It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 5 years since my trip to New Zealand (aka Heaven on Earth). A coworker of mine recently went there so I dusted off the photos and itinerary for her and figured I would also share with the rest of the world!
This was a whirlwind trip of the South Island that was done in about 1 week, flying into Christchurch and out of Queenstown to maximize.
We didn’t have much time in Christchurch and weren’t planning to spend much time in the city itself because it was recently (and sadly) demolished during an earthquake. What we did see was quite beautiful and I am excited to go back to see the city rebuilt.
We stayed overnight in a budget Ibis hotel and headed out to Akaroa on a day trip.
Akaroa is basically a super cute town set within scenery a la “Sound of Music”, but on the Ocean. While there, we toured the countryside, found a quaint cafe and took a boat ride on the ocean to see the cliffs and wildlife.
From there, we took a bus down to Queenstown and along the way got to stop at Mount Cook National Park which is doesn’t need much of an introduction.
Mt. Cook is the highest mountain and surrounded by glaciers which create these amazingly light blue glacier lakes. Of course, also exciting were the vineyards and fresh fruit stands along the way!
I didn’t think it was possible to see more beauty, but alas, we arrived to Queenstown and sure did. It’s set right on Lake Wakatipu which means amazing views and sunsets that are best enjoyed with a bottle of wine and good company.
It’s a small town, but has great restaurants and nightlife which we enjoyed during our 2 night stay at a hostel in the city. We then stayed 2 nights at the incredible Rees Luxury Apartments which was right along the lake (below photo taken from our balcony).
Queenstown is definitely the adventure capital of the world so we made sure to try some extreme sports while there! Sky diving over the beautiful lake and mountains with NZone, as well as jet boating with Shotover Jet which were both an amazing rush.
Also, for the brave, the original bungee jump bridge is in Queenstown at AJ Hacket. While we were in town so were the Rugby Sevens so we had to catch some of that as well (and it also made for some interesting nightlife experiences!)
As if it couldn’t get any better, the region just north (Central Otago) is a fantastic wine region with plenty of great vineyards to spend the day at.
We of course had to take a day trip to Milford Sound and found a trip that also stopped at the amazing scenery along the way (Forests, Glaciers…set for Lord of the Rings!)