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Tackling New Zealand and Australia in 13 Days; Part 1 of 4 Series- South Island, New Zealand

Updated on June 30, 2012

Landing in the South Island

Just outside the airport in Queenstown, the describes where you are located in relation to the cities of the world.
Just outside the airport in Queenstown, the describes where you are located in relation to the cities of the world.

Planning the Trip

The mrs. and I are avid travelers, and try as often as we possible can. Our circumstances however, can make things both interesting and difficult. Both of us are divorced, which unfortunately seems common these days, and our schedules are inconsistent. We have to coordinate my odd firefighter schedule with the child custody one. When our child's father decided to take him on vacation for two weeks, we wanted to take a trip for two reasons. First, we wanted to take our minds off of the fact that our child was away, and secondly take a longer trip somewhere. The planning began, and we only had a month to do it.

Analyzing and researching information such as weather, seasonal changes, destinations, etc.,.., we decided on New Zealand and Australia. Our vacation was in December which meant that the region was in the summer season. The weather would be nice, and neither of us had travelled to Australia. I previously made a trip to the North Island of New Zealand once with a friend from work.

Searching for deals and reasonably pricing, we booked our flight with Air New Zealand. We knocked off the big items such as interconnecting flight between cities in the region, and some of our accommodations. We also planned some of the activities earlier on our trip. This first of four part series will describe some of the things we chose in the South Island. Details will follow in the future hopefully in a published travel book.

Queenstown

A view from the town of Queenstown
A view from the town of Queenstown

Queenstown and Te Anua

We reached the beautiful town of Queenstown after a few hiccups. Our interconnecting flight after coming from Los Angeles was delayed so it pushed everything back. We missed our flight with Jetstar to the South Island by thirty minutes so we stood by for the next flight. Queenstown was a small quaint town, but had a very contemporary feel to it. Many of the structures surrounding the town were designed with a modern style to it. We were starving so we tried a highly recommended pizza place called Winnie's. The food was indeed delicious.

Since our day had been shortened by an unfortunate delay in plans, we ventured up to the Queenstown Skyline Gondola to enjoy some luge and beautiful views. The landscape was amazing from a higher perspective. With the time remaining, we were able to squeeze a few runs on the luge track, a motor-less go-cart powered by gravity. After coming down the hill, we enjoyed a nice stroll through the town and had some dessert. In order to take advantage of the remaining sunlight, we made our way and drove to Te Anua, the gateway to Milford Sound.

We made it to Te Anua just after sunset and checked-in to our accommodation, Distinction Luxemore. The rooms seemed outdated and mediocre. The one positive thing was a large tub that we used to soak in a hot bath. We retired early after a long day traveling, and prepared ourselves for an adventurous next day.

Queenstown

The small town of Queenstown.
The small town of Queenstown.

Queenstown "Winnie's"

We ordered 2 delicious pizzas from Winnie's in Queenstown.
We ordered 2 delicious pizzas from Winnie's in Queenstown.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Luge

The downhill luge track at the Queenstown Skyline Gondola.
The downhill luge track at the Queenstown Skyline Gondola.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola

View from the Queenstown Skyline Gondola
View from the Queenstown Skyline Gondola

Milford Sound

Kayaking on Milford Sound
Kayaking on Milford Sound

Milford Sound

We decided to use Rosco's Kayaking to explore Milford Sound. The company and its guides were friendly, funny, and most importantly very knowledgeable of the area. The tour lasted most of the day with an early morning pick-up. The kayaking itself last 3 to 4 hours, and was amazing. To experience one of the wonders of the world from that view was phenomenal. Literally, we were kayaking less than 100 feet from incredible mountains that sprung up directly from the waters. It was amazing.

Both the drive into and out of Milford Sound were beautiful also. We made a few stops to venture and enjoy some other sites. Below are some pictures of the tour that will give you a better idea. It is definitely a trip worth taking at least once.

Mirror Lake

One of the stops to Milford Sound, Mirror Lake boasts reflections of the mountains as though it was a mirror.
One of the stops to Milford Sound, Mirror Lake boasts reflections of the mountains as though it was a mirror.

Milford Sound

I enjoyed Milford Sound from a phenomenal view, right down at the water in a kayak.
I enjoyed Milford Sound from a phenomenal view, right down at the water in a kayak.

Kayaking

Taking some time to celebrate after conquering kayaking at Milford Sound
Taking some time to celebrate after conquering kayaking at Milford Sound

End of the Tour

The tour group conquered it all!  We take a moment to enjoy another beautiful view of the valley.
The tour group conquered it all! We take a moment to enjoy another beautiful view of the valley.

Looking Forward to the Second of Four Series

In the next hub, we venture to the North Island to visit and enjoy activities such as the Waitomo Caves and canyoning. This is a basic overview of our itinerary of the trip that includes feedback of a few things we tried. I am working and writing a travel book/ journal that details everything on the trip. In the meantime, enjoy these hubs. Thank you for reading.

Rosco Kayaking at Milford Sound- Taped by Someone Else Who Enjoyed the Same Tour

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    • Chen Suen profile image
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      Chen Suen 5 years ago from Arcadia, California

      Thank you for your comment aboutaustralia. It's especially means something coming from someone who is from the area. Thanks again!

    • aboutaustralia profile image

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      I spent my childhood in New Zealand before moving to Australia way back in the 1970's, so I particularly liked your hub. Well written, interesting and informative. Looking forward to the next installment!!