Carrying on from last week's guide around New Zealand's South Island, here is the other half of Anouk's (from Make History Co.) scenic family get away. From the blue skies to whale watching, we are all ready for another holiday. New Zealand looks like the place to go! Especially for families who are worried the young ones are going to get bored and start with the " are we there yet"s, Anouk has already tried and tested some of the best spots around, so you can be sure of a wonderful time!
We left Fox Glacier early in the morning and headed all the way up to Nelson. A lot warmer and a whole lot nicer! Recommend Deville for lunch, Morisson Street for coffee or breakfast and Boat Shed for dinner. O and there’s a Saturday market with crafts and food, including our #1 favourite NZ peanut butter Pic’s.
A two hour scenic drive from Nelson will take you to one of the most amazing camping sites in the world; Totaranui DOC camping. Right in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park and a stroll away from the golden beaches; it’s paradise and your kids will not want to leave. Hardly any tourists and a lot of super friendly Kiwi’s who have spent their family holidays here for generations. You can take stunning walks in the National Park, go fishing, BBQ and roast marshmallows, the kids make friends in no time and you can be brave enough to take a swim in the freezing ocean. Great wake up call!
The Marlborough Sounds are another piece of paradise with bright turquoise waters and beautiful coves and bays along the many peninsulas. They are dotted with small secluded restaurants and holiday homes.
We stayed at Raehiti Lodge which the super friendly new owners have totally renovated. It has great food, excellent wines, complementary kayaks and a view to die for. You can also just have lunch there, but we highly recommend staying at the Raehiti for at least one night. It’s a 10 min boat ride from Te Mahia wharf.
On your way down to Kaikoura, do stop at the Marlborough Wineries. The Vines Village offers a nice first stop with a scavenger hunt and fudge factory for the kids, a concept store for mum and a rugby field for dad. We had a lovely lunch at the Alan Scott Winery, they serve great kids menus (with goody bag!) as well. We also visited the Cloudy Bay vineyard, where you can lounge in their beautiful garden.
We went for a whale watch boat trip at Kaikoura which was amazing. You are literally meters away from sperm whales, dolphins, albatrosses and seals. So definitely worth a stop but the town itself is nothing special. Again way too touristy with busloads of tourists attracted by the wild life. The Kaikoura Boutique Hotel is a cosy and best designed place to stay. For breakfast or lunch, head to the Reserve Hutt and the best fresh cray fish for dinner can be found at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ on the peninsula.
We ended our holiday in this small town, a former French settlements, 45 minutes drive from Christchurch. And even though the English took over more than 150 years ago, the town still feels like a small French beach town.
There’s a lot to do here. You can swim with dolphins, watch an art-house or kids movie at the charming cinema, play a game of mini golf, go for a swim at one of the nearby secluded beaches or learn how to cook at the Akaroa Cooking School.
An outside lunch in the garden at Vangionis is a treat, alternatives are The Brasserie or The Stables. And we had a lovely dinner at The Little Bistro. On your way back to Christchurch say ‘au revoir’ to this beautiful country in style and stop for a last drink at the Hilltop Tavern. Stunning views guaranteed!