Be warned! This is a long reading of my travels. You might just skip a few lines or just look at the photos 🙂
We said our goodbyes in Fox Glacier as Jacqueline (the Swiss girl from Fox) and I hopped on the bus to Wanaka: 5,5 hours this time. Or probably 4 if we didn’t stop every half an hour for 15-30 minutes. In Wanaka I stayed at Ash’s place, my first Couch Surfing experience. It was about 20 minutes walking from the city centre. I took a taxi, didn’t want to carry my backpack and stuff. 10 NZ$, good deal to me. The house was empty, nothing personal at all. Weird. I opened some closed doors and luckily I saw some clothes on the beds so it must be okay. I grabbed my back and walked back to the city.
Jacqueline and I met at the waterfront of Lake Wanaka again and for the first time since I left Wellington we decided not to cook and get some Thai takeaways. We got a bottle of wine with it and had a nice dinner with a view of the lake!
When I got back at the house the others had arrived as well. There were 2 other people staying there as well. Peter, a Tsjech living in America and an Azian guy that I can’t remember the name of. Turned out Ash, the host, just moved in last weekend and his stuff arrives next weekend. That explained everything 🙂
The next day was perfect. I decided to go for a short run. 4k, just to explore the neighbourhood. I took a path leading up to a plantation and when I arrived I got curious about what was after those hills so I walked a bit further. Gorgeous views and no one else except me. The sun was out, a little breeze, couldn’t wish for anything better. I looked at Maps on my phone and I was almost on another side of the lake already so I just kept on walking. Arriving at the lake side I was smiling from ear to ear. Beautiful. The sound of the water on the little rocks, a couple of ducks swimming towards me and greeting me by waggling all around me (they were probably just looking for food, but okay haha). I decided to walk alongside the lake back to the centre. Every bay was different and all stunning. My smile kept growing and I didn’t even feel the soreness in my legs anymore. What a perfect day. Back home Ash was also already back so we were going for a swim in the pool of the resort, enjoyed the hot tub and I kicked his ass with table football, what else do you need 😉
Milford sound – cloudy times
A 10-hour bus ride for a 1,5 hour boat cruise. Why not! In good company luckily, Romain the French guy also went on the same trip. On the way to Milford Sound we stopped at the overcrowded ‘Mirror Lake’, but still it was pretty cool. It became very cloudy the closer we got to the boat in Milford Sound and the temperature was dropping down fast, so I was glad I brought some warm clothes. The fiords were impressive, but I must admit that I expected a bit more of it after all the crazy enthusiastic recommendations of fellow travellers. A cool thing was that the boat stopped really close at a waterfall so you could get totally soaked if you wanted to. And there was free coffee and tea ;).
On the way back I learned some new tricks to finally finish an expert level of Sudoku – finished my first one yesterday! – and there was playing a NATIVE movie with Anthony Hopkins in the leading role. Haha, how native can it be right? Back home we hopped in the car to buy some Thai Curry. I was supposed to cook, but Romain took it over already in the supermarket haha and we ended up with curry for at least 5 persons. A real good one though!
Feeling royal in Queenstown
As I told before all the hostels were already fully booked on Saturday. So I asked a friend that lives in the north of New Zealand if he knew anybody in Queenstown and luckily a friend of his did! So I stayed with Helen and Markus (a Dutch guy) that night. Helen was so nice, she picked me and my stuff up from the hostel and went to their house in Sunshine Bay. They have a wee boy (yes, a new word to my English vocabulary: wee means little), Bobby. He’s really the cutest kid!! Sometimes it happens that children just don’t like new people, but not this one! He was ‘directing’ me to sit next to him on the couch and he used my arms and legs as a road for his little truck, showed me his little clogs and all the other toys. I was sold, and decided to stay for 2 more nights :)!
That afternoon I walked back into the centre alongside the coastline. Normally it would take you about 30/40 minutes, but I think it took me 1,5 hours. After every 10 meters I stopped and enjoyed the views and the sun. Stunning!! And of course a selfie had to me made 😉 In Queenstown there was a little market and live music at a little park. I missed my sarong that I forget from the hostel in Nelson, so I decided to search for a new one. Found it! Too bad they aren’t as cheap here as in Asia, but okay. When I came back to the house we had the left over curry from the day before (thanks Romain!) and talked all night with Markus while Helen had to do some work still.
On Sunday I walked from Sunshine Bay all the way to the top of the Gondola. A beautiful but exhausting hike in the heat. But I got rewarded with -again- a gorgeous view over the city. There are some really cool mountain bike trails, I wish I could do that with all the ramps! Since the weather was still great and the gondola would cost me 20 NZD to get down again I walked back on the Tiki Trail. Again very nice, and luckily less exhausting going down.
Since Romain was back in town and it was his birthday the day after we invited him to join us for a nice BBQ. And although I spent already 3 nights in Queenstown, I hadn’t been into the city at night to have some drinks. So that’s what we did! Kind of hungover the next day we weren’t able to doing anything too active, so disc (frisbee) golf it was. And that’s honestly really fun to do! I’ve never seen it before, we should get more of those courses in the Netherlands. And a visit to Queenstown is of course not complete if you didn’t try the world famous Fergburger, so we did. With pineapple for me. Takes you about an hour waiting but okay..Yum! Although I’m not a big burger expert, I can say it was pretty good!
The next long bus ride was from Queenstown to Christchurch. The Intercity bus was already fully booked, so I took the Naked bus. And due to the aircon that didn’t work that name became the truth in the back of the bus where I sat. Man, it was hot! Some girls just sat there in their bras haha. The bus driver decided to drive with the door open, so that helped a little. Luckily the bus ride only took us 9 hours and we stopped at some really nice places!
Christchurch itself is devastated by an earthquake and there is still not much to do and see. Especially on a Tuesday night, even though you’d think there would be lots of other backpackers since all the hostels were fully booked. After 9 pm we saw maybe 20 other people in the bars and that’s not exaggerated. The next day the weather wasn’t that nice, so I stayed in the hostel to write my blog and upload some photos – yup, that was already a week ago.
The next day I decided to explore Christchurch a bit more during daytime and with sun and although it still was ’empty’ with lots of construction work going on, it changed my opinion about the city in a positive way. I went to the botanical garden – with really nice smelling roses – and to the Restart Mall where I bought some souvenirs. It’s not actually a mall, but a bunch of containers with shops, little coffee bars or other snacks.
Kayaking in Kaikoura
Kaikoura, what to say about Kaikoura! Four days of total relaxation in a great hostel (Albatross, highly recommended!) and with great company (Julie, see you next year!). We went kayaking to see some seals, and to our surprise we saw Dolphins swimming right next to our kayak and a little penguin popped up in front of us! And a perfect day deserves a perfect ending: a big BBQ with all the people from the hostel: top!
And that’s where my trip on the South Island ended! Already in the north now where I met Daan, Megan and the kids again which was really really nice. One night was way too short, but so much things to see and so little time! So now I’m in Waipukarau (or as they prefer: Y’Puk, you know as we call Veendam V’town ;)) at a friends place (little village 30 minutes from Hastings) to travel further up north the next 1,5 week. More about that later!! I’m sitting here in the sun on the veranda with my iPad, Bennicks father just brought me another beer so I’ll stop writing and start begin social again 🙂