Going through my photos, I somehow managed to select over 60 photographs to be included in the “Best of the South Island” post. Clearly this is a little bit overkilly, so will be selecting the best of the best and spreading them out over a few posts. Having spent far more time on the South Island than the North, and with the Mainland’s gobsmackingly beautiful scenery, there is just so much to explore and photograph!
Best of the South Island, part one – photos taken from my solo trips to Nelson, Cable Bay, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Kaikoura, and a company Christmas trip to Akaroa.
Best of the South Island, part two – photos taken on a two-week road trip with Katherine from Kapcha The World (we visited Castle Hill, Hokitika, Fox Glacier, Karamea, Abel Tasman Park, Marlborough Sounds).
Best of Christchurch – photos from my 10 months living in the Garden City, includes the Port Hills, and Waikuku Beach.
Nelson and the Tasman Region
After spending six months on the North Island I found a job at a hostel in Nelson for a month. This was a great base for day trips around the region, two of which were a hike up to the Centre of New Zealand, and an outting to Cable Bay with a group of Couchsurfers up from Christchurch.
After Nelson, I moved to Christchurch to work with a software company in the CBD. One of the best companies I’ve ever worked for, they took the entire staff (and their spouses and offspring) to a weekend getaway in nearby Akaroa for a Christmas harbour dinner cruise. This is the view from a lookout on the way down to the peninsula.
Wildlife in Kaikoura
While in Christchurch, I organized a three-day weekend trip to Kaikoura, for whale watching and general checking out of things. Not really knowing much about Kaikoura, I was astounded by the abundant wildlife, the fur seal colonies in particular. They were everywhere! The whale watching trip we took was pricey, and had I known I would have a propensity for seasickness, I would have waited for a calmer day to go out. Despite my spending the entire time fighting to keep my lunch down (I did!) we saw at least three Southern Right Whales, a few dolphins, and a pretty good assortment of water birds.
Just before I started work in Christchurch, I took a week long trip down to Queenstown with Intercity Buses. Similar to Greyhound here in Canada, I bought a pre-routed ticket that took me to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Milford Sound, and return. Sadly it rained the entire time I was at Mt Cook, but by the time we stopped at Lake Tekapo the weather had cleared up and we had clear skies.
Milford Road and Milford Sound
Hands down, this is my favourite part of New Zealand. Tall, craggy mountains meet lush green forests. Waterfalls, rivers, fjords are everywhere you look. Had I known how much I would love it there, I would have chosen it as my place to work and not Nelson. My Intercity bus ticket included a day trip to Milford from Queenstown, the highlight of which was the two hour harbour cruise that took us out to the ocean and back.
The undisputed adventure capital of the world, it was the end of April when I arrived and so most of the activities I wanted to do were no longer open for the season. Since Im not much of an adrenaline junky, I didn’t have the balls (or interest) to bungy jump or skydive. I was hoping to do some caving and canyoning instead, but since that wasn’t an option I chose to spend my time wandering around the town’s many hiking paths and trails with a friend I made on the bus.
Next in the series: photos from my 10-day West Coast road trip with Katherine!