About mid-way south on our road trip in New Zealand on route 6 from Greymouth to Queensland is Wanaka with its sparkling lake, funky shops and award-winning wineries.
A great option for a lazy morning or afternoon in Wanaka is a wine tour. The tours showcase the region’s finest wineries nestled amidst stunning scenery. Scott West of Wanaka Wine Tours, our friendly and knowledgeable guide, took us to about 6 different wineries one of which included a tasty wine-paired lunch. The wine tastings, from light whites to sweet, dark ports, were delightful. Of course, after one of these tours with the generous samplings you are exchanging emails and pledging ever-lasting friendship to everyone on the tour. Really a lot of fun.
DONATE IN CARDRONA
Continue on New Zealand’s route 6 to the town of Cardrona and help end breast cancer by donating your money and your bra at the town’s innovative and attention-grabbing display to promote the fight against breast cancer.
TIME TRAVEL IN ARROWTOWN
On to Arrowtown where you can time-travel to New Zealand’s Gold Rush days of the mid-1800s. The village is a pretty faithful – albeit touristy -reproduction of a Gold Rush town complete with history center, shops and restaurants. Another interesting stop on New Zealand’s route 6.
QUEENSTOWN, ADRENALINE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Further south, still on New Zealand’s route 6, is Queenstown, the city that bills itself the Adrenaline Capital of the World. If bungee- jumping, paragliding and skydiving is your thing, you came to the right place. If chilling with a glass of sauvignon blanc while admiring the crystalline waters of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu, is more your thing, you’re also in the right place. Whatever your preference, the one must-do activity in the Queenstown area is cruising to Milford sound to see penguins, fur seals and seabirds against a backdrop of majestic waterfalls and soaring, snow-capped mountains.
MEAT PIES IN TE ANAU
Continuing south on route 6 take route 94 all the way to Milford Sound. On the way, you pass a small town by the name of Te Anau. Te Anau caters to the backpacker and travelers trade on the way to Milford Sound and has a population of about 2000. It is in this unlikely location where I had one of the tastiest creations I’ve ever eaten anywhere…Miles Better Meat Pies.
Hungry, we found the little shop and ordered a meat pie from the extensive menu expecting to get, well…a meat pie. What we got was an unexpected surprise; a warm, flaky, lightly browned crust stuffed with large chunks of tender meat perfectly seasoned in a velvety sauce.
I’ve traveled to over 100 countries and have had the privilege of tasting delicious food all over the world. But the meat pies I had in this little shop were so good I wanted to stop total strangers on the street, shove these little baked gems in their faces and say, “taste this…go ahead, TASTE IT!!!”
For a small town, Te Anau has over 30 restaurants many of which are highly rated. Learn about some of the best restaurants in Te Anau here.
CRUISING ON MILFORD SOUND
A cruise in Milford Sound is a highlight. This is a nature cruise running several hours, lunch included. The sound faces the Tasman Sea across from Tasmania. Majestic mountains rise on either side of the calm waters. The ship does its best to get as close as possible to the thundering waterfalls and the abundant marine wildlife.
This was my first visit to New Zealand. It’s a small country with a large variety of impressive sights and exciting activities to offer. There really is something for everyone. New Zealand’s route 6 is an especially efficient way to maximize your visit. I cannot imagine a better introduction.
Can you recall a memorable cruise?
Read Part One of, NEW ZEALAND’S ROUTE 6: THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP here.