Hello from the South Island, everyone, where Jarrad and I are currently driving a campervan that I have let him name “Broomhilda”. When I last updated you on our adventure, we’d just been to Hobbiton on the North Island. That evening we caught a plane to Christchurch and picked up a campervan.
So we picked up Broomhilda and headed for Lake Tekapo- as per our pre-planned itinerary. All the websites we looked at told us that you could freedom camp “anywhere in New Zealand, as long as you have a self-contained camper and it isn’t signed otherwise”. What they don’t tell you is that everywhere is signed otherwise. We got into Tekapo at 11pm, and proceeded to drive around for an hour trying to find somewhere to spend the night. We were so worried about getting a fine for parking somewhere illegal, all the caravan parks were long closed, and we were too scared to park in the middle of complete nowhere. By 12am, Jarrad was almost falling asleep at the wheel and I was flat-out panicking, so we pulled over in a National Park and decided to wake up before sunrise to move the van, and hoped that no one would be privy to our indiscretion.
In the end, we couldn’t get the hot water in our shower to work, so you can just imagine the state in which we woke up at 5am.
Tekapo was one of the places I was most excited to visit because of the lupins that apparently grow in abundance everywhere you turn. Much to my disappointment, I couldn’t find more than a few patches along the Lake. If you are Lupin hunting, head out along Tekapo-Twizel Road and have a look at Fork Stream. You should find what you’re after there. The Church Of The Good Shepard is also a must in Tekapo, particularly if you can rouse yourself at sunrise.
We headed south to Queenstown. It’s quaint, particularly down on the lake front, and if you can get yourself up into the hills above the township, the views are spectacular. We caught the Gondola up and had a turn on the Luge. If you have a need for speed and want spectacular 180 degree views, then make sure you put the Luge on your to-do list.
At dusk, we drove out to Glenorchy. It’s possibly the smallest community I’ve ever visited, but the wharf is well documented on Instagram for you snap-happy people, and the drive itself is picturesque. We stopped at a freedom camping spot halfway back to Queenstown, where we managed to cook, have hot showers, and a decent nights’ sleep.