In February of 2018, my husband and I took a three-week self driving tour of both the north and south islands of New Zealand (NZ).  This blog, NZ Part II, is dedicated to our two weeks on the South Island. The NZ blog is in three sections: 1) northern coast, 2) our drive down the more northern section of the west coast, and 3) the southern Wanaka/Queenstown area. 

The Northern Coast

We dropped off the rental car in Wellington on the North Island and hopped on the Interisland Ferry for the three hour ride to Picton, then picked up another rental car. The Gilligan song kept playing in our heads, "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful ship...Five passengers set sail that day for a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour." See - now it's stuck in your head!

Once the ferry landed on the South Island we headed straight for the Abel Tasman national park and Golden Bay, both located along the northern coast. Abel Tasman is known for its great beaches with orange sand, amazing views, and excellent hiking trails.

Totaranui Bay with its very cool orange sand

Wharariki Beach

Off to Wharariki Beach, at the very northern tip (called the Spit) of the South Island and where the wind never stops blowing, ever.

Cape Farewell Arch

Most northerly point of the entire south island.

An Very Expensive Photo

Off the take a night shot as it was a new moon. It was very late, about midnight, and I was all alone shooting the night sky. Got the shot I wanted and started to pack up and head back tot he hotel.

I collapsed the tripod, camera still attached, and tucked it across my shoulder to head back to the hotel. It was utterly dark and completely silent except my footsteps crunching in the gravel. Absolute nothingness but for the heavens above me. As I walked, I was preoccupied thinking about what I'd just shot. When you take a great photo, you know it, and this time I knew it. But all of sudden there was a sudden "CRUNCH!!" behind me.

No, no, no, please no.

I swirled around, mind now fully in the present, and looked down. There laid my beloved camera in the gravel. My expensive camera, with its two-week old (also expensive) lens.

Breathe. How stupid was I? Breathe again.


I gingerly picked it up, expecting the camera to be in pieces and the lens shattered. But they weren't. I was furious at myself for not being more careful and didn't even have the energy to look at it, really look at it, until the next day.

And here's what I saw. Amazingly enough, the camera still worked and the lens appeared unscathed and worked for the duration of the trip. .

Later examination revealed a bent body and lens. $$$$$

And here is "Starry Starry Night" with credit to Van Gogh and Don McClean

A Happier Topic, Shall We?

Did you know can rent wildly painted campers in New Zealand? We saw them all over both islands and no two were ever the same.

Onward down the south island.

next up - New Zealand: South island Part II of II