Reigning in Christmas in the wop wops

Mt Ruapehu, Desert Road

Mt Ruapehu, Desert Road

Wop Wops you say?
(Plural for Woop Woop: a humorous name for a remote outback town or district.)

Yer that’s the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. I didn’t realise you can actually still reach places that make you feel like you’re all alone. But its possible in New Zealand.

Heading into Christmas I took it upon myself to do a solo road trip which included camping off and on in the South Island. I’d visited spots of the South Island since returning from the UK a few years ago, but I’ve never done a proper road trip and seen the spots in-between.

The epic drive down the North Island

Taupo, the big lake in the middle of NZ's North Island

Taupo, the big lake in the middle of NZ’s North Island

Living in Auckland and driving out of the city at Christmas is enough to make any Kiwi cringe. Traffic. So I got up and was on the road by about 6am. It was a few days before Christmas and a few people had the same idea, but it was flowing.

I stopped every 2-3 hours for mini breaks until I got to the desert army lands of Waiouru.

Christmas Trees in Taupo

Christmas Trees in Taupo

Christmasy Jandals in Taupo

Christmasy Jandals in Taupo

Then I realised if I hit traffic in Wellington I’d be cutting it fine. So Subway lunch whilst driving and a solid stretch ahead, I pumped it down to the ferry terminal in Wellington.

An hour early.

However, many others had the same idea and despite accidentally parking in the ‘priority’ lane there were still plenty of cars ready to get on the ferry. So turns out an hour before the hour before check-in is pretty normal for ferry crossings.

The ferry crossing

Marlborough Sounds - on the interislander ferry

Marlborough Sounds – on the Interislander ferry

Lots of people, but with my book, dinner and chatting to my neighbours the 3-3.5 hours of the ferry trip passed smoothly. I ventured outside in the cold (wearing shorts and t-shirt) to check out the Marlborough Sounds as we reached Picton. It’s a pretty special area with stunning colours.

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds Sunset

Marlborough Sounds Sunset

Day 2: South Island commences

After a brief stay in Picton I got up early the next morning to start another long drive.

Picton > Nelson Lakes > Westport > Karamea…

I started the stunning drive and place after place I reached was a little surprise of stunning scenic beauty to wow me.

There were the vineyards of Marlborough, around Picton and Blenheim.

Marlborough vineyards

Marlborough vineyards

The Lovely Nelson Lakes, that I’d visited during Easter the year before (check out the post here):

Nelson Lakes

Nelson Lakes

And then a spot that no one had warned me about.

I drove past the bridge and just had to stop and walk back. Reflections and the colours of the trees surrounding the Buller Gorge are just stunning.

This was my first epic wow moment on my trip.

Buller Gorge

Buller Gorge

Buller Gorge

Buller Gorge

Okay, so that kicks off my epic South Island road trip that I did over Christmas and New Year. Stay tuned for more stunning scenery and some ‘interesting’ events…

 


 

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