By the numbers.
Where We’ve Been.
6 nights in Christchurch
2 nights Akaroa
1 night Mount Cook Village
1 night Lake Pukaki
3 nights Queenstown
2 nights Te Anau
3 nights Dunedin
1 night Oamaru
12 nights Hawea Flat
11 nights sleeping in Phil
18 nights in AirBnBs
2 nights in a hotel
Kilometers: 1,567.7 = 974.12 miles
Queenstown definitely lived up to its expectation. We didn’t get to spend too much time there, but we’re already planning on going back when the warmer weather rolls around. I mean, we have to… there is no way I’m leaving New Zealand without having gone bungee jumping, and where better to do it than where it was born? I’m coming for you, Nevis.
So, this month Queenstown was my favorite town we visited, but my favorite experience has to be the glow worm caves. Te Anau, the jumping off point for Milford Sound, has a great glow worm cave experience. More laid back than the North Island Waitomo Caves experience, the Real Journeys tour takes you by boat through the underground river where these bioluminescent creatures dwell. No photography is allowed, which I actually think is a bonus. I may not have any pictures to show you, but any noise or light would have disrupted the encounter drastically. It was such a unique experience, blindly being pulled through the black river. Not a sound except for the lapping of water against the boat. Not a sight except for the tiniest blue lights peppering the darkness above. SO. COOL.
The biggest surprise of the month was Oamaru. I really wasn’t expecting anything from this town, but it is a diamond in the rough and completely deserving of another visit.
Not so favorites.
The worst part of this month was the reemergence of my lower back pain, and it came with a vengeance.
I have had this problem on and off for over a decade. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I actually started to do something about it, and began seeing a chiropractor. For a while everything seemed to normalize, but every now and then I do need an adjustment. It is surprisingly difficult to find a chiro who will do manual adjustments these days. All those silly tables and contraptions don’t do shit compared to applying the right amount of pressure along with physical manipulation.
Sidetracked, sorry. I guess all the driving and sleeping in a van got to me. I woke up our first morning in Te Anau with such a terrible crick in my neck that I skipped going to Milford Sound. It wasn’t until the next evening that I was able to get someone to work on it, and that turned out terribly. The massage was great and my neck was feeling 100% better, but then my low back flared up. I struggled to make it to the car and couldn’t stand upright once we’d gotten to the holiday park. That was when we got a room instead of sleeping in the van. Jason had to walk backwards in front of me holding my hands to help me into the room, like an old granny. I kid you not.
I laid on the floor with my knees propped up for a while, trying to settle it back into a happy place. A week later I was able to find a good chiropracter just outside Queenstown who I met with a couple of times. I am still getting flare ups every now and then, but much smaller in comparison. When I get back to the States, I’m going to have to have a serious regimen set up with my chiro to get this worked out.
Even with my back problems, this month was the best of our trip yet. Having Jason’s parents visit was such a great experience and we were able to do so much while they were here. We balanced that out with staying relatively still the weeks before and after their trip.
Our next move was to sadly, say goodbye to the South Island and begin heading north for our first housesitting gig. More on that to come!
A big thanks to all my readers out there! If there is anything in particular you’re interested in reading about, let me know in the comments. Or feel free to just say hello!