There are two ways to see the world; to vacation and to travel. The difference between the two is as vast as the space between the Earth and the Moon. Not one better than the other, simply different. It’s a good idea to alternate the two, both for peace of mind and for becoming a far more cultured individual. But for the sake of today’s travel diary, my trip to New Zealand, was a once in a lifetime travel experience that I’ve been bursting at the seams to share with you.
If you have read my previous New Zealand blog story you must me aware of the recently got the chance to visit New Zealand with Pure New Zealand. This blog post in in continuation to it and I am going to share my journey to the South Island of this gorgeous country.
After Visiting Auckland and Waitomo Caves in the North Island it was now time to head to the South Island and experience the most stunning landscapes in the world. I took a flight from Auckland with Air New Zealand and headed to Christ Church. I stayed in Christ Church for 4 days and experienced the beautiful landscapes and lakes in and around the Canterbury area, which were all about 2-3 hours distance from the city.
On my first day of exploration we started from a nearby small town named Little River a tourist destination on Banks Peninsula, and 45 minutes drive from Christchurch. It is a great location for walks and mountain biking also is a very popular stop over for its cafe and art gallery.. The weather was quite pleasant, as I visited during the autumn time it was mostly pleasant with a little hint sunshine in the afternoon. In New Zealand the road journey is equally gorgeous as the destination, and you would rather not like to take a nap in between and miss a second of your journey. Lush green fields and mountains with herds of sheep grazing on the grass will make you fall in love with this country. We stopped at a cute cafe, The Blue Duck Cafe for breakfast and had lovely breakfast. Later we stopped by a stunning lake where I saw black swans for the first time in my life. The view was spectacular and I could literally spend hours just doing nothing if only I had time. Next up was the journey back to the hotel, a quick relaxing session and change of clothes for the dinner.
The next day I had a whole different itinerary planned, visiting Castle Hill, Arthur Pass and Mount Hutt. I was pretty excited for Castle Hills since I have always been a Narnia fan and major part of the movie was shot in this location. The hill was so named because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. Sadly I had forgotten to pack my sneakers along and went off in my sliders…ah stupid me! But yea I somehow managed and din’t really slip or fall for once! The mountains were huge and magnificent, and as we climbed to the top of the rocks the view was beyond description. Next we drove to Arthur pass and after exploring it for an hour we headed to Mount Hutt. Mt Hutt is one of New Zealand’s largest ski areas with some of the best natural snow around. Though during the time of my visit the snow was there but not really a skying season. After watching the sunset we headed back to hotel followed by dinner at an amazing Indian restaurant. I was pretty amused to find out the Indian food in New Zealand was really good and surprisingly spicy.
For this day we had a completely different activity planned. Instead of sight seeing today we headed to spend a relaxing and fun day at Hamner Springs. Hanmer Springs is a resort town in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, with its mineral waters. The drive was as obvious very pretty and scenic and we even stopped by a vineyard on our way. I was unable to click pictures inside Hamner Springs since it was kind of banned to take to mobile phones to the pools section. Shopping was followed post swimming. And later we had the last meal of our day at pizza express .
This day was really special to me, this little town named Akaroa took my heart away. It was a 2 hour drive from Christ Church. It was also quite an eventful day with loads of activities planned. This little town had such good vibes filled with the cutest cafes. We started off with kayaking, it was my first time with kayaking and I truly enjoyed every second of it. We rowed to the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve which is spectacular with towering sea cliffs sculpted through the ages by the sea into rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Next we headed for our sailing journey into the ocean to experience the ocean surroundings and wildlife. As we slowly moved into the ocean the waves started getting higher and stronger. This so far has been the most thrilling experience. While we were enjoying the power of nature with such strong winds and waves suddenly we noticed little dolphins swimming along with our ship. These were the smallest dolphin species in the world and are one of the rarest too. It was hard to control my excitement when I spotted dolphins and right after it spotted two penguins swimming in the ocean. Then as we moved ahead we went to the calmer side and they served us hot chocolate and cookies in the middle of the ocean. While we gazed at the beautiful wildlife, it felt so calm and peaceful. Post the thrilling session we had seafood at a local restaurant, as it is said the region serves the best salmon fish in the whole country and it turned out to be completely true.
Next day I took a flight back to Auckland to experience the last part of my crazy journey, Hobbiton. I will be sharing my Hobbiton experience with you all in the next blog post which will be solely dedicated to it, since so many you have asked me so many queries about it.
Until then, hope you enjoy this post as much I enjoyed creating it for you.