My mom and dad were here in New Zealand for almost three weeks. They rented a campervan and after a few days of hanging out with our friends here in Wanaka, we hit the road together for a grandiose tour of a very small part of the country. They didn’t try to drive around the whole country and see all of the sights. They didn’t go to Marlborough or see Fox Glacier and will probably meet someone who has and exclaims, “How could you not?!”
But we did it better. We stuck to the southern part of the South Island and soaked in the people, the mountains, and the striking beauty of the country that you often miss if you only have one day in a town. When we drove into Mt. Cook National Park, Mt. Cook was shrouded in clouds and the typically turquoise Lake Pukaki was an uninspiring slate gray. Lucky for us, we spent three days there. We saw the mountains in different light, from different elevation, and by the time we left, we felt like we got to know the place a little.
Our plans were flexible enough that when a local told us to spend the morning at the Moeraki Lighthouse, we could take his suggestion. The lighthouse was 8km down a dusty, unsealed road and poorly marked. It wasn’t much of a tourist attraction. No one else was there. Well, except for a huge colony of seals and some penguins waddling around the grasses. There were no fences other than those at the edge of the cliffs or around the paddocks. While exploring the rocky shoreline, Dad nearly stepped on a massive, dozing seal who was camouflaged among the rocks until he sat up and roared, sending Dad sprinting in the opposite direction.
Whether eating PB&Js on a mountain or sharing a bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir, we are so grateful that we had the chance to travel with my parents. Our friend Nico from German said, “I think I am a little bit jealous that your parents came and traveled with you.” It wasn’t just a visit; we got to share a perspective with them.
Thank you, guys!