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New Zealand’s South Island (Part 1)

I don’t do many ‘proper’ journey guides. Most of this weblog is about how you can dwell geo-independently, how to attain eudaemonia and some poorly made jokes thrown in to keep you awake. As a travel weblog, I do very few tourist guides. The reason for this is straightforward. I’m a nomad, and nomads aren’t vacationers.

But for 18 days, I went on holiday with my mother and father to New Zealand. We drove all around the south island of latest Zealand. Our invented itinerary is, with no false modesty, the perfection of vacation planning. There isn’t any theoretical better route around New Zealand’s south island. I’m about to make a lot of money on this itinerary, but earlier than I do, I give it to you, freed from charge, as a result of I like you.

If reading about different people’s holidays bores you to tears (I personally hate it), then be happy to skip on to one thing extra universally attention-grabbing. But if you want to discover New Zealand or see me in thrilling terror, look no additional!

(I cut up this publish in two because because of its length. This submit options the first nine days.)
Day 1: Arrival, i-Sites and Accommodation

We arrived in Christchurch with nothing booked. Turns out that there was not a single room out there in Christchurch, and thus we had to quickly rent a car and begin our street trip instantly, driving to the small city of Methven the place we slept the primary evening.

Mum, dad and i arriving in Christchurch.
Don’t be alarmed. For the remainder of the journey, we by no means had a problem rolling into city and finding a motel instantly. In truth, booking too much of anything prematurely is a fake stone island for sale poor thought because it leaves you inflexible to alter your itinerary as you go alongside. You want to depart yourself free to flee a place early if the pitchforks come out or keep longer should you fall in love with one thing or somebody.

Your first place to visit in Christchurch and each other place you go by in New Zealand is the local i-SITE. These are vacationer information locations, and they are indispensable. They help you discover the perfect each city has to offer, and can help e book just about everything from a lodge to a hooker. (Okay, perhaps not the latter, though I didn’t ask…)

Day 2: Mount Cook, Lakes and the Tasman Glacier
Two things are important when travelling New Zealand: spare digicam batteries and a car. Rent or purchase one, but get a car. You need to be able to cease at all the gorgeous scenery as well as some odd museums alongside the best way.

One such museum is the Geraldine Vintage Car and Equipment Museum. If you’re into old cars and entrepreneurial machines, this place shall be heaven. My highlights have been the Harley with a facet-mounted hearse and the outdated gypsy wagon. (I may so see myself living my nomadic life out of that previous thing!)

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

A glacier is sort of a frozen river, slowly flowing down a mountain valley until it melts into a normal river or lake. The Tasman glacier is finest viewed from boat going up the glacier lake to the terminal face, the wall of ice the place the glacier ends. In case you are fortunate, elements of the glacier can have fallen off recently and created child icebergs.

It’s also possible to do a straightforward 20 minutes’ stroll to the Mueller Lookout, providing views of two different glaciers, a glacial lake and a cute little bridge.

Day three: Moeraki Boulders and Dunedin
Your subsequent destination is the city of Dunedin. Alongside the best way, cease by the strange Moeraki Boulders. These large, virtually perfectly round, boulders mysteriously litter a beach simply previous Hampden. They take little time to see and they are value the extra mile.

Dunedin is the namesake metropolis of Edinburgh and you can sense the town’s Scottish heritage. Notable stuff to see in Dunedin is the beautiful train station, the botanical garden and Baldwin Road, the supposedly steepest road on the planet. (San Franciscans claim they have it, but come on! You can’t be as cool as San Francisco and quibble over who has the steepest street. 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 several kids and wives die on him, and he shot himself after his oldest son had an affair with his last spouse. Oh, and the son killed himself too. The castle is small, lovely and blessed with stunning views of the Otago peninsula from the tower.

Continue to the edge of the peninsula to see the 2 extremes of latest Zealand birds. The albatross is the biggest fowl around, spanning 3.5 meters wingspan. There’s a rare colony of albatrosses right here on the peninsula that you would be able to go to. The blue penguin is the smallest penguin on this planet and may after all not fly wherever. They waddle nicely, nevertheless, and you can see them waddle up from the sea at dusk to tend their chicks.

Day 5: Caitlin’s Coast, A Lost Gypsy Bus and an Historic Petrified Forest
Hope your car is comfortable as a result of at the moment we drive the Caitlin’s Coastline, shifting from the east coast to the west coast via the south coast. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of awesome stuff to cease and take a look at on the approach to Te Anau.

The primary few stops are nice, but not superb. The Nugget Lighthouse stands atop some dramatic cliffs. It’s a nice walk and value a glance. The Puranakaunui Falls are nice wanting falls situated a brief stroll by means of a rain forest. Again, nothing spectacular, but definitely worth the stops.

The Gypsy Bus is easy to overlook. It’s not mentioned 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. Coming into his domain is like walking into a magical world. Most of the little machines are interactive and come alive once 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 previous. I hope you gasped once you read that, in any other case return and re-learn it. 170,000,000 years outdated. Examine that with Christianity, an infant at a mere 2,000 years old. This 0.17 giga-year fossil was created when a volcanic eruption flooded a forest bank with silica mud. The whole lot beneath the surface petrified by way of silification, literally turning tree to stone.

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

The first 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 by means of glaciation, which is the case here. However who cares how they had been created; they are stunningly beautiful in any case.

Uncertain Sound is remote, and the tour there goes across the Manapouri lake after which over a gravel street by mountains and previous a hydro plant (which you enter as a part of the tour), so despite the boat trip through the sounds taking solely three hours, you’ll be gone all day.

In the night, you possibly can take another boat to a local glow worm cave. I wrote about glow worms earlier than when i visited the Waitomo caves on New Zealand’s north island. There are fewer worms within the Te Anaui cave, but the cave itself is amazing to walk by way of. It is an ‘active’ cave with a lot of water dashing by means of canals and down waterfalls. In truth, I enjoyed the cave more than the glow worms.

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

The highway itself to Milford is definitely worth the journey, even with out the fjord. It goes via spectacular changing scenery, from fields by way of forest and up mountain passes. There is even a tunnel.

Milford Sounds is far simpler to get onto than Doubtful. Just drive up to the terminal and grab the primary finest boat. They depart each 15 minute or so. Milford Sounds is a bit narrower, steeper and shorter than Doubtful Sounds. It is much of a muchness which one you see, in the event you solely see one.

You’ve got simply enough time in someday to do Milford Sounds from Te Anau after which 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 proper out of control. The main thing is still bungee leaping, but I tried two different things.

Need to get into the Queenstown swing of things The Nevis Swing is the latest Queenstown activity, a brand new model of the bungee leap. 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 upside down. Sufficient speak. This one is finest explained by means of a video. (Please disregard the incoherent blabbering about the final scene of Batman; I was on an adrenaline excessive.)

The swing is fun, but it is over quickly. You don’t have time to commit the expertise to reminiscence, so consider if you wish to spend that sort of cash.

Jet boating involves a jet boat (duh) and a narrow river. You zoom alongside the river and giggle with horror because the ‘captain’ drives inches from the cliff faces lining the river, often throwing the whole boat into reverse and doing a 360-diploma pinhead flip. There are three companies doing this, having purple, yellow and orange boats. Go along with the crimson one as they ‘own’ probably the most thrilling (see: dangerous) part of the river.

If risking life/sanity will not be your thing, there are a few much less excessive pleasures to be had in Queenstown. How a few spherical of Frisbee golf by means of the botanical garden 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 principal street, old buildings and attention-grabbing remains of a Chinese language settlement from the times of the gold rush.

The highway from Arrowtown to Wanaka goes over a mountain and offers spectacular views. Wanaka itself is equally beautiful, mainly because of the lake on which shores the town lies. For really spectacular views of the lake and the city, drive as much as the close by Rippon winery. While there, strive the native wine.

Probably the most enjoyable you’ll have right this moment, you’ll have at Puzzling World. The illusion rooms will twist your senses until you’ll believe anything, after which it’s time to problem yourself to the grand maze. Do you think that mazes are only difficult for kids Good. Go embarrass yourself. I practically didn’t make it out once more. Finally, drag your tattered pride to the bathroom and elevate your spirit with the humorous mural in there.