Our trip to New Zealand was just under two weeks long and covered both the North and South islands. We started by landing in Auckland in the middle of the night. And we didn't have to take an expensive cab to our hotel. Because New Zealand has this wonderful, super-reliable, bang-on- time service called SuperShuttle, which specializes in airport pick-ups and drops, and is available in every major city. You could book your shuttle online on their website (Supershuttle.co.nz) or find one right outside the airport arrivals.
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.
DAY 12: DEPART FROM CHRIST CHURCH Explore more of the city if you got the time before leaving for the airport with beaming memories of this amazing trip.
DAY 7: HEAD TO QUEESNTOWN After a couple nights we departed Te Anu and geared up for a leisurely drive to Queenstown.We were there around lunch and enjoyed food and drinks at one of the many amazing restaurants in the city and moved along with the crowd to the lake to unwind.The city also has a vintage theatre which is a fun experience and called it a night after dinner and cocktails at one of our now favourite bar in Queenstown: 1876.
And the South Island is veddy, veddy British in many ways. Especially in the far south. Dunedin is a nice little university town with excellent coffee and a good music scene. The University of Otago give the whole town a youthful buzz. It’s the kind of place where you go to the bandshell on the weekends in the botanical gardens and listen to the local brass band resolutely huff and puff their way through Sousa and Dion alike while the sun shines down and you feel the grass between your toes.
Spend Two Magical Days In RotoruaRotorua is deeply entrenched in the culture and traditions of the Maori people of New Zealand and its landscape is a major illustration of that fact. This however, is not the only unique characteristic of this city. Rotorua occupies a special place in the heart of travellers from all over the world owing to its many hot springs, geysers and mud pools. This sheer historical and geographical delight is an absolute shining gem of the North Island.Opt for an InterCity bus connecting Auckland and Rotorua. The bus services are fairly regular and come with WiFi, but you have to book your tickets in advance. They depart from Auckland Central and the journey should be around 3 hours long.Amazing Things to Do in Rotorua
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
DAY 3: TRAVEL TO WANAKA After spending a night at an apartment around Mt. cook in the Mackenzie region and enjoying breakfast with a view of the sugar powdered glaciers we drove out to Wanaka. A charming little town with a beautiful lake that made for a jaw dropping view from our rooms.You can join a glacier lake tour if you are staying around longer.
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.
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.
A short (and cheap) bus ride away from Queenstown is an absolute darling of a settlement called Arrowtown. There are buses every hour each way, and the road, like most of suburban NZ, is spattered with stunning landscapes and sheep farms. Sheep are everywhere in NZ. Four times as much as humans, to be precise! Once you've had your fill of the Chinese settlement, hitch a bus back and head off for your adventure activities. Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world - you can bungee jump, skydive, go kayaking, take a jet boat into the canyon. Most places offer a free pick up and drop if you book in advance, so no transport hassles! If adrenaline is not your thing, book a wine tour to one of the famous vineyards of the Otago wine regions - they are famous for their crisp Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs.
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.
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.
A cool little town with amazing sunsets
The Kiwi land is home to the most breathtaking caves and a caving tour here can be your introduction to underground sceneries like you've never seen before. Glow worms called arachnocampa luminosa are luminescent creatures unique to Waitomo, which can be seen in the caves. You can also take a quiet boat ride along the meandering Waitomo River to witness the surreal glow inside the caves. Black water subterranean rafting, rope dangling and rip roaring are some of the most thrilling things to do in New Zealand while visiting the Waitomo Caves in the Waikato region.