New Zealand – West Coast / The gift that keeps on giving. Driving around the South Island was even more rewarding than on the North Island. We were blessed with much less rain, and it was just in the nick of time, or else my sun-starved skin was threatening to go on strike and show its true colors. So we flew out of Auckland and into Christchurch, and I took a little break from photographing everything and instead focused on drinking and eating everything in my path. Christchurch provided a bit of a tech-detox for both of us, which is always a welcomed treat, and is very much a luxury, for a digital nomad like me.
Leaving Christchurch, we decided to head straight to the West Coast, after meticulously mapping out all the things we absolutely would have to see before finally descending upon Queenstown. We spend a night camping in Okarito, where we were able to enjoy a fantastic sunset. As the sun was setting, and the whole sky ended up in a blanket of neon pink and orange, a collective sigh of pure bliss was most certainly shared between us. That said, nothing could have prepared us for our first naked-eyed Milky Way experience, which was thoroughly enjoyed without looking through a lens – that is my excuse for not being able to document it, in all my fumbling amateur-astrophotographer glory. I am, however, happy to announce that this was slowly corrected throughout the rest of the trip, and am feverishly looking into selling all my belongings to spend the rest of my time financing the adequate astro-equipment necessary, as to never again miss another chance of documenting the absolute wonders of the sky.
All ramblings aside, we eventually made it to Franz-Josef Glacier on an especially foggy day. The ice-blue glacier water wherever we looked was stunning, but what really got me was a sign that displayed how global warming has affected the glacier in the last years, showing how ten, twenty years ago, the mountain made of ice was much larger in size and occupied a much wider area in the valley. It was, nonetheless, beautiful to see, but also humbling.
Driving back towards the coast just in time to catch pink clouds hovering over the mountains, we survived on pasta dinners and were drunk on wine and fresh air. I still have much left for two posts about New Zealand but I am already feeling nostalgic towards it, and it almost makes me feel like we combed through it so quickly we didn’t really have a chance to let all the sights sink in. What a gentle, yet efficient reminder to take things in slowly and truly enjoy the ride.