40 Highlights From A Week In New Zealand’s South Island

It’s been a month since we left the land of the long white cloud. And with the craziness of Christmas upon us, I’ve had little time to reminisce about our last week in New Zealand, when we took a road trip around the magnificent South Island.

After scrolling through the hundreds of photos I couldn’t help but take, I finally narrowed it down to my 40 most memorable moments for this post, starting with Devils Punchbowl. A breathtaking waterfall that can be seen up close in just 30 minutes walk.

Being new to camper life and wanting to experience it for what it was, we decided to go with the flow and park up when we had had enough of driving. Our first night we found ourselves at Lake Mapourika, a camp-site just north of Franz Josef Glacier.

It didn’t take me long to realise how much additional time was needed to stop, get out of the van and capture all of the beauty we were witnessing along the way. We could have easily doubled the length of our road trip just to spend more time doing this.

On the way down to Wanaka and Queenstown, we stopped off at Blue Pools. Like Devils Punchbowl it amazed me how close these sights were to the highway. We didn’t even have to earn this view!

Wanaka

They say Wanaka is the new Queenstown and I’d have to agree. It soon became my favourite South Island spot. Lake Wanaka has the most dramatic backdrop with snow-capped mountains and a moody sky perfect for picture taking. Another BIG plus is its lack of tourists in comparison to Q-town, giving it that unspoilt kind of feel.

Queenstown

I didn’t capture many photos on my camera in Q-town, thinking back, it probably had something to do with the lead up to my bungee jump and lacking concentration for anything else. If you’d like to see me fall 134m from a suspension in the middle of a canyon though, you can… HERE.

Glenorchy

Before ending our time in Central Otago we took a short drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, a tiny settlement at the north end of Lake Wakatipu. It was unfortunate that the weather turned a bit bleak but we managed to get some (goofy) photos and had a walk around.

 

Mount Cook/Aoraki

On our way back up to Christchurch, we stopped in Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki. We’d visited both these places before but wanted to come back in Spring to tick off the Hooker Valley Track.

It was unsurprisingly busy when we arrived, being the perfect day to do the 3-hour return walk. If you’re not a “walking” type of person don’t fret, this is the flattest walk I’ve been on. You can take it at your own leisure and there are even benches along the way to take a sip of water, a snack and admire the view.

There are a couple of rewards along the way too… Three swing bridges and the biggest buttercups in the world scattered either side of the walkway.

And then comes the real reward. The glacier lake and in the distance the famous Mount Cook, which I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of as the clouds were pretty near the peak.

Lake Pukaki

On our last but one night we freedom camped at the south end of Lake Pukaki (the best things in life really are free!). We made ourselves at home and watched the sunset over Mount Cook from the cosiness of our van.

Lake Tekapo

On our way north we couldn’t resist stopping off in Tekapo again and seeing The Church of the Good Shepherd. The colour of Lake Tekapo never gets old! It’s so inviting, but I couldn’t imagine it would be that warm, judging by the weather anyway.

Timaru

Our final stop before our return flight to Wellington was Timaru, a city in Canterbury, South of Christchurch. It was a completely random stop and we didn’t know what to expect but the risk paid off. It was beautiful, like everything else in New Zealand. And… we got to see baby penguins at night on the beach. The photos didn’t come out too good but I managed to capture some footage which is on my YouTube channel.

I hope you guys enjoyed this blog and it gave you some ideas or inspiration for travel in New Zealand. Don’t forget to check out some of my videos from this trip over on my YouTube Channel.

Until Next Time…

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