Seven weeks of Uni at Macquarie has come to its end and that means the entire student body gets the luxury of two weeks off! Most Australians take this time to relax, work and spend time with family. On the contrary, abroad/exchange students use these fourteen days to explore Australia and the surrounding countries. How could one not seize this amazing opportunity?!
During my semester break, I will be spending a week traveling New Zealand’s South Island and another week exploring Tasmania, Australia.
When deciding where I wanted to spend my semester break, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to visit New Zealand. Every photo I’ve ever seen and person I’ve talked to has described the tranquil, serene and out-of-this-world beauty that New Zealand beholds. As I am only a three hour flight away from New Zealand in Sydney, I could not pass up this opportunity.
After finalizing that New Zealand was the place I would be traveling to during the break, my travel companions and I began our research. We decided the most cost effective and efficient method to explore the country in a condensed amount of time would be to rent a camper van!
Our five-person-camper-van includes a toilet, shower, fridge/freezer, gas stove, microwave, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and hot and cold pressurized water! This way we will be saving money on hotel costs, as well as food costs by utilizing our own kitchen! We are renting our camper van through Rankers.
New Zealand’s South Island contains 360 views of beauty 24/7. With research from bloggers and tips from local travel agencies, I compiled a fast paced itinerary that hits all of the major natural wonders of the island in eight days. I’m sure things will change as we fight daylight or become encapsulated by a certain mountain or lake, but I wanted to share what my tentative itinerary is so I can finalize what I believe to be the perfect itinerary in a later blogpost. Make sure you follow me on Bloglovin to be notified on future posts!
New Zealand Road Trip Map
Day 1: Christchurch to Mount Cook
Our stay in Christchurch will be short, but we will be back! After picking up our camper van and stopping at the grocery store, we will be heading off to Mount Cook. Mount Cook is home to New Zealand’s highest mountain and crystal clear lakes. On our five hour drive to Mount Cook, we will be visiting Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki and taking in the beauty that is New Zealand for the first time!
Day 2: Mount Cook to Dunedin
Since Day 1 will be focused on getting to Mount Cook and stopping at the beautiful destinations along the way, Day 2 will be spent exploring Mount Cook. We will be visiting Kea Point and hiking the Hooker Valley Track. This track is about 4 hours long, but relatively easy to accomplish. I’ve read it’s worth it! After we finish our hike and eat lunch, we will be departing for Dunedin. On the way to Dunedin, we will find ourselves at the Clay Cliffs and Elephant Rocks and will leave exploring to Dunedin for tomorrow.
Day 3: Dunedin to Milford Sound
Dunedin has so much to do! Although it is heading into spring in New Zealand while we are there, I am hoping we might be able to enjoy some time at the beach. We’ll be visiting Hoopers Inlet, Organ Pipes, Tunnel and St. Clair Beach to touch the water and catch some sun. We will also be visiting New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle! After we take in all Dunedin has to offer, we will be driving five hours to Milford Sound.
Day 4: Milford Sound to Queenstown
Commonly confused to be a sound due to its name, the Milford Sound is actually a fjord. Otherwise known as the 8th wonder of the world, the best view of the Milford Sound is on a cruise. We’ll be embarking on a nature cruise at 10:30 am and will be spending the next 2 hours in awe of the same place The Lord of The Rings, Jurassic Park (1997), and Alien: Covenant (2017) was filmed! After we finish the tour, we’ll make our way to Queenstown. The road from the Milford Sound is also super famous for it’s spectacular views. We will be seeing Monkey Creek, the Mirror Lakes, and Eglington Valley! Be ready for tons of stunning pictures.
Day 5-6: Queenstown
Days 5 and 6 will be dedicated to enjoying Queenstown. On the first day, we will be catching the sunset on Ben Lomond’s Track and taking on the 5 to 7 hour hike. Afterwards, we will enjoy dinner at the Skyline Restaurant. On our second day in Queenstown, we will hopefully be skydiving or bungee jumping and visiting the Queenstown Gardens. Don’t tell my Mom! From Queenstown we will be heading to Wanaka to hike the breathtaking Roy’s Peak in the morning.
Day 7: Wanaka to Christchurch
Originally the plan was to spend day 7 traveling to the Franz Josef glacier, however it is quite out of the way. We decided to hike Roy’s Peak for sunset and then take a different road back to Christchurch for our flight the next day. We are going to be stopping at Lake Hawea, Haast Pass, Fantail Falls and Lake Matheson. The drive from Lake Matheson to Christchurch is six hours, but I think the drive out of the way will be worth the views.
Day 8: Christchurch
After a quick visit to Christchurch Botanical Gardens and we drop off our campervan, the group and I will be taking a flight from Christchurch to Melbourne for a quick layover before heading to Hobart, Tasmania.
After New Zealand, I am spending nine days in Tasmania! Why Tasmania? Why not Fiji or Thailand or Cairns? Well, I consider myself more of a hiker and breathtaking scenery-lover over a beach person. And flights to Fiji and Thailand were outrageously expensive. I will be visiting Cairns in December when my mom comes to visit!
We decided the easiest way to explore Tasmania would be to have it organized through a travel company. Unlike our New Zealand trip, where we are in complete control of our activities, our Tasmania trip has all our activities set in place! I am hoping it’ll be a relaxing and awesome experience!
Day 1: Mount Field National Park and Lake St. Clair
From Hobart, we will be heading north to the rainforest at Mount Field National Park! At this park we will see the beautiful Russell Falls and some of the tallest trees in the world! Then we will head to Lake St. Clair, which is the deepest lake in Australia!
Day 2: Montezuma Falls and Henty Dunes
On this day, we will have an action packed day! We are starting it off by visiting Montezuma Falls, which is Tasmania’s highest waterfall! North of the falls, we will see the massive Henty Dunes and climb to the top for a view of the Southern Ocean! The waves crashing on this beach last touched land on the other side of the world!
Day 3: Cradle Mountain
Honestly, Cradle Mountain is the place I am most excited to visit in Tasmania. It is stunning. After we hike to the top of Marion’s Lookout, we will be traveling to Tasmania’s second largest city, Launceston.
Day 4: Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires is named Lonely Planet’s Number 1 destination for 2009, home to some of the clearest water and hopefully we’ll be able to swim! After we visit the Bay of Fires and see little penguins, we’ll be going to the Pyengana Dairy Company for cheese tasting.
Day 5: Wineglass Bay and Freycinet National Park
After a picnic lunch, we’ll be visiting the stunning Wineglass Bay. After being awestruck by the amazing views, we are driving down the coast to Kate’s Berry Farm!
Day 6: Mount Wellington and Mona Ferry
The day will start with hiking the summit of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington. We will be hiking the Organ Pipes walk, see the Springs and Salamanca waterfront. After, we will board a ferry to Mona museum, which is described by its creator as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ Mona is Tasmania’s most visited tourist attraction and offers visitors a unique and memorable experience!
So there it is! That is what I will be doing for my semester break! How is it already here?! Time has flown! I feel like it was just yesterday it was May and I was sitting back home wondering what the end of the year has in store for me. Like I said earlier, I plan on writing a seperate blog post in the future to finalize “The Perfect New Zealand Itinerary In A Week” and “Tasmania in a Week”! In the meantime, I’ll be writing individual blog posts during the duration of my trip as often as possible, depending on wifi! I can’t wait to share my own pictures! Thanks for reading!
Do you have any recommendations of places we should visit while in New Zealand and Tasmania? Comment below and let me know!