I'm someone who's always had a bucketlist miles long. For some reason - New Zealand was never high on this list. Of course i'd heard of how beautiful the country was, but I wanted to go somewhere with different scenery, culture and launguage; somewhere that would make me go 'wow'.
While english is the main language in New Zealand and the culture is similar to that here in Australia - I was mesmorised by the South Island's rolling green hills and clear blue lakes. The stunning scenery and crisp clean air is unlike anywhere else in the world.
If you really want to escape it all and travel to what feels like 'the end of the world', Fiordland National Park is the perfect place. We stayed at the picturesque town of Te Anau, before crusing our way through Doubtful Sound National Park with Real Journeys - an area so remote, beautiful and clean you can even drink straight from its waterfalls.
If visiting Te Anau, I would certainly recommend staying a few nights. Although it's only a small town, there's plenty of great restaurants and activities to keep you entertained; while Fiordland National Park is worth exploring over a day or two.
Where to stay: Fiordland Lakeview Motel and Apartments was recommened to us by friends. They're big self-contained apartments directly overlooking the lake, only a short stroll from the centre of town.
Where to eat:Redcliff Cafe - I found this baby on trip advisor (I love trip advisor) and was certainly not dissapointed. Don't let the word 'cafe' fool you, this restaurant has a reputation of being the best in town. It serves up all the local favourites like venison, hare and scrumptious cheeses - matched with a range of local, Central Otago and NZ wines. With the great food, wine and cosy fireplace setting - I didn't want to leave.
What to do: Again, I found this little gem on trip advisor - although it's easy to stumble across when strolling through town. The Fiordland Cinema is a small boutique cinema showing not only mainstream movies, but a half-hour documentary style production on the beauty of the area. There's no dialogue, but from a cinematographic perspective it was quite amazing. Attached to the cinema is also a cosy bar called, 'Black Dog Bar'. Perfect for a pre-show drink or nibbles by the fire.
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit the Glowworm Caves, but i've heard it's a 'must-do'! If you've been there or are planning to go, i'd love to see your pics... just hashtag #amberdiscovers!