I’m back with the next stop on my round the world super exciting travel extravaganza!!! For the previous instalment, head over to my post about New Zealand – North Island BUT NOT YET read this one first, or at least pop back!!!!
So our South Island adventures began after a lovely little ferry ride over the Cook Strait and a coach trip to Kaiteriteri – the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park and thats all its got going for it. Our day kayaking around the National Park fun! We met Neil the Seal who swam right around our boats and we explored secluded private beaches! It was pretty, but it didn’t amaze me. That being said, it was a cloudy day so perhaps we didn’t see it at its best. Westport was next and I have no idea why we stopped there – I think it was just to break up a long journey. We had a nice bonfire on the beach but lets be honest, you can do that pretty much anywhere. We did stop off at the beautiful Nelson Lakes on the way there though and jumped into the FREEZING glacial waters which certainly a thrilling experience.
Next stop was Lake Mahinapua – again a completely pointless stop, don’t go. The only reason we visited was because its a Kiwi Experience tradition to have a massive fancy-dress p@$s-up there.
On to Franz-Josef – home to the world famous Franz-Josef Glacier. I was dead excited for this, we had our helicopter trip booked and everything. We arrived, had our safety talk and the heavens opened. The heavens remained open for our entire 2 and a half days there. No helicopter trip for us. Luckily, we did manage to steal a quick glance of the glacier in-between the clouds and it is indeed very impressive. I’d definitely recommend visiting and doing the helicopter tour if you’re able! The town of Franz-Josef is lovely for a little nosey around too.
On to Wanaka which boasts a beautiful big lake, touristy shops and bars and the most amazing place in New Zealand – Puzzling World. Oh my goodness what a wonderful place. Full to the brim with puzzles, illusions, a giant maze and more – I could have spent an entire day here easily. There were even puzzles in the cafe and toilets it was honestly everything I ever dreamed of in a day out – I LOVED IT.
Queenstown was next and lets be honest, have you really done NZ if you haven’t been to Queenstown? Its known as the adventure capital of New Zealand and for good reason – you can literally do anything here. Skydiving, Cable Cars, Bungee Jumping, Speedboating, Cycling – you name it and you can probably do it in Queenstown. Not only is it fun, but its also absolutely stunning. You could easily spend over a week here and still have things to do! Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to grab a famous Fergburger – they’re definitely worth the ridiculously long queue to get one.
I took a day trip to the Milford Sound from Queenstown. If i’m completely honest I think its a bit over-rated. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely beautiful and the journey there through Fjordland is gorgeous (possibly just as gorgeous as the actual Milford Sound) but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe its just too hyped up?
Next stop Lake Pukaki followed by Lake Tekapo. Wow. These 2 left me speechless. I have never seen water such a glistening bright vibrant blue in my life. Lake Pukaki has the added bonus of the stunning Mount Cook as a backdrop – picture perfect if I ever did see it.
My last adventure of the trip was swimming with wild dolphins in Kaikoura. What an incredible experience!!! The waters around Kaikoura are truly infested with incredible wildlife – seals, dolphins and whales to name a few. Swimming with them was truly extraordinary. I can’t even describe how many dolphins were swimming around our boat and they were real performers too!! Jumping and flipping non-stop, such a privilege to witness. I wish my wallet would have allowed a whale trip too as I heard that was equally as incredible! Kaikoura itself is an absolutely gorgeous seaside town with brilliant blue waters and glorious views – not to be missed.
Finally, our last few days were spent in Christchurch. I was surprised by how little the city had recovered from the 2010 earthquakes. As you walk through the city, there is a reminder with every step. There are a few re-build projects around the city which are cool and New Regent Street is lovely but I didn’t love Christchurch – it lacked heart for me. I wouldn’t recommend more than a day here.
Well that turned into a bit of an essay didn’t it!!! I loved New Zealand and I’m sure I’ll be back one day. Have you been or are you going?? Lets chat! Comment down below or join me on twitter and instagram!!
Don’t forget to check out my New Zealand – North Island post and I’ll be posting a little Kiwi Experience review next week!!
In the meantime, here’s my video montage!