New Zealand

New Zealand

The South Island

We took a flight from Gold Coast, Australia to the New Zealand South Island city of Queenstown.  New Zealand consists of two primary regions, the South and North Island.  Both islands offer different landscapes, climate and culture.  They do however have something in common, awesome locals known as “Kiwis”.   We would spend the next 14 days exploring both incredible islands by car.  On the South Island we started in the city of Queenstown, in our minds, the most beautiful city on either island, took a boat cruise to the Milford Sound, drove along the tropical Western coastline to Fox Glacier, hiked the Abel Tasman Track, one of New Zealand’s “9 Great Walks” and rented a cottage (literally in the middle of a wine vineyard) where we allocated two days to tasting wine in the Marlborough region.  Highlights below from our time exploring the beautiful South Island…

Queenstown
Queenstown

Waited in a long line to grab a Fergburger with a new friend.  Considered one of the best burgers in the world and worth the wait!  (but still no Au Cheval!)

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The journey to Milford Sound and our road trip exploring the beautiful Western coast...

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Laura leaves a bra for a good cause
Laura leaves a bra for a good cause
a lavender farm
a lavender farm
the "pancake" rocks
the "pancake" rocks
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A hike along the Abel Tasman Track...

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lunch on the beach
lunch on the beach

Our winery crawl for some of the worlds best Sauvignon blanc...

vineyard view from our room
vineyard view from our room
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Gibson Bridge Vineyard
Gibson Bridge Vineyard
Brancott Estate Heritage Winery
Brancott Estate Heritage Winery
Cloudy Bay Winery
Cloudy Bay Winery
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The North Island

After our two days of wine tasting, we hopped a three hour ferry (with our car) from South to North Island.  From there we ventured into a vast and rugged landscape filled with geothermal hot springs, bubbling mud, a beach “Cathedral”, hobbits and the occasional volcano.  Our North Island highlight, an 8 hour hike through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, considered one of the most beautiful day hikes not only in New Zealand but around the world.  It was an eerie landscape like no other and home to Emerald Lakes and  “Mt. Doom” of Lord of The Rings.  Not since Patagonia have we been in such awe of a places natural uniqueness and beauty.  Highlights below from our time exploring the wild North Island…

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volcano
volcano

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing...

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Laura and "Mt. Doom"
Laura and "Mt. Doom"
The "Red Crater"
The "Red Crater"
Emerald Lakes
Emerald Lakes
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Geothermal hot springs and gurgling mud, Rotorua...

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Lounging at the awesome Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove)...

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digging self-made baths at Hot Water Beach
digging self-made baths at Hot Water Beach
new Kiwi home owners first Christmas Tree
new Kiwi home owners first Christmas Tree

A visit to hobbits in "The Shire"...

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NZ: 3 million people, 60 million SHEEP!
NZ: 3 million people, 60 million SHEEP!
Mānuka honey
Mānuka honey
The Shire
The Shire

No landscape dramatically changed more often than what we have seen during our travels in New Zealand, truly a wild and beautiful place with wonderful people and some of the best hospitality!  Loved our visit there.

 

The local Kiwis also gave us some good advise.  As our travels come to an end we decided to spend our last full week on an island in the South Pacific, we looked into Fiji or the French Polynesia.  However we heard over and over again from those in New Zealand about one particular place we hadn't considered.  A place off the beaten path that the Kiwis, familiar with this side of the world, assured was our must go to destination.  More to come in our final post of 2016...

10 Comments on “New Zealand

  1. Awww your last two updates are 2 of my favorite places in the world. NZ has been a place my hubby & I loved and want to go back to. Enjoy your last week and can’t wait to catch up with you when you return!

  2. Been to New Zealand 3 times & it’s an amazing place. Your pictures are so cool. Can’t wait to hear about your final destination.

  3. Framing the picture of you jumping in the middle of the road, embodies everything I love about you.

    Gorgeous country, can’t wait to watch video footage days on days on days when you get home.

  4. Wow that is incredible. I need to go there asap. Everything looks so beautiful.

    So is the Marlborough region the best for Sauvignon Blanc? That’s my favorite wine!

  5. Amazing pics!! I have loved all of your updates…and am dying of jealousy back here in the good ol’ US of A. Enjoy every bit of your last travel days…excited to catch up when you get back!

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