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New Zealand in 5 Days

Guest post by bh

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

This was part of Go Ahead Tours’ Highlights of Australia and New Zealand tour. You need to get a visa for New Zealand as a US citizen but can do it online. We did a separate trip report for Australia here.

Day 1

  • Bobs Peak
  • Queenstown Gardens
  • Fergburger Shotover Street

Getting off the plane in Queenstown is something special – you walk out onto the tarmac and the mountains are right there. It took us a long time to go through security – don’t bring any food or anything that you would have to claim.

We took a gondola up to Bob’s Peak. Great view of Lake Wakatipu. There’s a restaurant up top, and lots of people biking down the mountain.

Tulips were blooming at the garden (November is their spring).

Had dinner at fergburger, which was voted the best burger in the world. It was very good, but the wait can be hours.

Queenstown is tiny but has some steep hills – you can get around on foot but might be walking up a ways.

Day 2

  • AJ Hackett Bungy
  • Shotover Jet Queenstown
  • Walter Peak

Took a bus to Arrowtown. Stopped in between to watch people bungee jump on the AJ Hackett bridge – frightening.

The Shotover Jet is a speedboat that takes you through some narrow passages. It was fun, but is probably the most low-key thing you can do in Queenstown.

In the evening we did a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak. We had dinner and watched a sheep shearing at a farm, which was much more interesting than it sounds. Beauty all over the place during the boat ride.

Day 3

  • Lake Te Anau
  • Milford Sound

This was the best day of the entire trip, and that’s with spending 12 hours on a bus. Had lunch by Lake Te Anau and then went to Milford Sound. Did a boat tour of the Sound, which was the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been. I still can’t believe it was all real. I took so many photos as each scene was more beautiful than the last! This is one of the wettest places on earth and much of the park is considered rainforest. Somehow, we won the lottery with sunshine and blue skies.

Day 4

  • Auckland Museum
  • Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park
  • Giapo Gore Street

We flew to Auckland and went to the Auckland Museum and Memorial Park. The local Maori haka dance, which was at the museum, was the highlight.

Memorial Park

We did dinner on our own and had ice cream at Giapo. Quite an experience, it’s more like an ice cream tasting with ridiculous options like a chocolate squid. More about the “art” than it being eatable food but really neat.

Day 5

  • Waiheke Island
  • Batch Winery Carsons Road
  • Peacock Sky Vineyard
  • Rangihoua Estate

We took a boat to Waiheke Island and visited a couple of wineries. The wineries weren’t too impressive (although nice views), but we had homemade olive oil at Rangihoua Estate, which was phenomenal. The freshest I’ve ever had and we bought some to take home (which we could do from Auckland).

Everywhere around Auckland is beautiful. Flew out the next day.

Traveled in November 2019

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