This time last week, I embarked on a long-anticipated tour of the southern lands of the South Island.  Ever since I was a child, I had dreamed of visiting the majestic and world-famous National Parks of New Zealand’s South-West, but somehow I never got around to it until this year. I suppose it was a combination of procrastinating (“Oh, I live in the south Island so I’ll visit them later”) and the  complicated logistics of getting there. To be frank, even this trip was almost canceled, with few of my friends being able to afford the time and moderately costly budget of such a trip. Luckily, one other friend decided to go ahead  with our plans no matter the odds, so on a warm Sunday morning, the two of us jammed our gear into his small Toyota and hit the road south. The next five days were to be filled with awe and beauty as we visited some of the many renowned natural wonders of our country.

The first day of our trip was mostly taken up by the six hour drive to Lake Wanaka. We briefly stopped over at Lake Tekapo for lunch, with an obligatory tour of the church of the Good Shephard, a small chapel overlooking the mountain-rimmed lake. Unfortunately there were flocks of tourists, so i did not manage to get a good photo. When we finally arrived in Wanaka, we decided to continue driving along the shores until we reached Glendhu Bay, a nice place to take a short rest while enjoying some dutch biscuits. Back in Wanaka, we visited some relatives, before taking a short walk up Mount Iron, with its popular lookout point. We then found our campsite and settled in for a rainy night of tenting.

The next day, we would drive over the Crown Ranges, along Lake Wakatipu and deep into Southern farmlands, before arriving at Lake Te Anau, on the frontier of New Zealand’s largest and most spectacular National Park. More on that tomorrow!

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