Australia & New Zealand, Featured

A Road Trip To Remember – South Island, New Zealand

If you haven’t been to New Zealand then drop everything, pack your bags, hop on a plane and go! Ok, so maybe it’s not that simple, or is it? All you travel addicts, this is one place you simply CAN NOT MISS!

We spent two glorious weeks driving around the South Island in total awe of what mother nature had laid before our eyes. I simply can not find the words to describe the natural beauty you will experience here. We rented a campervan and it’s by far the best way to travel the island. Oh, and if you are anything like me and need a bathroom every hour, it can be very convenient 😉

We arrived in Christchurch shortly after midnight and spent a few hours NOT getting any sleep at Jucy Snooze. I think I may have forgotten that we aren’t in our 20s anymore! We were in a room with six pods. Between Sir Snores-a-lot, the drunks, and the early-risers, we didn’t get any sleep. I had also booked these ‘pods’ for our last night in New Zealand. Guess what the first thing I did the next day was? Yup, Cancel! I booked a family room with Jucy at double the price.  There was no way we could stay in a Pod again.

Half asleep, we were picked up by G&J Campers to get our ‘home’. The excitement made us forget our sleepless night. One unfortunate thing was that we didn’t get the van we initially booked. We had to settle for a smaller, standard van but who cares, we are in New Zealand!

Cudos to Bruce! He did a great job driving the monster around and I only had to remind him once a day he was on the wrong side of the road 😉

Our home for two weeks in New Zealand!

What did we do?

We drove a lot! Starting in Christchurch towards Mount Cook then back along the coast to the southern tip of the island, West to the ever-so-glorious Milford Sound and then north to Nelson and finally back to Christchurch. It was a LOT of driving and if we were to do it again, I would cut it in half for a two-week period or stay a month.

Our first stop after picking up the van! The Book Barn

So many books! How to choose 🙂

It didn’t help that we lost a couple of days due to an unfortunate event and had to alter our plans which made for a lot less hiking than planned. See, I’m a total campervan rookie – I managed to bonk my head not once, not twice but three times while moving around in the camper!

Lake Pukaki, our fist campsite! I was a little groggy from all those bonks to the head

This happened after getting our supplies and were headed towards Mount Cook. We had planned a hike at Hooker Valley Track the next day but I started having headaches and we chose to take it easy and head to Benmore Peninsula Track for an easier hike and then to our campsite in Oamaru.

Lake Benmore

King of the jungle!

My headache continued getting worse and no amount of Advil was making it go away. I have a pretty high tolerance to pain and can usually manage to function but this one was just getting out of control. There was no way I could move and we decided to stay in Oamaru another night and the boys went off to explore while I rested. It helped that our campsite was next to a pretty amazing playground with all things oversized! The zipline was a big hit with Kasm and kept him entertained for hours.

Thousands of Cormorants along the coast in Oamaru

Stepping back in time in Oamaru

It started to get obvious I needed to see a doctor and we headed to the hospital in Oamaru. Turns out I gave myself a concussion. Some serious drugs, a day at the hospital and a $1000 later, the pain got to a manageable state and we decided to head out to our next location.

I really wanted to see Penguins and I got my wish the next day. We made a stop at Katiki Point for a short walk and got to see beautiful yellow-eyed penguins and plenty of seals 🙂

About as close as we could get to them 🙂

Yellow-eyed Penguins. You can’t get too close to them

Kasm’s playground at our freedom campsite after out visit with the Penguins

Being a huge car fan, stop at Bill Richardson’s Transport World was a must for Kasm.

More beauty to soak in before heading out to Milford Sound

 

If there is only one thing you can do while in New Zealand, let it be a visit to Milford Sound.

Bento boxes for lunch

An amazing day tour at Milford Sound

After our tour, we headed to our campsite. Time to feed the Alpacas 🙂

 

 

Feeling pretty relaxed 🙂

We continued driving and enjoying more of this beautiful island as we made our way north.

(Bruce – more wrong side of the road, stick shift, oversized-vehicle driving …yahhhh!)

we didn’t vandalize the bench 🙂 – Kasm thought it was cool seeing his best friend’s name carved on the bench.

We stayed at some amazing free campgrounds with gorgeous views.

One incredible view after another while driving around this beautiful country

A visit to pancake rocks was another must

A walk through a forest and across a scary bridge brought us to stunning clear waters – the blue pools. We weren’t brave enough for a swim but did catch people jumping in. We also build our own cairn to join the others. I wonder if it’s still standing!

We hope we’ll get a chance to return to this beautiful part of the world some day.

 

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5 Comments

  • Reply Linda Wang April 2, 2017 at 10:28 am

    This is stunning, love the pictures! We’ve got to get more advice from you later.

    • Baharak Ghorbani
      Reply Baharak Ghorbani April 2, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Thanks Linda! NZ should definitely be on your list. It’s one of the most beautiful places we have been to 🙂

  • Reply natalyadrian April 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Wow! I’m speechless! What an extraordinary adventure! Beautiful photos, stunning places… We’ll have to Skype one of these days. Hugs and speak soon, Nataly xxx

  • Reply natalyadrian April 9, 2017 at 10:57 am

    P.S. I hope your headache’s completely gone!

    • Baharak Ghorbani
      Reply Baharak Ghorbani April 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks Nataly! Nice to hear from you 🙂 I hope your arm is better. I’m no stranger to headaches but definitely don’t want a repeat of the one in NZ 😉 – Hope you are enjoying Riga. Looks gorgeous! Talk soon xx

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