I love to travel, and so in 2018 when I was living with my sister we used every spare minute (and $$$) to go on little trips. I love going away for months on end, but when you work full time that can be a little tricky. So small 1 week – 10 days trips it was! We went to Thailand in January, Bali in May and then lastly New Zealand in November – Luckily I took the time for these trips, because I can’t see too many on my horizon for this year. Starting a business and saving for a house is going to put an end to them.
We love tropical holidays – you tend to when living in Melbourne, because the temperatures down there don’t quite do it for Queenslander…So New Zealand was quite different from lazying around the beach all day. BUT wow what an amazing holiday. I don’t think I have ever had so much fun or eaten quite so much wine and cheese.
With so much to see in new Zealand and the added complexity of driving for your holiday I thought I would jot down some of my must see places and tips to making the most relaxing holiday you can!
#1 Winery tour through Wanaka/Otago region
This is a MUST. Even if you don’t like the wine, the food and the scenery that you will enjoy on a winery tour around the Otago Region is out of this world. We only had 2 days in Wanaka so didn’t want to spend the whole day on tour; hence we opted for the half-day tour with lunch. This is more than enough. It allowed us to visit four wineries whilst still having time to walk around the gorgeous Wanaka Lake in the morning and have a drink down by the waters edge at night.
#2 Stop by the Blue Pools
On our way from Wanaka to Fox glacier we stopped off at the blue pools, as recommended by our winery tour driver. JUST WOW!!!!!
I have never seen such clear blue water. This is apparently caused by the glaciers rubbing against the mountains, which forms a powder colouring the water that beautiful crystal blue colour – you learn something new every day!?
This was a great spot to stretch our legs, it was only about a 2km walk each way
#3 Visit the Hokitika gorge
I had heard amazing things about Hokitika gorge from friends and more recently my mother who has been to New Zealand. But when we got to or accommodation in Hokitika we were asking about the drive out there and the receptionist turned around and flat out said – don’t go, its not worth it. Ok she said that about the few restaurants in town as well – I think she has been living in Hokitika for too long because when we did get up early the next morning to drive the 30mins out the gorge it was well worth it. It was one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. It is just a short walk (about 1.6km) through a rainforest and across the swing bridge to a landing looking out over the gorge.
DO IT, don’t listen to people that live in the town, get yourself to Hokitika gorge before you leave!
#4 Take a picnic and take in the view at Lake Tekapo
We got a lot of jealous stares and comments on our excellent set up. Alone Lake Tekapo there are a few chairs and picnic tables, so take your claim on one. Pack a little snack platter, and wine if you are so inclined. Then take it down to the waters edge to enjoy the sunset. It is easily one of the most stunning, picturesque places I have ever been. One of those places that are far better to soak up than just take a few touristy photos of!
#5 Pack your lunch
You don’t often have to spend long in the car to get anywhere in the south island, however on those days that you are facing a 3-4 hour drive it is best to pack some food. Because the towns are few and far between – so on that note, check your petrol is full before you leave as well!!
#6 Visit Fergburger (Duh!!)
Visit Queenstown, Visit Fergburger. Enough said.
Don’t let the long lines put your off, there was a 20m line out the door, and we still only had to wait about 15-20mins. But if that is still to long, hot tip from the locals is to call ahead and order, then you can just pick it up when it’s ready! We took our burgers down to the waters edge and sat on the steps – do it, the view is spectacular!
#7 Stock up on groceries in the big towns
We took a small soft esky and freezer brick with us in our suitcase. This was a suggestion of my mother, and boy was it the best thing we did! Groceries in the little towns are (VERY) expensive, that is if they even have more than a corner store. So in the bigger towns when we came across a larger supermarket we would stock up on the some of the basics for breaky and lunch – and cheese of course! The best towns for this were Queenstown, Wanaka, Hokitika and Lake Tekapo.
Summary – Visit the south island, it is so worth it. I have travelled to a fair few countries around Europe and Asia, and I still think I saw some of the best scenery here. With the short drives between towns, it still provides you with plenty of time to take in the town and relax with a good book. Whilst more expensive then travelling to somewhere like Thailand, my sister and I still did this whole 10 day trip on less than $2500 – flights, travel and spending money included!