Rugged coastlines and Milford Sound
M I L F O R D S O U N D
After having visited New Zealand twice already and not yet having the chance to see Milford, Stefan promised it was top of the list this most recent trip. And we got to do it with Marie and Daiton which made it even more exciting! We all jumped in the landy, us girls and Stefan had the comfortable front seat and Daiton was squished in the boot with all our food and luggage (it’s legal in the truck, we aren’t that bad ass). We drove late into the afternoon and then pulled off near a random little lake for a small fire, some snacks and some ciders. We thought the sun had finished setting as it was a really overcast evening so decided to get back on the road to find a camp spot. We were playing an intensely competitive game of eye spy when we noticed the sky going fluorescent pink. We quickly pulled off to what just happened to be the best place to watch probably one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. We stood gobsmacked by the colours till the very last light.
What is apparently meant to be about a 3.5 hour drive from Queenstown, in the truck took about 6. So camping the night prior was a non negotiable. The main stretch of road into Milford has so many camp spots off to each side so finding a spot was no problem at all. I would definitely recommend this even if you have a fast car (car made post 1975) so that you can wake early and attempt to beat all the buses in. In the morning we packed up quickly and hit the road.
We were still about 45 minutes out of Milford and already I was amazed by what I was seeing. It was a really cloudy and drizzly morning but Stefan reassured us that Milford in this kind of weather was just incredible. We made many pit stops on the way in and watched as the clouds moved and more of the mountains revealed themselves. There’s so many amazing waterfalls, this is actually weather dependant though. There’s only two main, permanent waterfalls which is crazy hard to believe when you go there and see a dozen or so. When we got down to what is actually Milford Sound we were blown away. No matter how many people tell you about it, how many photos you see, nothing does this place justice so I’m not even going to try. Just know that you will never, ever see anything else like it and it is so much more incredible in person than you could ever imagine. It’s also one of the best places to put life into perspective. The rock faces are just sheer drops and so insanely large. Even the massive cruise ships look like tiny little ants up against these mountains. We explored around for a few hours and then decided to see it to its full potential we would take a cruise. We were so lucky and as our cruise started, the weather started to clear. This meant we got to see Milford in a whole other way. This is a must do on your trip to New Zealand, I never usually spend money on this sort of touristy stuff, but this was way more than worth it.
C O L A C B A Y
I first visited Colac Bay with Will and Bear (the biggest legends making the best looking hats) on my first trip to New Zealand. Stefan had told us that the West Coast was usually rainy and grey. He was definitely not wrong. We actually stayed in a submarine the first two nights, which seemed incredibly fitting. It also came to a point where the boys were driving around in the truck wearing their wetsuits as Stefan’s canvas roof hadn’t arrived in time, making the landy a convertible for the trip.
Regardless of the rain though, this place was something special. A very quite town, with some big personalities. All of the golden, brown and aqua tones we were dreaming of and hoping for. It was also known for some good surf spots. The boys wanted some waves and Stefan new of a spot in Colac West. He told us it was just a short dirt road and we’d be there. I’m very unsure of what short means to him, but two hours for any normal person is definitely more on the long side of things. We dodged pot holes, avoided large rocks and wondered if we were ever going to get anywhere or if Stefan had just completely made this spot up. After a very long and bumpy ride, we finally made it. It was a beautiful stretch of beach and the waves were very much real. The boys went out and Loz and I sat watching them while smacking thousands of sandflies. We watched an amazing sunset and then set back for the long road out again.
C A T L I N S + D U N E D I N
This is one of my favourite parts of New Zealand, it feels a lot like home as it’s on the coast but it’s also one of the most raw coastlines I’ve ever visited. Stefan had been raving to us about this amazing wave, showing us some pretty epic photos and when we arrived it was flat. Luckily though this disappointment was very short lived when the landy got us to the most epic camp spot for the next couple of nights. We were right by the ocean and had the most incredible white limestone cliffs behind us. There were a couple of sea lions hanging out, which are just the most hilarious animals ever! And of course, in true New Zealand style, we were completely surrounded by sheep.
On the most recent trip, we knew we should show Marie and Daiton this area as well. We were tossing up what to do for a while and then decided at about 10.30pm one night, we should head to Nugget Point which was about a 3 or so hours drive away (thankfully we had their car for this). We rocked up a little after 1am and the boys wanted to shoot the light house with the stars so gave Marie and I the tent and then closed their eyes for a few minutes in the car before spending the next 3 hours shooting. Marie and I woke before sunrise, slipped to the bottom of our tent as the only place we could camp was downhill and then watched a pretty epic sunrise. I think one of my favourite spots about rocking up to a camp spot at dark, is waking up in the morning to a surprise location, especially amazing ones like this. We spent the day exploring more of the Catlins area, watching the sea lions and ventured into Dunedin for dinner. Stefan then showed us Dunedin on a Friday night. He had explained how wild it gets, but until I saw it with my own eyes I never actually understood. It is crazy. We got out of there and found another camp spot back down the coast. We woke to a heap of fog which made for a beautifully moody morning and then headed to St Clair for a coffee and some salty air. This place reminded me a lot of home. A real surf culture, cafes on the beach and the best coffee I had had in New Zealand. I was very happy. We headed back to the hut late in the afternoon, stopping for some op shopping along the way. Op shopping in New Zealand is a must!
This is all I have to share on New Zealand for now. The more I explore my favourite country, the more I’ll share with you all. I hope this blog series has given you some insight and inspiration if you’re planning a trip to NZ (if you aren’t you really should). If you have any more questions, let me know!
Thanks for reading amazing humans!