24.01.2013 - 08.02.2013
After arriving in Queenstown we found a campsite overlooking the town and more spectacularly Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake.
The first few days we spent chilling out around the town and lake. Queenstown has a much younger crowd than anywhere else we’d been to, with it being seen as the adventure capital of the world combined with great nightlife, its streets are busy with youngsters still on a high from bungy jumps, white water rafting trips and jet boat rides to name but a few.
As I’d been here before and had already done most of the adventure sports and frequented many of the bars this visit was a much more laidback affair! On the Saturday night we were there we did meet a group of Kiwi’s out for a Birthday so we crashed their party and headed out with them. We had a great night and they took us to some cool bars and clubs, but as the night grew on Leah decided busting moves on the dance floor wasn’t enough so up she got on the bar! Suffice to say that was the end of our time at that club!
In Queenstown you can jump on the gondola, which, at the top gives you a great view of the lake and surrounding mountains. We were feeling adventurous that day so we decided instead of catching a lift up we would walk to the top. Not a great plan when it’s 30 degrees but we made it and the views are spectacular. From the top you see people jumping off the mountain paragliding down to the bottom, a great way to get down but we stuck to walking!
With a couple of days left in Queenstown we realised my parents were flying over for a holiday. We weren’t sure whether or not we would be in the same place as them but as we’re all the way round the world we thought we’d surprise them at the airport. After meeting them we drove to Arrowtown where they were staying, 20 minutes out of Queenstown and went for a drink and a catch up. It was great to see them after all this time away and we planned to meet up again when we went back to Wanaka in a few days.
We decided to take the road over the mountains from Queenstown to Wanaka, passing by Cardrona ski area on route. Great views all the way but difficult to stop and take pictures as it was so thin and windy from start to finish.
As my parents were staying there at the same time as us they offered to put us up in there B&B which has an uninterrupted view out the back of Mount Aspiring, the biggest mountain in the area. Staying here was relative luxury compared to the hostels and campsites we’d stayed in. Both nights we were there we had bbq’s and Davey, the owner of the B&B took us out on his 3-wheeler motorbike for a tour around Wanaka. This was great fun flying around with him talking in our headphones giving us a brief history of the town and taking in different viewpoints of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains.
After staying in Wanaka for a couple of days we headed over the Haast Pass and up the West Coast. We stopped in Franz Josef for a couple of nights to get a look at the Glacier. Unfortunately it rained none stop for the only full day we were there so in the morning before we left we walked along the valley to just beneath the massive glacier.
Next up was the huge drive up the west coast. Fortunately the weather was perfect blue skies and brilliant sunshine as this part of New Zealand is prone to horrendous weather. As you drive along you pass some beautiful areas with mountains on one side and crashing waves on the other. We stopped a few times taking pictures where possible and then carried on up the coast before heading inland at Westport and then further north up to Golden Bay on the North west coast.
Golden Bay is a stunning part of New Zealand, with warm waters and great beaches. We stayed here for a few days just relaxing on the beach preparing ourselves for the 3-day trek we’d planned to do through the Abel Tasman national park.