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Thursday, September 25, 2014

NEW ZEALAND: 1 week South Island Trip



Places: Queenstown, Tekapo, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Akaroa, Christchurch
Date: 19 June - 25 June 2014 (Early winter)
Suitable for: Solo Traveller and The Backpackers
Duration: 7 days 6 nights
Basic costs: NZD 747.87 (RM 1920) per person including flight ticket, accommodation, transportation & activities. Bring extra cash for food and souvenirs depending on your preference.


Day 1

Journey
Melbourne - Christchurch - Queenstown

Attraction
Lake Tekapo (located between Christchurch and Queenstown)

Activities
Enjoy the magnificent scenery of Lake Tekapo
Night walk in Queenstown

Transportation
3 hours flight from Melbourne to Christchurch
AUD 248.46 (NZD 275.69) return

Tips
- check the ticket price either on a Friday night, 14 days before the trip or on the 26th of January (Australian Day)
- if you're travelling from other countries such as Malaysia, transit to Melbourne or Sydney first is cheaper than buying direct flight to Christchurch. Be alert with AirAsia and Jetstar promos.
- Visa: People from these countries (including Malaysia) do not need visa before travelling to New Zealand. But if you're transiting in Australia, you need to apply for Australian visitor visa. You can apply here for SGD 11.95. Cheaper than Australian Government website and you can get approval within 48 hours.

20 minutes shuttle bus ride from airport to city
NZD 10

Tips - Public bus is also available at cheaper price.

8 hours bus ride from Christchurch to Queenstown
NZD 9.99

Tips - Book at least 2 months earlier for this price. Price ranges between NZD 1 - 39.99.

Accommodation
Base Queenstown  (Click to view the room)
Nakedbus Accomodation
NZD 18

Tips - Nakedbus offers discounted price for the first night if bought together with the bus trip

Internet
Free 2degrees simcard from Base Queenstown receptionist. Data plans as low as $20 for 1GB.

Tips - The list of places where you can get it for free. If you can't find it, some of the shops sell it for $10 just for the simcard.

Total costs
NZD 323.69

Behold the breathtaking scenery at Lake Tekapo

Lake-gendary close-up

Verdict


The 8 hours bus trip had several 5 minutes toilet stops and lunch stop. The ride was comfortable with enough leg room. I didn't care much about the ride because I was so captivated by the scenery especially the snowy mountain along the road. My original itinerary did not include Lake Tekapo but I was glad that the bus service allowed for a 30 minutes break there. It was so beautiful with blue hues of the lake surrounded by reflections of the snowy mountain. If you wish, you will have sufficient time to eat lunch, update your instagram using the free wifi in the local cafe or do business at the toilet. But I don't even care with all that. I spent the whole 30 minutes walking around the surrounding area taking photographs, enjoy adoring the beautiful landscape and it was worth every second.


Day 2 

Journey
Queenstown to Milford Sound

Attractions
Te Anau, Mirror Lake, Knob Flats, Monkey Creek, The Chasm & Milford Sound

Activities
Photo opportunities at the locations stated above
Walking along the Mirror Lake and The Chasm
Milford Sound Boat Cruise

Transportations
Full day (7.30 am to 7.30 pm) bus tour including 1 hour and 45 minutes boat cruise
NZD 89

Tips - Stopping by Milford Sound it a must do when you're in South Island. Nakedbus offers the cheapest tour that include return trip from Queenstown and 1 hour 45 minutes boat cruise with the price ranges between NZD 89 - 116. Book at least 2 weeks earlier for the cheapest price. Other tour agencies offer the same tour for about NZD 139 - 226.

Accommodation
Base Queenstown
NZD 21

Tips - For the other three nights, I booked the same accommodation from Nakedbus as it was cheaper that the rate offered by Booking.com. As usual you must book early to get the cheapest rate.

Total costs
NZD 110

My travel buddy at the Knob Flats

Upper Hollyford Valley from Monkey Creek

Mirror Lakes

Cleddau Valley - the scenic highway to Milford Sound

The Mitre Peak - one of the most photographed peaks in New Zealand

View from the second floor deck

 Spot the waterfalls and take a closer look...


Majestically splashing!

Verdict

Milford Sound was discovered 1000 years ago by the Maori. It is one of the most famous and beautiful fjord in the world. Let me tell you that it was the finest and most unique scenic highway I had seen. This is a must do for all the nature lovers and avid photographers out there. In addition to the out-of-the-world view and mesmerizing landscape, during the boat cruise, if you're lucky, you will also get the chance to see dolphins and seals in their natural habitat. This perfect combination is worth adding in your bucket list.

Day 3

Location
Queenstown

Attractions
Waterfront, Skyline Gondola

Activities
Walking around the city
Skyline Gondola
NZD 30 


Tips
- One day is sufficient to cover the city unless you're doing other activities such as sky diving etc that may take half of your day. Most of the shops closed at 5 pm except the cafes and the pubs. Start your day early in the morning and spend your time wisely. There are a lot of souvenirs shop, so compare the prices first before you start shopping.
- If you have extra time and money, you can also try out the Stargazing tourSkyline LugeBungee jumpingSkydive or Jet boating.

Transportation
Everything within walking distance. There are plenty of taxi if you're tired of walking.

Accommodation
Base Queenstown
Nakedbus Accommodation
NZD 21

Total costs 
NZD 51

Lake Wakatipu - historically 15,000 years ago, the lake is said to be formed by glaciers cutting through the Southern Alps

Queenstown waterfront

Saturday Art Market

Souvenirs hunting

The Gondola takes you 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak

The luge - I missed this because I wanted to save money and assured myself it was just like any other go kart but now I regretted my decision. Lesson learnt. As Winston Churchill once said  'Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.'

Verdict

What I love about Queenstown is that you can walk to almost everywhere. You can just walk around the city, the lake, the waterfront and even walk to the Skyline Gondola. A lot of souvenir shops to choose from. Foodwise, there are a lot of cafes, bakeries and bars but I only found one halal kebab cafe. One of the famous bakery here is the Fergbaker. I read the reviews from Trip Advisor and I couldn't agree more. It was superb! Their pastries and cakes were my breakfast and dinner in Queenstown. In addition to the worthy calories, I strongly recommend the hot chocolate at Patagonia Cafe. It was the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted! In the evening, we walked to Skyline Gondola to catch the sunset and enjoy the night view of this beautiful city. Totally beyond my expectation.

Took this photo with runny nose because baby it was cold outside..
Day 4

Journey
Queenstown - Wanaka

Attraction
Lake Wanaka

Activity
3 hours cycling around the lake
NZD 20 bike rental

Transportation
1 hour bus ride from Queenstown to Wanaka
Nakedbus
NZD 9.99 return

Accommodation
Base Queenstown
Nakedbus Accommodation
NZD 21 

Total costs
NZD 50.99

Clear stream flowing to the lake, willow trees and snowy hills - I shall stop typing for a minute in remembrance of this magical moment.

Selfie with the famous Wanaka Tree or The Lone Willow 

Can I sit next to you and let the world slip? - improvising Shakespeare quote.

Verdict

I enjoyed my 3 hours of cycling. Since I was too slow and not fit, I only managed to cover 8 km around the lake, about 1/4 of the route. Wanaka is a tourist friendly town. They provide free wifi, accessible bike rental services. Cafes and shops are located just in front of the lake for a quick bite. Thanks to the complete Wanaka bicycle route maps, I wandered but not lost. There are a lot of benches along the way where I can park my bike and catch my breath. This is my favorite photo at one of the stops.. (could be yours too)

'Life is like riding a swing, you hold to it tight and start moving, you go high and low, when you’re up you know you will get low and when you’re at your low you push harder to get up, and sometimes you need a push from someone to take you up' - Shada Aldahash

Day 5

Journey
Queenstown - Christchurch

Attraction 
Lake Tekapo

Activity
DIY Flying Fox

Transportation
8-hour bus ride from Queenstown to Christchurch
Nakedbus
NZD 9.99

Accommodation
YMCA Christchurch (Click to view the room)
Booking.com
NZD 30 

Total costs 
NZD 39.99

 We had fun burning our calories just trying to sit on it.

Verdict

Same as Day 1, but this time we spent 20 minutes riding the flying fox and another 10 minutes buying food. Undeniably, the most beautiful lake among them all.  But sadly, the time was too shorto enjoy the scenery. Next time, I will make sure that I'll stay here for at least 3 days so that I can try out all the activities available.

Day 6

Journey
Christchurch - Akaroa

Attractions
Canterbury Coast
Hunter dophins and seals

Activities
Akaroa Cruise tour
NZD 74

Transportation
1 hour bus ride Christchurch to Akaroa
Akaroa French Connection
NZD 45 return

Accommodation
YMCA Christchurch
Booking.com
NZD 30

Total costs
NZD 149

The result of massive volcanic eruptions 

Akaroa village from the jetty

Find the elephant

Hector Dolphins - the world's smallest and rarest dolphins

Harbors Rocks, Seal Bay - NZ fur seals were having pool party there

Verdict 

Before coming here, I never heard of the small village of Akaroa. When I arrived, I was awed by the spectacular coastline of Akarao Harbour and the surrounding bays created by volcanoes which erupted ages ago.  I was told by the locals that the Banks Peninsula is the result of violent eruptions from three ancient volcanoes. I recommend taking the cruise to see the dramatic rock formations surrounding Akaroa Harbour and the lines of ancient lava flows. We also had a lot of fun looking for dolphins and seals. But the star of the day was definitely this stunning volcanic amphitheater.. 


the sublime Scenery Nook!

Day 7

Journey
Christchurch - Melbourne

Attraction
Gondola

Activities
Gondola
WelcomeaboardNZ
NZD 25

Tips - The website provides combo passes which you can either buy online the  Gondola + Tram combo for NZD 30 or Gondola + Tram + Punt + Botanic Garden Tour for NZD 60. 

Transportation
Metro Public Bus
NZD 3.50 (return) City to Gondola Station
- NZD 8 (one way) City to Airport

Tips
-  if you intend to stay more than 2 days, buy Metrocard for cheaper bus fare.
- There is also $10 shuttle bus to the Gondola Station in front of Canterbury Museum. The website states that the shuttle bus operates daily but when we asked the information center, she said the bus operates only during summer.


Accommodation
YMCA Christchurch
Booking.com
NZD 30

Total Costs
NZD 32.20






Verdict

We didn't have much time to explore the city but glad that we didn't miss the gondola which I think the major attraction in Christchurch. You can see 360 view of the city from the Summit Station which located on the top of Mount Cavendish. I love the walking path outside the station. Walking there allowed me to experience all the sense that nature intended; the sound of the wind, the unique landscape, the fresh cooling air, the green brownish grass dancing with the sound of the wind, the mountains which makes me feel like I am standing at the top of world. It sound cliche but trust me, that is the only way I can describe my experience. You can also go to the free Time Tunnel inside the station which showcase the geological formation of New Zealand. Having got back from Akaroa, my imagination comes to life. A great way to end my New Zealand trip.


Overall
  • Friendly local
  • Traveller-friendly destinations
  • Tons of activities to do. Costly but worth the money.
  • Comfortable and strategic accommodation
  • For solo traveller and couple, nakedbus is strongly recommended.
  • For groupies and family vacationers, rent a car or campervan for maximum New Zealand experience.

Written and photographed by Meck


81 comments:

  1. Great getaway plan! Actually the accommodation is not that expensive as I though :). Amazing pictures. Hope I'll get there one day :-).

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    Replies
    1. Yes the accommodation especially in Queenstown is quiet cheap as compared to Christchurch. Thank you very much :)

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  2. One of my list of places to go. Great entry. Enjoy the pics tremendously.

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    1. Hope you can go there one day :) Thank you very much!

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  3. My dream places tp tabung travel belum penuh! Sabar ye JM :-)

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    1. Tak lama lagi penuh la tu hehe NZ memang best!

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  4. Interesting, I'm waiting for most posts from you.

    Cheers,
    www.littlenomadid.blogspot.com

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  5. Awesome pictures! New Zealand is a gem. Thanks for dropping me an email. It was nice discovering your blog! The details that you have provided - transportation, costs, etc are helpful.

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  6. One word that I would use to describe your 3o blog... "AWESOME!" You 3 are bunch of happy people traveling together. I like that. Keep it coming and I love your pictures. Seriously we should do some join traveling together someday. See ya :D

    Hafiz Azmi
    Writer
    sifusempoi.blogspot.com

    p/s: thank you for visiting my page. Love to eat :p

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    Replies
    1. Yes we should! Please contact us for any upcoming trips hehe thanks for dropping by!

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  7. Awesome ! I Miss NZ and it's pristine sceneries. Too bad I didnt have time to explore Queenstown and Christchurch. Will have to revisit someday.

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    1. Thank you! Couldn't agree more, South Island NZ is one of the most beautiful places in the world :)

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  8. nice tips on NZ! keep on writing! owhhhh how i miss NZ so much!

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  9. Wow! Great photos! New Zealand is a dream destination for me, and I am glad to see it is not as expensive as I would have though. Keep the photos and travel tips coming!
    Thanks,
    Katie
    https://www.worldwidevegetarian.com

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  10. Great tips and initerary. I will go to NZ this coming november! Yeeeaaa

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    1. You're the one from instagram! Have a great trip yea :)

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  11. I felt like staying on your site forever!! Stunning photography!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. Very much appreciated!

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  12. An inspirational post for the gorgeous views of New Zealand. What a trip and one I also hope to make one day. Thank you for posting (I'm forwarding this to a friend!).

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    1. Thank you very much. Very much appreciated!

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  13. Wow... Looks like the Ireland of the southern hemisphere! That's one helluva week you packed in!

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    1. Yes it was! But worth every second it :)

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  14. Teringin sangat bisa pergi ke sana juga :)

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    1. Harap kamu bisa sampai ke sana nanti :)

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  15. That's quite a lot of places to pack in for a week ! I would have probably planned something like that in my earlier years of travel, but now I think I travel slower and enjoy it at a slower pace :)

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    1. Yes that is the most important, as long as you enjoy your trip :)

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  16. damn im so jealous.. really envy with any nz trip.. haha
    nice pic..
    happy blogging.. :-)

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  17. banyak tak kedai makan jual makanan halal di sana? :D

    http://www.mohdnasri.com

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    1. Ada satu je jumpa kedai kebab kat Queenstown. Kitorang tak cari sangat kedai makan, selalu makan maggi je hehe

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  18. Hey guys! Great itinerary and photos...I have never been to New Zealand, but it certainly looks and sounds beautiful...Hopefully one day I will make it there. Looking forward to hearing about more of your adventures!

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  19. Lawa NZ ni,... belum cukup duit nak ke sana...
    Thanks for sharing.

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  20. wah info menarik ni. memang nak ke sana pun nanti. thank you :)

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    1. Thank you! Nnt boleh share about your trip pulak :)

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  21. I love the writing style. Hope to read more entries soon. ;)

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  22. New Zealand is awesome gorgeous! We love traveling there and soaked up its natural beautiful lamdscape. I see you explore more on the south island, we went also to north during our 2 weeks there, maybe this can be inspiration if you ever wanna go back there: Traveling Cows | NZ Trip : Our 2 weeks route

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    1. Thinking of going north one day! Thanks for the link!

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  23. Nice detailed explanation! Would love to visit NZ one day :)

    Regards
    Fira
    www.webmaya.com.my

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  24. havent been to new zealand.. wish i can go here!

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    Replies
    1. Now everyone can fly :P Hope you wish will come true :)

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  25. Absolutely love the photos and the details of each stop. Planning to go to NZ next year so this can definitely be one of my references. :)

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  26. Amazing! enjoy the journey...my dream to bring my family

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hope your dream will come true!

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  27. Cantik sgt gambar yg di share. In shaa Allah akan ke sana Nov 2015. Moga sihat dan pjg umur... ☺

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    1. Terima kasih! Semoga semua berjalan lancar :)

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  28. Hi there...sorry for my late visit! man! less than rm2k for a week's visit to NZ....that's veryyy cheap! how much was your air ticket? and thanks a lot for the info on the cheaper aussie visa application option. will do that in my next trip :D thanks a for sharing those great pictures..(they make me drool :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! The price for the air ticket was AUD 248 return :)

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  29. awesome...!!! tqs for sharing...

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you for stopping by!

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  30. Wow...sumpah tak tipu. Maybe we can just cut and paste ur journey...
    The pics mmg superb

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  31. Great photos and amazing views!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  32. awesome blog with details. senang nak refer.
    keep up the good work girls. look forward to next post.

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  33. Itinerary superb jeless tgok your photos, btw u guys gne camera ape ? gopro ?

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    1. Thank you!! Guna dslr canon 40D. Model lama ni hehe

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  34. Superb blog!Bestnyer!sgt teruja nk visit NZ, tp duit blm ckp.hope one day on this yr I'll be there..

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  35. Superb pics!can't wait for this coming september 2015,i'll be there!tq 4 da info on ur blog.but just nk tnye,it is possible if we rent a motorhome at christchurch n back it at queenstown?sbb xpyh ulang alik ke christchurch kn?

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    1. Possible :) Have fun! September sure best masa tu spring NZ mmg cantik hehe

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  36. hai..very awesome blog with details. i will be going to NZ this november so can i know which one is better, tour by bus or by car?n if by car, can i still book accommodation from nakedbus? do they have space for car parking?

    fadilah, malaysia :D

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    1. Thank you!! These are the answer to your questions, If you're travelling in group, it's better for you to rent a car. More flexible and you can stop anytime anywhere to enjoy the scenery.

      Yes you can still book the accommodation from their website but the price might be different. You can always compare with the price from booking.com. Not much difference I think.

      Nope they don't have parking space. Not that I'm aware of.

      Have fun and enjoy your trip :)

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