We took a 10 day camping trip to the South Island. We’re both in love with it there. It has the mountainous beauty of Alaska, but the island vibe of Hawaii. I must say, 10 days was nowhere near long enough!
When we were planning this trip, we were torn between the north or south part. I waned to stay north because I really wanted to drink my way through some of my favourite breweries, and go camping in Abel Tasman National Park. Patrick was opposite. He was very eager to head South for Milford Sound, Queenstown, and Otago Wine Country. So, we flipped a coin, and I won! 🙂 But, considering he is ALWAYS so easygoing and usually just goes along with what I want to do, I found it very weird that he was so eager and pushy about staying south. So, I scratched out all my research and planning for the north, and started fresh for the south.
The hardest part was finding the campgrounds we would potentially stay at. Freedom camping isn’t very big here. We’re so used to Maui, where you can just pull over and set up camp pretty much anywhere. Or pull over, and sleep in your camper van. But no, not here. You must be in a designated camp ground, or you’ll receive a fat fine. So, on that note, I find camping in this country to be rather expensive. Which is quite ironic, isn’t it? The ‘Holiday Parks’ charge between $20-$40 per night, per person. Yeah, they have great facilities (they damn well better for that much!) but we may as well pay the extra to stay in a hostel or hotel room. So, I avoided that at all costs. Most of the other camp grounds were $6-$12 per person, per night. Which still isn’t ideal in my eyes, but that’s the best we could do. Did I mention the $6 camp grounds are almost ALWAYS completely out of the way of where we want to be?! So, that was the most stressful part about planning the trip.
Our big “adventure” for the trip, was a helicopter tour in Franz Josef. I wasn’t too keen on it, but Patrick was SOO excited when I threw that idea out. So, I surprised him and booked two tickets with my American money. We based our trip around this helicopter tour. We landed on the south island on a Saturday, the trip was scheduled that Wednesday, and we had to be back in Christchurch on Monday morning. It was kind of RIGHT in the middle of our trip, and also out of the way. But we were so excited for it, that it didn’t matter.
We flew into Christchurch, which a depressing town because of the earthquake that happened. So, we didn’t plan on spending any time here. We rented a car and stocked up on some groceries.
First stop: Arthur’s Pass National Park!