The Guide to the New Zealand Road Trip - Part 2
Hey everyone! So last week I was beginning to tell you all about our honeymoon in New Zealand. We started in Auckland, rented a car, and ended the trip down in Queenstown. Follow along for some of the things we did, places we stayed, and food we ate!
Our final destination was Queenstown, so from Picton, we tried picking a place that was somewhat in the middle. We ended up settling on Tekapo, which was 7 hours away from Picton and another lakeview town that thrives on tourism and outdoor activities. While we were on our trip, it probably rained half of the time, which was kind of a bummer. We wanted to go to Tekapo because it has one of the clearest skies in the world. Due to low light pollution, the stars are absolutely incredible. Nonetheless, it was raining while we were there. So, we hung out in our cabin, and pretty much left it at that.
The next morning, we were off to Queenstown, which was only 3 ½ hours away. We found this really cool cabin that was recently renovated on Airbnb. It had amazing views of the lake and the people were incredibly hospitable!
Queenstown is known for action, adventure and taking risks. Since we are not necessarily the biggest “risk takers”, we opted for more adventure type of activities like hiking. The night that we got there, we went for a hike on the Bob’s Peak. You can also take the gondola up there if you are not into hiking and just want to see some cool views. It only took us around 1 hour to get up the mountain, so it’s not very strenuous at all.
The next day we had great weather, so we decided to do the hike that I was most excited for, Ben Lomond. The hike is roughly 14 miles and took us 5 ½ hours to do. The hike has you hiking through the woods at first, then you come to a clearing and you’re out on the exposed dirt path. Because of this, it gets hot, so just plan to wear layers when you go. When you start climbing, there was snow towards the top, and the summit was incredibly windy. I wore a tank top, an under-armor shirt, and my Lululemon jacket with gloves and was nice and warm. Rounding the top, it starts to get a bit more challenging. There was fresh snow, but it was mixed with a lot of mud, so the trail was incredibly slippery. We brought our trekking poles which came in so much help, because it would have taken us twice as long to climb that part. Getting to the top was tough, but it was honestly the best hike we have ever done.
The next day was another beautiful day, so we ended up deciding to go back to Tekapo to do the star gazing at night. We drove up to the area and hiked around Mount Cook National Park for a bit before heading back to Tekapo. The star gazing tour was this magical part of the trip. Mike loves astronomy, so this was definitely his favorite part. I’d never seen a sky so clear before!
That was hard to follow up, but the day after we took a tour of the Milford Sounds. This is the “top rated thing to do” in New Zealand, and everyone we talked to said you have to do it. So, we listened and we went on the tour with InterCity tours. Its an all day tour from 7am to 7pm. You drive around Queenstown to Te Anu, and go through the Fjordland National Park. Our tour guide had so much great information and we learned so much along the way! He even stops at interesting spots so you can get out and take some photos. Once we ended at the Milford Sounds, we went on the Jucy Ferry boat for the boat tour part of the day. People weren’t kidding with how beautiful the place is, and I can see why its called the eight wonder of the world!
Tip: Make sure you bring some rain gear because you get up close and personal with the waterfall!
One thing I had to do was get some wine. Mike was cool with this place, The Chard Farm Winery, since the road leading up to it has to do with Lord of the Rings, too! Whats cool is the tasting is completely free, they just ask that you give a donation that goes to helping hospice care.We tried all the reds, and the noir was my favorite!
A small hike that we heard about that was nice is the Queenstown Hill trail. Since the last few days of our trip were filled with rain and snow showers, we weren't able to get another big hike in. The trail leads up some of the most beautiful houses in the area, to a dirt path that takes about an hour to hike up. When you reach the top, you get some really amazing views of the city. I think that all levels can do it, so definitely give it a go!
On the last nice day, we drove out to Paradise. This was one of Mike’s suggestions to go and explore all around Glenarchy, which is a Lord of the Rings thing. It was only about 30 minutes from us, so we drove out and were surrounded by sheep and cows the entire way! It was actually really cool and I cant tell you how many times I screamed out to Mike “Wait! Slow down! And as he was barely going 5 miles per hour, I’d take my camera and snap a pic. I even got some shots as the animals were looking which I was so impressed with if I do say so myself!
What I love about New Zealand is their devotion to sustainability. Almost all of their food comes from the island or Australia and all of the beef is locally sourced, the eggs are cage free, the veggies and fruits are organic. So, obviously, this was great news to me! One place that we went out to eat was called the Public House. All of their food is from the area, and it seriously was some of the best food I’ve had a restaurant in a long time. I got salmon and Mike had short ribs.
Another place we went to dinner is the infamous Fergburger. This was rated as the “top burger in the world”, so of course we needed to make sure on that, right? The line pretty much wraps around the street and down the block most of the day, but we weren’t in any rush. We wait in line (next to a dog which is always amazing), and I can say, its totally worth the wait. I got a venison burger with avocado and Mike got a beef burger with pineapple and bacon.
All in all, this trip was one for the books. I had always wanted to go to New Zealand because of all of the photos I’ve seen, but it honestly just doesn’t even do it justice.