Mt. Cook

I arrived to the campsite around 1pm and snagged one of the last few spots remaining.

The holiday season is a busy time for beautiful places in New Zealand.

I had two days here, and managed to do most of the hikes in the area.

My favorite of these was up to Mueller Hut. My phone died on the way up, but I did manage to get a few pictures before then.

Some Austrians I met on the way up have promised to send me our summit photo.

Here is the tarn halfway up

There is also a relaxing walk to a lake that offers good views of the mountains.

This is probably the most striking area I have seen in New Zealand.

I’m working my way towards Christchurch with a few more stops planned. I have been pretty unmotivated to write blog posts, as I have been meeting a lot of cool people at the campgrounds, and it is hard to use time writing I could be spending hanging out with new friends.

That said, new posts will still be going up on library days.

Be well!

Chasin’ Waterfalls

I regretted climbing to the top of a waterfall when I saw an older, portly gentlemen try to follow me in treadless sneakers. Luckily, his instincts for self-preservation overpowered his curiosity.

The string of waterfalls made for a nice, relaxing day.

The waterfalls weren’t even the best part of the week. My friend told me about a forest not far from the campsite.

There was no one on the path, and the trail was a narrow, winding route through the forest.

I also booked my flights back to the States! I have about a month to make it to Christchurch and sell my van.

It seems like this trip has been going by so quickly.

The End of the Earth

I made it to the southernmost point of the South island (excluding Stewart Island). Or, at least, some kiwis told me it was the southernmost point.

Looking slightly to my left, I saw a point that appeared to be even further south. Looking at a map, it looks like there are many places further south.

I decided to put my questions aside and enjoy the moment.

I’ve been making my way east towards the Catlins. Along the way, there have been too many “points” and lighthouses to count. I tell myself I won’t be fooled by a brown sign leading me down a winding road, but I always end up seeing what is at the other end.

It usually is worth it.

I found some nice free campsites and played soccer with my new friend Luka for about six hours over the past few nights.

Soccer balls and guitars are great items to have to make new friends.

We practiced some new juggling moves, some useful, some just silly.

I stayed at a place called Monkey Island, but didn’t find any monkeys. The place was still nice.

Road to Milford Sound

Much to the chagrin of everyone who has ever heard of New Zealand, I didn’t make it out to Milford Sound.  The weather was bad, and the forecast showed that would continue at least through the week.

I got antsy waiting around, so I left.

There were some spectacular sights on the way up there (the road had clear weather).

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The drive itself offered spectacular views.  These were just the ones I was able to stop for.

Kepler Track

I spent a few days in Queenstown, but was spending too much money and overwhelmed by the amount of backpackers.  In the few days I spent there, I went to a garden with strange-smelling roses, hiked the Queenstown Hill (pictured below), and ate a pretty declicious hamburger at Fergburger.  I also got hooked up with a free boat trip to a farm!

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Afterwards, I went to the Kepler Track, on of the Great Walks of New Zealand.  Like the other walks, the price for a hut was way too expensive for me to do the whole thing ($130 per night), so I went to one end, hiked up 15km to the hut, and hiked back.

The first part of the trip went through a dense forest next to a beach.

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A few kms of flat ground started ascending at a steady pace to the top.

The view remained largely unchanged until you got above the treeline.

The $130/night hut it all its glory.

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I wonder how long it will take until people start hiring porters to carry all their stuff for them, not that I am bitter or anything.

Near the hut, there is a rad cave you can go in.

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