Day 26- 30 Wanaka and West Coast (part 1)

I left my campsite behind to go to a music festival on New Years eve, called Rhythm and Alps. I had a great time and discovered some great new bands! Lots of Australian and European bands played. Got to enjoy the fireworks there as well. They played music till 7am, but I am no longer 21, so I bounced at 1am.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

After the show, I headed back to my campground for one last night before heading out to Wanaka. The next morning, I stopped by Queenstown Hill to do a bit of that hike, and then made the drive to Wanaka.

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

After exploring Albertstown a bit, I headed down to lake Wanaka for sunset. The sky turned all sorts of lovely colors! This tree was awefully popular, and there was about 30 people around snapping pictures of this tree!

The next day was another beautiful bluebird day. It was really dry and in the upper 70s/low 80s! I did the Mt Iron hike .I really wanted to do the Roy's Peak hike, but wasn't ready to do more than 4 mile hikes. (was 8 miles if i recall). A couple days after this, there were wildfires that broke out on the Roy's Peak hike unfortunately.

That night I hung out around camp in Albertstown. Another Stunning sunset that lit up the mountains in a pink shade (called alpenglow). While walking around, I found a dumped wallet. Everything was taken, except for his countdown card and a credit card. I figured he'd at least want some closure, so I dropped it off at the local bank before I headed out to the west coast. The bankers were thrilled, and I felt good.

The drive around the lake Hawea was both incredibly moody and jaw dropping. Some say it's the most scenic in NZ.

I stopped at the incredibly busy Blue Pools for my first stop in Mt Aspiring National Park. The water really was THAT blue! The water is glacier run off water, so as you can imagine, it was quite frigid. I did not jump in. This place also was very thick with sandflies. They really like the swimmers that come out of the water :O. As refreshing as I'm sure it was, I'm good.

I honestly don't remember the name of this hike. It was ranked as "30 minutes" so I gave it a try, figuring I'd be back in the car 30 minutes later. Well, surprise! it was extremely steep, and pretty much climbing stairs the whole way up. I was dripping in sweat, and heart beating like crazy. Not what I was expecting at all! Good views at the top, but probably not worth it.

Next stop was fantail falls. Check out all the cairns lined up!

I grabbed a campsite in Haast, and headed out to Munro Beach to see if I could find any penguins. The Hike goes through an old growth rainforest, to a secluded beach with nobody except deer, dreaded sandflies, and and

I made it to ship creek for sunset. West Coast sure has the best sunsets! This beach was right off of highway 6.

The next day I headed south to check out a really remote section of NZ - Jacksons Bay. I did a short hike, and again-had the trail and beach (at the end) to myself. After the hike, I did something extremely dumb. unlocked the trunk (with key), and tossed my keys down while I grabbed some stuff, and shut the trunk, locking my keys behind -.- Luckily I ran into a local woman who got her husband, to help me. he had a mechanic coming to visit him anyways, so we waited for him, as our efforts to break in failed. After a couple hours, his friend shows up, tries a few things that didn't work, and then we put our brains together and broke into the rental. I will not be sharing what we did, just in case the wrong person reads this.

Thats all for now! stay tuned for west coast part 2!

New Zealand: Day 1 and 2 - Auckland

Hello, welcome to my adventure! I'm not best writer, so I will let my photos do most of the talking for me, with some backstories where necessary. Hope you enjoy! I will release a new one every few days, so be sure to subscribe!

I flew out of Portland on Dec 7 and landed in Auckland on Dec 9th at 10pm. I had some issues with my original Airbnb host not being able to let me in, so as I was boarding my flight from my layover in Honolulu I had to find a last minute Airbnb, take a verification photo, take a photo of my ID and wait until they accepted it. I was extremely lucky and got an instant response from Lesley! She was incredible! Served me a GF breakfast, gave a ton of good local tips, invited me over for a barbie with a couple of their friends! They also drove me to my bus station for petrol $! Truly a warm welcome to their beautiful country (and gave hope from the first guy that flaked on me...talk about stressful!)

Leslie's home was on the other side of the Auckland bay, in a  small town of Bayswater. I took a walk over to the quant town of Devonport, had some lunch, and caught the 5 minute ferry over to downtown Auckland! 

Devonport homes

Devonport homes

Downtown Auckland from the walking path between Bayswater and Devonport

Downtown Auckland from the walking path between Bayswater and Devonport


Click photos to enlarge!

After I took the ferry over I explored a bit of Auckland. First off- The thai food is incredible and plentiful in Auckland. Since there are alot of Asian immigrants, it is very authentic as well. I did enjoy Albert park - with the gigantic trees that would shade me from the intense sun and heat that can run rampant here in the summertime. 

I finished off bayswater with a killer sunset over the city: