Arriving in to Christchurch was easily done, hour long flight watching Walking Dead and we arrived and collected the rental car before our usual trick of heading straight off to pastures new. (Christchurch would have been new but heh onwards).
Our first stop was the scenic Lake Tekapo, nestled with a backdrop to Mt.Cook (this is what the guidebook says) (see photo for yourselves). This was our first camping stop in the whole of New Zealand, and incidently also the last time, money well spent; Stones money. It was pretty damn cold, however we survived fed some ducks and headed off to Queenstown, via Cromwell.
Queenstown is the Cuzco of New Zealand. It is a bubble itself of partying, stunning scenery and backpackers. Due to our preferred Milford Sound trip being fully booked we had a full five days in Queenstown. Money restraints limited certain activities that are usually enjoyed (Jetboating, Bungee, Luge etc) we skipped most of these activities as also having done them before in the north. Always can be done on a return trip. In Queenstown we did however get involved with hostel events, including an amazing race which held dubious victors but the winning tab was shared and we received free stuff/food just for partaking, bbq on the green and a cancelled beach party. In honour of ‘movember’ of which we are all partaking a local bar has cheap deals (as-well as everywhere else). I also had far too many Fergburgers, which I had been told to indulge in, as usual a good tip.
Eventually Sunday came around and forcing ourselves out we went to the rainy day tour of Milford ‘Sound’ technically it’s a Fiord. Time for a related joke; “My friend is so dumb they thought ‘Milford/Plymouth Sound’ actually was a noise”. Due to the rain the mountain sides literally turned in to 1000s of Waterfalls, Milford was also breathtaking with aforementioned waterfalls cascading in to its depths, we had an amazing buffet on the boat and due to the wet indulged in the free tea. The underwater part of the tour was actually rather dull and if done again would not bother with.
|A 1000 Waterfalls|
On Mondinium the plan was to head for Wanaka, which is billed as ‘like Queenstown but nicer cause its quiter’ but as all the activities were outdoor related and it was raining a monsoon outside we checked the weather and decided to head for Fran Josef Glaicer so as to hike it in what was billed as better weather the next day.
Franz Josef is a minute town set in forests on the west coast, we did make it for a walk to the Glacier inbetween rain showers avoiding it, creating yet more waterfalls. The walk itself is along the riverbed which ‘could flood at any moment’ was the best part of this experience, the Glacier itself being slightly disappointing as it is kind of small and dirty. The Colombia Ice field(Canada) is much better if you want to go Glacier spotting.
|Walking in the 'Riverbed'|
|Franz Josef Glacier|
Knowing we had a long drive we attempted to set off early and attempted to spot penguins along the way... however the best laid plans never come to fruition. At all the 'official' Penguin spots/reserves you had to pay an extortionate fee of about $50 and obviously we refused. At the free sites we only managed to see about a million Sea Gulls and some seals. We had been told to visit 'Moeraki Boulders' as if they were the greatest of all sites in New Zealand. They were not. This is not to say we didn't have fun on this trip, just disappointed to have not found the Penguins. The great thing about having a car is we can go anywhere at a whim, this includes sights or just places with funny names, for instance we drove past a "Shag Point" at chose to visit this due to its comical name. (For those who are interested a 'Shag' is a bird, similar to a Cormorant). When it was late we still made a decision to push on to a hostel in Akaroa despite having none booked, however we lucked out and found pretty much my favourite hostel of all New Zealand, perhaps so far. Careless not planning wins out again!
|Elusive Penguins and Albatross|
|Bird at Onuku|
|Yachts in the bay|
|Red Zone Barrier|
|Lakes, Mountains and snow.|