Yay Yay Yay Yay! Excitement is a complete understatement. Everyone I’ve talked to has mentioned how incredibly amazing New Zealand’s South Island is. The north has already been so wonderful that I just couldn’t comprehend how it could beat.
The Interislander Cook Strait Ferry took us across the waters, through the most picturesque secluded beaches and shorelines to the beginning of the south, Picton. Three and a half hours we were greeted! And greeted we were, Picton you are so beautiful!
We set up the gas BBQ and boiled water for a typical backpacker meal, noodles while enjoying this view and breathing in the freshest south air.
Nelson was the destination we headed for today taking the route, Queen Charlotte Drive. RECOMMENDED FOR SURE! This was the most beautiful drive I have ever taken, along the coast 35km/hr max speed, winding around mountains and taking in the most pristine beaches and cutest little townships. Photos can’t do this drive justice, but I’ve given it my best shot.
We headed west and made Nelson and once again headed straight for the ‘I Site’. We drove around, checked out a few caravan parks and settled for one fifteen minutes out along the beach.
Spending the evening watching the sun fall over the water was breathtaking, with a superb view and exciting new friendships. Thanks a heap Jodi and Phoebe (our newest English friends). Meanwhile the tide came in around and we were stranded. Feeling like we were a real life version of Cast Away, we needed a Wilson. No Wilson, just leftover food, a camera, and clothes I wasn’t prepared to get wet. An hour later we walked around beating the tide and made it to safe land. Gosh, that was some excitement and a close call.
What a day. One of my favourites! Driving dedication day. We were going to see how far we could get. Abel Tasman National Park is an hour west of Nelson and definitely worth the drive! I never appreciated scrub land until we hit up this place. There are so many options from short walks, day or double day hikes, catching a boat up the coast and walking back or kayaking the incredible shorelines. We opted for a leisurely short stroll to take it all in.
You can’t detour past the Nelson Lakes National Park without checking it out. We’ve all seen the photo of the wooden jetty in front of the most incredible blue lake and mountainous background. Yep, that’s our second destination. This again, not as the name suggests is another hour and a half south of Nelson. The Park is home to compacted mountains, forested valleys and is the beginning of the Southern Alps. It also calls home to Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa, of which we visited. Once again, kayak, walk or mountain bike these areas and I promise you will have a fantastic A+ time. Swimming is also a thing, however a lady mentioned something about eels… Each to their own.
Driving and pit stopping in so many beautiful places was what the rest of the day looked like. What could be a two hour drive soon turned into three hour then four and a half hour because there’s so many routes, scenic stops and way too many photo opportunities. One could go crazy here. I found a new favourite farming area with sharp mountains, pine plantations and bright blue streams along our drive where I could and would be more than happy to live. Like more than happy!
We made it to Westport then drove the coast south to Greymouth. Did somebody say Hawaii? I am yet to get there but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve now been there. The scenery keeps getting better and better and around every corner is something completely different. Day eight came to a late close hitting Greymouth around 8:30pm. We covered land, we saw sights and today was satisfying for sure!