This post is way over due. I went to the south island in April but haven’t made a post about it because I first wanted to get all the photos sorted and organised for it and then I just got busy. I haven’t posted about anything else significant because I didn’t want to ‘get out of order’, even though I know you wouldn’t have cared. Anyway, the photos are sorted and I’d like to start blogging again and to do so more consistently. I’d like to blog about even the little things and to do so in a way that isn’t always ‘put together’ because I think letting family and friends know what I’m up to is more important than making a blog perfect. So, I’ll try to catch you up and then I hope to keep you more current with things as they come along. i don’t think it’s good to sever ties and would like to use this as a way to keep in touch.
So, my south island road trip! Was in a word, ‘Amazing’! :) It was 15 days of adventure that’s I’ll never forget. I went with two ladies that were volunteering at our school as boarding deans much like what I did for a year in Yap and then Wisconsin Academy. They had about one month before they went back to the USA when we did this trip and they are no longer here in NZ. It was great spend the time with them.
Basically be did a huge figure 8 of the South Island. So we crossed over a couple places twice but were able to see the most this way. In total we Did probably 40 or more hours of driving and traveled over 3000 km with only two drivers. Adrienne helped me drive and had just learned how to drive a manual, so it was interesting. She did great. While we tried to teach Tania how to drive, it didn’t turn out so well, and she was happy to help in other ways.
So, first off, we Left from Palmerston North early in the morning on April 18 to catch the Ferry from Wellington to Picton. We saw dolphins greet us as we came into port. Then we spent the rest of that day driving to see the French pass which is the only place in the world that has two sea levels at the same time because water flows through such a small space so quickly. Whirl pooling is said to be seen here. We didn’t see that, but we did arrive just before sunset and found a starfish on the beach and took a little walk through the woods. Since it was a dead end here, we had to go back through the winding roads in the dark and spend the night in Nelson. It took much longer than we expected to do this because it was so windy. It took 3 hours in and 3 hours out and we only traveled 60 km each way. Let me just say, I’m never doing that again unless I stay for a few days before I leave. That was the first time I ever felt car sick when I was the driver. haha!
On the Ferry to Picton
Almost there, You can see the French pass on the left where the water goes through
Adrienne and the starfish she found.
We spend the night in the house of some church members in Nelson. They happened to be away that weekend so we picked up the key from someone else and just helped ourselves. It was amazing how nice the people were. We called ahead of time and met some great people that were willing to put us up for several of the nights. We went to church that morning and then drove up over Takaka hill where we were going to see the Harwood Hole. The turn off was at the top of the hill and we missed it and didn’t realise until 30 minutes later when we were at the bottom. We asked some germans stopped on the road for directions but they didn’t know either. It was quite comical if I recall correctly, We were laughing very hard, but I can’t remember why. So, we turned around and then texted someone who had been there for directions. We eventually made it just before sun set. Once there we had to hike through this amazing enchanting forest which I thought was way cooler than the hole itself. The hole is the entrance to a very large cave system. When you get there you basically look down and can’t see the bottom unless you have the right gear. I was very silly and tried to climb up on a rock over hanging the hole because I wanted a picture. It was a struggle, but I made it down and didn’t fall. Stupid idea really.
The Enchanted Forest. You really had to be there to understand the beauty
Probably one of my favourite places on our trip
We had to meander through these rocks
Beyond this rock is the gigantic hole in the earth.
The photo of my hand on top of that rock.
Photo of me on the rock, coming back down. Very scary. I wouldn’t do that again.
Since the sun had set, we walked back to our car in the dark because we could. We wanted to see if we could make it without using our lights. It was rather tough and at the last few bits we did use them. Adrienne had the idea to ask us both what we would do if she had gotten hurt in the woods in the dark and if she had only a few hours to live and if I was the only one that knew how to keep Adrienne alive and since Tania could’t drive stick shift and it was a good 2 hour drive back to civilisation with no cell service for half of it. It was really creepy to talk about, since if I went to get help, Adrienne might not make it since Tanya would’t have known how to keep her alive according to the scenario and since Tanya could’t drive the car. Anyway, none of that actually happened and we made it back to Nelson to sleep.
The next morning was Easter Sunday and we drove south along the east coast to Kaikoura. We had plans to go swimming with seals but the weather the day before made the sea really mucky so the tour was canceled. We did some touristy shopping and then talked to a local who told us of a nice little walk out to see some baby seals in this river. We did that and it ended up being free so it was a bonus that the weather had been bad. When we were finished there we drove to Christchurch and spend the night with another family that happened to be away for the weekend. So the house was empty except us.
View in Kaikoura
More Beautiful Mountains
In Christchurch we looked around the downtown area and saw some of the earthquake damage. We saw Cardboard Cathedral which was a church made entirely out of cardboard which had just been visited by the royal couple the weekend before. Everyone was talking about their visit. Then we did some souvenir shopping at an outdoor mall made from old shipping containers. It was very cool. I bought some artsy bowls. Then we met up with a guy that lived there that was a friend of a friend and he took us out to Akaroa which is the peninsula that you see sticking out on the right of the south island. We hung out at a friends house and then drove back to Christchurch for the night.
Earthquake damage in Christchurch
Tania and I
View on Pensinsula of Akaroa
With friend that took us to Akaroa
View of Akaroa
I loved how colourful Christchurch was for a city recovering from an earthquake.
Since this post turned out much longer than I was anticipating, I’ll continue this later this week. This was only the beginning of our journey and there were many more wonderful things that we saw. Stay tuned!
Click here to view South Island Road Trip Part 2