South Island Drive

New Zealand

The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown (or vice-versa) is very popular.  We started at the Christchurch end; the drive begins with the farm land and rolling plains of the north South Island, which gives way to the mountainous southern region, which is home to a lot of the outdoor filming locations for the Lord of the Rings.

Lupins (one of my favorite flowers since reading Mrs. Rumphius) lined the whole  road.  The pops of blue (the best!), pink, purple, and white amongst the greens of the landscape were amazing.

This view from the bottom of Lake Pukaki looking up to Mount Cook (or Aoraki) is well known–for good reason!  The water was an indescribably gorgeous shade of blue with color that is clear but opaque at the same time, while the tallest mountain in New Zealand (3,724 m) rises dominantly in the background.  And again…lupins!

Marked by a small sign on the side of the road and with only a small pull-off, Roaring Meg did not seem like much.  However, the view was amazing.  Another great shade of blue (more green-ish toned) in the stream but with the added whitecaps of water bouncing off rocks and through the narrow area.  There are also 2 small hydroelectricty power stations and a dam a little ways up the river.

New Zealand lake beaches are basically made for rock skipping: the water is calm and the rocks lining the shore are all smooth and flat.  You also can’t go wrong skipping rocks with such beautiful scenery around you…

Glenorchy is at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, a lightning-bolt-shaped lake.  Out of all the gorgeousness in New Zealand, this was some of the most spectacular.  Driving with mountains towering over us to the right and the lake shimmering to the left, so many shades of blue with green speckled throughout–what could get better?



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