Our 5th anniversary adventure brought us through 4 seasons and 2 new countries within 2 weeks. Started our trip hanging out with friends in San Francisco, followed by a relaxing getaway in Fiji, and ended the trip with a 10-day road trip across New Zealand. I'll share more about our adventures in the next few posts. Follow along!
New Zealand 10D9N Road Trip:
New Zealand 10D9N Road Trip:
Day 1: Hokitika
Day 2: West Coast & Lake Wanaka
Day 3: Milford Sound
Day 4: Glenorchy
Day 5: Queenstown
Day 6: Mt Cook & Lake Tekapo
Day 7: Christchurch
Day 8: Wellington
Day 9: Lake Taupo/Hobbiton
Day 10: Auckland
After two relaxing days in Fiji, it was time to big goodbye to the warm weather and continue our journey to New Zealand, where we spent the next 10 days road-tripping both North and South Island. It was a lot of driving, but self-drive was definitely the best way to see this scenic country!
Nov 27 (Tues): Fiji - Christchurch - Arthur Pass - Hokitika (254kms)
As mentioned in my previous post, Fiji was a free stopover thanks to Alaska Airline's generous stopover rule on award redemption, so our flight from Nadi to Christchurch didn't cost us anything extra. As you can see from the photos, it was pouring that morning. We were definitely very lucky with the sunny weather the last 2 days. =)
Our flight departed on time at 9.30am. The 3-hour flight on Fiji airways was pretty good. Plenty of leg room, breakfast was served (free), and we had a row of 3 seats to ourselves.
Landed at Christchurch airport at 1.30pm (1 hour time difference between Fiji and NZ), and was welcomed by rainy/foggy weather. The complimentary rental car shuttle picked us up from the airport and took us to their warehouse/office 5 min from the airport.
We booked the rental car in July (4 months before the trip) and managed to find this awesome deal from Dollar Car Rental. 4-days one-way rental for only NZD 94 ($58) in total was definitely a steal! We declined the insurance as we were able to use the primary car rental insurance that comes with our credit card (Chase United Explorer). The staff who helped us with the paperwork and inspection of the car was very nice too. I'd definitely recommend this rental car company to anyone planning a trip to New Zealand.
We booked a compact car, but was given a complimentary upgrade to a Toyota RAV4. Honestly, I'd prefer no upgrades when it comes to rental car because bigger car means higher fuel consumption but at least it's still a Toyota. =P Since New Zealand drives on the same side as Malaysia (opposite of US), I was the designated driver for this trip. We've got this who-drives-where arrangement nailed down. =P
We started driving westbound after leaving Christchurch at 2.30pm, with a brief stop at Castle Hill. First part of the drive was rather uneventful and the gloomy weather doesn't help either.
Made it to Arthur's Pass around 4.30pm. We read that this is one of the most scenic drives in the world but I felt like the gloomy weather ruined it for us.
Random 'tunnel' along Arthur's Pass with a traffic light. =P
On our way to Hokitika, we drove by a remote area and saw a lady frantically running towards our car, and screaming for help. We weren't sure what was going on but decided to stop and rolled down my window slightly. Apparently she was out jogging and ran into an area filled with bees and got stung. She asked if we could drive her back to her campsite/hospital. We weren't familiar with that area but agreed to take her back to the campsite so that she can seek help from the campsite owner. Random detour but glad we did something good.
Finally arrived at the small town of Hokitika, where we planned to spend the night. We were hoping to see the sunset from Hokitika beach, but decided not to wait till 9pm.
Dinner at Fat PiPi's Pizza in before heading back to our Airbnb and call it a day.
Checked into our Airbnb ($55), had a quick chat with our host, Helen and played with her puppy. The house was small but having a good shower and good night's sleep was good enough for us.
That's all for day 1 of our road trip in New Zealand. Stay tuned for the next post! As a token of appreciation for scrolling through this long post, here's our map and itinerary to help you plan for your New Zealand adventure! Click on the top right 'square' to open in Google Maps.