New Zealand Guide - 12 Days covering North & South Islands

6th Nov 2017
Photo of New Zealand Guide - 12 Days covering North & South Islands by Aditya Saini
Day 1

Me & my Wife left for the Airport around 4 AM on 6th Nov. Our Flight was Singapore Airlines for both ways. It was a 20 Hr Flight time with a 4 Hour Stop @ Singapore Airport. We reached our 1st Destination i.e. AUCKLAND on 7th Nov around 12 PM. Took a RAV4 Car to Self Drive through a very nice & simple app "CAR4RENTAL." We both were in AWE of the place as soon as we got out of the Airport. The Air was so fresh, beautiful weather, lovely non-polluted air & super clean roads. The weather was kind of Cold (our packing was not in accordance to that :P ) We drove to our Hotel (Heritage Hotel) and were greeted by Jimmy there. The Room was good. We were tired from the Flight, so just slept till evening. In the evening we visited the Sky Tower which was @ walking distance from our hotel. As the weather was too cold & our clothes were not ;) , we came back quickly, had dinner @ RAVIZ (an Indian Restaurant, owned by Ravi Shastri) and came back to the hotel.


Photo of Auckland, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 2

The Next day, our plan was to visit 2 beautiful beaches - CATHEDRAL COVE & HOT WATER BEACH. they were located in Coromandal City, around 200 kms from Auckland. The Drive was lovely through THAMES Town and alongside THAMES RIVER. we visited coromandal town in between. We reached the parking of Cathedral Cove around 3 PM, not knowing how much we have to walk to reach the beach, We were left surprised at the start of the walk looking at the map saying it was a 45 Min walk to the Beach. After the Tiresome Walk, we reached the Beach. It was a picturesque beach (a must visit anyhow) and so we got clicked and enjoyed the view there. the water was too cold too take a dip in it. After spending an hour at the beach, we made our walk back to the Parking and started our drive to the Hot Water Beach, which can be visited only 2 hrs either side of Low Tide @ 5PM, thus giving an entire window of 4 hours. We reached the beach around 5.30 PM and took a shovel on rent. The Beach was Magical. You can dig up a hole in the sand and Hot BOILING Water would come out of it naturally, making it a HOT Water SPA pool. We spent around 2 hours in our self made pool before water started to get too hot for us to handle. The drive back was again 4 hrs long, making us reach our Auckland Hotel around 11.30 PM in the night. The entire day was Awesome.

Cathedral Cove Beach

Photo of Cathedral Cove, New Zealand by Aditya Saini

Magical Hot Water Beach, Coromandal

Photo of Cathedral Cove, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 3

After Checking our from Auckland the next day, we drove to WAITOMO to see the mesmerising GLOWWORM CAVES there. The place was again 200-250 Kms away, making it another 4 Hour Drive. Not to mention that the drive was again Awesome, we reached WAITOMO around 3 PM. There we got to know that there are 2 more caves, which can be taken as a COMBO alongwith GLOWWorm Caves. We took the option of going to a limestone cave called ARANUI CAVES. The Limestone caves were beautiful and also historical. We were astonished to know that a limestone grows about 1 Inch in 100 years, making some of the huge limestones there, more than 5000 years old. Camera was allowed in this cave only & restricted in Glowworm Cave. After getting lots of pictures in Aranui, we moved on to see Glowworms. Our guide told us that Glowworms are type of insects, who stick on the upper walls of the cave, glows ofcourse, throw a Spider like web down. Insects get attracted to the light and in return get caught in the web and that is how Glowworm survives. The experience of seeing the Glowworms in a boat inside a dark silent cave, was out of this world. A thing which you do not get to see elsewhere, making it a lifetime memory. After we got free around 6PM, we drove to our next Location, ROTORUA and to our beautiful romantic hotel, Silver Fern Spa Accomodation, which was a 2 hour drive from WAITOMO. After reaching the beautiful city of Rotorua and our awesome hotel, we relaxed for the night.

Waitomo Cave Entry

Photo of Rotorua, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 4

The plan for the next day was to visit the HOBBITON MOVIE SET (from the movie series, LORD OF THE RINGS) in Matamata Town. The Hobbiton bus escorts people to the Set from Shire Cafe. The set is inside the humongous land of Alexander Farms. This was a guided 3 hour tour of the Set. The place immediately got back memories of Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo Baggins, Legolas, Gandalf and everything else related to the movie. The entire place was so beautiful that not a single pic out there, came out to be ordinary. Me & my wife went on a Photo Clicking Spree and clicked hundreds of photos in Hobbiton. The tour ended with a special black beer @ Green Dragon Cafe in Hobbiton Village. We came back around 6PM that day and the spent the remaining night in our beautiful Honeymoon SPA Room. In the night around 11PM, we went to the Airport to drop of our car, but to our surprise, for the first time, we saw a CLOSED AIRPORT, with not even a guard @ Security - Quite astonishing, right ? The customer care executive told us that we can drop off the keys of our car next morning in the Airport area.


Photo of Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 5

The next day, we checked out @ 5 AM in the morning and went to the Airport (which looked like it just got opened). The Airport was the smallest that we both ever saw, with just one departure gate. The plane was also the smallest that we saw, having just 50 seats in Total. It was an amusing experience. Anyhow, it was a 3 hour flight from Rotorua to Auckland and then finally to our next Destination - QUEENSTOWN. The city of Queenstown is located on the side of a River, which in itself starts from the end of the Mountains. So the entire scenery of the City is MAJESTIC. We made our way to our next hotel, REES HOTEL & LUXURY APARTMENTS. this was the best hotel we stayed in New Zealand. Though others too were quite awesome, but this was a cut above the line. The day was @ our leisure, which we spent going to the Marketplace, An Indian Restaurant, getting to know about the Parking Rules & Boards which were all around the city and new to us. We also booked our next day tour of MILFORD SOUND from Happy Travels Shop (some days later we also booked the Shotover jet from there). The city was colder than Auckland & Rotorua & so we both were literally forced to buy ourselves Skull Caps to give us some relief.

Day 6

Milford Sound Terminal was the plan of the next day. It is situated 400 kms away from Queenstown, deep into the mountains. It is a 12-13 hour round trip, which includes a 2 he cruise as well. Our bus (named LIVE JUICY ;) ) was scheduled to pick us up @ 7AM from the bus stop outside our hotel. We boarded a Glass Roof Bus & made ourselves comfortable. The commentary by the bus driver was knowledgeable to us as he kept on telling us about each & every town that came in between and other places, as & when we passed. We took a midway stop at TE ANAU, to get fresh, probable do some shopping from Souvenir Shop or a quick cup of coffee. The beautiful drive continued for 2 more hours. We stopped at couple of other places, apart from TE ANAU to pose for photographs. At one of the location, we also saw the famous MOUNTAIN PARROT, which is known to eat away the rubber of vehicles and is destructive in nature (we also saw one eating away the window rubber of a parked car). The scenery went from "Beautiful" to "Amazing" and finally to "Mindblowing". Just before the milford terminal, we went through a tunnel - 5 min long, specially carved for the Milford Scenery. After arriving, we boarded our LIVE JUICY cruise. We met alot of people on the cruise, had small chats with them, got clicked by them. The picture clicking mania started and we got some Memorable pictures of the cruise. The cruise was full of beautiful scenery, mountains and specially Waterfalls. We also saw Dolphins & Seals along the way. After it ended in about 2 hours, we boarded our bus and came back to Queenstown, with just one stop at TE ANAU. The entire day was really beautiful.

Milford Sound Cruise

Photo of Milford Sound, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 7

After checking out the next day from Rees, our plan was to go to FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER VIA WANAKA TOWN & PUZZLING WORLD. it was the best 4-5 hour drive which I had. We covered almost 400 Kms in Mountains & alongside river in 5 Hours. We stopped @ Puzzling World in Wanaka Town alongside Wanaka River. Though the effects were ordinary , we specially liked the GREAT MAZE Challenge. It was a "Bhool Bhulaiya" which normally takes 45 mins to finish. We finished in about 23 mins (haha). Finally we arrived in Franz Josef town and our next hotel "OASIS HOTEL & ACCOMMODATION". A lovely, small, hotel besides the mountains and the glacier. The remaining day was at our leisure. Visited the local market and packed our dinner from another Indian Restaurant there (you can easily find an Indian Restaurant anywhere).

Puzzling World, Wanaka

Photo of Wanaka, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 8

It was just a one night stay @ OASIS. We checked out and went to visit the Glacier. The glacier is located at about 45 mins walk from the parking. We hoped the walk would not be tiresome. But it was literally a beautiful walk. People & travelers around the world are so adventurous and exciting, it gave us that sort of excitement. We saw people escorted on wheelchairs, couple of around 70-75 age around, walking to the glacier, people carrying there 6-7 month children with them. It was lovely to watch.After walking the beautiful walk, we finally arrived at the last point, got clicked, sat to absorb the view and walked back. That day of ours was the only unplanned day of the trip as we were not sure where we will stop and take a hotel for the night. We drove & drove & drove. The drive was so beautiful , that I drove back to Queenstown (which was initially not the plan). We went to the shop, Happy Travels and booked our activity of Shotover Jet from there of next day. We used there WIFI to book an economy mote " HD MOUNTAIN VILLA" (as we only had to stay for the night there). We drove to the hotel & found that the VILLA was on sharing basis with 4 couples & 2 bathrooms. Anyways, we just had to stay the night. The owners also had a cat named KING KONG (she was actually big). The villa had everything needed,a kitchen, a living room, garden etc, so the entire stay was pleasing.

Franz Josef Glacier

Photo of Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 9

After checking out the next day, we checked in to our final hotel @ MANATA LODGE, Shotover Lane, Queenstown. The place was majestic. As per my wife, she rated it the second best stay after REES and before SILVER FERN (the final rating as per her was -------- REES, MANATA LODGE, SILVER FERN, OASIS HOTEL, HD MOUNTAIN VILLA & HERITAGE HOTEL AUCKLAND), our activity for the day was Shotover Jet. We had to board there bus from the marketplace in Queenstown. The driver was giving the commentary along the way. We drove through some rough roads filled with wilderness & excitement. Also saw the GATES OF MORDOR (from lord of the rings movie) along the way. It took us about an hour in the bus to get to our JET LANDING ZONE. the jet was about a 30 min exhilarating ride amongst mountains. After the adventurous ride, we drove back to the Marketplace and picked up our car from the parking. Just minutes later, we realized that a PARKING CHALLAN was enforced on us by the police :P . The challan was of Failure to pay parking fees & was of 40 dollars. We paid it in the night through online banking. The night was spent in Manata Lodge at our leisure, watching movies (CHAINSAW Massacre) and excitement ;).

Day 10

Our final day was reserved for the best activity "SKYDIVING", just to put a cheery on the cake. We again went to the marketplace (this time parked in a safe place) & stood besides our boarding zone. Minutes later, luckily we got to know that we had to be in NZONE SHOP, and not the place where we were standing ;). We filled out some forms, boarded a bus to there landing headquarters. Excitement was on the highest level. Each of us had our flying master with - OLLY from UK with me & MARCOS from ARGENTINA with my wife. Those guys had made more than 8000 jumps in their career. We stepped into a small plane, scheduled to carry people for this activity. After a 5 minute flight, I soon realized that I was the first one to jump, followed by my wife, amongst 20 others. SOON WE JUMPED from 15000 ft. Dammmmmmmmmmm, that experience, that thrill, that excitement, that fear, that moment will always stay in our heads for this lifetime. I am actually short of words to describe the experience. But those who are reading it - GUYS DON'T MISS TO SKYDIVE ONCE IN YOUR LIFETIME. It was our first jump (we will jump again for sure, somewhere else). We got the video & Pics of our jump from there. After the activity, we came back. Later in the night, we visited ICE BAR LOUNGE in Queenstown for another good, last experience of New Zealand. Spent our last night thinking about the memorable 12 days that we spent in New Zealand.

Skydiving Terminal

Photo of Nzone Skydive Queenstown Shotover Street, Queenstown, New Zealand by Aditya Saini
Day 11

We checked out from the hotel and went to the Airport for our flight back to Delhi from a place which will always be memorable for both of us. A place which is designed for people who wanna spend time with each other and their families, rather than socializing (which can be done anywhere in the world). Its a place filled with beautiful sceneries, lovely people, good "NON VEG" food and lots of activities to be experienced.

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