Skip to main content

Our holiday in New Zealand's South Island

I bet you've been waiting to see some holiday snaps from our holiday to New Zealand.... which now seems like a very long time ago!

We started off in Christchurch, arriving around 2am, and spent two days with my brother having a look around.  I haven't been to Christchurch since I was 14, but I did remember that is was a beautiful city, with a tram in the CBD and a gondola in the hills.  Well I under-estimated the impact of the earthquakes.  The main one was over two years ago, so I thought it would be just about back to normal.  Its not, and the tram and gondola are not running, but seeing the city for myself helped me to realise what my brother is going through as his city recovers.  And there are still plenty of things to do and see there.

Here we are up in the Port Hills overlooking the harbour
that's as far as you can go along the Port Hills now

and then we found a craft brewery

and enjoyed some very nice beer 
Then we picked up a campervan and spent eight days travelling around the south of the South Island.  First stop was Mt Cook.

On the way to the Hooker Glacier from Mt Cook

and there's Mt Aspiring in the background
(I think, oh I hope I haven't got the mountains all mixed up!)

On the way back along Lake Pukaki we found Peters lookout

and it was cold!
Then we headed to Dunedin to see my cousin, and stopped to pick up some cheese and some more cheese, and some stone fruit and some smoked salmon....

Evansdale Cheese
Dunedin was a BIG city and not great in the BIG campervan, so we were happy to move on and check out Milford Sound.  We stayed there, right at Milford Sound in the carpark of the lodge.  We like staying in weird places when we have a campervan.  We did the boat trip out on the Sound and then we drove back around to Queenstown.  I reckon the road was even more amazing than the boat trip!

Milford Sound "artistic shot"
The "Homer Tunnel" on the way to Milford Sound, its one way, so you have to wait at each end
and there was SNOW visible from where we had to wait

This innocent little Kea bird tried to destroy our campervan at Milford Sound

Peter trying to see Australia from the end of Milford Sound :)
I didn't really take any photos in Queenstown.  We weren't that impressed with it.  Too many tourists!  I just thought we should go there so that Pete would see what it was like seeing as everyone kept telling him how great it was.  Not our kind of place at all.  We took the highest highway in New Zealand from Queenstown to Wanaka via the Crown Range, which was an amazing view and little bit scary in the big campervan!  And then we just kept going, one lake started to look like the last lake and we ended up crossing the Haast Pass.  The West Coast was a real contrast, after going through all those tourist areas, suddenly there were hardly any towns or people between Haast and Fox Glacier.

we stopped in the pub at Haast for a feed of whitebait patties 

Gillespies beach at Fox Glacier is beautiful, although the sign said
"steep, narrow and windy for next 15km" and probably wasn't
the smartest place to go in a giant campervan
we got up early, as usual, and were one of the first people up at Fox Glacier
- don't pay $100 each or a guided tour, there is a perfectly good path to walk on! 
From Fox Glacier we headed north to Hokitika, stopping at Franz Josef Glacier, and Ross.  In Ross I bought a greenstone pendant from a local guy who works and sells out of his house opposite the museum.  We talked to him for about an hour,about greenstones and triathalons and his pet goat, he was friendly and generous with his knowledge (and his homegrown tomatoes) and I'm so pleased to know I got a genuine piece of greenstone (he showed me the rock it came from and everything), here's his website if you're interested.  At Hokitika we saw all the mass-produced greenstone shops, which is not as nice, and visited the kiwi-house.  I LOVE seeing Kiwis, even though I generally don't agree with keeping any animals captivity (unless you're going to eat them of course).  The South Island Kiwis are huge, like a big rooster size, so that was worth going for a look (unfortunately no photos though).

Steve's studio in Ross
The beach at Hokitika
And that was the end of another fabulous campervan tour as the next day we returned to the east coast via Arthur's pass and stayed near Amberley at Leithfield Beach (and stopped at the Brew Moon Cafe there too, nice beer!).  

I was getting homesick and there's duck were helping me clean out the last of our food as we packed up.
They reminded me of my chickens!
We returned the campervan the next morning and got on a plane to Wellington to spend some time with my family and friends.  Three highlights were a visit to Otaki Beach, meeting Emma from Craving Fresh and here lovely family, and dinner with friends at "Big Bad Wolf" in Wellington, which specialises in different sausages.

Otaki Beach
with Emma from Craving Fresh

Dinner at Big Bad Wolf
Even though there were lots of beach scenes, we didn't go swimming once, it was freezing!  But we had a lovely relaxing time, with lots of good food and good company.  And then we were back in the heat and humidity and green of a late Queensland summer.  And back to work and now it feels like we never had a holiday at all, so its good to keep looking at the photos!


  1. Looks like a fantastic trip, and made me reminisce about our holiday there in Dec/Jan. We went to a few of the same places but there is so much to see there, I can't wait to go back! Funny that you finished up at Big Bad Wolf. They made up a delicious hamper for us for when we flew in on Christmas Day and knew there wouldn't be many restaurants open. One of the food highlights of our trip!

  2. Now that's my kind of holiday! Road trip, camper, beer, scenery, friends, and amazing local food and crafts. You lucky girl :)

    Meeting up with another blogger sounds like so much fun. One day I'm going to make it out to Australia and come pay you a visit too Liz :) x

    1. please do, and I'm thinking the Isle of Man looks pretty nice too, good to have an excuse to visit!

  3. Nice photos, I would have never guessed that it would be that cold and snowy. We just got a surprise early spring snow in Virginia. Looks like a nice getaway!

  4. I love New Zealand! We haven't been for a few years, but your trip has certainly brought back a lot of memories.

  5. It was good to read about your experience in Christchurch. Natural disasters only seem to hit our screens as they unfold, but as one who experienced the harsh reality of the Qld floods in 2011, you know how long the road to recovery is. We're still getting roads fixed here, and the recent rains put those works back even further.

    It's not just the time it takes to fix the initial damage, it's prioritising the funds as to what gets fixed first. Then there are the projects which seem to stall indefinitely, because someone has to make a decision about whether it's "worth" fixing, due to the possibility of another similar incident occurring in the future. The beauty with water is, it can be diverted, absorbed or captured, but earthquakes are another matter entirely. I really empathised with your story about visiting Christchurch, and your brother's reality of living there while the repairs continue. The signs and barricades really bring home the message, that some damage cannot be fixed immediately and frankly, may always be a potential issue for human habitation in some areas in future.

    The rest of the holiday looked thoroughly enjoyable and I could relate to avoiding the built-up areas, in favour of the small industries and connections to nature. They are my favourite places to visit too. On the odd chance we get away, I must say my favourite part of all, is that journey back home again. There's something about travelling down those last few roads to home that say, "welcome back"! :)

  6. thanks for all the comments, seems so long ago now, nice to look back at the photos :)

  7. Great photos Liz. I last travelled to the south Is when I was a teenager and I really want to take hubby there but it will probably have to wait till we have moved back.


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

** Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about my garden, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.

The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!

The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…