In 2016 Michael and I set off for the trip of a lifetime. We had not long moved out of London, we didn’t know where we wanted to live next, we weren’t interested in settling down but we were desperate to travel.
Between November 2015 and May 2016 we collectively scraped together every penny we had and booked a 16 week round the world trip (RTW) which mapped out as the following:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3 nights
Singapore 3 nights
Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia 10 nights
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 14 nights
Auckland, New Zealand 2 nights
Rotorua, New Zealand 4 nights
Taupo, New Zealand 2 nights
Tongariro, New Zealand 2 nights
Masterton, New Zealand 8 nights
Napier, New Zealand 3 nights
Wellington, New Zealand 3 nights
Ohau, Hawaii, USA 2 nights
Maui, Hawaii, USA 12 nights
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 2 nights
Grand Canyon, Nevada, USA 1 night
Los Angeles, California, USA 7 nights
Santa Maria, California, USA 1 night
San Francisco, California, USA 6 nights
Seattle, Washington, USA 5 nights
Portland, Oregon, USA Day trip
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 7 nights
New York City, New York, USA 8 nights
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3 nights
Every day for five months I would chip away a little at the massive task of planning out what we were going to do each day to maximise our time in each location. You’ll be able to see from the list above that our round the world trip doesn’t include every continent or major travel destinations like most would. It doesn’t have a lot of South East Asia and it doesn’t include a trip across America. This is because we handpicked all of our destinations based on where we had family and friends and what we wanted to see at the time. We had family and friends in Australia, New Zealand, California and New York, Michael was desperate to visit Rio, I wanted more than anything to go to Hawaii and everywhere else slotted in around that.
I wanted the first blog post of 2019 to be a significant one to start the year off, so here I am sharing what could possibly be the MOST elaborate and packed itinerary to ever exist, well at least that I have ever made, my round the world activities itinerary from 2016!
Before I go into it I want to tell you that I was not blogging and had hardly used Instagram up until that point, stories didn’t even exist back then. All of our photos were taken on a GoPro and phones, not a professional camera which means there are far less photography-based locations on the itinerary, you can expect wide-angled warps and funky colours though. Also, I have updated it to have current ticket prices and up-to-date info because it has been almost three years (ooo that hurt) since I first made this itinerary.
Oh and another thing, this itinerary has been split into two because there is a lot of information that’s about to come at you and it was too long to be one post. Trust me, I’m doing you a favour here! Part one covers Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. I will share part two which covers Hawaii, the West Coast of USA, Canada, New York and Brazil a week from when this post went live.
Right then, let me take you through all the activities we did around the world organised by country.
Our hotel was in Chinatown so we would eat our evening meals there. We picked up a couple of dishes (large ones I should add), a fruit juice and a bottle of beer, that almost looked comical it was so big, for less than £3.
This is also the place to be if you want a Channel flap, Guci Marmont or a Fendy Baguette… if you catch my drift… Though I no longer use any knock offs I remember the thrill of my Dad coming off a trip and giving me a new bag to add to my collection so you know, there’s a gift idea there somewhere…
Petaling Street Flea Market
Petaling Street Flea Market is perfect for your standard souvenirs: pens, magnets, key-rings etc.
Open 10am – 12am.
The best place for souvenirs in Kuala Lumpur hands down! It’s Western art deco exterior is a stark contrast to its beautiful Asian handmade goods. If you’re looking to pick up some authentic gifts this is where you need to come. I treasure my little elephant cross body bag which cost less than £4 and I didn’t take off my handmade bracelets, from which the sweetest travel charms hung, for the entirety of this trip…
Open 10am – 9.30pm.
Our experience of Bukit Bintang was insane! The traffic is horrendous, we got soaked to the bone as a torrential downpour hit us, the vast amount of neon lights were in competition with the lightening which lit up the night sky like the World Cup flood lights and the thunder made the city shake. It was a total attack on the senses and it was AMAZING. We picked up some great street food and embraced the hustle and bustle of downtown Kuala Lumpur.
The Petronas Towers is the most iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur. Travel up 170m to cross the highest two storey bridge in the world then continue up to level 86 for panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur and a close up of the very intricate top of the sister tower.
Open 9am – 9pm Tuesday – Sunday.
Closed on Mondays, Hair Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha.
Closed Friday 1pm – 2.30pm.
Last admission is 8.30pm.
Tickets prices are:
80 Ringget per adult 13-60 yrs.
33 Ringget per child 3-12 yrs.
42 Ringget per senior citizen aged 60 and over.
Children below 2 yrs go free.
Open Sky Unlimited
Our jungle trek into the Malaysian Rainforest was not only the highlight of our time in Kuala Lumpur, it was one of the best experiences of our entire RTW trip!
The day started with a 6am pick up. We drove for 1.5 hours into the countryside where we stopped for breakfast in what I can only describe as the equivalent of a greasy spoon that served up traditional asian dishes. To this day it’s some of the greatest food I’ve ever eaten (excluding my Mum’s of course). We returned here after our trek and not only was it exactly what we needed but it was phenomenal – and I don’t use that word often, mostly because I can’t spell it without autocorrect – we had the freshest Biryani, savoury pancakes cut into the word “Love” and we even had murtabak which we had expressed a desire to try so Amos (our guide) ordered it for us.
The trek itself was about four hours and took us up into the jungle until we reached our waterfall where we stopped for an hour to swim and sunbathe. It was such a great experience, even if I got mosquito bites that swelled to the size of golf balls (no joke). I should point out that it was no mean feat, the trek involved three steep inclines that hardly levelled out in between. It’s incredibly hot and humid despite being under the canopy and the waterfall is hard to access at first, but it really is worth it.
They keep the groups small, so ours only had one other couple, we felt well looked after. I could not recommend Amos more! He carried spare bug spray, snacks and water. He answered every question we had about the wildlife surrounding us. He helped us through the really tough parts and he took hundreds of photos of us all with his waterproof camera throughout the entire trek!
Amos asked us if we had plans to go to the Batu Caves and we said we didn’t have enough time to make the trip out so he stopped there on the way back to our hotel. Talk about going out of your way to make your clients happy! It was the sweetest thing, he parked up and took photos of us (this was before they painted the stairs every colour under the sun) and then took us home.
The Jungle Mountain Waterfall Trek is now 350 Ringget per person which is approximately £66.50pp, and as mention includes transportation, breakfast and lunch.
What to wear:
Knee-length sports shorts or cropped running tights
Quick dry short sleeve top
A complete change of clothes (which you get to leave in the car, we encountered a heavy downpour right at the end so we were grateful for Amos’ pop up tent and a fresh set of dry clothes)
What to bring in a backpack:
Dry bag for your wet swimsuit
Water (1 litre at the very least)
Camera and/or waterproof case for camera or phone
Goggles (the spray is pretty vicious, it will help you to see, Michael teased me but it meant my eyes weren’t closed when we walked behind the waterfall)
The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel
Confession: The first time (which was on this trip) that we we went to the iconic Raffles Hotel we knew about Singapore Slings but we didn’t know about the Long Bar. We just stumbled into the courtyard and tried our first Singapore Slings at that bar.
I did get to go last year though and it is such a fun experience! The moment you walk in you are greeted by the sounds of Bossa Nova, the floor has a blanket of crushed monkey nut shells which crunch under your feet as you head to the bar which is vibrating under the power of the unique cocktail shaker invented to make multiple Singapore Slings. Each table has their own sack of monkey nuts and just in case the sweet nectar of a Singapore Sling isn’t your thing, there’s a menu showing a wide variety of world inspired cocktails.
Raffles Hotel is currently undergoing a complete renovation so you won’t be able to walk around the grounds or go to the courtyard where we had our first Singapore Slings but the Long Bar opened its doors again last year (thank goodness) so you’ll be able to chow down on peanuts and knock back all the slings your heart desires!
For a brief history on Singapore Slings and the recipe to making your own, take a look at 5 jet setter cocktails.
The gift shop is currently located about 5mins away from the Long Bar during the renovations but once you get there it’s filled with lovely little trinkets and all of the hotel’s artwork throughout its 132 year history.
The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore and should you get the chance to go to Singapore you’ll see that it’s on every souvenir imaginable.
It stands proud looking out over Marina Bay opposite the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. It’s a mythical creature whose body is a fish but its head is a lion that spouts a steady stream of water into the bay.
The fish body symbolises Singapore’s origin when it was Temasek, a fishing town which literally translated as “Sea town”. The lion head represents Singapore’s previous name “Singapura” which means “Lion City”.
If you’re a fan of F1 you may recognise the Singapore Flyer from the Singapore night race. No? Ah that’s probably because they use the magic of television to make is look like a giant Rolex watch, with me now? Thought so.
The Singapore Flyer is a large ferris wheel made up of 28 pods each offering 360˚ views of Singapore which includes Raffles Square and Marina Bay. You also get to look down directly on part of the F1 circuit.
Open daily from 8.30am – 10.30pm.
Ticket* prices are:
S$ 33 per adult 13 yrs and over.
S$ 21 per child 3-12 yrs.
*Includes one half an hour long wheel rotation.
Marina Bay Sands infinity pool
Without a doubt Marina Bay Sands is my favourite hotel in the world. If not for its service, rooms or food, the 200m high and 150m long rooftop pool is one of the most incredible things you can ever experience. It’s the only hotel you will see recommended in this blog post because the pool can only be accessed if you are a guest at the hotel. The security is strict (and so it should be for what it costs) and you can’t even go to the toilet without having your key approved.
A dip in the infinity pool at the top of Marina Bay Sands will make you feel like you’re swimming on top of the world. Then once you’ve taken a ridiculous amount of selfies, recline under the palm trees with a glass of champagne, the world literally at your feet and spend the afternoon celebrity spotting – the last time we were here Gollum (Andy Serkis), walked right past us.
The pool is open 6am – 11pm and cannot be used after check out.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a free attraction that exhibits horticulture from all across Asia. It’s not only beautiful but it’s interactive and educational. A great destination that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The super trees are a thing of wonder, you have to pay them a visit just to see them from beneath.
The gardens are open 5am – 2am daily.
Admission into the gardens is free but you will have to purchase tickets for the cloud forest or flower dome.
Check out the rooftop bar in the Supertree for a chance to sip a glass of vino with a view of Marina Bay Sands. Best seen at night when it’s lit up. When you’re done, head back down into the gardens, take a load off and lay down, it’s the best way to experience Garden Rhapsody, the nightly musical light show.
Garden Rhapsody is on daily from 7.45pm – 8.45pm.
We chose to stay in Palm Cove over Cairns because it was located on the beach and was far quieter. We intended to spend most of our time at the beach snorkelling but a monsoon had us rained out for most of our 10 day stay. It was so bad that our hotel upgraded our room to an apartment so that we could cook because it wasn’t worth going out in the rain. Especially as when we did we both caught a cold.
The Great Barrier Reef
Originally we planned to go to Green Island Reef with Big Cat Cruises but we were rightly advised by our hotel to book a smaller tour with Reef Day-tripper. Big Cat cruises go out on triple decked boats and you just know you’re not going to get the best experience in a group that big. I don’t regret our choice to change tours and I want to share three good reasons for you to book with them too:
They don’t take more than 20 people, our tour had 13 people and it was the perfect number. It was easy to keep up with the guided snorkel tour, you could hear what was being said and there was plenty of room for everyone to sunbathe out on the netting.
They are an eco-friendly tour with the lowest carbon footprint of any Cairns operator.
They put on a good spread! We had tea and coffee in the morning, a tropical buffet for lunch and a cheese and fruit platter went out with wine on the way back to shore.
PFH Top Tip: As good as the food is don’t over eat if you’re planning on scuba diving with them in the afternoon. I cannot tell you how gross it is to burp your BBQ chicken into your breathing apparatus and be stuck with that same taste for the next 5 minutes.
The tour currently costs:
$149 per adult.
$110 per child aged 14 and under.
An introductory scuba dive can be added at an extra $70 per adult and certified divers can go out for an additional $65 per adult.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Take a journey into the oldest tropical rainforest on Earth via the Skyrail Cableway. Thanks to our monsoon we didn’t get to experience so much of the forest below as we did the giant rain cloud, but that’s not to say flying through the clouds wasn’t an experience in itself.
There are two optional stops on the way up that include complimentary guided Ranger tours (and thankfully the use of umbrellas). See the following activity for what you can expect at the top.
Open daily from 9am – 5.15pm.
Closed on Christmas Day.
Ticket prices for a round trip are:
$79 per adult.
$39.50 per child.
When you get to the top of the skyrail you can spend the afternoon exploring Kuranda, a colourful little village high up in the rainforest. Sample natural eucalyptus oils, purchase beautiful Opal jewellery or pay a visit to the butterfly sanctuary. Don’t forget to pack up your waterproofs and some cash for the markets.
Out of our 10 days in Queensland, we only had about three dry ones. After being stuck inside for a week with the sniffles and bored of watching the same cooking show reruns, we hired a car for the day and made a trip out to Cape Tribulation.
The drive from Palm Cove took about 2.5 hours and included a tiny little rope pulled ferry trip across Daintree River. The ferry costs $28 for a return trip and only takes about 10mins. You’ll want to allow extra time for stopping off at the multiple (and well sign posted) view points on the way.
The beach at Cape Tribulation is remote and totally unspoiled. The best way I can describe it is by asking you to imagine you were stranded on a tropical island. The sea is all shades of turquoise, there’s a wide stretch of golden sand that meets a line of palm trees and rainforest which goes back further than the eye can see. Bring a picnic, you won’t find any shops when you’re there.
Heads up! It was on the way to the toilets at Cape Tribulation beach that I saw the biggest spider EVER. I mean the kind of spider that you see in Buzzfeed articles designed to scare you away from Australia. I didn’t have much pee left by the time I got to the toilet!
Did you even go to Australia if you didn’t pay a visit to Sydney Harbour? It’s home to the most iconic structures in the whole country: Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We were on a budget so rather than spend money doing the bridge climb we settled for just walking across it because it didn’t cost a penny. If you are interested in climbing it, tickets start from $188 per adult and $158 per child (8-15 yrs).
PFH Top Tip: If you don’t mind paying for an overpriced drink for the sake of a killer view, try the Opera Bar and the MCA Café at the top of of the Museum of Modern Art (time it when there isn’t a cruise ship docked).
The Rocks is a historic neighbourhood with some of the most spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour bridge. Spend a morning strolling the little streets and alleyways that make up The Rocks, shop in the outside markets and pause for lunch and a pint at some of the oldest pubs in Sydney.
Australia’s answer to Coney Island, this historic funfair opened in 1935 and still has all of its Art Deco characteristics including it’s debatably scary face/entrance. With 23 rides and games there’s sure to be something fun for all the family.
Entrance to the park is free but attractions require a pass which is determined by the following heights (I know, way to give kids a complex):
$25 for 85-105cm.
$45 for 106-129cm.
$55 for 130cm and above.
Order online to save up to $4 per person.
This is something that is dependent on the time of you that you go, we were in Sydney in May so we were able to see Vivid light and music festival. Should you be up for a trip to Sydney in the winter it’s an amazing thing to witness. The whole harbour is lit up from animated displays projected onto the Opera House to boats decked out with neon hashtagged slogans. The bridge changes to every colour in the rainbow and the Royal Botanic Garden becomes enchanted with more interactive light displays than Candy Cane Lane in December.
Click here for more info on 2019’s Vivid.
Or possibly more famously known as “Summer Bay Beach”. This beach is often converted into the set of Home and Away and chances are you’ll see a scene being shot out front of the “Summer Bay Surf Life Saving Club” or “Alf’s Bait Shop” which we did! Alas I was nine years too late for a Liam Hemsworth spotting!
The drive out to Palm Beach will take about an hour from Sydney.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Get up close and personal with Australia’s largest collection of native Australian animals including two of their most famous critters: Kangaroos and Koalas. Featherdale Wildlife Park gives you the opportunity to feed and play with all the kangaroos and wallabies you could wish for plus there’s an opportunity to have a photo with their resident Koalas. Fear not, it’s an ethical wildlife park that works closely with both government and non-government conservation groups.
Open everyday excluding Christmas Day from 9am – 5pm.
Ticket costs are:
$32 for adults.
$17 for children aged 3-15 yrs.
$27 for students and pensioners.
$88 for families with two adults and two children.
$71 for families with two adults and one child.
$58 for families with one adult and two children.
Bondi > Coogee Coastal walk
Thanks to some of the worst weather New South Wales has ever seen, a large section of the Bondi to Coogee coastal path was swallowed by the sea whilst we were there (no we did not have a lot of luck with weather on this trip). I still remember how heartbroken I was when I got to Bondi Beach only to find that Icebergs’ world famous sea water swimming pool had taken quite the bashing from the strong current and was closed.
We did the walk anyway coming inland for the bits that no longer existed and despite the destruction, the parts of the path that we were able to walk on offered beautiful views. It was a really lovely day out that started with a lemonade at Icebergs and ended with a well earned meal in one of the beachfront restaurants in Coogie. I believe the coastal walk was restored in 2018 which is perfect timing for you if you’re planning a trip!
Blue Mountains is a national park west of Australia which has views that will knock your socks off! Expect to spend the whole day here as you hike through the mountains from one amazing view point to the next.
A good starting point is the Three Sisters lookout, Echo Point. According the Aboriginal legend, they are three sisters who were turned into rocks for protection from a tribal battle that started when they unlawfully fell in love with three brothers from an opposing tribe.
For more information on what you can do in the Blue Mountains click here.
We took the train from Sydney to Katoomba, the main town in the Blue Mountains, and it took about 2.5hrs.
Mrs Jones The Baker
It’s possible that my recommendation for this is bias seeing as it’s ran by my childhood neighbours’ daughter and husband, but for real if you are after the best baked goods to grace your lips then pay either of the Mrs Jones The Baker locations a visit. I swear I would fly to the other side of the world just to feast on one of their chocolate filled doughnuts. Don’t believe me? That’s cool, maybe ask the Queen of England instead then because she too also enjoyed a baked treat from Lucy.
Their Freshwater store is open from 7am – 5pm and they also have a stall in Warringah Mall.
Our time in Auckland was fleeting so we really only had time to pay the Skycity tower a visit. I’m not a huge fan of heights so I didn’t personally enjoy walking over glass platforms 220m above the ground but it does offer 360˚ views for up to 80km in every direction. I must say I do remember enjoying a cheeseboard in the café looking out on the city from the top which made up for the fear.
Open all 365 days of the year 24 hours a day.
Ticket costs are:
$29 per adult.
$12 per child aged 6 – 14yrs.
Children under 5yrs go free.
$20 per student.
$23 per senior citizen.
$65 for a family of two adults and two children with a discounted rate of $9 per additional child.
From Auckland we road tripped down to Rotorua stopping at the two following attractions:
Te Henga – Bethells Beach
Why did we make the 1hr 20mins roundtrip detour out to Bethells beach when we were in fact heading down to Rotorua? I’ll tell you why! Because Taylor Swift shot her “Out of the Woods” music video there so OBVIOUSLY we had to pay a visit.
Yes I will admit it was a crazy detour just to take a truly awful replica photo, but if you ever get the chance to go all the way out there its volcanic sand beaches are actually something to behold.
Waitomo Caves is an underground river network famously known for its inhabitants: Arachnocampa Luminosa (that’s glowworms to you and me). Enjoy blissful silence as you float under thousands of glowworms speckling the caves like the clearest night sky.
Open all 365 days of the year.
Tours depart every 15mins November – March and every 30mins April – October.
Summer hours are 8.30am – 7pm.
Winter hours are 9am – 5pm.
Ticket costs are:
$53 per adult.
$24 per child aged 4-14yrs.
Children under 4yrs go free although good luck keeping them quiet on the tour.
Please note that you cannot take photos of the glowworms because they won’t show up without a flash and it will severely harm them if you use a flash, and we’ve all been somewhere with “no flash photography” and seen someone painfully fail and trying to get away with it. So with the glowworms’ safety in mind, all photography is prohibited.
To prevent me from repeating myself, especially if you have already read what I’m about to mention, here is a link to my blog post Rotorua, New Zealand itinerary – 4 day long weekend which covers the following attractions in depth:
It also features rafting on the Kaituna Cascades which we did late last year and thoroughly enjoyed.
Here’s what we did in Rotorua that wasn’t in the itinerary linked above.
Hobbiton Movie Set
Would you believe that I booked tickets for Hobbiton without having watched any of the films from the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit franchises? That I in fact watched the first LOTR and half of the second Hobbit the day before and understood Hobbiton perfectly and enjoyed every part of it?!
The tour takes you miles out into the hills where you enter a different world! Wander through life size and miniature hobbit holes belonging to every kind of hobbit you can imagine, play dress up and end the tour with a complimentary drink in front of the fire in the The Green Dragon Inn.
Tours depart daily from 9.30am until 2.30pm.
Ticket costs from The Shire’s Rest (the car park/gift shop/café) are:
$84 per adult.
$42 per child aged 9-16yrs.
Children under 8yrs go free.
Te Puia is a centre that exhibits Māori culture at its finest. It’s also home to Pōhutu geyser, hot springs, silica formations, mud pools, Kiwi birds and the national schools of four Māori crafts: weaving and wood, stone and bone carving.
One of my favourite memories from this trip was during the tour of the workshops, we were walking through the National Māori carving school and all of the young boys broke into song and harmonised – perfectly may I add – along to John Legend’s “I’m Your Puppet” which was playing from a little speaker on the floor. It was a beautiful moment and one I hope to never forget.
Open 8am – 5pm Winter (April – September) and 8am – 6pm Summer (September – April).
Tickets including a performance of dance and music and cost:
$63.90 per adult.
$32 per child aged 5-15yrs.
$172 for a family of two adults and 2-4 children.
Cultural Performances are at 10.15am, 12.15pm, 3.15pm.
Want to experience the thrill of the rapids without having to do any of the work? Hop on board a Rapids Jet boat for the chance to be thrown around and spun in circles as you hurtle down 653 metres of rapids at 55mph.
Ticket costs are:
$129 per adult.
$75 per child aged 5-15yrs.
$333 for a family of two adults and 2-4 children.
Taupo has lots of lovely little design boutiques, take a wander through its streets to pick up something for your house.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing was without a doubt the hardest thing I did on the whole 16 week trip. I legit lost motor function in my legs when we returned back to our lodge, no joke, I have a video on my phone of me crying and dragging them across the floor. Was the 12.1 mile long hike to an altitude of 6,188ft rewarding though? Hell yes!
We booked a personal guided tour through our accommodation, Tongariro Lodge but unfortunately I cannot give you an up to date cost for this because you will need to contact the lodge directly which you can do here. I can tell you though that the guided walk includes a first aid trained guide, equipment for all weather and terrain conditions, a packed lunch and return transportation from the hotel.
As with every important excursion on this trip we had awful weather and had no view from the top of the Volcano. Had we been fortunate though we would have seen Mt Ruaphehu, the Emerald Lakes and the actual crater itself.
What to wear:
Sunhat or Wooly hat
Thermal base layers
Walking trousers or sports tights
What to bring:
2 litres of water (at the very least)
Suncream (if the weather is good)
My number one souvenir to bring back from New Zealand is Paua (pronounced “pah-wa”) Shell jewellery. Of course you can buy it in ANY souvenir shop across New Zealand but it’s at Paua World where you can learn all about the Paua shell and how they transform its beautiful lining into pretty little trinkets.
Entrance to Paua World is free.
Wine tasting in Martinborough
We went wine tasting in winter so not many of the vineyards were open but those that were offered a tasting session that included five tasters for about $20 per adult. I can’t confirm any prices for 2019 because each vineyard is different but that should give you an idea.
Even if you’re not a fan of vino I strongly recommend going just to read their absolutely absurd tasting note descriptions. To this day Michael and I will still quote what we read which went as follows:
“…as smooth as Matthew McConaughey in a silk tuxedo”.
“…masked like a size zero model wearing a pair of baggy dungarees”.
“Tannis woven from the finest linen combine solicitously with an acidity so soft that the wine rolls over and presents its underbelly for a rub”.
Don’t you just love how obnoxious the whole thing is!
We took a trip out to Castle Point on our first day in Masterton. It’s a beautiful beachside town west of Masterton and it takes about an hour to drive there. Take a stroll along the coastal path up to the lighthouse which is one of only two left in New Zealand with a rotating beam.
Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre
Catch a glimpse of Kiwi birds scampering around in their nocturnal house, volunteer to feed the eels (if you dare), enjoy the kaka show (bush parrots) as they swoop down between you plus so much more.
Open every day excluding Christmas Day from 9am – 5pm in summer (October – April) and 9am – 4.3pm in winter (May – September).
Ticket costs are:
$20 per adult.
$6 per child aged 5-15yrs.
Children under 5yrs go free.
$17 per student.
$50 for a family of two adults and two children.
Te Mata Peak
Standing 399m high Te Mata Peak offers views of Hawkes Bay and beyond. You can reach it by car, foot or mountain bike. Click here for the legend of Te Mata.
National Aquarium of New Zealand
We went to Napier to celebrate my cousin’s 21st birthday and one of the things we did was swimming with sharks at the national aquarium. Although it was a great experience, in hindsight I’m not certain that I can recommend it because I’m not entirely sure how ethical it is to encourage people to pester sharks in a unnatural habitat. I’ll let you decide, the link is here.
The aquarium itself was huge and pleasant to walk around with much to learn about what goes on under the waves.
Open daily from 9am – 5pm.
Ticket costs are:
$22 per adult.
$11 per child aged 3-14yrs.
Children under 3 go free.
$20 per student.
$15.50 per senior citizen.
$60 for a family of two adults and two children with a discounted rate of $6 per additional child.
Weta Workshop tour
Weta Workshop is the five time academy award winning, world-leading design and effects company.
Their Weta Cave tour gives you a behind-the-scenes look at their contributions to the tv and film industry.
“Weta Workshop bring not only world class artistic and technical talent to what they do, they also bring a spirit and a passion which is invigorating for the film-maker.” – JAMES CAMERON.
Click here for a full list of their projects.
Tours run every half an hour from 8.30am – 6pm.
Ticket costs are:
$28 per adult.
$13 per child aged 6-12yrs.
Children under 5yrs go free.
$72 for a family of two adults and two children.
Te Papa is the museum of New Zealand and its free entry must be taken advantage of. It is home to a wealth of information, artefacts and interactive exhibitions surrounding New Zealand’s history across a whopping six floors.
Open every day excluding Christmas Day from 10am – 6pm.
Entrance into the general exhibitions is free but a fee may apply to some temporary ones.
If you happen to be going to Wellington this summer be sure to pay the Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition a visit. It’s showing 15 Dec 2018 – 22 Apr 2019. Tickets cost $19.50 per adult and $9 per child aged 3-15yrs.
Take a boat out to Somes Island, a predator-free scientific nature reserve. The island is a refuge for tuatara, kakariki, North Island robin, little blue penguins and weta to roam free and as they have no reason to fear anything your chances of spotting them are very high.
PFH Top Tip: Pack up a picnic because you won’t be able to buy food or drinks on the island.
There are no rubbish bins on the island to prevent contamination of the wildlife so make sure to leave with everything you came with. You will also have to go through a bag check and boot clean before accessing the nature trails.
Entrance to the island is free but the return ferry will cost:
$25 per adult.
$13 per child aged 5-15yrs.
$68 for a family of two adults and up to four children.
Information overload? I feel you, but just think, now if you ever plan to go to any of these destinations you can take a look at this for a starting point to what you can plan to do on your trip.
I will share part two which covers Hawaii, the West Coast of USA, Canada, New York and Brazil a week from when this post went live.
Happy New Year everyone! May it be your best one yet.