10.11.2015

New Zealand Part 6: The Grand Finale

Our journey on the south island took us next to Milford Sound. Before we got to the sound, we did a fun and very rainy hike called Key Summit Track. For some reason these were some of our favorite pictures of the trip. It was literally raining SO hard during this hike, we were absolutely drenched by the time we were done, but so worth it. We loved the pics we got because they seem so majestic and mysterious, like a secret forest or something like that. Maybe we're just being weird, but we thought it was pretty cool. After the hike and continuing on to Milford Sound, it continued to rain pretty hard. This is very common for the area, as it rains almost every day of the year. The water cascading down the sheer rock cliffs created hundreds of little waterfalls, which were pretty cool because we had never seen anything like it before. 


We took a boat tour on the actual sound, which was pretty great. It continued to rain, and our tour guide said that we were seeing Milford Sound "at its best", which I definitely believe. The water cascading off of the cliffs into the sea was pretty remarkable. The narrow passages we passed through opened up into larger bodies of water, and eventually into the open ocean. Milford Sound is a must-see in my opinion for any NZ itinerary, another example of the amazing diversity that the country has to offer. 


The Chasm: A powerful and swift waterfall area right outside of Milford Sound that we stopped at on the way out. It really makes you respect nature as we could see the strength that the water was moving at. 


Dunedin was where we spent our next night, where we found another cool lake side camping spot. The town of Dunedin had really classic architecture, our favorite being the Dunedin Railway Station which we found to be very unique with its striped design. We were also able to find some good food: eggs benedict (which was a NZ speciality we had a few times) for breakfast and pizza for dinner. 


Moeraki Boulders: On our way up the east coast of the south island, one of our favorite stops was at the Moeraki boulders. One skill that we have gotten pretty good at is getting good pictures of places that are completely full of tourists, because this place was packed. Have you ever seen anything like these boulders though? We were blown away by how circular they were, how do things like this occur naturally in the world? So weird! Tay loved jumping from rock to rock (footage of this in our NZ video coming out soon!) 


Katiki Point Lighthouse: About five minutes up the road from the boulders was a penguin colony! We were able to get fairly close to a few penguins, all of which we had never seen in our lives. They are actually the rarest penguins in the world. Some were blue, and they were all so cute! When we first started walking around on the trails we weren't seeing any, and Tay was getting pretty sad. But his sadness was replaced with equal amounts of joy when we were able to find some of the cute little guys walking around. 


Okay, funny story. Tay snuck behind this guy to try and get a picture with him. Apparently, seals don't like to be snuck up on. We think he probably felt like he was getting attacked from behind or something, because he jumped up and started attacking Taylor! Tay is a pretty jumpy person, so he was pretty freaked out. Luckily he is pretty quick on his feet, and the seal doesn't have feet, so he got away without injury. But it was one of the funniest (and kinda scariest) things I have ever seen. It definitely made for a fun memory and good story, I just wish I had gotten it on tape! 


A couple pics back on the open road. Have you ever seen a herd of deer in a fenced area like this? They were beautiful, but it seemed kind of weird to us. I'm not sure what they are used for, meat I guess? 


Lake Tekapo: Our last night in our campervan was spent in a very cool place. We took a great hike around the lake, (which I accidentally did in my flip flops and got very dirty) snapped some pics by the Church of the Good Shepard, and drove up to the Mt. John Observatory. This area is world renowned for its star gazing (hence the observatories), which makes sense because it is in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy night the night we stayed there so we didn't see any, but we saw some pictures taken at the observatory that were pretty incredible. 


Christchurch: This is the city where we started and ended our south island adventure. It was sad dropping off our campervan, we really grew close to it over the 5 or 6 days we adventured in it! Before we took our flight back up to Auckland, we had a day to explore the city of Christchurch, which I'm glad we did. If you didn't know, Christchurch experienced a massive earthquake in 2011 which almost entirely destroyed the city. A big part of the city is still being rebuilt, which was kind of cool to see. One rebuilding project they've done is turn a bunch of shipping containers into a hip shopping area called "Re: Start". The picture below with all of the empty chairs is an artists piece symbolizing and remembering the 185 people who died in the quake. 


Auckland: Our last stop in New Zealand was back on the north island. We were able to explore Auckland for a day before our flight left that evening. Once again, really great architecture in the city, as well as good art at the Auckland art gallery and of course more good food. We couldn't leave the country without one more breakfast of french toast and eggs benedict. One pretty cool part about our trip was that the Cricket World Cup was happening while we were there, so we were able to watch a lot of the games while we were eating at restaurants which was fun. 


We absolutely loved our trip to New Zealand! Everything we experienced, from the food, to the people, to the culture, to the beautiful nature, was all we could have hoped for. We hope to be able to go back someday and see some of the cool things we didn't have time for! Until then, NZ. 


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