It's been over 2 years since I returned from New Zealand so why bother talking about it now. Well, my baby brother told me he wants to go there with his girlfriend after Easter 2017. You have no idea how worried my mom and I have been since he dropped the news! According to my brother, New Zealand went from a "10" to an "8" every time he comes and asks me for trip tips. (My mom never felt that way about me traveling and I am planning a trip to the Middle East... LOL)
|The yellow stars were roughly all the places I went my last trip|
Below are the places I told my brother about if he is determined to go. I am breaking the post into North and South Island for an easier read.
Auckland - Giapo sells great ice creams
|Be prepared to queue at Giapo|
|Fresh, sweet, and delicious!|
While Hobbiton is worth the drive, I will say the Waitomo Cave is overrated. (Disclaimer: I have been to limestone caves in other places in the world before so that was nothing new to me. However, I do appreciate NZ keeping the caves as natural as it could be.)
|Hobbiton is built for a movie set so every where is great for pictures!|
|Don't expect to see this when you go|
(This is the promotional picture I saw on the Internet which sold me in the first place)
|This is closer to what you will actually be and take a picture of.|
But first off, you need a good camera.
|The other cave (Ruakuri) was actually nicer, we did not go to Aranui.|
Reminds me of the staircase at the Vatican.
If you are physically fit, you may want to consider the Blackwater Rafting instead.
The Te Puia was a nice experience but don't waste your money at the Polynesian Spa. And you certainly don't need to make a special stop at the Agrodome for sheep. There are plenty of sheep at Hobbiton.
|If you've been to Yellowstone National Park (which I've been), |
this geyser will be mild compared to the Old Faithful
|We did the Te Po Experience|
Dance was interesting and the food was good
|The Polynesia Spa. Save your money for a real onsen in Japan.|
|It was spring so baby sheep were everywhere when we went|
But they runaway from you if you try to get too close.
So, don't think you will be able to take a selfie while hugging a sheep, mom or baby.
|Our close encounter with a black swan at Lake Taupo|
|A nice boutique hotel we stayed in Martinborough|
|Poppies, a boutique winery recommended to us by many locals.|
Unfortunately, it was closed when we went.
|The weather literally went from this...|
|...to this in a matter of minutes...|
|@ the Weta Cave|
Book tickets ahead if you plan to visit
|Go to the passenger deck after you park your car.|
It's not a bad idea to pick up dinner in Wellington and eat on the ferry.
|The deck is open to public.|
It's a 3 hours ride but the sunset made it worthwhile.