This past December/January, Ryan and I took a little adventure in Ronda [our home on wheels] to meet his family for a South Island Kiwi road trip. We spent nine days traveling along the West Coast down to Queenstown for New Year’s Eve, followed by a stop in Milford Sound then back North via Christchurch.
Here are some of my favorite stops, shots, and views of our trip starting with an unforgettable sunset as Ryan and I ferried over to the South Island from Wellington.
The sky was on fire.
We stood on the bow along side many passengers, staring at the dreamy sky.
After docking in Picton, Ryan and I drove to Lake Rotoiti to catch the morning’s sunrise.
We cruised in Ronda along the rugged West Coast, stopping by Pancake Rocks and meeting his family in Greymouth. The next day we visited to Franz Joseph Glacier, attempted to catch a view from Lake Matheson, shared wine, and finished the day with a skate and beach sunset in Haast.
The next day we stopped by the Makarora Blue Pools in Mt. Aspiring National Park on the way to Wanaka.
Ryan jumped off the bridge into the crystal clear blue, icy water while his family and I enjoyed watching from below.
We arrived in Wanaka to a proper hot summer day. The five of us spent the afternoon in the sun consuming about five bottles of white wine between us. We laughed a lot, shared stories, and drunkenly watched the sunset at That Wanaka Tree where Ryan jumped in the water with his camera in his undies.
Even with drinking until 11pm in the evening, Ryan, his sister Haidi, and I still went ahead with plans to climb Roy’s Peak for sunrise. Hungover and possibly still drunk, we set off for our 3hr climb [1578m/5,177ft] summit just before 3am. Not a hike I’d recommend on little sleep and too much wine, but it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular trek.
Later that day we drove the gorgeous road to Queenstown where we booked an Airbnb on Lake Wakatipu for two nights to celebrate the New Year. We toasted with Prosecco on the busy boardwalk as the fireworks rang in 2017. The next day Haidi and I tried out hang gliding, ticking off another adrenaline inducing activity on my bucket list. It was a beautiful, peaceful glide along the Southern Alps over looking Lake Wakatipu and streams, my instructor even let me have a go at flying it.
After two wonderfully relaxing days in Queenstown, we said g’bye to Tony [Ryan’s Dad] at the airport and then we were four. That night we ventured the three hour windy journey to Milford Sound to camp before our morning boat cruise. Milford Sound is one of the must-sees in New Zealand and often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. Although it’s a slight challenge to get there, the tour through misty mountains and endless waterfalls is more than worth it.
After the cruise and a little walk around, we hopped back in the van to head back to Queenstown. Ryan and Lynne [his Mama] booked to skydive the next morning at 6am. Unfortunately the weather conditions weren’t safe to jump, and we ended up driving to Wanaka to try our luck there. This quickly turned into another Disastrous Duo scenario although I was not a part of it. Ryan and Lynne suited up and boarded the plane more than ready to jump, but the Southerlies [strong wind from Antartica] decided to mess with their plans. The wind became too strong for them to jump, and then too strong for the plane to land. Sixteen or so of them aboard with no seat belts or hand rails were tossed around the plane, hitting heads, holding hands, and even crying. The skydive instructors said this was their worst experience ever and in the end the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in a farmer’s field. Needless to say they were happy to be alive.
We had a long 11 hour journey ahead of us, first stopping in Christchurch to drop off one of the vans, then up to Picton to catch the next morning ferry. On the way we quickly visited Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, both famous for their dream-like turquoise blue waters.
Early that next morning, we pulled on to the Interislander to ferry back to Wellington. We waved the South Island goodbye, and took in the views from up top as we cruised through the Marlborough Sounds.
Cheers for checking out my South Island Adventure photo blog! It’s easy to see why I am crazy in love with this country and why I want to explore each and every inch of it. Many more adventures to come x
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