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Here's A Complete 8D7N Itinerary For New Zealand Including Hotels, Activities & Transport

Swimming with wild dolphins, whale watching, and more!

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Tourism New Zealand invited SAYS on a trip of a lifetime, and it was even better than anything I could have imagined!

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From sweeping landscapes of rugged natural beauty that fill you with awe, to adrenaline-packed adventures that have been perfected, New Zealand is a destination everyone can enjoy.

At the heart of it all are its people, who are ridiculously kind and friendly, with a deep respect and admiration for Maori culture at the core of everything they do.

The hongi is a traditional Māori greeting performed by two people pressing their noses and foreheads together.

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This 8D7N itinerary is REALLY LONG and yet, just a tiny fraction of the many wonders of New Zealand. So go ahead and read through the awesome experiences and fabulous food, then click through for more info!

Day 1 - Canterbury, Christchurch

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Getting there

  • I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Christchurch via Singapore on Air New Zealand (and got to enjoy the world's only Skycouch!)
  • Get your SIM card from the airport Spark store (although free Wi-Fi is available and fast pretty much everywhere). I got 2GB for NZ$29. 
  • Get a taxi to your hotel (I used Corporate Cabs). For the rest of the stay in Christchurch, I pretty much walked everywhere.

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HOTEL: Checking in to Sudima Hotel Christchurch City
Sudima is a contemporary boutique hotel that spoils you rotten. It features luxe rooms with stove tops and microwave, streamed movies, unlimited Wi-Fi, Alexa, free laundry services, and more.

If you're a happy fatty like me, you will love all the complimentary food and drinks. This includes the fully stocked mini bar, a la carte breakfast, and evening drinks and canapes in the restaurant. All free of charge :O

Address: 47-49 Salisbury Street, Christchurch Central

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ACTIVITY: Take a walk in Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens 
Just a 10-minute walk from Sudima Hotel, you have to take a stroll around Hagley Park and the neighbouring Christchurch Botanic Gardens. You'll definitely love the picturesque views at every turn and crystal clear river.

Address:
 
Hagley Park, 14 Riccarton Ave, Christchurch Central City
Christchurch Botanic Gardens, City Centre Rolleston Ave, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 24/7
Admission fee: Free

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FOOD: Dinner at Twenty Seven Steps
Small and cozy, Twenty Seven Steps is listed in New Zealand's top 100 restaurants. With a seasonal menu and daily specials, you will definitely leave feeling loved and satisfied. Even the complimentary bread is divine! :O

Address: 16 New Regent St, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 5pm-10pm daily

Day 2 - Canterbury, Christchurch

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FOOD: The Black & White Coffee Cartel
With beans roasted onsite, this coffee shop is loved by locals, so you know it's gonna be good! 

They have a delicious selection of baked goods and hearty sandwiches. But a New Zealand must-try is the iconic lolly cake, a sweet malty treat, filled with colourful marshmallows. Nyum!

Address: 83 Victoria St, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm | Saturday & Sunday, 8am-5pm

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ACTIVITY: Quake City
Learn about the two earthquakes that rocked Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, and the aftermath that followed through personal stories and hands-on exhibits. (Go look at the toilets, there are awesome stories to see there!)

It's a great way to understand the resilient community that came together and continue to support one another despite the tragedies. You'll definitely leave with a new perspective on life :')

Address: 299 Durham Street North, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 10am-5pm daily
Admission fee: Adult NZ$20 | Free for children under 15

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TRAVEL: Ride the Christchurch Tram
This hop-on, hop-off vintage tram is such a cute touristy thing to do. You'll love taking picture on it while getting a guided tour around the city. See the landmarks, local sights, and learn about how the city is restoring and evolving post-earthquakes.

Opening Times: Summer (Oct-March): 9am–6pm daily, Winter (Apr-Sept): 10am – 5pm daily
Admission fee: Adult NZ$25 | Free for children

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FOOD: Cheese platter at OGB
New Zealand is renowned for their dairy, so you must indulge in a cheese platter while you're here. And there's no better place to start than OGB. This award-winning speakeasy style bar is housed in a beautiful heritage building.

Address: 30/28 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 11am-1am daily

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ACTIVITY: Punting on the Avon
Awww... this was so relaxing. The perfect way to spend a sunny Spring day. Sit back, relax, and let a cutie pie punter show you Christchurch from the Avon River Otakaro.

Address: Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 9am-6pm daily
Admission fee: Adult NZ$30 | Children (5-15) NZ$15 | Discounts offered for families

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FOOD: Fudge Cottage
Artisanal fudge! What could be better? These treats are handcrafted from a traditional family recipe and come in a variety of flavours. Made with fresh New Zealand milk and cream, they also make wonderful gifts for family and friends back home. Sedap doh!

Address: 28 Worcester Blvd, Christchurch Central City
Opening Times: 10am-5pm daily

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ACTIVITY: Guided Kiwi Tour Willowbank Wildlife Reserve 
Did you know that kiwi birds have whiskers like cats? There are only around 68,000 of these little dudes left. Under Willowbank's breeding and conservation programme, you'll be one of the few people in the world to able to see the most beloved animal in New Zealand up close.

The reserve is also home to loads of other animals, including native birds like the kea (alpine parrot), takahe (endangered flightless bird), and tuatara (a super cool "living fossil").

Address: 60 Hussey Road, Harewood, Christchurch
Opening Times: Summer (Oct-March), 9.30am-7pm daily | Winter (Apr-Sept), 9.30am-5pm
Admission fee: Adult NZ$32.50 | Children (5-14) NZ$12 | Discounts offered for families

 ACTIVITY: KoTāne Māori Experience
Ko Tane is a Maori cultural experience within the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. It's totally immersive and includes a powhiri (welcome ceremony), 45-minute kapa haka performance, and four-course traditional hangi dinner (where they cook meat underground for four hours!)

You have to do this. It is so cool. They'll also teach you a traditional dance (I was awful omg) and how to do the haka >:P

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Address: 60 Hussey Road, Harewood, Christchurch
Opening Times: Summer (Oct-March), 9.30am-7pm daily | Winter (Apr-Sept), 9.30am-5pm
Admission fee: Adult NZ$135 | Children (5-15) NZ$67.50 | Discounts offered for families 

Special prices available when you book the KoTāne Māori Experience & Guided Kiwi Tour package.

Day 3 - Wellington

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TRAVEL: Fly from Christchurch to Wellington

HOTEL: QT Museum Wellington
Wellington is super artsy and cool. This hotel is the perfect reflection of the city's personality, with contemporary art installations throughout the building.

Address: 90 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington

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FOOD: Fix and Fogg
Get ready for the best peanut butter ever. Handmade, high quality, award-winning deliciousness in a jar. This hole-in-the-wall stop (there's literally no door to enter) serves up generous portions and unique flavour combinations.

Must-trys are Smoke & Fire Peanut Butter (it's pedas and goooood), Coffee & Maple Peanut Butter, and Everything Butter.

Address: 5 Eva St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-3pm, closed on Monday

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FOOD: Wellington Chocolate Factory
This is the first craft bean-to-bar factory in New Zealand. Their organic chocolate is made locally and has won international awards. Highly recommended to buy as many bars as you can carry. Seriously, it's damn good.

Must-trys are Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar, Raspberry Milk Chocolate Bar, and ANZAC Chocolate Bar. 

Address: 5 Eva St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily

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FOOD: Lashings
Loads of yummy baked goods to choose from including savoury scones and toasted cheese rolls. But you gotta try their brownies! I got a classic milk chocolate brownie with sweetened mascarpone, salted caramel and chocolate sauces, and chocolate shavings.  

Address: 1/31 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opening Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 11am-10pm | Saturday, 10am-6pm | Sunday, 11am-4pm | Closed Monday & Tuesday

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ACTIVITY: Wharewaka o Poneke waka house
Waka is the traditional Maori canoe and is an important part of their history and culture. Here, the friendly guides will teach you chants, salutes, and haka, as well as important paddling techniques, before you and the rest of the group take a real waka out on the water!

Address: 2 Taranaki St, Wellington
Operating Hours: 8am-3pm daily
Admission Fee: NZ$105

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FOOD: Coffee at Lamason Brew Bar
Definitely the coolest cup of hot coffee I've ever had, Lamasan Brew Bar specialises in top-shelf espresso and single origin, non-pressurised coffee. What makes them unique is their art of brewing in a siphon bulb. You gotta see it to really appreciate the magic. Plus, the results are incredibly flavourful.

Address: 5 Lombard Street, Te Aro, Wellington City
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 7am-4.30pm | Saturday, 9am-3.30pm | Closed on Sunday

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TRAVEL: Riding the Wellington Cable Car
Unlike the cable cars that we're used to, this popular attraction looks more like a little red tram. Travel up from Lambton Quay in the heart of the city to Wellington Botanic Garden for a stunning view of the capital.

Address: 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday, 7am-10pm | Saturday 8:30am-10:00pm | Sunday 8:30am-9pm
Admission fee: Adults NZ$9 (Return) | Children (5-15) NZ$4.50 (Return) | Discounts offered for families

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FOOD: Dinner at Dockside Restaurant & Bar
Housed in the historic waterfront shed in the heart of Queens Wharf, enjoy an amazing meal by the water. Rich, indulgent, delicious food.

Address: 3 Queens Wharf, Wellington
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday, 12pm-11pm | Saturday & Sunday, 11am-11pm

Day 4 - Wellington & Marlborough

ACTIVITY: Te Papa Tongerewa 
You can definitely spend the whole day at Te Papa Tongerewa, the Museum of New Zealand. There are 22 different exhibitions (at the time of writing), that include a vast variety of topics such as art, nature, World War I, a colossal squid, and Maori history.

Address: 55 Cable Street, Wellington
Operating Hours: 10am-6pm daily
Admission fee: Free

ACTIVITY: Kura Gallery
A great spot to enjoy quality contemporary Maori and New Zealand art and design. It's also a really wonderful place to pick up non-touristy gifts and souvenirs!

Address: 19 Allen Street (Courtenay Quarter), Te Aro Wellington
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm | Saturday & Sunday, 11am-4pm
Admission fee: Free

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TRAVEL: Cruise on the Interislander ferry
This has got to be the most beautiful ferry journey in the world with unbelievable views as you cross the Cook Strait, travelling from the North Island to the South Island.

Address: Wellington Ferry Terminal 1 Aotea Quay, Pipitea, Wellington
Operating Hours: 6.30am-6.15pm daily (dependent on sailing schedule)
Admission fee: Fares vary depending on your age, number of people travelling, and any extras (e.g. if you're bringing a car). But generally it's around NZ$65 for adults and NZ$33 for children below 18. Discounts available for families.

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TRAVEL: Rent a Budget car
Driving is a fantastic way to experience New Zealand. The views are jaw-dropping. Snow capped mountains, clear winding rivers, enormous trees... You'll want to stop every 15 minutes to take pictures.

Budget has over 40 rental locations nationwide with prices starting around NZ$20 a day (depending on the type of car you want).

This was the view from a carpark:

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HOTEL: Picton Yacht Club Hotel
The view is everything at this hotel. From my bedroom I could see the glistening waters of the dock and the glorious route of the Interislander.

Address: 25 Waikawa Rd, Picton 

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FOOD: Dinner at Cafe Cortado
You'll feel like you're in a postcard in Picton. Just so quaint, quiet, and cantik. At the Cafe Cortado, you can get tapas, pizzas, burgers, and seafood. Simple, tasty, satisfying.

Address: Corner High St and, London Quay, Picton
Operating Hours: 8am-9pm daily

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Day 5 - Picton, Marlborough

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ACTIVITY: Swimming with wild dolphins at E-Ko Tours
Absolute must-do. We went on a boat across the Marlborough Sounds in search of dolphins. Very soon they were swimming alongside us, jumping out of the water, and basically inviting us to play.

We stopped three times at different locations to get in the water. By "singing" through our snorkels, we got their attention and they were just swimming all around us. Guys, if you spin in the water, they spin with you! :')

Address: 1 Wellington St, Picton
Operating Hours: 9am, daily departures
Admission fee: Adult NZ$165 (16+ years) | Child NZ$135 (12 – 15 years)

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FOOD: Le Posh French Patisserie
Pies, tarts, quiche, and pastries. Grab a snack (or more) for happy monching times! Be sure to take-away your treats so you can enjoy them while sitting by the waterfront.  

Address: 21-25 Wellington St, Picton
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-2.30pm | Closed on Mondays

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ACTIVITY: Buller Canyon Jet
This is SO MUCH FUN. Guaranteed to laugh and grin like a crazy person. It's a 40-minute jet boat ride at 85km/h over white water rapids.

At Buller Canyon Jet you get to see rugged New Zealand in all its untouched natural beauty. Pink granite rock, waterfalls, and a rich history of gold mining.

Plus, to get there, you have to walk across New Zealand's longest swing bridge, which stretches 110 metres.

Address: 32 Waller St, Murchison
Operating Hours: 9am-4pm daily
Admission Fee: Adult NZ$125 | Child (14 years and under) NZ$75

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HOTEL & ACTIVITY: Maruia Hot Springs
This natural thermal mineral spring is located in a national reserve and nestled in the mountain forests. The water comes straight from the earth’s core directly below New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and are packed with natural minerals and goodness.

The outdoor hot springs are between 37°C and 42°C, and are open to guests 24/7. So you can have a good long soak beneath the stars at night. (I did, it's the best omg).

Address: State Highway 7, Lewis Pass, 7895 Maruia Springs
Hotel Operating Hours: 8am-9pm daily

Day 6 - Kaikoura

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ACTIVITY: Wings Over Whales Kaikoura
It's a 30-minute flight in a fixed wing aircraft and the offer of free ice cream if you can spot a whale before the pilot.

We watched a giant sperm whale that's native to the waters of Kaikoura come up for air, and it was such a majestic sight. He was around 19 metres long and looked like a freaking submarine!

Address: Kaikoura Airport, 617 State Highway 1, Peketa, Kaikoura
Operating Hours: 8am-5pm daily
Admission fee: Adult NZ$180 | Child (3-14) NZ$75

FOOD: Kaikoura Seafood BBQ
This is the meal I want to eat every day for the rest of my life. Grilled crayfish with rice, salad, and garlic bread. Simple outdoor dining by the beachfront with the freshest seafood. Garlic scallops, whitebait fritters, grilled fish, and more.

Address: 55 Fyffe Quay, Kaikoura
Operating Hours: Sunday-Friday, 9.30am-5pm | Saturday, 10.30am-3pm

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HOTEL: The White Morph
The White Morph offers simple and spacious rooms with a glorious view of the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep. You should definitely wake up early to catch the sunrise!

Address: 92 Esplanade, Kaikoura

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Day 7 - Kaikoura

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ACTIVITY: Seal kayaking with Kaikoura Kayaks
The best, best experience ever. We kayaked out on the Pacific Ocean to hang out with fur seals. Most lazed on the rocks, while a few hungry fellas went hunting. We watched from just 20 metres away as a fur seal slapped around and chomped down his octopus breakfast.

As we ventured further out, a very playful pod of dolphins came to swim around us. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, A BABY SPERM WHALE showed up, spraying water everywhere as he filled his lungs with air.

Address: Kaikoura Kayaks, 19 Killarney Street, Kaikoura
Operating Hours: 2 half day tours daily during Winter | 3 half day tours daily during Summer
Admission Fee: Adult NZ$110 | Child (12 years and under) NZ$70

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ACTIVITY: Shopping in Kaikoura Village
This seaside town includes one small street of shops and it's the best place to pick up all the souvenirs and gifts you need to bring home. There are also several affordable food options from little pop-up stores.

Even if you don't want to shop, it's a lovely little place to lepak. You have to try the softserve from Poppy's Handmade Ice Cream Parlour made with fresh berries!

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Day 8 - Kaikoura & Christchurch

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TRAVEL:
Take a slow drive back to Christchurch Airport with stops on the way. Enjoy a light lunch at Little Vintage Espresso. Walk along New Brighton Pier then have an ice cream on Sumner Beach.

Drop off your Budget car at the designated parking once you reach the airport. 

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There's truly no other place in the world like New Zealand. It's absolutely worth the journey and will fill your heart with happiness!

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