Exploring the South Island: Abel Tasman, Franz Josef and Queenstown

The Travelling Series

We only spent one night in Wellington on the North Island initially before we caught the ferry to the South. This is because we had to do all of New Zealand pretty quickly as we were on a strict time limit of one month and there’s a lot of ground to cover! 

Following on from the night out in Wellington for Jasmine’s birthday, we headed to Picton on the ferry and then travelled across to Abel Tasman National Park where we spent a couple of days. 

The beach there was absolutely lovely and we stayed at a hostel – called The Barn – with the comfiest beds ever! There were no bunks in sight and everybody had a feather pillow and duvet which was absolutely lush when you’re on the move every day and in a different bed every night. 

Another highlight of the South Island was Franz Josef where I got to do something I never thought I would do – climb a glacier! 

First you take a short helicopter ride up to it – I’d never ridden in a helicopter and I absolutely loved it! Luckily it was clear and sunny that morning so the views on the way up were insane. Then you spend roughly three hours on trekking on the ice; it was rather challenging for me because I’m not a big hiker and you had to go up and down hills and slippery steps – as well as in and out of tunnels! We had crampons on our boots, of course, but it was exhausting nonetheless! I’m so glad I did it though because it’s not very often that you can say you’ve been on a glacier. Plus our tour guide told us that the glacier will have completely melted in thirty years time, so I thought I’d seize the opportunity while I could! 

The helicopter ride back down was even better than the ride up as I got to ride up front with the pilot – I absolutely loved it! 

A few days later we ended up in Queenstown which surrounds Lake Wakatipu. It is incredibly picturesque with the Remarkable mountains in the background. I’ve never seen such blue lakes in my life as I saw in the South Island of NZ – apparently it’s the glacial powder in the water that makes them so blue when the sunlight reflects off it. They were simply beautiful! 

Kane celebrated his 24th birthday while we were there. We had a bit of a knees up with our Stray bus the night before, and then spent the actual day ignoring the fact that we were budget backpackers and embracing the treats in the form of a cinema trip and nice meals out. (The film of choice was Gone Girl which was really good – I highly recommend it if you haven’t had the chance to go see it yet!)

Whilst we were in Queenstown we were able to try out the famous Ferg Burger, which is honestly the best burger I’ve ever had in my life (so far). They’re huge so you can just have one on its own as your main meal – I wish I could describe just how good they are but I’m struggling to put it into words. Let’s just say that it’s a party in your mouth!

The only negative I have about Queenstown is that you go past a certain point to get to it, where you’re officially closer to the South Pole than to the equator, so it’s a lot colder!

But the temperature wasn’t about to change any time soon as it we were then due to travel to Mount Cook. 

Until next time! 

(Katie-xo)


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