It’s been a month since we returned from our honeymoon in the South Island, and people have frequently asked us how it went. By now much of it is jumbled in our heads, but we’d like to share some of the enduring memories.
Incidentally, if we were an Old Testament-era Jewish couple, you might not have heard from us until next year! (Deut 24:5) As it stands we thoroughly loved spending undistracted time together with God, enjoying the blessings of marriage, and exploring the solitude of the South Island.
A summary of some of our favourite places:
• Hanmer Springs, a cosy and picturesque village nestled in an alpine setting. We took a dip in the thermal hot pools, enjoyed some massage therapy, and stayed at a lodge there – all courtesy of a generous wedding gift! We were told it’s even better in winter when you can soak in the hot pools surrounded by a blanket of snow.
• Milford Sound. Rated #1 in AA New Zealand’s Top 101 Must-Do’s for Kiwis. We loved everything from the grandeur of the waterfalls, to the towering mountain peaks, to the stunning mirror-image lakes. Seeing these wondrous places gave us much clarity to Scripture verses attesting to God’s creative handiwork (e.g., Psalm 95:3-5).
• Onsen Hot Pools. Serene and amazing time in our own private pool, looking over the Shotover River in Queenstown.
• Avon River, Christchurch. It runs through the Botanic Gardens located in the centre of the Garden City, and we got to enjoy a relaxing boat ride through it. Plenty of big trees and ducks, playing in the vibrant, aquifer-sourced water.
• Lake Tekapo. You get a real sense of the southern latitude around here. The lake is a bright ice blue undimmed by overcast skies, waters are coloured pale by glaciers grinding rock down those South Island mountains. There’s a crispness to the air that lingers after the breeze has passed.
As awe-inspiring as the landscapes of the South Island are, as people unworthily redeemed by Him we have something even better to look forward to. The best part of seeing all these places is knowing that the scenery in Heaven will be unfathomably better – streets paved with gold, city walls decorated with precious stones (Rev 21:16-21), And best of all, in the very presence of God there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
Have you been to the South Island before? What are your favourite places?