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I technically had a two week break at Uni. Since Ryan had two weeks off before starting work, we decided to take advantage of one of those weeks. Luckily we have the South Island right in our backyard. It was out of this world beautiful. It seemed like it was the way the earth looked before humans.
September 2nd: We left our home in Kingsland, Auckland bright and early Saturday morning in our campervan Noah, otherwise know as Whokanoa (pronounce Fukanoah). We took Highway 1 down to the outer rim of the Tongariro Crossing. Although we didn't have the time to actually venture on to it, we had our lunch overlooking its beauty.
Fun fact: The Lord of the Rings location of Mordor, was filmed on and around the Tongariro National Park!
The first night we spent at a campsite, Waikawa, about an hour north of Wellington. We got to stop at a nearby beach for a little. Unfortunately, it was getting dark by the time we got there so we didn't stay very long. We somehow managed to see a music video being filmed? It was definitely interesting trying to get to the actual beach, due to the fact there were no marked pathways and we had to hike up some dunes to access it. Maybe we overlooked something, but we made the best of it! Once arriving at the campsite around 6 or 7 pm, we made some baked beans for dinner and strung up our new LED solar powered fairy lights with some good old fashioned duck tape.
September 3rd: We awoke in Noah around 5:45 am and had to catch our Ferry in Wellington. Atlas, we were heading to the South Island! We had heard so many good things about it and had seen so many amazing pictures... and YES it absolutely lived up to it's expectation! Once arriving to the Ferry port we sipped on some coffee at a nearby cafe, shortly after hopping into Noah to drive him onto the Ferry.
Another fun fact: There is no bridge that connects the two islands (North and South Island) and understandably so. It would be a massive feat of engineering for that matter. So instead, you have to take a pricey ferry notoriously known for being quite rough out in the ocean! Otherwise you can fly! Being that we just bought Noah, we wanted to take him out for a spin. The Ferry ride was just beautiful though.. See below when we started to make our way into the sounds of the South Island.
Once we arrived at the Ferry Port in Picton, we started southwards and got to see the famous Marlborough Region of New Zealand. Marlborough is known for it's Sauvignon Blanc wines, which happen to be some of my favorite!
That same day before sunset we had the opportunity to explore the pancake rocks in Punakaiki. They were formed 30 million years ago from tiny fragments of dead marine creatures and plants. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify into hard and soft layers.
Sept 4th: We made our way into the mountains. The South Island is an incredible place; One minute you can be at the beach and see beautiful palm trees, feeling the warmth of sunshine on your back and the next minute you can see the mountains with snow in the distance. We made our way to Franz Josef Glacier that morning via highway 6. It is located inside of Tai Poutini National Park and is currently receding. The water leaving the glacier was the brightest aqua blue I have ever seen.
Later that night we made our way to Lake Wanaka to camp in Noah for the night, before heading to Hike Roy's Peak the next day. We camped in a very scenic campsite that was literally on the lake.. it was incredibly windy but beautiful.