Our trip to New Zealand was absolutely incredible!! By far the most beautiful place I have ever been.
This is a super long post so be prepared:)!
We landed in Christchurch, New Zealand on Wednesday, 11.1.12 (jan 11th) around 11:45 pm. Since it was so late and we didn't want to pay for a hostel to stay in for only a couple of hours, we camped out for the night in the airport lobby. There were probably 30-50 other backpackers that spent the night along the airport wall with us. It was an interesting night of very little sleep but it definitely helped us stay in our budget. ha.
We were woken up at 4 a.m. Thursday morning by an airport worker saying, " Wakey wakey backpackers. The airport is now open for business." Everyone around us immediately woke up and put their things away so we did the same. It was still four hours before we could go get our rental car so we moved ourselves to the food court and went back to sleep. Finally, 8 am came and our real adventure could begin! Once we got our rental car and bought some groceries ( supplies for pb&js) we headed to Queenstown. It was the first time for either of us to drive on the left side so we were thankful for little reminders all along the road.
(highway sign leaving Christchurch)
On our way to Queenstown we made several little side stops to see the pastures of sheep, rolling hills, mountains, lakes and rivers. My favourite place we stopped was Lake Tekapo.
The lake was stunning. The water was the most beautiful shade of blue, there were ducks swimming around, mountains in the distance, flowers randomly dispersed and rocks leading up to the water. Even after everything else we saw in the week, it is still on the top of my list of favourite spots.
When we arrived in Queenstown, we checked into our hostel, Reavers Lodge, then went to explore the town. Queenstown is wonderful. It has Lake Wakapitu and mountians surrounding it, cute little shops and pubs to enjoy and precious people to meet. I LOVED IT. We spent the night walking along the lake and enjoying some bagpipe players that were putting on a show.
Our third day in NZ started out kinda rushed. We set our alarm clocks for 8am only to realize we forget to change the time from AUS to NZ which meant it was 10am instead. We speedily got ready and immediately started driving to Milford Sound. We went on a RealJourneys scenic cruise through the Sound. The cruise was great! Friday was a very very rainy day. The rain made seeing Milford Sound a little different than we expected. It was very foggy and dark but it added a bit of mystery to everything. It was still awesome and because of the rain there were tons and tons of waterfalls that are not usually there.
(foggy Milford Sound)
(Milford Sound Waterfalls)
On the way to Milford Sound we weren't able to stop since we were in a hurry, but on the way back we got to see some beautiful scenery. There were tons more waterfalls and pastures of sheep, cattle and red deer. On one of the stops we were introduced to the Kea. It's a New Zealand mountain parrot that loves to pick the rubber off of cars. We were told they were inquisitive, pesky birds.
(Kea stealing our car's rubber)
We got back to Queenstown pretty late so we enjoyed a hot chocolate and muffin from Starbucks and walked around the town center for a bit before heading back to the hostel.
We spent pretty much all day in Queenstown Saturday. I fell even more in love with the cute town. We started the morning with a Gondula ride up a mountain and did a Luge ride at the top. The view at the top of the Gondula was incredible.
(View of Queenstown from top of Gondula ride)
After a couple of hours, we rode back down the Gondula only to find our car had a flat tire. That was a whole fiasco. Three hours and help from several people later, we were back on track exploring Queenstown. We had a very late lunch at a place called FergBurger. It was one of the most incredible burgers I have ever had. I highly recommend it to anyone going to Queenstown. The line at Ferg's is always out the door because it is so good.
We continued walking around the town center for a few more hours. We found tons of other places we really loved including a place called Cowboys. The name instantly caught our attention and once we were inside we knew we had made a good decision. There were Texas Longhorns on the walls and American Flags hanging. It was like a little piece of home in New Zealand.
Since we were staying the night in Wanaka with some of Megan's family friends, we decided to start driving that way around 7pm. The drive there was nothing less than beautiful!
(sheep along the drive)
(top of the highest paved road on the Southern Island)
Sunday we woke up and decided it was a great day to jump out of a plane. We went skydiving with SkydiveWanaka which was a great choice! Skydiving was one of my favourites, if not my favourite part of the trip. It was the greatest adrenaline rush and the view we had was jaw dropping. I will definitely be skydiving again and hopefully it will be soon!
(Megan and I in front of the the plane we jumped from and our wonderful view)
(Us and Jaimie, the Kiwi we met, before the jump)
(Eric, the beautiful stranger I was strapped to for the skydive)
After our jump, the lovely lady we stayed with in Wanaka, Karen, took us on a hike. We ate our lunch at the top of the hike and enjoyed a great view of the town Wanaka, Lake Wanaka and the mountains around.
(Wanaka/ Lake Wanaka)
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and walking around the town. That night we saw Sherlock Holmes at a famous little theater in the town called Paradiso. It was super fun. There are couches, a little car or regular seats you can sit in. They have an intermission where everyone goes and gets a homemade cookie and ice cream. The perfect small town movie theater.
(inside the theater)
We woke up early and headed to Fox Glacier. We made a few stops along the way. One was a spot called Blue Pools. It was a beautiful place with clear water and trout swimming along the stream.
|(rock stacks at Blue Pools)|
We made it to Fox Glacier with just enough time to confirm our glacier hike and look around at souvenirs before our hike began. It was so fun walking on a glacier.
(hiking Fox Glacier)
After our hike we checked into our hostel, Fox Glacier Inn, then drove down to the beach and watched the sunset over the Tasman Sea.
(Tasman Sea Sunset)
We spent our last full day in New Zealand on a long road trip from Fox Glacier on the west coast to Kaikoura on the East Coast. We made plenty of stops along the way.
(Shantytown, a replica of a 1880's gold mining town)
(Pancake Rocks, limestone rocks that have eroded to form stacks. Scientist have yet to figure out how it happens)
( distances around the world)
( a herd of around 550 red deer that a farmer was moving from one pasture to another)
We finally got to Kaikoura around 11:30 pm so we pulled into a scenic stop and slept in our car for the night.
We woke up at 5:30am to watch the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. Then we made our final drive back to Christchurch to fly out.
(Pacific Ocean Sunrise)
Those are most of the highlights from the trip! Sorry its such a long post but it was hard to pick and choose from all the great things in New Zealand. I just absolutely loved it there!