New Zealand. Wow, just wow!
This was actually our second time there but on our first visit we only spent 7 nights and they were all on the North Island. This time we flew in to Christchurch on the South Island and spent 13 nights. Long story short, the South Island is more interesting, if you don't have time to do both, choose south.
The mountains near Hells Gate.
A lot of people in Europe think that New Zealand is off limits for a two week vacation because of the distance, but it's actually not that bad. Don't get me wrong, it's a long flight and you will be seriously jet lagged, but it's a lot easier than before.
From Norway and Sweden you can travel with Qatar Airlines to Auckland only by making one stopover in Doha, but the Doha - Auckland flights with its 17 hours + is a pain even if your sitting in Qatars excellent business class.
Other options with only one stop is Thai Airways to Auckland via Bangkok or Emirates via Dubai but with a technical stop in Sydney. But you will end up on the North Island with these options and then you will need to catch a domestic flight down south. Our best tip is to split your trip in two. Book with Singapore Airlines and make a 24 hour stop in Singapore before you continue directly to Christchurch.
Singapore Airlines First Class caviar serving.
As we are dedicated fly fishers our main goal of this trip was to do some sight fishing after trout in the mountains and when we arrived in Christchurch we pick up our rental car and headed directly to Nelson area north on the island. The four - five hour drive takes you over the beautiful Lewis pass. We were lucky with the weather and got the best of this scenic drive.
We won't bother you guys with fishing stories but we stayed 7 nights at the Owen River Lodge and the fishing was amazing. So was the scenery, it's like walking around in some sort of Jurassic park landscape and you certainly don' t need to be fishing to enjoy the spectacular nature.
Jurassic Park? No, New Zealand.
Happy man, not so happy trout.
The Owen River Lodge has very nice rooms and some fantastic chefs serving up excellent food every night. It's one of the best fishing lodges we have stayed at and it's also a great option for non fishermen.
Sneaking up on some monster trout.
After Owen River we drove two hours towards the west coast and the Marlborough district and checked in at the newly opened Marlborough Lodge.
The lodge is situated in the middle of the wine district and you can bike to several wineries nearby. The lodge offers very comfortable rooms that looks smashing along with great food and a very good wine list.
The Marlborough Lodge.
Bath tub. Check!
After seven days of walking on river boulders for 8 hours a day we really appreciated our two relaxing days at the Marlborough Lodge and we enjoyed some amazing wines and food at the hotel and the nearby restaurants. Check out the wines and the restaurant at Hans Herzog wineries. Absolutely amazing!
Lunch at Hanz Herzog.
After Marlborough we drove down the coast to Kaikoura. Here we stayed at the Hapuko Lodge and Treehouse. It's an old hotel but pretty cool rooms and the food is out of this world. So are the treehouses if you travel as a family or just want to splurge.
Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses.
Kaikoura is magical place by the sea with a beautiful backdrop of snow capped mountains.
Mountain views from Kaikoura Peninsula.
Here you can enjoy whale watching by boat or plane, you can dive with wild dolphins in the middle of the ocean, go snorkelling with seals or scout for albatross.
Beach walk. Watch out for high tide!
If you prefer to stay on land you can enjoy breathtaking hikes in the mountains or walk around the Kaikoura Peninsula looking for seals.
Lazy day on a Kaikoura beach.
Our trip ended after Kaikoura but we will certainly be back. Next time our plan will be to explore the Fjordlands in the south. New Zealand really is an amazing destination. The scenery will take your breath away, there are some spectacular luxury lodges you can enjoy with some of the best food we have encountered on our trips around the world and it's easy to move around.
Two weeks is plenty of time to experience the South Island and it's the perfect choice for your Christmas Holiday, a winter break or Easter vacation. Both times we have visited New Zealand have been in April, so their fall. The weather has been very good with warm days and chilly nights and there are less tourists visiting at this time, which is also a plus.
Want help to organise your dream vacay to New Zealand? Just reach out to Andrea and she will help you out.
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