3 Weeks of Epic Adventures
New Zealand’s South Island
In 2017, Courtny and I spent 3 amazing weeks on New Zealand’s South Island for our honeymoon. We were expecting the most beautiful place we had ever seen... and New Zealand didn’t disappoint! We flew into Nelson, then road-tripped down the world-famous West Coast. We finished our journey in & around Queenstown, and seemingly every turn was filled with postcard-worthy views.
Abel Tasman NP
About 40 minutes outside of Nelson lies the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. We stayed in Marahau (right next to the park) at the Abel Tasman Lodge. We spent our 2 days hiking the trails & kayaking with Abel Tasman Kayaks.
Marahau to Punakaiki
You can do this drive in 4 hours, but trust me - you’ll want to explore. After stopping at the longest swing bridge in New Zealand, we stopped to see a West Coast seal colony and a secluded beach sunset.
Punakaiki to Franz Josef
After a night at a cute beach hostel, we stopped at the famous Pancake Rocks and then hit the road to glacier country. We had a clear day, so we made sure to detour to the Hokitika Gorge along the way.
Franz Josef & Lake Matheson
We stayed a couple nights in Glacier Country. On night one, we spent 5 hours at Lake Matheson, just staring at the amazing scene in front of us. Then we did the Valley Walk (above) & soaked in hot pools on day 2.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
This was possibly our favorite stretch of road we’ve ever been on. It takes you through the unbelievable Mount Aspiring National Park. Again - you can make this drive in about 4 hours, but that would take some incredible self control. Get out and take a hike!
Blue Pools outside of Wanaka
It was time to relax after all of the driving & hiking. We stayed at a beautiful AirBnB, spent an afternoon at Rippon Vineyard (above), & caught a movie at the wonderful Cinema Paradiso. And the rainy weather meant we got to see the famous Wanaka Tree all by ourselves.
Wanaka to Lake Tekapo
People often go straight from Wanaka to Queenstown, but with 3 weeks, we had plenty of time to make a trip up to Lake Tekapo. The Lindis Pass (above) was yet another stunning drive, and we were rewarded with an incredible hike at Lake Pukaki.
Best Day-hike in New Zealand
To really appreciate how blue Lake Tekapo is, we went to the top of Mount John (above). Incredibly, this isn’t even the highlight of the region. Head out after dark to see some of the clearest night skies in the world!
After almost a full night of stargazing, we caught a few hours of sleep and hit the road to Queenstown.
We spent 4 nights at the Nugget Point Hotel in Queenstown. Throughout our time there, we went Canyoning & road-tripped to Milford Sound. We also ate to our heart’s content at Fergburger & Mrs. Ferg.
Canyoning New Zealand
Get out & hike on a trail or two on the way to Milford Sound!
Our final stop was a few nights in the tiny town of Glenorchy. Here, we went skydiving and horseback riding, while using our spare time to drive the amazing “Road to Paradise”
Skydive Southern Alps
I HIGHLY recommend all tours/accommodations I linked to in this story. We did a self-drive itinerary that I came up with after months of researching - I’m happy to answer any questions you have about our route! If you’re more of a guided tour person, I’d suggest Haka Tours. Photos & Videos: Phil Navatsyk Courtny Jodon
Thanks for reading our #epixtrip entry!