New Zealand

South Island Travel Diary: Day 3

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December 29th, 2016

Tekapo to Glenorchy

Waking up this morning, I feel like I barely slept at all. I was absolutely freezing and uncomfortably squished in the small space available (due to the missing piece from our van). The mission today will definitely be to get more blankets and sort out the bed situation, or grumpy Kassey will be attending the trip…and she’s not welcome.

My throat is quite sore, probably just from the stress of yesterday and lack of sleep. I got up at 6 am to go toilet and went on a walk to pass some time. This was quite a nice way to start the day. I just walked around the lake front on my own.

Grace and Mike got up at 6:30 and we went on a little wander back down to the lake. I took my stabilizer out for a spin and got some awesome footage. I am obsessed with the wild flowers that grow here. They make me so happy when they pop up along the drives.

Once everyone got up we all went and did our own thing. We went back to the Church of the Good Shepard and then drove to the field of flowers and the welcome to Tekapo sign. We mucked around here for a bit and got some cool photos before getting a second breaky (the up and go’s are useless).

At 10 am we all met up at the lake Tekapo Hot Springs. $25 to get in, but bloody worth it! Such a nice way to start the day. We soaked, laughed and chilled for just over an hour. The view from the springs was amazing. The infinity pool had the best view but was, unfortunately, the coldest. I didn’t last long in there. There was a bit of chill in the wind and I wanted to stay warmies. There was also an adult pool set to 38 degrees, I lasted all of 2 minutes in there. That one was to hot…guess I’m pretty fussy.

We left the springs ready to see the Clay Cliffs but quickly pulled off down the Mount John Observatory road. The man at the gate told us it was a million dollar view for only $8. He wasn’t wrong!!

The road was sketchy as hell and I am pretty sure I white knuckled the van the whole way up and down. We basically drove up this narrow windy Mountain to see the most amazing view of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding Mackenzie Country views. We got some cool group shots and just sat and looked out for a while.

We then headed towards Twizel. We stopped off at Lake Pukaki for a toilet stop and a leg stretch. When we rounded the corner we could just see the top of Mount Cook through the clouds. I hope we get another chance to see this. It quickly disappeared the lower into the valley/basin we got. Oh and I got a delicious feijoa ice block, how could I forget that?!

Once we got to Twizel we found a placemakers and got an off cut of ply to have as our bed replacement piece. We are lucky we found this along the way because I don’t think we would have made it to Queenstown before shops closed…and I couldn’t have done another night of no sleep. The lady pitied us and gave it to us for $10! #legend

Off to the clay cliffs we go!

Gravel roads, winding roads, turn the corner and holy crap, clay cliffs! So bloody stunning and random against the scenery. We were able to drive right up and then walk into the cliffs. Some awesome photo opportunities there. The funny thing is when we drove past them from the other side of the plains they looked insignificant against the landscapes. They needed to be appreciated up close. I loved the river that wove past the clay cliffs, the current was scarily strong, but the colours were so blue.

Back in the vans and the next destination was Queenstown. Are we over driving yet? the answer is yes. We Stopped off in Lindis Pass for a leg stretch and photo opp. We are currently boosting to Queenstown. We need blankets and are very hungry because we haven’t had time to stop for lunch. How does this happen? My day at home revolves around meals?!

Grace has convinced me to do the Shotover jet. I am already scared as.

We finally got to Queenstown after a stupid detour through Arrowtown, that added another 30 mins to our increasingly long trip. We boosted to the warehouse and got some more supplies. A blanket, a pillow, ponchos and Aloe Vera (for my sunburn, yes Mum I have already managed to get sunburned…I blame you for making me a ginger).

We then went to McDonald’s for dinner. I really didn’t want to eat greasy food so I kept it light. Which was kinda dumb coz I’m hungry now. #firstworldproblems

The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy was breathtaking. I can see why they say it’s one of the best drives in the country. You are surrounded by mountains (tall, small, green and some even covered in snow, in the middle of summer) all while you drive (winding) alongside the massive lake. It was about 44km and we hadn’t even done one side of the lake! This is just indescribable, I can’t wait to drive it again tomorrow.

We got settled into our campsite at Mrs Wolley’s and made a game plan for tomorrow. I am excited for some morning adventures before RNA.

We chilled outside having a few drinks until the bug situation got so bad, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Now let’s pray I get a decent sleep on our ‘new and improved’ bed. Currently busting to pee (even though I just went) and trying to decide if it’s worth it.


1. Horses in the flowers at Tekapo
2. The view at the top of Mount John (silent sequel, we were in awe)
3. Ahuriri River
4. River by the clay cliffs
5. Clay Cliffs

Mood: Blown away by everything we did today! Exhausted and ready to be snuggled up and warm.

Highlight: Being over taken by a bus, just kidding! It’s a hard one, everything was so breathtaking, but probably the view from Mount John

Lowlight: Getting sunburnt. I only lasted 3 days!!

Weather: started crisp but sunny. Began drizzling after lunch but that passed quickly. Beautifully sunny with a cold wind at the end of the day. 🌤🌬

Quotes of the day:

“I have never seen a fat person ride a horse, put it that way”

“She changed colour”

“I am so excited for puzzely world”

“I took a piss and turned some dirt into clay, and I was like GROSS!”

About Kassey

27-year-old teacher. Currently living in New Zealand with aspirations to travel the world and photograph it all.

27-year-old teacher. Currently living in New Zealand with aspirations to travel the world and photograph it all.

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