Start a new Travel Blog! Blogabond Home Maps People Photos My Stuff

Sup's Reflective South Island

Christchurch, New Zealand

Arriving in to Picton in the late evening we were keen to find a close place to camp for the night. It wasn't until daylight the following day that we could appreciate the scenery we had unknowingly slept besides. We both knew that South Island was going to be special. The reflective waters of the South Island were a big winner with me, hence the number of reflective photos in this entry!

First up on our itinerary was Abel Tasman National Park. We set off on our journey, stopping along the way of course for photo opportunities and a picnic. I did get trigger happy with the camera and as a result we didn't make great time (but who can blame me when we were surrounded by such beautiful scenery?!).When we finally did make it to Abel Tasman the heavens decided to open (and not stop) so I donned my waterproofs and set off on a stomp feeling confident in my new waterproofs ability to live up to the challenge of keeping me dry. How wrong I could have been. I was drenched by the end of it but I enjoyed my coastal trek nonetheless.

Next up was a beast of a road trip travelling down to the west coast glaciers – Franz Joseph and Fox. We stopped off at the icy cold clear water Blue Pools along the way. The water is so clear the fish appear to be suspended in mid air.
New Zealand is famous for its clear water that reflects light, making a crystal clear mirror image, ie providing me with hours of photo fun. The weather was kinder to us on our visit to Fox glacier so we managed to capture better photos on that day. The glaciers were both as equally impressive although with Fox we climbed further up so we were able to see more of the ice formations. There were also some pools that allowed for some more reflective opportunities.

Moving on with no time to waste we made our way to Wanaka to get our biggest adrenaline fix yet... jumping out of a plane at 15,000ft attached to a complete stranger! The scenery in Wanaka was breath taking, gorgeous lakes surrounded by snow covered mountains. We were very lucky with the weather on our jump day, a little fog on our landing but otherwise perfect clear skies (We put our trust in the weather forecast and went down to Queenstown whilst we waited for the weather to clear).

The jump itself was crazy, the freefall was the most intense experience ever, very surreal indeed. If you haven't done a skydive and you are wandering what it feels like, it feels like what it looks like... like you are falling out the sky very fast! There is a complete contrast of calmness once the parachute opens and you begin to float through the air. I was of course very proud of Nic as she had always said it was something she would never do. We were recommended Wanaka by a number of people to do our skydive and I have to agree I don't think there was a better place to jump.

We also took a visit to Puzzling World which left our brains baffled. There were a number of illusion rooms, puzzle rooms and a monster maze. The tilted house room was a particular favourite of mine. The actual room was tilted at 15 degrees and when you step inside your brain is convinced the room cannot be sloped. As a result it straightens up the room making the displays appear as though they are hanging at impossible angles. The Ames Forced Perspective room was also pretty cool. The principle was used in Lord of the Rings to create the illusion of tall and short people in one setting.

Later that evening we found a place to park up and spend the night. We may have accidentally missed the 'no campervans allowed' sign on entry to the car park, however paid the price at about 4am when we were woken up by a security man banging on our van shouting 'I know you're in there'! Nic was apparently panicking, although she had to inform me later of her panic as I naturally slept through the whole escapade. The intruder announced that the police would be on their way and as he drove off, Nic finally managed to shake me into consciousness. Before I had a chance to fully wake up, she had dived into the front of our van, shoeless and wrapped in half our bedding, and the next thing I knew we were on our way to the nearest official campsite we could find. Eventful to say the least.

Queenstown was a cool little town surrounded by more magical scenery. Queenstown is close to some big ski resorts and although we are both keen to try out the slopes one day, we felt it would be better to save it for another trip when we have more time. Instead we thought we would give the tubing a try (basically sliding down the snow in a big rubber ring).
We set off on our 13km drive up the mountain to the ski resort which was pretty scary at some points (eg our van sliding on the ice towards the mountain edge with no barriers). Having made it up in one piece we found out that the tubing area was not opening for another month (after more snowfall). We were a little gutted but instead enjoyed some childlike fun in the knee deep snow. Making our way back down was just as eventful as going up, only this time we slid into the side of the mountain getting wedged in the snow. We had to get pulled out by the rescue truck. I think the moral of the story is don't go up ski resort mountains in the middle of winter in your campervan. They don't like it.

We stopped off for a walk around Lake Matheson, a lake famous for its crystal clear reflective waters. On clear days you can see the reflections of Mount Cook, although we could only see the bottom part of the mountain as it was a little cloudy higher up. Again it provided us with some great photo opportunities.

Continuing our journey we made our way down to Milford Sound, a beautiful area created by glacial geology many years ago. The area is actually a fiord as opposed to a Sound (Sounds are created by rivers and fiords by glacial geology). Rather than renaming the Sounds in the area they titled the whole area Fiordland.
The drive to Milford Sound was one of our greatest drives. The snow really gave a magical vibe to the whole area and again I was jumping out the van to take photos so it took us a while to get to our destination. It was worth it though! We booked ourselves onto a cruise of the Sound (with a 2 for 1 voucher we received with our campervan rental... back of the net!). We were lucky enough to see some fur seals and also a group of dolphins that came up and swam along side the boat, a dream come true for Nic!

Next up on our itinerary was a visit to Mount Cook – the highest mountain in all of Australasia. The park had so much snow covering the mountain landscape surrounding us. We embarked on a trek to the Mount Cook lookout point having numerous snow fights along the way (all of which I won!) The whole area was beautiful and we were very happy to have detoured off our original route to pay a visit. We had seen the mountain region on our skydive but to see it from below was a completely different experience.

With little time left in New Zealand we still had some distance to cover in order to fit everything in. A mega drive up to Hanmer Springs was in order, complete with a ton of chocolate to keep the driver happy(!) We had enjoyed the hot pools so much in Costa Rica we thought it was time for round two to see what New Zealand had to offer. Arriving late at night we followed directions to the local DOC campsite, much to our surprise we somehow ended up on an icy mountain again, only this time we didn't have our snow chains on, it was pitch black, there were no barriers at all and the road was only a little wider than our van. Brilliant. I directed Nic with her 7 point mountain turn and we made our way back down to find somewhere else to spend the night. It was both eventful and emotional. The next days relaxation at the springs was very much enjoyed and appreciated.

Our final stop before Christchurch was Kaikoura, a lovely little town on the coast. We were there to see the seal colony and we found a walking trail that would pass through a number of scenic points
along the way. It was a beautiful trail passing the coast, the seals, cliffs and farmland. As we were approaching the seal colony peninsular we saw a sign that suggested it was best not to try and move the seals and as we walked around the corner all became clear.

New Zealand was absolutely stunning. Both Nic and I agree that it is one of the best countries we have visited so far. I knew it was going to be awesome and it by far surpassed all of Nic's expectations. Winter was a perfect time to visit, not only was the scenery one magical wonderland, but there were also fewer tourists and cheaper rates throughout. New Zealand pat yourself on the back brother land, I take off my hat and raise a glass to you. Now it's time to raise the temperature, on to the last leg of our journey and the place I have most been looking forward to... Asia!!

permalink written by  SupandNic on July 25, 2010 from Christchurch, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Sup and Nic's World Tour!
Send a Compliment

The goosebumps I have been enjoying whilst reading this particular entry have been SO good, I am going to go & read it again!
Amazing pics guys...BRAVO
NZ rules :-)

permalink written by  John Noble on July 25, 2010

This was soooo amazing you have brought New Zealand alive ..your pics are awesome...I wanna go too !!!!

permalink written by  karen bolton on August 14, 2010

comment on this...
Previous: Nic's Natural & Inspiring North Island! Next: Singa-definitely not Poor!

SupandNic SupandNic
1 Trip
1065 Photos

After a crazy last month in the UK, hustling at car boot sales and on ebay, spreading joy to charity shops all over Reading and squeezing every last possession into any place we could find, we finally made it out with just one piece of hand luggage each and 2 immense backpacks - Black Thunder,...

trip feed
author feed
trip kml
author kml


Blogabond v2.40.58.80 © 2022 Expat Software Consulting Services about : press : rss : privacy
View as Map View as Satellite Imagery View as Map with Satellite Imagery Show/Hide Info Labels Zoom Out Zoom In Zoom Out Zoom In
find city: