I tend to be a little long-winded so I’ll keep it short and let you get to the photos. There are so many wonderful photo ops in New Zealand. Here are a few of my favorites from the six weeks I enjoyed in this beautiful country.
Forgive me blog for I have sinned. It has been 11 days since my last submission.
A couple of posts ago I was in Wanaka, with plans to wrap up my NZ trip in Christchurch. The shuttle across the south island was fairly mundane, with the only real highlight being a view from afar of Mount Cook, the highest point in NZ at over 12,000 feet. When I planned my trip five weeks ago I was completely ignorant about a series of earthquakes that had rocked Christchurch in 2011, taking almost 200 lives. After learning about the earthquakes, and with an outbound flight already booked, I was curious to see how the rebuilding effort was going. I guess it takes a lot of money, manpower, and passion to rebuild from such a devastating event. I saw a large section of the city still fenced off but active work underway within its walls. I saw signs and banners that spoke to the passion of locals to reclaim their beloved city. I saw poignant memorials for those who were lost.
Week 9 started with a HelpX stay in Queenstown and ended with a few days in a hostel in the city. I want to reiterate that these breakdowns are my best guesses. Everything charged to my credit card is accurately represented but I’m not anal enough to track cash down to the dollar so Dining and Groceries have some fudging going on (and chocolate, because I’m kind of in love with chocolate).
Milford Sound, like Queenstown, was described to me as a must-visit when touring the south island of New Zealand. One local couple I met on a city bus described the Sound as the most beautiful place in all of the country. With so many incredible mountain views and landscapes I’m not sure how one could pick just a winner for that title but it certainly did not disappoint, even with less than perfect weather.
This post was originally to be titled “Multi-media Extravaganza!” and consist of text, pictures, and cool videos I’ve been working on. Unfortunately a 7″ Android tablet does not make a very good digital editing platform. Buggy software wasted my time and nearly made my pull my hair out. I humbly concede that Apple does media better.
So I’m in Queenstown now, and have been for several days. I spent four days with a really great young family doing work exchange in a suburb about 12 miles from town. The house has a funky modern design with a view you wouldn’t believe and a really cozy en suite for my accommodation. I can’t tell you how nice it was to sleep in a queen-sized bed with no roommates! Mom, dad, and two cute little girls aged four and seven made my stay welcoming and fun.
The past few days have been hard. Not because I’ve been starving or homeless or lost, but because I haven’t had reliable internet access. Backpackers in small towns are like junkies when it comes to connectivity. “Hey man, you know where I can score some free wifi?” “Sorry bro, I’m all out. Let me know if you find any, OK?” Now that I’m back in a big city I have my fix. It’s a rough life, man.
Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, I was staying in Westport and looking at seals. Here are a few more pics of the bike trip I took around the cape.
Well I made it to the the south island of New Zealand, but not without a few delays, a brief period of despair, and several hours with a van driver who loves Johnny Cash.
The day started off normal enough: 6:00am alarm, dress in the dark so as to avoid disturbing the five others in your luxurious 100 sq ft suite, slug 40 pounds on your back and 10 on your front, hike to a random street corner for a shuttle pickup. Routine. The goal was to get from Wellington (A) in the north to Picton (B) in the south, and the ferry is the best way to accomplish that.
While lying in bed last night I began to wonder just how many different beds I’ve slept in since beginning my trip. I came up with 15 beds in 12 cities so far, and a new bed each of the past eight nights. Luckily I’ve had no trouble sleeping unless the room was too hot. Earplugs are mandatory for hostel stays!
Today I’m in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, which is at the southern tip of the northern island. My Stray bus tour ended here so I had to say farewell to some new friends. It’s a strange feeling to befriend someone knowing from the start that goodbye is only a few days away. I’ve experienced it with Airbnb, HelpX, and now Stray. Most of the time it ends with a handshake and well-wishes but sometimes the person becomes a real friend and their absence is noticed and felt. Luckily Facebook lets everyone keep up with each other’s travels.