The South Island has always been somewhere I've wanted to explore. This summer, I finally had the privilege of making the journey down to Queenstown with my fiancé. It was an unreal experience , and hopefully the first of many trips to come.
Queenstown // Day 1
I noticed the difference between Queenstown and Auckland immediately. The air was fresh, without a trace of humidity. Our hotel was in the middle of town so once we had settled in, we explored the shops and walked the short distance to the waterfront. Wanting to make the most of our trip we planned our days in advance.
Lake Wanaka // Day 2
Wanaka was at the top of my list. Having heard so many great stories about it, I knew we definitely had to make the journey there. After an hour of windy roads and numerous stops to take photos, we finally arrived. We were met with wind and cold temperatures, so we found solace in a small cafe in the middle of town. From there, we braved the cold and visited the famous Wanaka tree. We tried to hunt for snow around Mt Aspiring, but were sorely out of luck. Despite the weather not playing its part, the views were still breathtaking and well worth it.
Glenorchy // Day 3
The rain had settled in by the third day. We tried to wait it out, but it didn't ease off at all. Not wanting to let the day go to waste, we ventured to Glenorchy. However, to our luck, halfway through the drive the sun decided to make much-needed appearance. It was short lived though, as the clouds came rolling in again soon after.
Having seen Glenorchy through the photos of others from time and time again, it was unreal to finally see it with my own eyes. The combination of the huge lake and vast mountains was something I won't forget anytime soon. There was so much to capture so we spent the better part of the day exploring the settlement and learning about its history. As we were leaving, a tourist thanked us for our beautiful country, and I couldn't help but agree with him. I am so thankful I'm able to live in such a beautiful country with amazing scenes around almost every corner.
Milford Sound // Day 4
The fourth day of our trip was a big one, but one that I would recommend to anyone who's traveling to the South Island. We drove 6 hours to Milford Sound in hope of seeing some amazing scenery. We weren't disappointed at all. Despite not seeing the sun the whole day, and the temperature dropping from 16˚C to a mere 6˚C, we still ventured forward. Our travels took us through Homer tunnel, and when we emerged out the other side, it was as if we were in a whole new world. We were in absolute awe of what confronted us. Vast mountains amongst low hanging cloud sat to our left and right, as numerous Keas flew down to greet us.
Upon arriving, we were lucky enough to take a two hour cruise around the Sound. We learned about the history and saw large waterfalls that ran down the mountains edge, but nothing prepared us for what we encountered next. Seals littered the nearby rocks, and unexpectedly, dolphins slipped in and out of the waves under and around the boat. Seeing the dolphins in their natural habitat was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in my life. To see such majestic animals so close up was humbling. Overall it was unbelievable, and definitely worth the amount of driving I did that day.
Arrowtown // Gondola, Queenstown // Day 5
Our last day was bittersweet. We made the journey up the Queenstown Gondola to see the views it offered one last time. We also enjoyed the sleepy surrounds of Arrowtown, a lovely finish to what was an exciting trip. Being our last day, we were sad to be leaving, but felt priveleged to have experienced what we did. I finally managed to adventure down to the South Island, and I know for a fact it was the beginning of many more trips to come.