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New Zealand Travel Journal Part II

After 3 nights up in the Canterbury region we took a full days drive all the way down to Fiordlands National Park just outside of Te Anau. We rolled the dice a bit and went full on freedom camping. This means a camp grounds with no bathrooms, hot showers, running water,  etc. Of course we were the only ones there when we got stuck in our parking spot. Long story short, a caravan of traveling gypsies saved us with their tightrope string - no joke. We spent the evening decompressing with wine and beer on the shoreline looking at the fiords out across the lake.  Visiting the Milford sound was Matt's #1 destination of the trip and as they say we got "lucky" with a rainy day. It is one of the wettest places on earth. You are surrounded by fiords twice the size of the tallest skyscrapers and countless waterfalls. What I didn't expect was all the wild life - we actually saw penguins! Spent the afternoon kayaking around the bay getting up close to the penguins and waterfalls.

One of our must do's was a par to New Zealand's great walks. These are by no means some breezy walk, they are full on multi-day treks. We choose to hike the Kepler track to it's first hut, the Luxemore hut. It was 4 grueling hours uphill but once we got to the ridge it was SO worth it. After the 8 hour hike we struggled to stay up till sunset. We got our rest and the next morning we were off to the coast. We had left a few days TBD to see what we discovered along the way. We were lucky enough to have enough time to get out to the Catlins and see the magical nugget point light house. After the morning on the cliffs we drove up to the coast to Moeraki. Those funky sphered boulders are the main attraction of Moeraki.   Lunch at Fleur's Place was one of our first real meal since we had been eating in our campervan's mini kitchen all week. Fleur was there herself and we had the cutest little seaside brunch. One of our favorite meals to date. 

I'm so happy we decided to end our trip with a few more nights in Queenstown. After a week's long mental pep talk to myself, I decided that New Zealand was THE place to skydive. It was an experience I always wanted to have, and had been lingering on the bucket list for awhile. I got the guts to do the day of and luckily they had an opening. Wildest day ever! Smiling on the outside, full on panic attack on the inside. But I am so happy I did it! The trip was to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary which landed on our last day there. We finally took the day to relax. We did a little self guided wine tour through Central Otago and dinner in a quiet town called Clyde. The best part about New Zealand wine is that they don't charge for tastings. The south island of New Zeeland was absolutely incredible, next time we will need to check out the North!

xx, J

Kepler Track (Te Anau)
Moeraki Boulders (Moeraki)
Historic Arrowtown (Queenstown - Arrowtown)
 Nzone Skydive (Queenstown)

Fluer's Place (Moeraki)
Yonder (Queenstown)
Wet Jacket - Winery (Queenstown)
Peregrine Wine (Queenstown)
Chop shop (Queenstown - Arrowtown)
Bannockburn Hotel (Queenstown - Cromwell)

The Rees Hotel (Queenstown)
Milford Lodge (Te Anau)

New Zealand Travel Journal Part I

Our trip to NZ began with our quick stop over in Fiji (Fiji blog link- here). That felt like a loooong ways away once we got to Queenstown. First stop- our amazing hotel, the Sherwood. Sherwood's whole vibe is like Brooklyn meets New Zealand. They have a hipster open space for the lobby, loads of communal tables, a quality coffee shop and a delicious farm to table restaurant. Every detail was thought through in terms of sustainability. I felt right at home. Day 1 we went out early to bungy jump (Matt, not me)! The Kawarau bridge is where they invented the bungy so one of us had to do it. It is INSANE. We had a lot of hiking in our plans and wanted to explore some near by mountains. We spent a couple hours hiking ("walking" as they call in there) Mount Crighton. The perfect quick afternoon hike. 

 While we were planning this trip we kept finding blog posts with campervan itineraries. Luckily we realized it was the ONLY way to get the full south island experience and booked one. We rented our camper from Britz. Our little home on wheels was so perfect for our 8 day adventure.  Day 1 - Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.  The turquoise glacial lakes were the brightest blues we've ever seen. The pictures don't do it justice, it was unreal. The area is one of a few designated dark sky reserves in the world. There is so little light pollution that it looks like every inch of the sky is full of stars.  From Lake Tekapo we headed to Mt. Cook Village. Here we were surrounded by snowy mountains and of course more glacial lakes. The campground/parking lot in Mount Cook National Park is the trail head to the hooker valley track. The hike is 3 hours full of icebergs, swing bridges and glaciers. The scenery here was one of the highlights of our trip. You could pick up glacial ice right out of the lake.  

To break up the drive down to the Milford Sound we spent the next day in Wanaka. We hadn't planned much there other than wine (Ripon Vineyard). Once we got talking to a few kiwis we realized we had to hike to Rob Roy Glacier. We put our campervan to the test in some serious off roading through rural farm land. I was in awe as we drove past cows and baby sheep for an hour (the gopro footage is straight up unbearable to listen to). This hike was such a surprise and one of our favorites.  Since its unpaved roads a lot of tourist don't find themselves out there but it is a must if you find yourself in Wanaka! 

SO much more to come from NZ... part II coming soon :) 

xx, J

Church of the Good Shepard (Lake Tekapo)
Tekapo Springs (Lake Tekapo)
Hooker Valley Track (Mt. Cook National Park)
Rippon Vineyard (Wanaka)

Sherwood Queenstown (Queenstown)
Ivy & Lola's (Queenstown) 
Bakery (Wanaka)

Sherwood Queenstown (Queenstown)
White Horse Hill Campground (Mt. Cook National Park)