Road trip in the South Island – 1st part

On 7 December 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

Lots of things to tell you and I am really late in telling you about my adventures. So I’ll make you a resume here in 2 parts of some key moments of my road trip in this beautiful South Island of New Zealand, with pictures. Elodie my friend came to see me for 2 weeks holiday (a big thanks to her!), So I made the most of the trip on her company (and our car to start then our trusty campervan Thor). I finished with 1 more week alone to explore a little bit further. 3 weeks, 4700km (including 3200 with my friend). So, many memories.


Arrival at the end of the road north of the island, we drop our bags at the hostel with my friend. And we leave as soon to see the beach which is at the end of a short 45 minutes hike: Wharariki beach. Known for its massive rock in the middle of the sea, it is deemed to visit at sunset time. Once there, I have a direct crush. This beach that stretches for miles is superb, with large sand dunes, colorful vegetation, brilliant colors on this rock which reflects in the water, and no one around We’ll stay a while to walk, discuss, observe in silence…before returning to the backpacker to eat a good hot meal and get under the covers of our bed with the fire to warm us up.


To go get our van in Christchurch, we mark several routes by making detours heard the good places. And while we believed we have been lost and we were ready to turn around, we arrive on this beautiful Nelson Lake which leaves us speechless. The weather is not perfect but it gives a certain charm to the place and a mystical something that I love. Lunch break at the end of the dock, with the massive eels lurking there… And just before leaving, I take this picture that turns to be one of my favorites.


A few kilometers before arriving in Kaikoura on the east coast of the island, I had heard of a place called Oahu Point. Without telling my friend, I told her to stop the car when we get there. Here we walk to a waterfall up there and find seals playing in it. A special moment that we don’t see so often, a little magic and childhood in a world increasingly brutal. And we observe this particular seal playing with us and rubbing his belly. A very nice moment before reaching Kaikoura, between sea and mountain, where we spend a wonderful evening with a dinner at Hislops and sleeping in a motel facing the mountain.


Once we have the van, we take the Arthur’s Pass road. Probably the best road I’ve seen so far. Mountains everywhere, breathtaking views, lakes, rivers, a rainbow sky in the middle of it all. Bluffing


Despite the very average weather, we decided to go closer to look at one of the glaciers. After discussions and reflections, we choose to go to the Franz Joseph which appears to be the most preserved and impressive. And here I am facing an ecological shock that made me remember once again that our planet will exhaust its reserves if we do not act in everyday life: since 2008, the ice has retreated dramatically. We can not access anymore to these blue ice (unless you make a helicopter flight to land on top of the glacier). Which means that in a few years, tourists will no longer have any access to the ice, or there even will be no ice at all… At today, the road still allows to see one part but we still remain far enough.


After a night in a great camping near Wanaka, a discussion with a German couple, a perfect weather when we wake up, we decide to do the walk to the summit of Roy’s Peak: 1578m above sea level, 11km of a strong walk (if not very hard especially on the end of the climb), about 6 hours return. But up there view is breathtaking, the effort is therefore fully worthwhile. One of my prettiest walk of this round the world trip, and quite proud of us after this effort.

See you soon on my blog for the 2nd part of this road trip.


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