New Zealand – South Island Wonderland

Ah New Zealand… A place I’ve always seen as a far away dream. Thinking about it, I just can’t believe I’ve been there. It was like a dream… In one of the last lands to be settled by humans, never have I felt so close to nature, to flowers.
The pastel light, in between summer and fall. The people, so kind, welcoming.
Again, the nature, incredible nature you can’t get enough of.
And the melancholy, sweet melancholy…


It was a road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown. North to South. 
I was in Christchurch a few days before the 15 March attacks and words can’t express how deeply sad the terrible news made me feel.
A city already stricken by the 2011 earthquake… Where beautiful shelters remain.

The botanic Gardens

A little heaven for young couples playing folk guitar by the river… Its rose gardens with international recognition and reputation.
And punt boats that remind me of the painting “Le déjeuner des canotiers” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Hearty brunch and vintage treasures

Make sure to stop for breakfast at Drexels (an american diner established in 1986) before hitting the road again. Then catch a little sea breeze at the peaceful Corsair Bay

If you are crazy about vintage like me, you’ll find pretty Victorian style dresses among other treasures at Madam Butterfly and Ferry Antique. Those two are in Christchurch.
On the road to Lake Tekapo, there is the incredibly huge Overflow Antique, where you would loose your mind. 

Lake Tekapo

“And into the mountains I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”, this quote inspired by John Muir aka John of the mountains sums it all up.

Contemplating Mount Cook from Astro Café on Mount John Observatory.
Contemplating the milky way of one of the clearest sky on earth.
Echoing you contemplating your inner self.
Well, you know… 


There’s always a good excuse to go Glamping. Mine here was to feel as close as possible to nature, even while sleeping 🙂
Besides the numerous and breathtaking hikes Wanaka has to offer, the little town has the most delicious and healthy food at Big Fig and The dripping bowl. And mouth watering tacos at Burrito Craft
Hidden artisans and wool makers like Dublin Bay Pottery.

Make sure to get your Açai bowl fix before crossing the mountains again on your way to Glenorchy


Being a fan of Jane Campion, Glenorchy holds a special place in my heart. This is where Top of the lake was shot. Stepping into this little town with a mysterious atmosphere makes it crystal clear why it was chosen as the main location. “Paradise” is just 45 minutes away and I think I had the most dreamy and surreal vision when I saw black swans peacefully floating on Diamond Lake. 

Besides that, on a rainy day, spending time at the Trading Post Glenorchy or at the General Store sipping lattes after lattes can be a good alternative. 

The road at dawn from Glenorchy to Manapouri was like traversing clouds. A very light and airy fog with pastel sunlight and sceneries.

Doubtful Sound

So there in Manapouri, you will embark for the most remote, out of this world journey in Doubtful sound, Fiorland.
Here, no signal, just you on a boat and a few other lucky people imagining how it must have been in 1770 for Captain James Cook to explore those 40 km of lake above the sea surrounded by waterfalls and wild life. That he nicknamed “The sound of silence”.

Silence when you pass by Teri’s waterfall, dedicated to a young lady, who sacrificed her life for a lost love.

Love… Passionate and irrational  love like in this book called “The Larnachs” inspired by a true story in Dunedin castle that the fairy from Wee Bookshop handed to me on my way to Queenstown. 


Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu and the gold rush quaint village of Arrowtown are for “gourmands”.
Fergburger for burgers and pâtisseries. And the Chop Shop and the Provisions in the latest for delicious brunch and coffee. 


What would be New Zealand without its Dream Pop and Indie Folk music scene. The artists of my South Island road trip’s soundtrack are :
French for Rabbits
Aldous Harding
Tiny Ruins

Listening to them I can’t stop thinking about what two strangers I briefly met told me. Their first words were respectively : “Who are you” and “Where are you going”.
Well I don’t have the answers but I wish I was still in the mountains to keep looking. 

More about New Zealand on Instagram with #askafrenchinnewzealand
And on  @purenewzealand

To chat more, see you at my next flower arrangement workshop in Singapore.

Where I stayed :
Christchurch – Merivale Manor
Lake Tekapo – Ranginui B&B
Wanaka – Explore Life
Glenorchy – Camp Glenorchy
Doubtful Sound – Deep Cove Charters
Queenstown – The most “KinfolkAirbnb

And this is for my “Auckland kiwi”, Alicia from Esse. Kia Ora my love.
At 9’57 if you are suffering from a passionate love. Breathe deep, and inhale…

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