So here we are at the end of the world, New Zealand. To be honest when my husband booked this trip I was not that excited. Always being a city girl, to me 10 days spent hiking and biking in the South Island sounded less than perfect, but boy I could not have been more wrong about this trip. It is a beautiful country and truly worth the long-haul flight to get there. Arriving in Christchurch on New Year’s Eve was interesting – it’s a city that is still rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in 2011 when over sixty percent of the downtown buildings were damaged beyond repair. It did not take long to learn that Kiwis are some of the nicest and most hospitable people I have ever come across. They exhibit a genuine sense of hospitality and it made me realize how fast paced and aggressive life can become living in a big city. From a personal style perspective New Zealand makes good use of its domestically produced materials. I saw a lot of marino wool (despite it being summer), often combined with possum fur. Simple sweaters, scarfs, beanie-hats, and gloves were easy to find, as were traditionally crafted leathers. The outdoors plays a major role in Kiwi life, and styles also reflect that. Lots of sports equipment, work-out gear fashioned after designers such as Stella McCartney.
During 10 days that we spent in South Island we visited: Christchurch, Queenstown and traveled to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Here we stayed in the most beautiful place – Grasmere Lodge http://www.grasmere.co.nz/location . You could find lots of books about adventures at Grasmere in the library and the tradition of welcoming guests in the large comfortable lounge.
Queenstown, although a whopping 5 hours drive from Grasmere lodge was an experience that I will never forget. Before you even get to Queenstown you are constantly stopping for a snapshot of the breath-taking views. One of my most favorite spots was the Blue Pools,which has become world-renowned as a must-see highlight in this wilderness region.
It features a carefully maintained gravel path and boardwalks that wind through a native silver beech forest and lead to a swing bridge strung high above the Makarora River. The views back to the mountains of the Main Divide are absolutely breath-taking. The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air.
I can’t wait to explore more of New Zealand on my next trip. Stay tuned for more.