New Zealand is arguably the most beautiful country I have been to. Literally have single place you went, it looks like a postcard and my pictures I tried to take did not do it justice. I was in Queenstown for just a few days over fall break when I was going to school at UTS in Australia, and we jam packed out trip and had so much fun!
Where I Stayed:
We stayed at Abosoloot Hostel near Queenstown City Center. The rooms were clean and nice and it actually had a decent amount of bathrooms, which is something I always complain about in hostels, but I think the best part was the kitchen! It was absolutely massive and actually accommodated a few different groups at once. Since we did lots of our own cooking on this trip because we did lots of hiking and all day activities, this was a great bonus!
Also, we rented a car through Juicy (yay for cheap rentals), and our itinerary and NZ in general really does need a car. It was super affordable and we had no issues parking, so please keep that in mind. Many people stay in a camper van while travelling NZ, but we went as a group of 4 so that wasn’t really practical haha.
What To Do:
You absolutely cannot visit Queenstown without getting your adventure on! This city is home to the largest swing in the world and the 3rd largest bungy jump! We paid for both, including pictures and videos for both, and the total came out to around $600 NZD, so quite pricy but 100% worth it! Check out this crazy video of me bungy jumping!
New Zealand has some of the best and most beautiful hikes in the world. We did Roys Peak in Wanaka, which is the hardest hike I have ever done. I am not a good hiker, but I can usually keep up. Here, was a fat no! It was literally like 3 straight hours up the mountains using switchbacks, so you literally didn’t have any easy parts! We went a few weeks before winter hit, so we were decked out in warm clothes and beanies, but I literally was stripping up the mountain and ended up hiking in my beanie, sports bra, and leggings. Please bring loads of water and food and know, it isn’t just an easy morning hike. Plan on sleeping the rest of the day haha. Despite my hardships, the views were absolutely incredible and it was 100% worth it.
Take a cruise around Milford Sound! This was a few hours by car away, so many people plan to stay there for a night or two, but it was very doable as a day trip. Again, we were balling on a budget so we did the Juicy Cruise tour, which covers just the basics, but they have a variety of tours for different budgets available. Unfortunately, since we were there in the winter, it was cloudy and even a bit rainy the whole time. I heard its actually like this the majority of the time there, so don’t set your expectations too high with the beautiful sunny pictures you will see and people kayaking and such. However, despite the chilly weather, we had loads of fun and saw the most beautiful rainbow! Can you tell how windy it was in our photos?
Hiking Queenstown Hill is a popular activity for sunset and sunrise. We actually split our group here and some did the hike and others stayed behind. Another girl and I stayed behind being a bit traumatized from Mount Cook the day before haha, but my friends that did go said it was incredible and MUCH easier.
Check out the backpackers and night scene with loads of different and fun bars! We actually did not do a whole lot of partying or anything while there because we did so many activities that involved early mornings and physical excursion where hangovers would make for awful days. However, we did got to this one bar, literally as it opened for the night and soberly danced for a few hours. It was surprising so fun, even if it felt like you were at a school dance haha.
There are quite a few other ‘touristy’ things to do in this town, including things like luging, ziplining, water activities on the lake (when it’s not on the verge of winter), mountain biking, checking out the local land, etc. Honestly, if you just want to hop in your car and go exploring in any direction, you will come across something fun and quaint to do.
Walk around the city center. We actually did quite a bit of this in the evenings. The town is so cute and while it is definitely geared towards tourists, it has lots of cute local shops. The restaurants were really good and right on price with what you would expect and had lots of great local beers. We also ate ridiculous amounts of ice cream considering how cold it actually was outside lol.
Overall, the trip was so much fun! Despite the chilly weather, it was a good time to go because it wasn’t tourist season so we didn’t have to deal with huge crowds of people. New Zealand is in no way a cheap trip in my opinion, but you can definitely made it more affordable by cooking yourself, finding deals, and doing your own thing sometime.