I visited New Zealand for the first time last year and I absolutely loved it. I did quite a bit of research before I went, as before that I only really knew that it was the home of Lord of the Rings! What I found out was that it was the perfect country for adrenaline crazy people like me, so I decided to make the most out of my trip when I arrived. For this, I needed to look at the options for a car rental in Auckland as well as creating a structured plan and itinerary.
Of course, you could visit New Zealand and simply stay within Auckland, but I knew that I wanted to explore outside the city explore further afield I did. So what did I do during my trip that required a bit of extra traveling? Read on to find out…
Whale watching in Kaikoura
Having never gone whale watching before, I was ever so keen to have the experience to do so in New Zealand. Kaikoura seemed like the place to do it; two strong sea currents converge to bring all sorts of wildlife to the area, including orcas and sperm whales. I was very lucky on my excursion, seeing species, as well as dolphins and seals. To get to Kaikoura, you’ll need to visit the south island; it’s about 2.5 hours north of Christchurch so you’ll have a lovely scenic view of the coast on your journey.
Wine tasting in Waipara
On my way back to Christchurch I stopped in the Waipara region. It’s home to an amazing selection of wineries featuring aromatic varieties. I was keen to try the Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as I always pick out these bottles at home in the UK. To make the most of the experience I made sure to have a hotel room ready nearby as it wouldn’t be legal to get back into the car! It’s well worth having a tour of the winery too as it gives you so much more insight into your favorite wines.
Hot springs at Lake Tekapo
My next car journey would take me to Lake Tekapo where I discovered a glacial fed lake in a magical blue color. There are all sorts of activities on offer here, but I wanted to recover from the long drive with a soak in the natural hot pools. You couldn’t really get a much better activity than this as you’re surrounded by gorgeous alpine scenery. I chose the fresh water pools, but there are a couple of sulfur ones too if you prefer.
After lazing about I knew it was time to get my blood pumping again with a thrilling activity. I drove on to Queenstown where I came face to face with the Kawarau River – ideal for first time rafters like me (tried the one in Malaysia at Padas river also as awesome). Saying that, there was still a lot of white water action, but I also had the chance to take in the spectacular scenery too. More experienced rafters should head to the Shotover River – it’s a wild one! (Stage 4 or 5, I think).
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