We arrived into Wellington in the late afternoon and were excited to go exploring the New Zealand capital. We headed down to Sweet Mother’s Kitchen for sangria and dinner – a great and little American style restaurant (www.sweetmotherskitchen.co.nz) with kitsch decoration – before heading to Mac’s Brewery (www.thebrewerybar.co.nz) to sample some of the local beers. The next day we headed to explore the famous Te Papa museum (www.tepapa.govt.nz/pages/home.aspx) – to see the only colossal squid on public display in the world – before taking the ferry to the south island.
The ferry ride is a must do – incredible scenery on every side. On the approach to the south island is a channel surrounded by mountains with bucolic homesteads nestled into the pristine landscape. I didn’t leave the top deck the entire trip.
We arrived into the Picton ferry terminal, picked up our car and continued our journey to Christchurch. I had wanted to see the black sand beaches of New Zealand, and when I spotted a deserted one on the coast north of Kaikoura – I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little shoot. Despite being ice cold we were able to get some fun and carefree shots and even some funny outtakes.
We arrived into Christchurch and went exploring – the city is still recovering from a devastating earthquake which struck in 2011. Many buildings were still destroyed, visibly damaged or under repair. A testament to the spirit of the people is the Re:Start Mall (www.restart.org.nz) – a boutique shopping mall which has been constructed entirely of converted shipping containers as a way to quickly revitalise the area without expensive or extensive construction. I really loved checking out the cool stores and even picked up some dresses to take home!
From Christchurch we headed towards Franz Josef – a little town on the west coast of the south island, named for the Franz Josef glacier which is visible from the main street. The drive was through the mountain ranges running down the centre of the island and made for some spectacular scenery, with snow covered mountains on all sides.
We had booked in to the do the Helicopter ride to the glacier and then go hiking (www.franzjosefglacier.com/our-trips/ice-explorer), but unfortunately the weather was too poor for us to fly, with fog rolling in over the glacier. Fortunately for us, Franz Josef is a cute little town and we enjoyed having a break – and with our downtime we ironically decided to watch a little Lord of the Rings.
Next Stops: Queenstown and Milford Sound