Leaving Australia was hard. We loved it there! It was quite a challenge to switch mentally to a different country even though we were excited to explore New Zealand. We booked a flight to Christchurch, rented another motorhome and knew that we were flying out close to 4 weeks later from Auckland. We wanted to see both islands, starting with the South island, which everybody claims to be the most beautiful. We only planned the first couple of days and planned everything else while in New Zealand. This is where we ended up;
We arrived in Christchurch late in the afternoon and booked 1 night in a hotel, which left us limited time to explore but for us it was enough. We still felt the aftermath of the big earthquake in 2011, especially in the center where our hotel was. It seemed like everything around our hotel was demolished and in the process of build up. Quite overwhelming to see. Outside of the center there was nothing to be noticed so it was just a particular area.
We strolled around for a morning and loved the botanical gardens. So pretty! And we had amazing weather, which always helps.
After picking up our motorhome we set way for Kaikoura. A more recent earthquake did some major damage to the road to Kaikoura and yes we did notice that. Some roads were one way and very narrow, but it was a beautiful drive. Maybe one of the beautiful drives we ever did. The landscape is crazy. It almost seems like you are driving in a computer made scene. We made like a 1000 videos along the way.
We only stayed in Kaikoura for 1 night, way too short. I am sure you can enjoy yourself there for a couple of days and do some amazing hikes.
A lake with crazy blue water; Yes please! Kelvin was really eager to get a swim workout in at Lake Tekapo, so he jumped in. Crazy person. The water was cold.
Mount Cook probably turned out to be one of our favorites of our New Zealand trip. It was so incredibly beautiful. We were in total shock the entire time we were there. You have to see it to believe it.
We ended up doing an excursion with Glacier Explorers. We went on a boat on the Tasman Glacier terminal Lake and gave the icebergs and Mount Cook a closer look. We thought it was a really cool experience. Sad though how fast everything is melting away. This problem always seems so far away in the Netherlands but in New Zealand you will become very aware of it.
So I had another animal I wanted to see, the penguin, and according to the internet Oamaru was the place to do just that. There is a place there that hosts a penguin colony to keep track of them and make sure that they don’t extinct. You can go there every night to watch the little blue penguins come back from a long day of fishing in the sea. You can buy a ticket and sit on a stand, but you can also experience it for free on the pier right next to it. However with buying a ticket you do support the colony. We sat on the stand and it was amazing. We saw about 100 penguins coming in. After they came in we walked back along there little holes and we were treated by a penguin being welcomed back by his hungry baby penguins. Coolest thing ever! While walking back to the camping side we spotted another 3 penguins. Yep. Oamaru is definitely the place when you are interested in seeing penguins in New Zealand.
Besides that Oamaru is a pretty cool town. They have a district that takes you back in time, complete with shops in old style and people walking around in costume. We really liked strolling around and having a coffee before our next big drive. Next up was Queenstown. But to keep it light, we will tell you about the second part of our tour of New Zealands South Island next time.