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New Zealand’s South Island (Part 1)

I don’t do many ‘proper’ travel guides. Most of this blog is about the way to dwell geo-independently, how to achieve eudaemonia and a few poorly made jokes thrown in to maintain you awake. As a journey blog, I do very few tourist guides. The reason for this is straightforward. I’m a nomad, and nomads are usually not tourists.

But for 18 days, I went on holiday with my parents to New Zealand. We drove all across the south island of recent Zealand. Our invented itinerary is, with no false modesty, the perfection of holiday planning. There isn’t a theoretical higher route around New Zealand’s south island. I’m about to make some huge cash on this itinerary, but before I do, I give it to you, free of cost, because I really like you.

If studying about other people’s holidays bores you to tears (I personally hate it), then be at liberty to skip on to something more universally interesting. However in order for you to discover New Zealand or see me in thrilling terror, look no further!

(I split this submit in two as a result of attributable to its length. This publish options the first 9 days.)
Day 1: Arrival, i-Websites and Accommodation

We arrived in Christchurch with nothing booked. Turns out that there was not a single room obtainable in Christchurch, and thus we needed to quickly rent a automotive and start our highway trip immediately, driving to the small town of Methven the place we slept the first night time.

Mum, dad and that i arriving in Christchurch.
Don’t be alarmed. For the remainder of the journey, we never had an issue rolling into city and finding a motel instantly. The truth is, booking a lot of anything in advance is a poor thought as it leaves you inflexible to change your itinerary as you go along. You want to depart yourself free to escape a place early if the pitchforks come out or stay longer when you fall in love with something or someone.

Your first place to go to in Christchurch and each other place you move by in New Zealand is the native i-SITE. These are vacationer data places, and they are indispensable. They assist you discover the very best each city has to supply, and may also help e book nearly all the things from a resort to a hooker. (Okay, possibly not the latter, although I didn’t ask…)

Day 2: Mount Cook, Lakes and the Tasman Glacier
Two things are essential when travelling New Zealand: spare digital camera batteries and a automobile. Rent or buy one, but get a automotive. You need to have the ability to cease at all the gorgeous surroundings as well as some odd museums along the way.

One such museum is the Geraldine Vintage Automotive and Machinery Museum. If you are into outdated automobiles and entrepreneurial machines, this place will be heaven. My highlights were the Harley with a facet-mounted hearse and the previous gypsy wagon. (I may so see myself dwelling my nomadic life out of that previous thing!)

Drive south alongside the japanese facet of latest Zealand’s mountain chain. You’ll pass two beautiful mountain lakes. Make a fast stop at the lonely church at Lake Tekapo and the observatory on the hill, then continue previous Lake Pukaki (not to be confused with Lake Bukaki, which is in Japan) as much as Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. This can be dwelling to the Tasman Glacier, the country’s longest glacier.

A glacier is like a frozen river, slowly flowing down a mountain valley until it melts into a normal river or lake. The Tasman glacier is greatest considered from boat going up the glacier lake to the terminal face, the wall of ice where the glacier ends. In case you are lucky, elements of the glacier may have fallen off just lately and created baby icebergs.

You may also do a straightforward 20 minutes’ stroll to the Mueller Lookout, offering views of two other glaciers, a glacial lake and a cute little bridge.

Day 3: Moeraki Boulders and Dunedin
Your subsequent vacation spot is the city of Dunedin. Along the way, stop by the strange Moeraki Boulders. These large, virtually perfectly spherical, boulders mysteriously litter a seashore just past Hampden. They take little time to see and they are value the extra mile.

Dunedin is the namesake metropolis of Edinburgh and you may sense the town’s Scottish heritage. Notable stuff to see in Dunedin is the gorgeous prepare station, the botanical backyard and Baldwin Road, the supposedly steepest road on the earth. (San Franciscans declare they have it, but come on! You can’t be as cool as San Francisco and quibble over who has the steepest avenue. Let poor ol’ Dunedin have it!)

Day four: The Otago Peninsula, Tragic Castles, Albatrosses and Penguins
Earlier than you leave Dunedin, try the Otago peninsula. Take the high street out, following a tall ridge and stop by Larnach Castle. What the castle lacks in size it makes up in tragedy. (I do know; bum deal.) The proprietor had a number of youngsters and wives die on him, and he shot himself after his oldest son had an affair along with his last wife. Oh, and the son killed himself too. The castle is small, stunning and blessed with beautiful views of the Otago peninsula from the tower.

Proceed to the edge of the peninsula to see the two extremes of new Zealand birds. The albatross is the largest chicken around, spanning three.5 meters wingspan. There is a rare colony of albatrosses right here on the peninsula you can go to. The blue penguin is the smallest penguin on the planet and can in fact not fly wherever. They waddle properly, nonetheless, and you can see them waddle up from the sea at dusk to tend their chicks.

Day 5: Caitlin’s Coast, A Misplaced Gypsy Bus and an Historical Petrified Forest
Hope stone island woodhouse your car is comfy because as we speak we drive the Caitlin’s Coastline, transferring from the east coast to the west coast via the south coast. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of superior stuff to stop and take a look at on the option to Te Anau.

The primary few stops are good, however not wonderful. The Nugget Lighthouse stands atop some dramatic cliffs. It’s a pleasing walk and price a look. The Puranakaunui Falls are nice wanting falls positioned a short walk via a rain forest. Once more, nothing spectacular, but worth the stops.

The Gypsy Bus is straightforward to miss. It’s not talked about in any guidebooks and if it weren’t for a helpful lady at an i-SITE, we would have missed this priceless gem. The gypsy is a mad inventor of ingenious little machines and a real artist. Entering his domain is like strolling into a magical world. Most of the little machines are interactive and are available alive whenever you wind their tiny cranks. Pure magic and an unexpected joy! Made me feel like I had sidestepped into Burning Man. To not be missed!

The petrified tree stumps by Curio Bay is 170 million years outdated. I hope you gasped while you learn that, in any other case go back and re-learn it. 170,000,000 years previous. Evaluate that with Christianity, an infant at a mere 2,000 years old. This zero.17 giga-year fossil was created when a volcanic eruption flooded a forest bank with silica mud. All the things under the surface petrified by means of silification, literally turning tree to stone.

Day 6: Doubtful Sounds and Glow Worms
From Te Anau, there are two cool things to do.

The primary is a visit to Doubtful Sound, which isn’t a sound however a fjord. A fjord is an inlet from the sea right into a valley created via glaciation, which is the case here. However who cares how they were created; they are stunningly stunning in any case.

Doubtful Sound is distant, and the tour there goes throughout the Manapouri lake after which over a gravel road through mountains and past a hydro plant (which you enter as part of the tour), so despite the boat journey by the sounds taking solely three hours, you’ll be gone all day.

Within the evening, you possibly can take another boat to a neighborhood glow worm cave. I wrote about glow worms before when i visited the Waitomo caves on New Zealand’s north island. There are fewer worms in the Te Anaui cave, but the cave itself is amazing to walk by. It is an ‘active’ cave with numerous water rushing via canals and down waterfalls. In reality, I enjoyed the cave greater than the glow worms.

Day 7: Milford Sounds
Another day, another misnamed fjord, this time Milford Sounds.

The highway itself to Milford is well worth the journey, even without the fjord. It goes by spectacular changing surroundings, from fields by means of forest and up mountain passes. There is even a tunnel.

Milford Sounds is way easier to get onto than Doubtful. Simply drive as much as the terminal and grab the first greatest boat. They go away every 15 minute or so. Milford Sounds is a bit narrower, steeper and shorter than Doubtful Sounds. It is far of a muchness which one you see, if you only see one.

You may have simply enough time in someday to do Milford Sounds from Te Anau and then drive to Queenstown.

Day 8: Queenstown, Jet Boats and Bungee Swings
Queenstown is the adrenaline capital of the world. It was right here that bungee leaping was invented, and the craziness has since then spun right out of management. The main factor continues to be bungee jumping, but I tried two other issues.

Wish to get into the Queenstown swing of things The Nevis Swing is the newest Queenstown activity, a new version of the bungee jump. You fall 70 meters right into a zero.3km huge arc across a valley. You can do it sitting forward or backwards. I did it hanging the other way up. Sufficient discuss. This one is best defined through a video. (Please disregard the incoherent blabbering about the final scene of Batman; I used to be on an adrenaline excessive.)

The swing is fun, however it is over shortly. You don’t have time to commit the experience to memory, so consider if you want to spend that variety of cash.

Jet boating entails a jet boat (duh) and a slender river. You zoom along the river and giggle with horror as the ‘captain’ drives inches from the cliff faces lining the river, often throwing the whole boat into reverse and doing a 360-diploma pinhead turn. There are three corporations doing this, having pink, yellow and orange boats. Go along with the red one as they ‘own’ probably the most exciting (see: dangerous) a part of the river.

If risking life/sanity just isn’t your thing, there are a couple of less extreme pleasures to be had in Queenstown. How a couple of spherical of Frisbee golf by means of the botanical backyard Or visit the coolest lady ever buried

Day 9: Arrowtown, Wanaka, Puzzling World and Wine Views
Arrowtown is a gold rush city with a cosy most important avenue, outdated buildings and interesting stays of a Chinese language settlement from the times of the gold rush.

The road from Arrowtown to Wanaka goes over a mountain and gives spectacular views. Wanaka itself is equally lovely, primarily as a result of lake on which shores town lies. For really spectacular views of the lake and the town, drive up to the close by Rippon winery. While there, attempt the local wine.

The most enjoyable you’ll have at the moment, you’ll have at Puzzling World. The illusion rooms will twist your senses till you’ll consider anything, and then it is time to challenge your self to the grand maze. Do you assume that mazes are solely challenging for youngsters Good. Go embarrass yourself. I nearly didn’t make it out once more. Lastly, drag your tattered pleasure to the bathroom and lift your spirit with the humorous mural in there.