of roadtripping on the South Island, down to Queenstown. This was a pretty long drive for the first day, around 7 hours, however the scenery got more and more dramatic as we travelled southwards. Massive mountains, piercing green lakes and streams, and for most of the time a blue sky! It was pretty late when we arrived in Queenstown, which is a small town set on the massive Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountains where you can ski during Winter season. They also base alot of their activities on extreme sports such as mountain biking, bungee jumping, sky diving, and white water rafting so you could definitely spend 2 weeks there and not get bored. Unfortunately we only had two days but it was enough to take alot in and we spent the first evening having a wander around the wee town shops. The next day was a toss up between jet boating and taking a gondola up the mountain next to our campsite and riding a luge back down. We ended up going up the mountain called Bob's Peak and took some amazing photographs of the town below and the beautiful lake. The luge was good fun aswell, and is probably about as adrenaline junkie as i'll get on this trip since i don't really want to experience the feeling of jumping off a bridge and killing myself! We were pretty lucky with the weather and the sun was shining in Queenstown while we were there, it was still quite chilly about 12 degrees but fine as long as you wrap up. It's also really strange as it's Autumn here, i've not seen Autumn for a year and a half now and it reminded me of back home so much with all of the leaves falling off the trees - so pretty!

The next day we were up at the crack of dawn again to head further south to Te Anau and then back up North West to Milford Sound. It's a bit strange that you have to take such a detour round the country to get to the fiords, but there is only one road in and one road out so we decided to go for it. The South West of the South Island is made up of many fiords which look like lakes with massive mountains around them but they actually lead out to the sea. Milford South is one of them and was formed by around 5 ice ages and you could tell this by the ridges on the mountains. I've taken so many photographs but it's hard to appreciate the height of them unless you are in a wee boat alongside them. The weather was pretty wet on Friday but this didn't make the journey there any worse, it actually just adds to the myteriousness of the setting and cheesy as it sounds but you do feel like you're in a film! The fact it was raining made our cruise on Milford Sound more interesting because most of the waterfalls surrounding us were coming down heavily and they were amazing. As we reached the point where it meets the sea, the driver took us right out into the Tasman sea as it wasn't too choppy to show us why the fiord had been mistaken as just land by so many sailors because the overlap hides the water passage so well and they didn't realise it would lead to a fiord. On our return journey back to the land we were lucky to see some seals, and also dolphins were jumping along outside our boat for about 10 minutes, unfortunately they were travelling in the opposite direction but the boat stopped for a moment so we could watch them. It was the highlight of the trip for me! We had another 2 hour drive to get back to Te Anau where we stayed for the night.

On Saturday we started our trip back Northwards towards glacier country, but for us to do so we had to pass through Queenstown again and then beautiful Wanaka which sits on a massive lake. We took a very scenic route from Queenstown to Wanaka over the Crown Range, which started by the road climbing a massive mountain and we had to stop at the top to take some amazing photographs of the surrounding landscape. We drove through the mountains for about 2 hours, and about halfway we stopped at a wee village called Cardrona - it had a very cute old pub and beer garden where we would have stopped over for a drink if we had more time as it was like stepping back in time! Eventually we arrived in Wanaka and we parked up alongside the lake and used our campervan cooker for the first time to make some soup! We've been quite lucky so far to stay in some well equipped campsites so we're been cooking in a proper kitchen at night, but it was good to sit in the van and have lunch for a change. We contemplated staying the night in Wanaka but then decided it would be better to minimise driving the next day and keep heading north towards the glaciers. Eventually we hit the Tasman sea at the West coast and a small township called Haast, by this time it was dark and had been raining for most of our drive through the rainforest so we decided to call it a night and park up. As i am typing this we are heading up to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers to spend a couple of days and do a glacier hike.

It's been a bit of as whirlwind trip so far but im just glad and excited we have seen everything we wanted to see and every part has exceeded my expectations!

Tags: new zealand, south island



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.