Oh my, we had fun! A countless amount of thank yous to M&D for the flying benefits and all the traveling advice and help!!
Here's a gazillion pictures (not a single one of which does NZ any justice). I'll try and keep the commentary to a minimum (sorry if you actually like that kind of thing...) but here are the summary points:
- We are international idiots haha
- We made zero reservations and plans which made for some interesting moments
- Everything still turned out so perfectly and we saw almost everything we wanted to
- The things we didn't see were just becuase NZ is so much bigger than you could guess
- We saw so many diverse landscapes; everywhere we went we were saying, "This reminds me of (fill in the blank)" and we named nearly every other place we've ever been; mountains, forests, plains, oceans, jungles, deserts, red rock, on and on. All in one country! And usually the NZ version was more amazing!
- Truman was the champion traveling/flying/backpacking/camping baby of all babies
- I love hanging out with Billy all the time!
Queenstown arrival and driving on the left side
Such dense trees!
We took a boat tour of the Sound and it was CRAZY. 9 Meters of rain a year!!!! (the Amazon Rainforest only gets 2 supposedly!) Turns out I don't really like boats that much haha
This waterfall looks teeny but it was like twice the size of any Hawaii waterfall we ever saw
And this one was even huger. There were huge waterfalls everywhere
Mirror Lakes Boardwalk (Fjordlands)
Lake Marian Hike (Fjordlands)
One of our most favorite!
You would not believe this lake. This picture is so lame and cannot even show how crazy this place was. The land is simultaneously falling into the lake and exploding out of it. There wasn't even a shore!
An unexpected but rather quaint seaside town where we enjoyed a lovely stay with Barry and Sue
still recovering from jet lag and looking like an overweight tourist haha
The people's house where we stayed (Barry and Sue's) these nights was lovely and they provided a shower cap. It made us laugh and laugh and laugh. Lunch lady Truman!
Before church we visited a nearby park/botanical garden/zoo
Is that the Wasatch Range?
This night we stayed in a little campervan parked on someone's property. Cozy!
We tried to go on a hike to Aspiring Hut and nearly blew over--fiercest wind I have ever experienced!
So instead we tried for Meg Hut, which turned out to be one of our most favorite parts of the trip.
Backpacked in to this little valley with the quaint hut at the bottom
Stayed the night with two other couples, both of which coincidentally were from Scotland!
We LOVED that part of the trip! And Truman was the master cabin sleeper.
Rob Roy Glacier (Mt. Aspiring)
Glaciers! Waterfalls! It as crazy. Again, such a lame picture of one of the coolest places I have ever seen in my life.
Weta! (Before we came we read about these huge insects called wetas. This was a mini one. And also not alive so probably a tourist decoy haha)
We were SO tired by the end of this hike. Three straight days of hiking and camping really wore us out (also, each of us were carrying an extra 20 pounds in one form of baby or another)
We camped that night in the park and spent a few hours the next morning at their amazing visitor's center.
Hooker Valley/Mueller Lake
Icebergs in the lake!
Once again, AMAZING glaciers that we just could not capture on our lame camera phones
Dorky dad outfit haha
This was seriously one of the most amazing scenes of the trip. We sat and looked and looked for so long.
This lake (which is HUGE) is where all the glacier water flows and it was so, so blue. Lame picture. So blue!
If you could zoom in on this picture you would see Mt. Cook, which is the tallest mountain in NZ and couldn't be seen from our hike because of the low clouds. But as we drove away we could see it. It's 12,000 ft something, which is Timp, but it's prominence is 12,000. So crazy!
We camped and fished. Caught nothing but it's a huge lake so what are the chances of a little fish finding Billy's stale powerbait?
Beautiful countryside where we stayed in a cottage
Waitomo Glow Caves. We couldn't take pictures, but my it was COOL!
This place was great, so cute, so meticulously attended to and so Truman size.
Truman the Hobbit! I wished with all my heart Trey was there in his LOTR costume haha
So quaint! It was such a cool tour
Truman still hated the water but loved the sand. Me and Billy took turns splashing in the waves and it was so fun.
(Don't forget this is in the same country where we saw those incredible glaciers and mountains and tussock hillsides and sheep farms. Such diversity!)
On our way out we stopped at the temple. It's the 11th in the church! I wouldn't have guessed that NZ would have such oldness in the church, but it was built in the 50s!
We had SO MUCH FUN! Thank you, thank you M&D and also all the peeps who gave us NZ recommendations. We loved every second. We will go back, there is so much coolness in that country and so much to explore and next time I will go while not pregnant so I can backpack from hut to hut to hut. But this was fun!
Onto the finishing of the kitchen! Actually, the starting of landscaping!
(speaking of the kitchen, there's a blog post about it below)