What did we like best about our trip?

Well, it’s hard to choose.  I think the Marlborough Sounds was the most beautiful place we stayed, followed as a close second by Ursula & Peter’s home – the Coromandel.  The best accommodation I think was Hopewell (Marlborough Sounds) for sheer friendliness, simplicity and relaxation; Baycrest Motel (Lake Taupo) was my favourite motel: it was immaculate and comfortable – the outside hot tub and garden were a great bonus and the owners were very helpful. Susan & John’s place in Auckland (Braemar) and the Peppers Hotel were the most glamorous – but of course they charged higher rates.  Silver Fern at Rotorua was the only slight disappointment.

Where would we go again?  The Coromandel (absolute must), Lake Taupo (but via the military museum on the way), Martinborough & Marlborough for wine tasting, Marlborough Sounds (for relaxation), Christchurch (for shopping and in transit to visit Queenstown).

Most fun activity: well the White Island trip blew me away – that was fantastic, and also taking the float plane was a brilliant experience too.  But there were plenty of fun, free things we did too: water ski-ing, swimming and surfing at Ursula’s place, catching up with friends in Wellington and visiting Weta, photographing the seals in Kaikoura, watching the pancake race in Christchurch and just walking and driving around enjoying the countryside (oh and drinking the delicious wine of course – not that that was free!).