Australia, New Zealand ·
6 Days ·
8 Moments ·
21 February 2019
Lake Wanaka,NZ| Our next stop is Queenstown which is about a 4.5 hour scenic drive from Mt. Cook. On the route we mapped a stopped at Lake Wanaka to see the infamous Wakana Tree.
Wanaka is beautiful, we didn’t expect it to be such a beautiful town, with so much to see and do. We regret not staying a night to see and do more but enjoyed a few hours of exploring.
We did however get to see the lake and tree. Absolutely beautiful.
The drive from Wanaka to Queenatown was an hour of winding roads and majestic views. During the drive we realized we only had 31 miles worth of gas left and a 30 mile journey with no Gas stations on the route. As the roads twist and turned we anxiously compared the car’s meter to the gps. It dropped from 18 km range to 0 but We had about 12 miles to go. That’s when we almost panicked until we saw a down hill descend.
Mile after mile we held on in anticipation. My contingency plan: I’d run to the nearest gas station. By God’s grace we somehow made it.
20 February 2019
Mt. Cook, NZ| Mt Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand towering over 12k feet. There are many ways to experience Mt. Cook and the surrounding glaciers.
Our dream was to hike a glacier so we booked a Heli-Hike from Mt Cook Village to the Tasman Glacier. While we preferred Fox Glacier or Josef Franz, Tasman Glacier was much easier to get to.
Sadly, at 10:32 AM we received an email canceling the trip due to weather. This was a highlight of our trip that we couldn’t experience.
Alternatively we took a hike and saw the mountains, lake and glacier from afar hidden behind clouds, fog and covered in Rain.
We stayed at the Hermitage Hotel. Worst decision ever. This place is extremely outdated, very expensive, and in a desperate need for a renovation. As soon as we walked into our room I noticed a bug on the ceiling. In an attempt to kill it, it landed on Felipe’s face & well that was funny to witness. There’s no AC so they gave us a fan.
Pro Tip: Stay in Lake Tekapo or Twizel
Lake Tekapo, NZ| Lake Tekapo is a small town that shares the name with the most incredible Lake my eyes have ever seen. The turquoise lake with a backdrop of stunning mountains was breathtaking. The water was perfectly transparent and captivating.
We fell in Love the moment we caught our first glimpse at the end of the road on a 3 hour journey. The sun was bright and warm creating the perfect climate to enjoy the Lake and the Tekapo Springs.
We stopped by the historic Church fo the Good Shepard nestled in top of a hill overlooking the Lake. Absolutely stunning.
After taking in a few hours by the lake we grabbed a bite and started our drive towards Mount Cook.
En route we passed Lake Pukaki which is larger and equally as stunning but has ice capped mountains on the horizon. Breathtaking.
Pro Tip: Do not miss Lake Pukaki. Pull off the side of the road and head up a hill for the best vantage point. Eat at Mckenzie’s and take in the view.
19 February 2019
Kaikoura, NZ| Located approximately 3 hours from Christchurch, Kaikoura is a small town known as one of few places in the world with year round resident sperm whales and a host of other wildlife such as seals and dolphins.
The road to Kaikoura makes for an easy scenic drive though still undergoing significant construction from the devastating effects of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Kaikoura on 14 November 2016
In Kaikoura we embarked on a Whale Watch excursion and saw two sperm whales surface and dive. We also saw a multitude of dolphins.
In town we stopped by Bee Box to purchase Blue Borage Honey since Kaikoura is home to this sweet treat. Bee Box is store with a story. A beekeeper family In it’s 3rd generation of honey production an added bonus this honey is Organic.
On our way out of town we stopped at Poppy’s for some ice cream.
Pro Tip: There are tons of wineries on the track from Christchurch to Kaikoura.
18 February 2019
Akaroa, NZ| Only 1.5 hours outside of Christchurch. This was a last minute add in for our trip after learning of a small family owned winery located in the hills of Akaroa.
The drive has many twists and turns as you climb the mountains. It’s summer in February so it’s hot and dry; the fire warnings are high. You’ll also see wildlife in the pastures along the ride an abundance of sheep, cows and horses.
The winery itself was small and owned by a husband and wife. The husband, Al, is native to NZ and his wife American. They bought the wonders in 2001.
Head into town and explore a bit. It’s small but has several very good restaurants, a few attractions and excursions. There seems to be a really strong French influence and presence in Akaroa.
We dined at a restaurant called Me Maison, recommended by Al. It was amazing. We loved the food, view and experience. After a relaxing meal we drove back to Christchurch.
Pro Tip: plan this visit in advance and check out the Giant’s House.
17 February 2019
CHRISTCHURCH, NZ| Today Christchurch is still rebuilding from the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck in February of 2011 claiming 185 lives. All around the city you’ll find a contrast of ruins and new structures erecting. It’s a city attempting to recover from its past.
There are beautiful street murals, parks, gardens, coffee shops, and restaurants. You could spend days exploring Christchurch or use it as a gateway to other areas.
You won’t want to miss the Cardboard Cathedral, Botanic Garden, or Victoria’s Clock. There’s a lot to see but we didn’t have enough time.
Our favorite little coffee shop/cafe was Unknown Chapter. The coffee was fantastic and food was gorgeous.
Pro Tip: There are a lot of ways to get around inside and outside of Christchurch. Hire a Car, Intercity bus, Uber, taxis, tour guides, trolly, city bus routes and Lime Scooters. From the airport you can take a city bus for 8.5 NZD one way. Also consider staying in a VRBO in the city.
16 February 2019
Auckland, NZ| Morning comes and no bags. So we went shopping for some basics to get us through the day. After getting ready we head out for the day and enjoyed a gorgeous breakfast, and beautiful cocktail overlooking the sea.
Exactly what we needed.
As the day progressed we moved on looking for food and stopped in a restaurant called Frieda, we didn’t eat but made some friends. I learned the ladies next to us, Bev, Lesley and Adrienne, were celebrating Bev’s special 70th birthday. So I bought them a round and they invited us to join their celebration.
This developed into wonderful conversation, great laughs and an invitation for us to visit with them in their Vacation home in Rotoura.
Beautiful connections made it all worthwhile.
15 February 2019
After rerouting from Sydney we landed in Auckland to spend 2 nights before flying to South Island to begin our great adventure.
We missed our connecting flight because our flight from LA was late. We were put on another flight but upon landing we learned our luggage didn’t make the flight.
We submit a claim with Air New Zealand, then Tired and overwhelmed went to our hotel to rest. We were told we would have our bags by the morning.
On the bright side we flew first class...