I really thought I could get this all in one blog post, but alas, I ran out of time yesterday. The first part of this adventure is back in that post, but here’s what we did on the South Island of New Zealand.

Adventure amped up on the South Island

Flying in through the giant mountains of the South Island had us all in awe. First, I think that mountain below on the left is in a Hobbit movie…but I’m not an expert at that.

There were ever-ending mountain ranges stretched out as far as the eye could see. Then we landed in Queenstown.

airplane view heading into Queenstown


We got in another big van and headed directly to the majesty of Queenstown for our last few days. We all fell in love with that place, built on the bay surrounded by giant mountain ranges.

the bay in Queenstown

The closest of those was called “The Remarkables” which sure suits them.

a mountain range called the Remarkables in the South Island of New Zealand

It was just as gorgeous as the North, but entirely different. More rugged with a European-feel.

Our hotel was in an ideal spot, we could walk to most things easy-peasy, and the sun finally came out, everything glittering. This is the view from the front of the hotel…you can see right up to that mountain we’ll get to in a minute.

Here’s where some more adrenalin pumping went down:


This one, free-falling from a shelf built into a cliff into the canyon below, was sheer terror for the first few seconds (and leading up to the jump too).

But I loved it.

We stood on this platform:

And dropped on a bungee that swung out far and wide over that canyon below.

Dave and I did a tandem drop, and boy howdy, it was scary.

Shawni and David ready for their drop into the canyon on the canyon swing

Things like that sure have the power to make you feel alive.

It needs a post of it’s own to share all the pictures because there are too many for this post. Everyone got to pick their own way to “leave the platform.” And also I have to get permission from Dave (and friends), because there are some pretty funny scared faces caught I tell you!


After our bungee swing we headed down to get in these jet boats with V8 twin engines that take you through these gorgeous canyons at breakneck speed, doing a 360 spin every now and again in the midst of all that gorgeousness.

Our travel group by the bridge in New Zealand

It was SO gorgeous out there in that unique way to take in all the beauty.

Let’s get a better look at that bridge.

The bridge at Shotover Canyon


It was a pretty thrilling morning.

I’ll stick some videos in my South Island adrenaline rush post coming soon:)


This place reminded me of Banff, down to the gondola going up the mountain that you can hike up instead if you want to. A group of us opted for the hiking deal (it’s called the “Tiki Trail”) and the rest took the gondola up for the most gorgeous view.

Pretty big reward at the top:

Shawni and David at the top of Bob's Peak on the South Island of New Zealand

We all took the gondola back down and took in the golden light en route back down.

Then we lucked out and got a spot at this unique Mexican restaurant back in town, a perfect table where all of us could talk.

HIKE to BOB’S COVE TRACK & LOOKOUT (Mount Creighton)

The next morning we headed on this pretty easy walk/hike with a gorgeous view near Mount Creighton.

There’s nothing like hiking for good conversations on a good walk.

I love these people.


We got outfitted in these uber thick wetsuits and did rappelling, waterfall jumping, and ziplining through this gorgeous canyon. The water was ice-cold but there’s something so invigorating about immersing yourself in nature.

These pictures are pretty poor quality, but you get the basic idea!

our group canyoning in New Zealand


We had our last dinner on the waterfront, and then got some pretty exceptional gelato (who knew NZ would have even better gelato than Italy? Ok, maybe not quite as good, but pretty exceptional I have to say).

On our last morning was free for everyone to do what they wanted and boy, in true Eyre form I sure tried my best to maximize this one. But my “maximizing” turned out to be calming my heart and just enjoying those last hours hiking up to Bob’s Peak again with my number one.

the view from the top of Bob's Peak in the South island of New Zealand

At the top sitting with Dave, I ended up having one of my most special experiences of the whole trip.

Sometimes that just happens when you slow yourself down, I keep needing to remind myself!

This special experience was all about ancestors and I’ll include it in my New Zealand culture post coming up, but for today I’ll skip past that experience to the part where our friends all joined us at the top of that mountain.


The guys did the luge run and my girlfriends and I sat in the sun at some picnic tables even higher up, basking in the incredible view stretched out below.

the ski lift to get to the luge run in New Zealand


Rather than take the gondola back down with everyone else I opted to hike down by myself. It was a sacred hike for me. There’s something about being alone and being able to think immersed in nature. During part of the time I listened to a podcast that spoke right to my heart. I love that the woman being interviewed talked about how she believes women “remake” themselves every five years or so. I’m due for a “remake” and oh, I’m trying so hard to listen to God. He knows where I should go and what I should do. If I could only hear Him more readily.

And then, we packed up and headed home.

From our hotel to the Queenstown airport to the Auckland airport to LA to home. It was a long journey lugging our heavy bags around, (we only had carry-ons, of course, but man alive I stuffed mine full!). By this time we were pretty excited to be reunited with Lucy and Max, Abby & Murphy who were all waiting for us at home.

But what rich memories we get to keep wrapped around our hearts from that time in New Zealand. Forever grateful for that.

If anyone wants to take on some serious adventure in New Zealand, Pete is the guy to take you to see it all.

Thank you for everything, Pete!! We love you!

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  1. Aah – Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island, is my home, Otepoti/Dunedin to be exact, and I am in awe of what you managed to fit in to your short time here. Did you get to see a live Kiwi bird? If you ever come again try going to one of the Sounds in Fiordland – highly recommend. Cath

    1. I didn’t see a kiwi bird, but I sure saw a lot of pictures of them!! And the Sounds of Fiordland were such a hard thing to miss! The pictures are stunning! I LOVE that you get to live in the South Island. So very incredibly beautiful. Maybe I’ll get to run into you if I ever get to come back to the Sounds:) Sending lots of love.

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