NEW ZEALAND 101: GUEST INFLUENCER PIECE
What’s up #soultravel team?!? I’m Nathan Fluellen, your brother from another mother aka @WorldWideNate. I’m a global citizen and my motto is to #keepitglobal. Get ready for this takeover, as I share my tips for traveling to New Zealand with your parents.
I had an amazing opportunity to take my mother down under to New Zealand and Australia for her 70thbirthday. I must say, it was one of the best decisions I made in my life. I was able to spend quality time with my mother, and I’m still full from the memories we created together. I’m also big on adventure when I travel and my 70-year mother was down for whatever, including: riding shotgun on a five-day road trip, while driving on the opposite side of the road
New Zealand is a country made of two islands: North and South. The majority of the international flights from the States will arrive in Auckland, North Island. I suggest only spending 1-2 days there and then head straight to the South Island. You can buy a cheap one-way flight on Air New Zealand or Jetstar Airways and fly into Christchurch.
Leave plenty of time to travel between each destination. There are tons of scenic sights along the way. You obviously won’t have time to stop at every one, but there are plenty of breathtaking views to capture. Also, make sure you have plenty of batteries, space on your memory stick, phones, etc and a car charger. I’m at Lake Pukaki located 45 minutes south of Lake Tepako. These two lakes are a must see during the road trip. They also have easy access and won’t tire your parents out if they’re not that agile.
Visit Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand’s third largest national park and do an easy 15-minute hike to the Blue Pools. Your hike descends to the Makarora River and you can cross the river by swing-bridge. From the middle of the bridge you can take in 360 degree views of the valley. Continue walking and you will arrive at another swing-bridge. Once you look over, you’ll realize you’re standing directly over the blue pools. The day I visited, a few teenagers jumped off the two-story tall bridge into the pools. I low-key wish I had my swimtrunks on to join in, but I opted to take in the majestic beauty of the national park with my mother. The blue pools are easily accessible from Lake Wanaka so plan to spend the night there and take in the area.
Take a scenic helicopter ride from Queenstown. It’s amazing to see the topography from the road, however viewing the mountain ranges and peaks from up above is incredible. On our ride, we flew to a glacier and were supposed to land on one, but the wind conditions were too high. Nevertheless, the ride was breathtaking, from soaring high in the sky to sweeping through valleys and marveling at the natural waterfalls sprouting along the mountain sides.
Be patient. Prior to getting on the plane to leave for New Zealand, I gave my mother a brief overview of the itinerary. Initially, she was not feeling the idea of flying in a helicopter. It took 5 days of convincing and she eventually was down for the adventure. I was geeked up that she stepped outside her box. Patience also applies to every aspect of traveling with a parent. Parents don’t move at the same pace as us or might not be open to trying every new thing presented to them, and that’s fine. The purpose of traveling with your parents is to enjoy the moment. We won’t have our parents forever, so please take time to invest in the people who dedicate their lives to raising you.