I bet you've been waiting to see some holiday snaps from our holiday to New Zealand.... which now seems like a very long time ago!
We started off in Christchurch, arriving around 2am, and spent two days with my brother having a look around. I haven't been to Christchurch since I was 14, but I did remember that is was a beautiful city, with a tram in the CBD and a gondola in the hills. Well I under-estimated the impact of the earthquakes. The main one was over two years ago, so I thought it would be just about back to normal. Its not, and the tram and gondola are not running, but seeing the city for myself helped me to realise what my brother is going through as his city recovers. And there are still plenty of things to do and see there.
Here we are up in the Port Hills overlooking the harbour
that's as far as you can go along the Port Hills now
and then we found a craft brewery
and enjoyed some very nice beer
Then we picked up a campervan and spent eight days travelling around the south of the South Island. First stop was Mt Cook.
On the way to the Hooker Glacier from Mt Cook
and there's Mt Aspiring in the background (I think, oh I hope I haven't got the mountains all mixed up!)
On the way back along Lake Pukaki we found Peters lookout
and it was cold!
Then we headed to Dunedin to see my cousin, and stopped to pick up some cheese and some more cheese, and some stone fruit and some smoked salmon....
Dunedin was a BIG city and not great in the BIG campervan, so we were happy to move on and check out Milford Sound. We stayed there, right at Milford Sound in the carpark of the lodge. We like staying in weird places when we have a campervan. We did the boat trip out on the Sound and then we drove back around to Queenstown. I reckon the road was even more amazing than the boat trip!
Milford Sound "artistic shot"
The "Homer Tunnel" on the way to Milford Sound, its one way, so you have to wait at each end and there was SNOW visible from where we had to wait
This innocent little Kea bird tried to destroy our campervan at Milford Sound
Peter trying to see Australia from the end of Milford Sound :)
I didn't really take any photos in Queenstown. We weren't that impressed with it. Too many tourists! I just thought we should go there so that Pete would see what it was like seeing as everyone kept telling him how great it was. Not our kind of place at all. We took the highest highway in New Zealand from Queenstown to Wanaka via the Crown Range, which was an amazing view and little bit scary in the big campervan! And then we just kept going, one lake started to look like the last lake and we ended up crossing the Haast Pass. The West Coast was a real contrast, after going through all those tourist areas, suddenly there were hardly any towns or people between Haast and Fox Glacier.
we stopped in the pub at Haast for a feed of whitebait patties
Gillespies beach at Fox Glacier is beautiful, although the sign said "steep, narrow and windy for next 15km" and probably wasn't the smartest place to go in a giant campervan
we got up early, as usual, and were one of the first people up at Fox Glacier - don't pay $100 each or a guided tour, there is a perfectly good path to walk on!
From Fox Glacier we headed north to Hokitika, stopping at Franz Josef Glacier, and Ross. In Ross I bought a greenstone pendant from a local guy who works and sells out of his house opposite the museum. We talked to him for about an hour,about greenstones and triathalons and his pet goat, he was friendly and generous with his knowledge (and his homegrown tomatoes) and I'm so pleased to know I got a genuine piece of greenstone (he showed me the rock it came from and everything), here's his website if you're interested. At Hokitika we saw all the mass-produced greenstone shops, which is not as nice, and visited the kiwi-house. I LOVE seeing Kiwis, even though I generally don't agree with keeping any animals captivity (unless you're going to eat them of course). The South Island Kiwis are huge, like a big rooster size, so that was worth going for a look (unfortunately no photos though).
Steve's studio in Ross
The beach at Hokitika
And that was the end of another fabulous campervan tour as the next day we returned to the east coast via Arthur's pass and stayed near Amberley at Leithfield Beach (and stopped at the Brew Moon Cafe there too, nice beer!).
I was getting homesick and there's duck were helping me clean out the last of our food as we packed up. They reminded me of my chickens!
We returned the campervan the next morning and got on a plane to Wellington to spend some time with my family and friends. Three highlights were a visit to Otaki Beach, meeting Emma from Craving Fresh and here lovely family, and dinner with friends at "Big Bad Wolf" in Wellington, which specialises in different sausages.
with Emma from Craving Fresh
Dinner at Big Bad Wolf
Even though there were lots of beach scenes, we didn't go swimming once, it was freezing! But we had a lovely relaxing time, with lots of good food and good company. And then we were back in the heat and humidity and green of a late Queensland summer. And back to work and now it feels like we never had a holiday at all, so its good to keep looking at the photos!