This is a very belated post, but we made it to New Zealand...three and a half weeks ago. It is hard to believe that this is the last stop on our year-long honeymoon! Fortunately, we are here for three months - two months on the South Island, one on the North. Plenty of time to explore and live it up before we go home.
I must back up eleven years to 2005 when I first came here and fell in love. I also had a sneaking suspicion that Ryan would like this place with its myriad natural wonders - I'll let him elaborate on this in future posts. Anyway, since we've been here we've kept busy taking full advantage of all that this gem of a country has to offer including camping, hiking, enjoying the beach and the mountains, wandering in and out of city streets, visiting art museums and much more.
- Picton is the landing point of the inter-island ferry and gives newcomers and returnees to the South Island a grand welcome with sapphire and turquoise waters speckled with towering emerald islands. The town is adorable and stole my heart eleven years ago, and again two weeks ago. We camped nearby, spent time wandering about, and sat in the very well-manicured park overlooking the bobbing sailboats. Just lovely.
- Queen Charlotte Sound is adjacent to the Marlbourough Sound and is home to a famous backpacking trip - or "tramp" as they say here. We came here to camp for one night because there honestly is not much to do here. The campsite was secluded, on the beach (YAY!), and at low tide afforded access to miles of rocky shore, perfect for exploring and reconnecting with Mama Nature. I even swam with a ray.
- Blenheim, according to someone I know very well, is like paradise on Earth. Blenheim is a bigger town (by NZ standards) and home to the majority of the region's vineyards, as well as several breweries. To top it off, we found an artisan chocolate shop! We spent three days here, camping on the beach, and enjoying one of the most flavorful imperials stouts, on a beanbag, under shady trees at the Moa Brewery.
- Christchurch was rocked to smithereens in the 2010/2011 earthquakes. Most of the rubble has been cleared out making way for popup shopping malls in shipping containers, funky outdoor beer gardens, and an entire city's worth of creative art space! Murals and art installations dominate this otherwise dormant urban area, offering colorful optimism on the road to recovery. We also enjoyed the art museum and the botanical gardens. (Note: Christchurch is in Canterbury, NOT in Marlborough)
- Akaroa is an hour's drive from Christchurch. The peninsula and its bay offer sweeping views of more sapphire and turquoise water, cupped in what looks like a velvety, grass and tree covered ancient glacier cirque. The town is sleepy, yet refreshing, especially with a pint of cold beer, beachside, while watching the wave