ICYMI: We are helping Karina Halle count down the days until the release of her upcoming contemporary romance novel (via Atria), Where Sea Meets Sky!
We will be hosting exclusive content from Karina Halle herself! These will include photos/images that inspired scenes from the book, teaser photos, excerpts, and GIVEAWAYS! Each day there will be a different giveaway that are ALL OPEN INTERNATIONAL! You can win signed books, swag, and HUNDREDS of dollars in gift cards!
Check out Karina’s post below, and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY at the bottom! And, don’t forget to tell all your fellow book buddies!
New Zealand Travels: Art Imitates Life Part Three
Next up on the virtual journey of my up and coming new adult novel, Where Sea Meets Sky, we follow my main characters Josh and Gemma (and me) as we head down the west coast of the south island. We’ve hit up Paekakariki, Abel Tasman National Park and the Franz Josef Glacier. Now it’s on to Makaroa, Wanaka and Queenstown/Routebourn Track.
Makaroa is a tiny settlement nestled between craggy mountains of white-frosted peaks and tussock-flanked hills, in between the resort town of Queenstown. I was only there overnight and, really, to most people it’s probably not worth stopping at. But this was my first real glimpse of the magnificent Alps of the South Island and it left an impression at me.
There’s only one place to stay, least when I was there, and it’s where my characters stay in the book – a camping area with A-frame cabins. There’s a short walk through a hardwood forest to a little cave where you can see glow worms – these luminescent little beasts are a must see. And you can do the Siberian Experience, a three hour tour that consists of a tiny flight over the glaciers, a walk down the mountains and then a jetboat ride. It is not for the faint of heart.
Photo credit to http://www.siberiaexperience.co.nz/
After you get your heart racing in Makaroa, head on down to Wanaka. While my own stay in Wanaka was brief, I was charmed by this village by the shores of Lake Wanaka.
It’s gorgeous and more low-key than the nearby adrenaline junkie resort of Queenstown. Plus there’s a range of fun activities to do, like Puzzling World (fun bunch of nonsense) and a really cool movie theatre where a pivotal scene from Where Sea Meets Sky takes place.
After a nice stay in Wanaka, we head on down to Queenstown. A skiing and snowboarding mecca in the winter and a jetboating/bungy jumping/thrill seeking resort in the summer, one thing is sure – there’s always something to do. While it is very touristy and sometimes too overcrowded with a global mix of partiers, there’s still some great food and drinks to be found. Plus the scenery is stunning, no matter what time of day or year.
But if you journey past Queenstown to the start of the breathtaking Routeburn track, you’ll be rewarded with the most enthralling and beautiful experience of your life. I went horseback riding in the area (just outside the town of Glenorchy) and saw just a fraction of what Josh and Gemma experience in the book as they take part in a multi-day hike across the mountains.
Want to experience some of the scenery for yourself? Here it is through Gemma’s eyes:
Finally I can see the top of the A-frame shelter poking its head out among the rocky outcrops and endless waves of tussock grass and I nearly yelp with delight.
It’s so fucking stunning, I can barely believe my eyes.
The tiny, windowless A-frame shelter looks so small against the valley and mountains that it looks as if it could blow off into the abyss at any moment. All around us the wind crackles around our limbs like lightning; the hum of the land can barely be contained.
We are so, so, insignificant here and the mountains go on forever and ever, the distance so vast and great between us and the peaks. I’m almost getting dizzy and I lean back for a second. A small hand goes around my arm and I know Amber is keeping me upright.
None of us say anything, we just suck in the air, suck in the view, suck in the life around us. I feel like the wind rushing up from the far-off lands below is feeding us. It’s feeding me, deep inside, giving me strength.
We have a quick lunch of protein bars and water, sitting among the dry tussock and trying to get our small brains to believe the world around us. Then we head back down the track, passing other exhausted trampers on the way and encouraging them to keep going, that the pain is worth it for the beauty.
Back on the main track heading to the MacKenzie Lake campsite, the out-of-body experience doesn’t end. It amplifies as we walk along exposed ridges, the brown and green grass and subalpine plants rolling off on either side of us until they end, dropping off, and then there’s nothing but space between us and the Hollyford and Ailsa Mountains.
I’m watching my step on the trodden rock path but I wish I had eyes on the back of my head. Not only to keep taking in the views but to watch Josh. Out of all of us, he seems to be just as affected as I am. He’s thirsty for the experience and his passion is revving my heart. I’m already awake and alive and he’s adding to it, making me want him more than I ever have.
I don’t even have the decency to chide myself. The feeling is freeing and freedom is all I need.
Next post, we’ll continue our journey with Gemma and Josh! (all photos are mine unless otherwise credited).
Don’t forget to enter today’s giveaway!