If you are looking for breathtaking landscapes, fantastic food and wine peppered with some exhilarating adventure sports New Zealand is it. The best way to enjoy this beautiful country is to drive right through it. We spent 2 weeks, and loved every minute. Here’s our guide to the perfect 2 week trip:
Day 1: We reached Christchurch in the morning, hired an SUV and drove to Mount Cook. The drive was 5 hours long during which we drove past the beautiful Lake Tekapo and stopped for lunch at MacKenzie’s cafe bar and grill. We carried on to Mt Cook where we stayed the night.TO DO: Must see the Mount Cook Aoraki glacier. Although the lake is beautiful we found the boating trip quite boring.TO STAY: We chose the Hermitage, and picked out a room that faces Mt. Cook.TO EAT: Steak of course. We ate the pork belly at the Panoramic Restaurant at our hotel and would highly recommend it.
Day 2 to 6: The next place on the list was the lovely quaintQueenstown where we spent 5 days. The drive was 4.5 hours long, and as expected beautiful.TO DO:1. Wine tasting: While there are regular tours, the best way to do this is book Funny French Cars – the personalised wine tour in vintage Citroen cars2. Arrowtown: We took a lunch trip to this historic gold mining town where you can watch movie in old style cinema.3. Bungee jumping: We jumped from the first ever bungee jumping location at Kawarao Bridge
4. Rafting: We rafted through the day, a must do at the Shotover lake5. Sky diving: The ultimate thrill jumping off a plane. Unfortunately we missed thisTO STAY: The Rees is fantastic. Do choose an apartment facing the lakeTO EAT: We tried every kind of meat. We would recommend eating the leg of lamb at Botswana Butchery, trying the insanely large burger at Fergburger, and the venison burger at Devil Burger
Day 7: We left Queenstown for Wanaka where we stayed the night.TO DO: Walk by the lake on the beautiful walking track, stop, breathe in the air, and take some pictures.TO STAY: We loved Ferryman’s cottage which was an adorable bed and breakfast run by a wonderful couple. Don’t miss their signature breakfast.
Day 8 to 10: We drove to Franz Joseph Glacier and stayed here for 3 nightsTO DO: Check out the phenomenal expanse of white, either from the air by a helicopter tour, or by foot with the walking tour. Both are fantastic, and we would recommend doing both.TO STAY: We had 5 star luxury in a little wooden lodge at theWestwood LodgeDay 11: We then drove to the quiet seaside town of GreymouthTO DO: Visit the seals at Seal colony, drive by the apostles on the sea front, take in the natural wonder of the Pancake rocks and refresh yourself with a sampling beer platter at the Monteith’s Brewery.
TO STAY: Breakers Boutique Resort, it is a beautiful sea facing resort
Day 13: We drove back to Christchurch and stayed for 1 nightTO DO: Unfortunately this beautiful quaint city was almost destroyed in the earthquake, so there was not much to do besides visit a few pubs and restaurants.
TO STAY: The George – a lovely 5 star hotel facing the Hagley Park.TO VISIT: Black Betty which has a relaxed environment with live music (visit before 4pm). Other than that we liked the very ‘propah’Strawberry Fare and tried the brunch at Under The Red Verandah