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100 Days Of Summer When your home country is covered in feet of snow and -20 is the average temperature everywhere it's important to flaunt that you aren't home! This blog documents my adventures through the Pacific and South East Asia as I enjoy exactly 100 Days of Summer.

Such Is Life In Campervan

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 25 February 2014 | Views [1769]

It's the last leg of my journey. Actually I'm sitting in the Christhurch Airport right now writing this blog. Next stop Indonesia! But back to New Zealand for a minute.

The last week Danielle and I have been driving all over! Actually, you should see my map of where we have driven. We heard such great things about the south that we really wanted to see it all. I think we have though. We drove out of Queenstown to Milford Sound and Te Anau. It was really beautiful out there and definitely the peak of what a dirty animal I have been on this trip. I forgot to mention that I ran out of shampoo in Nelson. I figured this would be a perfect time to do the whole "no 'poo method" so I've had my hair braided back for 10 days until I finally bought baking soda to wash my hair. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

We drove out to Te Anau and stayed at this really nice DOC campsite. It was lakefront and windy, but spacious. From Te Anau we did a day trip to Milford Sound. Milford Sound was cool. Danielle did a cruise of the sound and I did some hikes around the area. I think the coolest thing was the drive though. We reached this beautiful waterfall and a huge tunnel into the mountain that had a traffic light and countdown clock. When the clock hit 0 and the light turned green we drove through the heart of the mountain to reach the sound. It was so cool! On the other side was a huge descent and windy wooded roads. On the way back we were first in the queue of cars. There were also keas to greet us! A kea is a species of parrot native to New Zealand. They're huge! As are most birds native to New Zealand. All of New Zealand's native animals are crazy looking, huge, birds. They have possums and sheep too but so many birds!

From Milford Sound we decided to go to the Catlins to see penguins. Honestly we didn't see much. We didn't stay for long mind you, but I think at this point Danielle and I were all New Zealanded out. We tried to see all these cool nature things, and in the south island we definitely saw a lot! We weren't as successful with the animals, but we were okay with that. We swam with a penguin so we didn't absolutely need to see more.

Our failed attempts at nature watching we're not totally fruitless. We had an amazing time with Ol' Eggie. Living in that van for two weeks was an adventure in itself. We cooked amazing meals, and pretty gross meals. We drank beer and questionable milk. We went swimming in several lakes, but never showered. We went to bed early every night, and stunk up then van. Whenever something questionable happened we just shrugged and said "such is life in campervan." This included our limited contact with the outside world. I mean sure we texted and emailed when we could (most of the time on McDonald's or Pak N Save WiFi) but we had no idea what was going on in the outside world. We were walking to some waterfalls in the Catlins when a man stopped us and said "Canadians! You guys did great in curling, too as about hockey though!" We went wide eyed and said "What? What happened?" He told us that Canadian men lost to the US and got silver. When we finally got in contact with home we found out that the Canadian men hadn't even played the US yet.....and well you know how that story ends. But hey, such is life in campervan. Note to self: don't trust random people you meet in the woods!

We finally made it to Christchurch, the last stop on the first leg of our trip. Christchurch is both sad and inspiring. After the earthquake in 2011 there is still so much ruin all over the city. The famous Christchurch Cathedral is still in ruin and needs another $27 Million to fix it ($40 Million is covered by insurance). The shipping container mall is actually kind of hip and makes you forget that it was built out of necessity rather than progressive architecture. While in Cathedral Square today an elderly man sat down beside us who overheard us talking about what it would be like to live in a city that had suffered that way. He is from Scotland and has travelled "the whole world" (which I don't doubt, I just wanted to emphasize that those were his words) but now lives in Christchurch. He told us what it was like when the earthquake struck and pointed out the library he was in when it happened. He pointed out the ruins of several buildings around the square and described how booming the city had been before the earthquake. It's actually quite hard to picture seeing it now. As Danielle said when we were talking about it though, it's good to see everyone come together and fight to rebuild.

And here I am sitting in the airport. New Zealand wasn't what I expected, but it was absolutely stunning. I learned and saw more than I can describe. I climbed, tramped, swam and drove all over this country and can confidently say it was worth every minute and dollar. (Btw I'm broke)

Oh also, Danielle got bed bugs again! (I saw the bug in our bed but apparently I don't react to them like she does!) What a way to start and end New Zealand eh?

Tags: campervan, christchurch, doc, milford sound, mountains, new zealand, roadtrip, south

 

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