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Kia Ora to the South Island

December 11, 2010

Justin hiking the Queen Charlotte Track

Kia Ora, or Welcome. The locals call the South Island, the “real New Zealand”, mostly because it is less developed, has more variation in its scenery, and is as some have said “more beautiful”. We were skeptical of this seeing as how we’d loved everywhere we had been on the North Island! With limited time available before contract work started for Justin in January, we decided to do a whirlwind tour of the South Island, seeing as much as we could in about 40 days.

Our first adventure was to tackle the Queen Charlotte Track, a multi-day hike through the Marlborough Sounds. The gist of it is that you hike 20-25km a day, camping along the way, or if you have the money, you can pay for lodge or resort accommodation a little off the path. Obviously, we camped. It was quite the experience! We took on the challenge in our Vibram Fivefingers, and though Justin came away with just a sore, albeit painful, shin, Ashley sprained both of her ankles, and as we woke on the third day, realized that I couldn’t walk the rest of the way. We took in an early boat, a little embarrasing but keeping our spirits (and chins!) high. We enjoyed the experience even with the injuries :P. To see video of the experience click here.

We are now staying with a lovely couple just outside of Nelson. Their home is up on a hill with incredible views of the bay and the Abel Tasman National Park. We even have our own little eco-cabin to stay in! A little romance on our rugged adventure 🙂 They are great people, like-minded, and had our cabin stocked with issues of Good, New Zealand’s sustainable living magazine , of which i’ve read all cover-to cover. I did have two days in bed recovering to do it. They also have a huge stack of Australia’s ReNew magazine, an alternative technology/building magazine. Justin is on his second issue as I type :). Needless to say we are very happy here and are loving the views, the conversations, and the rest!

During my time of recovery I managed to pull together the rest of our time in the South Island (for those that read our blog post about LifeLanguages, Justin said, “Ash, your Shaper is getting pulled up!”). It is so planned out even my most organized friends would be proud! Here is a look at what we will be doing this holiday season:

Dec 12-20 Based out of Nelson, we will be working on this couples lifestyle block, as well as taking days off to explore the city of Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, and Golden Bay & its principal township-Takaka.

Dec 21 We will eave this area and start our journey down the West Coast, driving 5 hours to a Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite for the night.

Dec 22 Driving more, stopping for photo opps, and camping again at another DOC campsite.

Dec 23 The West Coast is home to Glacier Country. We will be exploring Fox Glacier this day.

Dec 24-25 Arrive in Queenstown and stay at a lodge, enjoying our first Christmas as husband & wife 🙂

Dec 26 Drive to Wanaka and visit Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World. Camp at another DOC site.

Dec 27 Drive to Twizel and walk the Kettlehole Track, then continue on to Lake Tekapo where we will be until the 29th.

Dec 30 Drive to Dunedin where we will camp 🙂

Dec 31 Spend the day in Dunedin exploring the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, the Scottish Shop, the Octagon, and Baldwin Street (the world’s steepest street with a 35% grade!). Celebrate NYE similarly to last year 🙂

Jan 1-7 Stay in Christchurch with a host, with days off to explore the city (and take Justin on an early birthday suprise!)

Jan 8 Drive along the East Coast to Kaikoura, where we will swim with dolphins (if we can afford it!) or just take in the beautiful views. Camping along the beach!!

Jan 9 Justin’s First Summertime Birthday! We are driving to Blenheim where we will visit the Marlborough Farmer’s Market and Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory! YUM!

Jan 10 Leave Picton via a Cook Strait ferry to Wellington

Ta da! Back to the North Island!

Hope everyone is with someone they love this holiday season, and no worries, we will work on our tan while its cold there! 😉

All our summertime holiday love,


Queen Charlotte Track

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