The South Island

Our journey to the South island was really awesome. Although we only had 10 days to explore the 151000 sq km landmass, we have very good feelings about it and we can't wait to go back for further explorations.

The souyh island is quite different from the north island. Firstly there is only a third of the population of the north island living there and secondly it is much wilder. Untouched rain forests, high mountains with glaciers, wild water rivers and breath taking fjords.
The Fox and the Franz Josef Glacier are the only expanding glaciers in the world. Unaffected by the world's global warming that melts all the other glaciers.

Flying over Mount Cook

And last but for sure not least the South Island has the most of the rare animals that live in NZ. Naturally there is the world famous Kiwi, but also other funny and interesting (often flightless) birds - Kea, Weka, Tui, Pukeko, Takahe, Kakapo, Yellow eyed penguins, blue penguins, Royal Albatross, Fantails, etc, etc. All birds that only live in New Zealand.

Being in the south island we finally fully realized that before the coming of the Pakeha (white man), there were no mammals in New Zealand. Only birds and some reptiles. That's the reason why birds forgot how to fly and decided simply to walk instead.
All the mammals that you find here now, were brought here for food or entertaining the Pakeha. Unfortunately by having no natural enemies these animals multiplied like there was no tomorrow. THEN predators were shipped in for the 'foreign' animals. And since then the original 'walk only' birds have not learnt to run away fast enough they are endangered by these newer prdators.


Being in the south island it became very clear to us, why the Lord Of The Ring movie was shot here. Walking the southern forests of Fjorland you can see elves wondering around and small flat footed hobbits! By the way, the Ents in the movie are based on the New Zealnd Beach tree that is very common on the South Island.


We flew into Queenstown, rented a car and drove to Te Anau, Milford Sounds, Duniden, Oamaru, Kaikoura, Blenheim, Marlborough Sounds and Nelson.

Click on the red balloons for the photos and their story.