May 5th
written by Alonna

Leaving the beautiful West Coast, Ben and I headed towards Wanaka on a scenic drive past mountains, rivers and lakes.



We immediately fell in love with Wanaka. Just 2 hours drive from the utlra-touristy Queenstown, we found it to be a low-key oasis with beautiful scenery, a cute and live-able town, and plenty of fun outdoor activities to keep anyone happy. If we ever decided to live outside the US (unlikely), I’m pretty sure this would be the place.

We stayed a few nights in Wanaka, enjoying a cool campsite with amazing views of the lake, jogging on a lakeside path, and mountain biking in the “Sticky Forest”. There’s also a lot of hiking in the area, and tons of water sports in the summer… as we’ve said many times on this trip, we’ll have to come back.



And then came the rain. For about a week, we drove around the southern part of New Zealand looking for somewhere we could get out of the rain, with no luck. We missed seeing Fjordland, since the roads were flooded, and we would have loved to try some mountain biking in the Alexandra area. However, we did enjoy a little down-time, and we witnessed the streets of Queenstown flooded from the overflowing lake. On a trip like this, we’re bound to have a little bad weather, and until now we’ve been extremely lucky.



After dropping off the campervan, we spent 3 nights in Queenstown and managed to avoid doing any overpriced “must-do” activities like bungy jumping, sky-diving or jet-boating. Luckily the weather finally cleared up, unveiling the beautiful mountain scenery in the area. On our last day we took an afternoon wine tour to sample the white wines and pinot noirs the area is famous for.

Leaving New Zealand…

Of all the places we’ve been so far, New Zealand is the one place I was really sad to leave. It’s such a beautiful country and we barely skimmed the surface. I’m definitely going back… someday!


  1. New Zealand has been on our list for a long time. Eventually we will get there. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy it through your experience. By the way, I’m really glad to hear that you didn’t bungy jump…and you are not regretting it. Looks like you’ve had plenty of fun and joy, rain aside. Happy travels.

  2. 05/07/2010

    Thanks Dan – enjoy your remaining time in South America!