A taste of the South Island.

 

Hello readers,

I feel like it has been ages since I last wrote. Although I returned just over a week ago, it is really only now that I am sitting down to look over the photos and reminisce over our road trip of the South Island, NZ. I hope that you enjoyed Aoife and I’s post about what to pack on such an adventure.

For this post, I think I will just put up some of my favourite memories and I’m sure you will then see not only how beautiful this island is but how the landscape changes so quickly and is of quite the contrast to one another- the lush greens to the dry brown, the white winter wonderland to the blue skied beaches, the mountains and the valleys, the glaciers that bring it’s turquoise waters and all of the creatures and sea life that fill it….. WOW. God is a wonderful artist.

 

Covered with snow and with the turquoise water vibrant against the white, Aoife and I explored the beautiful region that encompasses Mt. Cook and Lake Tekapo.

 

Just how fun does the town of Oamaru look in these photos? A town of penguins, steampunk and Victorian with a flair of art and quirky. Known as the Sharpest town in NZ and Steampunk capitol of the world….perhaps I’m biased talking about this one. You’ll just have to visit me to make that decision…

 

Making our way down south and paid a little visit to the Moeraki boulders and to the steepest street of Dunedin. What a contrast to that of a few days before in the snow, as we walk the sandy beaches with a canopy of clear blue sky.

 

A windy, overcast day to add to the mood of the Catlins as we witnessed the Purakaunui falls, where the bush meets the sea, the most southern point of the south island and the fossilised forest.

 

An early morning drive on Oreti beach with the snow capped mountains in our view. From here we made our way through Riverton and onwards to rest our heads in Te Anau that night. The mountains decided to give us a pink evening glow as we ventured to see some glow worms in their caves.

 

A journey to Milford Sound can take your breath away and leave you speechless with all of the beauty it has to offer. Mirrored waters, 900 waterfalls and avalanches of snow to keep you mesmerised for the day and for years to come, I’m sure.

 

 

Next on our map was Queenstown where we ziplined, bungy jumped (Aoife) and luge’d our way through another beautiful landscape of mountains. We nearly didn’t find our way out of the maze at Puzzling World but we did have the opportunity to walk up Mt. Iron for a 360 degree view of Wanaka.

 

From here we drove to the West Coast with hikes to Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. With more mirrored images at Lake Matheson and a soak in the hot pools, we were definitely enjoying some of what this area has to offer!

 

Over halfway through our road trip and beginning to feel a little tired,  Aoife and I stopped in Greymouth to visit our friend Bekey. We awoke to a relaxing day with a stroll through Pancake rocks. The sun and the mist gave way to the greenery and the powerful waves that plunged against these incredible rocks.

To continue our time of relaxation we cut across to Hamner Springs where we got a massage and soaked in hot sulphur springs. When we felt that we were rejuvenated Aoife and I went to spend two days in Kaikoura to go whale watching. We entered a four person plane and hovered over the sea till sperm and blue whales were amazingly within eye sight.

 

For Aoife’s final day, we strolled through Christchurch with it’s museums, art galleries and city buzz.

 

I feel like this is just a little taste of what we saw on our travels of the South Island. As you know, no photo or word could ever really portray what can be experienced in person. However, I hope this has sufficed to whet your appetite to come and explore some of the treasures that New Zealand has to offer. And if not, well I think there is beauty in every place that we live, so…. hop in your car and explore!

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The Mobile Suitcase.

A road trippers guide to packing the essentials…and the not so essential. 

  

It is week two of driving around the South Island and here is what we have learned about living out of your car and what to pack for such excursions. Now we all know that it is necessary to first all bring your adventurous and laid back spirit that accumulates both the planned and spontaneous parts of your journey. Let us talk you through some of what to pack for all that you might encounter along the way. 

Clothes and shoes. LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS. One minute you may be shivering in the snow and the next you may be peeling off to a t-shirt during a walk so it is necessary to layer for your changing climates and landscapes. Here is a prime example. 

  
Good walking shoes for all those trails -from snow to beach to forest trails. 

  
Thick socks for the colder climates and jandles (flip flops) for those trips to the hot pools, showers and beach. 

Hat,scarf,gloves and sunglasses for all weather types. 

  
Remember the key to all outdoor apparel is to be comfortable and prepared!!

Quick on hand. For all those little ( and big) stops along the way, here is what we have found useful within reach. 

A roadmap.. It may seem old school but with a navigator next to you, we believed it to be the best way to better understand where places are in relation to each other as well as all the key point of interests on that road. 

  
A lonely planet guide makes small towns come to life with history and tid-bits of info about the food, accommodation and recreational activities of that area.

A camera as well as your phone ( and possibly a selfie stick due to no one being around to take your photos).

  
Voucher book. May not be something you can get your hands on but always being on the look out for deals is great. For example bookme.co.nz is wonderful for this too!

Utensils. As some hostels do not provide delph or you have your own space for dining ,here are a few things to consider bringing..

Ceramic mugs for those morning coffees. A bowl and spork. A thermos and water bottle. Plastic cups. 

Food and drink. These are our preferences for snacking or consuming on the side of the road or tucked into your chalet that night. 

Lots of chocolate. Granola bars. Fruit. Crackers and Oamaru Whitestone cheese (the Five forks with Walnut crackers). Water, stay hydrated!! NZ wine, red or white, they are all good! Jed’s coffee bags are quite convenient. 

   
 Miscellaneous. Sunscreen. Chapstick. A car charger. A hanger to dry towels during the day. Tissues and wipes. Window cleaner to see the beautiful scenery. Hotties ( hot water bottle….or a hottie) Extra blankets in case you get stranded or rooms are quite cold. Fitbit to track all them steps walked! Books for entertainment and winding down at the end of the day (while in a hot tub with the glass of wine preferably !)

Enjoy! Hope this helps. 

Happy travels

-Erin and Aoife (alpine enthusiasts)

  

Reading Malala.

  
This year, since I have moved to New Zealand, I have started a bookclub with three teen girls. Our first book to start with has been ‘I am Malala’. Since we opened it’s beginning pages, we have journeyed through an insightful time and place with many questions about who is Malala and what can we take from her example.Some of you may have heard her name before. A young girl of twelve years old; who was shot by the Taliban for standing up for the right to education for females in her home country of Pakistan. Malala opens our eyes to how fortunate we are to have such access and freedom to learn in school and hopefully we won’t take this for granted. She also teaches us many other things.

  • Malala teaches us that no matter the age, we should always stand up for what we believe in, despite the opposition. Imagine speaking and living out your belief when threats are verbalised against you and there is a fear for your life and the lives of your loved ones. Would we shy away, never being heard and living in fear? Is what we believe in worth that risk? Is being silent wise or cowardly? Here is a poem that was written during the time of WWII and how our actions though may seem futile can actually change a life or a circumstance.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. -Niemöller

  • Malala displayed great faith in the midst of great trials. We see this as she spent months recoving in a British hospital far from her family and home. She also exemplified what it is to forgive those who harm you and if you happen to watch the documentary on her life, her gracious manner is infectious.
  • Malala teaches us to be content and grateful for what we do have. If only every student could read this before they wake up early and grumbles while getting ready for school. Before every book is opened and every pen touches paper. We live in a part of the world that accomodates and encourages every individual to be educated-female or male. There are millions of females in particular, in many parts of the world, who do not have this privelege and they are paralysed and dependent in their illiteracy. The question arises of what can we do to help? How can we show our young people what this means for us and for others? And then maybe they can be the ones who will also reach out to stand up for such rights or other rights too, for that matter.
  • Malala shows us that words and peaceful actions are effective. One of the teen girls from the group exclaimed that she was “inspired by how she persists with her beliefs despite the threats of an apparently more powerful force, and that she believes that her pen is an even match to their guns.” Malala has spoken all over the world inspiring others with her powerful words. She has won the Nobel peace prize in 2014 and humbly strives to advocate using her voice and story to equip others to do the same.

There are many more things to learn from this young lady so I really recommend that you read the book to find out more for yourself. This afternoon, the bookclub and I met at a friend’s house. This friend has lived in Pakistan and was able to share more about life there. We clothed our heads with colourful scarves and adorned our arms with jingling bangles. We drank sweet chai tea and watched the documentary about Malala’s life. Here are some beautiful and colourful photos from that time, which reflects that beautiful culture and part of the world, that we can’t allow to be tainted by hate or discrimination. Malala celebrates and displays a love for her country despite what has seeped through her hometown. We must be mindful to pray for Pakistan, as well as other countries, who desire not only rights to education but a peace for their surroundings.