First stop in New Zealand was Christchurch. We had a look around the Cathedral and walked up the spire and got certificates to prove it! We then walked down to the Botanical GardensÂ seeing the Arts Centre enroute. There was also lots of craft stalls and street entertainment to keep us amused.
We then got hold of a car (hired this time) and set off to explore the South Island. We stayed in a little town called Geraldine and the hostel had a cute llama called Lucky. After an early start we got to Lake Tekapo which was stunning. Very serene surroundings and breathtaking views. On the way to Mount Cook we stopped at Lake Pukaiki which had the bluest water and a great view of the mountainsÂ in the background.We stopped at Mount Cook but didn't do any hiking as the wind was getting pretty fierce.
After this we went over to the East Coast and stopped at Oamaru and saw some Yellow Eyed Penguins which are quite rare. We continued down the coast and stopped off at the Moeraki boulders and onto Dunedin andÂ went to anÂ Art Gallery which had some interestingÂ exhibitions.Â Surat Bay was our next stop, the hostel was right on the beachÂ which is inhabitedÂ by sea lions. We went for a walk and got quite close which was cool.Â We also went toÂ Nugget Point where we saw a fur seal colony and some amazing rock formations and a Lighthouse.
Â Te Anau was next which is the jumping off point for Milford Sound. We stayed at a hostel that was on a deer farm which was pÃ¨aceful by day then as soon as dusk came the stags were very vocal as it was mating season. We got up really early to beat the crowds to Milford Sound. We got on the first boat and the waters were very calm and serene which made the early start worthwhile. It was a really great trip.
We stopped in Queenstown which is the adrenalin junky capital, the activities were much pricier than anywhere in New Zealand so we went out for a lovely meal instead!
Onward to the Glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef which were very cool!!! We did a day hike of Franz Josef which was a fantastic experience our feet were throbbing by the end and Dan was walking like John Wayne but it was well worth it.
We headed north toÂ Abel Tasman to find some sunshine as we needed to thaw out after the glaciers. The National Park was beautiful, we were blessed with lots of sun and went for a lovely coastal walk. Kaikoura was next on the agenda and we did an awesome whale watch boat trip and were lucky enough to see two Sperm Whales and a huge pod of Dusky Dolphins.Â We planned to swim with seals on the following day but we both had bad coldsÂ and couldn't face the ice cold water.
We finished off in Blenheim where we wereÂ hoping toÂ get some wine tasting in butÂ the weather wasn't too clever.Â WeÂ got on the ferry and waved goodbye toÂ the South Island.Â Â Â
Lots of love
Mike and Dani xxxxxxxxxx