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South of the South Island

After a safe flight back to New Zealand we started heading down the East Coast, we could see the majestic ice tipped mountains to the right and the beautiful sea to the right. Eventually we went inland to visit some of the incredible lakes the South island had to offer. We stopped for the night in a small town called Fairlie, the weather was beautiful and we could see the Mt Cook national park in the distance.

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The next morning was as beautiful as the last so we headed over to Lake Tekapo, as you can see by the photo the lake has unobstructed views across the turquoise water with a backdrop of rolling hills and mountains. We dipped our toes into the water to see if it was warm enough to swim in, or should I say not to cold but my toe almost dropped off so we thought better of it and had a wonder around the few shops.
We then drove through the beautiful Mackenzie country heading towards Dunedin, the Edinburgh and university capital of the south. We found a lovely holiday park almost on the beach, got some supplies from the supermarket and chilled out for the evening.

The next day the weather wasn’t great, we took the drive around the Otago peninsular hoping to see some penguins or sea lions but were disappointed so we walked around town and watched ‘The Hobbit’ at the cinema.

The weather the next day was no better so we decided to drive onto Invercargill, at one point I was driving at 10 kmph as the rain was so heavy! And then 5 mins later the sun was shining brightly. As the weather wasn’t very nice for most of the way the views were compromised which was a shame.
Once we arrived in Invercargill we treated ourselves to a cabin, as we didn’t fancy putting out tent up in a storm. We decided that if the weather was nice the next day we would do one of the many walks they had to offer, and if not we would make our way to Te Anau.
As we expected, the weather was terrible in Invercargill so Te Anau it was! We stopped off at New Zealands ‘sausage capital’, Tuatapere where we found it difficult to find any sausages. Thankfully on the way out we found a butcher that sold the ‘famous’ sausages.

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We arrived in Te Anau in the afternoon of a beautiful day, we hired some bikes and rode around some of Lake Te Anau enjoying the turquoise waters with the snow capped mountain backdrop.

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We then went to the i-site to enquire about a boat trip in the Milford Sound but the lady informed us a storm was approaching and the tricky but amazing Te Anau to Milford road would be closed! We were deeply disappointed but as this weather is prone to these areas (they receive about 7m of rain a year) we had prepared to stay here for a few extra days. We checked into a cosy cabbin and waited for the storm to pass.
We waited for 3 days and the rain didn’t stop, eventually we decided to do a boat trip into the Doubtful Sound, which was supposed to be nicer but unfortunately more expensive, but the weather wasn’t quite as bad there and we didn’t have any closed roads to worry about.
Our boat trip started at 2pm, we first got on a boat in Manapouri, about 20km from Te Anau. We crossed Lake Manapouri, where the weather was rather cloudy and wet so not much was to be seen. We then got on a bus and drove 22km through dense rainforest to Deep Cove to head out on another boat on the Doubtful Sound. By this point the weather was starting to improve and you cold really see why this tourist spot is so popular. As there had been so much rain over the past few days the waterfalls were abundant and spectacular! On the boat we started to see rugged peaks jutting out of the sea covered in thick rainforest, the weather was really starting to lift but the wind was very strong. The boat trip took about 2 hours in total, where the boat reached the Tasman Sea and turned around again. On the way back the wind had dropped slightly and the sun had started to shine through the clouds and even some rainbows appeared over the waterfalls. It was defiantly a worthwhile trip.

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Our next destination was Wanaka. We stopped off in Alexandra to register with a recruitment agent to get a week or two of work and then headed over to Lake Wanaka for the weekend. We drove into Wanaka’s beautiful scenery, found a campsite and had a walk around the town and part of the lake. We found Wanaka to be a very touristy town, but it is a year round holiday destination, also catering to skiers in the winter, and you can see why, just up the road is Mt. Aspiring.
We wanted to do a walk while we were there so chose to do the Rob Roy valley track but after driving 40 mins on an unsealed road praying our car would be ok, we found out we had to drive through several fords which we knew our poor car couldn’t take so we headed back and walked a bit more around the lake. It was a very windy day and several people had brought their giant kites and had them up in the park.
The next morning we walked around Mt. Iron and took in the spectacular views of the lake and the mountains from the top, the heat was immense so we soon headed back to spend the afternoon by the lake eating amazing ice-creams!

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On the Monday as expected, we received a phone call from the recruitment agent asking us if we could start cherry picking immediately. We agreed and that was what we did for the next one and a half weeks.

Posted by LeahPaul 21:14 Archived in New Zealand

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