2.24.2016

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand | Sevengrams

After eight amazing days in Sydney, we hopped a plane and headed east. Our plan was to tackle both islands in 10 days, and though some people said we were nuts, that it was going to be too much too quickly, we were determined to see as much of the country as possible.

We landed in Christchurch quite late, awoke the next morning and hit the ground running. We packed up our little rental car (being sure to stop for snacks!) and started our journey west, through Arthur's Pass. It wasn't the most idyllic day - heavy rain and fog, but we felt the presence of the mountains the whole way. As we pulled into Franz Josef, the skies cleared, and out of the fog appeared these perfectly triangular mountains, just like the ones I remember drawing as a kid. I've never experienced a landscape quite like it -- all encompassing, somewhat overwhelming, and just downright stunning.

The next few days in the south island were filled with a myriad of activities. We hiked the face of the Franz Josef Glacier, took a scenic stroll around Lake Matheson (while checking out Mt. Cook in the distance), reveled in the turquoise colour of the blue pools in Mount Aspiring, indulged in some local beer and cheese while watching the sunset over Lake Hawea, tackled the Roy's Peak hike in Wanaka, rewarded ourselves post hike with some vino from Rippin Winery, ate our way through Queenstown, and got swept away by the whimsy of Milford Sound.

SOUTH ISLAND

TO SEE + DO //

drive through arthur's pass from christchurch to franz josef, stopping in castle hill and otira viaduct
hang out in the franz josef glacier hot pools
hike the face (or hop a heli) of the franz josef (or fox) glacier
do the walk around lake matheson to catch the reflected view of mt. cook
take in the turquoise-y blue water of the blue pools in mount aspiring
do the drive from haast to wanaka through mount aspiring
hike roy's peak
drive from wanaka to queenstown, through cardrona and the crown range road
ride the gondola for a view of "the remarkables", queenstown
do the drive from queenstown to milford sound -- note the homer tunnel and cleddau valley, and stop at the mirror lakes and the chasm

TO EAT + DRINK //

picnic lunch on wanaka beach, wanaka
spectacular white wine (with an epic view) at the rippin winery, wanaka
treat yourself to the best take away lamb you've ever had from pedro's, queenstown
brunch or afternoon coffee and a treat from the bespoke kitchen, queenstown
burgers from ferburger, queenstown
meat pies from fergbaker, queenstown
spend an evening sampling over 80 of nz's best wines at the winery, queenstown

TO STAY //

Most of the accommodations come equipped with a small kitchenette, a french press and better then average coffee -- making breakfast in the room, and packing lunches super easy.
aspen court motel, franz josef
the whistler, queenstown

[scroll down for the north island]

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

After six days in the south island, we boarded a flight to Wellington, New Zealand's capital at the southern most tip of the north island. Be forewarned, if you ever decide to fly into Wellington, that it's nicknamed Windy Welli for good reason. To say that it was a mildly terrifying flight would be an understatement.

Our time in the north island whizzed by in a blur of activities. We hiked beside an active volcano along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, explored the Waitomo Caves and got up close and personal with their local glowworms, popped in to say hello to Frodo at the Hobbiton Movie Set, and spent a day drinking (and eating) our way through Waiheke Island's wine country just outside of Auckland. It was pure bliss.

NORTH ISLAND

TO SEE + DO //

hike the tongariro alpine crossing (while checking out 'mt doom')
ski at turoa if you're there in the winter
explore waitomo's caves, while getting lost in the beauty of the glowworms
grab at pint at the green dragon after having toured the shire on the hobbiton movie set
day trip to waiheke island
we didn't make it there, but i hear rotorua is a must

TO EAT + DRINK //

have dinner at the station cafe, tongariro national park
dinner and beers at the huhu cafe, waitomo
eat everything and drink all the cocktails at the federal delicatessen, auckland
stroll around the city works depot, stopping in at odettes eatery for a bite and brothers beer for a drink
rosé and lunch at cable bay winery, waiheke island
stop by jurrasic ridge to chat with lance and try his wines, waiheke island

TO STAY //

adventure lodge and motel, tongariro national park
waitomo caves guest lodge, waitomo
rendez vous hotel, auckland
next time, i'd stay for a night on waiheke island (preferably at the cable bay views)

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

New Zealand | Sevengrams

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