Known as the party place in NZ where young people party and get drunk. It’s also the coldest place I’ve ever been on Earth. It was night time when we arrived and we had to walk a long way to our cabin to stay for the night. I’m also hungry and my travel mate Simon suggested we go to Dominos Pizza place. I thought the pizza was only one slice but it turned out to be one whole pizza kneaded in front of me. After dinner, we decided to go back to our cabin and call it a night. But there’s a twist, two young Australian girls were playing in the trampoline and invited Simon and I to join them. Well, it looked like a fun idea so we actually joined in. I decided to call it a night since I wanted to have enough energy for the long trip to the Milford Sound the next day. My travel mate decided to go partying with the girls after.
The cabin was not well-heated and I felt like I could have frozen to death so I fired up the electric stove on my bed side. Voila! Instant heater while sleeping. I had to sleep lightly since it might cause fire. And oh, I had to wear my fluffy hat to keep my head warm. The cold was freaking unbearable.
The Road to Milford Sound
I woke up early and cooked brekkie for me to start the day. The bus to Milford Sound arrived in the waiting area just a few blocks away from our cabin and off we go. The road to Milford Sound is surreal. We passed by the Mirror Lakes, the snowy mountain tops, and I tried to keep it cool while my snow experience is ongoing too. We were so lucky to have booked during the perfect day when the vehicles are allowed to travel. There are avalanche warnings at some days and I’m so happy to be there on a perfect schedule. The amazing view is endless and overwhelming. This marvelous wonder is a part of Te Wahipounamu – A World Heritage Site in New Zealand. This place is one of the three Heritage Sites in New Zealand listed by UNESCO as a part of Earth’s natural wonders. The road passes through unspoiled terrains, mountain landscapes, and rain-forest carpeted valleys. It even passes through the Latitude 45 South.
The tour is never complete without the Milford Sound Cruise. There are other things to do aside from the cruise but during the Winter, I think it won’t be smart Kayaking in the freezing cold water. The cruise is about 1-2 hours of pure amazement. All angles just produce good looking pictures; even when you accidentally click the shutter button of your camera, it still turns out awesome. The cruise includes the meals, but you’ll forget hunger when all you see around you are beautiful sceneries, baby seals, little waterfalls, snow caps on the tip of mountains, etc.
The trip back to Queenstown is still as fun when you have a chatty driver telling you information about the places we pass by. Half of the passengers are drained after the Fiordland adventure so the driver decides to play a movie halfway through our trip back to QT. The thing about being in a cold place for a long time is you eventually get used to the temperature. Being back to Queenstown reminds me of hunger. And true enough I’m craving for meat since during winter, your body needs to constantly warm itself. So I decided to take my travel mate to the famous Fergburger. It’s packed with people from all parts of the planet ordering their huge burgers. It’s supposedly the best burger on Earth. While waiting, you get free cookies so you can nibble on something before your turn to order. I got to talked to some friendly Mexicans as well. So the jam packed situation turned to give me some friendship and networking opportunity as well. Simon and I ordered our chosen beefy meal and tried to look for finishing customers so we can have their place. And then we had our hearty meal that proved itself to be worthy of its fame. It really is the best burger on Earth. So don’t ever miss Fergburger when you are in Queenstown.
Queenstown to Lake Tekapo
Fastforward to the next day, Simon and I had to go our separate ways since he will go to the Wanaka while I go to Lake Tekapo. InterCity bus is perfect as it has free unlimited Wi-Fi onboard. I took pictures of the beautiful Lindis Pass and the neverending awesome sceneries on the way to Lake Tekapo.
In Tekapo, I was having a hard time looking for my accommodation because the maps did not match the location. When I found my hostel, I was alone and I immediately looked for the location of the heater. I went out and took some marvelous pictures of the Lake and of course, lots of selfie. The next step was to find food as hunger seems to be a constant dilemma when you’re in a cold place. Your body needs to metabolize fast and produce heat as a product. I went to “centre” and found Mackenzie’s Restaurant and I ordered their specialty Stone Grilled meat. It wasn’t the best tasting meal, but I’m still happy with putting something in my tummy.
It’s quite a bummer when it’s full moon and you’re in the best place on Earth to take night sky photos. Therefore, I was not able to take great photos of the night sky but I managed to numb my little fingers for staying too long in the cold.
NOTE: The Lakeside Hostel is not the best place to stay when you’re carrying a heavy backpack. It will make you look like Quasimodo trekking your way back to the Tekapo Centre.
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
There’s nothing notable during my bus trip to Christchurch. Basically, I’m getting the hang of the wonderful scenic environment and it just feels more “normal” already. I didn’t plan my trip during this last leg of my travel so I just tried to reach the Northland as soon as possible. In Christchurch, my friend Tim and Dirk met with me to celebrate my birthday. We went to the Smash Palace pub to drink a little then Tim toured me around CHR before I came back to my hostel.
The night was crazy when 5 of my hostel mates opened a bottle of rum from Melbourne. Only half of the night was a bit fuzzy then I completely blacked out after a few shots. Good thing I managed to turn my alarm for my early bus trip to Wellington.
Christchurch to Wellington
The entire bus trip was not as notable as the ones before since I was hungover and the scenery becomes more and more ordinary. The Ferry trip became interesting when a Kiwi Band played during our ship ride from Picton to Wellington.
Wellington to Auckland
At night, my stay in Wellington was chill and I just walked around the capital city and waited for my night sleeper bus schedule on my way back to Auckland. The NakeBus is equipped with soft beds, blanket, the handy dandy USB charger plug, toilet, etc. There’s no way one would scream their way out for a pit stop during the trip. The good thing about the sleeper bus is you sleep in one city then you wake up on a different city ready to go.
The last city to visit on this trip. I immediately went to the InterCity office to leave my heavy backpack. There’s a storage system they have that you can rent for a few hours so you can roam around the city load free. I went out and about looking for nice food to eat then I decided to have some Thai food. Kiwi food is not the best, since they normally eat Fish and Chips. I mean, I can never live with that. I need my spices, meat, and some flavours triggering my taste buds.
Off to Northland (Dargaville)
My aunt lives North of Auckland so I decided to pay a visit. She baked Chocolate cake for me and some roast to officially celebrate my birthday during this trip. It’s quite a chill place to stay in and the cold really bothers me anyway, I mostly stayed in bed or the fireplace. My aunt and her husband took me for a ride in Lake Kai-Iwi, and it’s one of those surprising wonders of New Zealand. It just never ends!
As a household with Filipinos living in it, the Karaoke is an existing past time. Wine is also one of the main products of the Kiwis so we sip on red wine while I perform my night concert. The neighbours don’t seem to mind the musical noise so we keep on going ’til we got tired and decide to call it a night. It’s perfect to have a super thick duvet during winter. I sleep like a baby uninterrupted until morning. The air is also fresh and natural since the Northland is full of trees and it’s far from the city.
New Zealand is a country full of majestic wonders. I would want to live the rest of my life in the South Island where the amazing views strike you right in your face. The only thing is when you want to eat out, it’s mostly very expensive and too bland for my liking. Being a Filipino, I still look for the food we normally eat in the Philippines. I can never survive eating Fish and Chips forever. But being the country I have traveled to from Top to Bottom and back to top again, this is by far the best travel destination ever!
Next: Destination Sydney