South Island

Kia Ora.  Welcome to the South Island of New Zealand.

Queenstown Panorama

This section is very much a work in progress. Your humble scribe has been to NZ’s North Island a few times and fairly recently, but the South Island only one visit, and that was a while ago. The scenic beauty of places like Mt Cook, Queenstown, Coronet Peak, Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound won’t have changed but the mood has no doubt shifted.

Christchurch CathedralIn some areas for the better with contemporary attitudes to cuisine and improvement to infrastructure etc… other areas, like Christchurch, are rebuilding after natural disasters like the devastating 2011 earthquake. The last visit was also pre-MS diagnosis and I wasn’t on the lookout for disabled access and facilities.

When I think of the last trip (which was a coach tour), I wouldn’t change the itinerary that much – I’d just hire a car to explore independently – and include one region I am yet to visit.

The itinerary I have in mind would be Christchurch – I’m sure there are still some architecturally magnificent buildings standing and I believe the fighting Kiwi spirit has never been stronger. Spending the some of the tourist dollars there is sort of like jumping the fence to give a neighbour a hand.

From there, could head down the coast to Timaru and Dunedin or across the Canterbury plains inland towards Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier. Last visit stayed at the quaintly named town of Otematata – this time, I think the chalet up the mountain…

queenstown-at-night-flanked-by-the-remarkables-mountain-rangesFrom there, to vibrant Queenstown – have free accommodation there, right on Lake Wakitipu, looking across at The Remarkables (right) – woo-hoo!  Queenstown is also known as the Adventure Capital of New Zealand, and being set amidst the dramatic Southern Alps, it is also one of New Zealand’s most scenic regions. Not sure yet when I will get there, but the four very distinct seasons make it a year round destination.

Using Queenstown as a base, go to pretty, historic Arrowtown, Coronet Peak and down to Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound (Fiordland). I hear on the grapevine, pardon the pun, that Queenstown is producing some of the world’s best pinot noirs wines.

And speaking of wine, the region I am yet to visit is Nelson/Marlborough – friends tell me this is the best place for ‘tramping’, which is the Kiwi term for hiking or bushwalking but since a lap of the supermarket pulls me up, I’m driving there for the scenery and the wines. They make the best dry, fruity whites – full of character and flavour.  Disneyland for drinkers.

Will post when the section is updated.