We spent four months in New Zealand and still want to go back because we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to! One of the highlights of our trip was hitchhiking from Wellington to Auckland through the center of the North Island. We lived in a van for most of our trip though. My Flickr Site has a lot of photos of NZ.
We flew into Christchurch and had the worst turbulance going over the mountains ever, I almost cried. My lovely FI laughed at me though >.<
Our favorite parts of the South Island were:
– Riding a bicycle through Renwick (near Blenheim). We rented bicycles for $5 each (I think?? maybe it was $15…) and they had these little “saddle bags” to put bottles in. There are 25 wineries in a 5km radius! We had so much fun! I highly recommend the small boutique one called Huia. That was by far our favorite. Trail Map
– Glenorchy! This is about 15 km (if memory serves) north and west of Queenstown. We had a pretty bad experience in Queenstown, it was really talked up to us, but when we got there it was just another over-priced tourist trap. We spent one cold night there in a parking lot then moved on. Glenorchy has some AMAZING scenery and hikes. The Dart River valley is so beautiful and there is even a tiny “town” there called Paradise. If you like walking outside and what not, that’s the spot.
– Driving on the West (Wet) Coast was beautiful. If you can swing it, I recommend it. There are the pancake rocks to see, and just tons of great scenery, plus a chance for penguins! The drive from Greymouth (via Moana) through Arthur’s Pass was another highlight, stunning. We kept saying that no matter where you drive, you can’t get bored with the scenery.
– Aoraki/Mt Cook was amazing. We went on a hike to the glacier (not on it) which was great fun. In the snow! The lakes up there are BRIGHT Turquoise, and Twizel has something about it that made me feel very moved. The scenery around Twizel is so wild, I loved it. The drive through the Lindis Pass was spectacular, too.
– We worked for an older couple in exchange for a campsite for about a week (maybe more) at a campground in Mt Somers (pretty close to Chch), this was another highlight. Yvonne and Dave. I don’t know if they’re still there, but it was tons of fun. Dave even drove us to see where they filmed some scenes for LOTR, huge fun! He was an extra in the second movie!
– Christchurch itself was so fun. We watched a lot of rugby, which we both got VERY into while in NZ. Went for drinks with some people we met around town, walked around to see all the sights, drove on the Summit Road, etc.
I’m sorry, there is just too much awesomeness to really narrow it down. I am sure that no matter where you end up going though, you will LOVE it. We had fun everywhere (except Queenstown o.O) I am jealous, I wanna go back!! Have fun!