A TRIP TO THE UNSEEN OF NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is an island country geographically located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and it consists of 2 main islands, the North and the South Island. New Zealand is mostly known by its a beautiful landscape and also the shooting place for The Lord of The Rings movie.
I. OTAGO PENINSULA
Best known for yellow-eyed penguins, royal albatross, castle
Otago Peninsula is the best place for eco-tourism travel located on the east side of Southern Island, not too far from Dunedin city centre. You’ll find yellow-eyed penguins, the blue penguins, seals, and sea lions here. On the upper side, you’ll see the magnificent Larnach Castle. If you’re a wildlife lover and looking for something to do in Otago, then this place is a must! Why?
1. Otago Peninsula is the capital for wildlife in New Zealand since it’s a natural habitat for some rare species in the world, you can go explore the Otago Peninsula by a private car or just use a tour instead so you can rest assured.
2. Larnach Castle is the only castle in New Zealand from Victorian-era, going to New Zealand without visiting this castle is absolutely a loss. It is open every day from 9 AM – 5 PM with an admission fee 34 NZD for adults, 12 NZD for children aged 5-14 and free of charge for children under 5
3. Go to the Royal Albatross Centre and you’ll find the colony of these birds wandering upon you while sipping a coffee at the café. It is open from 12.30 PM – 05.30 PM at weekdays and 10.15 AM – 5.30 PM at the weekend
4. Stop for a hidden valley named Glenfalloch Woodland Garden and enjoy the lunch at their garden restaurant while being surrounded by a private flower garden. It is open every day from 9AM– 5 PM.
5. Take some photos at the old-style Fletcher House, the first Edwardian villa to be opened for public. It is open from 11 AM – 4 PM only at weekends and public holidays, except Christmas Day.
6. Do a Monarch boat ride or even go for sea kayaking tours that will bring you closer to sea wildlife. The Monarch boat ride runs every Wednesday and weekend. The price starts from 57 NZD, while the sea kayaking tour costs 75 NZD.
7. Just at the opposite of the Royal Albatross Centre, you’ll find Taiaroa Head at the end of Otago Peninsula. It is home for over 10.000 sea birds and will offer you a great view of the sea down below.
8. Walk around the large sand dunes at Sandfly Bay, the icon of Otago Peninsula with yellow-eyed penguins and sea lions doing their activities beside you.
9. Visit the Port Chalmers Maritime Museum located at the Otago Harbour to see some collections of relic and remains of ships even the one that used for Antarctic exploration. It is open from 10 AM – 3 PM at weekdays and 1 PM – 4 PM at the weekend and public holidays.
10. Watch the fur seals relaxing on the beach from the sand dunes in undeveloped Victory Beach, near the town of Portobello. Don’t forget to take a photo in front of the pyramids that are formed volcanically.
II. MILFORD SOUND
Best known for: Waterfalls, penguins, seals, dolphins
Nominated as the 8th wonder of the world, Milford Sound is the most popular tourists spot because of it’s natural scenic. It’s located on the southwest side of South Island and from there, you’ll see the waterfalls, some relaxing penguins, seals and dolphins. The nearest town from Milford Sound is Queenstown and Invercargill, but tourists usually book a tour by bus or even take a flight to depart from Queenstown Airport to also see the panorama of some paradise near Milford Sound like Lake Wakatipu from up in the air. Self-driving is also possible and it is recommended to make a stop at Te Anau since you won’t find restaurants and petrol stations along the road (the restrooms and phone signal are limited either) or you can choose to spend a night there, then you can go at tomorrow early morning to avoid any traffic jam. Make this trip even unforgettable by adding these attractions into your bucket list:
1. A cruise tour is the most famous way to fully enjoy Milford Sound. Choose a day cruise or
overnight cruise based on your wish. See the Lady Bowen Falls, the lush rainforest and the iconic Mitre Peak. Stay overnight on the cruise and experience what others don’t including stargazing in the middle of the peaceful water. The cruise tour will cost you around 55 NZD and more.
2. A cruise tour may be popular but it isn’t the only way to explore the landscape. Book a helicopter for scenic flights and you’ll see the outstanding glaciers and mountains from above. The price starts from 199 NZD per person (book a tour package of fly-cruise-fly if you want to experience all of Milford Sound. It will cost you around 379 NZD per person).
3. Do the Milford Track if you’re the kind of adventurous person. This track will take around 4-5 days and is 53.5 kilometres long, so be sure you have a fit and healthy body. Good preparation before going for a track is a must. You’ll find Milford Track accommodation since camping isn’t allowed and spend some nights at the huts to regain energy for tomorrow’s track. Book in advance because the track is limited per day. The price for adults will start from 15 NZD for the huts per person, per night (May-October season) and 70 NZD per person, per night (October-April season) while children under 18 are free of charge.
4. Try the Milford Sound day walking experience with many options such as along the foreshore area/through the forest/tracking to the key summit/stroll along the Guliver River/hike to the Gertrude Saddle for the experienced climber.
Key Summit – By vil.sandi:Flickr
5. Kayaking around Milford Sound is worth the time while you’re looking for some activities to do there. There are many tour company that will offer you for kayak tours. The price starts from 99 NZD
Milford Sound – From the kayak 23 by eyeintim:Flickr
6. Wondering if you can do fishing at Milford Sound? Why not? But take a note for where you can fish, for example, fishing at the Piopiotahi Marine Reserve is strictly not allowed. Fish at the western side of Sinbad Cove/northern side of Dale Point/Fox Point and Saint Anne’s Point instead.
7. Go to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory by boat and see the sea creatures close including the iconic black coral. Hear the history of Milford Sound while also seeing the underwater world. This place is usually included on some kayaking/cruise packages while the entry fee itself is 36 NZD for adults and 18 NZD for children.
8. Sail across the Milford Sound by a charter boat and enjoy your private time with beautiful
landscape around you.
Milford Sound Lodge by missbossy:Flickr
9. Search for a scuba diving tour package and explore the sea. See many kinds of fishes such as eels, sharks, stingrays and crayfish in front of your own eyes. The diving tour package starts from 345 NZD.
Mt Aspiring National Park by Andrea Schaffef:Flickr
10. Stay a night or even more at the only one Milford Sound Lodge and relish a fantastic night there. The living experience won’t disappoint you because it’s a paradise where everyone wants to live in.
Panorama On The Routeburn track by Antoine Hubert:Flickr
III. MT. ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK
Best known for: glaciers, clear turquoise water pool, waterfalls, hiking
Some people may already know about Hobbiton movie set that is located at a picturesque
sheep farm in North Island of New Zealand, but did you know that there’s more than just a
sheep farm? Yes! It is Mt. Aspiring National Park. Located in the South Island near Wanaka,
you’ll find this true beauty that is also used for the Lord of The Rings trilogy settings of
Lothlórien and Isengard. Now, what are the most recommended things to do at Mt.
Aspiring? You’ve got to check this out!
1. With a height of 3.033 metres above sea level, this place is popular for mountaineering.
There are many hiking trails that are free to choose for you who had many experiences in
mountain climbing, such as The Routeburn track that starts near Lake Wakatipu and will take you around 3 days to complete and The Greenstone and Caples track that start at the end of Greenstone Road. This track will take you 4 days to complete and is free of charge while The Routeburn costs you 130 NZD per night for the international visitor.
Rob Roy Glacier track, Wanaka, NZ by B Bd:Flickr
2. If you’re searching for a leisure walk, then The Blue Pools walk, The West Matukituki
Valley and The Rob Roy Glacier track are the good choices. The Blue Pools walk is an easy
short track that will bring you across the clear blue glacial water through the forest for about
1 hour. Choose The West Matukituki Valley track if you want to see the historical Aspiring
Hut. You can enjoy the view of the mountains, waterfalls and glaciers while going through
the track for 3-6 hours or just take The Rob Roy Glacier track that starts at a swing bridge
across the Matukituki River. It will take you around 3-4 hours return in which will charge you
295 NZD for adults and 205 NZD for children under 15 while the Blue Pools and West
Matukituki Valley tracks are free of charge.
Lake Wanaka by Jocelyn Kinghorn:Flickr
3. Try jet boating at the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers and learn about the history of
Makarora and Wanaka while enjoying the view of the river valleys and Mt. Aspiring for 1
hour. This will cost you 130 NZD for adults and 75 NZD for children.
4. Looking for something more incredible way to enjoy the view? Then take a scenic flight
and land on the most pristine part in Mt. Aspiring National Park. The flight duration will be
around 1 hour and will cost you 550 NZD per person.
5. Go for an adventurous jump-slides-swimming trip by taking a canyoning tour along the
waterfall in the park. It is free of charge and the duration is about 6-8 hours. This trip isn’t
suitable for children under 16.
6. Spend a night at Siberia Valley Hut that is provided by the Department of Conservation
and see the beautiful grass field around you. It is accessible by jet boat/helicopter/even by
walk from Makarora, the head of Lake Wanaka. The price for 1 night is 20 NZD per night for
adult, 10 NZD for 11-17 years youth and free for children under 10.
7. Camp within the parking area at the unpowered Pleasant Flat Campsite or Cameron Flat Campsite. Stay at your campervan or caravan or even build a tent there. Fishing is permitted at the nearby river for both of sites. Hunting is also possible at Cameron Flat Campsite. Prior booking is required.
8. Enjoy the 360-degree view of Mt. Aspiring and Mt. Cook by doing a sky diving start from
Wanaka Airport with glaciers, lakes and rivers below you while free-falling. This way of
exploring is also suitable for kids over 6 years old. The price starts from 299 NZD.
9. Take a lake tour to most known Lake Sylvan. Walkthrough the forest from Glenorchy and
hear the echoing birds sound around you.
Lake Sylvan by Mark in New Zealand :Flickr
10. Ride a horse at Dart Valley, the head of Glenorchy and enjoy the stunning view of glacial
river and Mt. Aspiring landscape. This experience will cost you from 149 NZD for adults.