November 13- November 20
Huge shoutout to my travel buddy, Jackson Melin, for making this such an amazing and unforgettable road trip of the South Island. The two of us drove 1650 km (19 hr 15 min of driving time) in 6 days with 21 incredible stops, starting and ending in Christchurch, New Zealand. Check out our journey below!
BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE!
AND MORE PHOTOS! Due to inclement weather, Jackson and I color coordinate with our raincoats almost too frequently 😉
Day 1: Today we arrived in Christchurch, picked up our rental car, and got settled in at our hostel at All Stars Inn on Bealy’s before driving to the west coast the next day. During the afternoon, we explored the beautiful botanical gardens, and stopped for a Mexican dinner on Victoria St.
All was smooth sailing so far, but that night at 12:02 am we were literally shocked by a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake!!! The shaking was so strong that we evacuated our hostel until everything was believed to be safe. I immediately contacted my friends and family to let them know because articles were already popping up all over social media. We continued to feel heavy aftershocks throughout the night, which made it a little difficult to sleep. Thankfully, the damage of the earthquake did not affect our travel route; however, there was significant damage in Kaikoura, Blenheim, and even Wellington. Check out this link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37967178?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook
Day 2: Destination: Punakaiki (Te Nikau Retreat)
Stops: Castle Hill, Cave Stream Scenic Reserve, Devil’s Punchbowl (Arthur’s Pass), and Pancake Rocks
We were mostly able to fight off any rain, completing 4 wonderful stops on our drive up to Punakaiki.
Day 3: Destination: Franz Josef (Sir Cedrics Glow Worm Backpackers)
Stops: Truman Track, Punakaiki Cavern, Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika beach sign, Franz Josef hike (rain)
***RIP to Nikon camera that could not survive the downpour on our 1.5 hour hike up to the viewing point of Franz Josef Glacier. The water damage was just too much for the little fella, even after my later attempt to revive it by placing it in a 3 kg bag of rice and cous cous.
Day 4: Destination: Wanaka (Flying Kiwi Backpackers) lots of rain
Stops: Fox Glacier, Thunder Creek Falls, Fantail Falls, Blue Pools in Haast Pass, and beautiful weather in Wanaka (Patagonia gelato, visit the Wanaka tree, gift shops, go out to dinner, watch the sunset
Day 5: Destination: Omarama, Dunston Downs Backpackers (sheep farm)
Stops: 1/8 of Roy’s Peak (40 min but heavy and scattered rain), Puzzling World
Day 6: Day Trip
Stops: Lake Pukaki, Hooker Valley Track to Mt. Cook (4 hours), Mt. Cook village/gift shop, Blue Pools hike, Tasman Glacier Viewpoint, thinshakes at Twizel
Day 7: Destination: Christchurch
Stops: Lake Tekapo (Mt. John Observatory, walking bridge, thickshakes) and Rakaia Gorge Walkway to lower gorge viewpoint (1 hr return)
Surprisingly, I am still not sick of PB&J’s and I could never be tired of this gorgeous scenery. I will miss the South Island and the wonderful adventures.