On my 26th birthday, I flew from Melbourne at 13.10 and arrived in Christchurch by 19.40.
When I arrived at the hostel, Tash gave me a big hug the and presented me with a lovingly cooked dish of pasta (slightly branching out from our signature spag bol).
After dinner, we popped to the pub next door to catch up on (read: cry about) our 2 dreadful weeks apart.
- Left hostel at 9am
- Maruia Falls (waterfalls created by an earthquake)
- Nelson YHA by 17.30
- Drinks at Free House (a converted church) and Sprig and Fern (a pub with bikes hanging outside)
- Nelson is known as the sunniest part of New Zealand, which I can testify to because most of our time in NZ was spent in the rain and cold.
- Hiked up to the Centre of New Zealand on Botanical Hill with our new Liverpudlian gal pal, Heather
- The Queen’s Garden was beautiful and full of roses
- Tash and I walked to the Miyazan Japanese Gardens which were beautiful and really peaceful
- Visited the cathedral and the 30 Christmas trees inside decorated by lots of different organizations and charities
- Chilled at a café (photo credit goes to Heather)
- 17.45 coach to Abel Tasman
- Tash did her skydive while the rest of us prepared a shit ton of meat and veg for burritos for dinner.
- Tash, Nick (our new South African pal) and I hiked to Anchorage (11.8 km in 3hr15 – BOOM!)
- Nick absolutely loved our singing and asked for us to never stop.
FYI, we are available for bookings: We like to do a medley of power ballads (Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Miley Cyrus) as well as club classics (S Club 7 and Abba).
- Later in the evening, we grabbed dinner at Fat Tui’s, which is apparently regarded as one of the top 4 burger joints in NZ but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- 8.30am coach
- Cape Foulwind walk to see the seal colony
- We cooked veg pasta for dinner at Westport
- Craving a bit of exercise, we choreographed and sang an incredible rendition of The Climb by Miley Cyrus at the park across the road from our hostel. Not to toot our own trumpets but lives were changed that day. (Possibly Heather’s, who was most likely questioning her choice of new friends but that’s neither here nor there).
- 8.30am coach
- 1.5hr stopover in Greymouth (a large, historical goldmining town)
- Arrived in Franz Josef by 5pm
- Cocktails at the bar at the Rainforest Retreat
- Fry up at Full of Beans
- Bought a super snug waterproof jacket next door so that I wouldn’t freeze to death whilst hiking towards a glacier
- 5hr hike to the Franz Josef Glacier and back (we could just about see a bit of the blue glacier but the views on the way were incredible too).
- Warmed ourselves up at the hot pools
- Veg pasta in our room and watched 4 Weddings and a Funeral. Bliss.
- 8.30am coach
- 1hr20 hike around Lake Matheson
- 5-6 more stops including a hallucinogenic waterfall and the beautiful Blue Pools
- Arrived at Wanaka by 5pm
- Dinner and pub quiz at the hostel restaurant
(I know you’re dying to know what our group name was: Quiz all over your face.
We did so well and were, quite frankly, shocked and appalled to find that we hadn’t won).
- Left at 9.30am
- Hiked Mount Iron
- 2 hour journey to Queenstown
- Had delicious empanadas for lunch at The Empanada Kitchen (You must try all their empanadas and the sauces if you ever find yourself in Queenstown, promise me!)
- Incredible hot chocolate at Patagonia
- Cooked fajitas for dinner with Tash and Heather
- 3 hour cruise around Doubtful Sound
- It rains 200 days a year due to the location of the numerous mountains
- Fun fact: Parts of Jurassic Park were meant to be filmed here but it didn’t stop raining for 3 months.
- By the time that I returned to the hostel in the evening, Tash and Heather had prepared a lovely dinner of bangers and mash which I was super grateful for! ❤
See you soon for more adventures around New Zealand!