South Island – Week Two

My friends and I finished up our New Zealand travels this past Friday. I’m currently 23 hours into my 27 hour flight/layovers home to Canada.  The first 20 hours were actually pretty great. I got an upgrade on my 15 hour flight from Sydney to Dallas, which made that flight much more enjoyable!  I’ll try to get a wi-fi connection and post this final blog asap.

Here’s a breakdown of the past week:

Day 8:

We started this day off on the west coast of the south island, in Franz Joseph.  Here we spent the afternoon completing a glacier walk.  It was really “cool” to spend an afternoon on snow and ice; much different than the typical climate I’ve gotten used to in OZ/NZ.  Fortunately for us, the weather was amazing and we ending up doing the walk in near summer weather!

Hanging in a Glacial Alley

The three of walked through tight ice alleys, climbed through tunnels and saw some pretty neat waterfalls.  We had a great time slipping and sliding all over the Glacier, especially Christina, who won for best wipe-out on the ice!

Kelly crawling through a tunnel

After our tough afternoon of ice-climbing, the girls and I sat mountain-side at local pub for dinner, and then headed to some of the hot-springs in the area to relax.

Dinner & Drinks in Franz Joseph

Later that evening we left Franz Joseph and drove to the tiny New Zealand town of Reefton.  There was actually nothing in this city, but our night stop.  Despite this, we made friends with a few locals and our Hostel owner, Trevor, and ended up having a pretty decent time!

Day 9:

We headed out of Reefton early Sunday morning and drove to the top of the South Island to Picton.  This area is known being close to the Malbourgh Sounds, which is a great bushing walking area.  Kelly and I did a short hike and wandered around the tiny town.  Afterwards we spent the evening relaxing at our Backpackers.

Pretty Picton

Day 10:

Next to Picton is the city of Blenheim, which is the winery hub of New Zealand.  The girls and I tried some of the best wine I’ve had down under to date!  My sister, who has zero interest in wine, actually enjoyed some of the samples as well! To help satisfy Kelly’s taste buds, we also sampled several beers at a local brewery.

Kelly at the Brewery

After this classy afternoon, the three of us headed to the town of Kaikoura for some seal and dolphin watching.

Seal Watching

Day 11:

We got up early on Wednesday and did a coastal walk in Kaikoura.  This hike took us past several seal colonies and along some scenic cliffs.  It was also the last fabulous day in NZ that we had weather-wise.  That afternoon we also said goodbye to Christina

Coastal View from our Hike

Day 12:

Kelly and I left Kaikoura in the morning and travelled south to Christchurch.  There really isn’t too much to see in Christchurch anymore, as a result of the massive earthquakes that have taken place over the last year.  We did a walk around the city centre, which was heavily damaged during the earthquakes.  It’s pretty unfortunate, but interesting to see.

Kelly in front of some of the earthquake reconstruction

Day 13:

Our final day in New Zealand was spent shopping in Christchurch.  The weather wasn’t great so we checked out a few malls and shopped near the replacement for the former City Centre mall.  Large shipping containers were brought in and placed near the city and the former downtown shops have set up in the containers.  It was pretty neat, and there we lots of deals!

City Centre Mall

We also checked out the Canterbury Museum near the Christchurch City Centre, which was actually really impressive.  As far as free museums go, it was probably the best I saw in OZ/NZ.  Afterwards we travelled through the botanical gardens, which again, we’re pretty sweet.  All in all, despite the damage in Christchurch, we had a more than enough to do to fill our day.

Christchurch Botanical Gardens

Day 14:

Day 14 was spent sleeping the Christchurch airport before heading out of NZ around 6am back to Brissie. Kelly and I did some last minute shopping in Oz, had dinner out with friends and left Saturday afternoon for Canada.

While I can’t believe my Aussie adventure is all over, I’m incredibly happy it happened.  I feel like I lived it up and am leaving with no regrets.  As sad as I am to see it go, I can’t wait to start planning my next one!  (And, I may graduate and work at my real job for a little while in between ;))

The End.

My Travelling Pig keeping watch on my four planes tickets

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One thought on “South Island – Week Two

  1. Hey Katie! I had a great time reading your blog, studying abroad sounds amazing!! I was wondering if I could interview you for the “Day in the life of an abroad student in Australia” page for gooverseas.com. Let me know if your interested at maxine@gooverseas.com 🙂 Thanks!

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