A Grand Adventure: New Zealand’s South Island

Three friends, one camper van, and the open roads of New Zealand’s South Island- the recipe for an unforgettable journey. If you’ve ever thought about taking a trip to New Zealand, let me tell you about the time my two best friends and I decided to make the journey across the world.

We started our adventure in the city of Christchurch. With its art scene, historic architecture, and unique hangouts, the city is the perfect place to gear up for any expedition. For our trip, my friends and I opted to rent a camper van from Travelers Autobarn instead of staying in hostels or airbnbs.

Navigating north, our first destination was Able Tasman National Park. The park is a stunning untouched beauty. We spent a day hiking along the coast, ocean kayaking and swimming in the clear turquoise water.

Journeying south, we reached our next destination, the town of Wanaka. Famous for That Wanaka Tree, this town is a picturesque lakeside town, close to many great hikes. This is a great place to read a book at Lake Wanaka Beach, wander the streets of the small village and eat some delicious fish and chips.

Not far from our stay in Wanaka is Lake Hãwea. We started on the shore of Lake Hãwea and trekked up Breast Hill. Despite not completing the entire trail, the views of the green hills and blue waters were worth every moment of struggle.

Photo by Thi-Thi Bauernfeind

Continuing south, we made it to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. The vibe of Queenstown is unique to anywhere I’ve ever been before. We spent our days walking the city, souvenir shopping, meeting locals at the bars and going on day adventures. The thrill-seekers in us decided we had to go sky diving and I highly recommend the company NZONE if you want to sky dive in Queenstown.

From Queenstown, we took a day trip to Fiordland National Park, home of the famous Milford Sound. We took a cruise between the giant cliffs of the sound. Even the drive through the park was otherworldly, the rain made hundreds of waterfalls appear out of nowhere.

Photo by KEATON NYE on Unsplash

Now for my favorite destination of the trip- Mount Cook. The sight of New Zealand’s tallest peak was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. We set out on many hikes, traversing through alpine meadows, past glaciers, and across rushing rivers. If there is one place you visit while on the South Island, make it Mount Cook.

Image of three girls hiking Mount Cook created using AI by Canva

The last and final destination on this grand adventure was Lake Tekapo. Known for its star studded skies, Lake Tekapo is a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve. Come at the right time of year and you can frolic in the colorful lupins while admiring the incredibly clear glacial water.

The South Island of New Zealand is more than just a travel destination; it’s an experience. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or a cultural enthusiast, this island has something for everyone. If you are planning a trip and want any more details, please reach out. I’d love to share more recommendations with you!

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