I’m sure not all of you are as excited about my New Zealand trip as I am, and definitely not to the point of seeing my itinerary – but I’m going to share it with you anyway.
Because you might have some New Zealand tips you’d like to share; you might have a trip of your own that you want ideas for; or because you’re a friend of mine and you want to see where I’ll be on a given day to make sure I’m still alive and well.
So, without further ado:
December 17th – 18th: Christchurch
We fly out of Sydney and spend two days in beautiful Christchurch. We’re booked in to stay at the Kiwi Basecamp, and I for one am liking the look of this place. Wireless internet, two fully equipped kitchens for eating on a budget, free bike use for traveling around town, free continental breakfast, an on site ‘cinema’, and a free daily shuttle to the supermarket for much needed supplies.
We’re looking at potentially doing the Adrenalin Forest course there, which looks absolutely amazing. A series of progressively harder, higher, and more challenging wire obstacles that test your resolve and your endurance? Sounds like the kind of random adventure I want to be a part of.
Our friends Dave and Jess have just recently completed their own Kiwi tour and didn’t have much to say about Christchurch, so if you have some ideas on what else is worth doing there, let me know.
December 19th-21st: Queenstown
New Zealand’s adrenaline capital is what I’m most excited about seeing. We’ll be staying at the picturesque Deco Backpackers on the lake’s edge and I’ll be sure to make liberal use of the free wireless they provide. Let’s face it though, in Queenstown we’re not exactly planning to spend a great deal of time in our hostel.
While in Queenstown we’re going to cruise Milford Sound and get some pictures of the world renowned body of water. That’s not really much to get the heart racing, but we’re torn for our day two activity. Fallon has her heart set on doing the Zipline Ecotour but I’ve been harassed by my mate Deano to do the Shotover Canyon Swing. Their website has video and it looks absolutely insane. What would your pick be?
December 22nd-23rd: Franz Josef
We take leave of exciting Queenstown to visit the geographically amazing Franz Josef Glacier. We’re checked into the Chateau Franz Josef, which will act as a comfortable (and hopefully warm) base of operations for our day long Franz Josef Glacier hike.
I’m also looking forward to getting in a soak in one of the hot pools in the area. Although with Sydney weather being as hot as it is, the hot soak doesn’t sound as nice now as it did when Fallon first suggested it.
December 24th: Nelson
Why Nelson? I’ll admit, it’s not really on anybody’s must see New Zealand sites. In truth, we’re there solely because it’s a good stop off point between Franz Josef and our next real destination, Rotarua.
We’re going to spend Christmas Eve in the sleepy little town and we’ll be ringing it in from the Paradiso. We had a hell of a time finding a hostel in Nelson that:
a). Would let us check out on Christmas Day
b). Was actually available for Christmas Eve
With all that said, I’m pretty happy with where we’ve ended up. Free evening soup, free breakfast, a 12m pool to cool off in after a long day on the bus, and the all important free wireless.
We’ll also be hitting up a Midnight Mass ceremony. Neither of us is particularly religious persay, but the Christmas services are beautiful and we both love a good carol.
December 25th-27th: Rotorua
We’ll spend a few hours of Christmas morning on the plane from Nelson to Rotorua, but we’ve got a pretty fantastic Christmas night planned. We’re looking at taking the gondola up to Mount Ngongotaha before settling in for what looks like a pretty scrumptious Christmas buffet. Our trip up also includes a free luge ride on their luge tracks, which’ll keep the adrenaline level of our trip up. It’s all organized through Skyline.
Boxing Day = Zorbing Day! Holy shit. I am so freaking excited to finally check zorbing off of my life’s to do list. Don’t know what zorbing is? For shame! Go look here. If you’re too lazy to click a link, here’s a word picture: You are inside a clear ball inside of another clear ball and you roll down a hill. It’s all sorts of awesome.
Later that day we’re going to get in touch with actual New Zealand heritage by paying a visit to Mitai Maori Village to see a haka performed, look at Maori traditional dress and weapons, and have a hungi!
Our final day in Rotorua sees us making the trek to Auckland via bus and the exciting Black Water Rafting tour through the Waitomo Caves. Tubing through a pitch black cave system over waterfalls and through rapids? Yeah, that is happening.
Oh, and while we’re in Rotorua we’ll be staying at the enigmatically named Flashpackers. After spending most of our trip in dorms, it’ll be a nice change to have our own private room! An in house bar and cafe will give us a nice alternative to trekking around the city in search of new watering holes.
December 28th: Auckland
We’ll be spending both nights in Auckland staying in the Verandahs Backpacker Lodge. We’ve got no grand plans for the final few days of our New Zealand tour. My friend Layton (a good buddy from New Zealand) lives in the area, so we might enlist him to help us see the sights as we prepare for Fiji, New Year’s, and the big goodbye that nobody likes to talk about.
But that, my friends, is for another entry.
In the interim, I’d love any New Zealand suggestions you might have for any of the above destinations. We’ve got some free time and a limited budget, so I’m certainly open to suggestions.