Winter Is Approaching in South Island, New Zealand

It’s June 10th and it’s been way too long since our last update. While traveling the South Island of New Zealand we ran into another problem with internet service. This time we were capped on the amount of data with a limit of 50 Megs per usage. That made it quite difficult to try to upload photos, check emails and talk to family.  We decided to upload a few pictures at a time. Hopefully, we will be able to post the finished product in a couple of days.

We left Paihia (Pie-here) on May 26th and headed to Auckland for one night before catching a flight to Christchurch. We were traveling with Josh’s parents for one more week and were excited to explore some of the South Island with them.

We got a place in Christchurch and based ourselves out of there for the next week. We were in shock at the amount of destruction Christchurch had faced during two earthquakes.  One earthquake occurred in September 2010 and a more destructive one in February 2011.

There were three earthquakes during the week we stayed in Christchurch and we actually felt two of them. That was a little scary!

Much of the downtown area was destroyed and it looked like a set from an end of the world movie. There were constant sounds of buildings being torn down. It was quite depressing and you couldn’t help but feel bad for all of the people that were affected by this horrendous natural disaster. They are doing their best to make the most of the situation by developing a “Re-Start” area with container stores. 

We managed to do as much as we could in Christchurch given their current situation. The next few days were spent making daily road trips to the following towns:

New Brighton Beach


Little River and Akaroa

We stumbled upon a wonderful bakery in Akoroa but were confused by their slogan. Who knew that baking at “Sparrow’s Fart” would result in such delicious tasting pastries?

Hanmer Springs

We jammed as many places as we could into one week but it was time to say goodbye to Josh’s parents on June 3rd.  Although it was sad to see them leave we were blessed to spend that time with them.

Bye mom and dad thanks for everything!

We had known that we would meet up with Josh’s parents in New Zealand since the beginning of our trip so we had that thought in our minds.  Now that they were gone we had the reality of being truly on our own for the next 13 months with no plans to meet up with anyone else along the way.  It’s a scary feeling but this certainly won’t be the last time that we step out of our comfort zone on this journey.

With that being said, we rented a car for the remainder of our trip and hit the open road once again!

We decided to head to the northeast side of the island and cut across to the west, ending our trip in the southwest part of the island. We would end in Queenstown before heading back to Christchurch to catch our flight out.

Our stops included:

The Waipara Valley

Where the wine flows like beer! 

Marlborough Region/Blenheim

Marlborough is New Zealand’s premier wine producing region and Blenheim is right in amongst it.


We hiked 14kms in the Abel Tasman National Park

Throughout New Zealand we noticed McDonald’s signs for “The Atlanta Pork McRib”. It was a throwback to the 1996 Olympics but Leanne was in Atlanta during the Olympics and can’t recall one person that ate that thing!

Cool sights while driving!

Franz Josef 

While we were hiking through the national park we saw a sign for Peter’s Pool.The name threw us off a little bit. It was just a small trail amongst many but it ended up being one of the highlights of the road trip. Just look at this beautiful picture!

Fox Glacier /Lake Matheson

More cool sights while driving!



Of course, Josh had to stop for a cold one at this “swanky” saloon before we sampled a few more wine selections. 


After 9 days on the road we made it to our final New Zealand destination – Queenstown!

Queenstown is known as the adrenaline capital of the world. Our adrenaline adventure of choice was The Canyon Swing.  This is “The World’s Highest Cliff Jump” at 109 meters high with a 60-meter freefall and 200-meter swing. We started with a tandem jump and we liked it so much that we each did a solo jump. For our solo jumps we chose to do one of the scariest jump options of being suspended upside down over the canyon and then being released. We forgot to mention that Josh has a fear of heights in our “About Us” section. Talk about taking your fear head on! If it weren’t for time and money we probably would have kept jumping. It was frightening but surprisingly addicting! We were not able to get pictures of our solo jumps because the pictures cost too much money but here are a couple of pictures of our tandem jump. 

The remainder of our time in Queenstown was spent hiking and strolling around the town. 

Although we didn’t get a chance to ski, this town would be a great destination if you want to ski during North America’s summer months.

We have truly appreciated our travels throughout New Zealand. From the north to the south, this country has so much to offer.  However, we are ready to put away our winter clothes for a few months and experience some warm weather. Indonesia, here we come!!!!

As always, thanks for following!

Leanne & Josh


  1. I think Brian's favorite place might have been Wanaka. Did you make it to Rippon Winery on
    Lake Wanaka?? Looks like you're having an awesome trip!

  2. Hey Mrs. Watts! We thought Wanaka was beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't make a stop at Rippon. I couldn't remember if that was the one that Brian worked at or not? Bummer! It would have been great to stop there. We are having an absolute blast. We are in the airport right now waiting for our flight to Indonesia. I hope all is well with you and the family. Say hey to Mr. Watts for me. All the best and thanks for checking in!!! xoxo

  3. love your pics, you did a great road trip there. Lovely!

    Stephanie Fullum

  4. Keep the posts/pics coming! It's such a treat to read them. Can't wait until the next episode of the traveling Beardens!


  5. Love the pics guys! Keep em coming! We may consider joining you sometime next year if the timing is right. Love and miss you guys. Mike n Lynn!