Arrive Queenstown. Perched on lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snow capped mountains with outdoor opportunities abound. Here, the people outnumber the sheep and the restaurants and boutiques take on a more “cosmopolitan” look. We arrived late, but found Beach Street alive with tourists. We had delicious fresh seafood and even met the chef before retreating to yet another holiday park. The next day we had a top-notch breakie at Vudu cafe and broke in the hiking boots with a city walk learning a bit about our surroundings. Queenstown in the spring will allow snowboarding and sun bathing on the beach in the same day.
In the evening we found a relaxing yoga class in a beautiful, albeit small space that over looked the city and the picturesque lake. The most hoppin’ pizza bar in town, Fat Badger, served us a delicious veggie pizza before we nestled up in Kirby for the night. An early start the next morning got us on the road for rock climbing.
We drove just out of Queenstown towards Invercargill before arriving at the base of Wye creek, the main catchment for the Remarkables mountain range.

We pushed Kirby to her 4WD limits before we pulled off into a meadow and hiked the rest of the way to the trailhead. The sandbagged approach to the climbing took longer than expected. It began with steep switch backs through the subtropical rainforest to a hydroelectric dam. A two-plank walkway took us past waterfalls and all the way across the ravine. There, we climbed above the tree line and arrived at flowing schist escarpments with beautiful views of the snow capped southern alps and the lake below.
Back in Queenstown, Thai food for dinner, and the next morning we spent a long day driving to Fox Glacier.

It rained all night, but someone smiled on us from above and parted the clouds to give us sunshine for our tramp to the glacier. Back on the road we continued up the West coast to Punakaiki, location of the pancake rocks and blowholes. With luck on our side the rain and hail stopped just as we arrived. Moreover, we arrived at high tide to see the swells fill the pools and spray seawater out of the blowholes. Along the coast we cast our sins into the ocean and forgave each other for Yom Kippur. On our last stretch of the South Island, we encountered snow and 0 degree (Centigrade) temperatures over the pass on the way back to Picton.