New Zealand (South Island)

Posted: Feb 2017
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Fly further east from Australia and we finally get to New Zealand – where there is more sheep than people! Did you know that it is so remote (tucked between Australia and Fiji/Tonga) that it was one of the last landmass to be settled on by mankind – only in the 13th century!



We wanted to bring our second Bean for his solo trip so we can get to know him better (away from Jiejie!) – and what better place than to whisk him off to the ends of the world. We spent 10+ days in South Island and drove around to explore the beautiful hikes and nature. We can’t wait to return with the full family and add North Island into the itinerary too!

Main Highlights

Church of Good Shepherd: Gorgeous quaint church that is set by the lake – makes for a picture perfect moment. Come very early in the morning or evening to avoid the crowds (or if we are ready to brave the cold – in the middle of the night to catch the blanket of stars!)

Mount Cook: Aoraki National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock and walking on Hooker Valley trail (4-5 hours return) is an awesome way to experience the untouched land. Picturesque icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains – complete with three swing bridges to cross!

Wilkin River: We departed from Makarora and took on a 30-min flight into the remote Siberia Valley. There, we went on a 3-hour bush walk before we rendezvous with the jet boat at the pick up point in the Wilkin Valley to take us back to Makarora

Rob Roy Glacier Track: From Wanaka, we drove an our along the beautiful Matukituki Valley into the national park. At the road’s end, the track follows Rob Roy Stream through beech forest, alpine vegetation and finally – spectacular views of the hanging glaciers! Beautiful waterfalls drop off from the jagged cliffs. The trail is gradual and easy (3-4 hours return), perfect for a little Bean in tow

Queenstown: This beautiful town has everything – from Lake Wakatipu (a long, thin Z-shaped lake formed by glaciers) to the sights of nearby mountains (The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak), to the mountains just above the town (Ben Lomond, Queenstown Hill). Lots of adventure activities await in this town, but we had to settle for next time when little Beans grow up

Milford Sound: The road to Milford Sound has supposedly some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, with panoramic views of Fiordland National Park along the way. Did you know that the ancient Māori who used to travel to Milford Sound in search of precious pounamu (greenstone) more than 1,000 years ago?

Photo Reel

Mount Cook Rob Roy Glacier Track Church of Good Shepherd Wilkin River Milford Sound Queenstown
Mount Cook Rob Roy Glacier Track Church of Good Shepherd Wilkin River Milford Sound Queenstown
Church of Good Shepherd:

Quaint little church by the lake


Finding his balance as he chases a flower swaying in the wind

Mackenzie Sheep Dog Statue:

Our little Bean smiles on demand

Mount John observatory:

God’s gifts – the loves of my life before a rainbow

Hooker Valley:

Suiting up for unpredictable weather at the trailhead

Pink dot:

Spot mama as the mountainous backdrop swallows her

Swing bridge:

Carrying the little Bean while we still can

Short rest:

Mount Cook hiding behind the clouds

Flight over Wilkins:

We witnessed a live avalanche – a rare sight!

River crossing:

Start of our trail involved crossing the icy waters

No turning back now:

Watching our plane drop us off in the remote jungle and taking off – it’s a surreal feeling of being “ditched”

Pick up:

Jet boat picked us up at the RV point, 3 hours after our hike into the off-the-beaten trail


Start of the Rob Roy Glacier Track (3-4 hours return hike)

First bridge:

Crossing the first bridge over glacier waters

Finding his feet:

Unstrapped for papa for a bit

Picnic rest:

Stopping for a bite – with glacier waterfalls behind breastfeeding Bean

View from the top:

Lady in red smiling back at me

Dinner on the hilltop:

We had to eat some mutton in a country where there were more sheep than people


Watching the sun goes down behind the nearby Queenstown mountains


One of our favourite activities to check out local groceries in any overseas destination!

Ready to board:

Flying over Milford Sound

Blinding snow:

We now know why the pilots wear dark sunglasses – the snow was actually blinding as it reflected light off the strong sun

Return by boat:

Going close to the waterfalls as we cruise back to the starting point

Sunbathing seals:

They looked some comfortable even as the boat approaches them

Double rainbow:

Check out the double arches behind mama as she breastfeeds little Bean on the boat


Check out what is at the end of the rainbow – not a pot of gold, but something equally amazing!

Bra fence:

We skidded to a stop when we spotted this line of bras from afar

I want milk:

Mama looks on as little Bean wants his milk… in front of hundreds of bras