Guest post by Breadcrumbs app
There are many things that define us as “kiwis” – from barefoot shopping to supporting the All Blacks, there are lots of building blocks that make up our cultural identity. Perhaps one of the largest blocks there is, would be a connection with the outdoors.
Kiwis are an “outdoorsy” bunch of people. Whether you moved to New Zealand last decade, last year or last week it is an inescapable reality that at some point you will find yourself looking for adventure in our great outdoors (also known as the “wops”). We are lucky in Aotearoa to have an abundance of natural serenity right on our doorstep, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out where to go and what to do first. Luckily, our good mates from Breadcrumbs have put together a short collection to give you some inspiration for where to start!
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Going to Fiordland is almost be a right of passage for Kiwis, both those who were born here and those who have migrated. This otherworldly abyss of towering cliffs and thundering waterfalls defines all that is the natural world in New Zealand – Lush, green and rugged! Fiordland is without a doubt the place that you should have at #1 on your NZ bucket list. Specifically, Milford Sound (The crown jewel of the area) is where you need to head.
Either book a flight or bus tour from Queenstown, which will allow you to see the best parts of Milford Sound within 1 day or pack a tent and camp for a few nights in one of Fiordlands many DOC campsites. Staying for a few days will allow you to hike to some of the stunning waterfalls or hikes such as Key Summit.
One to put on your “don’t wait” list, Fox Glacier is a sight that is quickly becoming a page in the history books! Hiking the short walk from the carpark up to the foot of the Fox Glacier provides a sobering reminder of just how quickly our climate is changing. The trail is signposted with markers of where the foot of the glacier once sat during different years. For a different perspective of the glacier and surrounding mountains, drive to Lake Matheson and walk the loop trail. The stunning still waters of the lake provide a reflected view of the glacier that cannot be beaten!
A sight that is beautiful by both day and night, the Hooker Valley and Mt. Cook area falls under the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. The Hooker Glacier at the foot of Aoraki/Mt Cook is an easy 3 hour return walk from the carpark and will leave you with unsurpassed views over the bright blue lake, icebergs, glacier and then up to Mt Cook. Meanwhile, the whole Mackenzie basin will leave you with awe-inspiring views of the night sky that you would struggle to see elsewhere!
If you are looking for a more summery adventure, Abel Tasman National Park is definitely the destination for you! With bay after bay of golden sand beaches, stunning crystal-clear water and an abundance of wildlife, this road-less beach-lovers haven is the ideal area to go camping in the summer. Book a water taxi to drop you into any one of the many bays, then walk your way back out via the well-graded tracks that wind along the coastline.
One of the famous areas of New Zealand, Kaikoura is seeing a resurgence of visitors since the 2016 earthquake that wreaked havoc in the area. The wildlife consisting of whales, dolphins, seals and penguins is but one of the reasons that Kaikoura should be on your 2019 list. Drive the roads on SH1 around Kaikoura to witness the raw power that earthquakes possess. There are areas of the coastline that have lifted as much as 5.5meters from their previous position. The power of the earth is also evident in the hills surrounding Kaikoura, where countless landslides and slips snake down the valleys like scars on the Southern Ranges. These can be viewed perfectly from the top of Mt. Fyffe – a moderately difficult 4 hour return hike.
So there you have it. A small bit of inspiration for your 2019 list of South Island adventures. Visiting these incredible places leaves you with a new appreciation for Aotearoa and what it means to be a Kiwi. Just remember that while beautiful, New Zealand can also be very dangerous. Always inform someone of your plans when you go into the outdoors, take the appropriate gear and check the weather forecasts!