New Zealand, Oceania

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Period of this trip: January 2015
Country: New Zealand
Currency used: NZ$ and €
Duration: 22 days
Number of travelers: 4 friends
Budget: ca £2,400 – £2,600 per person
Best Period: December to February
Guide used: Lonely Planet and National Geographic
VISA: no for EU (90 days max stay)
General Info:

We loved our trip to New Zealand. It’s a wonderful Country, rich of nature and culture. Landscapes are something difficult to describe for the beauty. People are really friendly and open to welcome you. The Country is huge (6 times the size of Italy), vs a small population of only 6m people. To go around New Zealand is quite simple, you can either use the many available touristic buses or hire a car. We decided the second option and the good news is that prices are not too bad. We planned our tour at home as we wanted to reach some remote destinations and during peak season, planning is quite essential. In some places there are not many hotels or B&B, so it gets fully book quite quickly.



Day Area What to Do
1 Milan to Christchurch Super looong flight from Milan to Christchurch via Abu Dhabi and Sydney – almost 30 hours!!
2 Christchurch

After taking the car at the airport and practicing a bit the left driving (scaring!), our first thought was to sleep and recover from the longest flight ever of our lives. We choose the Addington City Motel (183$ NZ for 4 people), few km far from Christchurch. The hotel was very quiet and breakfast huge, plus it was away from the traffic of the city and gave us an easy way out for the following day.



After a good night sleep and super breakfast, we started heading to the coast trough a stunning panoramic road. Sky was grey but nevertheless give us few nice pictures. We were so excited and curious to explore this Country!

Kaikoura welcomed us with its multicoloured houses. Kaikoura It’s small village by the coat, base point for whale and dolphins watching tours. We had our pre-booked tour from Italy. It was actually a good idea to book in advance, so that we could save time and avoid tourist crowds.

So here what we’ve done:

  • Whale watch tour – Whale Watch Kaikoura– 435$NZ – for only 3 of us.
  • Stayed at Fish tank lodge – (112NZ$ for 4 people) super cool hostel, full of surfists and backpackers. Small room, but clean.
  • Dinner: Thai Siam Kaikoura 63NZ$ for 4people… which mean €9 each for fresh sea food…absolutely a bargain!  Quality was super good!
  • Hike along the village coast to watch sea lions sun bathing.
  • Tried the good local beer and socialized with our neighbours 🙂
4-5 Nelson

We could have watch whales forever….it was the most exciting thing ever! But…it was time to head to our next destination: Nelson! 400km driving between green hills and wild landscape…awesome!

Nelson is small city, full of art galleries and little nice shops. It’s the base point for one of the best National Park of the Country: Abel Tasman. Golden bay is a must see! (see also picture).

Things to do:

  • Trekking in the Abel Tasman National Park and “try” to have a bath in the cold water of the Tasman sea. The color of the water is amazing! Entry fee and water taxi – 192€ (for 4 people) and full day. Price is bit high but it’s definitively worth going. Breathtaking panoramas and incredible place! If you like photography that is your place!
  • Dinner in one of the many restaurants! Note: they stop serving food quite early (9.30pm)!!
6 Picton

The road from Nelson to Picton was stunning. Full of nature! Picton is the only place where it’s possible to cross the channel that separates the 2 islands of New Zealand. The annoying inconvenience is that we had to drop off our car because non-nationals are not allowed to cross with the car.

The cost of the ferry was 44NZ$ for 4people.

7 Wellington

Wellington is the city of the wind!!.. Nice, lovely, interesting city with lots of beautiful shops. The Te Ahumairangi Hill lookout, formerly Tinakori Hill, offers breathtaking views of the city.

We stayed at Downtown Backpackers hostel (95,33€ x 4p).

8-9 Rotoura

From Wellington we started our way up to the centre of the island. We took a new car and started our new adventure!!

We spent the day in the Tongariro National park. When we reached 1800 mt, we found ourselves in the middle of a red sand storm and a spectacular lunar landscape. The Park is surrounded by an astonishing view of 4 volcanos! One big regret was not to hike one of the volcano top.. 🙁

Once in Rotorua, we stayed at Kiwi Paka – 163,64€ x 4p

Rotorua is one of the most touristic place in New Zealand, famous for the astonishing geysers and Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area. A must see places (79,51€x4p ).

One note on the Rotorua mud pool: studies demonstrates that first sign of life comes from this place. If you are able to survive to the smell and heath, you are going to see these microscopic lives, so incredible!

Try the speciality of this area: the meat, apparently it is cooked for 24th in the ground! Amazing!

10-11 Hahei After saying goodbye to the beautiful Rotoura, we headed toward Hahei which in maori language means “paradise”! …And this place it is a paradise! The colours of the sea explains everything!

On the way to Hahei, we stopped Hobbiton, the village movie set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Very touristic place, but it is worth going and pay the quite expensive ticket (183,49€ x4), inclusive of 2 hours guided tour. It looks to be in another planet! After the visit, we continued our journey to the “Paradise” toward nice landscapes, forests, volcanos and oceans views.

Hahei is a small village, with Hollywood style villas with stunning ocean view.

We stayed in one of the best B&B (Hahei Horizon B&B), worth all the money we spent (484€x4p). The owner welcomed us with a glass of prosecco served by the pool. He also suggested us all the best sightseeing places of the area: the cathedral cove (natural paradise – check my pic) and hot water beach…(nice, but not essential).

There are lots of nice hikes in the area as well. We decided to spend 2 days here, just laying down by the beach and relax!

Another dinner tip: eating at 8pm is consider “late” in here! There are not many restaurants, so better to book in advance.



After 2 relaxing days by the beach, we started heading toward Auckland. The journey was quite long, but the road offered very nice spots!

We stopped to have lunch in Coromandel, a small fishermen village and our choice was obviously seafood!

At night, we finally got to Auckland, the most dynamic city of NZ in our view. Things to do and see:

  • Visit the port at night time and try one of the many sea food restaurants
  • Get the best view of the city from the Skycity tower…amazing! (68,39€x4p)
  • Walk around the Victorian area of the city.

We stayed at Queen Street Backpackers Hostel – 143€ (x 4 p)


Queenstown /Te Anau

Time to go back to the Southern Island for the next destination: Fiordland! This time we flew from Auckland to Queenstown, the sporty city of NZ, where we took another car (566€ for 8 days)

Things to do in Queenstown:

  • Zorbing!!! – 7min for 50€.
  • Visit the town
  • Day tour to visit the Fiords. Milford Sound is definitively worth visiting. 1 full day boat tour costs 293,16€ x4p. With the sun is even better! The boat will take you to incredible waterfalls, you will see lots of seals, various type of birds and the amazing fiords!
  • Hike one of the many trails. The touristic office will give you all the info.

Suggestion: It is better not to stay in Queenstown but on the way to Milford to avoid the traffic along the way for the fiords. We stayed at Te Anau where we also visited the Glowworm cave, kind of weird natural phenomenon of thousands of worm producing light (ca 43€ per person).


Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers

In the following 2 days, we visited the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, one of the best attractions of New Zealand. Compared to the fiords, we preferred the latter to be honest! (but it’s also because I’ve see the glacier in Patagonia, and it’s not comparable!)

We spent the night in the area, but can’t recall the place sorry! (192€ x 4p)



Next stop: Hokitika! A small village by the ocean. We visited the Jade factory. They create everything out of this stone! We also did the  treetops walk ( 93,50€x4p), but we won’t recommend.

We stayed at Wanaka Matterhorn South Lodge – 128$NZx4p



Last stop of our trip before heading back: Punakaiki. To get there we crossed a stunning ocean view road.

Punakaiki is in the middle of the pluvial forest in the North west. We stayed at Te Nikau Retreat. Our bungalow was surrounded by forest and just 700 m from the ocean, unbelievable place! During the night you can hear the sound of the waves and all kind of animals!

We did lots of hiking in the forest and this time for free!! At dinner….ibex meat…there are lots of ibex breeding centre and meat is a must try. We also visited the pancake rocks at the sunset!!!!



Back where we started… last souvenirs shopping and good bye and arrivederci to this beautiful Country!

We spent the night at Ibis hotel -151,20 NZ$ x3p

22 Christchurch to Milan

Super long flight back home, from Christchurch via Sydney/ Abu Dhabi to Milan



– 1 night –
Addington City Motel‎
241 Lincoln Rd, Addington, Christchurch 8024, New Zealand
+64 3-338 8745

Double room for ca €50

NZ$ 183€ 104
– 1 night-
Fish Tank Lodge
86 W End, Kaikoura 7300, New Zealand
+64 3-319 7408

Super cool, full of surfists and backpackers. Small room, but clean – 28 NZ$ (€16) pp.

NZ$ 112€ 63
Nelson– 2 nights-
Nelson Beach Hostel
25 Muritai St, Tahunanui, Nelson 7011, New Zealand Phone: +64 3-548 6817

Price per double room – 31€ per day

NZ$ 216€ 122
– 1 night-
Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers – BBH
1 Bunny St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
+64 4-473 8482

Price per double room – €48 per day

€ 95.33
– 2 nights – 
Kiwi Paka Rotorua 
PO BOX 594
60 Tarewa Road, Rotorua, New Zealand
+64 7 347 0931

Price per double room – €41 per day

€ 163,64
– 2 nights –
Hahei Horizon B&B20 Grierson Cl, Hahei 2591, New Zealand

Phone: +64 (7) 866 3281

Price per double room – €121 per day – pricy but the best ever B&B and in a fantastic place.

– 2 nights –
Queen Street Backpackers
4 Fort St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
+64 9-373 3471

Price per room is ca €36 per day.

Te Anau
– 2 nights –
The Village Inn Hotel
Mokoroa St, Te Anau 9600, New Zealand
+64 3-249 7911

Price per room is €48.5 per day

Glacier area
– 2 nights-
Lost the name of the place…sorry! €192
– 1 night –
Wanaka Matterhorn South Lodge
56 Brownston St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3-443 1119

web: link


NZ$ 128€ 72
– 2 nights –
Te Nikau Retreat – BBH
19 Hartmount Place, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand

This place is amazing! You are in the middle of the jungle and 700m far from the beach!! What a place!

– 1 night –
Ibis Hotel Christchurch
107 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
web: Ibis hotel link

Price for the triple – ca.€85

NZ$151,20€ 85
Transports Car Hire from Christchurch to Picton – 6 days € 277
Boat transfer from Picton to Wellington (ca €6 ticket) NZ$ 44 – €24
Car Hire from Wellington to Auckland (7 days) € 349.71
Car Hire from Queenstown to Christchurch (8 days) € 566
Internal flight from Auckland to Queenstown € 110
Trips & Other

Whale Watch Kaikoura – (ca.€ 82 per person)

NZ$ 435 (only 3 of us) – €246

Abel Tasman National Park – taxi boat full day – €48 per person


Hobbiton – ca €46 ticket pp


Hokitika Treetop Walk – (ca €23 ticket)


Sky city tower – Auckland – (ca €17 ticket)


Waiotapu geothermal area – Te Anau – (ca €20 ticket)  €80
Mildford Fiord 1 day trip – (ca €73 per person)  €293
Glowworm cave entrance fee  – (ca €43 per person)  NZ$304 – €172
Meal Average Meal Price € 18-25
Drinks – Beers  € 4-6
Total Holiday Cost Range per 1 person (3 weeks) – inclusive of souvenirs, meals and tours – excluding international flights  €1,800 – €2,000 (per person)
International flight Milan to Christchurch (ca €1450 pp) – Ethiad €1450
Total Holiday Cost Range per 1 person (3 weeks) – including flight €3,250 – €3,450
£2,390 – £2,550



About Annalisa

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 7: 1966-1974

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