Category ‘04.06 – New Zealand’

May 5th
2010
written by Alonna

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

Driving to Wanaka Lake Wanaka
 

Wanaka

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 (more…)

April 25th
2010
written by Alonna

The West Coast of New Zealand is beautiful! We spent a few days between Westport and Haast enjoying the scenery, good weather, and fun activities. Here’s some highlights…
 

Caving Adventure

Not knowing much about it we randomly signed up for a cool-looking caving tour, and it turned out to be worth it. The cave is undeveloped; only a guide rope has been added. We entered armed with wetsuits, headlamps, and a small inner tube in tow. The cave formations were very impressive, and part way through we turned off our lights in the middle to see the absolute darkness in the cave. Then we descended to the lower level of the cave which has water that flows into the nearby river. We boarded our inner tubes, turned off our lights, and floated through the cave with millions of “glow worms” lighting up the cave ceiling above us. Glow worms are small worms that live on rocks and catch insects with tiny sticky threads hanging down. And, their bums light up! Floating through the glow worm cave was magical.
 
Caving in Charleston, New Zealand Ben & Alonna (more…)

April 20th
2010
written by Alonna
Franz Josef Glacier - below the clouds

Franz Josef Glacier - below the clouds

A popular stop on any New Zealand itinerary is the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. We arrived yesterday to cloudy skies and a poor forecast for the next few days. Since we’ve seen our share of glaciers, we decided just to do a long day hike for the exercise and leave the next day, whether or not we saw the glaciers in all their glory.

Peaking out the campervan window this morning, the skies looked clear and I was hopeful for good weather. We rushed to get ready and hit the trail by 10am for our 10 mile 4000 foot elevation gain hike. After three hours of strenuous hiking through rough terrain we ran into cloudy skies and figured we wouldn’t see a thing the rest of the day. In fact, two other couples we met on the trail turned around early to head back. But we were in it for the exercise, so we trotted on.

New Zealand above the clouds

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April 15th
2010
written by Alonna

I’m absolutely in love with New Zealand. This country is beautiful, fun, sweet, charming and exciting – and we’ve only just seen a very small part of it.

Beautiful New Zealand

Beautiful New Zealand

Ben and I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand last week via a long set of flights from South Africa. At that point we had no idea what to do in New Zealand, so we found a hostel and hunkered down for 4 days to plan and get over our jet-lag. I don’t have a single photo of Christchurch, but it’s a really great city right next to beaches and mountains with a cool downtown.
 

Campervaning

Jucy Cruiza Campervan

Jucy Cruiza Campervan

Our time in Christchurch ended with us setting out to explore the South Island for 2 weeks in a “Jucy Cruiza” campervan. Campervans are really popular here (more…)

April 13th
2010
written by Alonna
Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

Ben and I have searched the globe for good mountain biking, but have failed to find anything worthwhile outside of the US… until now. Yesterday we rented full-suspension bikes and rode one section of the Queen Charlotte Track near Picton, New Zealand. The scenery was gorgeous and the riding was awesome. We will definitely be mountain biking more during our next 3 weeks here. (more…)