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Thread: New Zealand

  1. #1
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    Thinking of a couple of weeks to explore NZ next winter. Who has the advice?
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  2. #2
    Rosemary is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2010 New England Posts: 4,300
    We are on the cusp. A friend, captain of one of the Race Committee boats for the faux America's Cup, is coming to stay with us for a bit. He lives in Whangerai, on the North Island, and has sung the song of his homeland for years. We will inquire. We are interested as well.

  3. #3
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    Sent an email off to a mate who is a native of AU and asked about NZ vs AU. His reply:

    Annette and I are constantly amazed by Americans asking us this question! ;-) The Kiwis have done a superb job advertising their country, and it is a great place. In fact, we were there for 4 days last weekend. It is only a 2 1/2 hour flight for us.
    You should actually consider both, because it is a bit of a haul to come down here twice. Quite a few friends of ours have done that, and it is very convenient. A week in NZ will be terrific, and then it depends how much time you have for Oz. We are like the US in a sense. You can't come here for a week or even 2 and expect to see everything. If you only have a week, go to Sydney and then (depending on what you like) either go out the Great Barrier Reef (on my boat, of course) or go bush. Let me know your thoughts and we'll be very happy to give you some ideas.
    Next winter is summer here Summer up north (like Cairns or even here in Brisbane) is like Miami in summer - humid, hurricane possibilities, flood, thunderstorms etc. Best time for NZ and almost all of Oz is before December, so if you can make Sept-Dec, good.
    A
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  4. #4
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,769
    My sister was there in October, a year and a half ago.....she didn't have time to do too much exploring---but said she "discovered" wine on this trip, due to the stress of her work-related activities. She did say that they put her in a FABULOUS hotel...I'll ask. She also came away with some incredibly beautiful sweaters. Next, was Australia, and she went out to the GBR to snorkel---one of the highlights of her life, she says---do it! She loved both places, and is planning another trip with hubby and time to spare in tow....
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  5. #5
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    I'm thinking 3 weeks to even begin to justice to both NZ and AU. Takes two days to get there :)
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  6. #6
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Well..

    We spent there 1.5 weeks and continued to Australia, and felt that we didn't even scratch the surface. The next year we arrived to the country with the plan to depart when we've seen everything.

    We ended up spending about three months there and we have an approved residency permit to move there more permanently :-) If we had managed to sold our house last year, we might be there right now.

    Even after the three months and 6000+ photos there are places we managed to miss. I've done itineraries to five friends so far..

    Check out
    http://www.waterside.fi/NZ-South-Island-Book.pdf
    http://www.waterside.fi/NZ-North-Island-Book.pdf


    Calendarwise I'd target for Jan-Mar, NZ can be a bit chilly country and their heating heritage is very british. The spring may or may not be warm.

    The best of NZ is outside of the bigger cities. Compared to the rest of the country, there's really very little to see in Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland.

    NZ is all about experiences and the ozzie friend is right -- but it's not just marketing. It wasn't really just NZ but one could almost say that NZ changed what we want from travels.


    For a short trip (anything less than a month) couple of thoughts;

    Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world, if you don't want an adrenalin shock it's still a good base for plenty. Take a helicopter ride to Milford Sound and back, going across the NZ Alps is beautiful experience. The scenery around Queenstown is superb and plenty of wines to experience in the Otago region.

    If you go to Christchurch, visit Akaroa. Part of France in that region. Great restaurants (C'est La Vie).

    Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier is great but usually off the route. And you really want to do a heli-hike or something similar (NZ has the most helicopters per capita :-)

    At the northern end of the south island, Nelson and the neighboring Abel Tasman National Park are great for beaches and hiking from beach to the next. There's a water taxi that goes between them. Kiwis are very outgoing people and the infrastructure for hiking and tramping is superb. Don't forget the WoW - World of Wearable Arts exhibition that also has an extensive collection of classic cars.

    Next to Nelson is Blenheim, which is home to the famous Marlborough wine area. In addition to the wines, visit Peter Jackson's Omaka Aviation Heritage Center. Queen Charlotte track in Marlborough Sounds is amazing but again, needs more time and is all about being outdoors.

    On North Island, Rotorua for the thermal activity. Forget the most advertised places and drive to Orakei Korako. BBC shoot a dinosaurs document there and it's the least touristic geothermal park.

    From Rotorua you can do a day trip to White Island. Drive to Whakatane, board a helicopter to the island. Explore and return. You'll be visiting an active marine volcano. Absolutely a must.

    Waitomo was another favourite with it's caves. One can choose either the "wheelchair accessible" caves, or the less accessible. We did the first while waiting for our scheduled second. And booked a few more of the less accessible :-) St. Benedict's Caverns is nice as it's a dry trip, Black Abyss and the full day Lost World are something that include everything.

    In the northern part both Coromandel and Bay of Islands are beatiful coastal areas with islands, beaches, plenty of water activities, sailing, you name it.

    NZ has excellent domestic flight network that make hopping around surprisingly easy.

    After NZ Australia was pretty boring :-) Not that we didn't enjoy Australia as well.

  7. #7
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Forgot to mention that on the second trip we ended up staying mostly at B&B's. The exchange rate was very good and they have very nice B&B's -- much easier to find a high-end B&B than a high-end hotel.

    We got great tips for activities and restaurants from the B&B hosts. Happy to share them.

  8. #8
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    Thx!
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  9. #9
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    We are starting to get serious and think we will allocate 3 weeks, which will mean a SBH miss in February/March! Fly from LAX on the A380 using Visa reward miles and spend time in Sydney, outback and Great Barrier Reef and then over to NZ. That's about as far as we have gotten other than a departure after Christmas.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  10. #10
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,515
    Sounds like a plan
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  11. #11
    Reed is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Nantucket - St. Barth's Posts: 1,090
    Hey Jean,

    Have spent 2 different times there for each time I think around a month. Other than Nantucket and SBH, NZ was the only place that I ever thought I would want to buy property of anywhere I have traveled in my lifetime (we almost did) but the haul there and still being in business and the time difference of doing phone calls etc. didn't end up working for us. We will go back if we ever feel able to give up SBH time which I don't see happening soon. We have frequently talked about what a future NZ trip would look like and this is what we sorted.......Rental of 3 different houses on each island to stay at around a week each and take day trips from there. A hidden gem is Waiheke Island which is around a 30 minute ferry ride from Auckland. We have been there twice and would easily go back. So many other wonderful stops and FAB people we have met there. Please check out our American friend's place PENNCARROW in Queenstown. A small B&B kind of place but they get everything amazingly right. I could go on about our Great Barrier Reef adventures too but if I had the option I would do NZ. You might want to check out the 100 person adventure yacht the ORION kind of a Sea Dream thing.......We did this 2 times and they have expanded their cruising options........... k.
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  12. #12
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    Thanks for the tips!
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  13. #13
    infi is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2006 Sydney, Australia Posts: 1,295
    As an Australian I have to agree with your mate. The Kiwis have done a far better job of selling themselves as a destination but for diversity and sheer number of things to do it is really hard to bear Australia. We always say when God retires that's where he's going!!

    NZ is pretty though and Queenstown is a blast if you're into the outdoors and being active

    let me know if you're heading to Oz and I can give you a few ideas too

  14. #14
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,686
    Thanks! Any Freds over there?
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  15. #15
    Reed is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Nantucket - St. Barth's Posts: 1,090
    Hey John,

    I just recalled a the way we booked probably 75% of stays while in NZ. Google Friar's Guide of New Zealand. Most of the properties are FAB and include places like Huka Lodge if you wish to shell out that loot. What was interesting I felt, was that some of the mid-range places they list were some of our favorite stays and were maybe 300 NZ if not less a night plus the hosts plying you with drinks and goodies. The people SO friendly and hospitable. k.
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  16. #16
    infi is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2006 Sydney, Australia Posts: 1,295
    Quote Originally Posted by JEK
    Thanks! Any Freds over there?
    A few - mainly in the North and West, out in the boonies

    We also have a Palin equivalent- Pauline Hanson and the anti-gay preacher - Fred Niles. A microcosm of what we have here

    They are just more outside the normal debate than they are here and the middle is leftish on social issues and balanced on things like health and govt/private enterprise mix...which is one of the reasons their economy is still booming

    It is also such a stunningly beautiful country with such unique fauna and a unique light that is every photographers dream

  17. #17
    Reed is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Nantucket - St. Barth's Posts: 1,090
    i just caught up with the Friar's website and while still very informative regarding the nicest properties on NZ, I found a few of our FAVS now missing which has me thinking about the publication as I did not see Huka Lodge, which has been a go to spot for many folks (we only wen't for lunch......not our cup of tea). Pencarrow as I mentioned before is lovely. Husband and wife are from the States. Their hospitality flair came from Bill being the chief pilot for a Saudi Prince and Kari, his wife, being chief stewardess. We had many hilarious conversations regarding how they would have to procure things for the plane while in the middle of nowhere. Kari has enough tableware to probably lay at least 150 different variations of table scapes. Really cool people. They set us up with numerous side trips as well. k.
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  18. #18
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Quote Originally Posted by infi
    As an Australian I have to agree with your mate. The Kiwis have done a far better job of selling themselves as a destination but for diversity and sheer number of things to do it is really hard to bear Australia.
    Diversity for sure, but I think number of activities depends what you want to do. I would say that for it's size, NZ has the most things to do per sq m2. NZ is travel friendly as distances are shorter. But when it comes to cities, Australia wins hands down.

    (I have also come to the conclusion that Australia would be more better to live in. NZ was more fun to visit. We can somehow relate to the kiwis as they're living next to Australia, and we're living next to Sweden..)

    What we liked about NZ was the no-nonsense attitude. "Here is a cliff, don't fall". In Australia, Europe and US there would be a fence half a mile away saying that "Do not cross, dangerous cliff approaching."

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