Adventures in New Zealand: Part 1

Hello from New Zealand! We are here on the South Island for a 9-day self-drive adventure, and are having a great time so far. The weather has been beautiful by most human standards, although it is very apparent that we have become acclimatized to the warm/hot, Australian weather. I’ve definitely been a bit chilly!

Since we are trying to see 1/2 the country with a one year old, there are several things that we can’t really do like adventure activities or wine tours- which is totally fine. I’m just thrilled to be here and take it all in. Thomas has been a great traveller so far, despite a ton of driving in order to pack everything into our week+.

We flew into Christchurch, but upon arrival we hopped in our rental car and started our 5 hour drive North right away. Tonight is our 3rd and final night in Nelson, and have had a great time hanging out in this adorable city, hiking in Abel Tasman National Park, and taking in views of the Marlborough Sounds. We didn’t get to check out the wineries, but it’s interesting to be in the area where my favourite Sauvignon Blancs originate!

We lucked out on the flight and got an extra seat for our “lap baby”. He didn’t seem to mind, and the three hour flight was a breeze (thank goodness). It’s our practice run for the upcoming long haul this July back to Canada!


We’ve had some fabulous meals so far at some irresistibly adorable restaurants like Hislops in Kaikoura, where we stopped on our drive from Christchurch to Nelson for a late dinner:



I was starving by this point, and this hearty bowl of cheesy pumpkin and roasted pine nut risotto was everything I needed, and more. Still thinking about it…


We bought a loaf of their amazing wholemeal bread baked in-house. Gluten perfection!

Nelson has some fabulous restaurants as well. I didn’t get a photo of last night’s Indian food, as Thomas had a total over-exhaustion meltdown and we had to pack up and get them to put everything in take-away boxes. He’s normally pretty great in restaurant settings though, so we tried again today for a late lunch and found this cute little spot called The River Kitchen.


I loved the “homey” feel with the variety of dining tables and randomly upholstered chairs. The restaurant overlooks the little river that runs through Nelson.



I got the soup of the day special: Seafood Chowder! Almost as good as Prince Edward Island chowder ;)

I made a chicken and veggie pasta tonight in our room, as we were all exhausted and weren’t up for the potential of consecutive meltdown nights. Everything else we’ve eaten has been purchased from the grocery store (cheaper and more convenient, especially for breakfasts). We are all stocked up for our drive tomorrow!

The Nelson and Marlborough areas have tons of orchards and locally grown produce, so finding fresh fruits and vegetables is a breeze:


We did a little walking around downtown after lunch and took in some sights along Trafalgar Street, which is headed by the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral:


Some other adventures have included a hike in Abel Tasman National Park, just north of Nelson. The entire Coastal Track is conquered by many hikers over the course of 3-5 days, but obviously that wasn’t in the cards with T! We settled for a 12km trek, which was perfect for the little guy and still allowed us to get a feel for this astoundingly beautiful park.






Apple Tree Bay: Our turn around point where we took a pitstop on the beach for lunch.




The rest of the time was spent enjoying a few more views:


…and trying not to fall off the side of the hiking trail!


Long way down!

We also took a little drive this morning through the valleys to check our the view of the Marlborough Sounds. We would have gone further into the wine region, but it would have been too much for the little guy to do in one day. No big deal; these sights were worth it!



Mountain Top Snack Face!!!


Well, that just about sums up our first couple of days here in NZ! Tomorrow we are packing up our car and heading south, along the west coast. I’ll be popping by later in the week with another travel update, if not sooner with a fitness related post! Thanks for checking in with me and following our adventures here in New Zealand. What a beautiful country this is.

Have you been to New Zealand?

Are you more of a sight seeing & adventure traveller or a beach & all-inclusive resort traveller?

23 Thoughts on “Adventures in New Zealand: Part 1

  1. WOW! Looks like the trip is off to a fabulous start. Now I want to go to NZ… and Thomas’ Jays cap is so amazing! Will you be making a stop in Toronto this summer?! Hope you enjoy the rest of your fabulous trip. xx

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm said:

      Haha, he’s gotta represent the homeland!!! My brother in law sent it at Christmas time.

      I wish I was headed to TO! We were going to plan my best bud’s bachelorette party there, but instead I’m just going to be stopping in Calgary and then the Maritimes.

  2. Elizabeth Ross on March 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm said:

    I have been to the North Island in 1984. We were on our way to Australia where I worked for 7 months in Sydney. I was on a work exchange. Loved New Zealand.

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm said:

      It’s so beautiful, isn’t it Elizabeth? You guys will have to visit the South Island sometime, although I think you’d find it very similar to BC!

  3. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful trip! Those beaches look amazing! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!!

  4. Beautiful!! We’re hoping to go to New Zealand at the end of the year as part of our Australia trip, too. It all depends how our long flight/lots of car time goes next month with our son. I’m much more of a sightseeing/adventure traveler. I could drive an hour and a half to lay on the beach so if we’re somewhere new then we are definitely exploring.

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm said:

      I agree!! If we are touring around/sightseeing, I love driving as well!
      (Although, there’s always a time and a place for a beach. That will be our next one haha).

  5. Oh it all looks so beautiful! We really want to go to New Zealand so it’s definitely on our travel bucket list.

    I’m more of an adventurer when it comes to vacations – if I’m in a new place I want to see everything possible, there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hotel! When we were in Bali, my biggest disappointment was that we couldn’t explore everywhere as it wasn’t really safe to – so we spent almost all of our times in the hotel.

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm said:

      Me too! We usually don’t go the all-inclusive route while on vacay because of this. That’s the only thing about Bali. I really want to go, but I know it’ll be more about relaxation than anything (which wouldn’t be a bad thing 😉

  6. Such gorgeous photos Kelly! I never made it to New Zealand but I wish I had! Brandon just loved it when he visited! Have an amazing time with your beautiful family xoxo can’t wait to read more!

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm said:

      Thanks, Merry!! It was definitely on our “while living in Australia bucket list”. I’ll have part two posted next :)

  7. oh goodness, this trip looks heavenly – your son is so cute and the beach looks so inviting, and i’m jealous of that sunshine :) enjoy it!

  8. How BEAUTIFUL is New Zealand?! Glad you guys are enjoying yourself and the beauty of the country! Do me a favour and order a latte…the serving cups are like cereal bowls.

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on April 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm said:

      We loved it, Arman! You were right though….I didn’t pack appropriately for the weather. I fear I’ve lost my Canadian ruggedness! 😉
      OMG, the coffees are enormous! Not quite as delish as Aussie brew, but definitely close.

  9. Stunning photos! I want to visit NZ one day… that would be a longggg flight from Cali!

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  11. Pingback: Adventures in New Zealand: Part 2 |

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  13. oh my! such a beautiful place! I wish I could go there too! 😀

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