I was pretty excited to get to the South Island of New Zealand. The North Island was great, and everything I had read said that the South Island was even better.
The South Island –despite being the geographically larger of the two New Zealand islands – has only 1/3 the population of the North Island. In fact Auckland alone is home to more people than the entire South Island. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island, and it is still recovering from devastating 2011 earthquakes.
Still, the people who call the South Island home live in one of the most scenic places on earth.
Day 1 (Golden Bay)
The North Island had treated us well, but it was time to move on to the South Island. We got up early to head over to the ferry. You have to be at the ferry and checked in at least an hour before it leaves. And this is not a ferry like you typically think of (at least in my case). It was huge – more like a ship at 600 feet long with 10 decks.
Today was our last day in New Zealand. It has been such an amazing and beautiful country to visit. I know that we will be back one day, eventually…….
Today, we wanted to take it easy! In the afternoon, we visited the Kiwi Birdlife Park.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but New Zealanders refer to themselves as “kiwis.” This term refers to the rare kiwi bird. It is a flightless bird, which had no natural predators until settlers brought over cats, opossum, and other mammals that killed the baby kiwis. Now, it is extremely rare to see them in the wild.
I can’t believe I actually did it!
Like I said, New Zealand is the “adventure capital of the world!” There are thrill seeking opportunities around every corner. Before we got to Queenstown, I looked into skydiving as something I may “hypothetically” want to do. It sounded great and the company we chose, NZone, has a great reputation. I feel like I read hundreds of positive reviews. Apparently, they have done almost 180,000 dives without major injury. So, I mentioned it to Justin. I still wasn’t set on the idea. It sounded good in theory, but why would a sensible person jump out of a perfectly good airplane? I consider both Justin and I to be very sensible people.
Well, we were halfway through our time in Queenstown, and I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to do. Luckily, Justin made that decision for me. He said, “we’re doing it” and he called NZone to book our skydive for the next day at 11 am. And so the anxiety begins……..
We had an amazing first day in Queenstown! We took a helicopter to Milford Sound and landed on a glacier!
I suppose that I didn’t pay much attention to Justin when he was planning this trip, because I didn’t know that we were going to be doing all these incredible things!