Canon PowerShot S100 IMG_5804Along our journey this year, we have met several travelers who highly recommended that we visit New Zealand due to its natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes.  Until we started planning this leg of our trip, we never realized how isolated New Zealand really was; luckily we were flying there from Australia which is only a few hours away.  And due to its remoteness, it happens to be to be one of the last lands inhabited by humans!  (according to Wikipedia)  We began our 6-week tour of the country in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island, which is recovering from two terrible earthquakes that hit the city back in 2010 and 2011.  During our short time there, we shopped for camping equipment that we planned to use during our outdoor adventures in Kiwi-land.  Back in Australia, our hosts recommended that we look into renting a relocation campervan as a cost-effective way to travel across New Zealand.  We found imoova.com, which is a great website listing available campervans in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA.  This site consolidates results from major rental companies needing to move their inventory of campervans from one destination to another according to their business needs.  The downside to this is that you’re time and date bound, but still a great option when driving long distances and on a budget.  During our New Zealand adventure, we utilized two relocation campervans for a total of 7 nights.  It was great to experience “luxury camping” in such a beautiful country.

Southern Alps

We began our road trip in Christchurch and headed west across Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast Glaciers - Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Our first stop was Franz Josef Glacier, which we only enjoyed the views of from a distance.  We took a short 20 minute hike through a beautiful fern forest to reach the foot of the glacier.  Then we hopped back into our campervan and drove to Fox Glacier where we set up camp.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Fox Glacier the next morning due to rainy weather.

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Otago Region

Our next stop was the gorgeous Otago Region, home of picturesque scenery.  We spent the night in the lakeside town of Wanaka, which we actually got to visit twice during our journey and absolutely loved photographing surrounding mountains reflecting on Lake Wanaka. Just south of Wanaka is the popular resort town of Queenstown, where we spent 5 nights.  This was one of our favorite places on our whole trip so far!  The picturesque town is surrounded by dramatic mountain ranges & Lake Wakatipu, and hosts a wide variety of sporting activities including some of the best downhill mountain bike trails as well as the world’s first bungy jump.  We spent several afternoons taking advantage of their hiking trails and pleasant weather.   While in Queenstown, I happened to randomly run into a friend and classmate named Marie who I met last June at the Nosara Yoga Institute!  I recognized her walking towards me amongst a group of Danish girls.  We were both shocked and so happy to see each other.  Later in the week, we got to catch a yoga class together for old times sake.

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Milford Sound

Our biggest adventure on the South Island was taking a daylong kayak trip through the famous Milford Sound, a breathtaking fiord located west of Queenstown.  Rosco’s Milford Kayaks led a kayak trip of a lifetime. We got to kayak under two waterfalls, kayak past a seal colony and even see a penguin in the distance.  They’re very shy and jump in the water when they notice boats approaching.  The incredible cliffs and mountain peaks were jaw-dropping and we’re so glad we decided to take advantage of this experience.  It was an amazing day that we’ll never forget.

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