I have always wanted to visit New Zealand and with the flight only three hours away from Sydney, it is a perfect international holiday not far away from home.
For our New Zealand family holiday we decided to drive from Auckland to Wellington over 10 days and then fly to Queenstown to enjoy both islands that New Zealand has to offer.
Our itinerary was jammed packed from the minute we landed from Sydney. We divided it into four different locations:
- Auckland – Staying at Rendezvous Hotel Auckland
- Rotorua – Staying at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
- Wellington – Staying at the InterContinental Wellington
- Queenstown – Staying at the Hilton Resort and Spa Queenstown
Auckland reminded me of Sydney, Australia. We walked around the CBD taking in the gorgeous buildings and also visited the Sky Tower – consisting of two viewing areas one at 186 metres and the other at 220 metres. If you are really adventurous you can jump off the side of the tower. As we really only had a few hours in Auckland we were happy we could view the entire CBD from the sky tower with the assistance of maps of the location.
Driving through the North Island is a must for a New Zealand family holiday, there is greenery as far as you can see once you leave the city. We drove straight to Matamata, which is also the location of Hobbiton.
Hobbiton is situated on a private farm and only accessible via a guided tour. Hobbiton is a must see for all Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fans. Its location is not just for fans of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, you would be surprised how many fellow attendees have not read the books or seen the movies. The tours are family friendly and easily accessible.
After our tour we continued our drive south towards Rotorua. You will know when you hit Rotorua as it is a geothermal wonderland also nicknamed ‘The Sulphur City’. Rotorua is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to in my life!
Rotorua is full of amazing adventure activities including long walks through geothermal locations, tree top walks and even geothermal baths! If you are not into the long walks there is a fantastic restaurant district called Eat Street located off Tutanekai Street featuring all different cuisines from Italian to Thai food.
Rotorua is full of free activities for families including The Rotorua Redwoods, which has six different walking tracks available for a leisure walk or even a hike, and The Government Gardens, which is full of gorgeous English gardens and also a variety of playgrounds along the way.
After a few days exploring the geothermal wonderland we continued to travel down south towards Wellington – the drive was around six hours of gorgeous scenery from sheep filled hilled paddocks to flat deserted land. We travelled through some amazing locations and towns along the way.
Arriving in Wellington we dropped off our car and walked through the city – Wellington is full of amazing infrastructure and buildings. Wellington is also known as Windy Wellington due to the constant winds (we did not endure any winds until our third day and boy did we find out why it is called that) or Wellywood due to their ever-growing amazing work with the film industry.
As Wellywood is a major part of the film industry it would not be a trip there without experiencing more Lord of the Rings and Hobbit sites and tours. We attended WETA which is where all the creative development for the props, makeup and miniatures were created for a wide variety of productions including Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. WETA have brought to life so many movies you will be amazed at all the props for the movies they have worked on over the years.
A must see during your time in Wellington is the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War which is for free until April 2018 at the Te Papa Museum. The exhibit features eight amazing sculptures measuring 2.4 times the human size of New Zealanders which have found themselves amongst Gallipoli created through WETA Workshops. The exhibit is the highlight of my New Zealand Trip.
Flying from Wellington to Queenstown was slightly nerve-wracking after a tour guide advised me we were flying out of one of the most dangerous airports and landing into another dangerous airport. But all of that was forgotten when I walked through the doors of Wellington Airport or what it is better known as Middle Earth Airport – it is amazing and while I love airports on the best of days (hello bookstores) this will be an airport I will never forget!
It was not until we arrived in Queenstown that the cold weather actually hit us but we were gobsmacked when we saw The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown needs to be seen to be believed. It is full of picturesque scenery every way you look. A must see is Milford Sound – it does require a day tour from Queenstown but the boat ride and open water is simply an amazing site that you will not want to miss.
New Zealand is an amazing country to visit. Simply amazing. Have you been? What’s on you “must see” list for a New Zealand family holiday?