My final journey in New Zealand begins before heading back to the states. I have set out a 4-week trip, 3 weeks in New Zealand, and the last week in Brisbane. The first leg of the trip is on the South Island. My mate Aditya and Brad have joined me for this part. The plan is to have them drop me off in Picton where I will take the ferry and they will return to Christchurch and return the campervan.
We hired the van from Lucky Rentals again, my first time renting the van was a short trip with the same guys to Akaroa. This time we got a bigger van, Lucky Rover. The total cost was NZD 1835 for 12 days with full coverage insurance (Worry-Free).
Day 1 – Leaving Christchurch 02.03.2020
The initial plan was to camp near Lake Tekapo so we drove out there with no concrete plans. The drive to Lake Takepo from Christchurch is just shy of three hours. The goal of this trip was to see as much as I could and regardless I just needed to be in Picton on February 13th for my Ferry to Wellington. Each time we saw an opportunity to stop and enjoy the scenery we did and that first stop was the Geraldine Fairlie Lookout.
After a quick stop, we made the final push to Lake Tekapo. There is a lot to do at Lake Tekapo and if you go at the right time of year you can see the famous Instagram photo with Lupin Flowers. The best time to see this is between Mid-November and End of December. Our goal for Lake Tekapo was just to camp here and the lots were full so we moved on after walking around for an hour taking some photos.
Checking Campermate NZ we found a place near Lake Pukaki. This lake is the complete opposite of Lake Tekapo there is nothing around, no hotels, no restaurants, just space. Which is perfect for freedom camping.
Day 2 – Mount Cook 02.04.2020
When we woke up and looked across Lake Pukaki we could see that it was pouring at Mount Cook, which was a bit unfortunate because the whole reason we were going there was to see the peak and hike the Hooker Valley Track.
On the way up the road to Mount Cook, we made a stop at Harlan’s Gate View.
As we approached Mount Cook it was pouring out. We started to drive to Tasman Glacier Car Park. When we got there we sat for an hour or so decided how we wanted to handle the rest of our time at Mount Cook. We pulled up the weather and saw that it was going to rain for another 2 days. With that being the case we went out and found a hiking trail that I can’t find on google maps that lead up Tasman River and to a waterfall.
A thunderstorm started so we had to get back to the van and then at that point, we decided to call our time at Mount Cook and headed towards Queenstown. We stopped in Omarama which had freedom camping directly off the freeway.
Off to Queenstown in the morning.
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