One of the main reasons I wanted to visit New Zealand was because I wanted to see the scenery from Lord of the Rings. After watching the Lord of the Rings series, I was bound and determined to see what I saw in the film in person with my own two eyes. Knowing that the movies were filmed in New Zealand made visiting even more exciting because I knew I would soon be walking through Middle-earth. Now that I have seen the dramatic mountain scenery, I can understand why Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings cast and crew chose NZ. Continue reading
While traveling throughout New Zealand I was always on the lookout for turquoise treasures (as I do in each destination that I visit). Typically, I visit very well-known turquoise places where turquoise can easily be spotted. New Zealand was a country where I had to search a little bit harder to find those turquoise spots, but I found them nonetheless. I knew prior to going to New Zealand that it is known for its mountains and not turquoise surroundings, yet I was constantly left excited to see the turquoise gems in each region. Continue reading
Most people who come to New Zealand end up bungy jumping at some point during their vacation. Most people jump in Queenstown; it is the adventure capitol of the southern hemisphere afterall. I went to New Zealand not wanting to ever do it, but being in New Zealand left me considering it none the less. Am I crazy? I’ve done what seems like everything else, but never in my right mind did I want to do a bungy. Continue reading
In the early hours of the morning I pull myself out of bed to see the sun rise over Lake Wanaka. As I slowly wake and walk through Wanaka the skies begin to come to life. As I near the lake front, I am left gazing at the clouds and mist hovering around the mountains. The mountains surround the lake watching over it like a precious jewel. The lake sparkles from the reflection of the sun on its dark surface. In my eyes, this place is the sacred gem of the south island. Continue reading
The drive from Franz Joseph to Wanaka satisfied my desire to be by the water and to see turquoise. If I was given the choice between mountains and beaches I bet you know which one I would choose. Yet on New Zealand’s south island, there was no need to choose because I got the best of both worlds. No matter in what direction we drover, I was brought to out of this world views of mountains, lakes, beaches, and turquoise water. Continue reading
Waking up in the small town of Franz Josef at the base of Franz Josef Glacier was beyond words. When I first exited the lodge in the morning, I was left speechless while looking at the fresh snow capped mountain range in front of me. The gigantic mountains in the Westlands towered over the Rainforest Retreat. Apparently, it had been 6 months since the locals saw the mountain peaks with snow on them. I was told that winter is near. I arrived just in time. Continue reading
Heading south on the western ‘wild’ coast of the south island in New Zealand was a spectacular drive. According to Lonely Planet, the drive from Marahau (Abel Tasman National Park) to Punakaiki is one of the top ten drives in the world. I can now see why. The rugged coast overlooks the dramatic beaches along the way.
We stopped at Cape Foulwind Walkway to see the surfers on the beach and after a short walk, we observed a nearby seal colony resting on the black rocks. The jagged giant rocks were jetting out of the sea as if they were reaching toward heaven. I wondered to myself if the views could continue to get better and better the further south I went. Continue reading
Although I only stayed in Picton for one night along the drive to Abel Tasman National Park, I found the small city charming. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the next door bakery, fish and chip shops, and second hand stores. I enjoyed wondering around the cute town in the quiet morning with the warm sun on my face. The art-deco buildings, palm tree lined streets, and welcoming harbour burrowed a place in my heart.
Even before arriving in New Zealand, I knew I would love it. From what I have heard about it and the glimpses of what I had seen in movies I knew it would be amazing. I’ve heard that it is similar to Canada in many ways. Only now that I have landed and have been driving on the windy roads throughout the country, can I see the similarities. New Zealand is the perfect mix of eastern and western Canada with a dash of the central plains thrown in there. The spectacular mountains tower over the coastline in a way I have never seen before. The lush green rolling hills cover the south island in a magical way I’ve only previously seen in movies. It truly is one of a kind. Continue reading
After nearly 3 months in Australia, I departed for a new journey in New Zealand. Although I didn’t have nearly the same amount of time as I did in Australia to travel around, I got a taste of what New Zealand had to offer. Stray was the perfect way for me to see what New Zealand had to offer in such a short amount of time! With only three weeks in New Zealand, my fast track Stray Bus tour of the south island (Willy Pass) and north island (Tom Pass) was the creme de la creme of New Zealand. Hitting most of the best stops in New Zealand in a short period only made me want to see more. Continue reading