How to cram 4 weeks worth of adventure into 9 days in the North and South islands of New Zealand.
Every year my brothers and I always try to spend some quality time together and go away on a trip. We're all in our 20's and we've always wanted to make the most of the best years in our lives. We want to continue exploring and doing things together before we all go our own separate paths - which might be approaching sooner rather than later :(
So last year in 2015, we managed to get some time off work, pack our bags and set sail to New Zealand for the very first time.
With our flights, accommodation and most of our activities/destinations organised beforehand (I had to do all the hard work) it put all of us at ease for what was to come. Nevertheless, there's always hurdles and bumps along the way that we had to deal with + the last minute scramble for booking activities.
With my GoPro and my amateur editing skills, I compiled hours of footage into THE BEST EVER ADRENALINE-FILLED, CRAZY, INSANE AND BREATHTAKING trip video (I wish). Learning how to use GoPro studio for the first time (trust me, there's a lot better programs out there) it took me over 2 weeks to edit all of it. I'm still proud of how it turned out but here it is:
To mention everything we did in detail throughout the 9 days would be overkill and way too much info for you to read. If you're keen to know ALL the activities we managed to squeeze in, here is a list below:
- K Jet Boating Queenstown
- The Remarkables Skiing and Snowboarding
- Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump
- Skyline View & Luge Queenstown
- Moke Lake˟˟
- Lake Rotorua˟˟
- Hobbiton Movie Set (Lord of The Rings movie set if you were unsure)
- Te Puia Geothermal Valley
- Polynesian Spa
- Kerosene Creek˟˟
- Huka Waterfalls˟˟
- Lake Taupo˟˟
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- Auckland Skytower
- Waiheke Island
- EcoZipline Adventures
- Oneroa Beach˟˟
- Ambury Regional Park˟˟
- Mangere Mountain˟˟
˟˟ = Free activities
I'm sure that I've forgot some places we visited throughout our few days. Still, there's a few of these I would really love to tell you about. In some way or another, they changed the way I experienced the trip and made the experience that much more authentic.
I cannot even put into words what it was like seeing Queenstown for the first time. Walking away from the airplane, stepping on tarmac and just being surrounded by these cascading mountains was priceless. I specifically remember talking with my brothers on the first night about seeing Queenstown and saying to one another that it was one of those moments you live for. It gave value to life and just made everything more worthwhile.
This place was breathtaking. I happened to stumble upon it on Google Maps when looking at what sights were in a close-enough proximity to Queenstown. I mean Queenstown itself is an amazing city, but Moke Lake was something different. Amongst these huge snow-tipped mountains was this hidden lake that reflected this absolutely beautiful backdrop. Despite my middle brother feeling sick on the drive there, it really gave us that last minute boost when watching the sunset on our fourth day in New Zealand.
Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump
There's a few places in NZ you can book to go bungy jumping - we chose Kawarau Bridge because I wanted to get dunked in the water when you jumped. If only I knew beforehand that booking first in the morning and jumping first would mean that the band isn't stretched enough. Add to that the absolutely freezing weather of NZ winter, there was no chance I had on getting soaked. Nevertheless, when you stand on the top of a 43m ledge with what is essentially a whole lot of elastic from undies tied to your legs - you either feel capable of doing anything in the world or sheer terror. For me, I'm an adrenaline junkie and was more than happy to jump first to feel like a bird, even if it was for just a few seconds.
But New Zealand is a lot of money and far away if your home is here in Australia. I've still yet to drive all the way across and through this great big barren land to discover all of its quirks.