Exploring New Zealand’s South Island

Kia ora everyone! It’s me Melissa. While living in Auckland, my most memorable adventure was in New Zealand’s South Island. In this blog post, I will share with you my amazing experience in Queenstown. Enjoying a week of pure nature, adventure and adrenaline. Few miles away is Arrowtown where I had the chance to spend half a day. Finally, I did a one day tour of Milford Sound.

Skydive in Queenstown

Queenstown is perfectly nestled on the shore of Lake Wakatipu in the South Island. Attracting tourists from all parts of the world, pamper fanatics to nature lovers, there’s something for everyone! Explore downtown, restaurants, bars, casino, retail stores and the lake within walking distance. Luxurious spas are found throughout Queenstown, excelling in customer service and relaxing treatments. During the winter season Queenstown is a ski paradise. In fact its snow-capped mountains and ski slopes are a thriving heaven for winter sports. Also, there are many adrenaline activities offered such as bungee jumping off the Kawarawu Bridge, jet boating, hiking and water sports. I chose to take adrenaline to the next level with “Sky diving”.

view of Queenstown in New Zealand south island
Queenstown

Getting prepared

The morning of May 7th my alarm went off, throwing me straight across the room, super anxiously getting ready. It was my birthday and today was the day for a mind-blowing 12000 ft sky dive! Jump altitude’s range between 9000 ft to 15000 ft at 200km/hour. I decided to buy the package including dive, photos and video, which set me back about 300 NZ dollars, no regrets. The journey starts of at the Nzone Skydive shop on Shotover Street. After completing some formalities such as registration and watching a video briefing on what the day will include, a shuttle bus takes you and other fellow sky dive enthusiasts to the Nzone Skydive point. A 20 minutes drive welcomes you to the viewing area. At this moment you will be completely breath taken, watching other skydivers descend from the sky. Knowing shortly after it will be your turn. The next step is to get equipped, large overalls and goggles are provided. As the excitement intensifies your instructor attaches the dive equipment to you. Tension rises, and the thrill of flying through the air is just minutes away from reality.

In the sky

Nzone Skydive above Queenstown Lake, New Zealand
Skydive above Queenstown Lake

Jump on the plane with your instructor and off you go. Takes about 15 minutes to reach altitude, so sit back and enjoy the view.  Soon enough it’s your turn to exit the plane. Emotions run high at this point. With the wind against your face it almost feels like you have no facial muscles. Approximately a 60-seconds drop, fast and wild is about to come. The sensation is mind-blowing. Your sense of smell, sight and hearing are heightened. Around 5 seconds after the jump the parachute opens, you soon begin to glide down to mother nature. It’s incredibly scenic, feast your eyes on the mountains and green fields with sheep grazing as you descend to base. Skydiving is a lifetime memory you will always cherish and luckily with a video recording you can relive the moment time and time again. Check out the following link : https://www.nzoneskydive.co.nz/

Arrowtown

Enjoy a scenic day trip from Queenstown to Arrowtown. Within 25 minutes you can reach the historical Arrowtown, which is known for its gold rush period in earlier centuries. This heartwarming little town has so much to offer. A great time to visit is during the autumn season because golden yellow trees and leaves flow through the town. The best way to spend an afternoon exploring, is renting a bicycle and follow the trail paths to mesmerizing views or have a picnic along the scenic Arrow River and take advantage of many coffee shops awaiting you. However, if you only have a few hours this charming town will keep you entertained with museum and art galleries.

View of Arrowtown while hiking up the hill
Arrowtown

Milford Sound

The Norwegian fjords, Alaskan fjords, and Milford Sound all offer a spectacular and scenic boat ride. This tour is a must do activity when visiting New Zealand’s South Island.

The journey

Regarding the journey from Queenstown to the fjords, it’s usually 5 hours long with scenic stops along the way. Try to get the window seat on the bus to capture those special photographic shots. There will be commentary on the bus from local travel guides to keep you informed during the journey.

The boat tour of the fjords

Boat tour in Milford Sound, South Island
Milford Sound

On arriving at Milford Sound, you will board the boat with other passengers. The cruise takes you on a 16km journey of the fjord passing by several popular landmarks namely, Copper point, Seal rock, Lion mountain, Mitre peak, and Stirling falls. You can either sit back and relax watching the view or freely walk around the vessel exploring different areas on the open deck. It’s quite spectacular as you spot seals lazing on the rocks and other cruise boats pass by admiring the beautiful nature around. Getting up close to the mountains and falls on the fjord is a magical experience.

The fjords from a different perspective

admiring the view of the Milford Sound while having lunch onboard Celebrity Solstice
Lunch break in Milford Sound while onboard Celebrity Solstice

A few years later I was fortunate to revisit the Milford Sound on a cruise ship while working onboard the Celebrity Solstice. I will always remember this unique view at the sunrise before starting my shift and while enjoying my lunch break. Allowing me to revive my memories of life in beautiful New Zealand.

To sum up, New Zealand’s South Island is full of fantastic adventures. If you have more time to spend, I recommend staying in Wanaka and Christchurch. A special tip when traveling to Queenstown, check out the website below for promotions and last minute deals : https://www.bookme.co.nz/things-to-do/queenstown/home

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