I’ve never gone overseas without a plan of what to do, what I’d want to see and where I’d want to go to.
But with work taking up so much my and my travel buddy’s time, all that was planned before we boarded was the accommodation, the bus & cruise to Milford Sound and the 2 or 3 activities.
On the morning of our flight which was to depart at 9.40 am on the 10th March, I arrived at the airport at about 7.20am. It was definitely an early one with the previous night not going to bed till about 3am due to last minute packing ! I definitely do not recommend this but thank goodness I had already compiled my packing list prior to packing so it wasn’t too hard but packing the clothes, was definitely the hardest part (I left this off the list) !
So whilst waiting for my friend to arrive at the airport for an hour, I decided to quickly browse for some car rentals and travel insurance. This definitely needed to be done prior to flying so I had to honestly rush to get things done before boarding.
Luckily for me, I always go with Travel Insurance Direct (same as when I travelled to China & Japan back in 2014). To get a quote, it’s simple and fast, and if you’re travelling with a partner, you can get the insurance to cover for both and pay it together.
For car rentals, I did do a bit of research night before and noticed that Go Rentals was the cheapest however, as we were looking the night before at 2am, there was no way I was able to book immediately as they needed to check if any cars were available. So that morning at 8am, I called Go Rentals to confirm whether they had any cars available. Go Rentals was the cheapest I could find, costing only $50 a day for a Toyota Corolla Hatchback (not a 2015 model but that was the least of our concerns).
One of their T&Cs was that you’d need to return the car with a full tank but if you opt to pay $87.89, then your tank can be returned almost or empty. So in total we paid $387.89 NZD. We did have $1,500 put on hold to cover in the case of crashes so that was a bit terrifying. If you do want the $1,5oo premium to be reduced, you can choose to increase the daily charge for this instance. We kind of took a bit of a risk but it all worked out so thank goodness ! I’ve got to do a bit of research on travel insurance because I recall reading somewhere that it might perhaps cover for car rentals etc so definitely need to look at this instead of worrying about the potential $1,500 !
So for our activities, we booked majority on the Book Me website. I highly recommend this due to it’s massive savings ! You can choose to book your activities depending on where you’re visiting in NZ including Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and even Rotorua, plus a few other destinations.
One tip I must give in relation to accommodation which most people would know by now, is to never to book your stay too close to the date, especially in NZ. It’s a small country but indeed a very popular place so stays are always booked out really fast. Luckily we found a place – Pinewood Lodge. We booked this through Bookings.com which I’ve always used, because 99% of the places offered on the site allows free cancellation up until 1 day before your check-in date, which is always great when you’re still browsing around but need to lock in just in case you can’t find anything. I’d highly recommend a lodge as opposed to a hotel in New Zealand – it’s the experience you want. And if you’re like me who can’t do shared bathrooms, try it once – you’ll be surprise. This was my first time staying at a place where I had shared bathroom facilities so it was a bit different. We didn’t exactly want to be in this situation but last minute bookings meant getting the last available rooms. I have to say, it’s not too bad having shared bathrooms, you just have to time it right and should I suggest if you’re a clean freak, to bring a spare pair of thongs to wear into the shower ! My white ‘rubi’ thongs is my best friend when I’m travelling ! I’ve never forgotten these pair of thongs ever (touch wood!).
So this was the view from our window, partially blocked but still looked good.
Flight arrived in Queenstown International Airport at 2.35pm. Called Go Rentals to come pick us up from the airport to their car depot and then after sorting out our paper work, we drove off from Frankton to our Pinewood Lodge, which is about 10-15 minutes drive with a beautiful view.
Once we were ready to go browsing around Queenstown, we decided to have dinner at Fergburger. We only realised our cards weren’t working and I had to call up Vodafone to check my phone settings to activate free NZ roaming. So that took a bit of time but we were soon able to get all that sorted, and then order our burgers and go browsing around.
9.30am : Breakfast pastries from Ferg Baker
10am : Queenstown Gardens
11.30am : Skyline Gondola
12pm – 2pm : Buffet Lunch at Stratosfare Restaurant
4pm : Tandem Paraflights
For the rest of the day, we were running around and going to get groceries & also snacks for stargazing as well as buying KFC for dinner. We then finally finished and got everything ready to go to Lake Wakatipu road (near Adelaide St) next to Lake Wakatipu to do some stargazing.
9am : kayaking at Water Sport World Queenstown
12pm : Fish n’ chips at Remarkables Takeaway (locals call this place Scotty’s)
1pm : Onsen Hot Pools in Arthur’s Point
3pm : drive to Coronet Peak for a view of Queenstown
The rest of the day we revisited Queenstown Gardens by Lake Wakatipu then visited Fergburger for some burgers again.
Breakfast at Vudu & Lola
Then went on a road trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy whilst taking several shots on our way.
After getting back, we then made our way to Arrowtown to explore for a bit. We then went to have some pizzas at Hell restaurant.
Then went to Mrs Ferg for gelato whilst my travel friend went and got some froyo from 24 day and night convenience store.
Went on a road trip to drive to Lake Wanaka and then explored Lake Wanaka.
Lunch at Kai Whakapai.
5pm : Below Zero Ice Bar
After, we went to have some more burgers at Fergburger.
Waited at 5.40am at the bus stop (opposite side of road to Creeksyde Holiday Park, 54 Robins Rd) for our Milford Sound bus to go to Milford Sound. Arrived back in Queenstown at about 6.30pm.
After, we went home to freshen up then went to get some last burgers from Fergburger before flying out the next morning at 9.40am.
Keep a look out, I’ll be making more posts soon on my NZ trip in detail !
Photographs captured by : Jenifer Pham