We’re heading to New Zealand!
While I’ve seen the transit lounge a few times on my travels between Australia and the U.S., this will be the first time exploring New Zealand.
New Zealand is one of the Living List destinations. We are full of excitement – and yes, a little anxiety – as we are finally going to get to see what so many describe as one of the most beautiful places on earth.
I have my camera ready. The batteries are charged. I have extra memory cards. I have the tripod ready to pack and extra lens are secured.
We’ll be travelling both the North and South Islands in those 12 days? Are we crazy? Yes. Yes, we are. But this is a ‘taste test’ of New Zealand. Or, the highlights tour, if you will.
Why? Because we are scheduling this adventure around the school holidays in Australia, giving us just 2 weeks between school terms.
So, we have created an itinerary that delivers everyone’s ‘must sees’ and added in a few bonuses as well.
Here’s our 12 Day Itinerary:
Coordinating arrivals between Australia and the U.S., we’ll spend a few days acclimating to time zones as we explore Auckland. On the list: La Cigale Markets, Mount Eden, Mission Bay and the Waitakere Ranges.
Day 4: A big day planned.
We’re heading south and then east with Rotorua as our final destination. First Waitomo Caves to discover the glowworms. Continuing on, we’ll walk amongst the redwoods in the Whakarewarewa Forest, before arriving at our hotel in Rotorua. Dinner is booked at the Te Puia Thermal Village for an authentic Maori Cultural Experience.
Day 5: Big travel day.
We’re flying out early to Queenstown, where we’ll pick up a rental car and drive to Te Anau for the night. Yep, looking forward to the drive between Queenstown and Te Anau immensely (including the tunnel).
Day 6: Milford Sound.
We’ll enjoy a cruise on Milford Sounds followed by exploring the surrounding area by car, then head back to Queenstown.
Day 7-8: Queenstown.
We’ll spend a few days here, discovering Queenstown, Glenorchy and Mount Alfred. Yep, ‘Middle Earth’ baby.
Day 9: Heading North.
As we head to Mount Cook, we ‘ll stop in Arrowtown and Lake Wanaka, taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Day 10: Mount Cook to Christchurch.
We’ll enjoy a Glacier Cruise in the morning before we meander our way to Christchurch.
Day 11-12: Christchurch.
We discover the Christchurch area and Kaikoura (where we hope to see some baby seals) before heading back to Sydney.
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