Traveling NZ? Here are our notes.

You’re traveling to NZ. You don’t need the pictures from our honeymoon, but you could use the travel resources. Here you go. (Much more and better detail on Rachel’s blog in this post and the ones that follow.)

We basically made our way from the central north section of the South Island of New Zealand over to the West Coast, down the West Coast, and finally inland to Queenstown.

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It was a great itinerary that started in Nelson for an afternoon and night of recovering from 14 hours of flying (our recovery much aided by a great dinner at Hopgoods), then over to nearby Motueka, which was our jumping off point for a day in gorgeous Abel Tasman Park. I can’t say enough about what a lovely stay we had at the Atholwood B&B or how lovely the innkeepers were.
Here’s what sunrise from the balcony there looks like:

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From there, we drove the Westport to Punakaiki, stopping along the way in Charleston to see the glowworm caves. At Punakaiki, we saw the amazing pancake rocks and blowholes – where ocean water sprays up as it smashes against the caverns.

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From Punakaiki, we made our way down the coast to Fox Glacier, where our stay at Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka was fine, dinners at The Last Kitchen were good, and the guiding by Fox Glacier Guiding was superb.

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And, finally, the long drive over to Queenstown, which is sort of the Aspen of the South Island – a bit fancy, pricey, but incredibly beautiful mountains and valley Here we found our favorite hotel of the stay, a priceless B&B called The Dairy.

The big thing that made our whole trip: the travel agent. Phil Tidbury at Aspire Down Under. Lovely guy, made only good choices on our behalf. Call him.

Worth many times the $25 you’ll pay for it: the Sygic navigation app, for iPhone or Android. Every address in Australia and New Zealand, available without an online connection. Really, really good turn by turn driving directions.

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Also indispensable is the eccentric, hilarious, incredibly enthusiastic NZ Frenzy guidebook.

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