Aotearoa Road Trip

Three months in New Zealand, you’d think we would manage to see most of this relatively small country! But no, people are always asking us “did you see…?” “did you go to…?” oh well, we’ll have to come back! Aotearoa is the Maori name for the country, and is commonly translated as Land of the Long White Cloud, which is not actually accurate. There are several variations, but Long Pale (or white) Cloud is generally accepted.

We love New Zealand! The scenery is so stunning and so varied, the people are unfailingly friendly and welcoming, the food and wine is terrific, what’s not to like!

I’ve written some separate posts about many of the places we visited, (keep scrolling to see links to different posts) there are also New Zealand videos here. Here’s a photo round-up of the best of the rest.

Waiheke Island, off Auckland. Small island with many wineries:

WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND - delicious winery food
WAIHEKE ISLAND – delicious winery food
WAIHEKE ISLAND - POHUTUKAWA TREE (often called NZ Christmas tree)
WAIHEKE ISLAND – POHUTUKAWA TREE (often called NZ Christmas tree)
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND
WAIHEKE ISLAND

From Auckland we flew down to Queenstown in the South Island.  Read about Queenstown Thrills here.

Then we headed south to Te Anau and Doubtful Sound in the southern fjordland

This is a beautiful region of mountain passes and steep fjords along the coast. Milford Sound is one of the better known of these, and we had been there before on a previous visit to NZ, so this time we went to Doubtful Sound, while spending a week in the small town of Te Anau.

DOUBTFUL SOUND
DOUBTFUL SOUND
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound

After fjordland we took to the road, and cycled from Clyde to Middlemarch. Read here about our Bike Trip in the South Island

After the bike trip, we took a short ride on the stunning Taieri Gorge Railway to Dunedin.

And click here to read about the city of Dunedin

After spending a few days in Dunedin, we drove south to Stewart and Ulva Islands, such a peaceful place!

Driving from Kaikoura to Nelson in the north of the South Island ~ click here for beautiful scenery.

Moving on through Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula ~ click here for more beautiful scenery and PENGUINS!

We then flew back to Auckland in North Island, and spent a couple of weeks dog and house-sitting, and enjoying Christmas with family.

Housesitting spoodles!
Housesitting spoodles!

In the new year, we drove north to Tutukaka, and did some fantastic diving at the Poor Knights Islands.

From there we continued through the North Island, visiting the geo-thermal area of Rotorua and Coromandel.

New Zealand is an extraordinary country, with still more sheep than people ~ 30 million sheep and less than 5 million people.  There are also at least 30 million invasive, predatory possums, decimating the native bush and bird population. The people are unreservedly friendly, outgoing and welcoming. We had some outstanding food and wine, and were constantly awed by the incredible scenery. A beautiful place to visit, well worth the time and trouble of getting here.

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