There are quite a lot of rocks lining the front yard of my parents place. We used to have a little pond in our front yard and my brother and I used to throw these rocks into it. When my parents decided to drain the pond and pave it over, they found a heap of rocks at the bottom and were confused about how they got there. My brother and I just shrugged as if to say, “We don’t know how they got there”.
Day 16 – Auckland to Cathedral Cove to Auckland
We finally found a beach that has sand instead of rocks, just like an Australian beach. We tried our hand at sea kayaking and we surprisingly worked well as a team. It was a bit of hard work and the husband would call me a slacker every time I needed a break. The guides were really good, gave us good instructions and were very knowledgeable. It was quite windy the further our we got from shore. I almost lost my hat, but thanks to my lightning fast reflexes (usually they’re pretty slow and lazy so it was surprising) I managed to rescue it. It was a beautiful way to see Cathedral Cove.
After grabbing some lunch we headed down to Cathedral Cove the old fashioned way, which involved a bit of walking in the heat. I didn’t take the SLR because I was worried about all the sand, and I even put my phone in a glad bag because the husband freaked me out about the sand scratching up the screen. It was a shame, but I also quite like not taking photos and just enjoying the experience. I think part of me just wants to take photos because my memory is rubbish and photos help me to remember exactly what it was like to be there.
We also tried the hot water beach, but we went at the wrong time for it. We took a stroll along the beach but it was windy and the sand kept whipping up like sandpaper. At least my legs were nice and exfoliated in a really painful kind of way!
Day 9 – Franz Joseph to Punakaiki to Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura
Today was another big day of driving so it was an early start. We drove up the west coast to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks. They’ve got an interesting formation that looks like slabs of rocks stacked on top of each other. We just so happend to get there around high tide so we could see the cool blowholes. It was a bit of a detour to get there, but it was well worth the visit. I like rocks, but the husband usually doesn’t so much (scarred by having to do earth science at uni maybe?), but even these rocks he said he found really interesting.
We then headed to the east coast towards Kaikoura. We drove through the mountains and through an area called Lewis Pass and through Hanmer Springs, which was covered with all these yellow flowers or broom, which looked very pretty, but I’m sure was just a weed. We stopped at a rest stop of lunch, and it just to happened that it was the only rest stop that didn’t have a table. So we just sat in the boot.
Kaikoura is a very pretty little coastal town and still no sandy beaches, just rocks. We headed out to see some seals on the peninsula, which paid no attention to us at all. It was a long but good day, and the best thing was that we can see sheep from our motel!
Day 7 – Twizel to Haast Pass to Franz Josef
Today was another long driving day, which means plenty of opportunities to take photos when I wasn’t sleeping. I have to take travel sickness pills, but they make me so sleepy. At least it’s better than the alternative of throwing up all over the husband. I don’t think he’d really appreciate that.
We drove past Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka and up into Haast Past, which is full of lovely winding roads. We stopped off a few times to do some walking and see waterfalls. It’s very pretty, even that giant hill we climbed up to get to the lookout of Haast Pass. We had some lunch in a cheap dodgy looking diner, but my bacon and eggs were amazing.
We saw some of the coast as well, no sand, just rocks, and encountered a little bit of rain. Today’s photo was taken driving along the west coast coming out of Haast Pass.
Franz Josef was such a pretty little town. We headed to walk up to the glacier, which you can’t really get that close to unless you’re on a guided tour, which makes sense because there are so many rock falls and stories of careless travellers getting injured or even killed there. It was still very pretty.
One of the things we had noticed today was that we hadn’t come across a single traffic light since we’d been here. Everything is well signed give way signs, roundabouts etc. I can’t believe it took us so long to notice. I suppose where we had been driving was all small towns though, so not that surprising.
Day 3 – Te Anau to Queenstown
We drove back to Queenstown and enjoyed another great day of weather. We keep hearing about the rain in New Zealand, but apart from the tiny bit of drizzle on our first day, it’s been nothing but perfect. I don’t think I packed for this weather as I was expecting it to be much wetter and cooler.
We stopped off at a few lookouts, saw lots of cute sheep, drove through a red tussock grass reserve, which reminded me of something out of Dr Seuss. I can’t believe how clear and blue the water is around here. It’s so amazing.
We had lunch in Queenstown and took a wander around the gardens before meeting up with our guide for our Segway tour. Our guide, funnily enough, was from Adelaide. I’m beginning to notice that most people are on working holidays and we’ve met very few locals. I thought going on a Segway would be tough, but it was actually really easy and heaps of fun.
I have also discovered my new favourite New Zealand food, which is home made creme brulee fudge. It’s so amazing that I almost inhaled it, which my husband thought would be cute to name me the Greedy Fudge Monster.
When we went to check into our hotel, we were informed that they had overbooked the hotel because of a conference. However, we got upgraded to their sister hotel, which was nicer, better, and was closer to town. We don’t often have much luck, in fact lots of things that happen to us make me feel like we’re just a complete disaster, but this was pretty lucky.
We walked out to town for dinner and then had a walk along the shoreline after picking up some more fudge. Yes, it’s that good and highly addictive.
The photo of the day was taken at one of the lookouts on our drive. I’m pretty annoyed about that giant speck of dust on the sensor, but it can’t be helped and I’m not game enough to clean it myself, so there it will stay for the rest of the trip.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Auckland to Queenstown to Te Anau
It was a late flight and I managed to get some sleep. Unfortunately we had a 3 hour layover in Auckland, but we made the most of it by getting breakfast (at 3am Melbourne time and 5am local time), doing some reading and getting some sleep in the terminal. Well, I slept, but the husband can’t sleep anywhere the way I can.
We got to Queenstown, which was quite a lovely airport, picked up our bags, picked up our rental car and headed into Queenstown for some lunch, souvlaki in the park. I tasted my first L & P, lemon and paeroa, which is a New Zealand lemon drink that I quite enjoyed. Then we set off to Te Anau, our first stop.
I just can’t get over how beautiful everything is in New Zealand. It’s so pretty just driving along the roads, with the green meadows and mountains and huge lakes and cute sheep, except the birds here are much more tame and unfortunately I suffered my first bird hit of the trip =(
We had dinner in town and then drove out to Manapouri Lake since it was still early and light. It feels like it takes forever for the sun to set here, and I even questioned if we had adjusted our clocks correctly.
It was a long but lovely day and a nice start to the trip. The photo was taken just outside our motel in a little field. I know the husband makes fun of me, but I quite like rocks. We also have sheep just across the road! Sheep!
I finished a half day of work today and it was such a beautiful day. I walk past this retaining wall with moss every day and think “I should take a photo of that” but I always forget, or I’m running late, or it’s dark when I’ve finished. Today was the day. It’s such a pretty colour.