Our campervan has all sorts on amenities that would allow us to freedom camp – which means stop anywhere along the side of the road. So far we haven’t chosen that route, but are in holiday parks along the way. This alternative gives us a full size toilet, shower, sink and kitchen. I’ll let you know at the end of this, but I think if we had to do it over we would have gotten the camper without the shower and toilet. We haven’t used it yet (THANK GOD!) Sometimes another perk is the view. Above was the view from south of Franz Josef on the morning of Christmas Eve. We’re still heading south which means there is also a number of glacial lakes which give you those perfect reflective pictures. This one is Lake Moeraki. Let me tell ya’ if you love our pictures, it’s really due to the scenery. One has to work hard to take a bad picture here! Everywhere you look there’s something else beautiful to see.
Our path took us back along the Tasman Sea. This is the lookout at Knight’s Point. We find the rocky beaches rather dramatic since they are so unlike the ones in South Carolina. In Haast, we stopped at the wool shop. One of the unique products in New Zealand is a blend of merino wool with possum fur. Yes, I said possum. The possum was introduced by the Europeans and is now a huge pest. In one night it can devastate entire hillsides leaving no ecosystem for the indigenous animals. So one can readily find skins and the kiwi tell tourists we’re doing them a favor by buying them. Now if you are from the southern US, you know the repulsion at the thought of wearing possum. This possum is quite furry and even would resemble a ferret or mink. The other plus side is that the possum hair is hollow, so it is quite a good insulator. The shop had a deal on a scarf, gloves and bonnet I decided to take advantage of, but then there was this cardigan that just called out my name. There likely will be more of this on the East Coast, so I stopped there. Merry Christmas to me!
The day’s driving ended in Wanaka – about an hour north of Queenstown. This is a popular ski resort in the winter and sits at the southernmost end of Lake Wanaka, the fourth largest lake in New Zealand. It took a full 45 minutes to drive from the northern to southern tip of the lake! Here is the view from the marina next to the I-Site. I-Site is an invaluable source of info for what to do and see. You can find one just about every town. The site will also make free bookings for tourist activities. I’m not sure sure who put it together, but it’s a great means of figuring out what to do. Particularly if you are like us and are only planning about 24 hours at a time!Wanaka is a good sized town, but certainly not Queenstown. So you can imagine my joy when I found out they have a camera shop! So here’s my new baby. They actually had the New Zealand version of mine, but I took the opportunity to upgrade a little. This one has a larger view screen (no viewfinder at all). What’s crazy is that I now have a charging kit for the battery that works for the New Zealand outlet system. Hey it will be quite handy over the next few weeks! Any Kiwi out there use a Canon and would like a batter charger when I leave? Shoot me an e-mail! Again here’s the view from our campsite in Wanaka.
The next big shopping task was to hit the grocery store. All will be closed on Christmas Day, so we needed to make sure that we had all we needed and wanted for Christmas. It almost looked like Christmas Eve at home, except I really think that everyone in there was tourists!After dinner we headed back down to the lake. We’ve noticed over the last few 100 kilometers that people have been stacking rocks on the beach and the lake shores. We decided we needed to add our own stack. It was almost like a game of Jinga in reverse.
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