Sunday, June 7, 2015

NZ 8: Places

My mom recently reminded me that I never really finished up my New Zealand posts, and then urged me in the politest way possible to get off my ass and post the rest of the pictures. (Sorry Mom!)

I really only had about one post left that I had planned, which is this one: places. This includes some of the hotels we stayed at, restaurants, and other interesting buildings in New Zealand.

One thing I usually forget to take pictures of, however, is the hotel rooms. Sometimes I remember after we've already made the room messy by sleeping in the bed and spreading our clothes and belongings all over the place. Sometimes I don't even remember even then. 

That said, I thought I would share the pictures I did capture, because some of the places were pretty cool. If you are planning on traveling to NZ and want to know any of the specifics, just leave me a comment. Otherwise, I figure most of you will be satisfied with just a few captions here and there to give the pictures context. Here goes.
In the lobby of our hotel in Rotorua.
Our hotel in Napier had a spa in the room and an ocean view. Definitely one of the nicer places we stayed (while still being reasonably priced).
Ocean view from the balcony.
We visited a couple wineries in Napier that were very pretty.
This one in particular was very old and had a long history that involved monks, fires, and obviously, booze in various forms.
We didn't learn as much about this winery, but it was still very nice.
In Johnsonville, near Wilmington, we stayed in a very cute private cottage.
It's a little hard to figure out from this picture, but the cottage had an outdoor bathtub that you heated by lighting a fire under it. I was super excited about this feature, but unfortunately, we got there very late and there was a fire hazard warning that day, so we weren't allowed to have an open fire. Nuts.
This boutique hotel in Kaikoura was definitely the nicest place we stayed, but it was also by far the most expensive, so I'm not sure I would recommend it. But it was definitely very pretty and had a balcony overlooking the ocean.
These rooms were in the middle of Arthur's Pass, a very remote region in the mountains. If it wasn't for the restaurant in the main building, we would have been totally screwed when it came time to find food that night. Nothing around for miles.
This was another great motel that was also decently priced. Very nice, modern room, and it was within steps of several restaurants.
We also saw a very pretty sunset when we stayed there, but I'm not sure they can claim that as a feature of this motel. lol

A shot inside the restaurant next door to the motel above. Very cute with delicious food. Also, they played a crazy Bruce Lee movie on the patio television set, so we enjoyed some kung fu while we ate. Nice.
This hotel outside of Queenstown was very very fancy (but I somehow booked the room for 60% off, so it wasn't bad at all for our stay). It had a private movie theater and spa services, as well as a restaurant with a gorgeous view.
This is the Dunedin train station, one of the more famous buildings on the South Island. Really beautiful inside and out.
This is a pretty church in Dunedin. I know nothing else about it. haha
This is the entrance to the Chinese Garden in Dunedin.
Inside the Chinese Garden (which is one of only three authentic Chinese Gardens in the world found outside of China).
Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take many pictures inside the Cadbury chocolate factory on our tour, but our tour guide (who was fantastic and Willy Wonka-esque) posed for this shot with Chris.
I was planning to also do a post about our actual itinerary and what we would have done differently if we went again, but honestly, that sounds exhausting to me. I have a travel journal full of notes, though, so if anyone wants any tips about where to go or how long to stay there, I will be happy to help! But without a request, I'm not going to bother. I have a whole line up of pictures I've been meaning to post, and I'm in the middle of giving my guest room an overhaul, and yeah. Life.

But I do want to take second to "wrap up" my New Zealand trip. We had an absolutely awesome time there. I am so grateful to Chris for being my awesome travel companion and making it all possible. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to visit such a different world.

Two weeks was definitely not enough time to see everything we saw, let alone all the stuff we didn't see. We crammed it in because we figured we might never go there again and I'm glad we did. But it would have been nicer to have more time in certain places, like Rotorua and Queenstown. And we didn't even see Auckland, which is supposed to be a really great city.

I would have also like to have stayed over in Christchurch. A lot of people and guides said not to bother because it was devastated by the huge earthquake a few years ago, but they are rapidly rebuilding and it is a wonderful city. And they could really use the tourism income to keep their efforts going strong, so I recommend everyone going to New Zealand go there and spend some money. It's worth it. Of all the places we visited in NZ, Christchurch was most likely where I would live if I moved to New Zealand.

If you're planning a big vacation and considering New Zealand, I say go for it, as long as you have more than two weeks or are willing to limit yourself to just one island. If you have less than two weeks, go to Hawaii. Seriously. That's good advice. New Zealand is a great place to have some crazy awesome adventures, though. And the people there are so friendly and adventurous and really passionate about their homeland. There's a lot of beautiful sights and things you just won't find anywhere else.

Now for my final thought if you're planning a vacation to New Zealand: go Zorbing. So. Much. Fun.