New Zealand Adventures
Recently, Drew and I checked a huge item off of our bucket list! It had been his dream (probably for most of his life) and mine for the past few years to travel around New Zealand. We thought about going for our honeymoon, but then decided that it would be an amazing trip to go on with friends. As we started planning, we figured that for a trip that’s literally halfway around the world, we might as well go big. So, we flew from Charleston to San Francisco, where we spent two days with Drew’s brother. We ate In ‘N Out, hiked around a state park, and strolled around the different districts of downtown. We then took the impossibly long plane flight to Sydney. We were only in Sydney for two days, and that was just long enough for me to say, “well, here’s another place to add to the bucket list.” Sydney was amazing! I was excited to go because I had “Visit Australia” on my list of 30 before 30 that I recently found :)
Below is a photo of Bondi Beach. It’s Australia’s version of Folly Beach :) Everyone was so laid back and friendly!
The Sydney Opera House! I don’t know why, but for some reason I have an obsession with this building and was so excited to see it in person! And now on to New Zealand! We took a cruise from Sydney to Auckland, because obviously a cruise is so much more fun than another plane flight. The last cruise that we went on was full of college spring-breakers, and I remember telling Drew and our friends that I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t all college kids this time. Well, I got my wish. Instead, we were literally the youngest people on board. Everyone else was probably 65+ :) We had booked our 4 days cruise through Costco, and what we didn’t realize was that it was actually a 14 day cruise all around the coast of New Zealand. And then it all made sense why we were the youngest people there :)
Below is our ship pulling up to port at Bay of Islands, just off the top of the North Island. We went to this sweet little town called Russell, which apparently is extremely ritzy! Our server at lunch told us that there’s a hotel here that costs $25k/night. How is that even possible?! This historic house is now the police chief’s on Russell! How cute! That view though. After we docked in Auckland, we hopped on another plane to Christchurch. There, we rented our faithful RV, whom we named Carl, after the fog in San Francisco. We were at the RV rental site for probably two hours, going over all the information, and reviewing safety tips about driving on the opposite side of the road with a HUGE camper. We finally started off on our way, and ten minutes into our drive, we hear this loud BANG! We all gasp and stare at each other, and Cam says, “Shoot. I think I just hit a car.” He pulls over to the side of the road, and he and Drew jump out to go investigate. They walk up to a car that was parked on the side of the road, and a lady gets out and says, “Oh my GOODNESS! You gave me a fright! I thought I’d been shot! Like I was in downtown LA!” Yes, she actually said downtown LA. Which we thought was hilarious. Why not Sydney? Or Auckland? She must have been watching too much CSI :) Either way, she was the sweetest, and we had only knocked off the plastic part of her mirror. Crisis averted.
Below is a sunrise photo of the first place we freedom camped! New Zealand is amazing in that they have hundreds of locations where you can just pull off on the side of a road, in front of an amazing lake, and park your camper van for the night. It was incredible to wake up and have your coffee overlooking a sunrise on a magnificently blue lake. I seriously can’t even begin to describe the color of the water. I’m so sad that my photos don’t do it justice! Carl! We loved him so.
This water! It looked like a blue raspberry jolly rancher! Where’s Waldo, Carl-version. (See him aaaaaaall the way at the bottom there?!) We hiked up a mountain that is said to be one of the best rock climbing spots in New Zealand! We had just scaled two switchbacks when we passed a group of girls. They looked at us and said, “oh wow, you have a LONG way to go.” Thanks, ladies :) The view from the top wasn’t too shabby! The drive to Milford Sound was INCREDIBLE! It’s no wonder it takes forever to get anywhere. You literally stop every five minutes to be amazed at God’s creation. So we had this amazing guide book that told us all of the least touristy hikes and adventures to take in New Zealand. The author called this one a “moderate” hike. We had no idea what we were getting into. You’re hiking up a mountain to see a waterfall, and what the author didn’t tell you is that you’re actually hiking IN the waterfall stream. For the first few minutes, I’m trying to hop from rock to rock as to not get my hiking boots soaked. Eventually, we realized that wasn’t going to be an option. We’re all thigh deep in freezing cold water, stepping on the most slippery rocks of all time. We were all going back and forth between laughing, yelping, thinking we were gonna slip and die, and stopping to be amazed at the scenery. See? The boys taking a moment to stop and soak it all in. Figuratively and literally. We were soaked. At the end we did a polar bear plunge and then ran sopping wet back to Carl. Meet Queenstown! The sweetest little college town ever. We loved how all the cities had so much green space. Queenstown had a beautiful park right in the middle of it. This drive up the mountain was terrifying and beautiful. This photo doesn’t do it justice at all. Once again, how is that water actually that color?! The hike up to Mt Cook. It was beautiful and sunny out, and as soon as you got to the hike, it was cloudy, rainy, hailing, with wind so strong you could barely stand. We felt like we were trekking through some Lord of the Rings scene. Because when in New Zealand… On our last day, we took a ferry to Waiheke, this little island off the coast of Auckland. It’s the wine island! All my dreams coming true. Cable Bay was our favorite vineyard, with the best sauvignon blanc I’ve ever had! We were also quite obsessed with the pinot noir rose that you can find everywhere in New Zealand. All of the photos we took with us in them are on my phone, but here’s one I had Drew snap of me and Brittany and our pinot noir rose :) San Fran, Sydney, and New Zealand…you were good to us!
I posted additional photos of our adventures on my Instagram if you’d like to take a look!
Carl the campervan courtesy of Wilderness Motorhomes. They were absolutely amazing, I highly recommend them!
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