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The South Island Voyage

Life has been hectic in New Zealand! Having had a two week break where I traveled the South Island, getting back to Massey for just four days before flying out to Auckland to take the LSAT, and then catching up on classes and playing soccer/volleyball it has been a busy past five weeks. However, I am hoping to spend more time blogging now that I am caught up.

This post will cover my two week stint in the South Island. This weekend I will post again about my trip to Auckland, hiking a volcano, and the lovely LSAT!

New Zealand's south island is the most beautiful place I have ever been. However, before I get into all the details of the trip, I want to note that anyone traveling in New Zealand use bookme or grabone to book their activities, as I paid less than 50% of the marked price for anything I did, and often much cheaper than that.

Our trip started in Queenstown where we camped out that night and got ready to do the Nevis Swing and explore the town the next day. Queenstown was chalk full of adrenaline racing activities, plus it was just a nice tourist town nestled along the mountains and a lake. We also had a drink at the icebar in downtown Queenstown. It had lots of New Zealand themed ice sculptures.






We had to camp a ways outside of Milford sound and drive the next morning. It was well worth the long, twisting drive. Milford Sound was spectacular. Words and pictures can not sum up the experience of boating through the sound. Our boat ride took us through the Sound to the edge of the Tasman sea.





We then headed back through Queenstown to a hostel in Wanaka. Here we spent time doing hikes and enjoying the amazing scenery.







The next day we did the fox glacier hike and the Haast pass hike. Being somewhat disappointed in the glacier at this point, I was regretting my decision to do a helicopter and landing the next day. However once up in the air and being able to see the whole glacier I got a much better perspective. It was one of my top three experiences of the entire trip. We flew over the path of the Fox Glacier, as well as the Franz Joseph glacier and Mt. Cook. We also did a snow landing between the two glaciers. It was a great experience and we got to know two Australians who were in our helicopter.













Next we walked the Hokitika Gorge, which had the prettiest colored water. We also ate next to the beach that night. The next morning we hiked around the Paparoa National Park and saw some blowholes, and stopped by Te Miko for another hike. We ate along the beachside at Hokitika.

  












Following we made our way to Nelson, which is supposed to be the warmest place in New Zealand. However it's still winter here and a tad cold. We also did the Abel Tasman drive through the National Park. Here we saw tons of wildlife, beaches, and mountains.







After some time spent in Nelson the next morning we headed to Kaikoura. The Kaikoura Peninsula was an awesome place. We got to see some seals, go on a short hike, and meet some locals! However, in my selfie with the seal I apparently got to close. Right as I was taking out this picture he started to move (as you can see in the photo). He then proceeded to make a horrible sound and chase me until I ran far enough away.




As we were headed to Christchurch I drove past a winery called Sherwood estate. As that is my mother's maiden name I had to stop! Unfortunately it was not open, but the owner was there. When I told him why I stopped he let me buy some wine!



We ten made our way to Christchurch where we stopped for a couple of days. Here we got to see the remembrance bridge, for the fallen heroes of the las world war, visited cathedral square. The cathedral had been destroyed by the earthquake in 2011. It was an amazing reminder of the power of earthquakes and the devastation that they cause. We then visited the cardboard church, which was made to hold church after the destruction. Re:Start was also built after the wake of the earthquake and is a mall built out of containers. The second day in Christchurch we drove up to hammer springs for a jetboat ride. Coming back we went to an overlook of Christchurch at the Cracoft Reserve. Next we toured around the botanical gardens for the rest of the afternoon.







Next we made our way to Lake Taupo. This was a stunning lake between the mountains. It was so peaceful. However, we still had a lot to see and were running out of time, so only spent a few hours here. We then made our way to Oamaru, which is known for it's penguin colony. However, to our surprise we found it to be a beautiful old timey looking town. The people were super friendly and there were so many neat little shops. It felt like stepping back in time, plus penguins! While I could not get pictures as it was too dark, we got to see the penguins coming out of the sea and running into the hillside for the night.




On our way to Dunedin we stopped by the Moeraki boulders. It was a nice beach walk to see the boulders. I don't really know how to explain it, but I thought they were the strangest things washed up on the beach.


The next stop was Dunedin! The highlight of Dunedin was visiting New Zealand's only castle. Larnach's castle was beautifully renovated and had great views and gardens surrounding it. Dunedin also had the amazing tunnel walk. However, I realized it is much better to climb up for a view because you get a reward at the end, but having to climb up just to leave is not as pleasant. We also spent some more time at the beach and on top of Mount Cargill.







After Dunedin we headed towards Invercargill. The main stop here was Demolition World, which is a little village made out of a bunch of junk. It seemed like what my father would turn our back yard into if my mother let him have his ways, plus a bunch of mannequins (I don't know how many of those my dad would collect). There was so much stuff and it captured a lot of New Zealand's history. Plus it only cost $1NZD! The creator's wife was there when we stopped and she convinced us that we needed to make our way down the road to the Bluff's, as we were so close. The Bluff's is the lowest point on the southern island. Here we went to the top of a mountain and spent some time on a beach, before heading back into Invercargill.









Our last day we spent driving back to Queenstown, walking around the downtown area,a dn going to an underwater observatory. I absolutely loved the diving ducks! Although the trip was wonderful, I was ready to get back "home" to sleep in my own bed and wash my clothes!






Here are some more pictures:

 The snow just as we were flying out! This was the first snowfall I have experienced in NZ.


I LOVED the vehicle their postmen/women drive! Cracks me up every time I see these vehicle. 

Little sea creature that had washed ashore from the Southern Ocean

Always have to get a picture of Coke stuff!

Atop the Mt. Cargill.

Beaches near Dunedin


Wildlife preserve.



More from the tunnel walk. 





Churches in Duendin


More of the Larnach's castle, which is now privately owned. However, the original owners had a dark past filled with death!





The best water spout ever.








More at Moeraki boulders




Oamaru


Inside the Chirstchurch Botanical Gardens






More of Chirstchurch



Leaving a bit of Purdue and Nebraska spirit on Bruce Bay.



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