The South Island is 150,000 sq km and is known by Maori as Te Wai Pounamu (which means Water of Greenstone). I favoured the South Island by far over the North Island as there was more to do and see! As we went in winter time the South Island was considerably colder than the north.
Abel Tasman National Park you can get the Aquabus around here. Scheduled Sailings – Aqua Taxis depart Marahau on a scenic tour to all beaches in the Park leaving the Aqua Taxi base at 9:00am, 10:30am, 12:00 noon and 1:30pm. One-way fares range from $23 to $50 depending on the distance travelled. The 10:30am and 12:00 noon sailings are summer only.
On this tour we seen rock formations and the boat goes up close to fur seals on the rocks. Then we went for a hike around the park and beaches. The views were amazing, it was like being in a mini paradise! There was a steep hike uphill but it was worthwhile.
I would say that you would need to be considerably fit to complete this walk. Alot of beaches have paua shell on them if you look inside the shells. You have to get the Aquabus back which is very bumpy and fast. When getting back onto the boat you have to get your feet wet as there is not platform to board the boat. For details on the Aquabus go to www.aquataxi.co.nz.
After leaving Nelson we stopped in Kaikoura for 4 hours and walked around the coast. We went for a walk around Cliffs and then seen fur seals up close away. The seals however can get cross so do beware. They will shout when you get too close. They can be quite aggressive and they do lie beside the cars so you could come across one without even noticing until you are right beside them.
I got helicopter ride up onto the glacier and walked/hiked around it. This was the highlight of my New Zealand trip! This trip costs NZ$ 299pp. Before going on the heli-hike we got boots and when up on the glacier got spikes for the bottom of our shoes and a walking stick. The walking stick it more of a hindrance than a help to be honest I would recommend that you don’t take this as it made me fall easier.
It was hard to walk on the ice and was very slippery as expected. Once on the glacier you will see spectacular ice caves and arches, you fly over the pinnacles of the lower icefall. Here, the ice is in constant motion. You then circle the upper icefall and Victoria Falls before landing.
You get about 2.5 hours on the glacier, which is plenty of time. When paying for this trip do be cautious as we were charged twice on our credit card. Luckily our tour guide sorted it out for us and we got our money back within a few days.
After a long scenic bus drive from Queenstown we were glad we did not have to drive it ourselves. We jus sat back and enjoyed the scenery. Once at Milford Sounds we got a cruise on the red boat ride to see mountains with temporary waterfalls (over 1500 in the National Park), we were lucky as it was raining that day so we got to see the waterfalls clearly and there was loads of them everywhere it was spectacular! We sailed right out to the Tasman sea and back again.
Queenstown is definitely a town for people who want thrills as there’s a load to do for outdoor enthusiasts like kayaking, bungee jumping, hiking and skiing. Its staggering beauty is not to be missed. We took a walk round the botanical gardens. The views from the stony beach were like a painting it was magnificent!
There is a Minus 5 bar located in Steamer Wharf (next to TSS Earnslaw). You are only allowed to spend half and hour in it. Everything is made out of ice, there are ice sculptures, and even the glasses are made out of ice. One of the sculptures you can even pour your drink through to drink from a funnel.
It costs NZ$30 for an adult and NZ$15 for children under the age of 18. Included in this price you get a free cocktail, which is in an ice glass and you can smash it on the way out. I thought the cocktails were lovely.
Children under the age of 4 are not allowed, as they do not have the coats available for them. It was -7.6degrees inside when I went. They long trench coat I was given had a furry hood so I wasn’t cold when I went inside. It had small ice statues scattered about the room however there was not much room inside and it was quite expensive I thought for half an hour.
International Antarctica Centre is open every day of the year including Christmas Day. Opening hours are 9.00am-5.30pm in the winter and 9.00am-7.00pm in the summer. To see the attractions it costs Adult/Child NZ$30/$20 and for the combo it costs Adult/Child NZ$48/$36. The combo is with the Huggland ride included.
The huggland ride was very bumpy and goes over a pretty rough circuit. I didn’t think it was worth the money but children might enjoy it.
There are tiny blue penguins which you can view from above and underwater. You can also see where they breed as partners. There are three feedings a day last one at 3.30pm. I felt it was worth the admission price just to see the penguins up so close. Photos are allowed but not flash photography.
Overall I really enjoyed my trip to New Zealand and would definitely recommend people to go here as the scenery is breathtaking and there is so much to see and do! I preferred the south island myself as the snow was magical the further south we went the snowier it got!
Further reading if you missed part 1 on the North Island of New Zealand: