NZ: South-Queenstown

Day 16/17/18: Queenstown

It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Queenstown there’s just so much to do!

On the drive in just before you get to the centre, we stopped at the Kawarau bridge where you can do the first ever comercial bungy. This is the bungy I chose to do, it’s 43m and had the option of a water dip. I chose this over the nevis which is more expensive,  134m with no water option. Have a think about what you’d prefer…If either!


After doing the jump we headed into the town centre and went straight for a Ferg burger. We were a bit sceptical as there is so much hype about these burgers and there is a constant que. HOWEVER you need to go! Honestly one of the best burgers we’ve ever had and the que moves so quick you don’t notice it.



We also went to the cookie shop and indulged in a huuuge milkshake!



The next day we did the Queenstown hill hike. This was around 2.5 hour return and well worth the views. Also a great work out to burn off all that food!





Queenstown reminded us of being back at Uni its full of tonnes of young people and loads of fun bars and little places to eat. We said goodbye to lots of people we’d met on the Stray bus here as s lot of people get off the bus here to find jobs etc.

We had a nice little party on the ‘beach’ by the lake and then did a little bar crawl.





There was also a little surprise firework display! such a fun place always something going on.


After a couple nights here we carried on the Stray bus to Milford Sound and Invercargill, but came back just in time for Christmas and to see Abbie!

Day 21/22/23/24/25: Back in Queenstown for Christmas!

Here we met up with our good friend Abbie who had been travelling on the kiwi bus and we all hired an airbnb in fernhill (just up the hill from Queenstown centre) to stay in over Christmas.  *


If you’re In queenstown over Christmas/New years try and get your accommodation sorted because it all gets really booked up in this very popular place.

During these few days we booked to do the Nevis swing. Highly recommend!!! Danielle enjoyed it the most (just look at the photos).





Other than that we mainly just enjoyed the views and various walks. It’s a great town just to  hang out, especially by the lake. There’s a good buzz in town and you don’t always have to spend loads to have fun, if your on a budget; tell people your a local and try not to get roped in to all the activities *

Clear Cider!





When getting taxi’s say your a local and they’ll instantly give you a much cheaper rate with no questions asked.

Queenstowns version of uber is an app called ‘Take me’ definitely worth a look.

Generally, saying you’re a local is a way to get cheaper stuff;  mainly drinks in bars. Surreal a cool pub with good roof terrace will give you a loyalty card and $5 drinks if you say you’re a local. And then some places will give you cheaper drinks if you say you’re with Stray or kiwi bus, for example,  vinyl bar.

On Christmas day we cooked dinner in the flat, joined by Natalie who Abbie had met on the Kiwi Bus , then we went down to the lake where everyone goes with a tonne of alcohol and jumps in the icy water! Such a crazy Christmas, we were really lucky with the weather, so weird sunbathing on Christmas day!!














NZ: South; Franz Joseph and Wanaka

Day 13/14: Franz Josef

The drive to Franz Josef was really nice, we stopped somewhere called ‘pancake rock’ so we had a good walk and then went to the cafe where they serve awesome pancakes :).




It really is the wet west! It didn’t stop raining the whole 2 nights we were there, but it was cool rainforest rain with big fun droplets.

This was a quiet couple of days for us as the weather was too bad to do any of the glacial activities.

However, we did go to the Hot pools which were really fun especially in the rain; being in the (covered) hot water watching the rain pour down. Very relaxing!



The place we stayed was pretty fun and had a bar attached, that night we had a fancy dress party where our outfits were chosen and bought by someone else (like secret santa style).




Day 15: Wanaka

Wanaka is a stunning little place.  It’s centred around a beautiful lake and has a great atmosphere. Again we chose to stay away from the group as we got a slightly better deal and a much better view at a hostel overlooking the lake, we would 100% recommend this hostel called BBC.  We didn’t have the time but we would suggest hiring some bikes and having a good explore around the lake, there looked to be some nice trails.



We did have time for a hike up Mt iron though which was a pretty good climb; got a sweat on! It took about an hour and a half return: beautiful views.



NZ North: Tongoriro and Wellington

Day 8: Tongoriro

Tongoriro National park. Long walk (6:45 hrs). No words. It speaks for itself, check out the stunning pics. $35 NZ for the shuttle bus to/from your hostel, you may find a better way of doing this as we just did it through stray who don’t always offer the cheapest option but always the easiest!







Day 9: Wellington

Capital of NZ. Smaller than Auckland.  It has a more creative feel here rather than the business feel of Auckland.  It’s known for its museums, music and film production scene (Lord of the Rings of course…. aghhhhhh).

It was very wet and windy here, had to go out and buy a new rain jacket and long trousers (NZ is expensive so be prepared for the weather before you arrive).

Day 10: South island commences

Early ferry to the south island. Everyone (but us – too busy sleeping) saw dolphins swimming next to the ferry 🙂  The scenery was amazing on the way in – it sets up the south island well.

NZ North: Lake Aniwheniwer and Blue Duck Station

In the afternoon we drove to Lake Aniwheniwer which is a cultural stop. A Maori family own a hostel and have close links with the local community and mori for their tribe. So in that afternoon they take you to look at some stone wall carvings and then to the mori where they welcome you onto the land by singing and everyone completes the hongi.

That night they cook a hangi which is a traditional meal cooked in the ground. This was pretty tasty; mainly the stuffing!

This one night stop costs $95 dollars so it’s pretty pricey but quite a unique experience.  If your tight on money, work out your alternate route (Rotorua to Taupo) in advance otherwise you won’t end up saving money. Unless you plan to hitchhike!

There were great (paid) activities you could do throughout the afternoon such as bracelet weaving, bread making, poi making and in the late evening eeling.

Can definitely recommend the bread making as it tasted so good ( its fried like doughnuts) and the late night eeling – used to feed the next stray bus so no waste.







Day 6 AM: Lake Aniwheniwer day trip to a maori school.

This was a very unique and nice experience to share with the kids from the school.  Their school was fantastic and it was lovely to hear about their progress with their academic achievements because of the visits.

Day 7: Blue duck station (farm)

Quiet day just enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.  Did a long and very muddy walk to a waterfall.













If you are not on the Stray bus it’s not necessarily worth the detour.  There are hikes there but we couldn’t do them due to the bad weather.

NZ North: Hobbiton and Rotorua

Day 4: Lord of the Rings tour on route to Rotorua

From Raglan we drove onto Rotorua. We didn’t have much time to do anything that night because we spent 3 hours wandering around Hobbiton – so fun. Definitely for everyone and not just the hard core LotR fans.











Use for this trip


Day 5 Rotorua

The next morning we went on a geothermal walk. It was interesting to learn about and see all the pools but the walk was a bit lengthy and sometimes difficult to hear the guide.

We tried to stay in Rotorua a bit longer as one night feels really rushed, however, the bus behind us was full so we had to stick on our bus.







Before you get on the Stray bus have your route completely sorted with all the buses booked in where you want to have extra stops because unless you’ve got months to play with, time starts to constrain you to the same bus. We loved our bus, the people and the driver, Lolly, were great, but we did get a but stuck!


Indonesia: Bali – Ubud


That eve we booked another uber *successful* to our hostel in Ubud. This cost us 100,000 IDR. The hostel was lovely ‘Dormy Inn’ but a little bit out of the way so we rented a scooter the whole time which was great for us as Danielle is a confident driver but if your not so keen maybe stay somewhere closer or ask about taxi hire. Our friends hired a car for 400,000 IDR (2 people) for the day to take them round to all the attractions they wanted to see.

In Ubud we went to the monkey forest, 40,000 IDR, which we really liked. It’s a nice little walk as well as just being to see the monkeys. I was really scared about being attacked but didn’t need to be; if you don’t provoke them or have any food they won’t come near you.






In the afternoon we went to the trawangan waterfall. It was a fantastic scenic drive to the waterfall passing through jungle, rice paddies, hidden streets and dodging all the dogs! This was the best bit of the trip as the waterfall itself wasn’t really anything too special (this may be us in spoilt traveller mode as we have seen so many stunning things now, hopefully not!). The water was pretty murky so we opted out of the swim and it was just so busy.


After this we drove in convoy (at the waterfall we had met up with Katie, Charlotte and Daryl) to a silversmith. This was very cool as we got to see the ladies making the jewellery and then went into the shop for the finished products. Obviously they tried to sell us stuff but they let us walk around and have a good look and let us leave with no problems even though no one had bought anything. We then drove onto a local market where there was lots of clothes/local food. Whatever you do in Indonesia make sure you barter for everything, even if you think you’re taking the piss with the price, your not and try it anyway.





Next day we got the hostel shuttle (60,000 IDR pp) back to Denpasar airport and flew to Lombok. We had heard the weather was really bad for the boats going across to the islands so thought we would try this instead. It was only a 30min flight but travelling took most of the day with the faffing and the journey from our accommodation on both sides.

Off to Lombok!