Friday, April 17, 2009
Land of the Great White Cloud
Part of the Southern Alps in Kaikoura, South Island New Zealand where CCSP - South Pacific is based. We stayed at the Old Convent, current home of CCSP, in Kaikoura from Thursday to Saturday. Kaikoura is beautiful, nestled on the East coast of South Island. Crystal beaches and snow capped peaks - the best of both worlds. Lots of sheep farms scattered across rolling green hills as well. It made me feel a bit like a hobbit.
Saturday took the bus from Kaikoura to Christchurch to pick up our van. We rented from the Wicked Vans rental company which has a rebellious high schooler's taste in decor. Our van was fittingly named "Tiger" and in big bold, bright green spray paint it read across the back "We're straight. Don't rear-end us." We bought some tape to PG-ify some of the bumper stickers less appropriate for family campgrounds before driving south to Dunedin.
Easter Sunday woke up for sunrise on the Otago Peninsula. This was my favorite part to the trip. Saw wild sea lions at Sandfly Bay before driving south along the Southern Scenic Route thought the Catlins. Stayed at Porpoise Bay Sunday night after seeing some Yellow-Eyed Penguins nearby.
Monday we drove to Invercargill and then Te Anau on the way to Fiordland National Park to see Milford Sound. This was probably the most beautiful part of the trip. After hiking around Milford Sound we stopped at Lake Gunn for the night.
Tuesday we drove back through Te Anau and stopped at Half Moon Bay on the way to Queenstown. Queenstown was far too crowded so we drove further and stopped at Arrowtown, Wanaka, and then Omarama before staying near Ahuriri River for the night.
Wednesday we drove to Aoraki/Mt. Cook National park for a glimpse at some mountains and glaciers. I became obsessed with glaciers for the day and poured through the Lonely Planet Guide as we made our way East past Lake Pukaki and Tekapo. We stopped at the hot springs for some badly needed showers before staying the night between Tekapo and Christchurch. The next morning we drove to Christchurch and hit up the market in Cathedral Square for some wool sweaters before leaving at the airport.