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  • Writer's pictureJason Wahid

South Island 2020

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

On the 23rd of March 2020, a number of my friends and I were unfortunately let go from our company (Thanks Rona). They projected that they would not be able to support us without the business going bankrupt. The travel industry took a massive hit as New Zealand had shut its borders and announced a 5-week national lockdown from the 25th of March.


The weeks passed and New Zealand successfully eliminated the virus. We moved down to Level 2 on the 13th of May, opening up the country again with 0 cases. My friends and I decided since there aren't any jobs being advertised for designers; let's go travelling and explore our wonderful backyard!


Our economy had been at standstill. And with great travel deals being offered to encourage people to go out (and spend $$$), we couldn't miss out on this opportunity to have a spontaneous adventure around our country.


Feel free to listen to the South Island 2020 Playlist whilst reading. Curated by yours truly.

Hokitika Gorge
The travel mates take on The South Island

I went travelling with my super talented friends! Check them out:

  • Anthony Carter-Bell

Graphic design and music producing aficionado.

Professional campervan driver and microwave rice connoisseur.

  • Catherine Leet

Talented digital & graphic designer. Part-time stock image model.

Loves animals unconditionally even though she might get an allergic reaction.

  • Kaknika Som Ek

Amazing graphic designer, photographer/videographer.

CEO of "losing" her things and then finding them 2 minutes later.


Days 1-2: Christchurch - Kaikoura

Picking up our home for the next 2 weeks

With Arnie behind the wheel of Big Berth, we conquered the South Island in style and comfort. We landed a great deal with the Maui Motorhome - Costing us only $85NZD/day (incl. full insurance). GO ON and #GetMovingNewZealand!!!

Days 2-3: Kaikoura

Kaikoura Seal Colony / Freshly caught fish & chips and crayfish

Head over to Cods & Crayfish in Kaikoura for some super succulent crayfish. Freshly caught in the morning then grilled and doused in a juicy garlic butter sauce - Just for you.

Days 4-5: Kaiteriteri - Abel Tasman National Park

Friendly Weka at Abel Tasman Nation Park (They just want you for your bread)

MASSIVE SHOUT OUT to Gavin & Zoe Alborn from Abel Tasman AquaTaxi, for giving us a lift back to Marahau. Thank you so much for your kindness, hospitality and the great nuggets of unique wisdom about the Abel Tasman environment from the perspective of a local.

Days 6-7: Maruia

Kawatiri Historic Railway Walk / Maruia Falls / Maruia Hot Springs

There was no WiFi or phone reception at Maruia Hot Springs, so it was the perfect chance to just disconnect from the world and enjoy living in the moment. With 24-hour access to saunas and hot pools, we soaked up the hot sulfuric spring water and let go of all our worries.

Day 8: Hokitika Gorge - Franz Josef

Day 9: Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier

The glaciers are melting :-(

Day 10: Lake Hawea & Wanaka

Day 11: Mount Aspiring National Park

Blue Pools / Fantail Falls / Thunder Creek Falls

Day 12: Lake Tekapo

Lindis Pass / Mt Cook via Lake Pukaki / Church of The Good Shepherd / Tekapo Springs & Ice Skating

📷: Catherine Leet

Day 13: Queenstown

$99 Scenic Flight Tour at 10AM / Bye Bertha, Hi RAV4 / Chill & Cookie Time

Day 14: Glenorchy - Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu Boat Tour / Lunch with Ro & Steph / Spontaneous Wine Tasting

Day 15: Auckland Bound (Home Time)

Cheers New Zealand!


Thank you for making it to the end of the post!


Thank you New Zealand for doing your bit during lockdown and getting us down to Level 2 (Now Level 1 at the time of writing this - We kicked Rona's butt!!)

Thanks to all the crazy cool locals we met along the way.


Thanks Air New Zealand for flying us,

Maui for the sweet campervan deal,

Bookme NZ for some great deals on experiences,

Maruia Hot Springs for treating us like royalty,

Gavin & Zoe at Abel Tasman AquaTaxi for the lift back to Marahau from Apple Tree Bay,

Wet Jacket Wines & Gibbston Valley Winery for the informative wine tasting paired with great banter,

and Milford Sound Scenic Flights for showing our South Island's dramatic landscape from up above.


Thanks to my travel buddies - Kaknika, Catherine and Anthony.

Here's to many more adventures.



All photographs copyright Jason Wahid 2020 unless credited.

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