So we decided to rent a car in Christchurch, drive around the south island, then return it to Christchurch. We have a flight to the north island and we will do that afterwards in a shorter period of time.
We left Christchurch with our first destination being Mt. Cook. New Zealand doesn’t have that many roads, which makes it easy to navigate but sometimes you have to go around stuff to get places. In this case, Mt. Cook is actually much closer to the west side of the island, but since there are mountains, you have to get there from the east side.
Jim is the driver since I don’t have a license with me and driving on the other side of the road freaks me out.
As soon as we started driving, it was apparent that it was going to be TOTALLY AWESOME to drive outselves where ever we want, when ever we want. No more waiting for the bus to come and having to stay a night whenever you stop. We can stop somewhere for a few hours and leave. It is GREAT!!
The roads are pretty empty so Jim did just fine with the driving. After a while, we start seeing mountains ad tons of sheep, cows, and what looked like deer. The landscape was pretty cool. At one point, we go around a corner or up a hill, and when the scenery comes into view, we are just like WOW!! And we pull over and jump out to look and take photos. I have so many great pictures I can’t even decide which to show!!
Suddenly, we looked ahead and there were about a million sheep walking across the road and we drove right behind them. It was surreal. Here is a pretty neat picture of it from the car.
Take a look at the cover of our Lonely Planet guide. Pretty weird, huh?
We decided to stop for the night at Lake Tekapo instead of going all the way to Mt. Cook. We got there right before the sun went down and the lake was just …amazing. There are mountains all around and the color of the Lake…. I can’t even explain. It is a color that it shouldn’t be. I think it is rock particals from glacial run-off that is suspended in the water. Sometimes the lakes looked almost whitish-light blue, and other times, a bright blue that I can’t even explain. It was AMAZING. It looked to me like when you see an old movie that was shot in black and white and it was colorized and the colors aren’t quite right.
The next morning, we took our first hike (they call it “tramping”) up Mt. John. This Canadian girl told us it was easy but it wasn’t. We went arbout 5 minutes then thought about turning back. Ha ha. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard, but I’m not used to it and my new shoes are way too big and hurt my feet.
Here are some photos from the hike and the top of the mountain, which gave a pretty awesome view of the lake and other mountainy areas.
So the walk was only an hour or so.
So we came down and hit the road to Mt. Cook. Unfortunately the cloud cover was really bad and in the end, we didn’t even see it. But it was still cool to see half of the other mountains. The little village was so tiny that we stayed in, too. Just a tiny village by the mountains. And so cold! But the hostel was really nice and actually warm, for once.
We did go on a walk that day and it included going over a neat hanging bridge. We got to see a bit of the glacier, I think. Here are some more pics.
This is me on the walk, and you can see how the clouds ruin the view a bit. Way ahead you can see some water. Also, you get to see my awesome head thingy and why Jim calls me “Sir” Complains-Alot.
So we had a mighty nice time and the next day we planned to do another walk, but it was even more cloudy, so we took off and headed to Dunedin. We stopped on Oamaru for lunch and then kept going. We’re not sure what we want to see down here, but we have plenty of time and we have been going really fast.
There is a Cadbury Factory tour that is here, and I was so excited to go, but like ten people told me it was a rip off. So I didn’t go. Right now, Jim is at a Speight’s brewery tour.
The steering wheel of the car had been shaking a lot, so we took it to a mechanic and he put a new wheel on, all in one day. That was pretty cool. And of course we don’t pay.
Tomorrow we’ll be off somewhere, maybe towards Milford Sound.
Tags: New Zealand