The day after our wedding, we'll be loading up the car from Colorado and driving to Los Angeles with a stop in Las Vegas (mandatory, of course). Mr. CB has never been to Vegas and since it's directly on the way of our 14-hour drive we figure we should make a thing of it!
From there, we'll drive to LA (where we'll unload the dogs at my parent's house) and fly to the Land of Kiwis the same day we arrive. How we're going to fit everything in my car (two medium-size dogs, my wedding dress, our honeymoon luggage, dog beds, etc), I'm not sure. Good thing I drive a station wagon.
Once we arrive in Auckland, it's straight to the South Island for nine days of New Zealand fun. Where are we going?
But where are we really going? And what are we doing? I'm all too excited to share what we've planned so far.
Day 1: Christchurch
The George (source)
Day 2: Christchurch and Kaikoura
We'll start off the day with a mountain bike in Christchurch's Port Hills
Biking the Port Hills (source)
Followed by a drive up the coast for 3 hours to Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses
Hapuku Treehouses (source)
Day 3: Blenheim and Marahau
From Kaikoura (which is known for whale-watching), we'll head two hours north to the vineyard-adorned region of Marlborough. We'll rent bikes in Blenheim--they make them with panniers big enough for four bottles!
Vineyards in Blenheim (source)
Then, we'll drive a couple more ours to Marahau on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park. There, we'll cozy up in a beachfront cabin at Ocean View Chalets.
Ocean View Chalets (source)
If there's time, we'll be doing a sunset horseback ride on the beach in Marahau.
Horseback in Marahau (source)
Day 4: Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson
We'll be able to walk to our full-day mountain bike ride through Abel Tasman National Park from our cabin
Biking in Abel Tasman (source)
After the ride, we'll head an hour back to Nelson for one night at the Wheelhouse Inn
Wheelhouse Inn (source)
Day 5: West Coast to Franz Josef
This day will be spent in the car. A seven hour drive will bring us down the less-traveled west coast--one of the top seaside drives in the world according to Fodor's. Once there, we'll get some rest at the new Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Te Waonui Forest Retreat (source)
Day 6: Franz Josef Glacier and Queenstown
In the morning, we'll head up the glacier for a half-day glacier hike.
Hiking the Glacier (source)
Then, we'll drive about four hours to Queenstown, passing Lake Wanaka on the way.
Lake Wanaka (source)
Once to Queenstown, we'll be staying in a nearby neighborhood at the Arrowtown House
Arrowtown House Boutique Hotel (source)
Day 7: Queenstown
We won't have to drive at all on this day! Woo-hoo. And we'll be staying the same hotel for two nights! But, before we indulge in that pleasure, we'll raft the Shotover River
The Shotover River Gorge
Day 8: Queenstown and Auckland
We'll fly from Queenstown to Auckland, and spend a night in Auckland before heading back to the States. Hotel to-be-determined.
I realize our itinerary above is jam-packed, but with only nine days in New Zealand, we want to take advantage. Plus, we can always cancel activities if we get too exhausted.
Is your honeymoon going to be leisurely or adventure-filled? Do you have any tips for our trip through New Zealand?