Two weeks in New Zealand

A fun-packed two weeks in New Zealand

Day 1: Auckland Auckland is the city of many lovers, according to its Maori name and this is most likely where you'l fly into and where you trip will begin. 

Arriving in Auckland after being on a plane for 12 hours can certainly play mind tricks with you, and jetlag is no joke. The biggest advice i can give you is that, when you arrive, don’t go to sleep, do something active instead.

Before you get picked up and head to the bridge, head over to Viaduct Harbor and have a yummy meal t at Degree. The burger was huge and delicious! Now that you have some carbs on you, you're ready for the first activity of the day: Climbing the Auckland Harbor Bridge. It is such a unique experience where you get to see the entire city from a complete different perspective.  It was very very windy that day but we ended up getting a personalized tour. The only downside was, because of safety precautions, you won't be able to t bring your cameras with you. You will do the walk with a guide and you'll you get the opportunity to wave the drivers on the bridge and have a silly photo-op on the apex of the bridge.

Day 2: Auckland and Mission Bay Beach

There are multiple beaches to visit around Auckland and some of them are a quick bus ride away! On day 2, head over to Mission Bay Beach.  The bus ride It's a picturesque drive along Auckland’s beautiful waterfront. All along the promenade are all kinds of restaurants and bars. Choose to eat at a little fish & chips shop. Again, the food will not disappoint you. Enjoy some white New Zealand wine with your meal while you watch the sea

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Day 3: Rotorua
Special side note about transportation around New Zealand. You don't need to rent a car! You can rely on the Intercity Bus line to take you around. It won't disappoint you. Rotorua is New Zealand’s most dynamic thermal area, and home to spurting geysers, steaming hot springs and exploding mud pools. Despite the pervasive “eggy” odor, Rotorua is one of the most visited spots in the North Island. The hostel reccomendation in Rotorua is Rotorua Central Backpackers. The owner is really nice and welcoming, he will you a map of the town and recommended the places you'll want to visit. Spend most of the time walking around town and visit the Rotorua Museum of Art and History and the beautiful Government Gardens.

Day 4: Rotorua & Wai-O-Tapu
If you feel like you want to splurge a little bit,  start the day relaxed and refreshed and visit the gorgeous Polynesian Spa. There are mineral, marble-lined terraced pools at the lake’s edge. They have all sorts of treatments and massages to choose from. I can guarantee you'll feel so refreshed at the end!

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Later in the day, take a van to Wai-O-Tapu. This place will remind you of Yellowstone National Park because of all its geothermal features. One of the most astounding pools is the boiling, multi-hued Champagne Pool.

 

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Day 5 – Waitomo

You may have seen this Buzzfeed post, about Waitomo's glow worm caves. Well...get ready to get your mind blown! The name Waitomo comes from wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft): dotted across this region are several shafts dropping into underground cave systems and streams. Book the “Black Labyrinth” black water rafting activity with The Black-Water Rafting Co. The guides are  enthusiastic, funny and simply amazing. The activity involves floating in a wet suit on an inner tube down a river that flows through the Ruakuri Cave. The highlight: was leaping off two small waterfalls and then floating through a long, glowworm-covered passage. I really can’t say it enough, this is by far, one of the best experiences, ever.

Day 6: Taupo
Take the one hour bus ride to Taupo: a postcard perfect town. Have you seen the lake? I  Stay at the Urban Retreat hostel in the center of town. It has a great vibe with a young atmosphere and its great location. Spent the afternoon outside, reading on the beach right next to the beautiful lake.

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Day 7: Tongariro National Park
This is A MUST DO in New Zealand. Hands down. You'll start the 19km (12 miles)  alpine crossing hike  at 7:00 am. The park was established in 1887, and it was NZ’s first, and the world’s fourth, national park. The park has three volcanoes: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. The pictures really don’t do the place its justice. This hike will seriously be like no other hike you've ever done.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike is considered the best one-day walk in New Zealand. It traverses spectacular volcanic geography, from an active crater to steaming vents and beautiful colored lakes. The views are just magical. All I kept saying was that it all fell unreal, as if it was pulled from a movie. After a few hours of hiking, we decided it would be worth going up Mt. Ngauruhoe. It’s a very challenging unmarked ascent on a scree surface where rocks are easily dislodged. Once you reach the top, joy will overtake. Make sure to recharge and have some lunch. The views are absolutely incomparable. It will take you almost 10 hours to complete the entire hike. To read my review on TripAdvisor on this hike, go here. 

Day 8: Queenstown
It’s probably not even fair to say this but I really think Queenstown will be your favorite place to visit. The city is surrounded by the Remarkables mountain chain and is framed by Lake Wakatipu. As soon as you got there, please walk straight to the lake and just sit there to admire the lake. There is no place like this on earth.

Day 9: More Queenstown
After another amazing breakfast anywhere you may choose around town, decided to jump off a cliff, literally. It’s a a bungy-swing above the Shotover river. This is what the (crazy) activity consists of: launching oneself from a 109 meter (360 feet) high cliff. You can reach speeds of 150 kph as you free-fall for 60m. The ropes then smoothly pendulum you into a 200m swing. To say it was absolutely insane would be an understatement; you can watch our video here. This activity will definitely take the cake for scariest, most thrilling thing you'll do. Finished that day by taking a lovely bike ride all around the lake. 

 

Day 10: Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound
Wake up very early and take the six hour bus ride to Fiordland National Park. Again, what a magical place; no wonder The Lord of the Rings moves were filmed here. Fiordland is New Zealand’s rawest wilderness area, a jagged, mountainous, forested zone sliced by several fiords. Stayed at the lovely Milford Sound Lodge inside the park.

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Day 11: Milford Sound
Take an early cruise around the majestic Milford Sound. The cold air and rain only add to the experience. Book with this kayak company . The only way I can describe this experience is like being in a scene of the Jurassic Park movie. It is extremely peaceful and quiet; the rain drops hitting the water looked like pearls. Words nor pictures do this place justice, though.

Day 12 & 13: Queenstown and back to Auckland
Go  back to Queenstown for one last night of party time, and have  a blast. I repeat, everyone will meet is so friendly. 

New Zealand was by far the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken. It was my first trip really on my own outside of the country. I am so happy and thankful I was able to share so many great memories with one of my best friends. I really think I’ll go back someday. 

The trip really reinforced the notion that traveling is hands down one of the best ways to invest your money. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to go on such a trip.