For those who have never been, the South Island of New Zealand is a spectacle to behold. Beautiful mountains, lakes that roll on for miles, adventure sports and hikes coming at you from everywhere.
This is why my sister and I spent a week down on the South Island exploring, unfortunately for me the dreaded ‘long haul lurgy’ kicked in and I started to get sick. This was especially a kick in the smalls when the night before our wine tasting day I lost the sense of taste!
Our adventures on the South Island kicked off with a wine tour of course, I am a huge fan of Pinot Noir from the central Otago region of New Zealand, and what better way to explore than with Roaring Tours who specialise in small boutique producers similar to the ones we work with. https://www.roaringtours.co.nz
We also ate a wonderful 8 course tasting menu at Ode restaurant. A culinary delight as all the wines and food are from New Zealand and the restaurant runs at an almost zero wastage policy, an absolute must if you are in the area for a few days. https://www.odewanaka.com
Mountain go-carting is probably the most fun I have had with my pants on in a VERY long time. A three wheeled Trike that you sit on and let gravity send you down the side of a mountain, laughing all the way as you do. At one point I took a corner too quick, hit a tyre marking the track and rolled over. I lay on my back laughing so hard that tears streamed down my face, all compounded by the cackles of laugher from my sister as she hooned down the mountain.
After 5 days in Wanaka, we hopped on a flight and headed north to Kaikoura to go whale watching and see one of the places that was hit pretty bad by the recent earthquakes. We were lucky enough to be able to see a Sperm whale as we flew over the coast with the team from Wings Over Whales. A simply mesmerising experience; to see such an animal in the wild was truly humbling. To also see it take a huge breath and then dive, lifting its massive tail from the water was something that will stay with me for ever. http://www.whales.co.nz
The afternoon just about topped the morning, as we went swimming with fur seals in their natural habitat. Seeing a seal that close up and getting to swim along next to it is worth ever single penny for the experience.
For the final piece of our New Zealand adventure we did what all good tourists do, we went to Hobbiton to see the home of the Hobbits. What a funny day out that is, especially when you get to goof about with your sister and ditch the tour group you were with….! I would say it’s worth going to see, but don’t expect to have the place to yourself as they cram the tours in pretty tight to get their moneys worth.
All in all, I can’t recommend New Zealand enough to people. If Scotland had warm weather it would be the most beautiful place I have ever been, however that award now goes to New Zealand.