Two weeks after landing in Melbourne (one of my favorite cities in the world!) we took off for the South Island of New Zealand and had a terrific time. We spent 10 days seeing various sites, visiting people and generally having a wonderful time with the Kiwis, as they are affectionately known. We could have easily stayed longer as there were many places we didn’t get to, but those that we did, were great.
Here are some of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand.
We started off in Christchurch, where David has distant relatives who welcomed us with open arms. They showed off their adopted city of 35+ years with pride, even though Christchurch is still figuring out how to recover from the devastating earthquake in 2011. One clever idea is their inventive use of shipping containers as temporary stores. Here is David in front of the new ‘shopping mall’ in downtown Christchurch.
Here is the view from where we stayed, just outside of Christchurch in the little town of Governors Bay. I can see why these relatives decided to live and raise their kids in New Zealand!
Scenes from our lunch at the Mount Difficulty Winery. It was a delicious and lovely way to stop and break up the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown.
Our hike above Queenstown was steep and strenuous, but the views were breathtaking!
One of the most spectacular places we have ever been to was Doubtful Sound, which is a stunning fiord in the far Southwest of New Zealand. It is part of the same region as the more well-known Mitford Sound, but Doubtful Sound is larger and less accessible. We had to take a boat and then a bus just to get to the dock where we then boarded the overnight boat and then afterwards retraced our steps to get back. 95% of the year it is cloudy and rainy, but we were there in one 48-hour time period that was sunny – very unusual. We had gorgeous views of the vertical rain forest, growing up the steep walls of the fiord and a beautifully quiet sunrise on the water the next morning.
We spent a few days in Dunedin, where it turns out I knew two local women from my years of working with La Leche League International. They took turns touring us around the area so that we saw the local sites including the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross. While out on the boat, we were divebombed by 8 or 9 of these majestic birds and even saw a little blue penguin fishing off the coast.
Bottom line: the people are friendly and grateful for tourists, since the 2011 earthquake and 2008 economic crisis has meant a drop in American tourism. It is well worth the long trip to get there. Overall it was a terrific trip and we left loads more to see and do for a future visit, including the whole North Island.
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