Hear about a two week New Zealand road trip as the Amateur Traveler talks to Hanson Cheng.
Hanson was in New Zealand for a total of 3 months but has a selected a 2-week itinerary for us. Hanson did a trip from Auckland in the North Island to Christchurch in the South Island. He rented a camper van and recommends you get one with a bed and a toilet to have more options where you can stay.
On the North Island, he recommends heading to the Coromandel Peninsula near Auckland with a stop along the way to hike The Pinnacles. He then suggests a visit to Cathedral cove during the day then again at night for the stargazing. For an unusual experience bring a shovel to Hot Water Beach. Dig a hole in the sand near low tide and let the underground hot springs turn your hole into a hot tub. Visit the beautiful nearby Karangahake Gorge for a hike to see the remains of old mines in the area.
From there he takes you down to Tongariro National Park for more hiking, although we also talk about the option of exploring Hobbiton near Matamata or the culture and outdoor activities of Rotorua. He talks about an alternative free spot for seeing glow worms at Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk near Waitomo. After a stop in Wellington, Hanson heads to the South Island on a ferry.
On the northern end of the South Island, there is more hiking at Abel Tasman National Park and what may be Hanson’s favorite stop in all of New Zealand Wharariki Beach. At the right time at Wharariki, you can walk out to a seal colony. You can’t approach them, but they can approach you.
Mount Cook is Hanson’s favorite spot to go hiking and camping. He says that Roy’s peak has one of the best views in New Zealand.
Queenstown is a thrill center. Hanson went skydiving there. We talk about bungee jumping, zorbing, and other crazy Kiwi activities. Even if you don’t like crazy adventures Queenstown still has great sites. Moki Lake near Queenstown is the “epitome of a perfect campsite” in his opinion.
After a visit to the Fjord lands near Milford Sound, he headed down to Porpoise Bay and Cannibal Bay. You can swim with porpoises at Porpoise Bay where Hanson took surfing lessons. Then Hanson headed up to Christchurch where he flew out.
Whether you explore just the North Island, or just the South Island or both, a road trip through New Zealand will delight you.
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The Pinnacles (Coromandel Peninsula)
Tongariro National Park
Abel Tasman National Park
Arthur’s Pass National Park
Aoraki / Mount Cook
Waihi | The Martha Gold Mine
McLaren Falls Park
Blackwater Rafting in the Waitomo Caves – New Zealand
Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk
Matamata (Hobbiton Movie Set)
Weta Digital: Visual Effects
Weta Studio Tours
Best campsites in New Zealand
Freedom Camping New Zealand
Roy’s Peak Track
Zorbing – Riding a Human Hamster Ball
Ben Lomond (Otago)
The Remarkables Ski Area
All you want to know about travel in New Zealand
I’m currently on a 8-week epic journey that is taking me through Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Macau, and Hong Kong. Although I have traveled to some of these places before, once I’ve my itinerary set, the first thing I did was to download and listen to all the episodes about these countries or cities from the Amateur Traveller Podcast. I know I would always learn something from Chris’ guests who are knowledgeable about the places. I also enjoy Chris’ interviewing style and I love his questions near the end of the show: what the guidebooks miss and what are the overhyped sites that I could skip. Finally, the show notes for each episode are great resources, some I have used.
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