There are a few places in the world I list as “must go” and New Zealand is one of them. I was lucky enough to visit NZ in a beautiful season – not as cold as fall but not as hot as summer. It was March 2019 when the winter is gearing up to come in but not quite there yet. Those were beautiful days when the sky was so high and blue and the water couldn’t be clearer.
I flew into Auckland International Airport and stayed at my friend’s house for a few days. We then explored the north island within 4-5 days from Cape Reinga to Wellington – but that is for a different blog post.
Jenny, my friend from elementary school all the way to high school, and I flew from Wellington (the wind city and gosh, it was really windy!) to Queenstown. Our plan was to visit Wanaka Lavender Farm and Mt Cook and some other small spots beside Queenstown as I only had 4 days in South Island.
We headed to Wanaka farm with me driving on the left – what a nightmare! All of those round-abouts were not easy. It was beautiful and the farm was full of tourists. I knew in advance that it was not Lavender season so I expected to buy lavender products without seeing any flowers. But I was wrong! There was so many small lavender bushes left and they all smell amazing. Beside lavender, the farm has so many exotic beautiful flowers and roses. You can easily buy some tea and sit in the garden watching the tourists walking around or simply just enjoy the country feel of the place. I piled up with some Manuka honey – only available in NZ – and dried lavender seeds – they made good gifts.
Second day we drove to Mt Cook, and on the way, to our surprise, we found Alpine Lavender Farm in Pukaki. So of course we had to make the stop. Even though it was the off season and all the flowers were completely gone, there was a small stand selling lavender products like mineral water, lotion, perfume… and ice cream!!! Jenny and I bought ourselves cones of ice cream and walked around the empty farm. In my head, I wouldn’t stop imagine the farm when in peak season. There were rows of lavender that so long you couldn’t see the end of it. The farm was decorated with purple umbrellas and tractors which were really cute and lavender looking.
Here are a few tips to go visit lavender farms:
- Famers told me the peak season is mid December to early January so plan your trip, air tickets may be sky rocket though.
- There are a lot of little bees come to the flowers so always be careful
- Call in advance and see what time the farms open and get there as early as you can, you don’t want to fight afternoon/evening crowd.
- Be respectful to the farm, don’t pick the lavender.
- Make sure you ask the farmers for special instruction of using Manuka honey, they are not like other honey.