2019 Trip to New Zealand in April

Old Aug 10th, 2020, 12:21 PM
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2019 Trip to New Zealand in April

Visited New Zealand in April 2019. This was a trip that we had to change our itineraries the last minutes due to a heavy rain that caused a road closure to part of the Haast state highway 6. It was a bit stressful for the last minute cancellations of motels and re-booking to the YHA lodging in Wanaka and Lake Tekapo. On the whole, we still had a nice trip despite the hassles with all the changes. We flew in to Auckland, and changed flight to Queenstown. The flight from Auckland to Queenstown was wonderful, as we could see the mountains with glaciers while on the path to Queenstown. As one the fodorite had mentioned in her report, the flight to queenstown before landing was something to marvel about. I totally agreed with that. It was so cool to see the plane flying through the narrow pathway to the runway before touching down.





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Old Aug 10th, 2020, 02:21 PM
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The followings are the places we had covered:
1. Three nights in Queenstown Double Tree Hilton hotel. The first day we walked along the lake to Kelvin Heights. The next day, we took the ferry to Queenstown, took the Queenstown Skyline and hiked to Ben Lomond saddle. It was a beautiful day, and the trail to the saddle was worth the effort. Later the day, we walked around the Queenstown before taking the bus to Arrowtown before going back to the hotel by public transportation. It was raining hard on the third day, and we picked up the rental car from the airport and drove to Glenorchy. It was a disappointing day as the weather just hampered everything. We pretty much did not see anything because of the rain and decided to turn around as the rain was getting heavy. We pretty much had a total rain out day, and later the day we heard the news of the coastal route closure because of flooding and mudslide in part of the route we planned to take. We started making plans to change our itineraries.

Auckland International airport





Queenstown Skyline

Hiking to the Ben Lomond saddle



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Old Aug 10th, 2020, 03:10 PM
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2. We left early the next morning for our Milford Sound cruises. We had booked the Milford Sound lodge with a four person shared dorm for the night. We also did two cruises for Milford sound as we were skeptical about the weather, one in the late evening and the other early in the morning. We had two different cruise companies booked. We like them both, one was a smaller boat, and the other was a catamaran. I enjoyed getting soaked under the beautiful waterfalls. It was a magical feeling for me under those misty water droplets from the waterfalls, I felt like a kid again!









Overnight at Milford Sound is definitely a good way to see the area. It was quiet without a lot of tourist, and the night was very peaceful. We were fortunate to share the dorm with a French lady with two kids. We had dinner at the Milford Sound lodge which was pricey but good. The next morning, after the cruise, we took our time to TeAnau, visited some the Lord of the Rings site, and then drove back to Queenstown. We stayed overnight at the Crown Plaza. We walked around Queenstown in the evening and also in the morning before leaving for Wanaka.
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Old Aug 10th, 2020, 03:53 PM
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3. We drove on the Crown Range road to Wanaka. Wanaka is a lake town and also with a lot of tourists. We managed to get a last minute room for a night at the YHA. It is near to all the places that we want to see and the lake front is just not far from the YHA. We also arrived early enough to find a parking space for the Roy’s peak hike. It was a hot day, and for the most part of the trail had



Crown Range road

Roy’s peak trail

Wanaka Tree









no shades at all. We did not finish the whole trail to the summit, as the hot sun was just too much for me. We came back down to the parking area, and saw that the whole area was packed with cars and people, and the police were busy giving out tickets to cars that were illegally park on the road sides. We went back to the town, found the Wanaka tree, and just had a leisure walk around the lake.



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Old Aug 11th, 2020, 12:11 PM
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4. We left Wanaka early next day for Mount Cook. It was almost a three hour drive to the Mount Cook area. The most scenic part of this journey, IMO, starts at the base of the Lake Pukaki onwards to Mount Cook. We had book a night at the Mount Cook YHA. We parked at the visitor center by the Hermitage hotel, and followed the advised from the park ranger to do the Kea point track as the Hooker Valley track was closed due to the bridge was damaged by the storm. It was a warm beautiful day, so the trail was pleasant and easy. There were quite a number of people on the trail as we heading to the Kea Point. After the hike, we checked into the YHA, and had a very simple dinner before turning in for the night. We met a couple and they told us that the Tasman glacier trail was pretty good, so we heeded the advice and headed to the trail the following morning which proved to be a nice track for the day before heading out to Lake Tekapo.

On the way to Mount Cook NP




Hooker Valley trail head




Tasman Glacier lake







Leaving Mount Cook NP
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Old Aug 15th, 2020, 07:59 AM
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Nice TR! Loved your photos. We were in NZ this past Jan/FEb and loved it. Sawmuch of what you saw, but after seeing your photos wished we had flown AKL to SI. What views!
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Old Aug 15th, 2020, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Nice TR! Loved your photos. We were in NZ this past Jan/FEb and loved it. Sawmuch of what you saw, but after seeing your photos wished we had flown AKL to SI. What views!
I missed my traveling days. I work full time and usually do not have time to write my journals after the trips. I have canceled two trips this year, and have to settle with just looking at all the photos that I had taken on the trips. I am thankful that I still had traveled to all these wonderful places, and would like to share some of those pictures so that we can at least revitalize our memories. Stay safe, and I shall continue with my trip journal.
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Old Aug 15th, 2020, 12:31 PM
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[QUOTE=Cherthor;17142630]4. We left Wanaka early next day for Mount Cook. It was almost a three hour drive to the Mount Cook area. The most scenic part of this journey, IMO, starts at the base of the Lake Pukaki onwards to Mount Cook. We had book a night at the Mount Cook YHA. We parked at the visitor center by the Hermitage hotel, and followed the advised from the park ranger to do the Kea point track as the Hooker Valley track was closed due to the bridge was damaged by the storm. It was a warm beautiful day, so the trail was pleasant and easy. There were quite a number of people on the trail as we heading to the Kea Point. After the hike, we checked into the YHA, and had a very simple dinner before turning in for the night. We met a couple and they told us that the Tasman glacier trail was pretty good, so we heeded the advice and headed to the trail the following morning which proved to be a nice track for the day before heading out to Lake Tekapo.

On the way to Mount Cook NP




Hooker Valley trail head




Tasman Glacier lake







Leaving Mount Cook NP[/5. It was a very scenic drive from Tasman Lake to Lake Tekapo, especially along the Lake Pukaki. We stopped at the Mount Cook Alpine Salmon visitor center for a great view of the Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook NP as the backdrop before moving on to Lake Tekapo. The town of Lake Tekapo is basically a tourist town, but it still has its charm. We had an overnight stay by the lake, and enjoyed the late and early hours when all the tourist had left the town for their onward journeys to either Queenstown direction or to Christchurch.









6. We left Tekapoin the morning after walking along the lake for some early morning pictures. It took us slightly less than 3 hourto reach Christchurch. We just walked aroundexploring the city. We had another whole day in Christchurch the next day, before leaving Christchurch in the following morning for NI. We also drove to Port Hills, stopped at the Sign of the Kiwi cafe for some coffee and bakery. Behind the cafeteria there was a trail, we followed that trail and had a very nice view of the coastline from above the hill. Wethen drove on the Summit hill road to Evans road, which was a pretty nice scenic route to Sumner, and then headed back to the city center. Later the day we had a good evening walk at the Hagley Park. There were people playing ruby on the field. We like the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

















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Old Aug 15th, 2020, 06:24 PM
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[QUOTE=Cherthor;17144054][QUOTE=Cherthor;17142630]4. We left Wanaka early next day for Mount Cook. It was almost a three hour drive to the Mount Cook area. The most scenic part of this journey, IMO, starts at the base of the Lake Pukaki onwards to Mount Cook. We had book a night at the Mount Cook YHA. We parked at the visitor center by the Hermitage hotel, and followed the advised from the park ranger to do the Kea point track as the Hooker Valley track was closed due to the bridge was damaged by the storm. It was a warm beautiful day, so the trail was pleasant and easy. There were quite a number of people on the trail as we heading to the Kea Point. After the hike, we checked into the YHA, and had a very simple dinner before turning in for the night. We met a couple and they told us that the Tasman glacier trail was pretty good, so we heeded the advice and headed to the trail the following morning which proved to be a nice track for the day before heading out to Lake Tekapo.

On the way to Mount Cook NP




Hooker Valley trail head




Tasman Glacier lake







Leaving Mount Cook NP[/5. It was a very scenic drive from Tasman Lake to Lake Tekapo, especially along the Lake Pukaki. We stopped at the Mount Cook Alpine Salmon visitor center for a great view of the Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook NP as the backdrop before moving on to Lake Tekapo. The town of Lake Tekapo is basically a tourist town, but it still has its charm. We had an overnight stay by the lake, and enjoyed the late and early hours when all the tourist had left the town for their onward journeys to either Queenstown direction or to Christchurch.









6. We left Tekapoin the morning after walking along the lake for some early morning pictures. It took us slightly less than 3 hourto reach Christchurch. We just walked aroundexploring the city. We had another whole day in Christchurch the next day, before leaving Christchurch in the following morning for NI. We also drove to Port Hills, stopped at the Sign of the Kiwi cafe for some coffee and bakery. Behind the cafeteria there was a trail, we followed that trail and had a very nice view of the coastline from above the hill. Wethen drove on the Summit hill road to Evans road, which was a pretty nice scenic route to Sumner, and then headed back to the city center. Later the day we had a good evening walk at the Hagley Park. There were people playing ruby on the field. We like the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.


















7. The flight from Christchurch to Auckland was not as dramatic as the flight from Auckland to Queenstown. It was still a very scenic flight especially when we flew over the Egmont National Park. Seeing Mount Taranaki from the air was indeed impressive, and the big round circle around the volcano made me wonder if it was real. We touched down at noon, took our rental car and drove straight towardsRotorua. We arrived in time for the Mitai Maori village show with dinner in the evening. We stayed a night at the Holiday Inn. We chose to experience the Maori culture experience since we only had a limited time for a short stop over. Our destination was focus on the Tongariro National Park.



Leaving South Island

Flying over Mount Taranaki

Mount Taranaki

Mount Taranaki with the ring

Mount Ruapehu from the air

[/8. We left early next morning as we wanted to reachTongariro National Park for some hiking before dark. It was quite a view to see Mount Doom (Ngauruhoe) and Mount Ruapehuon the way to the Whakapapa visitor center. We had booked the Skotel Alpine hotel for the night, and the trail to Taranaki falls was just by the corner of the hotel. We were told by the reception lady that this was her favorite trail in the park, and the hike to the Lower and Upper Tama Lakes would give a good view of the Mount Ngauruhoe. Indeed, it was a good advice from her and we really enjoyed this trail. It was absolutely beautiful on both the Lower and Upper Tama Lakes. The round trip was 13 mile hike and we made back to the hotel with a best sunset of the entire trip. We also enjoyed the dinner that served by the hotel. We had a very good day in the Tongariro NP.


Mount Ngauruhoe




Taranaki Falls






Lower Tama Lake



Upper Tama Lake

Mount Ngauruhoe in the background



Beautiful sunset


Good food after the hike
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