Ffor our arrival in the South Island, we had planned an extra day to go to Milford Sound, being the most famous Fjord in New Zealand for its beauty.
In the end, the road remained closed for a long time due to flooding. Too bad.. But it means we should come back one day!
End of visit on the South Island of New Zealand
The City of Queenstown
The road leading to Queenstown makes us dream again and we took the time to stop for some pictures with the sheep.
After a visit to the National Museum of Games and Transport (very nice by the way) and a quick visit to the city of Wanaka, where a sports competition was taking place, the city of Queenstown welcomed us in the heat (or almost) for our last days on the South Island!
A lively, young city where a lot of sports activities (few for the family) are offered and where you can feel that people enjoy themselves, take advantage of the outdoors and spend without counting.
Indeed, the center is full of shops ready to sell you all the best activities in the world: helicopter or plane tours, parasailing, paragliding, boating, skidoo, vineyards, canyoning, fear house, escape game and so on!
The lakeside was our refuge all along, we enjoyed the view with a drink in hand when possible, and of course there were games for the kids. It was also close to the botanical garden.
We had to opportunity to meet a milesopedian also inQueenstown and exchange on our routes in this warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Town of Arrowtown
After a small detour to the beautiful golf course, we took a small trip to this town, or should we say, the street of Arrowtown. It traces back the time, with its old signs well preserved outside, and gives an impression of a “Wild West” city.
A nice, touristy and very quick walk, to be completed by a detour to the river bank if the heart says so.
Hermitage Hotel - Queenstown
The Hermitage Hotel was not central, but located in the heights of the city. You can reach the centre on foot in 20 minutes by walking through a small forest and along the lake shore. A peaceful and pleasant walk that I did with the children.
The hotel was charming, and made us feel like we were in the mountains, with its “chalet” style. Our room was very decent, spacious and very comfortable with a half view of the lake.
However, the design is not the most logical to understand… it had three wings.
Flight to the North Island of New Zealand
It was time for us to leave Queenstown and return our car to the Dollar rental center, close to the airport located 20 minutes from the center, and to catch our plane.
To be able to enjoy all the panoramas of the South one last time by air was a pure delight for the eyes!
Below, the view of the city of Queenstown and the different lakes we saw along the way.
North Island - New Zealand
After a flight of about an hour, our arrival in the city was quick and we immediately took possession of our future Airbnb accommodation.
The location was ideal, as it was very central. We were close to Cuba Street, the Waterfront, one of the lively streets of the city, and about ten minutes from the famous Cable Car ride for example.
We were able to stretch our legs, admire the view of the city (not so exceptional I must say), walk through the different thematic gardens (not the most relaxing, I must say) and let the children (or Jean-Maximilien) enjoy the games.
The Waterfront, a meeting place for young people after work, is pleasant, even if a little small.
The kids loved the nature exhibit at the Te Papa Museum, so much so that we did it twice.
The city’s atmosphere is particular, young and offbeat, active… and a little “anxious”: we were happy to leave the next day to discover the island.
Once the car was rented, we headed north to Napier and then Taupo.
To be honest, we do not recommend this route. While we had some very decent accommodations on the road, we didn’t feel completely safe everywhere.
The only benefit, the Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, allowed us to finally see a Kiwi and to walk in a very beautiful forest, apart from that there was nothing exceptional.
The city of Napier
Our time in Napier wasa relaxing time for the whole family. The Art Deco festival was held there all weekend and we wanted to attend at least a little. A pure pleasure.
There were a multitude of activities, including a stage show, parades of cars and planes from the past, something to delight our eyes and ears… the children loved it!
The Art Deco show with dance classes:
The prices to spend the night there were on the other hand insane (minimum 300$ to 400$), so we preferred to book in Taupo, where we are now!
The northern landscapes are greener and flatter than the south. The golden mountains that attracted us so much to the southern part of the island are less common, although in some places we began to admire certain lanscapes. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any pictures, as it was raining.
We were less captivated by the North Island so far. The ambiance was certainly a factor. At this point, we were looking forward to visit Taupo and to go to Rotorua further north.
The road that delighted us the most so far is the one between Napier and Taupo with splendid panoramas. Unfortunately, there are few or no stops on the side of the road to take pictures.
Follow our adventures in New Zealand in our next article.