And the rest of the South Island – All in One Entry

11 03 2012

Item’s I’ve learned today

-blogging about your travels gets old, especially when you want to be able to complain/moan about your current life.. haha

S0 I am condensing my last few weeks in the South Island into one entry. Partially because I’m tired of writing about what happened a few months ago, and partially  because I would like to catch up on this blog sometime before the end of 2012! 🙂

So I will capture places and highlights, and not update on each and every day (as I had done previously).

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely amazing.  We headed there after our glacier hike in Franz Joseph.  Stopping first at at Lake Matheson for some amazing photo’s ops. The lake is so crystal clear that it literally looks like a mirror reflection of Mt Cook.  It’s not quite so peaceful when instead of walking the 20minutes and turning around and walking 20 minutes back, you accidentally do the full loop.. and practically have to RUN back (a 6-7k run I might add) to the freaking bus in the hopes that it won’t leave you behind… sigh. asdhjksahdjk.

So insanely beautiful

So insanely beautiful

In Lake Wanaka I was offered my first work for accommodation job.. working at the hostel pub.  I had for all intents and purposes planned on moving back there but then some how ended up going back to Welly. Lake Wanaka was so peaceful and serene. A small town yes, but being right on the lake, and having all these gorgeous mountains near by made it one of my favorite places to visit in NZ.. and almost ended up being where I lived.

Queenstown

Bekah, Delphi, Mike and I

Bekah, Delphi, Mike and I

We spent a week there.  WATCH OUT. Queenstown is AMAZING, but non-stop.. and not great for the budget or for the liver for that matter.  I loved spending a week there, but it was just enough time. Queenstown is said to have the highest living expenses in NZ and the lowest hourly wages. There is also pretty much something going on at all times.. always.

Michelle, Reyana, Alex and I

With a little bit of this

And some of this

And some of this

And that...

And that...

Captain Morgan? I think?

AND........ Yeah

It’s a really fun place to be, but not one that I could spend ample amount of time at.   For the adventure-seekers, its home of the Nevus Bungy (which no I did not participate in) and the Canyon Swing.  What’s a canyon swing you ask?  Google it.. haha 🙂 APPARENTLY the two are huge rivals…. It also has the best burgers I have tasted in New Zealand.. the FERG Burgers.

Late night ferg burger stop

Late night ferg burger stop

They are about the size of half my arm (not kidding.. well maybe exaggerating SLIGHTLY) and DELICIOUS. Perfect late night meal.. or breakfast.. or lunch.. or brunch haha.

It also has an ice bar… amongst other things.

Posing in my thermal

Posing in my thermal

In the one week I was there I managed to spill a drink served in ice (literally a glass made out of ice), go on a pub crawl with a 100+ people, drink out of a tea pot, witness Reyana (a girl I met and adore) down an ENTIRE bottle of cough service to calm her nerves for her bungy jump, dance on multiple platforms, eat so much pizza I thought i was literally going to be sick

fat badgers pizza.... one of the 5 million we ate

fat badgers pizza.... one of the 5 million we ate

have a friend go missing (ahem.. Jo), wear a dress (not a normal occurrance for Maria), ride up a gondula, see a bunch of dudes run around naked, watch about 15 people I know jump off a bridge

nuts...

nuts...

(no.. I did not do it myself) and spend entirely too much money.  All in all it was a pretty good week!

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

We took a day trip from Queenstown to go to Milford Sound. Did you know that Milford Sound isn’t actually a Sound? It’s a Fiore.. incredibly interesting I know. I heard that wonderful factoid about 20 times during that day trip.  Milford Sound is AMAZINGLY beautiful though.  You see mountain upon mountain rising up out of the water, not to mention the incredible drive up there.  They say that going to New Zealand and not seeing Milford Sound is like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids.  It’s on the list of becoming of the top natural world wonders. It was pretty cool to see, although as usual a bit windy.

Apparently one of the top walks in the world is a 4 day trek around the Sound.  I obviously opted to do the day trip instead, in the comfort of a bus and boat with a catered lunch.. hah 🙂

Christchurch

christchurch

christchurch

I decided that I had to see it, and honestly it was rather hard to see. I would have regretted it if I hadn’t gone and seen the city and the after effects of the earthquake (or current effects as they are still happening). The city centre itself was closed off, so we couldn’t even walk around.

The closed off city centre

The closed off city centre

Earthquakes were/are still happening so the city couldn’t even really begin rebuilding/let alone demolishing the damaged/condemned buildings.  One church had a huge graffitied bandaid on it.. that stuck out as a symbol of hope. One building that had been demolished now had a make shift book exchange.  Cashel Mall had gone up..

Cashel Container Mall - literally made out of shipping crates

Cashel Container Mall - literally made out of shipping crates

Cashel Mall is a make shift mall made out of shipping crates which some people see as a big f’ you to the earthquakes and others were/are opposed to as peoples lives were lost where they are now building a shopping centre. One area I remember most is a demolished site where a family posted pictures of their mother with a note saying how that they missed her (concluding that her life was lost in that very spot)… yeah… Christchurch was depressing. But again, I’m glad I saw it.

Kaikoura

Apparently it’s one of the most interactive dolphin experiences in the world, but because I had already seen whales in the Bay of Islands, and the weather was quite crap.. we only opted to stay for a day. I did manage to see and eat at an excellent fish and chip joint there. Oh and watch the terminator at the “lazy shag” (the name of the hostel.. no I am not kidding). That was about the highlight of Kaicoura. It was slightly amusing though because there was this whole new group of people who were just starting on their bus tour.  They were SOOO excited about everything..  asking everything and their mom. and introducing themselves to everyone and their mom… OVER and OVER again! “Oh my gosh! Where are you from?? How long are you in NZ for?? What’s your favorite spot?? etc etc etc”  Bekah, Katie, Alex, Michelle and I (the veterans and ones wrapping up the trip) were unfortunately kind of over it. Sure we were nice and civil and all that, but my goodness was there a difference between our energy levels and theirs!

The trip back up

After Kaikoura, Bekah and I slowly made our way back to Auckland stopping in a few places we had already been. A few nights in Wellington (where I solitified that I would be working at Rowena’s Lodge and  managed to get my purse got stolen…camera gone.. so sad), few nights in Taupo where Katie,  Bekah and I had a completely RIDICULOUS but fun Thanksgiving day celebration

Katie and I

Katie and I

and a few nights in Auckland where we tried to tear Reyana away from her boy (un-successfully I might add) and eventually parted ways with Bekah on her way to Melbourne and me ready to start over brand new in windy Welly.

All in all it was an great trip! The two months of travel had now officially come to a close.  It was a bit hard at the end to say good bye and start out new and alone.  I had found that I had made all of these amazing friendships only to have to say goodbye, plus to go from traveling somewhere new every day to staying in the same place/looking for a job was a bit of a shock as well.  I wouldn’t take any of it back though. Although I haven’t seen everything I wanted to see in New Zealand, it was a great start, and a great way to open up the year that I will spend here (or technically 5 more months at this point).


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One response

14 03 2012
Theresa

Maria, not sure if you’re presently on the IEP/BUNAC visa or the government one, but you should be able to stay a second year if you want to; I did!

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