New Zealand: Southern Island -
Experience in Oceania

New Zealand: Southern Island

Publication date: 12 Oct 2018
  • Experiences USD 526
  • Accommodation USD 192
  • Transport USD 432
  • Total experience USD 1380

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Know the destination

Six Days in NZ - Plenty of Things to See and Do There!

Some Basic information about New Zealand

New Zealand is in Oceania. It is one of the most remote countries in the world, 2000 km away from Australia, in the Pacific Ocean. The country is composed of two large, main, islands and hundreds of small islands around it. New Zealand is famous for its natural landscapes. As a matter of fact, many movies are filmed there to take advantage of them, including the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘Avatar’. New Zealand’s official language is English, so it is not hard to communicate. Its currency is the New Zealand Dollar, they have an eye-catching traditional warrior-dance called the ‘Haka’, and its favourite sport is the rugby. Go ‘All Blacks’!

I spent six days in New Zealand and let me tell you that the experience was beautiful. I could see snow, waterfalls, forests, beaches and so many photography-award-ready landscapes that it would be really hard to describe in words. I began my trip in Queenstown. I also went to Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, Lake Wanaka and Wellington, but do not let me get ahead of myself. I will just tell you that, if you are planning to travel to New Zealand, make sure to bring an extra memory slot for your camera because I am sure you are going to need it.

One day in Queenstown

I arrived by plane to Auckland just to take a second plane south-west to Queenstown, in the southern island. It is a nice city for sightseeing and a good place to start a trip to New Zealand. It has all the comforts and adventures of a city, but it is surrounded by natural landscapes that are really hard to find elsewhere. In Queenstown, I ventured to do three things: I used the cable way to reach a tall point from where I could see most of the city and its surrounding areas; I got into some gravity-powered carts called ‘luge’ (and it was so fun I did it twice —one to get used to it and the second to compete) and I went to a nice restaurant to enjoy the sunset. I wish I had more time to spend in Queenstown, but it was OK for a start. I got back to my hotel because on the next day I was leaving for Milford Sound.

Milford Sound, Cascades and a Cruise

On my second day, I was twelve hours outside. I took about three and a half hours to get to Milford Sound, which is in the same island and north-west from Queenstown. The place is extraordinary for sightseeing. You see forests, you see wildlife (there are not any dangerous beasts, do not worry) and, as part of the tour, I enjoyed a nice BBQ that did not really disrupt the experience of being surrounded by nature. In the afternoon, I took a cruise around the fjords, which are passages of water that cross between several cliffs, often remainders of previous glaciers. As you may guess, the views you see in the area are extraordinary. There are quite a few cascades. The cruise even got under one of them (I was forewarned, and now so are you, so if you get wet is because you want to), and it also took us to the Tasmanian Sea. Once the tour ended (I needed three and a half more hours to get back to Queenstown), I went to my hotel so I could get ready for my next trip.

Lake Wanaka, Mou Waho and the Wingless Birds

On my third day, I took a bus to Lake Wanaka. It is north-east from Queenstown, in an area called (drum fill!) Lakes District. The first thing I did was to take a walk around and admire the natural beauty of the lake and its surroundings. After a short while, I took a five-hour tour to Mou Waho island, which is in the middle of the lake. Mou Waho is known for being one of the places in which it is easy to see flightless birds called wekas. They are brown, about as big as grown chickens, and native to New Zealand. They did not run away when they saw us, so I am sure they are accustomed to see humans. Once the tour was over, I went to see the blue lakes and the natural pools in the area. Then I went back to my accommodations.

The next morning, I was able to enjoy some of the things tourists can do in Lake Wanaka, including taking a bicycle tour, renting a kayak in the lake, going for a walk around and seeing the lone tree that grows inside the lake. After lunch, I got a bus that would take me back straight to Queenstown airport. My next step was Nelson.

Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

Nelson is in the northernmost part of the southern New Zealand island, and it is the best place where to start a visit to Abel Tasman National Park. I arrived to Nelson the day after and I took a bus to Kaiteriteri in the morning. There, I took a boat that would take us north-west to see Abel Tasman National Park. During the boat trip, we were allowed to choose two beaches. I recommend getting down at Medland Beach and Anchorage Bay. In my humble opinion, they are the most beautiful in the area. I am from Peru, so I was used to see beaches surrounded by deserts. Here, in New Zealand, beaches were surrounded by trees. You will have a great time there.

Wellington and a Rugby Game

On my last day, I went to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. There are many activities to do there. I walked around the city, I got onto a funicular, I visited its harbour and I visited the Te Papa Museum, where I could see many exhibitions about New Zealand’s culture for free (thank you for that!). There was one more thing I wanted to do before leaving the country, and it is watching a rugby match. That sport is not popular where I live, so it was great for a change. I finished my trip to New Zealand there.

DAY TO DAY Itinerary day by day

The prices that appear per day are referential and correspond to the sum of activities that were made that day

    DAY 1 USD 35

    After arriving to Auckland, I took a plane to Queenstown. There, I walked around the town and relaxed for a while seeing its incredible landscapes. In the afternoon, I went up the cable way to see a fascinating view of the town, and, later, I ran a couple of races in the Luge carts that are powered just by the gravity. (Try that. You will not regret it.) I ended my day watching the sunset from a restaurant. The view invited to relax.

    DAY 2 USD 155

    I took a twelve-hour tour to see one of the most incredible places on the southern island: Milford Sound. I went from Queenstown to Ta Anau to get there. I enjoyed a BBQ while I felt delighted the views of the forest and its wildlife. Then, I took a cruise along the fjords and the Tasmanian sea, enjoying breathtaking waterfalls.

    DAY 3 USD 172

    I left from Queenstown to Lake Wanaka. There I went for a walk and, in the afternoon I took a five-hour tour to Mou Waho island, where I could see weka birds. I ended my day enjoying the stunning views of the blue lakes and its natural pools.

    DAY 4 USD 21

    During the morning of my second day in Lake Wanaka, I took a bicycle tour, I rented a kayak, I took a trekking route around the town, and I visited the lone tree that grows inside the lake. In the afternoon, I went back to Queenstown, where I took a flight to Nelson.

    DAY 5 USD 73

    From Nelson, I took a bus that took me to Kaiteriteri. There I got a tour to Abel Tasman National Park. A taxi-boat took us around different beaches. My two favourite were Medland Beach and Anchorage Bay. I recommend you to visit them. The tour includes a basic lunchbox to eat so I suggest visiting a shop before leaving.

    DAY 6 USD 70

    I took a plane from Nelson to Wellington. There, I walked around the city, I took a funicular to see the city from above, I visited the harbour and the Te Papa museum. In the evening, I went to see a rugby match, the most popular sport in New Zealand.

ACCOMMODATION Lodging per night

The lodging that is shown in the list of each night is recommended by the traveler, you can find more similar options. The cost is per person in a double bed room.

Night City Recommended accommodation Type of lodging Cost of the person
Night 1 Queenstown HAKA LODGE Lodge USD 35
Night 2 Queenstown HAKA LODGE Lodge USD 35
Night 3 Wanaka YHA WANAKA Lodge USD 38
Night 6 Wellington BOXHILL LODGE Lodge USD 20

TRANSPORT Transportation per day

The prices that appear by transport are referential and correspond to what the traveler paid at that moment

Nº Day Origin Destination Link web Type of transport Cost
Day 1 Arpt Auckland (AKL) Arpt Queenstown (ZKN) Plane USD 90
Day 1 Arpt Queenstown (ZKN) Queenstown Center Public Transportation USD 4
Day 3 Queenstown Center Wanaka Lake Shuttle USD 23
Day 4 Wanaka Lake Arpt Queenstown (ZKN) Shuttle USD 23
Day 4 Arpt Queenstown (ZKN) Arpt Nelson (NSN) Plane USD 136
Day 4 Arpt Nelson (NSN) Nelson Center Shuttle USD 14
Day 5 Nelson Center Kaiteriteri Shuttle USD 17
Day 5 Kaiteriteri Nelson Center Shuttle USD 17
Day 6 Nelson Center Arpt Nelson (NSN) Taxi USD 9
Day 6 Arpt Nelson (NSN) Arpt Wellington (WLG) Plane USD 55
Day 6 Arpt Wellington (WLG) Wellington Center Public Transportation USD 7
Day 7 Wellington Center Arpt Wellington (WLG) Public Transportation USD 7
Day 7 Arpt Wellington (WLG) Arpt Auckland (AKL) Plane USD 30

RECOMMENDATIONS Tips for your trip

In Queenstown, I recommend getting on the cable way and making a couple of races in the Luge.. They are both very fun experiences. Have a time to eat something at the Skyline restaurant, one of the restaurants with the best view in the world.

In Queenstown, you can also find New Zealand’s most famous burger at Fergburger. People have to queue to buy one.

In Lake Wanaka, go to the Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen and to the Lake Bar. In Nelson, a good restaurant is the Cod & Lobster Brasserie.

In Wellington, find good food at the port. There are several restaurants in the Queens Warf . In the night, go to Cuba or Courtenay street to find bars and cafes.

Important information:

Check here if you need visa to enter New Zealand.

I strongly suggest going to New Zealand in spring or autumn. It will not be too hot nor too cold, giving you the best experience both if you want to see snowy peaks or if you want to go to the beach.

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