A spring holiday in Wanaka and Queenstown’s outdoor playgrounds!

With the global pandemic of Covid-19 raging on and New Zealand’s borders still shut the hashtag #DoSomethingNEWNewZealand is being banded about on social media. New Zealanders are exploring their own country more than ever before.

As a family we’ve holidayed in the South Island of New Zealand on multiple occasions, particularly around Wanaka and Queenstown, so on this occasion we took the ‘hashtag’ to heart and tried out some new activities (as well as indulging in a few firm favourites!).

There’s something special about Wanaka in springtime – one moment you can be skiing in fresh snow…

Cardrona Resort, Wanaka

The next moment you can be basking in 20 degree plus temperatures at the lakeside.

Enjoying the sunshine and tranquility on the shores of Lake Wanaka.

The ‘Wanaka Tree’!

Or taking a leisurely bike ride, eating gelato and fishing up salmon from the fabulous ‘Hook‘ for lunch (which we enjoyed for the first time on this trip!).

Hook Wanaka | Lake to plate restaurant – one of our 2020 #DoSomethingNEWNewZealand experiences!

There’s snow on the mountain tops, whilst blossom trees bloom around the lake, it’s a stunning time to visit!

Beautiful Wanaka in spring time.

On previous trips we’ve visited Puzzling World, the National Transport & Toy Museum and the Lavender Farm, we’ve had a go at archery and mini-putt at Crossfire, walked the Mount Iron loop track and hired kayaks on the lake.

On this trip we enjoyed some new experiences, one of which was hiring bicycles and cycling alongside the lake from the township of Wanaka, past Eely Point Reserve, around to the Clutha River and on to Albert Town for lunch, before cycling back – a total of 26km!

Cycling with constantly stunning scenery in Wanaka.

It was a great family ride, with countless pitstops of natural beauty.

Colours of the Clutha River

One of many scenic stops our bike ride.

Clutha River

It was lovely to pull up the bikes for a rest, skip stones on the lake and admire the scenery.

Another stunning outdoor experience was walking the ‘Diamond Lake’ circuit track, including the Diamond Lake Lookout.

Diamond Lake Lookout, Wanaka.

Diamond Lake Circuit walk, Wanaka

Following the trail.

Taking in the scenery of waterfalls in the distance.

Clouds drifting up and over the mountains.

The walk is just 18.5km west of Wanaka on the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring road – a stunning drive with plenty of beautiful stops along the way.

Taking a moment to dip our toes in Lake Wanaka on the way back from our walk at Diamond Lake.

Admiring the scenery.

Of course a spring visit to Wanaka had to include a little snow fun too!

We had a couple of days playing around in the snow at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

View toward Queenstown from Cardrona.

Alice and Mum!

Sophie, Dad and Alice!

Alice doing her thing on the slopes.

The rest of our four days in Wanaka, before heading to Queenstown for a couple of days, was mostly spent relaxing, eating and chucking a frisbee around (frisbee golf is a great way to spend some fun hours outdoors).

Frisbee golf in Wanaka, with amazing views!

In amongst the trees.

Brave Dad and daughters took a quick dip in the lake… with the lake water comprising of snow and glacial melt in early springtime it wouldn’t have been warm!

Taking a dip in Lake Wanaka in early spring – brave!

I braved up to my ankles before wimping out and sticking to taking photos of their bravery!

Beautiful lake Wanaka with my younger two daughters.

After a lovely few days in Wanaka we headed to Queenstown, where we had a couple of days enjoying the scenery, hiring bikes and zip lining, though we had to change up the holiday a little to accommodate the need for the man of the house to get back to Wellington in time for our oldest daughter’s Y13 Ball.

Our oldest at her Y13 Ball

The original date of the her ball was when New Zealand was in full lockdown. The Ball had been rescheduled, but then a small community outbreak of Covid in Auckland caused it to be delayed again – as the rest of the country had restrictions placed on gatherings over 100. So, the third time lucky for the ball coincided with a pre-planned holiday.

Dad and daughter (in the dress that she made all by herself!)

It was so wonderful that parents were invited to the first two hours of the ball. Year 13 is the final year of schooling here in New Zealand, so this is a very special one for many. We couldn’t change all our flights to be back in time for the ball, but it was particularly special that our daughter’s Dad could be there – as the girls took a spin on the dance floor in a waltz with their fathers. I was sad to miss it, but I have the school leavers dinner to look forward to in December.

Before he flew back to Wellington, along with our second oldest – who had a gym coach training thing to attend, they enjoyed a day of fun in Queenstown.

Frisbee golf in Queenstown

Throwing that frisbee in style!

Beautiful Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown at sunset

Tennis in a stunning setting!

Colours of sunset over Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

The last two days in Queenstown were an opportunity for me to spend some special time with my youngest daughter.

We had a wonderful time doing a zip lining experience with ZipTrek Tours on the Friday.

Zip lining in Queenstown

Looking so stylish in our helmets! Safety first!

Letting go….!

Stunning scenery as we zipped along through the trees!

View from the top, before we headed off on our zip trek.

After a fun time zip lining we decided to take the Tiki Trail back down to lake level, which was a 2km steep descent through forest and wonderful wood carvings.

Taking a rest on the descent down the Tiki Trail in Queenstown.

A beautifully carved Punga fern seat to rest upon.

On our last day my youngest daughter and I headed out on a bicycle adventure, cycling from Arrowtown along the beautiful Arrow River Bridges Trail.

Following the Arrow River Bridges Trail

Southern Discoveries Bridge

Edgar Bridge

Swain Bridge

Following my daughter’s lead.

Kawarau Bridge

After crossing over the last bridge and reminiscing on the time my husband did the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump (eek!) we cycled onto the Gibbston wine valley for cheese (and wine for me!).

Well earned refreshments after all that cycling!

Gibbston Valley Vineyards

Outside the Gibbston Valley Cheesery and Deli.

A very fine 14km of trails with a lovely reward at the end!

We slept very well on our last night in Queenstown and flew back to Wellington the next day feeling very refreshed and happy to see the rest of our family and pets again.

Last night in Queenstown

Loved our spring holiday down south and can’t wait to visit again. It was definitely quieter without all the overseas visitors, but great to see Kiwis supporting tourism and getting out to do something new.

For fellow New Zealander’s looking for some holiday inspiration, here’s a few more ideas from a favourite YouTuber of mine. #DoSomethingNEWNewZealand !