First of all: I am so sorry it took me so long to write this article but I just experienced so much these two weeks in New Zealand in March that it just took me a while to get back here and then take the time to write everything down.
But here it is finally – my New Zealand blog post!
So in March Jerome and I went to New Zealand for the first time, 30 hours flight ahead into a completely new world. At this point I have to thank Emirates for the smoothest and most comfortable flight ever and especially the cutest service(that even captured our first holiday picture: sleepy us snuggling up during the flight, captured in a little polaroid picture from one of the lovely stewardess!:).
We landed in Auckland, where we stayed in the hotel DeBrett, which is located right jn the center, surrounded by all kind of boutiques and cute cafes, and directly went for an afternoon sail from Viaduct harbor with the “Explore Group“, which is only a 5-10 mins walk as well. It was a super smooth way to explore the surrounding a bit and then have a lovely view on Auckland. Afterwards we went around and ended up walking through Britomart and dining at the Vietnamese place Cafe Hanoi.
Our second day started with a breakfast in the hotel and picking up our car at Budget Car Rent. We rented a Toyota Rav 4 for the whole trip, which we only changed after flights and were super happy with it! The drop off and pick up was extremely quick and easy(usually only dropping the keys in a mailbox and then getting a new car after landing directly at the counter in each airport.
Then we went to the Te Uru Contemporary Gallery, where I especially loved the photo exhibition.
Afterwards we went to Piha Beach, where we hiked up the little rock and afterwards went for a hike to the KiteKite track, which lead to a beautiful, peaceful waterfall that I would definitely recommend you seeing.
We ended the day by going to Ponsonbay, a quite fancy area with a lot of boutiques, concept stores and restaurants and by chance found the cutest backyard cafe “Gypsy Caravan”.
The next morning we started early to start our 3 hour drive to the Hobbiton. We actually just finished rewatching all the 3 Hobbiton movies because we were again so fascinated when strolling around there.
Afterwards we drove further to Rotorua, where we stayed in the Regent Rotorua hotel. There, I would totally recommend you eating either at the Terrace Kitchen or in one of the restaurants in Rotorua’s “Eat Street”. To finish the day we went to the Redwood Treewalk, where we went around once during the daylight and once after the sunset, where you could also enjoy a beautiful lightshow. A beautiful, relaxed activity in between.
We startet our fourth day quite early with our favorite hotel breakfast of the trip to the continue with Rivers Rats rafting. We were supposed to take a longer, calmer route, which was closed due to massive rain and therefore changed for a shorter but rougher one(1,5h) – what a fun experience! The team was lovely and because of our guide at least double the fun.
The second part of the day we spent at Hell’s Gate, which was one of our favourite activities during our NZ trip. We started with a guided tour around the mud spa, where we could both try the mud directly out of the volcano and walk around the spectacular sight. Afterwards we relaxed at the great mud spa.
For the fifth day we started again with a delicious breakfast, before checking out. We left for the only native forest zipline canopy tour, where we both ziplined and learned about New Zealand’s forest’ history and the wildlife. For the hour remaining before departing to our flight to Nelson, we crossed the street to play some mini golf and ended up with an EVEN score(how crazy?). Then we already had to leave to the airport to fly to Nelson, where we directly picked up our car at the airport and checked in Rutherford Hotel Nelson. Our first stop in the Southern Island.
Early wakeup in Nelson to Marahau to spent this day at the Abel Tasman National Park, where we first started with an awesome kayak tour, followed by a cute lunch picnic at the beach and then followed by an incredible hike for the way back. All together it took around 6 hours and we did not only be super active but also saw seals(and their cute little babies), stingrays and blue penguins. This is definitely an experience worth doing!
Our last evening in Nelson we spent at the Boat Shed Café, where we didn’t only have great food but moreover delicious wine, lots of laughters and a beautiful sunset – highly recommend you to check it out!
To end the first week, we took the car and continued with a little drive down to Marlborough, were we stopped for a little wine at the Slip Inn and continued with a mussel cruise later on. We could not only try their amazing freshly fished green shell mussles but also had the pleasure to try some local wine. After this beautiful cruise we drove further to Chateau Marlborough and ended up spending the night in our outstanding hotel room with awesome room service(try the salmon and haloumi, to-die-for!), some wine and a lot of laughters.
To continue our wine consumption we started the next day with a bike wine tour with Explore Marlborough. Afterwards we went for a little souvenir shopping before heading to the airport again to fly to Christchurch. We checked in in our hotel “Hotel Montreal“, which had some lovely rooms, and went to the casino nearby, where we actually even won some money(YAAAY :-).
Our eighth day we again had an early breakfast to leave to Kaikoura for our both first whale watching experience and we have been super lucky to not only see lots of cute little dolphins jumping right infront of our nose but moreover three sperm whales and a jumping humpback whale. That was honestly one of our most mindblowing experiences. Afterwards we went to the Slam Club nearby, which has not only mouthwatering and healthy food but also a lovely interior.
The next day we did a bike tour around Christchurch with two awesome guides that showed us around and drove us to the newest places. Lots of the places had to close due to the earthquake in February 2011 so they have a lot of hip new areas and places like C1 Espresso, C4 Coffee & Co or their new playground, that actually kids had to design as a project in school and then they realized one of them. The whole city is really young and full of trendy restaurants, cafes and lots of cool paintings, art installations and graffiti. Later on we drove to Mount Cook, which took us around 4 hours with a stop at lake Tekapo and lake pukaki. This was definitely one of the most beautiful road trip with some amazing sceneries.
We arrived at “The Hermitage” to first have a delicious dinner at their panorama room and then go for a relaxing and mind-blowing Big Sky Star Gazing to end up this busy day.
The next morning we went for a boat glacier explore trip.
Afterwards we changed to start the Hooker Valley trip, which took us around 3 hours but is also highly recommendable. A super peaceful and energizing activity following the paths around the incredible Mount Cook, with an amazing view over the lake and the glacier as a reward on half the way.
The next day we drove further to Queenstown, which took us 3 1/2 hours and arrived at the cute Queenstown Park Boutique hotel and enjoyed some of the free wine and snacks they are offering daily in the afternoon by their fireplace. Afterwards we got picked up for a wine tasting, where we met Louis, our guide, who invited us for a town tour and night out.
Our next day we decided to sleep in a bit, enjoy breakfast, wander around the city to do some souvenir shopping and get ourselves some beautiful jewelry, that we actually wear everyday since then :), and afterwards went for a bungee jump. Actually Jerome wanted to and I was too scared but then I decided spontaneously to jump as well and portably did the most funny jump ever (-.-) :D. Afterwards we drove to Arrowtown where we had some with Louis. We ended up this day with an awesome cute dinner at Fishbone Bar&Grill, which was super tasty and the cherry on top.
Unfortunately we had to leave back home the next day but at least we could do one last wine tasting at the Villa Maria in Auckland, where we had a 4 hour layover. At the airport we could stay at the Emporor lounge, which was a super nice way to relax before the flight.
Thank you so much for this incredible experience Pure New Zealand! Can’t even describe you how thankful I am for this time.
Can’t wait to come back to this mindblowing country, it’s been a blast!