In March 2019, we rented a tiny car that barely fit the four of us and our suitcases and drove counterclockwise around New Zealand’s South Island. Starting in Christchurch, we crossed the island toward the west coast, winding through the mountainous region along very narrow roads. (We were then thankful for our tiny car). We stayed a night in Punakaiki, visited the pancake rocks, then drove to Franz Josef to see the glacier.
Next stop was Queenstown, where we stayed several nights and enjoyed excursions like an ATV mud tour, luge rides, and a boat ride through Milford Sound (although the bus ride to the Sound was terrifying. Those tiny roads aren’t meant for giant tour buses). Before heading back to Christchurch, we spent a night at Lake Wanaka and rode bikes along the lake. It was fall in New Zealand, so the leaves were starting to change colors and it was a little chilly.
On our drive back to Christchurch, we took an impromptu detour off the highway to see Mount Cook. It was well worth the extra time! The lake around the mountain (Lake Pukaki) had the bluest water I’ve ever seen. Apparently it’s so blue because it contains minerals from the glacier-fed waters.
All photos copyright Emily Oberton