In a van across the South Island - Part 1

After one week in Auckland I took a flight down to Dunedin for the second leg of my trip across the South Island. I got picked up at the airport by a friend who currently lives in New Zealand. She introduced me to her van 'Victor' who would become our home for the next 2 weeks. We started out in Moeraki, a little fishing village that is known for two things: a world famous fish restaurant called Fleur's place where my friend had a job at that time and the Moeraki boulders.

Fleur's Place, Moeraki, South Island, New Zealand

Fleur's Place, Moeraki, South Island, New Zealand

Moeraki boulders, South Island, New Zealand

Moeraki boulders, South Island, New Zealand

After this we took Victor and drove inland to our next destination: lake Wanaka. It's been a pretty long drive as it was our first day in the van and we stopped at every lookout to take photos and enjoy the view. When we arrived in Wanaka it left us totally astonished. It is such an idyllic place with a small town at the huge lake. It has become one of my highlights of the trip.

road on the South Island, New Zealand

signpost, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

Van at Lake Wanaka, South Island

dusk over lake Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

Over the next few days we kept driving to the other side of the South Island and up the west coast. We passed by lake Hawea and had an overnight stay at Franz Josef Glacier. It has been the only time during our trip that we slept in a hostel as rain was bucketing down all day.

Further up the west coast we reached Hokitika, where the annual Wild Food Festival took place on a Saturday. We quickly decided to look for a camp ground and spend the day at the festival. We found the most bizarre camp ground which used to be a mental hospital. It was very quiet there which was odd given the fact that the town had its biggest event of the year but we didn't care and we didn't end up in a horror movie.

At the festival we immediately noticed that it is THE event of the year for the locals. Everyone is dressing up in costumes and it seemed like it has become a competition over the years who shows up in the most risiculous outfit. Apart from fried wood worm which tasted exactly like peanut butter I didn't try any other wild food like goat testicles.

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, South Island, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier, South Island, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier, South Island, New Zealand

Breakfast at Okarito, South Island, New Zealand

Old Mout Cider, Hokitika, New Zealand

Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

costumes, Hokitika Wild Food Festival, South Island, New Zealand

fried wood worms, Wild Food Festival, Hokitika, South Island, New Zealand

German sausages, Hokitika Wild Food Festival, South Island, New Zealand

breaded mussels, Hokitika Wild Food Festival, South Island, New Zealand