Family vacation to New Zealand Part 1
In the most recent issue of the Bloesem Gazette, along with other kid related DIYs and stories, you’ll find a travel story covering a super scenic family vacation to New Zealand. We always make sure to include a little travel into each issue of the Gazette but for this special Kids issue, Anouk from Make History Co. shows us a very kid-friendly trip you can take with sights, activities and some wholesome family time.
We know almost everyone is back to school but for all our fellow travel fans, let’s start planning for the next trip shall we? Here’s part 1 of Anouk’s guide to a family friendly New Zealand trip around the South Island.
Means of Transportation
We didn’t go for the gigantic campervans but instead chose a little more rock ‘n roll; a vintage bright blue VW van. We slept in it whenever we thought the camping site offered a unique location or vibe that we couldn’t find in a hotel and otherwise we just used it as our car and slept in a bed & breakfast. I would definitely recommend travelling with a car (or vintage VW!). The campervans are inflexible, hard to drive, it forces you to camp every night and above all; they cost a fortune! You can rent a classic VW in your favourite colour from the amazing friendly owners of Classic Campers.
Christchurch was hit hard during the 2011 earthquake. It destroyed most of the city’s centre and has only begun to rebuild. But there are some nice new hot spots arising.
Hotel Montreal is upscale but the nicest new boutique hotel in town and a pleasant start for your NZ adventure.
As there are not many shops left, The Colombo is one of the nicest food (famous handmade Pot Sticker dumplings, gourmet hamburgers, Macarons), lifestyle and fashion boutique shopping complexes. There’s a Farmer’s Market on Fridays. It is owned by the same cool lady – Lily Cooper – that owns Hotel Montreal. She is one of the big believers and investors behind many Christchurch reconstruction initiatives.
Speaking of entrepreneurship; Christchurch has a whole new ‘coffee roaster’ movement going on. There are cool coffee roasters that opened their coffee shops right next to their gigantic (or tiny) coffee grinders. We visited and loved C4 coffee roasters HQ and Industrie Espresso Bar but there are many more.
For dinner I definitely recommend Shop Eight Food & Wine. Owners Liz and Alex cook up the most delicious local and seasonal dishes and serve great wines. Bringing the kids is no problem. It’s location in the lively Regent Street is also great for a night out.
On your way from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse in Fairly. They are famous for their cakes and pies. Some say they bake the best ones in New Zealand!
At Lake Tekapo Run 77 is a cute place for coffee and lunch and we loved having pizzas and pastas by the fireplace at Tin Plate. We stayed at the Lake Tekapo Lakeside Top 10 camping site, which offers a great location, set right at the shores of Lake Tekapo and overlooking the bright blue waters and white Alpes.
We took the scenic route (via Omarama) passing a great view of Mount Cook and Moekari Boulders to Dunedin. My uncle emigrated to Dunedin in the ‘50s so it’s a special place for us, but I’d recommend the Otago area for several other reasons. Watching the yellow eyed pinguins and seals sunbathing on the Otago Peninsula beach is amazing. Although I think the kids preferred their visit to the Cadbury Chocolate factory… Mazagran is a great place for your caffeine shot. So is Kiki Beware and Nectar Espresso. For breakfast or lunch the Rhubarb Café is yum. For lunch or dinner go to The Bund, it’s pretty patio overlooks the Octagon fountain. We were lucky to run into Deep Creek Deli food truck on the Otago peninsula. Best fresh baked sausages in town so keep an eye out for it!
Queenstown is full of backpackers and tourists but still has a good vibe. We made a reservation at Botswana Butchery for Christmas Eve. Food, wine and service were superb. If you’re willing to stand in line for at least 2 hours (!!), you can sink your teeth into one of the tastiest burgers you ever had from Ferg Burgers. Get your best morning coffees at NZ’s cutest barista; Peak Espresso. The Gondola and Luges are a nice day activity for the kids. To compensate for mum and dad after a morning at the luges, drive up to the Amisfield Winery for lunch; beautiful surroundings and great food and wine. If you’re looking for a nice spa or massage, Queenstown is the place; the Matakauri Lodge, Aro-Hā and the spa at Nugget Point all offer great massages. All three are also beautiful places to stay in Queenstown. Last but not least, if your kids are small like ours, the trip down to the (often rainy) Milford Sounds can be too long. A good alternative is to book a scenic flight to Milford Sounds from Queenstown.
On the short trip from Queenstown to Wanaka we visited the old mining town, Arrowtown. I wouldn’t recommend spending a night there – it’s more touristy than authentic in my opinion – but it’s nice for a short coffee or lunch break.
We loved Wanaka. You can go horse back riding, ride quads (both at The Cadrona), water skiing and take beautiful walks or bike rides around the lake and mountains. If you want to bring home nice NZ design gifts, go to Gifted Design. For dinner Bistro Gentil is Oh la la and we all loved every bite of our organic breakfast and lunch at Relishes and at Florence’s ‘our eggs are happy and our bacon was free to roam’ food store. Lakeside Apartments offer a beautiful view over the lake and are walking distance to every hot spot in town.
We did the Glacier helicopter flight here which our boys really enjoyed and you can take a guided walking tour up to the Glacier as well. But other than that this town was way too touristy. – Anouk
Make sure to catch part 2 of the New Zealand guide next week!