this collection of photographs together, I actually ran out of
positive adjectives to use. Strong words such as "amazing",
"spectacular", "gorgeous", and "stunning"
should be used sparingly, but are all more than appropriate for
describing the south island of New Zealand. If you don't believe
me, just pop in one of the Lord of The Rings movies and gawk at
the scenery - the entire trilogy was shot in New Zealand.
We only had nine-and-a-half days in New Zealand and decided to
join a tour group to maximize the experience. We also knew that
paying for a tour would help to get our arses out of bed earlier
and encourage us to partake in more physical activities than we
probably would've done on our own.
After pouring through dozens of Google search results of "New
Zealand tours", we finally chose to join the 8-day Tui (pronounced
"TWO-ee") tour with the fine people at Active
New Zealand. What a phenomenal tour (there I go again with
another strong modifier)! The tour guides (Elysia and Kyle) were
as friendly as could be and very, very fun and full of information.
I was a bit reserved at first about taking a tour, not sure what
it would be like being stuck with a bunch of strangers for a week,
but was happily surprised at just how well everyone got along.
A short list of tour highlights include heli-hiking on Franz Josef
Glacier, flying aboard a very small plane to a remote alpine valley
in Mt. Aspiring National Park for 2 days of hiking, mountain biking
through Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys, and sea kayaking in Milford