Posted by: dsduffy | September 23, 2012

A week in New Zealand

We spent a week in Queenstown New Zealand, a place that I never in a million years thought I would go. Being that it is only a three and a half hour flight, I am actually surprised that it took us four years to get to. It ended up being the perfect time to go: at the end of our adventure and during the spring for awesome skiing conditions.

Queenstown is a cute town sitting alongside Lake Wakatipu. Surrounded by mountains, many topped with snow, its beauty is breathtaking. As we were landing, I could not believe my eyes as we flew between mountains, I was confused by the sight of green land out the window, how could that be? The airport was only 10 minutes away from downtown Queenstown, so we got the most out of the first day by walking around the town and checking things out.

Our accommodations were literally a five minute walk away from all the shops and restaurants, and it was such a delight to see paragliders landing right outside our window. Queenstown, and all of NZ for that matter, is known for Extreme Sports (bungy jumping, canyon swings, sky diving, white water rafting, to name a few.) I even got my heart pumping by going on the Shotover Jet Boat Check out the video
Which actually was a funny story because I was terrified to go and thought I was in the clear when the day we were scheduled, the water was too high for Jake to go (he is under 1.2mt.) which left Craig and Cameron to go alone. Jake was so upset that he didn’t get to go that a few days later we had some free time and decided to call and see if the water had receded. It was a go, so I took Jake by myself! Needless to say it was so much fun.

The main attraction for Queenstown is the spectacular skiing (ski fields if you are Aussie.) We spent two days at Cardrona:

Cardrona Base Lodge

where Jake spent both days in ski school and Cameron just took ski lessons in the mornings. To say that the mountains were beautiful is a complete understatement. The words to describe the views from atop the mountain haven’t been invented yet. Just plain beauty up there.

Our third day on the snow was spent at The Remarkables where I am pretty sure that when I look back on my life, this day will be highlighted. Cameron learned how to snowboard and I skied alone with Jake. We ended the day with our first ever ski down together, it was awesome.

On the lift, The Remarkables

Cameron + snowboard

Cameron + snowboard

We took a road trip out to Fiordland National Park, about a 2 hour drive, to Te Anau Glowworm Caves. We took a boat out to the cave and then went on this tiny rinky dink boat into the pitch blackness where there were glowworms. Yes it was cool, but like I said it was PITCH BLACK and we were told to be quiet (Jake, quiet?) and then at the end there was a grotto that was filled with these glowworms, yes cool – but they were so close to our heads! I was practically folded in half, I couldn’t get far enough away from those slimy little things. The cave part was pretty awesome, but I could have done without being inches away from millions of worms.

On our last day we flew to Auckland on the North Island and spent the day there. We have about five hours to poke around, so we had lunch on the Viaduct and then headed over to Skytower



There is so much more that I would have love to have seen. With only a week, I think we did the best we could and really got a good feeling for what NZ is like: beautiful!



  1. Great photos …. so beautiful (you all & the scenery)! So glad I didn’t know about the Jet Boat until after the fact …. looks insane! Happy that you had a wonderful vacation and are back home safely. Love to all!

  2. Love all the pictures, Danielle. You really are a superstar blogger. 🙂 Please do continue writing even after the southern hemisphere adventure ends!

  3. Just an unbeilieveable adventure. So happy you had the opportunity to see New Zealand. Memories, Memories and more Memories 🙂

  4. That looks o for awesome 😉

  5. You surely scored many points in the “best mom” category after going on that ride!

  6. Queenstown was one of my very favorite trips, too. So glad you all got to see it. The natural beauty is simply awe inspiring.

  7. awesome images

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