2-Week Road Trip in New Zealand South Island – Part 2
Hello and welcome back to Road Trip in New Zealand South Island series. As a reminder, itinerary for the first four days included:
Day 1: Arrival in New Zealand. Christchurch
Day 2: Tekapo (Church of Good Shepherd) and Pukaki
Day 3: Pukaki (NZ Alpine Lavender) and Hooker Valley Track
Day 4: Pukaki, Sealy Tarns Track and Wanaka
Day 5 – Rest day. Wanaka
By saying rest, I mean sorting out the bills back at home, responding to emails and doing other boring work which you just can’t hide from. Not even in New Zealand.
It was actually the windiest night so far and we had to use every tool and trick to keep our tent upright. The wind was so strong it kept on pulling the pegs out of the ground so we used heavy rocks to secure them.
Tip: Wanaka Community Centre has a swimming pool and hot water pool which costs only $4. After a swim head to “The Cow” in Wanaka which serves awesome pizzas. Also their local craft beer is really good. If you are into Italian food I’d recommend Francesca’s Italian Kitchen.
Day 6 – Ishtmus Peak hike
Ishtmus Peak track is known for its scenic views of both lake Hawea on the east and lake Wanaka on the west. Ishtmus Peak was a marathon compared to Sealy Tarns sprint we did just a few days ago. It was a spectacular hike nonetheless.
More about this hike here.
Day 7 – Diamond lake, Wanaka viewpoint, Rocky peak – Queenstown.
We climbed Rocky Peak before having lunch in Wanaka. It was a relatively easy but very nice hike which took us just under 3 hours to complete. Read more about it here.
Tip: Grab a sandwich and a coconut latte for lunch from Fedeli Café in Wanaka. These guys really know how to prepare a perfect coffee and their food is both healthy and delicious.
After lunch we departed from Wanaka to Queenstown. Just before reaching Queenstown we set up our campsite at Rum Curries Hut. This must be the most beautiful campsite ever and most importantly it is completely free. As a matter of fact all of the campsites we stayed at were free.
When we arrived in Chriscthurch we spoke to another travelling couple and we have been told we were spoiled for free campsites and that New Zealand is going to be more difficult, but I have to say this has not been true from our current experience. There are plenty of campsites that are free in different regions very close to touristy objects or destinations. Of course, you need to plan ahead and do some research but so far it has been more than manageable. Our best tools so far (for campsites, showers, drinking water refill points, etc.) have been apps called WikiCamps NZ and Campermate. Wikicamps has been particularly good for finding out of beaten track spots to camp that are not known to many others.
Tip: You have to eat at Blue Kanu if you are ever in Queenstown. It is a really funky polynesian-asian restaurant with super friendly service and food like nowhere else. This is where I had my birthday dinner. I did not want to leave.
In the evening we spent a bit of time exploring Queenstown and it’s gardens where you can play Frisbee golf and also see amazing Sequoia trees.
Day 8 – Queenstown
Queenstown is such a beautiful city! And there is much to do here too. You can explore lake Wakatipu on a boat tour, bungee jump, tour the city in a cable car, play frisbee golf and more.
Interesting fact: According to Lonely Planet water in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is 99.9% pure. You are better off dipping your glass in the lake than buying bottled water!
We actually tried playing frisbee golf ourselves. After a couple of throws the decision was made to not risk other people’s lives and do something less risky. Like enjoying amazing sequoia trees!
Day 9 – Glenorchy and Rain!
We woke up early to spend some time in Glenorchy which is a small town north of Queenstown. It just so happened that the whole day was stormy and we ended up staying in a café (in Glenorchy!) most of the time.
This time we had to come back to Curry’s Hut Campsite empty handed but I am sure in good weather it is a nice place to spend a day.
Day 10 – Milford Sound, Fjordland National Park
Milford Sound is a stunning place you absolutely have to visit. I wrote a separate post about Milford Sound – check it out here.
It is probably a good place to stop for Part 2. The last four days of our road trip in New Zealand south island will be covered in Part 3.