50th birthday trip
Collected by Michelle Sterling
Nelson, New Zealand
The town was such a surprise. It is right on the beautiful coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The whole country is breathtaking but Nelson is a hidden gem. Many a night were spent drinking beers on the beautiful beach with friends I had met...
Milford Sound Visitor Centre, Milford Sound Hwy 94, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand
It's probably one of the most recommended activities for travelers headed to New Zealand's south island and it sure doesn't disappoint. A cruise on Milford Sound is an absolute must on any visit to Fiordland. With the gorgeous blue water, the...
Hampden, New Zealand
Legend has it that these boulders are the food baskets of the great ancestral canoes that brought the Maori to New Zealand. On a recent trip to New Zealand to celebrate my retirement, my husband and I enjoyed walking around the beach marveling at...
101 Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Though Wellington seems best traversed on foot (as Hobbits do, right?), the cable car ride is well worth breaking this habit. Leaving from Lambton Quay, for $6 return, the cable car takes you up to the top of the Botanic Gardens, providing a...
Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Soak up the endless horizon on this 15k tramp alongside Lake Wanaka. Why is this worth your Kiwi time? The rolling and winding track that follows the lake’s edge provides an unobstructed and ridiculous view of the snowcapped mountain tops (head...
South Hill, Oamaru 9400, New Zealand
Whisky distilling in New Zealand goes back to the earliest Scottish settlers in 1838, and the distilling industry thrived around New Zealand, and particularly in the Dunedin and surrounding Otago region right through until the 1870s, when...
Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
We toured the South Island of New Zealand with Active New Zealand in 2010. The last night was spent at Braemar Station, a sheep ranch near Mt. Cook. I could have shared the photo of the meal, which was a delicious grilled salmon we'd purchased...
11 Shakespeare Rd, Bluff Hill, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Napier is known as the Art Deco capital of New Zealand (and probably the world). Yet there's more to this North Island city than white-walled tires, funky hats and oddly-proportioned buildings. The Cabana is an institution in the Southern...
Rangitoto Island, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
In the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island is just a short, not to mention highly enjoyable, 25-minute ferry ride from Auckand. The unpopulated island is actually a shield volcano that is the youngest (only 600 years old!) in the Auckland Volcanic...
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is one of those places in New Zealand that is instantly recognizable but few know its name. Bright blue with clear water surrounded by pink and purple lupines in the summer, it's the perfect background for these blooming flowers. A...
Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
The massive sandbar extending from Tauranga's harbor leads to one of New Zealand’s most beloved beaches at Mount Maunganui, known locally as The Mount. The white sand ocean-side beach is a surfer’s dream, and while an artificial reef was installed...
SH 47, National Park 3989, New Zealand
These days New Zealand’s landscape may be best known from scenes in The Lord of the Rings, but set aside your preconceptions of Mt. Doom: Mt. Ngaurahoe (Doom’s butt double in the films) and the craters surrounding it are gorgeous. The Tongariro...
1124 Malaghans Rd, Arrowtown 9371, New Zealand
Originally constructed as a French Colonial farm over a century ago, the 175-room Millbrook Resort was ranked the #1 golf resort in Australasia a couple years ago. Spread over 500 acres, the extra large rooms and villa suites are housed in...
20 Sea View Rd, Ostend, Waiheke Island 1081, New Zealand
Waiheke Island is carved with numerous scalloped coves along the leafy mountain coastline about 45 minutes from Auckland. It’s both the weekend retreat for New Zealand’s upper crusts and full time home for eclectic middle-age men and women who...
North Island, New Zealand
There's no other day hike in all of New Zealand that is as diverse as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The terrain is so unique, the location was used to portray "Mt Doom" in the Lord of the Rings films. The nearly 20 kilometer trail winds into high...
South Island 7183, New Zealand
New Zealand's smallest national park certainly packs a punch. Unlike so many of the great ragged mountains that dot the country, Abel Tasman curves along the north coast of the South Island, peppered with golden sand beaches and steep cliffs that...
585 Waitomo Caves Rd, Waitomo 3977, New Zealand
Waitomo, on New Zealand’s North Island, is known mostly for its glowworms. This is one of the few places in the world where they exist and millions of visitors descend onto the village every year to walk through the dark caves and see the sparkly...
Wellington, New Zealand
I still owe my best friend millions for introducing me to Wellington's Cafe L'Affare while I was working in New Zealand. Founded in 1990, this quintessential cafe is cozy, delicious and gourmet ground breaking. What are your food choices, you ask?...
65 Broadway, Stratford 4332, New Zealand
It's easy to rush by New Zealand's sleepy sheep-strewn North Island en route to the adrenalin-pumping south, but don't forgot to stop and smell the serenity. Grab some take-away and get ye to the countryside along the Forgotten World Highway. If...
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