As I mentioned in Friday’s post about travel community, I’m enjoying some great interactions on Twitter. So when Tourism New Zealand said hello, I declared my Twitterverse complete! New Zealand, as most of you know (or if you don’t, now you do) that NZ is my absolute favourite country in the whole world. If there would be only one place in the world to go and get inspired, this would be it. I thought instead of droning on with more lists and words about how amazing it is, I thought a small photo tour might be more fun instead. They say pictures speak a thousand words, and these are certainly no exceptions. We’ll be essential taking a circle tour of the South Island of New Zealand, as illustrated in this Google Map:
So, let’s go, shall we?
Stop A & H: Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city on the south island and is the main airport with service to Australia and the north island. It is a very English city with a number of really nice restaurants and is also a good place for souvenir shopping (especially rugby-related gear!). The flower gardens in front of the houses were divine, as you can see.
Stop B: Abel Tasman National Park
Out of all the walks you can do in New Zealand, the Abel Tasman is one of the best. The coastal trail – a 4 day walk that I spent in near solitary isolation, just nature and me – brought such clarity of mine and purity of soul that everyone thought I’d been on a Buddist retreat. Well, I had – just Kiwi-style.
Stop C: Greymouth
I stopped in Greymouth mainly to ease the long journeys. But the city appealed to me in a couple of other ways; it’s somewhat derelict, the downtown area full of remnants of industries that have long faded. It’s home to Monteith’s, one of the best beers in the world. And they have some great caving tours, where you get to explore and splash around underground.
Stop D: Fox Village
Fox Village is one of two glacier towns on the west coast (the other, busier one being Franz Joseph). The village is a sleep town, with just one shop and a couple of restaurants. It is a great place to stop and relax; while the primary attraction is the incredible Fox Glacier, I found the views at Mirror Lake to be just as mesmerising.
Stop E: Doubtful Sound
Many folk opt for Milford Sound – which is indeed incredible – but the unusual journey required to reach the solitary confines of Doubtful Sound are a real treat. Only one company does the overnight tour, so you’ll wake up in the middle of nothing but nature’s artwork.
Stop F: Queenstown
Queenstown is the social hub of the south island. It’s hopping every night of the week with funky pubs and packed restaurants. It also the focus of the country’s adventure sports industry, nevermind some fantastic walks.
Stop G: Lake Tekapo
I’ve highlighted Lake Tekapo before as one of the best places to see the stars. You have to see the water here – such a blinding turquoise colour that cameras just cannot illustrate properly. Some great walking trails here.
Have you been to New Zealand? What did you think?