How to Have an Adventure in New Zealand – Day 2 – What is the Beauty of New Zealand?
DAY 2 – HOW TO HAVE AN ADVENTURE IN NEW ZEALAND –
WHAT IS THE BEAUTY OF NEW ZEALAND?
Recap of Day 1 – My daughter, Ally and I are heading for a New Zealand holiday together. Our first trip together overseas. We are doing the South Island of New Zealand. We arrived in Christchurch and made it through customs ok before I was attacked by a beagle as we were about to walk out of the airport! Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! Click here to check out our day 1 adventures.
We woke up from our nights sleep at our airbnb in Christchurch feeling refreshed! Which is a surprise after Ally seemed to be reading with her light on for what seemed like 8 hours! We got up and showered, met with our host and thanked her and then jumped in the hire car and headed into Christchurch.
I love visiting places I have never visited before. I remember my first time ever landing in San Francisco in the US. The thoughts going through my head were “This place and these people have always been here and lived their lives and I have never been here or seen them! I have always lived where I live and never even knew about these places and people!” That thought fascinated me and again it filled my mind as we were driving into Christchurch. I guess that is why I like getting out of my comfort zone.
A Bit About Christchurch
Christchurch is a very charming city and reminds me a lot of England. With a population of some 397,000 people it is the 3rd largest city in New Zealand behind Auckland and Wellington. (Thanks Wikipedia!) It has lots of beautiful parks and gardens and has the serene Avon River running through it. Of course Christchurch has its dark history of earthquakes, the latest of which was 2012 but the most devastating was in 2011 when 185 people died. The city is very much in renovation mode but the people are positive and friendly.
We had breakfast at a local cafe and wandered the streets for a while before heading to the car and driving south. I had only booked 2 nights accommodation for this trip, the first night on the Thursday and the 4th night, the Sunday, before we went to Milford Sound. Reason being I am a pretty spontaneous person and wanted to drive and see what places took my fancy. I know a lot of people have to be totally organised on a trip but I don’t like to be pegged down to certain places to stay when I travel. I like the adventure of not having anywhere to stay and then finding a beautiful little town and a quaint place to stay. It is all about getting out of your comfort zone as I will say many times! That is exactly what happened on this trip.
The One Boring Part of the Trip
Ok so I am a very positive person and can see beauty where others see darkness. However I must admit the first hours drive out of Christchurch heading south I found quite boring. It was the only hour of the trip I found boring but it was boring non the less. And I must explain what was boring. The scenery. Ok I said it. Yes the scenery for the first hour was flat and had no real character about it.
Imaging driving for an hour through a place with little greenery, flat vacant land and little to no houses. I have seen many places like this driving around Australia so it wasn’t something new and exciting. I like new and exciting…
The Wow Factor of the South Island
The boring part didn’t last long. Just over an hour out of Christchurch we past a massive salmon that seemed to have escaped the ocean and was flying in the air. I took a second look, and after Ally assured me it wasn’t a real salmon we turned around and headed back to Salmon World in the town of Rakaia. I am not a fisherman at all but seeing giant salmons on the side of the road interests me. We parked alongside and got some selfies with the salmon before we moved on.
Just past Salmon World there is a very long bridge. This bridge was like a portal to the magic of the South Island of New Zealand! Once we crossed the bridge we could see mountains ahead and not just mountains but snow capped mountains! I was no longer bored!
As we drove through the town of Ashburton we saw a fruit stall on the side of the road and pulled in. We bought some apricots, cherries and blackberries. Wow! Spray free fruit and it was seriously delicious. I always thought blackberries looked a little weird like a witchety grub so had never had them before. They were so tasty and delicious. Another wow factor!
The fruit didn’t last long and of course Ally was hungry again! I know I eat a lot but my God! Ally would eat as much as me if not more and she is as skinny as a rake! I shouldn’t be surprised though when I was her age (she is 26) I was the same. All through my teens and twenties I was skinny as. Come 30’s and 40’s it gets a little harder to keep those extra kilos at bay. So anyway we had to stop and get a feed. Ally ordered 5 pies and 10 donuts… Just kidding. She ordered a healthy salad with no chips. What is going on? She is fitter than me now and eats as healthy as me! All those times where I would chat to her about health and fitness and I thought she was never listening. Seems she was. Well done Al! Proud of you 🙂
Burkes Pass is a tiny town that takes you back in time. We only stopped for 5 minutes but it was amazing. It has been set up to look like it did when it was first built back in 1869. (That is what the sign on the shop said anyway) It was beautiful and really took you back to a quieter, computer free time in history.
Not too far past Burkes Pass is Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo is like all the lakes on the South Island – Stunning! The crystal clear blue water that is surrounded by snow capped mountains is something you have to see to believe. Photographs don’t do it justice. Now I have to mention something here. It was basically 30 degrees celcius everyday we were in New Zealand, but the mountains were snow capped. Amazing. Really warm but with the really unusual view of snow capped mountains. We picked a good time to visit.
We found a really good pub in Lake Tekapo because guess what – Ally was hungry haha! We had a cider each and some chips. (even the healthiest people have chips occasionally!)
Travelling a little further south we were debating where we should stay. It was all unknown and kind of exciting knowing it was nearing 5pm and we had nowhere to stay. I spotted a sign that said Lake Hawea 15 kilometres. I took a hunch and turned right and headed to Lake Hakea. Never been there, never heard of it. I was lucky that Ally seems to have inherited my sense of adventure and she was on to airbnb looking for a place. Sure enough we found one that sounded good. Again it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.
Lake Hawea Airbnb
Driving into Lake Hawea township was like driving into a postcard. The lake is stunning and again surrounded by snow capped mountains. Beautiful and a massive wow factor.
We drove along pretty much in silence as we took in the stunning scene. I think Ally only mentioned her hunger once. We found our accommodation for the night, parked and knocked on the front door. We were met by the lovely Liz. her home overlooks the lake and we had our own little slice of heaven on the first floor. A bedroom with 2 single beds and a stunning view of the lake, our own mini kitchen with cereals, juice, milk, bread, a kettle and a toaster. We also had our own bathroom with a stunning view of the lake. We had a great nights sleep.
Ally only had her light on a short while until I banished her to the dining room to read! haha. We were having fun and I loved doing this tour with Ally.
We had purchased some porridge in Lake Tekapo and used that for our breakfast. Another great thing that has rubbed off on Ally was my love for porridge. She loves it to and it saved us money on breakfasts. The pack of rolled oats lasted us the entire trip. $3 well spent!
I am so glad I don’t plan too much when I go away. This was perfect. We went for a walk down to the lake and up to the local store (Ally was hungry again!) and bought some food back. This was such a lovely place we really wanted to stay for a few days. Liz, our host, told us how Lake Hawea was a nice sleepy hollow for many years until recently when people were starting to come by more often for holidays. A home on the lake there now costs well over $1 million dollars!
In the morning we bid farewell to Liz and her lovely home, pledging to return again sometime in the near future.
Day 3 was about to begin…
Share this article with your friends! Keep an eye out for Day 3’s adventures!
Buy Kevin’s new book here.