A Quick Tour of the South Island: Lake Tekapo 

Lake Tekapo is a gorgeous lake that is home to beautiful views, the Church of the Good Shepherd and clear starry night skies.

The famous Church of the Good Shepherd is a big tourist attraction…so be warned of the crowds in the day time. This picture was taken around dusk and thankfully many tourists were away eating dinner. 

The beautiful colored flowers are called lupins and are seen in high density all over the landscape.

In the tiny one street town of Lake Tekapo is home to a few very delicious restaurants…

Above is a gluten free brownie and below is a mini donut ice cream dessert…

Hot chocolate…with pink Marshmallow of course…

Fresh salmon quinoa vegetable salad from Reflections Cafe.

Pad Thai…

and finally also pad see ew from Kohan Restaurant. 


A Quick Tour of the South Island: Mount Cook 

My absolute favorite part of New Zealand is the Mount Cook area. With amazing hikes, blue lakes and snowy mountains…what’s not to love?

Pictured above is Lake Pukaki. On the drive to Mount Cook, you suddenly see turquoise water glistening in the distance. (Yes the water is actually that bright turquoise!) 

Along the drive by the lake there are a few stopping points to pull off and park your car to get beautiful views of the lake. 
Once you reach the Mount Cook town there is not much to do other than hike and go to the tiny museum that is in the isight center. There are only two places to eat: the very expensive hotel and the also expensive Old Mountaineers Cafe…that does have good hot chocolate. But I would highly recommend bringing your own food to eat. 

There is a hostel and a few other mountain cabins to stay at in the town. You can also camp up the road towards the hike tracks. 

The famous track at Mount Cook is called the Hooker Valley Track. It is a very easily walked track for anyone and is beautifully maintained. 

I recommend to hike this track early in the morning…even hike at sunrise. The track gets extremely crowded throughout the day when the tour buses arrive…so just be warned! 

Along the track there are awesome bridges and wooden tracks to walk on above the ground. If you are lucky, you might spot a bunny or two hopping along especially early in the morning. 
Finally once you have made it through the valley you will see the spectacular Mount Cook. 

The giant snowy mountain is absolutely breathtaking. And this view below is my favorite view in New Zealand:

With views of the icebergs floating in the rushing water it was the perfect start to any day! 
After the Hooker Valley Track head over to Tasman Glacier Lake for a quick hike up the steps to the glacier. 

The lake was once a huge glacier but sadly has melted away and now is a lake. 

A Quick Tour of the South Island: Dunedin 

Located on the south east side of the South Island is city of Dunedin

Dunedin’s steep windy roads reminded me of San Francisco. Actually, the steepest road in the world is located in Dunedin! It was very steep to walk up but there were stairs on the side which was nice…and totally cheating! 

There is a beautiful Botanic Garden in Dunedin which was so wonderful to walk around and see the flowers and trees. 

If you want to pay to see another garden and castle, The Larnach Castle also has georgous gardens and views of the city. 

Dunedin has absolutely amazing sunrises…the first sunrise of each day. 

A little drive north from Dunedin along the coast you can see the mesmerizing Moeraki Boulders. 

I swear that aliens pieced these perfectly round rocks together. It was so interesting to see the few broken Boulders to see what they looked like inside. 

A Quick Tour of the South Island: Milford Sound and Catlins 

On the south west side of the South Island is the world famous wonder, Milford Sound

The ferry tour departs early in the morning and the closest way to get to Milford Sound is to drive from the small town of Te Anau. Or book the bus tour from Queenstown.  They actually recommend going to Milford Sound after or during a big rainstorm because alongside the mountains are thousands of waterfalls.

On a normal sunny day, there are only two waterfalls. I was a little disappointed because I thought that the water was going to be clear and that the ferry tour would have been longer. There was so much hype about Milford Sound being the most beautiful place on earth…I didn’t think it was the most beautiful and it did not really live up to its high expectations. 

On the southern tip of the South Island is the area known as The Catlins. 

In the Catlins you can see lighthouses, the southern most part of New Zealand sign, and these magical wind-swept trees.