Photography by Moritz Lips.
I can't believe it's already more than a month since I've been back from New Zealand! I had looked forward to this trip for so long and when the day of departure finally came six weeks seemed like such a long time, but just like everything else in life, this trip too came to an end. It all started in Wellington where we stayed three days, enough to recover from over 40 hours of traveling and 12 hours time difference, before taking the ferry to Picton. It took us two days to figure out what we wanted to do and where the route would take us. A lot of people told us that Marlborough Sounds was a must visit when you're on the north shore of the South Island so we booked three nights at the Hopewell Lodge, which was probably the best place we stayed at during our time in New Zealand. A major moment in those three days was when we came back from a kayaking tour and saw two dolphins swimming near the shore. I paddled like a maniac to reach them and they swam right next to us before disappearing in the wide waters of Marlborough Sounds!
Afterwards the trip took us to Golden Bay where we'd visit the Abel Tasman National Park and Farewell Spit - both spectacular. From there we went on to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks, continuing to Hokitika and the Franz Josef Glacier. After we've been on the road for four days only staying at those places for one night we had been longing for a little rest that we found in Wanaka. That day we drove from the Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka in one piece and it was the most amazing ride! This route represents New Zealand perfectly, because you will experience different kind of scenes almost every hour, from glaciers, forests, beaches to mountain regions again and the beautiful Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka.
After a couple of days rest we hit the road again, this time towards Te Anau, Milford Sound (click here to see the post). Nature-wise probably the harshest, but also most stunning place. After we had come back from Milford Sound we stayed one night in Queenstown to say goodbye to our friend Julian who flew back to Switzerland. The next day Moritz and I drove from the west to the east coast, to be more precise to Dunedin. A city that is completely different from all the others in New Zealand, you could see the British influence more than elsewhere. Also the fact that it was rainy, foggy and time-wise only 10 degrees gave us the feeling of being in Great Britain. The east coast was so different compared to the west coast, the nature didn't change as often as on the other side and it was also more flat, which meant it was used as farm land and therefore not so spectacular. After a stop in Oamaru for one night we arrived in Christchurch. A strange and cool city despite or maybe even because of the demolition caused by the earthquake. We spent some beautiful days with our cousin there before heading further north to Kaikoura. It is a really famous place, because of all the whales and dolphines passing by so a must is definitively a tour either by boat or plane to see those impressive animals! We chose the plane since we had heard that the sea is quite rough and being inside a boat for three hours when it's really wavy, well you might end up getting sick. Plus with the plane you got a stunning view and are able to see the whales!
Kaikoura marked the last destination on the South Island and also of our road trip. We came back to Wellington, where, upon Moritz’ recommendation, we stayed at the legendary (now out of business) "Norman BnB” . With luxurious sleeping conditions, top notch exotic cuisine and a standard in cleanliness that is beyond most places, it surely left little to be desired. Plus points for great company and The Dome spa-shower. The days we spent there were absolutely amazing. Driving around, doing photo shootings, hanging out at the beach, eating at all those cool restaurants - all in all really relaxing! Then after our untraditional Christmas we took the bus to Auckland (only 11 hours, no big deal) to do some sight-seeing and visit more family. It was a great ending to a great trip that I will always have in great remembrance! 🙏
A true paradise was the Hopewell Lodge in Marlborough Sounds, it's definitively worth the two hours ride out there! But be aware to shop all you need, cause there is no store and no nothing within two hours..
Find all my snaps from New Zealand under the hashtag #l2lnzdiary on Instagram!