New Zealand! Where do I begin. It is such a beautiful country, don't get me wrong, Australia has many beautiful places too but our Kiwi neighbour has plenty to boast about. I know two weeks was never going to be enough time to fully explore and enjoy the sights of this country but it gave us a good taster of where we want to come back to and new places to discover on another trip.
We started our adventure on the South Island; we flew over the snowy mountain ranges on approach to landing in Queenstown and what we saw was amazing. Staying in both Queenstown and Wanaka, we enjoyed 4 days of skiing on Mt Cardrona. Apparently all the mountain ski resorts in the Otago region had recorded some of the lowest July snowfalls in years, however there was still enough powder around for us to ski and we had a great time on the slopes. Both Queenstown and Wanaka are stunning, especially with the back drop of the snow capped mountain ranges completing the picture. We definitely would like to come back here as there is so much more to explore and do not to mention other ski resorts to try!
Besides skiing we went horse riding with Dart Stables down at the nearby little town of Glenorchy and rode through where they shot a lot of the scenes for the Lord of the Rings trilogy which was very cool, not to mention it was my first time riding a horse! :) This trip we didn't do any thrill seeking activities like a lot of people go there for, however on another trip I might consider some paragliding, it looked pretty awesome. I don't think I'm game enough to go bungee jumping, I'll leave that to the real thrill seekers!
We did a spot of bird watching and photography and found some quite pretty little things and some of the more unusual birds that are native to NZ. We spent 9 days in the region, nowhere near enough to fully appreciate everything that the South Island has to offer, one day we will go back and explore some more. We took hundreds of photos, too many to share on here but you get the idea how beautiful this part of the world was. In part 2 I'll talk about the North Island where we spent the rest of the trip!
Queenstown, looking over Lake Wakatipu
Queenstown, looking down from top of the Skyline Gondola/lookout
Lake Wanaka with Mt Alta in the background
Skiing! Cardrona Alpine Resort, Mt Cardrona
James and I on horseback on the Lord of the Rings trail
Clockwise from top left: Tauhou (also known as White Eye, not native but I've never seen them before); Tui; Kereru (native pigeon) & Crested Glebe