To the south!

WHAT A WEEK!!

Having spent 7 amazing days in the South Island, we have reached rock bottom.

I mean bluff bottom!! 😉

THURSDAY

We left Waipukarua at 3am and traveled to Wellington airport with our trusty driver Toby, in what he thinks is his really nice car. 🙂 We then flew to Queenstown via Air New Zealand arriving at 11 am. The flight was mostly smooth with minor turbulence on entry into Queenstown. Plenty of cloud so only minor views of the snow capped peaks.

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Upon arriving in Queenstown we caught a shuttle to our hostel, the brand new Juicy Snooze. No complaints at all, having been open only three days they are doing really well. Room was very clean, shower and bathroom were spotless. The room was small but had lots of built in storage so fitted all our stuff easily.  The staff were really friendly and helpful, really recommend a visit.

Courtney and I spent the day exploring Queenstown and doing a bit of nick-knack and souvenir shopping. That night we cruised town hunting for a chilled bar. We stumbled into The Rooftop Bar. Had a couple of great cocktails and enjoyed a great view of the night city. Next wondered on to Eichardt’s Hotel bar, had two very nice straight whiskeys along with some amazingly delicious pork cheek tapas. Having a couple drinks under our belts and time ticking by and having wet our appetite it was time for dinner. We found ourselves walking up the stairs to FLAME bar and grill. We decided on the flame share platter, a MASSIVE selection of pork ribs, peri peri chicken and a delicious spicy sausage, chips and fresh seasonal garden veg. After a delicious meal and with left overs in hand it was home for bed, early night at 11:30.

FRIDAY 13TH

Being unaware that is was Friday the 13th the bad luck avoided us.

After a bit of a sleep in and a snack of leftover ribs and sausage we headed out for a spot of early morning shopping and breakfast of fresh feijoas. After picking up some kiwi style shirts at Global Culture we grabbed our gear from Jucy Snooze and headed to the lake front to check in for our steam boat trip across the lake on the TSS Earnslaw.

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“The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer plying the waters of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand.” for the history buffs.

What an amazing trip! A 40 minute ride across lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to Walter Peak Station. The lake was soo calm and the weather was amazing, the engine room of the Earnslaw was open and I managed to get some good video of the mechanics starting her up.

Arriving on the far side of Lake Wakatipu we found ourselves looking at the original homestead of the high country station Walter Peak. Here we met Courtney’s grandparents, Nancy and Peter Woodd, who would look after us for the remainder of the trip and was the purpose of our visit south. We had a brief look around the grounds, but having not paid the $40 for the REAL high country experience we could not attend the animal feeding or sheep shearing. 🙂 However thanks to Courtney grandparents we had a private tour of the station to go on, so off we went.

Walter Peak home Stead
The original Walter Peak homestead now converted into a tourist centre that see over 700 paying people daily through its doors

Getting to see some of the amazing back country was awesome, great scenery and awesome photo opportunities.

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After an amazing drive around we headed to Te Anau to where Courtney’s grandparents live. Having never been there myself we decided to have a look around, and went walking through the town centre and along the lakefront.

Saturday 14th

An early start off to Milford Sound, having scored a $40 journey through Go Orange. The trip from Te Anau took just over 2 hours with some slow tourists on the road. About 30 minutes out of Milford we came to the Milford tunnel, a massive tunnel hand dug straight into the mountain and moves downhill at a good slope.

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We reached Milford an amazing deep water fjord surrounded by high cliffs with snow capped peaks, and boarded our vessel for the cruise out through the sound. The two hour cruise was very chilly! No more than 4-5C in temp. We were very lucky to see some dolphins but unfortunately did not get any good photos. The views from the ship were pretty amazing. After the cruise we headed back to Te Anau to chill out for the rest of the day and prepare for the trip to Invercargill.

Sunday 15th

To Invercargill .

Leaving Te Anau bright and early 7am, we headed south towards Monowai along the edge of Lake Manapouri. Then onto Blackmount, Clifden, McCracken’s Rest and stopping for lunch at Riverton. Then onto Invercargill and down to Bluff for a brief visit, back to Invercargill for a meal of Chinese food and the night. Lots of driving! We did manage to stop and get some photos along the way though. In the evening we visited Courtney’s elder brothers newly made family, spending a couple hours with her young niece. Stayed the night in a very nice room at the Tower Lodge Motel in Invercargill.

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Monday 15th

From Invercargill we headed across the bottom of the island and up the east coast slightly taking in Otara, Slope Point ,Waikawa, Papatowai, Owaka, Nugget Point Light House and Kaka Point. Another big day of driving and sightseeing, lots of photos. Had lunch at Papatowai then traveled to Owaka and checked into our hostel, which was the converted old hospital. We then headed out to Nugget Point and walked 20 minutes out to the light house from the car park. It was a great walk with some nice views of cliffs and ocean, we met a talkative bird watcher with a very powerful telescope who let us cast an eye about.

It was also awesome to see some of Courtney’s extended family. Courtney’s Uncle and Aunt Chris and Tanya Dackers, and cousins Josh, Antonio, Jacob and Joseph. It was great to see you all, if so briefly. The afternoon visit to Kyle and Gemma was great,  Isla is growing so fast! she is an absolute cutie. Congrats on the purchase of your new property, and I wish you well for the future.

That night we had dinner at the Owaka pub, delicious meal and good drinks, couldn’t ask for more from a country pub. Back to hostel for early an chilled evening, of which I spent some of it chilling with some English backpackers. Great conversation, pity we didn’t have more beers 🙂

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Tuesday 16th

Pretty quite day. Just cruised back to Invercargill to pick up the grandparents dog, then onto Winton for lunch. We met a good friend Ryan Web for lunch at one of the local cafe’s.

Was great to catch up Ryan, good on ya mate your doing so well. look forward to hearing from you in future, keep in touch and follow our adventures here!

We carried onto Te Anau, arriving mid afternoon. Another chilled afternoon packing for the trip home. Cooked dinner for Nancy and Peter, deconstructed shepherds pie with a glass of wine, a great way to end a great week.

Wednesday 17th.

Having packed up totally last night we got a sleep in, of sorts. Up and on the move by 8. Nancy and Peter drove us the two and a bit hours to Queenstown to catch our flight. An uneventful drive through some more great scenery. We arrived at Queenstown airport on time and safely thanks to Peters driving, despite road works and slow tourist drivers. Grabbed a quick souvenir and boarded the plane. After and easy clear flight back to Wellington our friend Toby picked us up and drove us back to Waipukurau, via Masterton for KFC and ice-cream.

What a week. jam-packed with travelling, visiting, sightseeing and good food and drink. Thank you very much Peter and Nancy Woodd for having us and driving us around the south, was great to see you.  It was also awesome to see some of Courtney’s extended family, before we head away on our overseas adventures.

Please all of you keep in touch, I will try and keep this blog updated regularly so you can keep in the know. So until then, cheers.

I wish everyone well, stay safe and have fun.

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