Lake Tekapo drive to Rangitata
Our Stray bus ventured to Rangitata for some rafting which was cancelled due to too much rain. My fellow Strayers & I just had a quiet evening minus wifi to organise anything. I wonder again why we pay $29 for basic facilities & no wifi?? We braved the rain & went for a walk to a let down of a view point. Are our expectations too high at this point??
Lake Tekapo en route to Rangitata
I will be leaving my friends at the next stop as some go to Christchurch & others fly out of Christchurch airport. I’ll be heading up to Kaikoura to swim with Dolphins then go back to Christchurch before heading back to Wellington. I remember I am supposed to have some sort of ‘What Next’ plan by the time I get to Wellington. I should really work on that!
Sunset at Rangitata
The next stop after Franz Josef was Wanaka! My friends have spoken to me about Wanaka before & you can tell from their facial expressions that they just adore it. The bus drive was 8 hours of nothing much as it rained for the duration.
I hear it’s beautiful when you can see the mountains….
Wanaka is a picturesque resort town with a relaxed, cool atmosphere. It has plenty of cute shops, bars & restaurants. My friends are planning to move here in the Winter to do a ski season & I know they’ll have a great life here. I’m tempted to join them….
Beautiful Lake Wanaka on a drizzly, cloudy day
We stayed at Base Backpackers* in Wanaka. Our room had about 4 plugs for 8 people & no floorspace once us & our bags were crammed in. The kitchen for the whole hostel was also quite small & difficult to cook in because there were so many people. My room was above the bar/club & the music was pumping out of it when we were getting ready for bed, even with the window shut. I would not stay here again.
The next day there wasn’t enough room on the Stray bus so myself & another girl hitch hiked to Queenstown. We got picked up within 15 minutes by two fun & friendly kiwi girls. They were a laugh & the drive took around an hour. They were showing us their new tattoos they got the day before – this girl REALLY likes avocados!
Meet Arthur the Avocado!
The road from Wanaka to Queenstown
*Base Backpackers Wanaka
Abel Tasman on a rainy gloomy day…
I decided to go for a walk on my own & peel myself away from my book for half an hour. I went to the start of the Marahau walk & got immersed in the information boards. Consumed in my own company & the sense of being a stranger in a new place I vaguely overheard someone behind me mention the Irish. I glanced over to see one of my friends from Wellington walking towards me for a hug! What a surprise!
Searching for the best vantage point to star gaze
We didn’t know each other were in the South Island never mind both at Abel Tasman. What a chance meeting! These 2 guys are cruising around for a few months in a converted van.
There’s something so comforting about having a wee cup of tea & catching up with familiar faces.
After the rock ‘n roll tea we went for a pitch black stroll along the path to star gaze at one of the beaches. Two glorious shooting stars and approximately 400 bug bites later we made our way back to our respective homes for the night with some sweet roadtrippin plans for the next day.
Picking shells on the beach
I couldn’t miss this opportunity to travel with them, so I am bidding the Stray bus farewell to go off the beaten track for a few days.
Today I ran to the apparent centre of New Zealand! It was a beautiful sunny day, the sky was blue & the sea was sparkling.
The track was steep enough & I felt the beads of sweat accumulating as I forced my feet on their first run of the year. Not one to ease myself in gently to anything I naturally thought a hill climb would be a great idea to reignite my relationship with running. It was ok….
The views were lovely & I recommend the trip to the centre of NZ if you have some time in Nelson – although I wouldn’t be too upset if you didn’t have time to do it 😉
Nelson was my destination of choice. I flew here this morning, less than 12 hours after booking my flight. I flew via Sounds Air on a tiny 13 seater aircraft. The flight time was around 30 mins & the views were beautiful.
Now I’m in Nelson I just have to figure out what I’m going to do. I am swaying towards a Stray bus around the South Island. Here goes the next leg of my Great New Zealand Adventure!
I have a plan! Well, not so much a plan as a proposal of intention.
I’m going to the South Island at the start of January to discover & explore for a few weeks. At the end of January I’m flying from Christchurch to Wellington in time for the Rugby 7s. Perfect!
By this time I hope to have a clearer idea of where I want to settle & work – & whether New Zealand is the place for me right now.
I have handed my notice in at work & will finish on New Years Eve. This will be my first New years eve in 3 years where I’m not working at midnight & I am elated! I made a promise to myself last year that I would be off work & celebrate like a regular person. I’m going on a new years eve road trip around the north island for a few days. I couldn’t ask for a better start to 2016!
I feel so much better to have an idea of what the next month holds for me rather than winging it in Wellington for another while. My next question is the cheapest & funnest way to get around the South Island – Stray bus? Hitchhiking? Driving?