For my 10 day break from teaching in Christchurch, I took a 10 day road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. I headed south from Christchurch and spent a couple of days in the Catlins, then spent a rainy Christmas day in Bluff. This part of the country is less heavily touristed than most others and I was able to do quite a bit of sightseeing and hiking in relative tranquility. Highlights of the first few days were the Moeraki Boulders, Nugget Point, the trio of waterfalls (Purakaunui, Mclean, and Matai), and hiking in Bluff. There are amazing birds and flowers as well as spectacular ocean views from the Bluff lookout.
I spent a gorgeous, but hot, Sunday afternoon walking Taylor’s Mistake at Godley Head with a Meetup group. It’s an easy coastal walk with amazing views and plenty of history. There are World War II fortifications and remains of old holiday homes from the late 1800s. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day not too far out of Christchurch.
The Macauley Valley is an area north of Tekapo that is only accessible by 4wd, horse, bike, or foot. You follow a winding river for about 18 kilometers to reach a well maintained Department of Conservation hut. It’s well worth the trip to get there as the isolation has been unmatched by anywhere else I’ve been in New Zealand and the views of the Southern Alps are incredible. There is some good walking to be done up the hills or further down the river and there are a few swimming holes as well.
Tekapo is a popular tourist town in Canterbury. It’s known for its turquoise lake, observatory, wildflowers, and stone church. I only spent an afternoon there on my way back from Macauley (blog post and photos pending!) but it was a lovely place to walk around and take some photos. I also went to Lake Pukaki to take a look at Mt. Cook and took a detour through Raincliffe where I saw a cool abandoned car with flowers growing out of it.
New Brighton is a beach area in Christchurch that was hit hard in the 2011 earthquake. Repairs are still ongoing and the town feels a bit abandoned as tourism is down and shops have closed. It is, however, a mecca for street artists and there is an abundance of colorful murals. Here is just a selection of photos by a variety of artists, my favorite of which being Joel Hart.