TweetNew Zealand’s South Island is full of some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. With such a big island to explore, we wanted to make the most of our limited time and budget. Living in a campervan we had to come up with a place to shower, and Lake Tekapo’s hot spring offered a great solution: beautiful hot pools overlooking the lake and hot showers! Since the weather was not predicted to be better for the days coming, we gave up on our hope to see a clear view of the alps, and headed back to the east coast.
The east coast was still fun even with the stormy weather, though we missed some of the natural beauty. We drove all the way north to Nelson, but unfortunately ran out of time to visit the Abel Tasman National Park. I went to New Zealand a few years ago and did it by backpacker bus but a campervan looks amazing. Fiordland (including Milford Sound) was one of the few places in the world that actually made me cry.
3) Weather was varied, so there were ample waterfalls, blue skies, dark clouds, and rain to round out the entire time. I wish to go back there as well, doing what we havena€™t done, doing longer walking routes, and if the weather is bad time to time, we will be able to wait until it clears up! David Bowie may be done with touring, but it hasn’t stopped him from releasing another album.
His official social media accounts confirmed on Sunday that he’ll drop Blackstar on his 69th birthday, January 8th. In September, Blackstar‘s title track was announced as the theme for the new European crime drama TV series The Last Panther and earlier this month the song was unveiled online. We got to see the famous Moeraki Boulders a€“ naturally forming spherical rocks as tall as me. For those you that haven’t heard of it, Milford Sound was voted as #1 in the 101 things to do in NZ by AA group, and we totally agreed with that result. It’s a popular town, quite charming but also very busy and touristy, which overlooks the lake.
In one side, you have the majestic mountains, and on the other side, you have the serene ocean. However we still had the time to enjoy the famous green mussels in its capital in the world: Havelock. As we headed back to to Christchurch, we took a detour to Hanmer Springs, because the car rental company gave us a 2-for-1 coupon to the famous hot springs there.
Mountains and valleys, rivers and the gorges, the alps and the lakes, beaches and cliffs, green fields of sheep everywhere, the native forests and wild life. Glad to know you are in Oz already, we just arrived in Sydney yesterday And it’s nice that the weather looks calm down (and warming) now.
But well… Ryan, being a tall person, had his feet above the sink and the fridge when sleeping!

The bed length was actually shorter than Ryan’s height, so his legs were sitting on the fridge and sink when we slept. I guess after living in Canada for several years, where the winter was about 0 to -10 normally, this is not that bad.
We heard a couple with a car tried to drive through a road that was closed due to flooding.
We were lucky indeed with the weather when we were in Milford and Glaciers, it erased our disappointment about the weather early on. The Times of London reports that the seven-cut collection was recorded in New York with backing by local jazz musicians. The nature and wildlife of the South Island of NZ are so spectacular and on such an epic scale that it’s difficult to describe them in a way that seems adequate. It really let us enjoy every minute of the day, as we never spent time checking in or out of motels or searching for a place to stay.
These lakes promised great views to the Southern Alps on clear days, but unfortunately it was constantly cloudy when we were there. In Oamaru, we saw a colony of blue penguins (with height less than a foot, these are the smallest penguins in the world), a few of very rare yellow eyed penguins, and some seals. The drive toward the Milford Sound is the most beautiful drive we’ve ever taken and the sound (actually a misnamed fjord) itself is the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen!
Near Queenstown we visited Arrowtown, to get a glimpse of a gold rush town in the past, with many historical buildings preserved well and still being used at the present. Along the water, you will see many strange rock formations that add the mystery of this drive. We took the whale watching cruise and along the tour we saw: 4 sperm whales, several dusky dolphins, many fur seals playing on the rocks and water, and many rare ocean birds including the albatross. Two weeks is way too short to experience the South Island of New Zealand, but we are happy that we did so much in this short time. Now that we already saw Milford Sound, the Doubtful Sound is the highest in the places to visit in NZ list!
Not sure about the details, but they got stuck and ended up getting hypothermia and needing to be rescued.
Purakaunui Falls, is reputed to be a delicate and beautiful waterfall…but because of the heavy rainfall, it looked like a frightening torrent of muddy water! Just imagine cruising along the fjord where gorgeous mountains plunge straight down to the water, waterfalls pour down everywhere, and fur seals playing all around. The scenic route between Queenstown and Lake Wanaka is a must, if you want to experience driving a€?ona€? the snow capped mountain. It was quite a challenge to avoid hitting them!A  First stop on the west coast was the Fox Glacier. Perhaps the strangest and most iconic rock formation is the Punakaiki Rock, where the rock formations look like piles up of gigantic pancakes. Too bad we didn’t have time to visit other fiords, we really want to see the Doubtful Sound too.

After living in Texas for several years I’m a wimp when it comes to freezing temperatures. Since we did it so fast, I went back the following year and did some missing pieces in about 18 days. I need to go back there as well, want to visit the places we missed, and hopefully in more relaxed timing so we can actually do the longer walks! The mountain road was winding a lot, rain made the road slippery, and visibility was very low due to the very heavy fog. Even though we didn’t see any albatross that live in the area, we saw the stunning view from the cliff in the end of the peninsula.
We saw a glimpse of Queen Charlotte Sound, and continued driving to the south along the east coast. We are looking forward to returning there again as with our brief visit we’ve only just scratched the surface.
I’ve been lucky enough to do both my trips during the summer months, but the weather in Mt.
I hope this gives you an idea of what there is to see and do, and can help you plan your own road trip around the South Island of New Zealand.
We flew above the Fox Glacier and the Southern Alps on a helicopter ride, circling around the alps’ highest and most iconic peak, Mt. Raining in the east coast was even worse than in the lakes area, many heavy floods covering the land and some roads. The drive there was incredible with stunning views from the scenic route along the lake and river.
The salmon live inside a pen in a hydroelectric canal where a strong current flows, making them really active and fit. Then we did the hike through an empty lake bed, approaching the face of the Franz Josef Glacier up close. It was very stormy, with strong winds rocking our campervan and whipping the trees around us into a frenzy. The whole night I tossed and turned worrying that the campervan would get swept to the ocean. Ryan, on the other hand, didn’t worry at all: he fell asleep instantly and slept peacefully through the night!
With the enchanting background of lake and snow capped mountains, we pan fried the salmon only with salt and pepper, nothing else.

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