New Zealand - the South Island

by - Sunday, June 14, 2015

Boy... have I ever neglected the updates!! I guess an update of New Zealand's South Island is better late than never... right?

Day 11 - Christchurh (Kiakoura)

I drove two hours north of Christchurch for a dolphin boat tour... only to have the tour cancelled because the morning group didn't see any. So... yeah. Stupid animals. The drive itself was pretty nice, I had fish and chips for lunch, and took my time driving back to Christchurch, after viewing some baby seals frolicking in a stream. 

Day 12 - Christchurch

A day hanging out in Christchuch. There was an earthquake that devastated the city about four years ago... and the downtown area is still not even close to being rebuilt. It looks... wartorn. I visited the Cardboard Cathedral and had a great little tour by a volunteer, and also visited the International Antarctic Centre. Is it weird that I want to work on Antarctica for a summer season?

Day 13 - Christchurch to Oamaru

I'm pretty sure I found the weirdest town in New Zealand... Oamaru. It's probably the steampunk capital of the Southern Hemisphere, and steampunk is something I just don't get. At all. There was a steampunk convention or something the weekend I was there... and those people are... interesting. The Steampunk Musuem did have this cool room with a mini light show of sorts, but the rest looked like junk. I also wanted to see the little blue penguins, but the little jerks decided not to come ashore that night. I'm 0/2 on paid wildlife excursions so far. 

Day 14 - Oamaru to Dunedin

On the way from Oamaru to Dunedin I stopped at the Moekeri Boulders... round boulders in a rather small area on a beach. They were extremely interesting to see, and I managed to get to the site right before a family of about a zillion people showed up and started climbing all over the rocks! I arrived in Dunedin on the Queens Birthday holiday, so the town was pretty dead. Until about 11pm - when I got to experience a 4.7 earthquake, that was only 5km deep and centred less than 30km away. That meant for a lot of swaying! No aftershocks though!

Day 15 - Dunedin to Invercargill

Cadbury World Chocoate Factory!! We weren't allowed pictures inside, but we did get samples! Saw how some of the chocolates were made, and saw some being packaged. It was a pretty decent way to spend a couple of hours - apparently it's the last Cadbury factory that does actual tours of the working part of the factory. 

Day 16 - Invercargill to Te Anau

Since I'd seen the most northern tip of the North Island, I figured I'd have to see he most southern tip of the South Island, in Bluff. The drive into Te Anau was decent... the roads on the South Island are definitely straighter than the North Island! 

Day 17 - Milford Sound

A couple of people told me, that since I grew up when I did, Milford Sound would be a bit of a letdown. It was beautiful, and I got to see a friend I went to university with for about ten minutes, but the people were right... glad I went though!

Day 18 - Te Anau to Queenstown

Bungy jumping! Yup - I did it. And it was awesome. Well, once I'd finished saying "Scheizer" - apparently when I jumped I turned German - and realized that I'd live, that is!  I highly recommend it. I also went up the Queenstown Gondola to watch the sunset - a beautiful time to go!

Day 19 - Queenstown to Auckland

It's kind of hard to believe that is spent almost three weeks in New Zealand and hadn't spent much time in the largest city. I watched my first Super Rugby game... sadly the Auckland Blues suck, but the experience was great!

Day 20 - Auckland

In all honesty, I didn't really find the city of Auckland all that great. I'd already gone to the top of the Sky Tower, and I didn't really have much else on my to do list. I walked down to the wharf area, walked around the shopping area of downtown... and just took it easy. I discovered that Dunkin' Donuts has the largest takeaway teas available in the country, but other than that, the day was a little meh. 

Day 21 - Auckland to Melbourne

Goodbye New Zealand, hello Australia!!

Next I'll update my trip to Uluru... damn that was amazing, and well worth the expense!

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