new zealand

Queenstown Skyline, New Zealand

Queenstown is stunning, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a beautiful landscape, it’s a sight to behold. Taking the skyline up to the top of Queenstown is worth it for a fun gondola ride and picturesque views.

However, that’s where my admiration ends, unfortunately.

There’s a lot of activities you can pay to do at the top- bungy jumping, luge, giant swing, mountain bike down to the bottom, buffet dining. The café fills the gap, but that’s about it. It feels very commercialised and a bit of a tourist trap, compared with the gondola at Christchurch, which has a 360 degrees panorama of the whole region, information about the local area and cultural history.

I think the spectacular view of Queenstown could be achieved through less expensive means, like trail walking for example. But for those who just want to zip up and appreciate the beauty, it’s there and it’s worthwhile.

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Doubtful Sound, New Zealand

We took a Real Journeys tour from Queenstown to Doubtful Sound and found it worthwhile. The coach took us to Lake Manapouri, then we took a boat across the lake to Wilmot Pass, then a bus across the pass to Doubtful Sound, then a cruise out to the Tasman Sea. I think the cruise was outstanding. We had perfect weather (!!!) and saw some dolphins. The crew were informative and interested in the wilderness, and they provided bilingual commentary. The cruise enouraged silence and cut the engines to help us absorb the fiordland, hear the waterfalls and the power of nature. Doubtful Sound is in a huge national park, so don’t expect bells and whistles: remember that you’re there to immerse in nature. Bring your own food. While it feels more secluded than Milford Sound, it’s worth the trip (and the same amount of travel time from Queenstown).

Saigon Kingdom, Queenstown, New Zealand

We stumbled across this place in the hopes of finding an affordable and tasty lunch. A lot of the restaurants down by the water are quite pricey so we were stoked to find this Vietnamese restaurant. It was filled with people, so we knew it would be worth trying. And the food! My lemongrass vermicelli noodles were fresh and flavoursome, with herbs and heat. Mum had lemongrass chicken stir fry on rice and said the meal was to die for. My drip coffee was authentic over condensed milk. I’ll be back for sure.

Christchurch Tramway, NZ

The Christchurch Tramways take you on loops through the city, past all the major tourist sites and relevant points of interest. It’s easy to find and central to where ever you’re staying. The tram drivers are very knowledgeable and offer a commentary of anecdotes and facts about the area as they drive you around. They’re very friendly and willing to take questions as well, which made us feel very welcome. A reasonably priced attraction that helped me get to know Christchurch a little better. Recommend getting a day pass an hopping off and on whenever you feel. 




Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Christchurch Cathedral, NZ

This is a sad reminder of the Christchurch quakes. I think it’s important to visit as you can see the full extent of the devastating earthquakes. There seems to be a lot of local controversy around whether to demolish it, rebuild it, or permanently relocate the congregation to the Cardboard Cathedral. Regardless, visiting this monument is a humbling experience, seeing it all gated up, half exposed to the weather and reclaimed by nature. Christchurch Cathedral is also surrounded by community-builtding initiatives like giant chess boards, art installations and gourmet food vans, so it’s worth the visit anyway. 


Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Wellington Cable Car, NZ

The Wellington Cable Car is such fun. It’s only a short ride to the top of the hill, but the view is well worth it. The tunnels on the way up has rainbow lights and all the kids go wild. I Loved seeing the houses on the hill, the whole neighbourhood seems so relaxed and calm. 
The view from  the top is sublime. Clear blue harbour, majestic mountain range, perfect little houses in the distance. 

We Took the train up and walked through the botanic gardens back down to the city  which was a really pleasant stroll. A must do in Wellington.

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Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch NZ

This Cathedral is a must see in Christchurch. Regardless of your faith, this cathedral is an important symbol of Christchurch’s resilience and ingenuity after the earthquakes. Just a short walk from the CBD, the cathedral is open for tourists to visit and the parishioners are proud to talk about their church. 

It was designed by a Japanese architect and is actually made from cardboard to be earthquake resistant.  It has character,  it shows strength,  it is a testament to a community’s faith and it seems to be only held up by the people who congregate there.  Although a major tourist attraction, it also hosts religious ceremonies and activities, so be mindful of this place as an active place of worship. 

Disclaimer: This review was also posted on TripAdvisor. This blog has no affiliation with TripAdvisor. I just share my experiences to spread the love to fellow travelers.