Following on from Part 1 here, here is the second instalment of my blog of our two week tour of New Zealand!
Making our way from Wanaka towards Queenstown, we decided that rather than spending three nights in Queenstown, we’d crash instead for one night in picturesque Arrowtown.
Arrowtown isn’t far from Queenstown, which was good because we had a big activity lined up there next day. We spent the night in Arrowtown and had a walk around the next morning before heading off to Queenstown. We weren’t going to miss the scenery of the Milford Sound, which for me personally was probably what I was looking forward to the most.
The original plan was to drive to Te Anau, spend a night there and go to Milford the next day and spend a night somewhere afterwards to break up the drive. It’s about 5-6 hours each way from Queenstown. What we ended up doing is binning all of that and finding a good deal on what’s known as a Fly-Cruise-Fly package. We were going to fly from Queenstown to Milford in a Cessna, go on a cruise, then fly back. Fuck yeah!
This is one of those experiences I won’t forget for the rest of my life. We went with Air Milford. They picked us up from our campsite (ha) and drove us to the airfield, where we met up with the other passengers and boarded our brand new plane. We managed to score seats right behind the pilot which was very cool as we got to observe what’s involved in flying a plane as well as take in the scenery.
It’s really hard to relay with pictures just how amazing the view is. In that plane you can wiggle around and check out the views from different windows so you get a full 360 degree experience rather than the view out of one little window.
When we landed, they took us on a shuttle bus to the terminal where the boat departs from. The cruise took just under two hours, and they take you right up close to some of the waterfalls, show you some seals and give you commentary the whole time which was surprisingly interesting. There’s a bar on board, too. Excellent.
After another great flight back to Queenstown, we had dinner at Flame (thanks for the recommendation JP) and packed it in for the night because tomorrow was going to be another rad day. We were off to do the Nevis Swing and Bungy, fuck yeah!
There are three different bungy jumps you can do in / near Queenstown. The one in Queenstown itself is really small. Then there’s the Kawarau, which is 43m. We weren’t messing around with that, so we went out and did the Nevis, which is 134m. Tirza wasn’t keen, so I did that myself.
What we did do together is next door to the bungy, and that’s the world’s biggest swing. You can go in a few different positions, including several options for a tandem swing. Good times!
After all of that it was unfortunately time to leave the south island and head back up for some beach action. The next morning we shot up the gondola in Queenstown for a coffee, which I recommend (the coffee wasn’t great, but it’s a good view to take in while you drink one). It would also be a crime to not take my guest to the cookie time shop for an entree before smashing a Fergburger.
For anyone that doesn’t feel like waiting in the line for an hour to get Fergburger (like me), you can actually just call up and order it to be picked up, then cruise past everyone and collect it at the window.
Once we got back up to Auckland we caught up on some sleep and jumped back in the car for part 3 of the tour of New Zealand, the Coromandel! Beach time!
Driving down there during the week when it isn’t a long weekend is fantastic. Usually the roads are full of traffic during these times so it was nice to make the most of state highway 25. We checked into our AirBnB in Matarangi, a spot I chose as a good location between the beaches we went to check out.
Our first port of call was New Chums beach. Regarded as one of the world’s top 10 beaches, it’s well worth the 30 minute trek around the corner to get there. When we got there we were awarded the whole beach to ourselves which was amazing.
There are a lot of options for beaches around this part of the country, but it would be rude to not go and check out Cathedral Cove as well.
I can’t imagine what it must be like going here on a public holiday. The carpark is small (luckily we snagged one) so if you don’t manage to find a spot, you need to get a shuttle bus or pay a local to park on their lawn. Most definitely a rad spot.
With the limited time we had, we couldn’t see them all but we did shoot down the coast and check out Hahei and Hot Water beach, a unique spot where you can dig yourself a hot pool on the beach. I don’t know how people sat there for so long, we sat down for five seconds and got burned asses.
After that we cruised back to Auckland and that concluded the two week tour. I think we saw and did a lot, and ticked off as much as possible given the time frame we had. I honestly don’t think I’d change much if I did it again. Hopefully these two posts are helpful to anyone else planning on doing a similar trip!
I’m glad I got to see some of my own country which I hadn’t yet. I ask myself sometimes why I’m heading off again but it’s great knowing that this is what you get to come back to. New Zealand is truly a great country in all respects.
Thanks for reading!