New Zealand: South Island

On to the South Island already! I had a great time on the North, however everyone says the South is best- admittedly the choice of activities is definitely more fun here, too.

Abel Tasman

After a crisp 5am start to catch the ferry, our first stop was Abel Tasman.

A.T is a very quiet and peaceful beachy village, boasting the most sunlight of the whole of New Zealand (2,400 hours per year, to be precise). True to form, it was roastin’ hot and very sunny.

As it’s quite remote here and having arrived late in the afternoon, we decided to take advantage of the local pub for the evening. It was open mic night and it’s safe to say the acts did not disappoint. I say acts- only one band performed the entire evening. Two older gentlemen doing covers of classics- even featuring their own rendition of the Killing Me Softly remix. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the same without the sitar- who thought you’d ever hear that, right?

They were actually pretty good, but I couldn’t help get the feeling I’d seen them before…

He LOVED a piccy. If you haven’t already seen Hoodwinked, I would recommend at 3/5 stars- family fun for children of all ages.

Ron Burgundy showed up!

Franz Josef

A tragic turn of events (poor weather) meant my super cool ice caves helicopter trip got cancelled 😭 they’re in for a bad spell all week meaning it can’t be rearranged to fit in with my schedule ☹️ I’ll have to experience it vicariously through the photos online, however a lot of them are from 10 years ago and I have a sneaking suspicion it doesn’t look quite the same anymore. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway…

To numb the pain of cancellation, I spent the evening getting very drunk with my new bus pals (yay finally some friends!!!). All a great idea until you’re hiking to a glow worm cave the next morning, hungover/still drunk.

I really need to invest in some appropriate hiking attire.

Wanaka

Home of the famous tree growing solo out of the lake, I’d heard it was a must see part of the South Island.

We stopped off on the way at a little beach and skimmed some stones (my max was 2 skims- try harder).

Thumbs up if you like New Zealand

Shortly after, we arrived at Wanaka. It was beautiful! A very chilled little town surrounded by hills and snowy mountains.

I had planned to do the Roys Peak hike the following day, however the visibility was too poor to see anything at the top 😦 so I didn’t bother- a 6 hour hike with no reward of a view is so not me x

Wanaka is definitely one of the prettiest places I’ve been to so far and would definitely recommend visiting if you’re over this way.

Queenstown

Ok, Queenstown is great. Super beautiful whilst also being an actually decent town/city(ish), with great food and loads of things to do. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking a holiday home up here. Bowie had one, so you know it’s a pretty cool place.

Here it is

As we all know, bad things come in threes. First we had the Glacier Heli hike cancellation, and now I have unfortunately had to cancel my Bungy jump ☹️ I’m still gutted about this as I’d booked the bad boy 135m one (8 seconds free fall can you believe), but due to my v poor eyesight and sketchy retina’s, I was advised against it as the risk of going blind was too high ☺️ I’m around 80% sure it was for the best, but I’m still not over it.

I’m a little nervous over what the third (and hopefully final) bad thing is going to be, but considering I’ve already lost my favourite bikini bottoms AND gone over budget, I’m hoping it’s all up from here.

Queenstown for me generally consisted of exploring the town, going for boat rides on the lake, wine tastings, eating my bodyweight in pies and having a few too many in karaoke/ice bars.

I would recommend spending 4-5 days here if you have the time; however it is very expensive (as is the ENTIRE of New Zealand), so be aware you’ll be spending a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Help x

Milford Sound

The unofficial 8th wonder of the world. It really did live up to this, even on a gloomy, rainy day. They actually say it’s best in the rain, as you get so many temporary waterfalls that add to the effect.

The clouds look like eagle claws. Edgy.

It was huge. The boats in the photos really put into perspective how massive and breathtaking it was. We also saw some seals having a nap, which was very sweet.

On the way back, we stopped for a walk through the forest.

By the looks of these trees I wasn’t sure what was more likely; getting my shoe robbed by a babbling bumbling band of Baboons (try saying that 5x faster), or having a Leopard try to eat me. I don’t think the Baboons would have bothered given the state of my very sad converse, and no Leopards were in sight (probably just in super stealth mode and recognised I was already having a tough time post Bungy cancellation).

We live to fight another day.

Mount Cook

Standard New Zealand, it was very beautiful. Turquoise glacier lakes surrounded by snowy mountains; it really is stunning here.

Dinner with a view

As we arrived late afternoon and were leaving early in the morning, UNFORTUNATELY I couldn’t climb Mount Cook. Absolutely gutted about not being able to do a ridiculous amount of cardio, as you can imagine 💔 rest assured, I’ve already sent a strongly worded email to the bus company.

We did however go stargazing in the evening, which was lovely. We even saw 2 shooting stars, which made it all the better.

Christchurch

I had heard good things about Christchurch, so swapped my bus schedule to stay here for 3 nights. We finally got some decent weather that held out for more than 2 hours, so I was able to make the most of my exploring.

Naturally, my first port of call was the art galleries and museums. As per, they didn’t disappoint (Egyptian/Mummy section was very small however I’m willing to let that slide in exchange for the Antarctic exhibit).

This gave me a shock to say the least

I also visited the Botanical gardens, which were super pretty.

The following day I visited the oldest cinema in New Zealand- the Alice cinema. Blindly following the advice of Rotten Tomatoes, I chose Knives Out over Doctor Sleep; a fatal mistake and a colossal waste of time. 1/5 stars, would not recommend. Thankfully, it was only $12 (a cheap day out compared to Sydney prices of $29 😭 still reeling from the daylight robbery).

Kaikoura

My final stop ☹️ whilst it marks the imminent end of my trip, I was also most excited for this as it meant swimming with dolphins!! I’m so relieved that this activity didn’t follow suit with the others and get cancelled, as this was probably my favourite thing I’d booked.

However, first things first. I only went and bumped into Prince Charles on the bloody high street, didn’t I. He was here to thank the emergency responders for their work during the Earthquake not long ago, and his visit was a surprise to us all. I had half an apple turnover in my mouth, for God’s sake. Probably why he didn’t shake my hand ☹️

Sad that the seagull probably thought the parade was just for him ☹️

After an eventful day rubbing shoulders with royalty and nearly choking on my pastry, we headed to bed early to prep for the 5:30am Dolphin encounter the following day.

In order to attract the dolphins, you have to sing and make as much “nice noise” as you can. Against my better judgement, I thought it would be funny to sing the Jaws theme tune- before freaking myself out and stopping after one verse(?).

Clearly it worked though as there were hundreds! I’m still shocked by how curious they were and how close they came. They properly checked you out, swimming around you in circles and looking you dead in the eye. Apparently they like it when you copy them, which was harder than you’d think as they’re super fast.

I made a friend 🥰

Everyone “singing” through their snorkels basically just made it sound like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family had joined the excursion.

Swimming with wild dolphins in their natural habitat was an incredible experience and something I would recommend to everyone. It was such a nice way to sign off my time in New Zealand, and I’m so grateful there was such a good turnout!

NZ has been truly great and so much more beautiful than I thought it would be! I feel so lucky to have spent time here and to have made a pal for life! Shoutout to Matt, catch you in Boston some time x

The next 2 days consist of me heading back up to Auckland, ready for my flight to Singapore. Can’t wait to be in the sunshine, but I’m even more excited to get home and see everybody now.

Until next time, New Zealand. Charles, I’ll race you home x

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