I’ve been obsessing over this trip to New Zealand since June and was so anxious to make sure everything was prepared for. It was my best friends wedding and I was not going to miss that. I booked everything through Flight Centre who I can honestly say I’d never heard of before, but they really hooked us up! They bagged us 10 days there with hotels and flights for £2500. People spend more than that for a week in Spain, so I was buzzing!
We flew from Heathrow and had a stopover in Guangzhou, China which personally I found awful. It was muggy, expensive and the sheer amount of people was pretty overwhelming for someone like me. Fortunately, the layover wasn’t too long and we were on our way to NZ within a few hours.
Christchurch was an eye-opener. We didn’t expect the devastation from the Earthquake in 2010 to still be so prominent. But there were banks and shop based in shipping containers because they couldn’t rebuild. Car parks that used to be huge buildings, people living in their cars because their insurance has delayed the rebuild of their homes for so long (this is a good 5 years later). It was pretty hard to look at. But despite this, all the people were so friendly, generous and so welcoming.
After an overnight stay, we flew down to Queenstown where ultimately we would be staying for most of our time there. This place was nothing short of breathtaking. We picked up our rental car and drove to our hotel, Oak Shores, which was situated right on the edge of Lake Wakatipu! It was just mind-blowing to walk out to a scene like that in the morning. The water was crystal clear and stretched for miles. Every direction you looked in there were mountains; snow capped peaks and woodlands that looked like they were straight out of a painting. I never expected to fall madly in love with the landscape quite like I did, and I’m so sad I wasn’t able to spend more time there. We could have spent the entire time just gawping at it, but we had things to do and people to see! We made sure we were well rested after a long day of travelling and make preparations for the morning.
The next day we made our way up to Lake Wanaka, which was roughly an hour and a half’s drive to make the wedding. It was the most incredible day! The weather was supposed to be gloomy and raining, but it held out for the Bride and Groom and ended up being absolutely beautiful. It couldn’t have been any better.
Beautiful isn’t it?! The rest of the day was as amazing as the beginning. Great food, giant Jenga, drinking, food, dancing… it was the most amazing day and night and I will never forget it as long as I live. I felt so lucky to be there and we spent the night in a beautiful villa, making our way back to Queenstown the next morning for more adventures!
We only had 3-4 days left before we had to make our way back home, so we tried to fit as much into it as physically possible. We played mini golf at this AMAZING indoor course, we ate a late breakfast at Red Rock (highly recommended by the way!), we got the gondola to the top of the mountain and rode the Luge over and over again like big kids. It rained, it snowed it was warm and sunny – we had every shade of the weather and had a really great day!
We visited the Kiwi Birdlife Park and got a glimpse of what those things look like in real life. If you’re like me, you imagine them to be small and about the size of a large hamster? Well, they’re not. They’re the size of big footballs and I felt like I had been lied to my entire life, lol.
Kirsty asked if we’d like to go with her to Milford Sounds and see the Glow Worm Caves in Te Anau. My answer was hell yes! I knew they had some of those caves in the North Island but didn’t realise there were any in the South. So I was really excited! We drove most of the way there and took a little pit stop for some food and to feed some Alpacas. You then have to take a boat to get to the actual cave which takes about an hour, but it was totally worth it. They were completely amazing.
You’re given helmets and walked into the caves hundreds of feet down and you can hear this rushing water everywhere. They put you in this little boat, kill the lights and it becomes the blackest of blacks I’ve ever experienced. There was utterly no light. It was really eerie, you saw absolutely nothing, not even the hand in front of your face; then all of a sudden you see these twinkling blue lights and it’s like the night sky had burst into focus or some kind of ethereal fairy grotto. It was so so beautiful. You weren’t allowed to take photos in the cave because it can harm the glow worms, so you’ll have to make due with this image I found on their site. But this is exactly what it looked like and it was completely otherworldly and a privilege to see first hand.
Our last day we didn’t do much and drove around a lot. We soaked up the landscape and climbed the trees by taking a hike through Arrowtown’s nature walk. But the best thing we did was to throw ourselves off a cliff at the Shotover Canyon Swing.
You’re dangled above the ground over the river, free fall for 60m and swing for 200m over the canyon. I screamed, Karne screamed, but the rush was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like this! My knees and stomach were VERY wobbly for a good 30mins after we got our feet back on solid ground.
Here’s a video of us being scared completely sh*tless. Watch from 2:30 to avoid the boring stuff…
Until next time ♡