Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. Here are the suggested things to do:
Old town square – it has remained relatively untouched since the 10th century and here you will find on the best preserved medieval mechanical clock in the world.
Prague Castle – Entry to the grounds of the castle are free although many buildings such as the St Vitus cathedral, Basillica of St George and Golden Lane can be visited with a combined entry ticket.
Stroll across Charles Bridge. The bridge was commissioned in 1357 by Charles IV to replace an older bridge that had been washed away by floods. Although completed in 1390, with the striking statues added in the 17th century, the bridge did not take Charles’ name until the 19th century. You will enjoy the musical performances by buskers, paintings by artists and other vendors.
Admire the Lenon wall – Although Prague is a long way from Liverpool, the birthplace of the Beatles, fans should certainly check out this shrine to one of the most famous bands of all time. The wall has been covered in John Lennon and The Beatles graffiti, lyrics and quotations since the 1980s and is very popular among tourists and young fans wishing to pay homage to the group.
Petrin Hill – For its gardens, views of the city from the miniature Eiffel Tower, unusual church of St Michael and mirror maze. You can walk up or ride the funicular railway to the top.
The narrowest street in Prague – you actually do have to follow the pedestrian traffic light! 19.6inch wide gap nestled in Prague’s oldest neighbourhood, Mala Strana.
Wanceslas Square – one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings.
Kampa park – you will find the random row of yellow penguins and other art sculptures. If you keep on going across the park, it eventually links to island in the middle of the river where you enjoy the views of Charles bridge and the town.
Spotting art all across the city – some stranger than others. King Kong Balls is what they call this one.
Chimney Cake – Good food coffee and bakery was highly rated so that’s what I tried but you can find this everywhere!
Prague hotdog – I wasn’t a fan but again you can find it everywhere as a convenient on the go food
Key specialities – Roast pork knuckle and roast duck with cabbage and dumplings.
Having been to Taipei several times now, I decided to explore the countryside a little bit more. Here are some day trip options even though I chose to stay over night at Jiu Fen to make the trip a bit more relaxing and to avoid large groups of tourists:
Jiu Fen and Jing Gua Shi – Jiufen is a mountain town east of Taipei. It’s known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops. It is also known as the back drop for the movie Spirited Away! Don’t forget to try Grandma Lai’s famous mochi type dessert opposite the post office along the old street.Close by, the Gold Mine Museum in Jing Gua Shi traces the town’s history as a mining hub during the Japanese-era gold rush. Be sure to check out the golden waterfall too which you will surprisingly find just by the main road.
You can easily take a public bus from Rui Fang station to Jiu Fen and from Jiu Fen to Jing Gua Shi.
Jing Tong to Ping Xi to Shi Fen to Rui Fang – Buy a day pass or use your easy card to access the Ping Xi line train that connects all these must see villages. This area is rich in history and is famous for the sky lantern experience. I chose to do the sky lantern at Ping Xi station instead of the famous Shi Fen one because of the number of tourists! Releasing a sky lantern starts from 150NT depending on the number of colours you want on your latern as each color represents a different meaning (this matters to some people). Shifen is also known for it’s waterfall so be sure to check that out (closes at 4:30pm) – photo in my Taipei blog post.
Ying Ge is famous for the production of porcelain and an abundance of art studios and shops. It was good fun learning to make pottery! Note that it take’s about a month for it to be fired and colored so it might be useful to have a Taiwan friend help you pick this up as I’m not sure that they do international deliveries. It cost 150NT to make and an additional 150NT for the firing process etc.
Having accomplished the North Island on my working holiday visa and loving it, I definitely needed to do the South Island too! Here is my 16 day itinerary and photo highlights to encourage you to take on this adventure. #noregrets
I would definitely recommend all the accommodations I stayed at apart from the Takaka one.
There is plenty of possum road kill on the South Island so be careful and some roads were icy during this period so I can imagine it would be worse in Winter.
My rock climbing and paragliding got cancelled due to poor weather so always have some idea of what you could do if the weather isn’t in your favour and be ready to adapt the below itinerary. If you see the weather is good, move main hikes around and accomplish them while you still can!
Always fuel up when your tank isn’t full and you see a petrol station because you never know when you will come across another one!
Pre load your destinations on maps as signal can die at any point and bring an iPod as the radio could also get cut at any point.
Clockwise or Anti-clockwise road trip loop from Christchurch? Clockwise (what I did) starts off more intense and then it chills off as there isn’t as much to do/see/as many long days.
Always cheaper and safer to travel with another person.
Day 1 – Landed late at night in Christchurch from Sydney and stayed at the YMCA which was surprisingly clean, comfortable and spacious. Highly recommended especially it’s central location and lowest price.
Day 2 – Christchurch and 3h drive to Tekapo – Started the morning with the Christchurch Gondola. There is a $10 NZD return Gondola specific shuttle that takes you from Canterbury Museum to the Gondola base and back to the city departing every hour on the half hour. The Gondola ($30) takes your to amazing lake and mountain views and there is even a short indoor train ride which takes you through a bit of history. You don’t really need more than 1 hour unless you’ll eat at the restaurant up top too.
I then spent plenty of time at the free Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens, walked to Cathedral Square to see the damaged Cathedral from the Earthquakes ><
Picked up my car from OMEGA car rentals (not recommended, not cleaned well and my car roof ended up leaking during my Queenstown leg of the trip so had to go out of my planned route to change cars midway though which wasted time) and drove to Tekapo to stay two nights as I wanted two chances of seeing the famous stars at night incase I came across bad weather. It was completely cloudy this night so enjoyed my AirBnB Ashwick Flat
Day 3 – Tekapo and 2h drive to Mount Cook – Caught sunrise at Lake Tekapo. Drove to the start of the Hooker Valley Track which should have been a 3hour return walk but the track was closed near the start so only made it to the first bridge. I then did the 1h return Kea lookout track which is in the same area for a view of Mount Cook. Anorak Mount Cook Village is near by where you can stop for lunch and the information centre. I then drove to Lake Pukaki and did the kettle hole track for a higher view point and 1h loop walk. This day was perfectly clear so I spent plenty of time at Lake Tekapo (bridge and Church of Good Shepherd) for sunset and viewing the stars. You can do a tour from Mt John Observatory but this cost over $100NZD (includes telescopes etc), but I just chose to enjoy it near my car for free.
Day 4 – 5h drive from Tekapo to Catlins – Nugget point and lighthouse, Purakaunui falls, Matai Falls and Horseshoe falls (these two are near each other on the same track) as Mclean Falls (the more famous one) was closed, and Florence hill lookout of the bay. Visited Curio Bay for penguins and dolphins after checking in but it wasn’t the right season. This was a random add on since the Mclean falls track was closed. I stayed at The Whistling Frog Resort, right next to Mclean Falls track, and the shared toilet and kitchen facilities were really clean.
Day 5 – 3.5h drive to Fiordland National Park and Te Anau– Eglinton Valley for views, Mirror Lake (don’t go when the sun is too high because you won’t see a reflection or when it’s bad weather because the lake has to be still), Chasm Gorge, Totuko Bridge, Milford Sound, Lake Gunn Nature Walk from Cascade Creek and stay the night in Te Anau. I fitted in a short lakeside walk at the start of the kepler Track in Te Anau before resting up in Fiordland Hotel the next two nights.
Day 6 – Te Anau bird sanctuary and lake, Humboldt falls, Key Summit Hike 3h, Te Anau Lion lookout point
Day 7 – 2h drive to Queenstown and another 40 to Glenorchy for the Glenorchy Lagoon walkway (1-2h depending on whether you want to do one or two different loops). Visited the little town for its lake and red boat shed too before heading back to Queenstown for skyline Gondola. Free parking is super hard to find in Queenstown (lots of tourists) so be prepared to walk up/down hills and go in circles before you find a spot. Beautiful skyline view indeed and enjoy the luge ride too. Stayed the night at 8 Cotswold Court AirBnB.
Day 8 – Queenstown where we were suppose to do rock climbing and paragliding but the weather wasn’t great for it. Tried the famous Fergburger, walked the gardens and did two escape rooms before catching the Autumn festival in Arrowtown. From Arrowtown, we drove to Wanaka passing by Cardrona to stay the night at the amazing Airbnb for two nights, 10 Mills Road, Kirimoko Crescent. Since the weather was descent, I visited the Wanaka tree before sunset in case the weather forecast of rain to come would be correct (glad I did).
Day 9 – Wanaka – This day was suppose to be for the famous Roy’s Peak hike but our Airbnb host recommend we skip the hike because of poor weather conditions and heavy winds up top. Managed to book horse riding in Cardrona instead for the morning, spent the rest of the day at Puzzling world (great indoor option) and watched Avengers at night at their quaint Paradiso cinema (sofa cinema!). Found out the car war leaking from the roof onto the drivers seat somehow so had to sort some admin and organise for a change of cars.
Day 10 – Wanaka – Drove back to Queenstown in the morning to change the car and back to Wanaka to compete the 6h Roy’s Peak hike (did it in less than 6h including photos, not without pain! As you are going straight up and straight down for hours on muddy ground since it was raining and snowing) Did not want to miss the hike and am so glad I pushed through in the rain and snow as when I reached the top, the sky cleared for a window of about 25mins! The view was absolutely incredible and worth it. This was a tiring day starting the hike late and then having to drive 3.5h to our next stop Franz Josef to stay the next two nights. Worth it for the views! Stayed at Rainforest Retreat which was really nice and had a hot tub/Sauna too.
Day 11 – Franz Josef – so blessed the weather was perfect as all heli-hikes were cancelled before the entire week before we arrived. Our helicopter hike went ahead on Franz Josef Glacier and afterwards, we drove to Fox Glacier for Lake Matheson. From here you can see Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier, and the lake is famous for being on most NZ postcards.
Day 12 – Hokitika Gorge which wasn’t as blue as it could be due to previous days of heavy rain but was still pretty, Punakaiki Pancake rock and blowholes (very unique rock formation), Truman Track where I spotted my first ever blue mushrooms (random), West Port for their River walk before heading to Murchison Hamden Hotel. The cheapest accom ever yet really good. $37 for the night! This day is a great middle stopping point on the way to the Nelson region furthest North of the South Island which is quite a large area. The drive along the West Coats is really pretty and you see NZ’s version of the twelve apostles along the way throughout the coastline.
Day 13 – Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park – Lake Rotoiti in the morning where the walkway still had ice on it giving it a great effect on the pictures. Te Waikoropupu Springs which definitely requires a drone if you want to see all the colours, and clear weather. You can tell it’s really clean from just looking at it but it’s hard to capture on pictures. Wharariki beach (this was pretty incredible, felt like a small version of the Sahara with all the dunes and pure sand) for rock formations, seals (including baby seals swimming in the pools near the beach) and a short drive to see Cape Farewell point (or you could walk there and back from the beach). Stayed the night in Takaka Telegraph hotel just to break up the drive to Nelson the next day.
Day 14 – Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park – Drove to Wainui falls (3.4km return), Skinner Point Lookout and Goat Bay 2h walk from Totaranui Beach and enjoyed amazing burgers at Fat Tui Foodtruck Marahau before ending the day with Split Apple Rock. Stayed the night at the Prince Albert Backpackers and Bar which was really good as they had plenty of facilities for guest such as a spacious TV room and free waffle breakfast.
Day 15 – 3h drive to Kaikoura for the Peninsula Walkway (it’s a 3h loop from the Seal Colony/point Kean Carpark). Drove to the Kaikoura view point (absolutely stunning panoramic views) and started the way from there actually as Google maps didn’t show there was a carpark at Point Kean. Saw seals of course! Headed to Hanmer Springs after ($25 entry for the hot pools, $5 for towels, extra $10 to use the slides). You could spend awhile here if you pay for the slides as it’s pretty much a water park. I just enjoyed the hot pools, hottest going up to 42 degrees! The petrol station here closes at 6pm so be sure to fill up before then. Drove another 1.5h to get to Honeyfields Alpaca Farm where we stayed the night. This was by far the best accom, $220 a night for a big apartment including a farm tour the next morning and breakfast.
Day 16 – Honeyfields Alpaca Farm – enjoyed farm things – feeding Alpacas, petting them, walking them, holding a chicken, picking fresh eggs, trying honey before driving 20mins to return the car near Christchurch Airport.
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. People always compare Melbourne and Sydney but it’s really up to you to decide which city your prefer as they both have pros and cons. Melbourne is known for being more artsy but you could get four seasons in one day! Here is a list of things to do in the city, a few eating recommendations and near by road trips you can do too.
Adelphi Hotel rooftop pool (glass bottom)
Aga The French Patisserie
Art Centre Melbourne
Australian Centre for Moving Image
Ballarat day trip known for its Gold!
Bendigo Day Trip
Brighton Beach for the famous colourful beach huts
Carlton Gardens where you’ll find Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building
Chadstone shopping centre with 550 shops, free shuttle available
Cycle Merri Creek Trail
Dandenongs Day trip (puffing billy railway)
Day trip to Yarra Valley with Autopia Tours
Degraves street for cafes
Eat at Hawker Chan (Singaporean food)
Eureka Tower 88 floor observation deck
Flag Staff Garden
Flinders Street station
Geelong day trip
Get a bird’s eye view from the balcony of Hamer Hall
Great Ocean Road
Hanging Rock – Macedon Ranges ( I would highly recommend Hanging Rock Llama Walking Tours hosted by Mark, be sure to book ahead)
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Hopetoun Tea Rooms – always fully booked
Hosier Lane and Centre Place for street art
Lune Croissanterie, always sells out
Mornington Peninsula day trip with Bunyip Tours which will include either the hot springs or Sorrento and Port Sea in the morning followed by the Enchanted Adventure Gardens in the afternoon
National Gallery Victoria
Nicholas building (shopping)
Old Melborne Gaol
Old Treasury Building (really good free museum)
Philip Island day trip, they come out after sunset
Pidapipo Gelato (try the Nutella one)
Port Campbell (part of Great Ocean Road trip)
Queen Victoria Market
Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Exhibition Building
Sofitel Hotel toilets for a view!
Sorrento and Port Sea
South Melbourne Market
St Kilda where you can also see Penguins for free
St Paul’s Cathedral
Take the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento
Take the free city loop tain
The Block Arcade
The Star – their ferris wheel for great views from up top
Kia Ora (hello,welcome, goodbye, have a safe journey)
I’ve just come back from my 10 day road trip from Wellington to Auckland and thought I would share my entire itinerary here. I definitely could have spent longer at each destination due to the many hikes so i’ll be back!
Day 1: Arrived in Wellington and picked up our JUCY car rental from the airport to drive ourselves to the city centre not far away. Climb up Mount Victoria for a 360 degree view of the city and enjoy the play area there too (definitely adult friendly). Take the Wellington cable car up and walk back down to the city through the Botanic Gardens. AirBnB 120 The Terrace.
Day 2: Drive from Wellington to Cape Palliser where you will see a large seal population along the sea front near the light house. Climb the steep steps to reach the lighthouse and enjoy the views. Return up the road to the start of the Pinnacles hike (funky rock formations from Lord of the Rings). Drive to Whanganui and visit the near by beach for sunset. Accom: Whanganui Backpackers (a motel).
Day 3: Visit Whanganui National Park for the Atene Viewpoint Walk. Another highly recommended option which we didn’t do is the ‘Bridge to nowhere’. Then drive to Tongariro National Park for plenty of hike options! We did the 2h Taranaki falls loop track from Whakapapa Village (the largest ski area). If you have a full day, definitely do the Tongariro Alpine track which takes around 8hours. This was my favourite park out of all the hikes I did so I definitely want to come back to do it one day. Have dinner in Taupo and watch sunset by the lake. Accom: A Plus Samurai Lodge Backpackers (not the cleanest but it’ll do for the hike day)
Day 4: Drive to Taupo lake view point before heading to Wai O Tapu geothermal pools and geysers. The entire highway passes thermal pools so you’ll see plenty of steam along the way as you drive. Wai O Tapu is the most well known and the lady Knox geyser show starts at 10:15am so don’t miss that. Before heading to Rotorua, stop by the blue and green lake viewing point and lake Tarawera viewpoint, they are along the way. When in Rotorua, definitely try out luging! We then did the Maori village cultural show and dinner, and stayed the night in Rotorua Motel.
Day 5: Drive from Rotorua to Mount Maunganui and hike up of course! Then drive to Coromandel area for Ha Hei beach, walk to Cathedral Cove and then hot water beach (visit during low tide only). Stayed the night in Coromandel in the most amazing cabin ever (find Viv on AirBnB 75 Harbour View Road). I would go back to Coromandel just to stay in this accommodation again.
Day 6: Drive to Hobbiton for the tour and then to Hamilton, stopping by the massive garden they have created. You could spend a whole day here if you wanted, appreciating the design and gardens of the world. AirBnB 80 Beerescourt Road Suite (really cozy accom again)
Day 7: Drive to Waitomo Glow worm caves (no photos allowed) for the short tour then to Auckland, stopping by Mt Eden crater before dropping off the car. This was my favourite drive day in terms of awesome views along the way, other than the Tongariro national park drive day. Accom for the next three nights: Grand Central apartments (15min walk to city centre)
Day 8: Walked Auckland’s main high street: Queen street and competed in Battle of the Year at night. Didn’t do much this day due to the competition.
Day 9: Ferry to Rangitoto volcanic island for the summit hike. There are specific ferry times so make sure you pre-book for the trip there and know when the last ferry is to get back! 36NZD return.
Day 10: Chill day, walked the city and played an escape room before flying back to Sydney. Try Giapo ice cream!
My first legit road trip and I loved driving those country side roads I would do it all over again.