During the last weeks of September I was travelling around the South Island of New Zealand. I tried to sum up my impressions to describe what i’ve experienced so far and were i’ve been. Hope you guys enjoy reading about it.
My first few nights in New Zealand were spent in Christchurch, a city on the East Coast of the South Island. Christchurch was really damaged in 2011 when a wave of earthquakes hit a city, which is why up to today there is a lot of renovating and building going on in the city and it has lost its appeal. I had decided to stay there a bit longer to get sorted and acclimated to the new culture and mainly climate. I didn’t really do any interesting things beside a day trip to the nearby Banks Peninsula. The weather was really great and I just hung around the harbor of Akaroa for a while and then went for a walk to a small monument. Instead of going on about all those details, I’ll just add some pictures. Akaroa was such a beautiful town. It’s a place where I would probably stay for weeks if I were an author searching for ideas for my next novel.
After 3 nights in Christchurch I took a bus up to Lake Tekapo. The town itself is really small and located right next to the beautiful pristine lake. Unfortunately I’ve only spent a night there, but I still had enough time to walk along the lake and enjoy the calm and quiet atmosphere. Tekapo is know for it’s beautiful night sky and even though I didn’t go up to the observatory , I got a chance to gaze upon the stars at night.
Nearly every person that told me about New Zealand also told me about Queenstown and I had to promise everyone to spend some time there as well. Unfortunately it was raining during my whole stay in Queenstown and I didn’t enjoy it that much. In addition I really started to miss Cambodia and my life there, so I missed out on the whole Queenstown experience. However one day, I did a horse trek and got to see some of the filming locations for the Lord of the Rings movies, which I was really excited about. Some of the locations I saw, where Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen for any other fellow Lord of the Rings fans.
My next stop after Queenstown was Wanaka. I didn’t really have an idea what to do there, but when I got there I met another girl that I had already seen in Queenstown, and together we rented out bikes and went for a 3 hour ride along Lake Wanaka. The sun was shining and it was really nice to get outside after all the rain in Queenstown. In the evening I met some people from Vancouver and we ended up playing Settlers of Catan and talking for hours.
Franz Josef Glacier
This one was actually just a stop that I was somehow forced to do, since the bus didn’t go straight to Punakaiki, where I actually wanted to go. I arrived there around 4pm, after crossing the Haast Pass and going along the West Coast of the South Island. It was raining again and I was too exhausted to go out and do anything – especially since there wasn’t anything to do with the rain. Next morning my bus left early so I didn’t get to do anything that day as well. The glacier must be really nice to see but due to the rain all tracks and activities where shut down. I’ll just need to do this on my next trip to New Zealand.
Punakaiki is a tiny village on the West Coast between Greymouth and Westport and known for the so-called “Pancake Rocks”. Initially I had planned to only stay a night – one woman I met and told about my plans actually tried to convince me not to stay there, she said that the bus stops there anyways to go see the Pancake Rocks, so I wouldn’t need to spend a night there – but upon stepping out of the bus and looking at the rugged coast with the wild waves, cliffs and mist wavering above the beach I instantly knew that I wanted to stay longer. The backpackers was right next to the beach and a really comfy small place. Punakaiki was the first place that I enjoyed that much, I was so content to just be there and stare at the wild sea for hours even though it was windy and rainy outside. I ended up staying for three nights, meeting lots of interesting people and taking long walks along the beach and the Pancake Rocks.
Abel Tasman National Park & Nelson
I stayed in the Nelson Area for a whole week, since I was visiting the mother of a friend and Zoe, my friend from Germany, who is currently studying in Nelson. My week there was probably the most relaxed so far. It was great to stay in one place for a while and not always get up early to do sightseeing or catch the next bus.
One day I went on a day trip to the Abel Tasman National Park, which was about an hour drive from Nelson. I took a water taxi up into the National Park to Bark Bay and then walked down to Anchorage Bay where I was picked up by the boat again. The trail led me along several bays, bridges and bush. It took me about 3,5 hours to get to Anchorage Bay.
During my time in Nelson I also had the opportunity to meet up with Zoe again, who had already visited me in Cambodia in May. It was great to spend some time with her again and we had an amazing, long weekend.
Nelson was my last stop on the South Island and after a week I took the ferry over to Wellington on the North Island to stay with a friend for a while.