new zealand: south island

welcome to the south island of new zealand. this place is like living in lord of the rings, but way more sheep. the landscape everywhere you turn is remarkable. it seriously looks like US Weekly editors photoshopped backgrounds into the world. let’s keep going…

ben lomond hike, queenstown, november 2014

first stop was the town of Blenheim, but all you Kim Crawford fans out there know it by another name…Marlborough (squeals of joy i’m sure). Marlborough is a huge territory and with Blenheim being the largest city in it i can confidently say Marlborough is boring. its literally just fields on fields on fields of grapes and contains more white people than a dave matthews concert. there is nothing to do in this place but drink wine and pretend you know anything about wine other than the fact that it comes in 3 vessels; bag, screw top and cork. our tour guide was with Na Clachan and included a german couple (of course), a couple from the UK and a Kiwi. we tasted wine at one winery, Forrest, and then we drank wine at the four other places Helen drove us to – Spy Valley, Framingham, Nautilus and Drylands Estate which is responsible for Kim Crawford. we actually did end up learning a few things – NZ is mostly made up of Scots and Irish, not English criminals as previously thought, and Marlborough contains one of the only satellite interference spy hubs in the entire world to monitor terrorist communication. creep show. we were driven back to our awesome motor park where we attempted to run a hamster wheel.

a delicious rose!

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spy valley, marlborough, november 2014

from wine country we stopped in Nelson to climb Mt.Stoke and sweat off the grape juice. unbelievable views up and down – 5 hr return we knocked out in 4….just saying’.  after we grabbed accommodations at a dumpy motor park where carnies lived (wish i would have taken pictures) and some sort of mountain raccoon/corgi hybrid attempted to climb a tree as we approached but it was too fat and didn’t consider us a threat so he slid on down from his 4 inch vertical leap to stare at us. i laughed, naturally, caroline wasn’t so thrilled. at this point i am having fun.

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mt stokes track, november 2014

mt. stoke, nz, november 2014

mt. stoke, nz, november 2014

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mt stoke track, november 2014

the next day we drove up to Abel Tasman to hike again and take in the views. in one of the northern most parts of the south island, it’s roughly 40 miles away from nelson but takes nearly 2 hrs to get to bc you only go 20 miles per hour due to the roads..or lack there of. this is one of the bigger national parks in NZ and offers multi-day hikes up to the different beaches/outlets, but we settled on a 3hr walk to sit at Apple Tree Bay. along said hike we saw a family of Kiwi’s (the bird, not the people) and caroline impatiently scared 2 babies onto and then off of a bridge essentially killing a few newborn pride of this country – way to go no.1… we walked back and settled in another awesome motor park – beautiful weather and lots of folks our age sitting around drinking wine. plus they had a bounce pillow so caroline got an exclusive birds of paradise like show. yup, i still got it.

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abel tasman, november 2014

roadside frans, somewhere in new zealand 2014

roadside frans, somewhere in new zealand 2014

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somewhere in abel tasman, november 2014

next two stops included Arthurs Pass which was rainy and cloudy so we only did one quick hike to the Devil’s Punchbowl (see below) and were also introduced to the Kea. the Kea is a native bird to NZ  and in the animal kingdom this bird is considered a predator to chicks and rabbits, but for humans they’re basically homeless people. caroline is terrified of birds so of course i encouraged some participation. next few days were spent in Fox Glacier for some outdoor activity. a full day included an unguided hike to the glacier itself, the glacier valley swing bridge, a hike & lunch at lake matheson and some play time at gillespie beach. maybe the coolest thing we saw all day was this incredible show by a sheep herding dog herding some sheep. sheep. while there caroline also finished her first book, gone girl, and i started my second. we survived our first “off day”. living in a van is tight quarters and we felt that almost 3 weeks in was a good amount of time have lasted without a pouty hogan. we ate a steak for a dinner and had some crazy beautiful views from the motor park. yes, there were super judgey Germans at both motor parks – seriously guys, what’s up? lots of media below…

fox glacier hike, november 2014

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fox glacier TOP 10 motor park, november 2014

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lake matheson, new zealand, november 2014

this is basically what every meal looks like in NZ, november 2014

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goth cow was seriously depressed, lake matheson, november 2014

please.do.enjoy.

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