After all bundling into a tiny pink Yaris and road tripping over night from Brisbane to Sydney for a 7 hour drive to see the Broncos vs Cowboys 2015 final the idea of going to New Zealand together to see the NRL Auckland 9’s of 2017 had to incorporate another road trip for the 4 of us. Somehow I ended up in charge of the majority of planning which if you have seen previous Travelling Turkey Solo blog posts of mine you will know this is not my strong suit. So, we started in Auckland for the Auckland 9’s. After 2 days of footy and some Auckland sights such as walking up Mount Eden quite pretty, going to Sky point and to the Casino we boarded a plane and flew to Queenstown. As we were pretty good budgeters, we figured it was cheaper to do the internal flight and fly back out of Auckland rather than drive down and fly out of Queenstown.
Thanks to a tip from a friend we got a relocation vehicle which someone had driven Auckland to Queenstown, and it needed returning. So as always not all holidays are perfect and our vehicle was a manual instead of automatic. Which wasn’t a huge drama except one of us could only drive automatic. Not naming any names… ok it’s me. So, I couldn’t do any of the driving which put a real strain on the guys which wasn’t ideal.
We stayed our first night in Queenstown in a caravan park in a little cove between the mountains and it was simply beautiful. We certainly could have done without the rain that decided to pour down for the first 24 hours that we were there. It was still a very action packed couple of days in Queenstown it was probably the one stop that we had the most things that we wanted to do. We checked out the famous Fergburger and unpopular opinion but I wasn’t that fussed. Part because I hate lines and part because “there is only a touch of coriander” was basically a coriander sauce that drowned my burgers. The experience was interesting and it’s one of those things most people do it to say they have done it. I liked Devils burger around the corner better as there were tables to sit at inside and not such a long line and the burgers were equally good.
While in Queenstown we also did the Gondola checked out the views, did a Lord of the Rings tour, walked around the town and checked things out but the guy had all decided Bungy Jumping was what they were doing. Having had previous back issues I wasn’t keen on the idea so agreed to do the Nevis Swing with my boyfriend. He was still going to bungy first then we were off to the swing. While he was doing the bungy they came and told us they had to shut the swing that day and we could get a refund or try again for tomorrow. Being that we were on the road at 8am the next morning the next day wasn’t an option for us. I was just going to get the money back. But I was convinced to bungy partly by my boyfriend and partly by the photo of Mary who was on their counter of fame of amazing people who had jumped. She was 80. So I did the one thing that I had told myself I was never going to do in my life. And it was incredible. Such a rush I didn’t stop shaking from the adrenaline for about an hour.
That night we checked out the Ice bar thanks to some cheap coupons on Grabone. This was a highlight of our trip to Queenstown. Well what followed was our true highlight and the one thing we will never stop talking about. We were quiet jolly after the ice bar and found a busker that we thought was amazing. The guys grabbed every person that walked past and started an impromptu street corner party. Unfortunately, not something you can book in for it was just something that happened.
The following morning was one of my favourite things of the trip and was the jet boat ride. It was fast it was fun and didn’t involve doing too much. We did all regret the night out we had just had. But it was totally worth it.
The morning after that we were on the road pretty early and stopped off to look at some views and check out a lake but all in all not too much to report. We stopped in at Christchurch where at that point in time they were still rebuilding from the earthquake a number of years before. The Victoria clock tower was one of the things I was instructed to visit as it is one of the oldest listed buildings in the town.
We had an early ferry ride in the morning to get from the South Island to the North. This would usually be about $100 per person to get across and the vehicle cost as well thankfully as part of the deal with relocation vehicles they cover that for you.
Wellington was another Lord of the Rings tour for my husband which was fun to see most of the locations used in the movie. We also visited the Te Papa museum which was amazing so many of the displays were incredible and life like and educating but at the same time interesting. I am not much of a museum fan but this was one of the best I have seen. The other awesome thing in Wellington is the Weta cave where you get to walk through and see all the work that goes into making a lot of the creatures and prosthetics for the movies. Most famously the Lord of the rings movies but a number of others as well and some of the displays for Te Papa.
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On our way from Wellington to Rotorua we decided to do another Lord of the Rings themed stop but also an intense physical day we did the path alongside Mount Ngauruhoe also known as Mount Doom. At this stage of my life I was at my lowest physical fitness level so this was a challenge but boy was it beautiful. It was like every few kilometres you stepped into another eco system. I went from sweating from places I had never sweated before to chattering my teeth out. The biggest lie we were told was there are toilets and drink refills along the way. The walk takes an average person 6-7 hours it took us about 9. There is one toilet and tap about half hour in where you don’t even need it and another about 7 hours in. So if like me you go to the toilet at least every two hours and drink about 4L of water on a normal day I suggest one of those backpacks full of water, plenty of electrolytes and a diaper (or some other grown up way to deal with your abolitions). But all that aside it was completely magical and the perfect way to burn off the entire pizza I was going to have for dinner.
From there we were on to Rotorua no trip to New Zealand is complete without it. It is the centre of where all the things happen. We were presented with the challenge of what things we would cram into the few days that we were there. We started with white water rafting. Again not in my peak form was a little terrified I might fall out and make a fool of myself swimming. Thankfully but also terrifyingly when the boat did fold in half and flip almost everyone out my leg got trapped under the section that was for holding onto. Our guide was incredible and it was wonderful that before we took off on the boats that they gave us some history and gave thanks to the land and land owners. It ended up not being as terrifying as I thought, and the white-water rafting was incredible and I would love to give it another go.
We then went in this fun little maze where the four of us raced each other and I got hopelessly lost. Thanks to Grabone for the cheap tickets was well worth it for an afternoon of fun.
Later that afternoon, you guessed it another lord of the rings themed day. We went into Hobbiton. It was incredible. They really did put so much effort into building it and the details across the landscape as far as the eye could see what just like the movie. We finished off in the tavern where my boyfriend (now husband) sang the Green Dragon shanty and even got an applause once we were done.
Then due to my miscalculation on timing and how much longer Bertha (our motorhome) took along roads than regular cars we made a fleeting visit to cathedral cover and with nowhere to park the guys took turns at doing laps and tagged out to enjoy the view. It was breath taking. Like every part of New Zealand there is so many more day I could have spent. We only looked from above but the photos I saw were all from tours and boats and other activities that took you to the cove.
We enjoyed a brief stop in Auckland again and then out to the airport to farewell our faithful Bertha and board the plane back home. We managed to cram a lot into our short trip but there is still so much more of New Zealand that I would love to see.