Carrying on with our tour of the South Island we headed for Dunedin, place we thought would be quiet and small and possibly even a passer-by town…we were so wrong. At first we found Dunedin to be one of the biggest towns we had found in New Zealand so far. It had this fantastic vibe about it, everyone was relaxed and friendly. The atmosphere was great…it reminded us a lot of Brisbane in many ways. We took a drive out to the peninsula and camped overnight, it was so quiet and peaceful.
We explored the town a lot and ended up staying there for a few days more than expected. One of the reasons was the fact we ended up getting Tattoos! Ana’s was her first and Jake’s was his fourth (they are a little addictive). We had been talking about getting them when in New Zealand for some time and after speaking to a few studios we decided that Agency Inc was the place to have them done. We met a couple of times and spoke about what we wanted the tattoos to mean and talk about designs etc, then the day came…and here they are.
Jake’s is a Maori based Manta Ray with an integrated fish hook representing safe travels, new beginnings and journeys. Ana’s is a a triple twist Maori symbol with an integrated fish hook with some of the same meanings but also representing the bond and respect between cultures.
From Dunedin we kept going south. We made our way to Kaka Point based on a guide book and soaked up the ever stunning views of the New Zealand coast line. We continued on the Southern Scenic Route via Invercargill, but decided not to stop long as nothing really caught our eye. We stayed the night in Riverton and then began to make our way to the very famous Milford Sound. There is one road from Te Anau which leads to the sounds, its approximately 120km long with several places to stop along the way and take photos. The road is an adventure in its own right, with incredible views and places to camp; it certainly adds to the whole experience of going to see the Sound.
Along the way we met a fellow traveller from the Austria. She was heading in the same direction as us so we gave her a ride! Picking up a hitchhiker was a first for us both but it was a lot of fun and definitely opened up our eyes to potentially doing it more in the future.
From here we said goodbye to our new friend and made our way back. Our first destination was Queenstown and we were excited given that we had heard so much about it…only to be hugely disappointed! It’s obviously a huge tourist hot spot and every business is cashing in…but that is also the complete opposite of what we are looking for! It felt like Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. Therefore we drove into Queenstown…and straight back out, start making our way North along the west coast of the Island and making sure we stopped by the 2 glaciers on the way, then onto Arthurs pass towards Christchurch.
Initially we had wanted to take the Tranzalpine train along this route, but for backpackers on a budget it was simply too expensive, at around $199 per person each way it was too much. Fortunately the road of Arthurs pass runs almost parallel to the train lines, so driving it gave us pretty much the same experience.
After Christchurch we went to our final destination of the Island, Akaroa. The drive as always had extremely pleasing views and the town itself was great. In an amazing location and not too touristy it was definitely worth the visit!
With that concluding our tour of the south island, our next destination is the North! Watch out for Hobbits!
Jake & Ana