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Help me decide 3 weeks in Philippines or New Zealand + Fiji

Help me decide 3 weeks in Philippines or New Zealand + Fiji

Old Sep 19th, 2018, 07:17 AM
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Help me decide 3 weeks in Philippines or New Zealand + Fiji

Hi All,

I am planning my upcoming trip in December and I am trying to decide whether to visit Philippines or go to New Zealand and then head after to Fiji for the beach.

I typically like nature, culture, hiking and beaches. I visited Thailand before so not sure if Philippines will be similar and in this case New Zealand and Fiji might be different.

Anyone has been to both can advice on the main differences or which will provide better nature and scenery.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Sep 19th, 2018, 10:58 PM
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These are really different destinations and I think you need to do more research.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 07:33 AM
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I have visited both the Philippines and New Zealand. They are vastly different places and to find out what those differences are and whether they will suit you, you really need to do your own research.

FWIW we landed in Cebu expecting to spend several weeks there - we left after 4 days. On the other hand we first visited New Zealand 10 years ago and have returned twice since. All three times we stayed for a couple of months. Others may have completely different views.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 10:07 AM
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I haven't been to the Philippines, but have been to N.Z. twice as I had (late) Kiwi friends who owned a big, sheep farm on South Island. I can't see you going wrong with spending 3 weeks in N.Z. It is a beautiful country and I hope to go back some day.

While there, one of the places that we went to was my friends' beach cottage at Kaka Point as they brought along their adult kids and grandkids. My friends were my parents' age and I was in the age range of their adult kids.

It was great walking along a beach and being the only ones on it. We even walked up to the lighthouse and there were very few other people. This was in the months of December and January years ago. We drove all over South Island and I also was on North Island and stayed with friends of theirs for a few days and also explored North Island on my own. But, it was South Island that I was most fond of and will never forget spending 5 hours with them at Hina Hina Cove, hoping to see some yellow-eyed penguins of which we did.

I wish we had done the 2 or 3-day hike and camping trip in the Milford Sound area although I don't even camp. But, we did go to Milford Sound and it was wonderful.

Kaka Point

Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 10:41 AM
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I haven't been to the Philippines but I've been visiting the South Island of New Zealand for extended visits since 1993.

It's one of the few places in the world I can't seem to get enough of.
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Old Sep 20th, 2018, 05:32 PM
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New Zealand will give you nature, hiking and beaches in abundance. You can get around by renting a car or campervan or on public transportation, but you would need all of your three weeks to enjoy what the country offers. Early December won't be as busy as late December, which will be the busiest time of year due to school holidays. Some popular places could already be booked, especially if you are planning on doing one of the Great Walks.

Not sure what you are looking for in respect to culture. 15% of NZ's population identifies as Māori and Te Reo (Māori language) is one of the official languages. There are also many other ethnic groups in NZ, and it's becoming more culturally diverse all the time. Auckland is a the city with largest Polynesian population in the world, among them Māori, Cook Islanders, Samoans, Tongans, Niueans.

It'll be cyclone season in Fiji, and I don't know if you'd have time for it anyhow. If you'll paying for a ticket to come all the way to NZ, might as well see and do as much as you can while you're here.

I've been to the Philippines a couple of times, but it was a while back. As it has more than 7000 islands, I can't say that I know it much at all. If you go, I would recommend El Nido, in the province of Palawan. The scuba diving was impressive, though I don't know if the coral reefs have, like so many others, been affected by coral bleaching (you'd have to check). We also kayaked in lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs. I found this link online that shows some great photos of the place:
https://www.gettingstamped.com/el-ni...n-philippines/
This area was the inspiration for Alex Garland's novel, "The Beach":
https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/...alawan-el-nido

The great thing about the Philippines is that, if you enjoy islands, you'll have many choices.

My half-brother likes Boracay, which is famed for its beaches. It's also a party island. Boracay was closed for 6 months, due to overtourism but it about to re-open.
https://www.cntraveler.com/story/bor...reopening-date

I looked at your other post about enjoying the landscape around Ubud, Bali, a place I've been to several times. You might enjoy the highlands of Luzon, particularly the famed rice terraces of Banaue, home to the Ifugao people. On my first trip I tried to visit this region, but this was during rainy season, so I had to pass. This link describes the difficulty of getting there:
https://www.twowanderingsoles.com/bl...and-what-to-do

Like Crellston, I didn't much enjoy Cebu. But our experience was limited to just a few days, a couple of nights in Cebu City and a couple of nights in a beach resort on Mactan Island. The beach was disappointing as we'd been to many other better tropical beaches.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 05:52 AM
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Hi Crellston,

Thanks for the reply. I am starting to lean towards New Zealand as it really seems so beautiful. I have the opportunity to travel either in December or January but typically most of the websites say that December, January and February are the best month to travel and I came across few that mention that the chance of rain in higher in December and other mentioned that January can get hot. I will be doing lots of hiking and I am not sure which month is better. Did you visit during these months before?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 06:03 AM
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Hi Melnq8 and Diamantina,

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Diamantina, thanks a lot for the detailed reply!

I was wondering if you can advice on the weather as I mentioned in my reply to Crellston, I am not sure which month to pick, December or January for better overall weather, less chances of rain and not too much sunshine that it will be hard to go on long hikes!

Thanks everyone for all the help really!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 06:50 AM
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A bigger consideration to weather in Dec and Jan could be school holidays and general tourism. That's when Kiwis and Australian kids are off for summer break. It's also high season for international tourists so very, very busy. If you are planning to go in the 2018-2019 summer season, you could already be in a bind accommodation wise. New Zealand has gotten crazy popular in the last several years and accommodation is very limited in many areas.

We tend to avoid high season in general, but we did visit NZ in February one year - never again. It was entirely too busy and too warm for us.

Here are the NZ school holidays for 2018 and 2019:

https://www.govt.nz/browse/education...hool-holidays/

https://www.govt.nz/browse/education...-and-holidays/
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 11:21 AM
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Like Melnq8 we have always avoided the NZ summer months and prefer the to travel in the winter or spring with fewer crowds and lower prices. From what I gather, NZ is getting ridiculously crowded in high season but, for good reason, it is and incredible place.
As far as weather in NZ is concerned, expect the unexpected at any time of year.

Have you considered Australia?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2018, 12:16 AM
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Thanks Melnq8 for the link

Well, my plan was to go first 2 or 3 weeks of December, so that will be before the Christmas holiday and hopefully before the Christmas break crowd.

Crellston, I haven't though about Australia, it's much bigger and needs more time to explore I guess, plus from the pictures I felt that New Zealand has the edge over Australia when it comes to nature.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2018, 03:14 AM
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If having to choose between December or January because of school or work, I'd pick January because of fewer international visitor arrivals. According to statistics gathered by the NZ government, 513,349 international visitors arrived in December 2017, 379,228 international visitors arrived in January 2018, 423,456 international visitor arrived in February 2018 (which partly coincided with Chinese New Year-Spring Festival holidays), and 388,327 international visitor arrived in March.

As I said in my previous post, school holidays start in mid- to late-December, so it's way busier than early December. Kiwis on vacation + a huge number of international arrivals = super busy month. A lot of these folks are spending their holidays with friends and family in NZ; many Kiwi expats come home at this time of year. If you can come to NZ during those first two weeks of December, it's bound to be less busy, but two weeks won't be much time. You'd have to narrow down your choice of destinations, and it'd be best to stick to one island and only a few regions. Have you checked out the prices of airfares in December? If you'll be spending a lot of money and time to get over here, then try to spend three weeks instead of two.

NZ weather is unpredictable at any time. Of course, it will be warmer and drier in summer than in winter, spring or late autumn. But we can get summer storms. Usually, it does rain more in December than January, at least down here on the South Island, but this last year was a La Niņa year so the weather was even more atypical. It was the hottest recorded summer. Our weather is highly influenced by La Niņa and El Niņo events. In my first post, I mentioned that it'll be cyclone season in Fiji. NZ can be affected by these same cyclones, which, when they reach NZ are referred to as ex-cyclones.

I live in Dunedin, which is on the East Coast close to the bottom of the South Island. Because of La Niņa, our last summer, from about November to March, was great, and good weather stuck around until May. The water temperature was 6C warmer than usual. We had some miserable days, but far less than usual. But there were horribly damaging summer storms on the North Island and at the northwest coast of South Island.
Storms like these:
January 4, 2018:
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/01/weather-live-updates-heavy-rain-strong-wind-batters-nz.html
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/347487/as-it-happened-storm-creates-havoc-across-nz

January 31, 2018
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-z...w-zealand.html
Feb, 19, 2018:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/101...-seas-expected

NIWA (NZ's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) is currently predicting a warm summer with a 78 percent chance of an El Niņo, which "tend to mean a dry east coast and a wet west coast."

We had a mild winter and have been having a spectacular spring down south, so, while I'm not a meteorologist, I'm not surprised by this prediction. Last week, it was 22C (almost 72F) in Dunedin, but it rained today and snow is has been forecast for this week. Again, we get unpredictable, changeable weather, even within the same day.

It might get hot in January, but not as hot as Australia or the Philippines. Before you set out on any long NZ walks, enquire at the local tourist or DOC (Dept. of Conservation) office or at least read about the hike (track, walk) on the DOC website. In most tourist towns, you'll find an I-Site (tourism info office) and often a DOC office. In my town, they share a space. They'll have maps and helpful advice, including how to prepare for any hikes you'll be going on. In March, a couple of my friends, a doctor and nurse, came to the aid of a severely dehydrated hiker (here the word is tramper) on Wanaka's Roy's Peak Track. If you look at the DOC info page for this track, you'll see they recommend taking "plenty of food and drinking water" under "Be prepared", but the tramper failed to heed this advice. Thanks to my friends, he did okay.

If you think you'll be coming to NZ, you might want to post on the NZ forum as you'll get more responses.

Last edited by Diamantina; Sep 23rd, 2018 at 04:05 AM.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2018, 11:22 PM
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Sorry, Crellston, I had edited my post to include your comment, "expect the unexpected at any time of year" (because you're right, that's a good rule of thumb for NZ weather), but somehow posted an older auto-saved version.
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Old Sep 24th, 2018, 09:24 PM
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Hi All,

I would like to thank you all for helping me planning my trip. I decided to switch my destination to Argentina! It will be easier for me to drive there and explore the country, since I never drove on the left side of the road.

See you in the Argentinian Forum!
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