Southern Fried Hemisphere

Now that we’ve broken in the van it was time to hit the tarmac on the South Island. Lots of travellers say that the South island is better… this I’m not quite sure, but it could be something to do with the awesome Arthurs Pass Mountain range and the Incredible Franz Joseff Glacier, Queenstown Bungy, not to mention the wild life. The south Island is somewhat coolder than the North, we discovered this when we woke up to find ice on the inside of the van windows. Although things aren’t too cheap to buy we have discovered a really good way of saving money. The D.O.C. (Department of Conservation) campsites have varrious levels of comfort. The basic is free… includes a toilet in a field and no running water. However these are usually situatied in the most amazing locations and usually next to a river. So far we’ve stayed at as many as possible to save enough money to pay for my skydive…..only kidding mum and dad. The nights skys are once again, incredible, and we both saw 4 shooting stars and a couple of U.F.O.’s flying above on one night. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t capture what the eyes see. The river water is rediculously cold but very refresshing.

We landed in Picton from Wellington with a 4 hour ferry crossing. It wasn’t too rough. No sick bags were required. Picton was a short stay as we mad our way down the Marlbourgh region of wine making. Yum yum.

Renwick was the place we chose to stay. It was a lovely little family run hostel with campervan space big enough for Kez. The kitchen was so clean we could have eaten our food of the floor. We hired bikes and Rach and I headed out into the wilds of the wine making for our free wine tasting experience. It was certainly a tipsy ride home. Sauvignon blanc is definitely the best of the bunch….get it.

Whilst making our way further south, I couldn’t help but notice the towns as we passed through them. Towns is a word used loosely. Hamlet or a couple of houses might be more appropriate. They also don’t seem to have any children around playing. The shops are also quite funny, lots of OP shops and lots of 1970’s clothing and furniture. The people are extremely friendly and would offer you there last rolo any time. Plus there are only about 1 million people in the south whereas in the north about 3 million…..and about 40 million sheep on both islands.

Arthur’s pass was where the views started to really make an impression on me. The north island was pretty spectacular with the cost roads and the sea etc, but the mountains with the snow on top and the winding roads with no other cars on them were pretty awesome. It reminded us of the Himalayas all those months ago…..but with out the oxygen masks.

The highlight so far for this trip has to be what we just did at Franz Josef…..HeliHike on the glacier. The Glacier is one of the worlds easiest commercially accessible attractions, only by helicopter though. I hadn’t been in one before, I can safely say that it feels amazing and spectacular even without seeing the peak of the mountain range. The trip includes landing and pick up with 3 hours on the ice. The guide leads you through crevasses and compressions up to a melt water waterfall which is incredible. I attempted to fit through a compression that was only big enough to squeeze my head through…..this was challenging and somewhat scary… felt like I was inside a giant fridge and someone had locked the door. It was quite expensive to do but we both loved it so much that it was worth every penny. That same glacier, when it was discovered in 1865 was about 1km higher than today. In a few more years it won’t be there anymore…..


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