08.03.2017 - 13.03.2017
I will begin where I left off on my last entry: Wednesday March 8th, 2017 Graham and I took the ferry crossing the Cook Straight from the North Island to the South Island of NZ. The ferry crossing was quite an experience... as many of you know I suffer from severe motion sickness so I spent 100% of the time outside on the viewing deck- which was pretty cold and wet (from the 5 meter crests) while Graham was inside hooked up to precious power supply editing photos. It was actually quite enjoyable- I was able to listen to super old music on an iPod I haven't used since college and have a introspective couple of hours to myself. Once we landed in Picton on the South Island we headed towards Blenheim and the heart of the Marlborough wine county. We visited a winery immediately after arrival since they were all about to close. It was pretty lucky that we got there just before closing time though since they then wanted to finish off all the open bottles of wine for tastings and we were given rather large pours! I think I might have made Graham a wino along the way. The scenery was simply picturesque!
We ended up getting a free night stay at a car-park for a community center. As we were setting up for the night Graham saw a bunch of women heading into the Community Center with yoga mats and convinced me I should join them. I proceeded to walk in like I belonged, yoga mat in tow, and joined the class! People here in NZ are so happy and friendly. Even the view from the carpark was incredible
After another day of exploring the wineries it was off to Punakaiki and Hokitika along the west coast of the south island. Yet again, Graham captured some amazing shots as we were exploring the beaches, gorge and mountains. We stumbled into an extremely secluded area of the coast and it felt like we were the first ones to ever see it. Graham claims to have had an epiphany on that beach...he wants to "find instead of see"...deep thoughts
Since we made it to the Gorge (with its beautifully turquoise alpine waters) fairly early we decided to go for a swim (or as backpackers say- a shower). The water was so cold from the glacial run off, but it felt amazingly refreshing after we got out. Unfortunately the area was overridden with sandflies and Graham got eaten alive! He has proceeded to call his legs one giant bug bite- poor guy! Amputation may be necessary.
From there we continued south down the west coast immersed in the eerie clouds that hovered over the peaks. With the weather being slightly cold, rainy and overcast you would think it would affect the views, but I think it made it that much more beautiful. I can't even begin to describe it- never seen another place like it.
We made it to Queenstown after a short day hike up Roy's Peak near Wanaka at around 3pm. The rain and clouds made the hike challenging but we were able to catch a few amazing photos.
Unfortunately the hostel we had chosen to stay at was full and most other places were pretty busy so we decided to use some of Graham's Hilton Honors points and grab a room at the Double Tree. Stepping into the hotel in our grimey backpacker clothes was like stepping into an oasis! We took full advantage of the time here (I'm currently sitting on the couch in our living room typing this entry)-- washed ALL our clothes in the tub, drank free coffee, used the gym, swam in the gorgeous lap pool, soaked in the hot tub and charged all our devices! The room also had a kitchen complete with stove and all! We dinned on roasted brocolli, quinoa salad and wine in our clean warm hotel robes after long hot showers and slept like babies in a REAL bed. Needless to say I feel pretty good right now, but it won't last... Its back to our campervan and off to kayak Doubtfull Sound tomorrow.