Travelling next door

The Travel Bug

The last time I went on a holiday was in July for the Splendour in the Grass festival in Byron Bay. That was more a long weekend than a holiday so I was really itching for one. 

I always thought of New Zealand as an “It’s just there!” country and I had the “I’ll get to it one day.” attitude. Well, that one day turned out to be now. 

I’ll now curate through some snaps of the trip as pictures can really tell the story more than words. And besides, I took 2000 pics in a week so I do have some material behind me (but don’t worry, I’ll only use a select few on this post).

Here we go.. 

Auckland

Auckland had that Melbourne feel about it in that the architecture looked similar, the shops are largely the same, they have cute alleys with cafe’s & bars, and it’s smaller than Sydney. The only thing missing were the trams. Walking around town reminded me so much our streets.  

Here are some shots around town.

 

And here are the aforementioned lanes.

 

 

Tamaki Drive is a nice little detour 10-minutes away from Auckland which passes through Okahu Bay, Mission Bay and all the way to Ladies Bay at St Helliers.  It’s a cute short drive if you want to get away from the city but still be close enough to get back. The views are spectacular.

 

 

Hobbiton, Matamata

Hobbiton or ‘The Shire‘ from LOTR and Hobbit movies was a must for us (the son insisted). Apparently, the set was taken down after LOTR movie but rebuilt permanently during the Hobbit. And now the place attracts tourists by the busloads from all over the world.

And here’s what everyone came for.

And I’m glad to report that The Shire did not disappoint!  

Rotorua

There were a few things that we wanted to do in Rotorua: go for a tree climb, trek through the Redwoods, go for a walkabout around sulphur city, and spend some time in a Mauri village.  

That was a packed couple of days that was full of wanderlust moments.

The relaxing drive back to Auckland was sublime; the traffic flowed, the hills rolled and I found the row of yellow daisy-like wildflowers on both sides of the road ‘charming‘. I learned to appreciate the roads even more than the anxious drive up. 

That was supposed to be the end of the short holiday but 2 things made me extend the holidays for a couple more days: a heat wave was about to hit Sydney and everyone highly recommended Queenstown

Therefore..

 

Queenstown

The niggling voices that said, “Go South…go to Queenstown!” were right. I really thought that the trip so far was going to be hard to beat but Queenstown took it to another level.

Town center front faces Lake Wakatipu and the view took our breath away as soon as we saw it. There are plenty of scenic walks around town and the town itself has this nice vibe around it from the truckload of happy tourists and easy-going locals. The streets are tight and narrow and the architecture is a seamless combination of old and new. 

Here’s what I saw.

 

You could drive yourself mad trying to choose what to see around Queenstown but we flipped a coin and Googled for trips where LOTR and Hobbit were filmed (and there were a few choices). Milford Sound won the coin toss and we headed down there the very next day.

It was a magical 12-hour all day trip which goes through long stretches of road, gorgeous countryside with incredible views (there were with lots of breaks for all).

You pass through Fiordland to get to Milford Sound, which included a pit stop at Mirror Lakes. I can’t recommend this trip enough; the mountains were humbling, the mists were spellbinding and the waterfalls were an enchanting clear blue (aqua). It was other-worldly. 

Here’s the magic.

 

 

Lester, our trust driver, made a stop just after the Homer tunnel in order for everyone to grab a view of waterfalls that trickled down the mountains from the rain.

I lapped it up.

 

 

This moment, in particular, was one of the most jaw-dropping moments I’ve ever experienced. It was one of those where you start reflecting immediately on who you are and where you belong in the universe.

And just round things off, here are a few more pics around Milford Sound and the drive back. 

 

 

Looking back at the trip, going on a coach trip first was the right choice as it gave us more time to spend soaking the views in (and there is a lot during the drive up). If we had another day (which we, unfortunately, did not have), then we could have used that opportunity to drive around and make uninterrupted stops in spots. 

Note that all these pics are unedited (and the experience is really so much better in person, particularly the drive up to Milford Sound). I have the edited versions in my Instagram account here and on my pro account here. Come down and say hello on Insta, I keep the updates regular.

And just before I sign off, I would like to wish you and your family all the very best in 2-0-1-7! Let’s own this year! 

 

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