South Island (pt. 2), New Zealand
S O U T H∙I S L A N D
( P A R T ∙ 2 )
N E W ∙ Z E A L A N D
Along our drive through New Zealand, we used the CamperMate and Apollo app to save us time and stress when finding important locations. Including public bathrooms, campsites, and amazing sights like Thunder Creek Falls and Blue Pools Track on the South Island.
When driving into the town of Wanaka, we immediately fell in love. Hailey is still considering moving here. Small, yet big enough, town on a beautiful lake surrounded by snow covered mountains. Trendy cafes and restaurants, an outdoor market selling local artisan goods, bars filled with people who just got off the mountain from a long day of skiing.
Genuinely happy people working to do what they love in a pretty awesome place. The energy was perfect for Hailey's birthday and The Wanaka Tree was the most amazing place for sunset and a bottle of New Zealand wine.
Wanaka also has incredible hikes. We wasted no time and went on three during our short time there.
Starting with Isthmus, which is less known, but might have been our favorite. It was straight up, a little muddy, and when you thought you were at the top, you.... just... kept... going.... The views were breathtaking and worth the climb!
Roy's peak, a favorite for all the tourists driving through town - for good reason! You have to work for it, but once you get to the top the views are breathtaking.
Roy’s Peak is also a quick drive to Rippon Winery, so we treated ourselves to a tasting and bottle of wine while enjoying the most incredible winery views (sorry, Napa and Sonoma...)
Our last hike was Rob Roy's Glacier, a short, scenic drive just outside Wanaka. We walked through herds of cows, strong winds, and a suspension bridge to get to the trailhead. The scenic hike was alongside a creek, which might have been our favorite part of the trek.
An hour drive from Wanaka, we reached Queenstown. Although the city was a little too touristy for us, it was a mandatory stop in New Zealand . We haven't been blown away by the food in New Zealand, but we ate our way through Queenstown. Our favorite meal was breakfast at Bespoke.
We've given Milford Sound the official nickname: Moody Milford. Two of our flight/cruise tours were cancelled due to weather, so we decided to make the drive and at least try and jump on a cruise to explore the sound. The final road to the sound was closed until late morning, so it gave us plenty of time to view the surrounding area while we waited.
We finally made it to the sounds and were able to jump on a small boat for a tour. The more rain the better the waterfalls, so in the end, we had lucked out with the weather conditions.
We finally escaped the rain when we made it to Mount Cook. Our first hike there was Hooker Valley, a long, but easy trek that offered some of the best views on our trip. We decided to go for sunset, so as everyone was hiking back, we were making our way there.
We were surrounded by glaciers the entire trek. As we got closer to Mount Cook, we realized the enormity of the glacier. It was unbelievable. We hiked down to the lake of glacier melt and watched the sunset behind Mount Cook and it’s icebergs.
Sealy hike - talk about stairs! We complain about a lack of exercise on our travels, so this is just what we needed. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We hiked above the clouds and made it to the top just before the clouds parted and the views of the valley were visible.
A curious and hungry Kea joined as we soaked in the views from our last hike in New Zealand.
Guys, we heard great things about Christchurch, but we didn’t really enjoy our time here... What did we do wrong!? We were only here for one night and spent most of the day hopping around from one trendy cafe to the next, grabbed a beer at a food truck beer garden, and then reeeeeeaaaally struggled trying to find a decent spot for dinner. We'd like to say it's not you, Christchurch, it's us... But I just don't know if that's the case...
Regardless, New Zealand is unbelievable. We would encourage anyone to make the trip and we can't wait until we're back again!