Te Anau and Milford Sound
Are lovely, spectacular places. We worked/wwoofed in Te Anau at a backpackers hostel called Barnyard Backpackers, which we found through HELPX. We did about 2-3 hours work each morning and was given accommodation in return. Te Anau township doesn’t have too much going on for budget travellers.
Everyone goes to Milford Sound because it’s gorgeous. We did a Southern Discoveries Cruise for around 3 hours. Jucy also offer similar priced (around $60) cruises. However, a lot of people opted for kayaking Milford Sound, which I wish that we had done. It is a fair bit more expensive, with the cheapest tour at $130.
A lot of bus company’s will take you down Milford Rd, but it’s best done by a car, since there are plenty of beautiful stops along the way and Gunn’s Motor Camp, which sells gorgeous local greenstone necklaces.
We were lucky enough to be offered an overnight trip to Milford Sound by the owners of the backpackers we worked at. We went out at around 5pm on the brightest, greenest boat into the fiord and set out lobster traps. We spent the evening taking a toilet trip on the world’s smallest dingy to the land, drinking tea and napping on the deck.
My friend had a combo pass from Queenstown Combos, which is in the Station Building on Shotover St. His included a Bungee, Rafting, Helicopter and the Jet Boat. I joined him for the rafting and helicopter and it seemed pretty unanimous that the Jet Boat a little expensive for what it was. Since I didn’t Bungee I can’t talk to much about it, only that it looked scary as heck.
My favourite Queenstown thing by far was the Canyon Swing. It’s similar, I guess to a bungee, except for you freefall for 60m and the swing for 200m.
The drive to Wanaka is amazing on Cardrona Valley Rd. It’s literally a road right through a valley, and then up the side of a mountain. Prepare for a windy, windy road.
Hokitika was a rush for us, but there are two important things worth mentioning.
1) Knife Carving was something my travel buddy REALLY wanted to do, but there was no availability. BOOK AHEAD.
2) Make your own Jade or Bone necklace. It was cheaper for bone, so we opted for this, and made one for each other. They recommend giving it one day, but it really took us around 3 hours. There was a really young girl making one at the same time as us, and she kept accidentally breaking hers, it was pretty sad.
The West Coast, for us, was gloomy, wet, storming and not too much fun. We didn’t stay long and escaped straight to Hamner Springs, and snuck in a sneaky private pool for only a few dollars more than the overcrowded, running with children general swimming pools.