Here’s another short update (partly written by my butthead big sis Annie Bananie) about the Jansa family travels in New Zealand. New Zealand has blown me away with its incredible natural beauty, and while traveling with the famdamnily is very different than adventuring alone, I am loving the company of my favorite people and we’re all having the time of our lives experiencing this amazing place together.
Jansa Christmas in New Zealand – South Island
After arriving off the ferry on Christmas day in Picton, we rented a car and drove a dangerously twisty road to Abel Tasman. The road offered again, more spectacular views and despite the constant hairpin turns in New Zealand, I think my pops is finally getting used to driving on the left side of the road.
South Island Highlights (so far):
Kayaking Abel Tasman:
Abel Tasman is a national park with great forest hikes that border the coastline. We hiked a short way along the coastal track on Christmas Day, but the real winner was sea kayaking for the day. We escaped the infestation of bees on land to explore the tropical waters, kayaking along the coast and in and out of small coves and a few little caves.
Long car rides, filled with endless listening to and discussion of Harry Potter:
From Abel Tasman, we had to drive 12 hours to Wanaka and then another 4 hours to Milford Sound. The first day, rain gushed down from the sky like the world was ending, and we drove over many rivers that were so swollen and bloated they threatened to overtake the road and wash us away. In at least one spot, the road was hanging on by a thread and was clearly only a few hours of rain away from being destroyed completely. We filled our time in the car by listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and by having heated wizarding duels (well… not so much on the second part).
Milford Sound, in Fiordland National Park, was one of the most spectacular stops on the trip. With cliffs rising straight up from the river and sea, to lush forests as far as the eye could see, it made for some amazing hiking and an even more phenomenal scenic cruise along the sound to the Tasman Sea. The awe-inspiring mountains, gushing waterfalls (I must have seen a hundred in the span of a few days), and deep blue waters also led to some pretty stinkin sweet hiking spots. Overall, Milford Sounds ranks among the most gorgeous places I’ve had the good fortune of visiting.
From Milford Sound we drove to Queenstown, a great little town on a large lake with the Remarkable Mountains in the background. We have only been here one day so far, but we entertained ourselves with a nice walk along the lake and in a large park (home to a Frisbee golf course that we hope to take on in a couple days). Tomorrow we are going hiking in an area that was used to film many parts of Lord of the Rings!
For the record, we have now surpassed 125 hands of bid spades and I cannot express how happy I am to be reunited with family/family games. Anyhoo, the amount of time I have until I return to the United States is now officially under a week and to be honest I have mixed feelings about it… nevertheless, I’m going to try to soak up as much fun as I can in my final days and I’m excited to see everyone in the states soon!