Our New Zealand Overview

That’s a wrap! Here’s a quick in-order recap of where we went and what we did across both islands of New Zealand.

Quick Money Facts:

Time in New Zealand: January 24th, 2023, to April 16th, 2023. Total: 83 Days

From January 24th – February 28th we spent (a painful): $6,586.50.

From March 1st – March 31st we spent: $3,284.06. Mostly non-travel, just work.

From April 1st-April 16th we spent: $2,319.57 (including flights to next destination) Mostly non-travel, just work.

From March 1st-April 15th working we saved: $3528.92.

Total Expenses= $12,190.13,

Subtract Money Saved= $8,661.21

Average: $73.44 per person, per day.

Adjusting for travel ONLY, not working, approx.: $91.48 per person, per day.

….Yikes, NZ.

Our Map:

#1 Start: Auckland, New Zealand

This is where we flew in and spent our first week. We encountered some recorded breaking flooding, but that didn’t stop us from seeing the sites!

What we did:

1. Hobbiton

2. Auckland Art Museum

3. Auckland War Memorial Museum

4. Sky Tower

5. Queens Street Walking Tour

To read more in depth on what we did in Auckland click here.

#2: Waitomo

Our next stop was Waitomo the cave country of New Zealand.

Here we explored:

1. Ruakuri Caves and the famous glow worms

2. Marokopa Falls

3. Mangapohue Natural Bridge

To read more in depth of what we did in Waitomo click here.

#3: Rotorua

Third up, the most tourist friendly location on the North Island, Rotorua.

What we did:

1. Māori cultural dinner

2. Explored the many Hot Springs

3. Waiotapo Mud Pools

4. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forrest

5. Huka Falls

To read more in depth of what we did in Rotorua click here.

#4: Taupo

From Rotorua we continued south to Taupo, the world’s largest super volcano!

Here we explored:

1. Lake Taupo

2. Ngatoroirangi Māori carving

3. Mount Tauhara

4. Mount Ruapehu

To read more in depth of what we did in Taupo click here.

#5: Wellington

The southernmost point of the North Island sits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. From Taupo to Wellington was one of the longest trips on the Kiwi Experience bus tour. We stopped briefly here and there through small towns, including a pit stop at the Gum Boot Capital of the World to try our hand at gum boot throwing. Once we were in Wellington it was nice to get more of the big city feel before continuing into the more rural South Island.

What we did:

1. Road the Wellington Cable Car

2. Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

3. Caffe L’affare for famous Windy Welly coffee

4. Ivy Bar on Cuba Street

5. Ferry ride to Picton

To read more in depth of what we did in Wellington click here.

#6: (Briefly) Nelson

The ferry ride from North to South Island was delayed so it ended up taking most of our day. We arrived very late at night in picturesque Nelson, only to leave early the next morning. It was nice while it lasted!

All we did:

1. Caught some views

2. Got some sleep!

There’s not too much more on Nelson but click if you’d like more insight to our journey from Rotorua to West Port here.

#7: West Port

The next morning from Nelson we travelled along the West Coast and arrived in West Port, New Zealand. West Port is a small town known mostly for its surfing scene.

What we did:

1. Had a bonfire on the beach

2. Got our first glimpse at some southern hemisphere stargazing

3. Enjoyed the challenging waves with some surfing

4. Hiked the coast to see the seal colony

To read more in depth of what we did in West Port click here.

#8: Franz Josef

One of our very favorites, and home of the single most-expensive activity we’ve done, Franz Josef offered plenty to see.

Here we explored:

1. (Our favorite) Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike $$$-$$$$

2. Gold Mine hike

3. Valentine’s Day dinner at Rainforest Retreat

4. Viewpoint of Fox Glacier

To read more in depth of what we did in Franz Josef click here.

And for a special article dedicated to the Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike click here.

#9: Queenstown

Frankly I’m surprised we remember anything from Queenstown. The hottest spot on the South Island lives up to its reputation as the place to get absolutely smashed. We tried to keep up with our German friends and it went about as expected (thanks Tom and Jan!).

What we did:

1. Kiwi Bar Crawl

2. Viewed the Remarkables Mountains

3. Explored Lake Wakatipu

To read more in depth of what we did in Queenstown click here.

#10: Tekapo

Now to head back North! Lake Tekapo is more central to the South Island, but on the eastern coast. The desert landscape makes it vastly different from the rainforests found on the West Coast.

Here we explored:

1. Views of Lake Tekapo and mountainous backdrop

2. The Dark Sky Sanctuary

While in Tekapo I also interviewed for, and was offered my future job at Haka Lodge in Auckland!

To read more in depth of what we did in Tekapo click here.

#11: Christchurch

The charming city of Christchurch is known for its English style architecture and ultimately boasts a very European vibe. It was also the victim of some devastating earthquakes that have still left their mark to this day.

What we did:

1. Saw the Bridge of Remembrance

2. Explored the Riverside Market

3. Shopped around the city center

To read more in depth of what we did in Christchurch click here.

#12: Kaikōura, #13: Wellington (again), and #14: Auckland (again)

These three are paired together because we pretty much went straight through each one stopping for only the night. We ate dinner and caught some much-needed Z’s. Other than long bus rides, ferry rides, and walks to the hostels each of these stops were pretty uneventful.

If you’d like to read more about our (extremely) brief time in Kaikōura click here.

We went on to stay in Auckland another 2 months while we worked. And that’s the map!

Where did we jet off to after New Zealand? The reveal coming soon!


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