Life threw me a curve ball when I suddenly had to change plans and relocate to Queenstown—but at least the curve was a scenic one. On a few days notice, Dave and I packed our gear into “Frankenstein,” the old van he’d been restoring, and set out to see some sights on our way through the South Island.
It’s about a 12 hour drive from Nelson to Queenstown if you go straight through, but we stretched it out over a few days by camping in Hanmer Springs and Lake Tekapo. Life has been rough for the both of us over the last few months, but those few days hold some of our favorite memories together. There’s just something about a road trip that makes for a great escape and a fantastic adventure.
….Like when the van starts leaking fuel.
From the very beginning, the scenery was stunning. The landscape seemed to change every hour, from gentle rolling farmland to stunning snowcapped peaks, then lush green forests giving way to dry, lonely deserts.
My favorite view was Lake Tekapo, because we happened to be there during the lupine bloom. I’d seen photos of this and had been dying to set my eyes on it in real life, and it didn’t disappoint. These views are the stuff of dreams.
The beauty of a road trip is the ability to spontaneously stop anywhere and go on exploratory side trips. We pulled over under a bridge to walk along a sandy river’s edge, and found ourselves with an eager companion and/or stalker.
We sat in hot mineral pools overlooking lakes; we explored inconspicuous side dirt roads; we pulled over for a lot of photo ops.
At last, we reached Queenstown, the place that would be my home for the next few months—and the views still didn’t disappoint.