My month in New Zealand
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Before arriving in New Zealand a month seemed a lot of time for the small nation, however it turned out a month just wasn’t long enough to truly experience this magical country. Many don’t know what New Zealand is in fact split in to two separate islands, the North Island and the South Island.I travelled New Zealand in September and October 2014and because of the seasonal changes, I had fairly quiet travel until the end of September. As I hit October cities and tourist spots became busier as many made their way to New Zealand for summer season. Our first port of call in New Zealand was Queenstown, located in the south of the South Island. The Alpine ski town is a beautiful place with small cobbled streets and an incredible lake outside your door. The Skyline Gondola offered us amazing views of Queensland from above.My time there took in two days up at The Remarkables, a mountain range boasting some of the best beginner ski slopes you can find, a trip to Milford Sound with Kiwi Experience and a walk round the wonderful Queenstown Gardens. From there I moved on to Lake Tekapo, a tiny town on the edge of Lake Tekapo (you’d have never guessed!) and I checked in to Lakefront Backpackers hostel. This small town is so small there is only one street and the famous Hot Springs. There wasn’t a lot to do, but it was an extremely peaceful place with amazing views wherever you looked. The next day I arrived in Christchurch and bedded down at the YMCA. We would have stayed at Base in Christchurch however it has been closed following the devastating earthquake in 2011 and is yet to reopen. We wandered off in to Christchurch, visiting the reformed Cathedral, Quake. City exhibition and new shopping mall made out of shipping containers. The Quake City exhibition was truly brilliant and it was heart-breaking to watch the videos and see the images of the devastation the 2011 earthquake left. After another day on the bus and yet another early start we arrived at the Lazy Shag in Kaikoura. Kaikoura is also fairly small town and the main attractions are a Dolphin Encounter tour or a Whale Watching tour. However, bad news, they were both cancelled the day I arrived and I ended up sitting in the hostel relaxing instead. An early start, three hour Kiwi Experience bus to Picton and an atrocious ferry ride later we arrived in Wellington on the North Island. I headed to Cuba Street to see what was still open! Luckily the night market was open which was really good fun, with street food, music and lots of little stalls selling niche products. Our fifth day on the road took us to Taupo located in the centre of the North Island. The best thing to do here is sky diving however if you aren’t in to that kind of thing, there are some beautiful walks around the lake and you can also relax on the wonderful beaches near the town. I didn’t get to see much of Taupo as I was only there for one night but I would highly recommend it if you love your adventure activities and want some adrenaline added to your trip. A super-duper long day on the bus eventually took us to Auckland! I immediately to see what New Zealand’s biggest city had to offer. I grabbed dinner, had a few glasses of wine and then headed out for a walk around the city. Auckland is a beautiful city with lots to do and a lively atmosphere throughout! I also took a trip up the Sky Tower which was an amazing experience and provides amazing views across the city. As an added excursion to our trip we decided to take the bus up to the Bay of Islands also known as Paihia in the far north of the North Island. I only had 24 hours in Paihia due to my busy itinerary and unfortunately it decided to rain for the more majority of my stay. I did however get on a boat tour when the weather improved and managed to see some of the beautiful beaches in the sun! After 10 days of travel I started to head back down south, with my first stop being at Hot Water Beach to the east of Auckland. This is a huge summer destination in New Zealand and is based around a small township with a beautiful and unique beach – rated one of the world’s best. You can pop over to Cathedral Cove for amazing views and coastal walks and I am certain that in summer you could probably spend a week here. However in spring, autumn winter it’s only worth the over-night stay as the weather isn’t great and we didn’t even get to dig our own hole on the beach because of the tide.
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