I’m just going to put it out there now, before I say anything else, to get it out of the way. The south island of New Zealand is totally like a mini Canada. Seriously. It totally reminds me of home. There. Done.
This November, Doran and I joined two of our friends on a trip to New Zealand. It was our first time using a travel agent (I think her name was Suzie) to help book everything for us, and boy did she deliver!
Our first stop was Nelson. This small town is where we got to see the Centre of New Zealand and the Museum of Wearable Art (which included a car museum). Honestly, there wasn’t much here, but Suzie did hook us up with a cute little hotel that looked like a Bavarian Cottage.
After a day of exploring this town, we embarked on our adventure down the number six highway. Next stop, Greymouth, but first a quick pit stop at the pancake rocks at Punakaiki.
I have no idea how these rocks formed, but it was so cool to see these structures jutting out of the beach. At certain times, you are able to see water shooting out of blowholes. We missed seeing that, but here’s my artist rendition.
Gurl, Suzie, you were doing so well. I understand this was an “overnight” stop, but there is nothing here. Nothing.
Franz Josef Glacier
This is a popular scenic location (even the Contiki kids party through this place) were you have an opportunity to get up close and personal to one of the glaciers that carved this country. Heli-hikes are a fun option to try, but occasionally low clouds (as seen in the picture above) cancel that tour. Therefore, all you can do is the guided hike on solid ground. Doran and I went on this hike and was shown a Jurassic era temperate rainforest, edible plants, waterfalls, cool layered rocks and of course the Franz Josef Glacier. Geologist’s heaven.
Curly Tree and Wanaka
These two locations had the most memorable food stops of our trip.
The Curly Tree Whitebait Company is one of the more well known locations where you can have whitebait patties.
Pro tip: This is just a place for a snack. You may think you can come here for lunch, but be forewarned, you can’t. Whitebait patties are all they make, nothing more.
When you are in Wanaka, I highly recommend you go to KIKA. This tapas restaurant has such delicious food, you can totally over eat. How can you not when your food looks and sounds so amazing. Look at the lamb on the bottom right. YUM!
It seems that Suzie saved the best for last. From it’s famous film and tv locations to a shockingly popular burger joint (Fergburger), this small town and area has a lot to offer. Before we get to the most famous part of the south island, let’s first appreciate the hotel Suzie hooked us up with. This place was bigger and nicer than my apartment! Thanks Suzie.
I had always thought Milford Sound was a mountain. To my surprise, a sound is not only a noise, but also “a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay, deeper than a bight, and wider than a fjord; or a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land (see also strait)”. Again geologist’s heaven.
Stunning. Just Stunning.
As you all know, the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed here and on Dart River Jet tour, we got to be right where the action happened. We also flew across the river at about 90km/hr.
And with that exhilarating ride, our trip came to an end! New Zealand, you are sure beautiful. The following are just more pictures for your enjoyment.