Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

View from our patio at Aoraki Court Motel

A close second to Milford Sound, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park was high on my list of places to visit in New Zealand. After our overnight in Wanaka, we were off to this highlight. The road took us through Lindis Pass and yet more desolate mountains, uniformly tan and dotted with clumps of spiky brush. We stopped at a scenic overlook describing an early release of the Scottish red stags that have so thrived in New Zealand. We drove a short stretch across the Ahuriri River before crossing that river to turn north then along Lake Pukaki, now with wide dry fields where Google Maps showed a much wider lake. As with many places we’ve traveled, climate change was making itself known here. read more

Queenstown and we begin our time on New Zealand’s South Island

Lake Wakatipu from the Harbor View Walk, Queenstown

Our flight on New Zealand air from Auckland to Queenstown went off without a hitch and offered us some great views of the two islands en route. We picked up the rent car that would be our transportation for the next weeks (sadly, now substantially more expensive than a similar car had been pre-pandemic) and headed to our hotel. The route we followed on the South Island was as follows:

Our roadtrip through New Zealand’s South Island. At Picton, we took the ferry and continued
back to Auckland via Wellington and Rotorua, a total trip of more than 2000 miles.

We took our rent car on the ferry from to Wellington and continued driving across the North Island and back to Auckland from where we’d fly back to the States. We were really happy with our itinerary and I’ll cover the entire trip including fjords, hot spring spas, wineries, geysers, Maori settlements, a glowworm cave and more in coming posts. read more

Another transpacific cruise, this time to New Zealand

Majestic Princess in Papeete, Tahiti, en route to Auckland, New Zealand

I’m behind on blogging as we settle into our year back in Paris. Still, I do want to write about our time in New Zealand (which included 2000 miles of driving!) before too much time slips by. So, first here’s a quick recap of the Princess repositioning cruise that got us there:

The Covid-19 pandemic canceled a three-week trip to New Zealand we’d planned to start in March 2020, within days of New Zealand shutting down. With the pandemic mostly behind us and New Zealand again opening, we were finally making the trip. read more