My last leg of my journey in Australasia took me on an adventure in yet another Jucy camper van around the beautiful, scenic South Island of New Zealand. After spending over six months loitering around Sydney not really moving and putting a halt to travel to earn some cash, you almost forget that freedom feeling of being on the road to the unknown. As we landed in Christchurch and picked up our camper that feeling rushed back to me, eager to begin, with no idea of where we were going relying on the very few roads that wound around the island.
Our first drive we were in complete silence, completely blown away by the beauty of the mountain range, a windy narrow road that crept high above the clouds and through a heavy foggy pass, Arthur’s Pass it was called. An incredible first drive to our first campsite, which was hidden right by the water at Lake Pearson, amongst the mountains. It was freezing that night.
Me showing my planning skills our route for NZ was thought out weeks in advance, to make sure we fitted in as much as we could but giving us the freedom to relax and enjoy it. Our first full day we carried our journey on through Arthur’s Pass, and towards the Western coast, to a little town (big to Kiwi’s) called Greymouth. We had no idea what we were to expect for a town by the sea, but if I am honest it was very grey, with little character or beauty, apart from the Arthur’s Pass mountain range in the faded distance. It was a short-lived trip there but we picked up essentials to live off for the next two weeks.
Campsite number two was at Lake Mahinapua, again breathtaking views from our moving home. This campsite was managed by DOC incurring a cost of $6 each, of which we were very happy to pay for, as it meant we had clean toilets and fresh water to drink from. A fantastic system they have in place here, which is run by the Government, is you pay a small fee for the maintenance of a designated camping area in amongst the natural surroundings, rather than it being ruined by travellers dumping waste in undesignated areas. Why haven’t other countries followed this?
Day three took us to our first ever glaciers; Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Such a shame to see so much has melted away and been destroyed by global warming, but again absolutely incurable to have witnessed seeing them before there is nothing left. The townships were very tiny but felt like a ski resort, well I guess they are with the snowy mountain tops surrounding.
That night it pelted it down with rain making it very difficult to really do anything. We set up camp early by Gillespies Beach, a long 45 minute drive down a dusty dirt track. Sadly it was our most disappointing camp spot and night. I was eaten alive by sandflies and it was a struggle to even leave the camper for the loo without getting drenched, eaten and battling the stinking drop pits filled with flies.
Day four we were set to skydive the Fox Glacier but unfortunately due to crap weather with the 80% chance of cancellation our skydive never happened, so close we even got in the jumpsuits and did the safety brief. It will have to remain undone on the bucket list for now!
After the disappointment of no skydive we took yet another stunning scenic drive to Lake Wanaka, where we camped right on the Lake at a great, facilitated campsite with showers hurrah! Overlooking the crisp clear lake and mountains, with a delicious hot dinner; I could do this forever.
To be continued…