For my 18th birthday, my Dad took me on a trip to New Zealand – awesome gift right? My Aunty came along too, so it was three of us for two and half weeks of adventure across the South Island.
The South Island of New Zealand (and maybe the North Island too but I haven’t been there yet so I can’t reliably comment) provides some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. Bright green fields, crystal blue lakes (some are more of a jewelled aqua tone), soooo many sheep, and renown south hemisphere endless blue skies (to be clear, I am not at all biased by being Australian).
Over the course of our trip we covered a big loop starting and ending in Christchurch. We took the cable car to the top of Mount Cook where had an amazing buffet dinner (I realise buffets are not usually an amazing thing, but seriously, amazing is the best description), and watched a Maori cultural show.
From there we travelled (in a hire car) to Dunedin, through some beautiful scenery – including the aqua green water of Lake Tekapo. Dunedin was a town of tours for us, specifically the Speights Brewery and the Cadbury Chocolate Factory (yes it is as awesome as you are currently imagining). On a beer related note, this trip was the first time I ever drank alcohol in front of my dad, except for a maybe a glass of sparkling at Christmas, it was quite an odd experience – I also discovered at this point that I am really not that big a fan of beer, something that has very much lasted until now.
Anywho, back on track. From Dunedin it was onto Queenstown, an incredibly gorgeous place (please note: I do not use this term lightly – the scenery is completely stunning and the people are really friendly – though that can actually be generalised to the whole of New Zealand I think). We went white-water rafting, which was awesome, even if dad was absolutely convinced that I couldn’t hold myself in the raft – I freely admit that I am very challenged when it comes to coordination, but seriously. Jet boating was also awesome fun 🙂 From there we made our way back to Christchurch. But not before an amazing helicopter ride onto Franz Joseph Glacier where I made a snow angel – word to the wise, soaking wet jeans that result from snow angel making take FOREVER to dry in the cold – and yet, still completely worth it 🙂
Other highlights of the trip included a pony ride (to me they are all ponies no matter how big they get, visiting the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch (a must see), and did I mention the stunning scenery ?
I think we can all agree my dad is an excellent gift giver 🙂
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