Day 1 - 1 May 2019
Content: Its a 7 hours flight from Sydney. A truly new airport with convenient transportation and facilities. Staff there are nice and friendly while the airport itself is clean and handy. It has many dining options too when you want to have a quick bite inside. Within 10 minutes walking distance you will get to a small center where more restaurants and Countdown are located. Very pleasant experience there.
Day 1 - 1 May 2019
Content: Overlooking Hagley Park, The George is a luxurious 5-star boutique hotel. with spacious rooms featuring contemporary furnishings and modern bathrooms.
Content: This is the biggest green space in the city center. See colorful flower beds, massive shady trees, duck ponds and green houses containing specialist plant species. Take a punt along the river Avon or a walk on the long winding gravel paths that meander through the park.
Content: Cathedral Square has been the heart of Christchurch since the mid 1900’s and continues to be just that despite the earthquake devastation. Visit the square to see what remains of the Christchurch Cathedral, learn more about the cathedrals history and future in the temporary viewing hut and pay your respects at a memorial made of hundreds of pebbles held inside a wire frame. Markets and festivals are also held here through the year.
Content: The new symbol of this developing creative city, the Cardboard Cathedral, opened in 2013 as a temporary church in place of the badly damaged ChristChurch Cathedral. What makes this one of the most unusual churches in the world, is that it’s partly made of strong cardboard.
Content: For the most spectacular views, check out the Christchurch Gondola. Soar above the mountains for views of snow capped peaks. At the top you can explore tunnels, take a hike and learn more about the history of the peak.
Content: The place to be now in the city centre is the Re:Start Mall which changes its location as construction around the city happens. After the earthquake the city was looking for a quick and simple way to get small shop owners and shoppers back into the CBD while the major redevelopment goes on. What they came up with, a mall made of shipping containers, was brilliant and made headlines all over the world for its playful creativeness.
Content: A lovely restaurant upstairs on New Regent Street, we were lucky enough to have dinner here with a 7:45 pm booking, all the tables were full, and it remained that way pretty much for the duration of our meal there. The staff were super friendly and efficient, anticipating our next steps without being overly obtrusive. Emma, our host, was brilliant, so enthusiastic which when you have such a fantastic product on offer is easier to do knowing the team behind you will deliver, and deliver they did. We had the fried blue cheese for a beginning', the groper and venison for our 'middle', and the sticky toffee pudding for our 'end'.
Day 2 - 2 May 2019
Content: We Left Christchurch early on day two and drive towards Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook. Its a 3 hours from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo. One of New Zealand’s most photographed lakes because of its powdery blue colour on a blue sky day and of the perfectly positioned Church of the Good Shepherd that lies on the southern edge of the lake. This tiny church features an altar window that frames stunning views of the lake and mountains.
Day 2 - 2 May 2019
Content: Boasting stunning mountain and lake views. Rooms are plush. The guest lounge features fireplace, library and tea/coffee-making facilities. Guests have free use of mountain bikes to explore the area.
Content: Fantastic ramen! Definitely so of the best i have had in New Zealand. Really reminds me of the authentic, delicious ramen we had in Japan. Tonkotsu Ramen was perfect, creamy and full of flavor
Content: Probably one of the most underrated of all the lakes on New Zealand’s South Island. As you drive over the rise on the road from Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki appears out of nowhere and stuns drivers to instantly slow. I found the colour of Lake Pukaki to be more amazing than Lake Tekapo but it’s not just the colour that makes this lake so impressive, at the far north of the lake is New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mt Cook, in all its glory.
Day 3 - 3 May 2019
Content: The drive out to see New Zealand’s highest peak is quite possibly one of the best experiences to be had in New Zealand. It offers uninterrupted views of Mt Cook as it winds along Lake Pukaki. The village itself is home to walks (more on them below) and The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre which offers a series of 2D, 3D and a Digital Dome Planetarium shows.
Content: Delicious chicken bombshell. Go for it burger was pretty good. Staff could use a few more smiles, but were friendly enough. Fireplace and pool table, plenty of seating. Music and video clips playing on the TV. Normal beer selection for a south island tavern. Average but liked it.
Content: There are dozens of walks you can do in the region like the four-hour Hooker Track which crosses three swing bridges, offers great views from the Alpine memorial and ends at the glacier lake with amazing views of Aoraki Mt Cook, the Hooker Glacier and the Southern Alps. Or why not summit Mt John for spectacular 360 degree views of the region.
Content: The Mackenzie Basin is one of the darkest places on earth, giving it the status of being a Dark Sky Reserve. This means that there is very little light pollution which allows for some incredible star-gazing. If you move away from the towns in the region on a clear night you will see more stars than you could ever imaged. But for real star gazers, you’ll want to head up to the Mt John Observatory in Tekapo to make the most of it.
Day 4 - 4 May 2019
Content: We made an early start for the spectacular Fiordland region. There’s lots of stunning scenery along the way so allow plenty of time for photo stops. Its a 5 hours drive from Tekapo to Te Anau.
Day 4 - 4 May 2019
Content: This luxurious lodge overlooks Lake Te Anau and the surrounding mountains. The comfortable rooms come with private balconies and luxurious bathrooms. Selected rooms come with spa bathtubs.
Content: The two-hour journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound itself is worth the effort but the cruise is out of this world incredible. It takes you past and up close to towering peaks, plummeting waterfalls and interesting wildlife. To get there you can self drive.
Content: On the western shore of Lake Te Anau you’ll find a cave system home to millions of glowing worms. You can tour the cave with a guide from Te Anau which includes a cruise on the lake to get to the remote location. Inside the cave are gushing water flows and the opportunity to spend a few minutes in total darkness with these unusual creatures.
Content: Probably some of the best baos you will taste. Menu is extensive, ingredients fresh and guess what? They serve coffee to boot. All the people that work there are fantastic and you can see why this place is the talk of the town.
Day 5 - 5 May 2019
Content: Its a 2 hours from Te Anau to Queenstown. Made an early start to give our self plenty of time to start exploring Queenstown.
Day 5 - 5 May 2019
Content: Located in the heart of town, Sofitel Queenstown offers luxurious rooms featuring marble bathrooms with French amenities. The rooms boast under-floor heating, an espresso machine, LCD TV and DVD player.
Content: As the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is home to dozens of heart pumping activities that will satisfy your inner adrenaline junkie. Try your hand at everything from bungy jumping, the canyon swing, jet boating, white water rafting, canyoning, paragliding, or sky diving.
Content: Any dedicated LOTR fan will have heard of Glenorchy as one of the main filming locations for the movie. But even if you’re not a die-hard you can still enjoy this drive, said to be one of the most scenic in all of New Zealand. It takes about 40 minutes and follows Lake Wakatipu, twisting and turning around the lakes edge
Content: The service was very good and the cocktails we had were the best ever. However, in our opinion, there is nothing special about the food. You can have the same dishes in any restaurant, cheaper and nicer. The wine was extremely overpriced.
Day 6 - 6 May 2019
Content: Just a short 25 minute drive from Queenstown is gorgeous little Arrowtown. This historic gold mining town has over 60 historic buildings still standing, some of which can be seen on a walk down the charming main street which is now lined with cafes and local artisan stores. Venture away from the main street towards the river to see the Historic Chinese Settlement, which was where the prospecting Chinese settled during the 1860’s gold rush.
Content: Unless you’ve decided to add extra time in Queenstown, a day trip to actually visit the wineries of the region may not be possible. But don’t worry, you can taste many of the regions best wines, right in the heart of Queenstown at The Winery. Grab a tasting card and a glass to help yourself to a taste of red, white, sparkling and spirits from Central Otago and beyond.
Content: For the best views from above in Queenstown, take a ride on the Skyline Gondola. The gondola glides up Bob’s Peak offering stunning views of the town, the Remarkables mountains and Lake Wakatipu.
Content: Unusual combination of rustic fireside with fine dining. Don't sit too close to the fire or you'll melt! Some lovely flavor combinations in a traditional menu. Service friendly but a little slow at times.
Day 7 - 7 May 2019
Content: Just over one hour from Queenstown to Wanaka. It’s only a short drive to Wanaka from Queenstown.
Day 7 - 7 May 2019
Content: Enjoy a range of walks to suit all fitness levels from two hours to two weeks. One of the most popular is the Rob Roy Glacier Track, a spectacular 3-4 hour, 10 km walk that takes in alpine scenery, snow fields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls.
Content: There are a few different ways you can enjoy Lake Wanaka either on land or on the water. From the town there’s a walk/bike track that leads in both directions around to certain points of the lake. Or if you prefer to see it on the water, you can hire a kayak, take a guided boat tour or speed through it on a jet boat.
Content: Just 5 minutes’ from the town center. Facilities include spa, lounge and a large patio overlooking the mountains. Handmade wooden furniture and rich colorful decor make all accommodation a special place.
Day 8 - 8 May 2019
Content: The drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef is one of the South Island’s best drives so give yourself plenty of time to make stops at waterfalls, lookouts and the amazing Blue Pools. Its a 3.5 hours drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef
Day 8 - 8 May 2019
Content: Surrounded by natural rain forest, this retreat is an easy walk to the main street of town. Guests enjoy free WiFi and luxuriously appointed rooms which include organic cotton bedding and large private bathrooms.
Content: There are two ancient glaciers in the region for visitors to explore, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Anyone can take a flat, easy walk to get close to each of them in just over an hour. Or for something a bit more adventurous, why not climb aboard a helicopter to soar above them and even land and walk on them.
Content: This picture perfect lake offers views of Mt Cook and on a clear, calm day, the perfect reflection of it too. The walk around the lake takes about one and half hours with lots of places to stop and taking in the view along the way.
Content: After a day hiking on glaciers you’ll need a place to go and help your muscles to relax. The Glacier Hot Pools is just the place! Surrounded by rainforest, the pools are fed by the waters of Franz Josef Glacier, or Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere in Māori. The legend of Hgai Tahusays that these waters are the tears of aroha, meaning love, which were frozen by the gods creating the Franz Josef Glacier.
Day 9 - 9 May 2019
Content: Its a 6 hours drive from Franz Josef to Nelson along the West Coast and it is the longest drive day of the trip. We followed the wild west coast all the way up to Punakaiki for the best views.
Day 9 - 9 May 2019
Content: Seems to be the place to be in Nelson. Local knowledge got us here and it was invaluable. Staff were great, food was excellent for sharing and the menu different enough to be one where you wanted to order more than one dish. Beer choices also exception and you can see why this place is humming and doesn’t take reservations. No one leaves this place unhappy. Go give it a try; won’t disappoint.
Content: Luxurious accommodation with free Wi-Fi, floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. Rooms offer, fully equipped kitchens, a lounge area with TV, a Blu-ray player and an iPod docking station.
Day 10 - 10 May 2019
Content: With no road access to the park, your only options for exploring Abel Tasman are on foot, cruise or kayak. There are a bunch of tours available that combine these things for a full day exploring this stunning national park.
Content: Its a 3 hours drive from Nelson to Kaikoura Stop by the Marlborough Wine region and enjoy the spectacular drive south along the Kaikoura coast.
Day 10 - 10 May 2019
Content: We were recommended the Zephyr and were not disappointed. The meat was perfect and we counted 7 veges, beautifully cooked and a great tasting combination. And the service was fantastic. A really good night at a restaurant we would definitely go back to next time in Kaikoura.
Content: The Hamptons offers free WiFi and breakfast in a quiet, seaside location. Luxurious rooms feature a patio, smart TV, air-conditioning, a sofa, refrigerator and tea/coffee-making facilities.
Day 11 - 11 May 2019
Content: The first place to start day, this lookout provides the best views of the bay and mountains. We guarantee the view will take your breath away.
Content: At Point Kean, just a few minutes drive from town, you’ll find a colony of seals that you can get up close to in their natural environment. As soon as we stepped out of the car we saw the seals lazing on the rocks, soaking up the sun. On our visit we saw a few dozen including some young ones playing in a natural rock pool.
Content: From May until October, head just 15 minutes north of Kaikoura to visit the Ohau Stream to see seal pups playing in the stream and under the waterfall. These playful and shy little creatures are left here by their mothers for a few months to play with the other pups while they grow.
Content: The bay is home to an array of marine life all year round. Your best chance at seeing them up close is on a cruise and there are cruises that run daily all year round. Sperm Whales live in the bay year round and Kaikoura is one of only three places in the world where you can see them up close. A tour will also give you the chance to swim with the resident Dusky Dolphins.
Day 12 - 12 May 2019
Content: Went in for breakfast, hand the eggs Benny. Coffee was yum, food was yum, service was quick and good. All round great experience.
Content: After breakfast we ended our trip back in Christchurch where you’ll find the biggest range of International flight departures on the South Island. Its a 2 hours drive from Kaikoura.