Travel - New Zealand

  • Global Moderator

    Kepler Track and back to Queenstown

    I didn’t do too much today so this entry will be a lot shorter.

    I slept in a bit so by the time I checked out it was about 10 am. I decided to go to the Kepler track which can be a 3-4 day trek but I just did a part of it since I only had a few hours.

    I started off at Rainbow Reach and made my way towards the lake. It was a pretty nice trek. Most of the scenery is a forrest area you go through but there’s also swampland, beaches and some really cool sights of the river and lake around the area. You also go across 2 swing bridges which is always pretty cool. It took me roughly 3 hours return.

    Once I completed that I drove back to Queenstown, checked in at Sir Cedrics ($144 NZ for 5 nights) and got my snowboarding pass sorted ($500 NZ for 4 days, 2 of which are for lessons).

    As standard now, I was starving. I had a quick look on trip advisor and noticed a place called Taco medic was number 1. Due to the lore of the Taco Pizza, I had to go and see if they had it. Unfortunately they didn’t however the tacos were delicious. Then as I was walking back to the hostel I went to some cookie store and got possibly the best caramel sundae I’ve ever had. I’m so going to have it again before I leave.

    But that’s it really. Tomorrow I’ll head to one of the peaks and start snowboarding! :D

  • Global Moderator


    As usual the surrounding area looks amazing. There is a walk you can do that goes around the smaller lake here which is supposed to be nice. Didn't get to try it myself. The town itself is very heavily based on tourism. It kind of feels like disneyland to me. There is no real local charm, everyone appears to be a tourist here. You can get some lovely views around the town centre itself.

    If you're any bit of an adrenaline junky, you should love it. As I mentioned previously, I came here for snowboarding but there is a tonne of other things to do like bungie jumps, skydives, lotr horse treks, clay pigeon shooting, haunted house shows and so on... So if you just want to spend a week somewhere and do something new everyday, this isn't a bad spot for it.

    I went snowboarding for the first time on Coronet and The Remarkables. I was actually incorrect about what I'd purchased. I thought it was 2 days worth of lessons but it actually included 4 days full of lessons. I spent the first 2 days learning on Coronet and was really happy with the progress I made as I was able to go down blue slopes (those are intermediate here, while back in Europe intermediate would be red) and I thought generally I was decent enough on the board so I was hoping to tackle the advanced slopes the next day. Unfortunately, I went to the Remarkables the next day and had one poor fall which caused me to pull a muscle around my ribs. I tried to board later in the day and the following day but I eventually had to give up as it was too sore and I was only getting worse. So I may have to rest up a little over the next few days, we'll see. Still, it was a fantastic experience. They wouldn't be my favourite slopes I've been on but with good weather conditions I can see them being a lot of fun for any level skiier/boarder.

    The hostel I stayed in Sir Cedrics, is decent. Has the usual solid stuff, free soup after 6 which is fine and people here are really nice. It will have the odd group who make a load of noise but that's where ear plugs come in. One annoying thing is the lack of plugs. Something to be aware of.

    I've eaten in a few places here. I went to Fergburger and Fat Badger (Yes.... combine it,minus a few letters and you get Fatburger!). Fergburger was a little disappointing as it seems to be really hyped up here. It is essentially a takeaway and the night I went it had a huge queue but the burger itself was solid... that's about it. Maybe I got the wrong one. Fat Badger was pretty good, a pizza bar. They had their own brewed beers and the pizza's were really good. Just a word of advise, one person will seriously struggle to finish a large.. it's pretty damn big.

  • Global Moderator

    Mount Cook

    I made my way towards Mount Cook. First I said I’d stop off in Wanaka as I was told it was a lovely town. I only stopped off briefly but as usual it is a beautiful little spot, very similar to Queenstown. I could see it being nice to rent a bike out around there. There’s also puzzle world here which I’ve heard great things about.

    Anyway it took me about 4-5 hours in total to get to Mount Cook I believe and it’s a pretty spectacular drive, especially once you get to the lake. There are plenty of lookout points to stop at and they are well worth stopping at.

    I stayed in the YHA hostel (I’m really liking this chain here) and it was really good. It’s funny as the village we’re in is so small that they are also the shop. It also had a dry sauna which was decent too. Internet was very solid (got a few rounds of Overwatch in) and the rooms/beds are great.

    There seems to be a lot of aerial rides you can get here to Mount Cook or the Glacier nearby however I spent my day trekking. I went to Hooker Valley which was roughly a 3 hour return trek and to the Tasman lake which was about an hour return trek in total although there is another path which takes 3-4 hours cycling I believe.

    Anyway both were really nice walks.Hooker Valley in particular is very cool as it ends at Hooker lake where it’s half covered in glaciers, so pretty awesome.

    If you do go out here, and I recommend you do, it might be best to bring some supplies with you so you can cook and make snacks on the go instead of depending on the limited stock in the area.

  • Global Moderator

    North Island

    I’m going to put this all in one post because I actually didn’t get to do that much even though there is plenty to do here.

    Unfortunately my injury didn’t help, it was really bothering me most of the time (went doctor again to make sure it was all good, was prescribed some other things)

    Firstly I spent all my nights at YHA hostels and generally I recommend all of these. The one in Hamilton wasn’t great in comparison to the others but it was still okay to sleep in. Generally they had excellent wifi, spacious dorms, excellent kitchens. So definitely recommended on the whole.

    Wellington is the first place in NZ that I’d actually call a city. It has a really cool waterfront, some cool graffiti area’s and a load of museums. I didn’t stay very long as I wanted to get to the tongariro area so I could do a trek (where Mordor was shot)

    So this is where I spent most of my time, unfortunately the weather was bad for most of the time I was there so I took it as an opportunity to rest up. But things didn’t get any better and as I said my injury was kind of getting worse so I left it in the end. Have to say I was a little disappointed as I really wanted to check it out. More reason to come back.

    So off I went to taupo to see a doctor primarily. He basically told me I’ll be like this for another 2 weeks, so probably won’t be up to too much during that time. Taupo seems like a nice scenic town. I went to a thermal spa in the area and it was fantastic. They had about 3-4 pools, the furthest one away being the warmest. This was exactly what I needed and I just relaxed in there for about an hour.

    Then I decided to make my way towards Auckland (flight out of NZ) and since I couldn’t check out Mordor, Hobbiton was on the way so I went there instead. I’d heard mostly decent to average feedback which is why I was going to skip it. You do have to go as part of tour which is something I’m not a big fan of. That said I did enjoy it for what it is. If you love lotr/the hobbit, you’ll definitely have a good time checking out the area, hearing some things from the guide. So I would recommend it.

    And that pretty much covers the trip, from there I just spent a night in Hamilton and then drove off pretty early to the airport the following day. Fire away if anyone has any questions.

  • Glad you enjoyed it, if I read this thread I would have said met up!

  • Global Moderator

    Ya I'm happy to meet up with allies where ever I go. I've made my way to Buenos Aires now.

    Where are you based in New Zealand?

  • @tokeeffe9

    Based in a town within Auckland called Papakura. You would have passed it coming back from Hamilton to Auckland Airport.

  • Global Moderator

    @jords Cool, ya you're right. I did pass through there.

  • Global Moderator

    All my pictures (well the decent ones) are online now -

  • Milford Sound is absolutely breathtaking

  • Just saw this thread now. I'm from Wellington. Sorry to hear that the weather wasn't great for you here, but that's just how things are around here, very wet and windy - especially in the winter. Regardless, skimming your post, sounds like you had a lot of fun adventures.

  • Global Moderator

    Oh for sure. I loved New Zealand. I'd be very tempted to come back again just so I could do the Tongariro alpine Trek at least :)