We decided to finally venture to New Zealand. This has been a place we have been eyeing for a while and now that we live in Hawaii we are so much closer so we figured its go time. I wanted to share my adventures and itinerary with you all so if you ever needed some ideas for places to visit or things to see, this list might help you out. We visited both the North and South Island within 6 days which I know sounds crazy but was totally doable.
We started our journey on the 9th of November leaving Honolulu and arriving the 10th in Auckland. We took the first night to rest because we knew we had an early morning the next day. We stayed at the Four Point Sheraton during our stay which was in the city and nice for walking to stores and restaurants. After getting a good nights sleep, we woke up at 5am on the 11th to begin our trip 2 hours away to experience the Hobbiton Tour. Fun fact: I’ve never seen The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings but its been a dream to see this set forever and honestly this was one of my favorite things we did. The drive to Hobbiton was gorgeous and filled with rolling green hills and sheep and cattle everywhere. Our tour wasn’t until 9 or so but we left really early so we weren’t rushed and could grab coffee and whatnot. Once we arrived, we were bused into the actual set with our tour guide. We walked through the amazing gardens and passed by all the tiny hobbit doors. Truly a cool experience. After the tour we were debating on whether to go to Rotorua or not and decided to explore the city of Auckland instead but I think if I could go back I would of done Rotorua. I’ve been told its a magical place. After heading back to Auckland though we decided to visit the Auckland Aquarium and grab a bite at Velvet Burger which has amazing food. I would highly recommend the Beet Root burger and the Native Kumara Chips. We then headed back to the hotel to rest before heading to Wellington the following morning.
We arrived in Wellington on the 12th the following morning and were only staying here for 7 hours. The flight was super short and easy to do. My husband’s dream has been to visit the famous Weta Workshop which is in Wellington. All the giant animal sculptures you see hanging from the ceiling in the airport in Wellington are all built by Weta. So he headed there and I headed to Houghton Bay solo to submerge myself in Nature. This bay is full of quaint coffee shops and cafes and super cute beach homes. I feel like out of all the places we visited Wellington had the coolest vibe and I felt like I could of lived here. I spent hours watching the water and people go by. Truly loved it. After being reunited with my husband and snapping some quick pics, we headed back to the airport to catch a flight to Queenstown.
When we arrived in Queenstown later on the 12th and was greeted with the most amazing sunset. We had plans to head straight tour accommodations but couldn’t resist photographing this sunset. After our warm welcome we headed to our tent that to do some “glamping” with Glam Camping Queenstown. This tent was on private property overlooking Moke Lake. I would highly recommend driving to Moke Lake just for the scenery alone. There were tons of baby lambs and there’s a sense of being removed from the city which is nice. A warning though, there is NO cell service near Moke Lake or amenities nearby so think ahead and map out directions and bring plenty of snacks and water. After settling in, we headed to bed because we had an early morning at Onsen Hot Pools. Upon arriving at the hot pools on the 13th we were greeted and given a complimentary drink and snack. This hot pool was the most beautiful one I’ve ever been to. I’ve attached some photos below of the view but it doesn’t do it justice. You get to soak for an hour and just take in the beauty of NZ. I do recommend booking out WAY in advance because Onsen books out months in advance but definitely worth it if you can find the time.
After relaxing, we headed to the infamous Fergberg. I have never seen a place to has a line 24/7 and I legit mean 24/7 because the are only closed for 3 hour a day. The burgers were really good but I want to recommend the sister restaurant thats right next door called Fergbaker. This place has amazing pastries and meat pies. So delicious! While we are on the topic of food, I also received tons of messages suggesting a place called Cookie Time. We decided to grab an assortment of desserts here one night and OMG, this place should be illegal. We ended up back here again because its that good. After good eats and relaxing in world class hot tubs. We headed back to enjoy our last night in the tent. After waking up and packing our car on the morning of the 14th, we headed to the hotel we would be staying at for our last 3 days in Queenstown. We chose to stay at The Heritage Queenstown and loved it. Our room had a balcony, a full size separate bath tub, and you could even get in-room massage if you needed to really unwind. We thought we would just chill this day but decided on heading to the Blue Pool Track which is a 2+ hours each way road trip. I am super glad we made the drive because this place is amazing! The water is the bluest and clearest I have ever seen. You get to walk across a suspension bridge and the scenery is unreal.
Once we started heading back, we started talking about seeing the Milford Sound. This is pretty popular and famous place to visit while staying in Queenstown but the reason we weren’t sure is because of how long the drive is. Self-driving or taking a tour bus is about 5 hours each way and I personally was not about that. We came across a helicopter company called, Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopter Tours, that can take you through the Sound and we decided to say YOLO and booked it. We decided on a 3pm tour on the following day but was woken up on the morning of the tour by the company telling us that the weather was going to be bad around the time we originally booked for and they asked if we could be ready in 10 mins. Knowing that we didn’t have another day to do this activity we jumped out of bed and threw on clothes and was greeted 10 mins later by a taxi. After arriving to the flight area, we went through a safety briefing and then escorted to the helicopter.. There was different tours but we chose the one that lands you on a top of a mountain on a glacier and on a secret beach facing the Tasman Sea, and then stops for 30 mins in Milford Sounds. I would highly suggest doing this if you have the time and the extra funds. It is pricey but worth every penny!
After this amazing tour, we thought we would go check out some of the wineries we had heard about but honestly this was the only part of the trip we hated. The experience was the worst we have ever had at a winery and wouldn’t recommend visiting them at all. We headed back into town to grab some food and came across a taco shop in the main town area called, Taco Medic, which completely made me forget the awful wine tour experience. This place is a MUST! Honestly some of the best tacos I have ever had. We ended up eating here twice because I was addicted lol. After this amazing meal we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. The next morning, on the 16th, we packed up our stuff so we were ready for our flight later that day. We wanted to do some last minute exploring before heading home and decided on visiting a town called Glenorchy. There’s signs from Queenstown pointing towards Glenorchy and the drive is only 45 mins each way. The town was so cute and filled with small mom and pop restaurants and shops. There’s a famous red bar with the word Glenorchy written across it that everyone stops to take photos in front of. The weather was rainy and cloudy and made for a super cool ambience while visiting. I loved how removed I felt from the city and the local feel Glenorchy has. Definitely worth a visit. We then headed back to town to grab one last meat pie and some souvenirs before jetting back to Hawaii.
I really hope this guide helps you with any planning and takes some of the work out of knowing what to do. We definitely want to go back soon because there’s definitely so much more that New Zealand has to offer. We also lucked out with perfect weather except for some rain on our last day. I think visiting mid November is the perfect time for weather and right before the crowds get too wild. We loved the people and culture and would recommend this place to anyone.
Also, shoutout to Hertz NZ for hooking us up with an amazing car for all our New Zealand adventures. If you want fast, friendly service I highly recommend them.