South Island: 100% Pure Fun, 100% Pure Adventure
Hello New Zealand! Kia Ora!
This was our family’s first self-drive adventure! Since we only have 12 days to spend on this holiday, we decided to focus just on the south island.
Our little adventures took us from Christchurch – the city reborn, to the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the glaciers of Mount Cook, and then to the adventure capital that is Queenstown. Further south we entered the mystifying cave in Te Anau, and cruised and tramped in the valleys of Milford Sound. We also encountered wildlife at Dunedin and tasted the best cheeses at Oamaru before heading back to Christchurch. We travelled from Dec 6 to Dec 18, 2014.
Day 1 – Christchurch
We arrived midday to a breezy, probably 18 degrees warm, sunny and cheery Christchurch…
After getting our RAV4 from GoRentals and checking in at our hotel (Ibis), we headed to Re:Start mall – a collection of retail, food and banking services housed in shipping containers – the city’s very creative way of coping with the aftermath of the 2010/2011 earthquake.
We had late lunch at Base Woodfired Pizza at Re:Start, and for dinner, we went to 50 Bistro at The George Hotel.
The first day was really just eating and preparing for the drive and adventures ahead…
Day 2 – Lake Tekapo
Today we drove 230km to Lake Tekapo, that’s about 3hrs away from Christchurch. Along the way, we saw the braided river in Rakaika and stopped over for breakfast at Mcdonald’s in Ashburton, where Benjamin’s and Joaquin’s addiction to hot chocolate started.
It was in today’s drive that we first spotted these snow-capped mountains… Somewhere out there was the road to Mordor, Frodo…
It was such fun to see sheep crossing the road…
Seeing wild lupins for the first time compelled us to pull over at the roadside to have a closer look.
Mummy loves wild mountain flowers the most, and lupins instantly became her favourite. They have colourful petals and their delicate scent complemented the beauty around…
…and the Church of the Good Shepherd which is located just on the banks of lake.
Many tourists come to the town of Lake Tekapo for a scenic stop. But, we stayed. We planned a picnic lunch instead of eating at the restaurant.
The boys also discovered zip lines and played there till their arms and bottoms hurt.
And then we drove many hundred meters above sea level…
… to have coffee and cake at Astro Café in Mount John.
The weather was nice and so we did a Sun-gazing Tour organized by Earth & Sky.
Instead of staying at a hotel, we did it Kiwi style and stayed for one night at a holiday park – a campsite where motorhomes and tent campers meet. Well, we didn’t have either a motorhome or a tent, so we booked a cabin – the closest we could get to experiencing that authentic New Zealand weekend get-away.
This was our cabin (on the right) and the view that came with it. Quite breath-taking, isn’t it?
Daddy has such high standards; he only cooks when the weather is cool, if in front of the lake and with mountains in the distance.
And so at sunset, we had the yummiest barbecue at the most beautiful spot, cooked by the most generous man in our lives…
With satisfied tummies, at about 9pm, we went to explore the nearby forest…
…and revel in the peacefulness of Lake Tekapo.
When the sun was out, with their torchlights in their hands, the boys went walking around the dark campsite.
But we can’t end Part 1 of our NZ blog without including these two birds… These were Mr Quack and Mrs Quack, Benjamin said they played a very important part in our holiday and asked to post a picture of them too. These ducks have been the boys’ companions since we arrived at the campsite. When Daddy was cooking barbecue, they hand-fed the ducks noodles and rice, and when the two boys woke up the following morning, the ducks were right outside our cabin door trying to quack their way in…
That’s the end of Part 1 folks! Mount Cook awaits in Part 2…
It looked like the family had some fun! Beautiful photos and yes hope next time you try the North Island including Auckland’s first stop. You can check my previous post about my City. Cheers!
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Thank you Vinneve, it was a long time ago but with those pictures, I feel like I could still remember everything that we did in the South Island. I’m very excited to read your NZ posts actually heheh. 🙂