The South Island Experience

THE ROUTE - 3500km in 11 Days - so where did we go?

Here you can find a description of the route the South Island Party Team took. There will be a short summary of each day and a picture. For more pictures and stories features on special places will follow soon...



On the first day we flew from Auckland to Christchurch - 6.35am - man, that was really early. But thus we had the whole day to explore the Christchurch area. After picking up our camper-van and a first test-drive (it’s really bigger than a normal car: 3.2m high and 6.6m long) we found quickly that the city itself has not much to offer. So we continued towards the Bank Peninsula. This peaceful place is south-east of Christchurch. We had a look at the light house and when eating and taking a nap in the sun on the boat wharf suddly an old man showed up, starting to talk to us. It turned out that this old fellow really had to tell a lot and we enjoyed his stories about the local people. Finally, Frank (that is his name) invited us for tea to his house. Therer we signed his guestbook and had tea with cookies but in the end we had to leave as the sun was already setting. We did head on to the south-west and drove until late. Finally - in the middle of nowhere we discovered a nice place besides the road, parked the camper-van and had some drinks under the starlit sky besides a campfire.

When we woke up the next day we realised that we almost had driven the van into a small river in the dark -  we lucky bastards had stopped two metres before the shore...

- Our first camping site -


On the second day we continued our trip through the marvellous landscape of the Southern Alps. We passed Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki and finally went for a walk close to Mt. Cook - the highest Mountain in NZ. Driving back from there through the dark we ended up in Oamaru on the east coast. When searching for a pub for having a drink at night we finally got to know the infamous “The Globe” nightclub - do not go there!!! The scenery was like the following, just like a Wild West movie: Five strangers enter a saloon in a godforsaken city in the middle of nowhere. As they step through the door the music stops playing and everybody turns staring at the intruders. The five guys walk silently to the bar and order a drink. When the barkeeper slides the drinks across towards the strangers they pick them up and drink without a word. The music starts playing again and everybody starts talking just as if nothing had happend. Despite John Wayne we met some participants of the “NZ Congress of UFOs” (sorry, that’s an insider). They made a really deep impression on us and so we got - like Stephan and maybe John Wayne as well would put it -“tha hell outa that place” the next morning. Again: Do not go there. Don’t do that.

- Sunny weather at Lake Tekapo - a marvellous sight -


Day number three we spent mostly for heading towards the city of Dunedin and visiting the peninsula with their penguins, albatrosses and the castle. The city itself is really one of the best urban places we discovered so far in Down Under and so we spent the night there as well. The party that night cannot be described here as all team members lack their memory between entering the liquor store in the evening and waking up with a major headache the next morning. But I think it was really heavy...

- The Dunedin railway station -


The next morning we got up a little later than usual and continued our way through the very southern part of the island. We had a look at the “Nugget Point” where you can find a lighthouse on top of very high cliffs facing some giant rocks in the sea. There we also spotted some seals (actually we heard them before we really saw them) and were puzzeld by the myst of the flying penguin (me and Nils had some really interesting theories on that and were almost shure we saw one...). Later, we drove towards Milford Sound - most of the night. Outside the car it was that dark you couldn’t see a sh.. and we did not meet a single car on the last 100km. On the way we had to go through Homer’s Tunnel - just a pipe of stone cut in the giant mountains with no lights inside. We stopped inside to have a look and now we know what “complete darkness” really looks like (actually, it looks very much like a huge pile of nothing in a deep, black hole filled with pitch and a lid on top of it in the middel of the night...). Finally we arrived at Milford Sound - as there rally was not much to see at 1am we just parked the camper besides the road and went to bed...

- Nugget Point -


When we woke up the next day we were really amazed by the landscape around us - what we couldn’t see in the middle of the night turned out to be one of the most marvellous places you prabably can think of (you have to see the pictures of Milford Sound in the feature that will follow soon!!!). Thus, we spent the whole day there - some with walking a short track, the rest with a ride in an aeroplane across the Fjordland (and with waiting - oops!). In the evening we started to get on towards Queenstown...

- According to Nils, Milford Sound looks just like Norway - hmmm... -


Waking up in Queenstown the next day we lost no time and went straight to the campingsite office to book some typical Queenstown “activities” for the day. So it came that we left the office one hour later with having booked the following: We drove through Skippers Canyon in a 4WD car, crossed the canyon with a Flying Fox, walked on a 150m suspension bridge from where we bungee-jumped down 102 metres. We were lowered down in a Jet Boat and after a wild ride finally returned to town - by helicopter, of course. WOW! Incredible - this has to be done again (and certainly will!) but that evening we definetely were too tired for a party...

- Skippers Canyon... -


From Queenstown we left towards Lake Wanaka and took the Haast Pass through the mountains to the West Coast. The very scenic landscape was absolutely impressive and got even better when we stoped for the night at Fox Glacier. In the middle of the djungle (and close to the glacier) we parked the van in an “Jurassic Park”-like environment. There was not a single soul around so we could party as loud as we liked and of course we did. We played some funny card games and drank a lot - it is really incredible how well you can party in the middle of a djungle!

- Incredible! They had real Jimmy Hendrix stuff in the Hard Rock Cafe in Queenstown! -


Out of the djungle we headed toward Greymouth were we missed the possibility to book a tour through the Monteith’s brewery by 20 minutes (SHIT!). As the town did not offer anything besides the brewery (and very bad fast food) we moved on to the Pancake rocks and finally spent the night in Westport. When we were out for a party that night people we met told us there were 17 pubs in town. Well, we did find four three of which were closed. So we spent the evening in this last resort and beat the local heroes in Pool Billiard (Yeah!). But all in all that town really sucked so we got lost as soon as possible the next morning...

- The Pancake Rocks... -


We spent the day with driving up to Nelson. That town is really cool - and quite sunny as well. In the evening we had a very hard party in town. We ended up in a small, unbelievably crowded club filled to the top with unbelievably drunken peolpe (ok, I have to admit that we did contribute to that image of the club as well, but at least we could not make it worse anymore... hmm, well, maybe we did - I can’t remember, anyway...). We got home (home sweet home - my camper is my castle) very early in the morning with the perspective of very little sleep as we had to get up early the next morning in order to catch the ferry in Picton...

- On the Westcoast... -

DAY 10

Well, the morning was really terrible. I do not know if the whole team had a hangover - I did at least. So we took it slowly on the way through the Malborough hills to the ferry (at least until Rune was driving) and finally were on our way to the North Island again. Having arrived there we spent some time in Wellington and then drove on North, We stopped for the night in Taupo - on a parking space in the middle of the city - more or less in front of a club named  “The Flying Cow”. Well, guess what - yes, we had another party there and as it was the last one for the trip the team was really performing well and playing hard. Well done, the hangover balance the next morning was quite impressive...

- View from the ferry, pulling out of Picton -

DAY 11

The last day nothing special happend (we had to get up a liitle later than we planned) - we just returned to Auckland, handed back the camper and took a last picture of the team. I think you can see it on the faces that this trip was a 10 out of 10...

- Home again: Team happy, mission completed. -