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 😉
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
After our tour, we headed to our campsite. Time to feed the Alpacas 🙂
We continued driving and enjoying more of this beautiful island as we made our way north.
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.