The landscape is so diverse here. We drove along rocky coastlines, through jungles and forests, across grassy plains and I swear one stretch of highway was headed straight for Beaver, Utah. But it never gets old when you come around a turn and make an audible gasp. Lake Pukaki did just that. So blue that you can't tell where the water ends and the sky begins. But what makes this lake special to me is that when we were deep in the trenches of this move and I was feeling discouraged all I needed to do was scroll through pictures of New Zealand on pinterest and I would find my motivation again. Of all the pictures this was my favorite. I just couldn't imagine that a lake that color could really exist. I remember sitting at our kitchen table filling out paperwork and just picturing us sitting there on that shore. And we did it. We've come full circle and it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. It was so peaceful, as soon as you opened the car door you could feel a tangible sense of calmness. It was hard to leave.
The road to Queenstown was pretty easy on the eyes, though. We stopped and watched the bungee jumpers off the Kawarua bridge, the first ever commercial bungy jumping location in the world. I decided if I ever got the nerve to do it, this would be it. Baby steps.
Then came the charming little town of Arrowtown. Famous for its gold mining history, so quite naturally we bought some pans and panned for gold. Maddox thought every rock was a golden nugget and now half my purse is filled with rocks that I swore on my life I would save for him.
The gold panning turned to dam building after catching wind that some kids upstream were building a dam to the likes of the Hoover dam. My kids. Nature. Imagination. The sun. It doesn't get much better than this.
And then we strolled through the streets and were drawn to the candy shop like moths to a flame. And after touching every piece of candy and sampling every type of fudge they decided they would rather have ice cream. They totally love customers like us.
And the Young's can't take a trip to Arrowtown without visiting the remains of the Chinese miner's village. It's crazy how small some of the huts were that they lived in. Makes you realize just how spoiled we really are.
And then we walked along Arrow river where they filmed scenes from the Lord of the Rings. I guess it's the Ford of Bruinen, but that means nothing to me, I should really get caught up on the movies.
And then we drove to Queenstown, marveled at The Remarkables mountain range, ate at Burger King then embarked on the most beautiful 45 minute drive to Glenorchy where we were staying since everything closer to town was sold out. I seriously just sat there in awe and thought how grateful I was to be here and to experience this all in the flesh. The words to the hymn "How Great Thou Art" popped into my head and stayed there the rest of our trip.
I think it's easy to paint a picture of perfection, but for every road trip filled with story telling of younger years and joyous rounds of kappa haka songs, there are stretches of road where the kids think they're zombies and we wonder why we have to actually explain to them that eating eachother's hair is a bad thing. For every day laying on the beach there are rainy days where we're stuck inside reading 2005 editions of Women's Day magazines cover to cover. For every beautiful river side picnic there were 5 straight meals of PB&J and mosquitos trying to eat us alive. And for every picturesque scene there are cabins so gross that you sleep with your head under the covers so that spiders wouldn't crawl in your mouth. Case in point, see below. I really missed the Marriotts, but it's all part of the adventure.