Heavenly Place On Earth - South Island, New Zealand

by - February 11, 2018

New Zealand is known as one of the most beautiful countries on earth, with remarkable landscapes of verdant meadows, gentle lakes, undulating hills and jagged mountains, there is plenty to see and explore. On this very trip Mr Piggy and I explored both South Island and North Island. 

Season of visit: 

December 2017, Summer

Activities:

Queenstown

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Address: 16 Ripponvale Rd, Cromwell 9384, New Zealand


From Queenstown CBD the Gondola takes visitors to the top of the Skyline where astonishing views await. From there you will feel the entire Queenstown is beneath your feet. 


Website: https://www.skyline.co.nz/en/queenstown
Address: Brecon St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand



Cookie Time - New Zealand's national cookie - is a treat that every kiwi must have had when growing up as a child. The shop was loaded with cute cookie time mascots and lots of people! We came during holiday season, so the line was a little long, but still bearable. 



There's a wide selection of flavours to choose from freshly baked ones as well as prepackaged ones. Of course we were not leaving empty handed!


Website: http://cookietime.co.nz/
Address: 18 Camp St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Roys Peak Track
Russell Lupin/Perennial Lupin
While in Queenstown, it's hard to resist its untouched wilderness. So we hit the road to.... indulge ourselves in the beauty of nature.  Soon we were rewarded with lupins blooming away by the roadside. In New Zealand these vibrant flowers are considered as pests as the seeds spread quickly and therefore pose a risk to the native ecosystem. However, these stunning flowers are remembered by many visitors when thinking of New Zealand. The blooming period is from November to December.


Lake Wanaka

Along the way we drove past another tourist attraction which was the Cardrona Bra Fence. Initially the fence began with only four bras (around 1999), the reason why they were there is unknown, but since then the bras have been growing in numbers.



Mt Cook

The King Salmon here is raised in pure glacial water rich in minerals. At the shop you can purchase hot/cold smoked salmon and fresh salmon, as well as other merchandise. Unfortunately, when we visited on Boxing Day they didn't have any sashimi due to it being holiday season. As a result we got a pack of hot smoked salmon to try instead. We loved how the salmon was soft and had a intense smoky taste. Their salmon is also sold at major supermarkets throughout New Zealand. 


Website: http://alpinesalmon.co.nz/
Address: 4856, Tekapo-Twizel Rd, Twizel 7901, New Zealand



Another pleasant roadside encounter on our trip was Alpine Lavender. There was a small souvenir shop and a mini cafe. We got the lavender ice cream, it was creamy and had a good amount of floral taste. 


Website: http://www.nzalpinelavender.com/
Address: 397 Mount Cook Highway, Pukaki 7999, New Zealand

Mr Piggy and I had planned to go glacial boating, but due to bad weather, our boating experience was cancelled. Apparently this is very common at Mt Cook as the weather can be quite unpredictable, so you can never know until you are there at the site. We took some (plenty) selfies though to make our walk worth while😂



Website: http://glacierexplorers.com/index.html
Address: Bowen Dr, Mount Cook National Park 7999, New Zealand

Church of the Good Shepherd is one of New Zealand's iconic churches that sits by Lake Tekapo with breathtaking views of the shimmering blue lake and snow-capped mountains in the background. It is also a popular spot for star gazing and adoring the Milky Way.


Website: https://www.churchofthegoodshepherd.org.nz/
Address: Pioneer Dr, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand


Christchurch

Pohatu Marine Reserve is a small coastal bay nearby Banks Peninsula. There are day and evening tour options, we got the "Scenic 4WD to Pohatu" which was $75pp/$55 for child under 15yrs. This package included pick-up at Akaroa, an hour and half drive from Christchurch. 
The drive to the reserve came with remarkable views of the coastline. The milky-blue colour of the water is a reflection of the rich minerals below.


However, enjoying the beautiful views requires great guts...as the drive to the reserve was like a roller coaster ride. The steep, wavy and unfenced single lane track was so narrow that it barely fit the van. A slight wrong turn and the whole van could fall into the sea... We felt very lucky to have made it back in one piece😱😱😱  


White-Flippered Penguin
At the reserve there are injured and sick penguins, and also those that come to shore to breed using the nesting boxes.


This little fellow is a baby so the staff had to force-feed it as it hasn't learnt to eat on its own. This is how a mother penguin would do it in the wild too.


This baby penguin is losing it's brown fur, and the bright blue feather underneath is a sign of moving into adulthood. 


This is an adult penguin that was extremely malnourished (it is smaller than the babies). During annual moulting, instead of the normal bright blue colour, it can turn into a pale brown colour just like this one in the picture.


There are hundreds of theses nesting boxes scattered over the reserve, and they all have a number to help the staff monitor the penguins. 

To examine the penguins' health condition, their poo is checked regularly. 


There are also farm animals such as sheep and geese that share the reserve. The sheep in the picture above is my favourite as it's always scratching against a van whenever we saw it. So we decided to name it "Scratchy".

Here is "Scratchy" scratching again🙈
Stout (a Penguin predator)
This nesting box has two young chicks, they were still in their baby fur.


This whole experience was eye-opening and something that will stay with us for a very long time. 

Website: https://www.pohatu.co.nz/
Address: Wildside Booking Office, 8/2 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa
Akaroa 7520 New Zealand


During the 2011 earthquake many buildings were destroyed, Christchurch Cathedral was also a victim of that. Part of the church is still remaining and reconstruction is in progress.



                     
Website: http://cardboardcathedral.org.nz/
Address: Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand


Plenty more adventures await us in the South Island, we'll be back!

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