New Zealand… Sheep, amazing landscapes, kiwis, glowworms, penguins… What a country!
We spent two months together driving through the New Zealand country and saying “Wow!” ten times a day thanks to the beauty of this country. Lou had already spent two months there beforehand but we both discovered the South Island together for the first time.
New Zealand is like no other country, with its majestic landscapes and millions of sheep. Most of our photos on this blog and on our Instagram account were taken in New Zealand. It’s hard not to stop every five minutes on the road to admire a new scenery in this country.
We came to New Zealand, in March. The weather was fresher than Australia (of course) but still quite warm and very pleasant. Staying there two months, mostly on the South Island, we didn’t have too much bad weather. To be honest, we were very very very lucky: only three very rainy days in two whole months! This is so rare here, New Zealand and rain usually have a passionate never-ending love story.
The evenings were fresh, especially when we were at a high altitude but easily manageable.
We arrived in Christchurch from Sydney, which is a short three hours flight. We stayed in an airbnb for a couple nights with a very nice lady, to visit the city and take the time to buy a new car (which we knew, would never be as good as our previous beloved van that we already missed very very much indeed).
We will write another, more detailed article about our arrival, the car purchase and a few tips, but for now, we’ll talk about our itinerary so you know where we’ve been.
In this post, it might feel like we are just enumerating different places we’ve been to instead of showing you precisely our itinerary but we decided to write this post this way for a reason. It’s a way of showing you how we created our itinerary. We hardly knew in advance where we would be going next, we usually decided where to go at the last moment (depending on the time we had left in the country). Usually, the places we decided to go to were well-known and we just decided “Oh, let’s go to Lake Taupo” for instance and it’s from there that the itinerary was made up, that we sometimes decided to take alternatives roads to discover other places, more local places. But we always had a guideline “Lake Taupo” or ” Tongariro”. We took our time to go there and once we were there, we decided what would be the next well-known place we would go to.
We followed the same logic as before, for our Australian roadtrip, which was to try and have good weather wherever we went. Since we knew that winter was coming quickly in New Zealand, we wanted to be in the South Island before it was too cold, that is why we started by visiting the South Island and not the North Island. Indeed, in New Zealand, the weather is harsher and colder in the South Island during winter time. Even though, it’s still quite cold during this time in the North Island, you’ll still have a few more degrees North than South, and less snow.
That is why, from Christchurch we decided to go South directly. In New Zealand, since our time was shorter and we only had two months ahead of us, we planned our itinerary according to the famous, well-known spots, such as Mount Cook, which was the first New Zealand glacier that we got to see. Even though we planned to see the famous landscapes, we always had the opportunity to visit unknown quiet spot as well (and you know that that’s what we like best), which was very important for us. Anyway, from Mount Cook we went to Lake Tekapo, to Dunedin, to Invercargill which is at the very bottom of New Zealand. If we had more time/money, we would’ve gone to Stewart Island as it is apparently full of amazing landscapes as well.
Then, we simply went back up through the fjords, Queenstown, Wanaka. . We planned on passing through the famous glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers while going back north. However, because of a big storm in that area, a bridge collapsed between the two glaciers. This bridge was the only way through to see the glaciers. It took weeks to build that bridge back up and we unfortunately couldn’t wait that long to admire the glaciers, that were supposed to be one of the highlights of our trip. Instead, we had to take a huge detour to come back on track. You have to be aware, that this kind of event has occurred multiple times in New Zealand because of the wind and rain. You can have road washouts, big slips, bridges collapsing, .. So you’ll have to be prepared to change your planned itinerary if something similar happens while you are visiting.
We just went up North through that detour, also going through Arthur’s Pass, until we arrived in Abel Tasman, near Nelson. This was our last stop in the South Island. From there, we took a ferry to Wellington, on the North Island.
We had less time to wander around the North Island, so we quickly went to Mount Taranaki (cities are good for a day, but we were there for nature and only that! ). Then, we went to Lake Taupo, Tongariro, Napier, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty.
After seeing and falling in love with all the beautiful landscapes, all the well-known or secret places, we arrived in Auckland. We had a hard time selling our car, so we stayed in Auckland longer than we would've wanted to. But that’s another story for another day…
Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Observe the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various sea birds and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin!