I feel very lucky to have seen some amazing and beautiful places on our travels so far. New York, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the incredible beaches of Fiji and plenty of places along part of the East Coast of Australia. However, I can safely say that New Zealand has blown me away more than any other location. It’s topped the lot. I’m not sure how I’m going to find the words to convey its beauty and how it makes me feel. But I will try.
I love the feeling when waiting at the airport for a flight. It’s the anticipation before our next journey. And I think this felt extra special because New Zealand wasn’t on our original itinerary, and I had heard so many good things about it. Many had said how it beats Australia in so many ways. Apparently, if I loved Oz I would love NZ even more. I couldn’t wait to see the country for myself.
I had been told, also, how the flight into Queenstown is something special. I knew it would be quite overcast but we were still treated to special views of snow-dusted mountains which peered through the clouds. We circulated in the air for a while, and were lucky not to be delayed any longer due to the snow that had fallen the day before.
When we stepped off the plane it was actually quite refreshing, the low temperature was immediately noticeable, and it felt just like home in the UK. It made me realise how humid Australia actually was, but I guess I had become quite used to it. However, the cool temperature was definitely more familiar to me.
We stayed for our first three nights in Base Backpackers hostel in the middle of Queenstown. The hostel was centrally located and close to all you could want, including the famous Ferg Bergur. I did indeed try
The town was noticeably small and quite cute, with a buzzing atmosphere, and a completely different feel to any other towns we had been in. Small independent shops were sat next to plenty of companies offering adrenaline activities. AJ Hackett bungy, Skippers Canyon Jet, Hydro Attack, skydives, quad biking, you name it, alongside the famous Luge and Gondola. Jack and I were lucky enough to experience many of these activities during our 8 nights in Queenstown. I had a fantastic time!
I was shocked by the scenery surrounding the local area. Lake Wakatipu looked astonishing with the Remarkables mountain range in the distance, and the snow just added to the beauty. We were fortunate to witness this picture-perfect view with the added touch of snow. It was one of the most beautiful views I had seen.
I experienced two AJ Hackett activities; the Kawaura Bridge bungy and the Ledge Swing. Both were great! It was the first time I had experienced these two thrills, and it was amazing to do them both on the same day. The bungy was in a stunning location, surrounded by mountains, and I jumped from the bridge above faultless turquoise-coloured water. It was the ultimate adrenaline rush. If you’re in Queenstown, it is certainly a must-do!
The Ledge Swing was based at the top of Bob’s Peak and provided stunning views over Queenstown. And it was literally that; a huge swing. I would say it was more daunting and definitely more of a stomach drop than the bungy, yet another amazing thrill! It was great to try out both in two amazing locations. I also paraglided from Bob’s Peak with G-Force Paragliding, and got to see Queenstown from an unforgettable
We are spending most of our time in New Zealand in a Might Campers 4-berth campervan. We were quite overwhelmed by it when we first picked it up. It is so spacious! It has a large kitchen area complete with a microwave, kettle, toaster, fridge, a running tap and two gas hobs. It has two spacious double beds, one which is completed from the seating area and another which pulls out and is formed as a bunk bed. It is definitely the complete moving home! And in New Zealand it is certainly a ‘room with a view’ to say the least. Campervan travel really does provide flexibility; you’re free to go wherever you want and aren’t tied down by a set itinerary. It truly allows spontaneity!
After Queenstown, we headed an hour north to Lake Wanaka. Another beathtakingly beautifully awe-inspiring place. I’m runni
We then drove up the West Coast towards Haast, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. It rained consistently for around three days, but we were fortunate enough to time it right to see the Fox Glacier in all its glory. A really impressive natural creation, unlike anything else I had seen. Over a build up of years, the ice forms at the top of the mountain and then, due to gravity, the ice moves down the mountain and gorges out of the valley, creating a very impressive view.
In Franz Josef, we kayaked in the torrential rain on Lake Mapourika with Glacier Country Kayaks. What an incredible experience! It was a shame we couldn’t see past the thick clouds but to experience this in the rain was special in itself. We moved up the lake and through narrow creeks, which had a really eerie atmosphere. When the rain fell, it felt amazing, and really added to the whole time on the lake. It is something I’ll never forget.
Jack and I also rode quad bikes with Across Country Quad Bikes in the Franz Josef rainforest (in torrential rain again)! This was also amazing! We went through streams and lakes, thick mud, rocky ground and beautiful rainforest paths. And the rain made it even better! It was just crazy, I loved it.
We didn’t originally plan to visit Christchurch but we were excited to alter our plan and visit here for one day. We drove from Franz Josef through Arthur’s Pass, which looked incredible even through the thick cloud. Christchurch was quite striking. It is a wonderful city which is still recovering from the earthquake which hit in February 2011. My heart is truly with the city and its residents. I have no doubt it’ll recover to become the vibrant place it once was, and still is, with the help
Kaikoura is based further up the east coast of New Zealand and proved to be a beautiful little seaside town, with some fantastic coastal walks which boast incredible scenery alongside many views of the town’s lively inhabitants – seals! We were blown away by the number of baby seals which were swimming in and out of rocks. We even got up close to a very tame one who seemed keen to pose for a photo!
Nelson is located at the north of the south island and was probably the most city-like place we’d been to. It was still small though, but had all the shops and cafes you could possibly want. We enjoyed a few drinks in a local bar and took in the buzzing atmosphere. I had heard that Nelson prides itself in being one of the most popular locations for both holidaying Kiwis and overseas tourists alike, and also enjoys a lot of sunshine hours. This alongside the impressive array of entertainment options makes it easy to see why.
We then ventured to Picton which is another small and unique town, known largely for its harbour and ferry ports which link the south island with the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. We will now be exploring the north island during the second part of our fantastic trip. Each and every day is different and I am loving it.
All I know is, I love New Zealand. What an amazingly beautifully incredibly breathtaking country it truly is. There really are no words, but I have tried to find them…
The journey continues.