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Thread: New Zealand

  1. #1
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    New Zealand

    Well after all of the talk about the South Pacific (Petri's thread) I decided to plan a trip. 3 1/2 weeks spread out by:

    Arrive AKL: 25OCT ~ 3 days
    Depart AKL for New Caledonia 28OCT ~ spending time in the North and also Ouv

  2. #2
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    Auckland wasn't anything special so I'd try go elsewhere, depending on jetlag and time available;

    - Zion Wildlife Gardens if you're into animals, the club encouter tour was worth every new zealand dollar. This you can do as a day trip from Auckland.

    - Drive to Waitomo for the caves and/or Rotorua for geothermal and Mauri sights. I think one could do morning drive to Waitomo, half-day caving in the afternoon, stay overnight, drive to Rotorua for the sights, overnight and drive back to Auckland. We did the afternoon caving in Waitomo and drove to Auckland before sun set.

    In Waitomo one can do the easy tours (no real caving) or something for real in the caves. In Rotorua we liked the Orakei Korako cave and thermal park more than the better known Wai-O-Tapu. But both are easy to visit on the same trip.

    I cannot say much about the places we didn't do but I believe there are stunning coastal areas on the north island as well and easily accessible from Auckland. Also the Lake Taupo area is supposed to be stunning.

    South Island; Thanks for the pointer to Wilderness. We might consider them as well in February..

    Christchurch is a nice city but a week isn't that long time to drive around the island. I'd pick up the camper on saturday and be on the way sunday at latest. If you have the time, I think driving to the north (Nelson & co) is worth the trip but we haven't been there (yet). I think rest of route depends how you want to experience the glaciers. It takes a day to drive from CHC to the glaciers.

    From CHC to the arthur's pass (or north, Nelson & co), down to the glaciers, Wanaka, Queenstown, perhaps a tour to Milford Sound, by the coast up to the north and back to CHC.
    OR
    From CHC south to Lake Tekapo, perhaps an air tour around Mt Cook and glaciers, down to Queenstown, Milford Sound, along the coastline back to CHC. (With this route you don't go to the westcoast)

    NZ is all about the wonders of nature so you need to stop frequently to see and feel something. You see a sign of something, stop there, walk 15 minutes to the forest and there's something worth the visit there. Other things they do well are the activities, plenty and everywhere for every taste. They have excellent maps in NZ, with all the sights marked and everything.

    Check out http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101/index.php for 101 Must-Do's in NZ.

  3. #3
    infi is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2006 Sydney, Australia Posts: 1,295

    Re: New Zealand

    You could also add Queenstown to your South Island itinerary- known as the adrenalin city (bungee, jet boat, really good whitewater rafting etc). Also some very good 4WD tours of the mountains and old mining areas (go with "English Mike and his land rovers" as the locals will know him). Yes can be a little touristy in season but some fun things to do, great pubs and if you get off the beaten paths some excellent camping sites. The whitewater section going through the man made cave "chute" (and yes there are a few ...well..deaths..every now and then) will make sure your heart is healthy as it beats out of its rib cage.

    Enjoy (it's not Australia though) The saying down there is that NZ is like America in the 50's - slow down, talk to everyone, all of them are friendly and don't under estimate NZ cold climate varietal wines.

  4. #4
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    The saying down there is that NZ is like America in the 50's
    So why did you spoil it? ;-)

    What we liked about NZ was that everything was so accessible and distances reasonable. In Australia you take a daytrip to Blue Mountains or two days minimum to see Uluru and while they're both nice for an hour, the driving or there was the ultimate boredum. In NZ even the trip there feels like a clip from Lord of the Rings and there's usually something to see on the way. The narrow ordinary road feels much better than a 4-lane motorway.

    The activities in NZ seem to fall into two categories, the adrenalin type of things (benji jumps, jet boats, ...) and the nature type of things. They haven't spoilt the latter yet with over-tourism like happens in many places in US, Europe and Australia.

    PS. Take a sunny day, sit down at the cafe in Queenstown by the lake, they make the best coffee and the view is just uncomparable with the green hills, the lake and the mountains.

  5. #5
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Zealand

    Hi guys, thanks so much for the info.

    Petri-last month I visited the aatravel site but only for driving distances. Went back yesterday for the 101 tips and scored a hit! THANK YOU

    For the short North Island time I decided to head out to Waipoua Forest to see the giant/old Kauri forest. I would love to make it up to Cape Regina/sand dunes but I don't think there will be time to enjoy it. I am counting on the scenery while driving to be enjoyable-hoping so at least. Thank you very much for that link-it really helped me narrow down the options and find a destination.

    I wish we could pick up the campervan on Saturday but our flight doesn't come in on time from Noumea-and they are not open on Sundays. It works out ok because we would not see any of Christchurch if we didn't stay around on Sunday. What it does do is limit our time on the road and in practice we will have to decide between Mt. Cook to the North (hopefully getting to see the glaciers from a helicopter ride from Mt. Cook) OR CHC - South.


    After two opportunities missed (low winds) @ Torrey Pines (near you Stuart, right?) I am going to try to paraglide again in NZ - matter of fact it is high on the priority list. Queenstown is one option but I also found outfits in Nelson and CHC. I will probably get advice from Wilderness for this since safety is an issue. I am not fond of the adventure activities that might make me touch the cold arse water in NZ that time of year so rafting, jet boats, and even bungy jumping are out (prefer to fly vs. fall.....) I want to see the lakes between Mt. Cook and QTown but I am not sure how much appeal QT itself has to me - it may take a miss on this round. It will only be late Spring so the weather may be a good bit cold for me... the great thing about having the campervan from Wilderness is that the route can be decided based a bit on the weather at the time. And the diesel heater......

    I think the wine region would be interesting and I am gearing myself up to the fact I will have to try whites :-) Did either of you guys visit the wineries? It would not be reason enough alone to go north-but just thinking...

    Stuart-your comment about the people and "time stamp" for NZ is to my liking. I live in a small town about an hour north of Atlanta and much prefer + land - people. I would probably seizure in Asia..... Hoping to experience a couple "big" sights on the South Island...but also have some smaller scale days. Like you said Petri-see a neat place, pull over, hike in for a while. Finding good routes that have a likely hood of such moments is what I am shooting for...

    Question: have either of you guys been to both the upper and lower parts of the island? The southern part looks pretty spectacular scenery wise-does the northern part of the NI compare?

    Another area that is of interest is the Otago Peninsula for the penguin's and albatross colony; Curio Bay-did you make it down that far?

    You guys are right-NZ offers tons of adventure/adrenalin or nature ~ if it helps to know for advice I prefer being around trees/forests/lakes vs heavy visited areas :-)

    Appreciate hearing about your trips and in your case Petri where you would go next time. Has anyone else on the forum visited NZ????

  6. #6
    zena is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jun 2007 Posts: 43

    Re: New Zealand

    Visited NZ 15 years ago, NI only, because I wanted to experience something unique, like Maori culture. I was told that SI is just like Alps so we didn't go there since we knew the Alps well.
    After checking 1o1 things to do in NZ I found our exact trip so I copied it for you. Loved the area around lake Taupo, bubbling muds etc. Visited all the caves. Loved old part of Auckland, a ferry ride across the bay for a good cup of coffee which you athletic people probably don't crave. Remember driving for hours without seeing a cafe. I would visit Nelson and vineyard on the northern tip of SI if I ever go again, because I met some vinemakers from that area on their visit to NY.
    Great New Zealand Touring Route
    Bay Of Plenty
    Experience the North Island like never before
    The Great New Zealand Touring Route is the ultimate road trip

  7. #7
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    The paragliding in Queenstown looked pretty good:





    There were quite a few people going to Coronet Peak for gliding (looked like locals with their own gear) and they also offered tandem flights. I don't know about the scenery in Nelson for gliding for I'd say Queenstown is better than CHC for it.

    We did a 2.5-day wine tour in Chile (Casablanca valley, whites) just before coming to NZ so apart from drinking wine in restaurants, we didn't visit any vineyards. The modern vineyards look pretty much the same with their steel tanks, what I liked the most about the tour was getting familiar with grapes that we don't usually drink.

    For the "random hikes" the map we had had small icons for all kinds of sights, while driving we just noted that there's something coming shortly and looked around if it's worth a stop. Most were.

    We didn't go around either islands, on NI we drove from Queenstown to CHC / Kaikoura on the west coast, on SI we drove from Rorotua to Waitomo and further up to Auckland. We had made a rought loose schedule what to do but didn't have anything booked in advance (accomodation or activities), just the car and flights.

    The reason why we have now allocated 6-7 weeks for NZ is that we want to visit the places we missed, visit a few places again (Waitomo Caves), and hopefully we have a few weeks for some Pacific Islands. We're flying in/out from Auckland and the plan is to rent a car from AKL, drive south, take the ferry and continue on the North Island. I need to check the rental options, though.

    I think looking at what you like, you'll love NZ.

  8. #8
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Zealand

    Zena,

    Hope that this thread brought back good memories from your trip!

    Reading your post I recognized Hawke's Bay ~ they had a 5.9m quake reported. It was centered near Hastings. earthquake in NZ

    I am seeing a trend-everyone loves the caves on the North Island! I guess upon close consideration they are not appealing to me at this time-uneasy I suppose about close quarters.... I am going to see if there are any thermal's on the South Island.

    I can't imagine not getting out on the water somehow so maybe in the Bay of Islands there will be an opportunity.

    Your talk about the Alps make's me realize just how COLD it will still be to me in late Spring that far south... Did you live in Europe or frequent visits to the Alps?

    I am looking forward to sampling the wine-even if we don't get to visit the winery's themselves. I sincerely hope that you get back to NZ in the future.

    Best regards,
    Erma

  9. #9
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Zealand

    Petri,

    Those are some seriously convincing photos of para gliding in QT. I had wondered whether CHC or Nelson could have spectacular scenery for a flight...thank's for the confirmation and advice. QT might just get the nod~

    I added another day on the front end to the North Island portion so 4 full days-I have to stop soon or I will end up like you and Laura!!!

    Did you have a special map or was it a tourist map from the rental agency?

    The way things are going - the entire 3 1/2 weeks may be by the seat of my pants...thinking of just running with the flights we have in place (from US-NZ;NZ-NC & return;NZ-US) and winging the rest. What's the worst that can happen? :-)

    When will you and Laura be back in NZ?

    Thanks for taking the time to post those photos. As much as I always thought 'jumping off the cliff' @ my favorite, Black's Beach, would be the best ~ QT is quite appealing. I know I will get back to BB in the future but I don't know about NZ. Better take it while I can!

    Do you have additional photos on the web from your NZ trip?

    Thanks Petri,

    Erma

  10. #10
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    I think we bought the map in a bookstore in Queenstown, I think it was a common brand that we saw around NZ. A booklet-type, easy to use and pretty detailed. A good map is a gem.

    We are returning to NZ in beginning of February.

    No other photos on the web yet apart from the blog at http://iki.fi/ojala -- maybe one day when we have all the photos sorted out ;-)

  11. #11
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    Trip report? ;-)

  12. #12
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Zealand

    We are back and WOW just won't cover it! Will put together a trip report and link to pictures as soon as I can manage it....

    liked Auckland very much as a city and Ouv

  13. #13
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Zealand

    [quote]
    We are back and WOW just won't cover it! Will put together a trip report and link to pictures as soon as I can manage it....

    liked Auckland very much as a city and Ouv

  14. #14
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Caledonia & Ouv

    Petri,

    I am sorry for the delay. Last night I attempted to explain my thoughts but it is difficult to say the least.

    If you research Ouv

  15. #15
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Caledonia & Ouv

    Thank you! That was a lot of information and now I have an agenda to check it out througly tomorrow.

    How was the weather?

    We are pretty much solid on Cook Islands already, the flights are cheap (200-250e return), accomodation looks pretty good and it's getting good reviews as a destination. Also friends who did a 6-month trip a few years ago recommended it.

    I also need to check how much time our Asia visit will take, I seem to add days to Vietnam all the time (nordic countries are in the small group of countries that don't even need a visa).

    How did your NZ trip go? No rush to report ;-)

  16. #16
    Erma is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 779

    Re: New Caledonia & Ouv

    Weather-amazing the entire two weeks on both Ouv

  17. #17
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: New Caledonia & Ouv

    Do you have a slam dunk beach spot on the list or is that an area of interest?
    Sort of.. I think Cook Islands is mostly about beach/lagoon (*. Vietnam and Bali also have great options for beach but it depends on our route and choice of accomodation. Our ticket ends in South Africa and right now the cheapest way back home is on Etihad, which makes a stopover in Abu Dhabi possible.

    On the last trip we had "beach" in Australia -- but one couldn't really swim because of the jelly fish. So the only beach spot ended up to be Burj Al Arab in Dubai (Abu Dhabi also had a beach but we preferred the pool).

    *) Vanuatu's selling point is that they also have the vulcanos.

  18. #18
    Rahena is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2015 Posts: 13
    Erma! New Zealand is really a very beautiful, and one of the most tourist attractions around the whole world. I have explored the place a few months ago with my family, and really enjoyed myself. New Zealand offers a lot of stuff to do, and also there is a lot of places to see in New Zealand, I always enjoyed myself while visiting the place.

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