I had my flight from Bangalore to Auckland via Kuala Lumpur. On arriving at Auckland, I was welcomed by Auckland's sunny and fantastic weather (21 degrees Celsius) which is quite rare. I hopped on a shuttle bus that took me straight to my Airbnb - The Trafalgar House. This is a beautifully restored 130-year-old mansion run by extremely kind and sweet hosts Kathy and David. Located in the quiet neighbourhood of Onehunga, the bus stop is just 2-mins away from the property where you get frequent buses to the City Centre.I spent 2 nights in Auckland. If you want to explore the city, you must head to the city centre and get a feel of the busy city life. Auckland's sky observation tower provides a great view of the city from a height of 220m. There are some cool and "expensive" bars and restaurants around. Cornwall Park is one of the must visit places when in Auckland. It is a refuge for bikers, runners, picnickers and travellers. It is home to a wide variety of vegetation and has a working farm inside the park. The hike to One-tree Hill is rewarding with its picturesque view from the summit.
Make Your Way To Two Fun Days In WellingtonThe capital of New Zealand, Wellington is vivacious for all the right reasons considering its many art galleries, museums, restaurants, pubs and high end boutiques. The traffic is the (not so sweet) cherry on top and makes it a bustling metropolis to the core. The weather is crazy but the city with its gazillion distinct features (including some great architecture and an impressive harbour) is beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable.
Christchurch - the largest city in South Island was my final destination. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck Christchurch in 2011, causing severe damage to the entire city. Thus, most parts of this city are now under restoration and there is not much to explore here as of now. I spent the evening with my Stray friends, discussing the highlights of the trip and bidding final adieus over dinner and drinks.In a nutshell...With 150kms of walking and hiking over 2 weeks, temperatures ranging from -2 to +21 degrees Celsius, mesmerising landscapes draped in autumn colours, bungy jumping, sky-diving and hitchhiking for the very first time and loads of strangers who turned friends - solo backpacking in the land of fern-trees, mountains, kiwis and sheep was one hell of an adventure. I must admit that I am totally in love with this country and is truly the best country, of the 18 countries I have visited so far.
I had my first bungy experience at the Kawarau Bridge which is the birthplace of Bungy. I was insanely anxious and laughing hysterically out of nervousness standing on the edge of the bridge and before I could blink, I jumped off the bridge screaming with fear and joy. And as I hung there, upside down I was glad that I was still alive to soak in the experience.
6. Tablet / small size laptop : Each day in new zealand will give you the chance to click million of pics. Suggest you to carry tablet or laptop with good memory storage to transfer your pictures data every day.
8. Sun Protection and Anti-tan lotion: Sun heat though not scorching but has strong impact. During my trip, i lost so much color because of not using Protection lotion and this thing I realised only after coming back from the trip.SO MAKE SURE YOU CARRY SUN PROTECTION OF 35 SPF PLUS UVB.9.Money/ travel cards/forex cards
The next day was the only boring day on our raodtrip. We slept in because the last 2 weeks were pretty hard and we never before had the time to sleep longer than 8am. The rest of the day was spend eating ice cream and playing board games. Definitely not wasted tho.
This small town with its well preserved architectural heritage, seaport in the Hawke’s Bay on the eastern coast of North Island is usually left out from the travel list. Yet, this small town has such a rich art deco architecture that it is easily the photogenic town of New Zealand. Tourists mostly flock this place in February when the famous Art Deco Weekend is held here. The town is bustling with people holding maps, but otherwise it is silent and peaceful for the rest of the year. The place is filled with art galleries and museums. The national Aquarium is a notable feature of this place too. On the whole it marks a calm end to your adventure in New Zealand.
We took an Intercity Bus to Greymouth to catch one of the best train rides in the world. The bus will pick you up from your accomodation and takes a little over 3 hours to get to Greymouth, well in time for the train. You get a short break in the gorgeous seaside village of Hokitika for breakfast. Make the most of it, because you'll spend most your 4 hour train ride with your jaw dropping to the floor. The TranzAlpine to Christchurch is an absolutely stunning train ride that's worth every penny. You'll cross rivers, mountains, fields and more. There's even a 'viewing carriage' purely for photography. I spent 80% of my time there, coming in only for some hot chocolate and wine. 5. Christchurch
Te Tii Bay: Best suited for families with children, the golden sand beach is perfect for fishing and swimming. It also serves as the hot-spot of windsurfers, kite surfers, and other water sports enthusiasts.
Wanaka is the quaint sister of Queenstown. It is about a 2-hour drive from Queenstown to Wanaka. I decided to do a tandem skydive at Wanaka in the morning slot and set off early in the morning from Queenstown. The weather was great with clear skies and as I jumped off the plane at 12,000 feet I felt a strange tingling sensation in my stomach during the first 45 seconds of free-fall. Sky-diving is a high-risk activity with at least one fatality occurring every 1000 dives. But once the parachute was open, my heart calmed down and the view from above was beyond description. The mountains, trees and lakes looked mesmerisingly beautiful. At that point, I could not thank God enough for this wonderful world and for this experience. I sailed down slowly with a beaming smile on my face and tears in my eyes.For the next two hours, I sat by Lake Wanaka to completely embrace the sky-diving experience with visuals playing back in my head over and over again.
Franz Josef Glacier
We took the state-run InterCity bus from Queenstown to the glacier town of Franz Josef. The bus takes one of the most gorgeous roads in New Zealand - the West Coast road. It's a 7 hour drive, but the bus is extremely comfortable, has Wifi and there are bio-breaks almost every hour. And it stops for photo ops along lakes, waterfalls - you name it! You'll get dropped off at your hotel in FJ - it's all of 2 streets big, a 7 min walk from one end to the other and a population of 300.
The lovely coastal city of Kaikoura, famous for whale watching, is a 2-hour Intercity bus ride away. The bus station is in central Christchurch - easily walkable if you're located centrally. The bus drops you about a kilometer away from WhaleWay Station in Kaikoura where you need to report for the activity (our tour was cancelled since the whales played spoilsport and went off deep into the ocean). You could also take a scenic Kiwirail from Christchurch to Kaikoura. 6. Rotorua
By now, my time in the South Island was coming to a close so Anna and I headed over to Renwick in the Marlborough region to sample some of the wines. It was a magnificent afternoon, perhaps one of the best ones I’ve had in years. Drinking wine and having perfectly matched cheeses in perfect weather in what could be the perfect landscape. It’s hard to beat that. Anna even said so herself. But too soon, it had to end. I had to catch the ferry to Wellington the next day and she was off down toward Christchurch.
1. Buckingham Street: Here you can relax, do chit chat and have coffee. There are intriguing cafes, restaurants and shops which are all local. The street is divided in to the two parts- on left side there is Ramshaw Lane along which arrow river flows. And on the right side of Buckingham Street is the Arrow lane. Unwind Café & Bar, Provisions , Arrowtown Bakery & café are some of the famous cafes. Patagonia Chocolates is a must visit shop awarded for its best ice-creams, decadent deserts and locally roasted coffee which you won’t soon forget.
DAY 5: TRAVEL TO TE ANUWe were in Te Anu in two to three hours’ time. Another, even smaller town in the region.After exploring the GLOW WORM CAVES, we got dinner in the town center and spent time under the clear starry sky at the Te Anu lake.
For the last leg of our trip, we took the Intercity bus to Auckland via Waitomo. It's an 8 hour journey inclusive of a two hour break in Waitomo and will drop you off to your accommodation in Auckland if requested in advance. Waitomo Caves are home to thousands of glowworms that can only be seen in absolute darkness and silence, on a boat ride. Imagine a sky full of blue stars - that's what it feels like. Photos are not allowed, but it's a truly unique experience.
Even if you are looking only for adventure in New Zealand, your trip will remain incomplete without a trip to the Hobbiton village movie set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in Matamata. Visitors can take a guided tour of the movie set, which involves fascinating commentary on how the place was created. Stop at the beautiful cafes on the green pastures for a great afternoon. This is an unmissable adventure, especially when you're travelling with kids.
Mount Cook Village
The resplendent drive from Queenstown to Mt Cook is unforgettable. The scenery keeps changing every few minutes. This is really what sets New Zealand apart from the rest of the countries that I have travelled to. The country is blessed with many natural wonders such as volcanic mountains, snowy Southern Alps, fjords, lakes, glow-worm caves and stunning beaches. Every time you move from one town to another, there is so much more to explore and so many new things to do.We encountered a funny situation where a flock of hundreds of sheep caused a traffic jam for nearly 15-20 minutes. It was amazing to see these cute looking sheep scampering on the road with a don't care attitude. We reached Mt Cook village at noon and checked into the Mt Cook Backpacker lodge located in the spectacular Aoraki Mount Cook National Park overlooking the stunning Alps.Soon after lunch, we headed out for a walk at the Hooker Valley track. This is one of the best day walks that takes about 3-4 hours (return). The walking track starts near the Hermitage Hotel, heads up the Hooker Valley and crosses three swing bridges to the Stocking Stream and the terminus of the Hooker Glacier. Once you cross the first swing bridge, the view of Mt Cook dominates the track and you can also see a lot of icebergs floating on the Hooker river. It was extremely windy and cold during the walk, but we fed off from the stunning landscapes.
A 90-minute drive from Christchurch, Hanmer Springs is a resort town in the Canterbury region of the South Island. Two shuttle buses take travellers from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs and back. Things to do in this part of New Zealand include a plethora of adventure activities but the small town is best known for the soothing sulphur pools and the luxurious spa treatments in the resorts of the region. The mineral water of the region has attracted people to this corner of the globe for over a hundred years and the sulphur pools were awarded the 'Best Visitor Attraction' for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006.
Tongariro National Park
Heading south, your first point of call for the day is Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland- a site of amazing geothermal activity. You will visit New Zealand’s largest thermal mud pool, sinter terraces and stunning hot and cold pools of many different colours. Heading south, stopping at the mind-blowingly powerful Huka Falls en route, you will reach Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Winding your way around the lake, you will reach Tongariro National Park, where your accommodation is situated in the vicinity of New Zealand’s three most active volcanoes: Tongairiro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Overnight Tongariro.
Paihia Town Beach: Conveniently close to restaurants and shops, this beach is excellent for sunbathing and swimming. The crowd is always of a mixed age in the bay, but this beach attracts the younger lot more.