It might be the nicest city in NZ,m but I had my worst hostel experience ever! Niels dropped off the campervan while I stayed on the horse farm. Therefore, I had to use public transport from Te Anau to Queenstown. It is a very scenic drive, especially when Lake Wakatipu comes up.
Queenstown is a little town situated by the lake and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is definitely has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. The city has many restaurants, laid-back cafés and fancy bars. It’s a pity that I only have 15 days in Queenstown. You could easily spend 4 days checking out some nice walks, restaurants cafés with their great selection of coffees, cakes and biscuits. The city is also famous for its many adventure activities like bungee-jumping, skydiving, skiing and much more. Therefore the city attracts many young people who are seeking adventure, and know how to party.
The time passed by very quickly whilst visiting a few cafés, exploring the city center, having the famous Fergburger (gourmet hamburger) and going for some beautiful walks along the lakeside.
Hoping it would be much quieter, I chose a 4-bed female dorm. But sharing a room with 3 young girls is not always a good idea. The first night the girls came back making a lot of noise. But that wasn't not enough. The next night I was woken up because of weird movements and noises on the bed above mine. It took me a while before I understood what was going on above me (it seems a male was invited into the female dorm). A few hours later the two other girls came back (at least they were alone) and, without any consideration, they switched on the lights and packed their stuff. Without a lot of sleep I got up early and left for the airport.
This experience taught me a lesson and the next time in Queenstown, it will be a private accommodation 😉
Scenic drive and Lake Wakatipu
Why isn’t life always as easy as getting a job on a horse farm in NZ... On our way to Milford sound Niels spotted a cowboy at a petrol station. He made me ask the cowboy, if he needs help with his horses. For obviously reasons he was very confused and told me to call him the next day. But I never did so. Instead we drove by the horse farm the next day. Andy – the cowboy - offered Eva a job straight away. Now I was the one being confused. I asked him if he doesn’t want to know about my horse riding skills, experiences and so on, but he only answered “No, you told me you can ride horses”.
Two days later Niels dropped me off at the horse farm, not without checking-out the place first. I got her own room and started working the same day. I got introduced to the horses and the daily work, which was split-up between Emma, Andy (see section people) and me. A usual day on the horse farm was as follows: breakfast sometime between 6:30 and 8:30, feeding the chicken, ducks and horses, getting the horses ready for the trek and taking the tourist for a beautiful 2 hours ride. The surrounding landscape is picturesque. On the top of the hill you have an amazing view over lake Te Anau with its snow-capped mountains. After coming-back we had lunch and got the horses ready for the next trek. Furthermore, we did farm work like draining, grooming and training the horses. Luckily, it wasn’t high season yet, hence the average amount of horse treks were only 1-2 a day which left us with enough time to do other stuff. I also learned how to ride a quad-bike because Emma and Andy are starting a second business with the quads. Most evenings ended by watching “Lonesome Dove”, a western series of the 80´s.
The 9 days on the horse farm passed by way to quick! I could have spent more time with Emma, Andy, and the horses but I was also looking forward to meet my awesome Dr. MueWi in Melbourne.
@ Andy and Emma: Thank you so much for the great time, you made a dream come true. Every time in future when I use one of your tips and tricks regarding Natural Horsemanship I will think of you guys!!!
Having a break with a nice view over lake Te Anau
Everyday we were having fresh eggs from our happy chickens
Andy is giving the new horse a lesson: Its called "The Circling Game" he sends the horse around and teaches him to come back to him.
Quad Biking is fun too
If you are in New Zealand you have to pay a visit to the Fjordland National Park. Next to the Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park it was a highlight while staying in New Zealand. The drive starts in the nicely situated town Te Anau which is surrounded by mountains. From there it took us around two hours to drive all the way to our campground at Milford, where we met our favorite Finnish family again. The drive up north itself is already one of its kind. Endless numbers of look-outs with spectacular views made us forget about the windy streets.
The most spectacular stops were “The Chasm”, which is a waterfall running through a deep canyon. The mirror lakes, which perfectly reflect the surrounding snow covered mountains. And last but not least a place in the middle of a great meadow where we had a nice view into the canyon towards Milford Sound.
On our way back we stopped at the Divide for a 2 hours walk to the Key Summit, which offered spectacular 360 ° views of the Fjordlands.
It was supposed to be a very short stop-over only – we ended up staying a total 7 nights. On the way to Milford Sound we stopped at a campground 60 km away from Te Anau. Basically it is in the middle of nowhere, you won’t find much more than a petrol station and a minimarket. But the campground we found is a true travelers-gem. As it turned out, it should be the best campground on our whole trip. Our stay at Mossburn Country Park was pleasant right from the start: everything was well organized and very clean. Stuart and Colleen (owners of the campground) had a pet lamb (abandoned by its mother), a few sheep, alpaca, chicken, a cow, a dog (called Andrew), a pie choc and a pie hen. As Niels needed to work on his presentation for his PhD defense, the true free Wi-Fi was much appreciated. Most camp groups offering “free Wifi” hand out a voucher for 25-45 MB of data!! We liked the place a lot and extended our stay for one more night, the day after we extended it by another night.
Becoming friends with Stuart and Colleen is every easy. They are lovely and welcoming people. We got invited for dinner as well as coffee and Eva went with them to a “festival” in “town”. We (especially Niels) truly enjoyed the time in our camper without any driving. After 3 days we decided to drive to Milford Sound but the weather conditions didn’t allow us to. The road was closed for 1,5 days due to snow and fallen trees therefore we enjoyed 2 more days on the campground – chatting with our neighbors, Coleen and Stuart and playing with Andrew.
Finally with a delay of 4 days (without any regret) we headed to Milford.
Sneaky Andrew is looking in the campervan while Eva is cooking - no idea what he is up to
Unfortunately we have to admit: it is true the South Island is more spectacular than the North Island.
The planning for the total kms to be driven was 3.500. After leaving the North Island we already drove 2.500 km. Therefore, a decision was made: to make our journey more enjoyable we skip some parts on the South Island. Starting off on the east coast, going down south through the Catlins and the Fjordlands we finally made a turn West to our final destination Queenstown.
Surprisingly Evas birthday came up on our way from North to South. It would have been the best birthday ever… The day started with a perfect breakfast: croissants, a birthday cake and a great latte macchiato while enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains. At noon we were booked-in a whale watching tour in Kaikoura, where marine animals (e.g. whales, dolphins) are plentiful and year around to be seen. But as it turned out the day was only almost perfect. The amazingly sunny day without any clouds turned out to be too stormy for our tour so that they canceled the trip only 1 hour prior to departure. After receiving the bad news we did not burry our heads in the sand: we drove towards the south along the beautiful coast with some nice stops for short walks. In the evening Niels tried to make-up for the canceled trip by building Eva her own private cinema in the camper including homemade popcorn. Although the whale-watching tour would have been nice, it was one of the best birthdays Eva ever had.
Next stop Christchurch. The city is impressive – we did know about the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 but had no idea about the destruction it caused (70% of the buildings in the CBD have been torn downby now). Although it’s been nearly 4 years by now you still see a huge amount of empty spaces and ruins. In the first place it gave us the impression of a depressive place but as we found out the city has a vibrant and livingly atmosphere. Ever since the vision how the city will be rebuild was introduced a lot changed.
The Catlins are a combination of farmland, waterfalls, roaring waves, large beaches and steep cliffs. Especially, the walk along the Surat Bay where sunbathing Sea Llions lay around everywhere was great.
Eva on her 31st birthday (age is just a number)