Milford Sound to Christchurch is over 8 hours, so we woke up at the ass crack of dawn, and started our descent. We decided to drive at least half way, if not more, and find a camp ground, then drive the remainder in the morning. We really wanted to stop at more wineries in Otago Wine Country, but we decided our 9 day ‘no shower’ spree would probably not be the best idea. Another reason to come back.
We stopped at Lake Pukaki along the way. Voted one of the best lakes in New Zealand and one of the three alpine lakes. (Tekapo and Ohau are the other two). The glacial feed to the lakes gives them a distinctive baby blue colour. With the view of beautiful Mt. Cook and snow capped mountains.
We stopped and camped at Waihi Gorge. Not only was there grass support for our backs (unlike all the rocky sites up until now), it was WARM. It was so nice to be warm and have a small amount of bugs eating me alive. All of the other camp sites had drinkable water, although we mostly filled up our camel backs with glacier water. If you don’t know this already, the two dangers in New Zealand are: Sun and Giardia. You have to be really careful about the water you drink here. This camp site had a sign above the water spout: “we advise you to boil the water before use”. Kinda crappy considering we had 1/4 bag of water left and were pretty far from civilization, but we made it work.
We made a nice fire, ate canned tuna, crackers, hummus, and sipped some wine. It was so peaceful.
The next morning we woke up very early to head back to Christchurch. We were still 3 hours away and had to return our car before 12. Our flight left at 1. Thankfully flying domestic here is REALLY fast and easy. As we were heading towards Christchurch, we hadn’t made it 10 minutes before Patrick slammed on the breaks and was spewing out the door. I felt so bad, I didn’t know what to do. I offered to drive, but he said no. We got back on the road, and he slammed on the breaks and threw the door open. The weird thing was, he wasn’t puking up anything. It was just straight bile. At this point we were on a time crunch, so he laid in the back seat, and fell asleep. I called the car rental company and said we were still over 2 hours away, so we may be late. I made really good time on the motorway, thank heavens. But suddenly my stomach was clenching really hard and I slammed on the breaks. It was the worst feeling in the world. NOTHING came up, just stomach bile. But all my body wanted to do was throw up. I was overwhelmed with tears. Thankfully Patrick was feeling better after he slept, so we switched. I laid in back and continued to cough up bile into a trash bag. My head was pounding like you wouldn’t believe. And then I realized, we had brushed our teeth the night before with the water at the camp, but could that REALLY make us that sick??? Worse feeling I’ve ever had. Once the car was returned and we checked in at the airport, I fell asleep to drown out this headache. We both looked and felt like complete crap. It was only 10 days, but it was certainly jam packed and exhausting. We were so happy to land home in Auckland. I felt drastically better once we were home, but he was still sick the rest of the day. So random and weird.
We’re both completely in love with the South Island. I can’t wait til we get to go back! Minus the bugs. 🙂