1 month in September 2016 with my dear friend Jenny.
Budget: Backpacker / with rented a car and slept in hostels
- Auckland to Raglan (surfer town) to visit Waitomo caves (tubbing)
- Night in Mourea Marea (maori performance, quite touristic)
- Rotorua and the geothermal activity
- Night in Lake Aniwhenua (Kohatapu Lodge with underground cooked meat for dinner! )
- Taupo (afternoon with Jenny drinking wine and mountain biking to Huka Falls – really good fun !)
- Tongariro National Park: If you can here, do the Tongariro crossing ! for us it was raining so we walked to Tyriaki Falls and Tama Lake.
- Wellington. If you have an hour to kill, the Wellington museum is great.
- 4 hours of boat to the South Island
- Nelson – Tasman Bay Backpackers is a nice hostel (with a nice lounge great to meet people)
- Nice in Laxy Cow in Murchison, super cute hostel with a homey feeling
- I loved Abel Tasman National Park – you can take a water taxi (to Anchorage – but during summer time you might be able to go further) and walked back with super beautiful beaches along the way.
- Drove to Franz Josef (stopped at Pancake Rock, and super nice views along the way. Take your time to get there – you will want to stop every 5 mins to take a picture!). In Franz Josef, we stayed at YHA in Franz Josef – I wouldn’t recommend , it was really busy
- The drive from Fox glacier to Wanaka is really beautiful so again take time to stop (waterfalls & incredible views)
- We really liked Wanaka and stayed at Wanaka BBH Backpacker (really nice hostel with great views on the lake and mountains). During the day, we rented bikes and had a long ride along the river.
- Queenstown – nice walk to the top of the hill & beautiful view up there ! Best place to do the swing-jumping. Best pizza : Fat Badgers. Burger: fergburger. Stayed in Haka Lodge , it was nice. The climbing is supposed to be nice there 🙂 My booking was cancelled sadly, so we spent a day drinking wines instead.
- Milford Sound, remote and amazing location. We rented some kayaks and spent the day on the fjord.
- [Ok to be missed] Drove to the Catlins and Curio Bay. Stayed in the Lazy Dolphin lodge. This area is really remote and it was quite bleak.
- [Ok to be missed] Drove to Dundedin. On the way, stop at the stone Catedral, huge caves on the beach. In Dunedin, not a lot to do – and we stayed in the Chalet Backpacker, I swear this place is haunted !
- [Ok to be missed] Otago peninsula. Sea lions are cool, but not a lot of things to see there.
- Drove to Mount Cook with amazing views ! Lake Tekapo is something that shouldn’t be missed ! We stayed in hostel Lakefront lodge backpackers.
- Christchurch, a bit of a desolated city due to the earthquake. They are rebuilding everything, so perhaps now it is a happier place 🙂
- [Ok to be missed] Hammer Spring – spent a day in the spa (pool with HUGE slides 🙂 and moutain biking (super trails)
- Kaikoura – for whales watching
- Drove to Blenheim and Bike & Wine in the Malborough area – great day ! hips!
Back to Nelson, we booked a flight to Auckland. We drove to Whangarei to then hop on a 2 days boat tour (with night kayaking, oursins snorkelling, walk in paradise island…).
- To book activities at cheaper prices : www.bookme.co.nz
- hostelworld to book hostels (in general, we avoided YHA / Nomads hostels because they are huge, noisy and all the backpackers buses stop there)