I was originally supposed to travel to New Zealand in April of 2020. The trip was pushed back until October of this year, so I finally went, and it was worth the wait!!
My trip began in Auckland. I arrived and realized it was COLD. I found a Kathmandu store and promptly bought a puffer coat. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle 35 degrees for long! With my new found warmth, I went on and enjoyed Auckland.
My trip in the North Island continued to Rotorua. Rotorua has natural hot springs everywhere, so the scent is of sulfur through the city. While here, I also experienced a Haka performance, and a wonderful meal. It was quite moving to see the performance and feel the warmth and love from the Maori people. It was incredibly moving.
Heading back north after Rotorua, I went to Hobbiton in Matamata. It was INCREDIBLE! I could have stayed there all day exploring! This is where scenes from Lord of The Rings were filmed. It felt incredibly surreal. I walked through the Shire, went to Bilbo's house, and admired Samwise's gardening. What a day!!!
After Hobbiton, I took a flight to Queenstown. The first evening I had the opportunity to meet the only Master Sommelier in New Zealand, Cameron Douglas. He's a true gem!! He recommended some places for dinner so I enjoyed a fine meal at Rata my first night! It was fantastic! While in Queenstown, I also enjoyed dinner at The Lodge overlooking the lake. Such great cuisine in New Zealand, and so fresh! Can't beat that!!
The following day was the day I would finally get to see Milford Sound. I was super excited. The route to Milford Sound was a wonderful surprise because it was full of stops to admire the beauty and nature.
Arriving to Milford Sound was breathtaking. The beautiful calm and blue water almost make a mirror image of the sky. First, I had a tour through a large boat. The boat came close to a waterfall, and explored throughout the area. After the boat tour, I got to ride in a little 12 passenger Cessna to continue my tour of Milford Sound by air. It was incredible! I highly recommend this!! It was a beautiful, pristine, clear day! I couldn’t have asked for better weather! I was very lucky! The little airplane made its way through the water, the snow-capped mountains, and then arrived into Queenstown once again. It was a phenomenal day!
The following day, I rode down the Luge, then went wine tasting. I took a gondola up and enjoyed the beautiful view of Queenstown, then took another gondola further up the mountain to ride down. It was a blast!! Right after, I went wine tasting and enjoyed so many wines with a fun lunch with new friends!
Before heading north to Christchurch, I got to see a beautiful Lake Tekapo. It’s a beautiful stop on the way north, well worth exploration! I also enjoyed a meal at the home of a couple who have a sheep farm and live next to the lake. I enjoyed a pavlova better than the one I make!
Christchurch is beautiful! I enjoyed the botanical gardens, as well as riding up another gondola to see views of the whole city. It was full of walking around, taking public buses, and riding in an old-fashioned trolley!
The end of the trip was a dinner with all the new friends I made. I had such a great time spending time with everyone and enjoying the sights with people from all over the world. I am so grateful to have finally experienced New Zealand. I had friends tell me it was incredible, but it was so much more than I could have imagined. I hope I can return again one day!
Have passport, will travel.