Everywhere you go in this country, it’s picturesque! It’s like this entire country is just some pages ripped out of a story book! Crazy!
Today I woke up in Christchurch, NZ, checked out of my very comfy hostel (Around the World Backpackers – great couple runs it, very cozy!) and started the 3.5 hour drive to Greymouth, NZ, which is almost a straight line (sort of…) across the South Island. The “sort of” doesn’t account for you going through the many, many, many beautiful mountains to get there.
So anyway, I take off and start to drive towards the mountains… I get a bit excited and wonder if I’ll be passing through these or if I’m kinda going around, or whatever, so I start snapping some pictures from the road, pull over, etc, of all the mountains I’m approaching, some sheep that I’m pretty sure I scared by saying “hello” to (my bad) and everything else I can see. An hour into the trip, it’s quite clear that the mountains are coming to me!
This was probably the most beautiful drive of my life. I don’t think I’ve said that before in this blog, but even if I have, this supersedes it. I was driving all through mountains for about 3 hours, along the side of some, right through others – nothing but mountains! Some had snow at the top, others were pure green, others were a mixture of colours!
So it was a nice drive. The 3.5 hour drive turned into a 4.5 hour drive just because of all the scenic stops – I lost count of how many. Every 10 kilometers or so there would be another place to pull off and look at stuff. There was just so much to see! Eventually I had to tell myself to stop stopping and just drive for a while (there’s always the way back!), but that was about 3.5 hours in… and even after that I made some stops :p so it was a bit of a long drive, but certainly not boring! I can understand what people mean when they say the South Island has all these amazing sights – and sadly, I will only get to see a small handful of them!
Anyway I got to Greymouth, which is a pretty small city but a city none the less (it has a Subway, so it’s a city). I checked in at another great hostel, this one called Duke Backpackers which is run by a couple who did a ton of traveling before they had kids, “grew up” and got jobs (I think one was a lawyer and one was an architect or something…), had kids, and realized they weren’t doing what they wanted to, so they moved out here and started running this place to get back to what they loved! So I was very impressed before I even got here – when I got here the husband gave me a great welcome and a nice tour – it’s very warm and cozy, and a great spot from what I can see so far. So I’ll be here for two nights.
He asked me if I wanted to get out right away and start looking around, and of course my answer was yes, so he got out a map and gave me some advice on some great places to see. I started by driving about 45 minutes to Punakaiki where he told me there was a terrific walking path which showed off some neat natural things such as these huge pancake walks.
He told me that the drive was beautiful. I told him that it seemed like every drive in NZ was beautiful. He assured me this one was special. And it turns out he was right. I was driving for about 10 – 15 mins, looking around wondering what the hell he was talking about (not to say it wasn’t nice, it just wasn’t “special”) when the road turned around a bit and I found myself driving on the edge of the island, overlooking the water.
Breathtaking would be a good word (I think it’s just one word?), it was truly special. A fantastic view, totally amazing and very hard to drive at 100km/h when you’re trying to look at everything! So I got a bit distracted 20 mins in and stopped at this beautiful rock beach, probably about a km long, maybe a bit longer, totally void of people, with the tide varying greatly (sometimes low sometimes high, all in the span of about 5 mins). The rocks were beautiful, the water was so cool, between stopping on the way there and on the way back, I probably spent about 45 mins there.
Some really, truly, amazing sights.
Once I got to Punakaiki (don’t ask me how to pronounce this, by the way) I was treated to some more beautiful sights (sensing a pattern here?), some really cool rock formations, some “pancake rocks” which are apparently quite rare, and just overall… some really nice sights.
I took a 45 minute walk through there, took a hundred pics or so, and that… was more or less my day! I returned to Greymouth (after stopping at my beach again) and hit up the supermarket for a couple of things, grabbed a Sub for dinner, and made plans with Pat to go on a whale watching tour in Kaikoura, about an hour or two away from Christchurch on Friday, my last full day here. Tomorrow I’ll be hitting up another place near by here for some more sights to see – my camera is certainly being well used out here – and then… that’s about it! Almost done in New Zealand!
I have to say, New Zealand is like no where I’ve been before… the scenery here really is amazing almost no matter what you do or where you go. I’ll be very sorry to see it go, but I am finding that it’s getting to be time to move on. I won’t be staying anywhere, except for Australia, as long as I have here, and it’s probably better that way – I’m getting a bit anxious to keep moving and see other parts of the world!
I’ve been reviewing plans over the last few days for Singapore and India, possibly looking at a Red Sea cruise so I can get to Egypt, and looking at what else to add to fill in a bit of a gap between Singapore and India, so I’m ready to go! Plus, I’m really finding that New Zealand is NOT cheap! It’s expensive to drive around everywhere! And a lot of cool stuff costs money! So I’m looking forward to not spending quite as much as I have here :p
With that said, I think it’s time to wrap this up – thanks for reading these massive posts, by the way – for those of you who are hanging around and reading every once in a while I’m sure it takes a few minutes, so thanks for taking the time! As I’ve said before, my big big big reason for doing this is so I have a record of this trip, since my memory is horrible, but if you get something out of it too – great! Please feel free to keep leaving comments, it’s fun to hear from people. (except those spam bots that I have to keep blocking – kindly go away)
Sooooo good night! Cya!