Niinkuin monet teistä tietääkin, viime joulukuussa meillä oli mahdollisuus matkustaa Uudessa Seelannissa mieheni kanssa pari viikkoa pääsäntöisesti ihan lomailun merkeissä intensiivisen kouluvuoden jälkeen. Matka Uudessa Seelannissa oli meille molemmille ensimmäinen ja molemmat meistä olimme intoa ja ideoita täynnä lähtiessämme suunnittelemaan reissua. Olimme koko kaksi viikkoa Eteläsaarella ja näkemistä sekä tekemistä riitti. Heti ensimmäisten päivien jälkeen Eteläsaari löysi oman paikkansa sydämessäni. Luonto on hämmästyttävän monipuolinen ja näkemistä sekä tekemistä riittää. Halusin koota teille Uudesta Seelannista kiinnostuneille oman matkaoppaani, jos satutte tuolla puolen maailmaa matkustamaan. 

As many of you guys know, last December I had the opportunity to go and travel to New Zealand with my husband. We were there for a few weeks to adventure and vacation at the end of an intensive school year. This was the first time we had ever been to New Zealand, and we were so excited to finally go after researching and planning our trip. We stayed in the south island for our whole trip, and after the very first day, it definitely became one of my favourite travel destinations ever. The views were breathtaking and diverse, and there was more than enough to see and do. I wanted to put together a travel guide to New Zealand for any of you who are planning to visit in the near future!

Where to stay

  • Campervan - In my opinion the absolute best way to explore and sleep in New Zealand is staying in a camper van. Hotels are quite limited, especially in more rural towns whereas with a camper van there were countless camp grounds designed for staying the night. Having a camper van gives you the freedom and flexibility to stay and travel wherever you want.

  • Valley Views Glamping - If you're ever going to try glamping, New Zealand is the place for it. Valley Views glamping was one of the most amazing experiences. It was in the most relaxing and peaceful part of New Zealand and offered the most unique experience. The whole resort was run by solar panel energy, and everything eaten was grown on the very farm itself. If you want to see more, check out my previous post here,

  • Kinross Cottages, Queenstown - As Queenstown is a touristy town, it can be challenging to find a camper van spot, so we decided to stay at Kinross cottages. It was the perfect distance away from the busyness of Queenstown, but close enough to go and do day trips. Kinross cottages was a mixture of a modern and quiet cottage feel.

Where to eat

  • If your into organic and locally grown food, New Zealand is the place for you. With so many farms, most of the food served at restaurants is locally grown and so fresh.

  • When youre in Queenstown, everyone will tell you that you have to visit Ferg burger but I would have to disagree. Even though it is a tasty burger, the fact that there is a line up outside the corner doesn't make it quite worth it. There are so many other amazing restaurants in Queenstown, for example Devil's burger. Devil's burger proved to be even more delicious than Ferg burger, without the line up.

  • When you get to the more rural parts of New Zealand, the restaurant options can get quite limited. So make sure that you prepare in advance and go stop by a local grocery so that you can prepare your evening dinner by your camper van.

Where to stop

  • Lake Tekapo - When driving from Christchurch to Queenstown, the first place your gonna spot is Lake Tekapo. Your eyes will not believe it! The water is so blue, that it almost looks fake. But it is 100% real, and it is the most beautiful sight your eyes will ever see.

  • Lake Pukaki & Mount Cook - As you continue driving, you'll reach Lake Pukaki. Lake Pukaki is like the big brother of Lake Tekapo. Again your eyes are not going to believe how blue this water is. As you continue driving around Lake Pukaki, your going to reach Mount Cook. This majestic mountain range is covered all year round with snow, and has some amazing hikes. Both Lake Tekapo and Pukaki, are right off the main road, so you don't need to detour very far.

  • Wanaka - Wanaka is one of those perfect little small towns, with everything you need to enjoy. Theres nice restaurants, a lake, and tons of activities to do. One of our favourite hikes was here at Roy's Peak, which led you to the most beautiful view of the mountain ranges. On top of this, theres pretty much an opportunity to do any kind of outdoor activity you'd like, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, you name it!

  • Queenstown - Queenstown is the largest city in the southern area of the island. Many people fly straight to Queenstown as it is a major city centre. The city has that relaxed, ski town feel, with trendy restaurants for young people. When it comes to activities, anything that comes to mind, you can do it here. It's just going to cost you a bit of money!

  • Christchurch - At first as you visit Christchurch, it seems pretty empty and under construction. Ever since the major earthquake, a majority of tourism has shifted elsewhere and the city has been slowing being rebuilt. But when you actually start exploring the city, you start to realise that theres an emerging creative culture. Throughout the city you'll fine amazing murals on the walls, creative solutions such as the container city shopping area and so on.

  • Milford Sound - The drive to Milford sound is epic but you gotta be prepared. Make sure you fill up your gas tank to full, because theres not going to be any gas stations when you arrive. As well, check out the weather forecast, because if its heavily raining and cloudy, your not going to see much. We were lucky and the weather cleared up on our 2nd day, but the first day we could barely see anything.

  • Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park - These pools were a short 15 minute hike from the main road, and were so worth it. Jumping into this freezing cold glacial pool was a once in a lifetime experience. If you want to enjoy this breathtaking place without many tourists around, make sure you visit early in the morning.

  • Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge - Hokitika gorge was a hidden gem we found on our drive through the west coast. If your looking for an afternoon stop on your drive, just to walk around and enjoy the views, and take a refreshing dip, this is the place for you.

What to do

  • Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook - This is a great first hike to do when you get to New Zealand. Its only 3 hours there and back, and its very flat and has a well maintained track. Through the course of the hike, your going to experience beautiful glacial water lakes, rivers, and epic mountains. Some of my favourite parts were cross over the rivers on suspended bridges, and dipping my feet into the glacial water at the end of the hike.

  • Roys Peak - This was one hike that everyone's gotta do. In total its 16km, and takes about 5-6 hours there and back, it is long but not challenging. You just gotta persevere, and keep taking one step at a time, and eventually you will reach the most amazing views and see incredible mountain ranges. A tip if you want to avoid tourists, try going really early during the day and catch the sunrise, or then leave a few hours before sunset, and reach the top during sunset. Most people just hiked it during the day, so by doing this, you can avoid the rush.

  • Gertrude Saddle at Milford Sound - Gertrude Saddle is one of those hidden gems of Milford Sound. Most people just drive to the end of the road and take a ferry trip to explore Milford Sound, but Gertrude Saddle offers a totally different experience. Before doing this hike, make sure you are prepared. Research the route, and bring along food and water, as this hike is a bit more challenging. Don't worry though, it is totally safe, as long as your up for some adventure. Throughout the hike you will be amazed by breath taking views, with the climax at the peak.

  • Arrowtown at Queenstown - Queenstown has lots to do and see, but if you have some extra time, I'd definitely suggest to go and check out Arrowtown. Arrowtown is only a quick 20 minute drive from Queenstown and is so worth it. Its a small, charming former Gold Town, which is now full of small boutique shops, restaurants and coffee shops. If you want a quiet relaxed evening walking around a beautiful town, go and check out Arrowtown.

  • Onsen Pools - Onsen Pools is the perfect way to end your day after being out hiking and adventuring in Queenstown. It is the most relaxing experience, with breathtaking views. Onsen Pools is as well only 10-15 minutes outside of Queenstown and is definitely worth it! Go and check out my blog post about Onsen Pools here,

  • Kayaking at Wanaka - Kayaking and getting right into the middle of it all is so worth it. We went kayaking in Wanaka and cruised around the lake taking all the views in. It was very affordable, and worth every penny!

Where to shop

  • Christchurch - If your one of those people, that you just can't help yourself and do some shopping on every vacation, Christchurch is the place for you. You'll find your favourite clothing brands, and get to experience the famous container city. This was a solution after the earthquake where they took shipping containers, and turned them into clothing stores.

What to bring 

  • Good Hiking Shoes - If there is one reason why you should visit New Zealand, its because of all the amazing hikes and breathtaking views. So make sure your prepared and buy proper hiking shoes.

  • New Zealand has 4 seasons, so its hard to say what clothes to bring. So make sure you prepare beforehand and read what kind of weather there is going to be, so you know how to be properly dressed. Remember, all the seasons are backwards since New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere.

  • One thing that surprised us during the trip was the cost of gas. Of course we knew that we would be driving around a lot, but we didn't expect the price of gas to be on average 2.00 NZD per litre. So be prepared and budget for this!