To Live + Diet in New Zealand: Part 2
Hi Friends, welcome to Part 2 of my New Zealand vacation recap!
This post covers the remaining 3/4 of our South Island road trip, after we left Abel Tasman.
Forewarning: this is going to be a long post. I will tell you though, if you stick around, you’re going to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world — and I’m not just talking about my spiced-apple oatmeal.
I’ll also be sharing how we kept our healthy eating on track and fit quick workouts in along the way. It’s not easy on vacation, but with a little preparation and motivation, you can do it.
From Abel Tasman, we headed south toward Franz Josef Glacier, stopping along the way at Pancake Rocks, a famous rock formation.
Naturally, I took the opportunity to precariously pose upon one of the cliffs.
Fit Tip #1: If you find a flat surface, do some yoga.
Apparently I made quite the spectacle of myself. A group of male tourists got such a kick out of it that they decided to try some of the moves themselves.
Not too shabby.
I take no responsibility for any accidents these boys may have had after I was out of sight.
At this point in the trip, my fiancé’s sister Mary and I decided we would take every opportunity we got to do a quick HIIT (high intensity interval training).
Fit Tip #2: When there is a lull in activities, do a HIIT.
Every little bit counts. From that run-skip on, we were HIITing it on the reg.
Following the rock viewing, we went for a long hike nearby.
How much does this place remind you of Jurassic Park? I was just waiting for a T-Rex to jump out of a bush.
Franz Josef Glacier
At Franz Josef, I crossed two “firsts” off my list.
First helicopter ride…
…and first time walking on a glacier.
Not exaggerating — it was pretty epic.
We tramped around in crampons (ice shoes), wiggled through ice caves and drank glacial water.
Once you go glacial, you don’t go back.
Kidding — but it was tasty.
We were pretty exhausted after our day amongst the ice. Luckily, we fueled up properly that morning with eggs and apple-spiced oatmeal with peanut butter.
Fit Tip #3: Look for lodging with a kitchen.
We tried to find bed and breakfasts or private homes on Airbnb in every city we visited with their own kitchens. That way we could quickly whip up a healthy breakfast before the day’s adventures. I highly encourage health-conscious travelers to take this route.
Believe me, it’s much more pleasant and convenient than wasting hours every morning trying to find restaurants that meet your dietary needs, or worse — trying to explain a laundry list of modifications to servers who are already less than enthusiastic about dealing with foreign tourists.
From Franz Josef, we headed further south toward Milford Sound.
Along the way we stopped at the Homer Tunnel Snowfield, which is surrounded by numerous 500 ft waterfalls.
This spot was definitely a highlight for me, and not just because I got to pose on another extremely large rock.
The hike up to the snowfield requires some intense “bouldering” (climbing over boulders), which I found particularly exciting.
We worked up quite an appetite from all the boulder scrambling, and luckily had some fresh organic cherries on hand that we’d purchased at a roadside stand.
Fit Tip #4: Pack snacks.
Or stock up on them when you get to your destination. Just like when you’re trying to stay healthy at home, preparation is key on the road. Keep some fresh fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, etc. on hand for those hangry moments.
After Franz Josef and the Homer Waterfalls, we spent Christmas Eve in Queenstown. Sadly, we were only there for about 12 hours so I didn’t get to experience the loveliness of this lakeside city.
I did enjoy some seriously tasty gelato, seafood and Rosé at Captain’s Restaurant, but this photo of shrimp is all I have to show for it.
Fit Tip #5: ALWAYS ask for sauce on the side.
This dish initially came out drenched in an orange mystery liquid. Not good.
The next morning we drove to Milford Sound where we boarded an overnight Christmas cruise.
The Sound was absolutely beautiful, but I wouldn’t recommend doing an overnight cruise. The food was nightmarish.
It may not look like it here but I was feeling a little seasick from some suspicious biscuits.
The next day though, we were back on the road and back on track with healthy, fit living.
Mary and I came up with an awesome little 10-minute bodyweight HIIT that I ended up posting here a couple of weeks ago.
This one is a major butt burner.
When you’ve been sitting on your behind for several hours driving though, it can use a good burn.
The incredible view made the pain a little more bearable.
From here on we began making our way north again, toward Christchurch, and the end of our journey.
Another day, another gorgeous natural sight.
We began to think New Zealand was just showing off.
This next stop was a fluke, but proved to be very entertaining.
On our way to Dunedin, we stopped for lunch, unbeknownst to us, in the most adorable, artsy little town.
Omaru, a quaint seaside city, is filled with really amazing art, architecture and food.
On our walk to lunch, we stumbled upon the Friendly Bay Playground and immediately felt our inner children stirring.
The playground had a super cool swing set, a mini zipline (seriously) and a life-sized hamster wheel!
Mary and I did what we do best – HIIT it.
We enjoyed lunch at a pretty, ocean-facing restaurant called Portside where I had one of the best meals of the trip.
It was hard to say goodbye to this awesome spot.
A short drive down the way though, I was fascinated yet again.
The Moeraki Boulders are a unique group of unusually large and round boulders formed on the beach from mudstone, and exposed over the years from ocean erosion.
As you can see, we were all very taken by them.
If one boulder pose is good, ten to twenty are better.
Our last stop of the trip was in Dunedin, home of the yellow-eyed penguin.
These interesting little birds are native to New Zealand and can be found basking in the sun at the Otago Peninsula.
While I found the penguins striking, it was the wide range of animals in the area that impressed me most.
I enjoyed watching these peaceful sheep graze, and my man enjoyed a close encounter with an angry male seal.
I’m lucky I still have a fiancé.
So that sums up our Middle Earth excursion. I had such a spectacular time in New Zealand, and really hope I can return one day to visit all the spots we missed or only got to see briefly.
I can’t stress enough what a perfect destination this is for healthy, active individuals. If you have any questions or would like more travel advice, please feel free to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thanks to my soon-to-be family for bringing me along on their trip!
And in case you missed it, check out Part 1 of the trip — from Kaikoura to Abel Tasman >>