New Zealand: Three Favorite Things

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When we come home after travelling, a lot of people ask us “How was your trip?” However, most people don’t want to hear any answer longer than “Great!” It’s disappointing to not be able to share details of a trip, but at the same time I don’t want to bore anyone. So in order to sum up our time in New Zealand, we bring you a handy list of the best things we saw/did/ate! They are in order, sort of.

Three Favourite Scenic Spots:

  1. Lake Pukaki- nothing more needs to be said
  2. Tongariro National Park- especially the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and Blue Lake, which can only be accessed on foot (or seen from the air by taking a scenic flight)
  3. Kaikoura- the view of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains rising above the blue sea

Three Favourite Attractions:

  1. Fox Glacier- this could also go under scenic spots, but just looking at it isn’t that interesting. Taking a guided hike and walking on it is much more interesting
  2. Marlborough wineries
  3. Auckland Museum- we thought it was better organized than Te Papa

Meat pies- yum, yum

Three Favourite Foods

  1. Hokey Pokey ice cream
  2. Meat pies
  3. NZ cheeses

Three Favourite Animals:

  1. Kiwis- no, we did not see one in the wild, as we had hoped; but we did hear them screeching in the middle of the night in Hokitika
  2. Seals- easy to spot, and they like to pose for photographers
  3. Glowworms- actually the larvae of a certain kind of fly. In Hokitika, you can see them for free, just 1km north of town. They look like constellations when they’re all lit up

The Most Beautiful Place I’ve Ever Seen

Today we had planned to drive to Mt. Cook, which is not very far from the west coast but can only be accessed from the south. From the main highway we turned off at Twizel, prepared to drive 50km each way just to see this majestic mountain. Luckily it was a fairly clear day, so as soon as we turned onto the access road, there it loomed ahead of us. We pulled off the road to another scenic lookout at a body of water that turned out to be Lake Pukaki. Most people (there were a few other people there) were ┬ásimply taking photos from the carpark, but we walked down to the lake and sat by the shore. I told Bob, “If I died now, I would die happy.” It was that gorgeous- and no one was there because they’d all stayed in the carpark. Seriously- it was only a 5-minute walk down the hill to the lake’s edge, and the view was so much better. We decided that we didn’t really want to drive to Mt. Cook after all, because we could already see it, and we couldn’t possibly imagine a better site to view it from than Lake Pukaki. This turned out to be the highlight of the west coast tour- the glacier was great, of course, but it’s so much more interesting to find something unexpected.

Lake Pukaki and the Southern Alps