15 nights in New Zealand

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Apr 20th, 2018, 01:58 AM
  #21
 
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You don't have to drive to Marlborough/Blenheim to do some wine tasting (unless you're a NZ sauvignon blanc superfan). There are enough wineries in the Nelson area. See this link:
Nelson Archives - Cuisine Wine
http://cuisinewine.co.nz/wp-content/...oad/nelson.pdf
Try to get to Neudorf Winery in Upper Moutere (above Mapua). Kina Beach Vineyard and Ruby Bay Vineyard have accommodation.

In Wanaka, stop in at Rippon Winery for the view, and might as well try the wine while you're there.

Here's a link to a map of wineries in Central Otago (close to Queenstown, with Amisfield and those of Gibbston Valley being the closest).
http://cuisinewine.co.nz/wp-content/...tral-otago.pdf
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Apr 20th, 2018, 06:26 AM
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Diamantina - Haven't yet been to Vnow, but it's on the short list!
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Apr 20th, 2018, 09:23 AM
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"Tasmangirl is the expert on Waiheke. She lives in Auckland."

Where is Tasmangirl? I haven't seen many posts form her lately!!
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Apr 20th, 2018, 10:39 AM
  #24
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Thank you Diamantina. Again, extremely helpful. I think we'll stay around Nelson an extra day and fly to Auckland on Dec 31. Although initially wineries were not on my list after reading all the links I know we'll definitely hit a few. What I really need is an extra week as there is so much to see and do. Once we get closer and I've done more research, I will be back to you all with specific questions and restaurant recommendations if you have them - always interested in great places to eat and drink! Views are always appreciated. Thank you all so so much.
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Apr 22nd, 2018, 12:26 AM
  #25
 
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I am here...just been reading rather than writing about travel!
Thanks for the 'expert' status regarding Waiheke - not sure I really qualify but we do love the place!
Wherever you go Mary it will be awesome.
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Apr 23rd, 2018, 01:37 AM
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Tasmangirl, you're an expert on Waiheke as far as I'm concerned.
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Nov 5th, 2018, 05:00 PM
  #27
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Hello everyone
I want to thank all of you for you recommendations. I have finally buttoned up most of the trip keeping to the last itinerary I outlined. I did book onto a short cruise in Milford Sound, a boat trip and walk on Mou Waho Island in Wanaka, hiking trip in Abel Tasman and Heli Hiking in Franz Josef. Not sure about the Heli Hiking as it's quite pricey and not sure it's worth it - any thoughts on this? I'm afraid there will be a lot of standing around and the helicopter experience is 4 minutes roughly each way.

Quick question - Auckland for New Year's Eve. I know there are a few things going on but many of them are sold out or not really great for us (we are in our 60's and not interested in something like Wondergarden - a lot of standing and although we love to dance not sure this is the right venue for us). Any recommendations for ways in which we can celebrate NYE other than going for dinner? Also, is it easy enough to go to see the fireworks - we are staying in Auckland CBD right near the tower. Where would be the best place?

Thanks to everyone again, your help has been amazing!!!
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Nov 6th, 2018, 04:08 AM
  #28
 
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Sounds like a great trip so far!

I did the Franz Josef Glacier ice hike many years ago, when a helicopter ride wasn't yet necessary. You won't be standing around, but walking on ice, sometimes in crevasses, between walls of blue ice. You'll be supplied with boots, crampons, trekking poles, waterproof jackets and overpants, a waist pack, hat and gloves. We only took a short break to have snacks.

Sorry, I don't know anything about NYE in Auckland. Will you have a view of the Sky Tower from your hotel room?
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Nov 6th, 2018, 12:05 PM
  #29
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No, sadly, we won't have a view from our hotel room but I am sure we'll get to see it if we go outside. Thanks for your comments Diamantina. Trekking on the ice does sound good!
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Nov 6th, 2018, 02:42 PM
  #30
 
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You might want to walk down to Viaduct Harbour to join the crowds viewing the fireworks from there.
https://www.heartofthecity.co.nz/act...vities/viaduct

I think you'd enjoy the ice hike. How often do you get to walk around on, and enjoys view from atop, a glacier? And you can pose for a photo holding an ice axe (purely for show, only the guide carries one). Glaciers around the world are receding or disappearing entirely, so opportunities to walk on glaciers will become increasingly rare. The trip will be cancelled if the weather is poor.

It is expensive, but the NZ-US dollar exchange rate is very much in your favor right now. We just got back from California. We mostly stayed with friends but spent a couple of nights in a hotel. It was a standard room in a nice hotel, but for the amount we paid we could have stayed in a posh suite in Queenstown!

Your money will go farther here. When things seem pricey just think of the exchange rate, and keep in mind that New Zealand workers are paid a decent minimum wage and have access to universal single-payer medical coverage. Furthermore, if a visitor/tourist gets in an accident (perish the thought), such as a fender bender or if you accidently cut your finger while slicing tomatoes and need to go to the emergency room for stitches, this, too, will be covered by NZ health (ACC). Your tourist dollars make this possible.

Last edited by Diamantina; Nov 6th, 2018 at 03:17 PM.
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Nov 6th, 2018, 05:12 PM
  #31
 
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FWIW we took the Heli Hike several years ago, after visiting the glaciers many times, but never having decent enough weather to justify the cost. We rather enjoyed it, as a one-off experience. Yes, it's expensive, all the more reason to leave your booking until a few days prior when you know what the weather will be like (assuming that's even possible these days as NZ has become so busy).

Our tour guide only went as fast as the slowest participant, which, at the time, was entirely too slow for us, but the views from up top were pretty incredible.

Would I do it again? No. Am I glad I did it? Yes.
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Nov 7th, 2018, 08:25 AM
  #32
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Thanks Diamantina for your comments. Will look into the Viaduct area.

Melnq8 and Diamantina - The reason I questioned the heli hiking was that we have walked on glaciers in Calafate Argentina in the Patagonia region. We reached these glaciers via boat but the overall experience of walking on the glaciers was great. What I was wondering, since the helicopter ride is only 3-4 minutes, does walking on the glacier at obviously a high elevation merit taking the trip? Also, the one hell hiking group I was interested in is booked for the days I am there and that one provided a 3 hour hike up to the spires and beyond while the one that is available is 2 hours and goes only 1/3 of the way up - this is the one that most people comment on being too slow and too much talking. This could be the one you took Melnq8. Are you aware of other things to do if you don't heli hike there? There is a valley walk to a glacier but it doesn't look all that interesting to me.

Again, thanks for your advice.
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Nov 7th, 2018, 03:56 PM
  #33
 
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Now I understand. If the helihike you'd like to do is fully booked and you think you might be be feeling frustrated with the slower pace of the still-available helihike and that it might not measure up to the experience of your previous glacier walk, I'd suggest you skip it. Save your money. Or you can spend it on other experiences, such as the Skippers Canyon Jet Boat Tour out of Queenstown, which takes you on a 4 wheel drive ride on historic Skippers Canyon Road and then on a jet boat ride on the Shotover River:
https://www.skipperscanyonjet.co.nz/...jet-boat-tour/
Or you can do a cycle ride from Queenstown (you mentioned wanting to do a cycle ride in your original posting):
https://www.viator.com/Queenstown-tours/Bike-and-Mountain-Bike-Tours/d407-g16-c55?pref=02&aid=ggl-d407-g16-c55&mcid=28353&tsem=true&supci=-2125209860&supag=55652260501&supsc=s&supai=1934821 20902&supap=1t3&supdv=c&supnt=g&supti=aud-301244703583:kwd-43074765093&suplp=1011067&supli=&gclid=CjwKCAiAt4r fBRBKEiwAC678KSdZSTbSzJuM6KGd8cZl5fZkjDb7ytJEFQVU5 8nEgZ77TNElrzJPlRoCIPcQAvD_BwE

Have you checked out videos of the Franz Glacier Helihike on You Tube? This looks like a good one:

I had a friend who for three days in a row tried to go on a helihike in Franz Josef, but the weather prevented flights from taking off. This was in summer. It's one of the wettest places in the country. At the moment, the West Coast road is closed due to heavy rainfall. These closures don't usually last long.
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/natio...-front-sets-in

You can do the Franz Josef valley walk on your own; you don't have to go on a guided walk. It's beautiful, with views of this unique temperate rainforest ecosystem. If it's been raining, there will be small waterfalls cascading down from the rock walls. If you have any doubts about the condition of the track (for instance, if it's been raining), check with the Franz Josef I-Site Visitor Information Centre.
https://www.newzealand.com/int/plan/...tion-centre-1/
Here's a more info. on the Franz Josef valley floor walk:
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...hukarere-walk/
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk - Glacier Country New Zealand
Franz Josef is part of Te Wāhipounamu, the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area
https://www.doc.govt.nz/te-wahipounamu

Franz Josef is close to Okarito Beach and Lagoon and Okarito Forest.
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re.../okarito-area/
https://www.okarito.co.nz/
You might be interested in doing a wild kiwi spotting tour in Okarito Forest. We only saw one kiwi on this tour, but it was an interesting way to spend the evening:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Attrac...th_Island.html
Okarito Kiwi Tours South Island New Zealand

There can be a lot of sandflies on Okarito Beach. Or there can be few.

Franz Josef has a glow worm walk:
http://www.glaciercountry.co.nz/operators/?type=Activity&id=3&oid=56&o=Terrace_Walk
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re.../terrace-walk/

There are also kayaking trips on Lake Mapourika (not done this myself):
https://www.glacierkayaks.com/

Last edited by Diamantina; Nov 7th, 2018 at 04:24 PM.
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Nov 7th, 2018, 05:35 PM
  #34
 
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There are loads of walking tracks in the Fox/Franz Joseph area - loads - no costs involved. You might want to take a look at the walks from Gillespies Beach - you might even have the tracks entirely to yourselves (we did). Well, just us and the sandflies ...

https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...alking-tracks/
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Nov 8th, 2018, 07:24 AM
  #35
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Thank you so much Diamantina and Melnq8. The video is about the heli hike I couldn't get on - will keep trying as they get cancelations all the time. The Gillespies Beach walk looks great as do the other walks outlined in the links. I am sure we will not be short on things to do, even in the rain - and I hear it rains a lot. And I do intend on biking in the Queenstown area, thank you for the added info.

I am 4 weeks away from our trip and I am so excited. I want to thank everyone who was so helpful and encouraging throughout this process. Your help and guidance was much appreciated and played an integral role in designing the trip. Wishing everyone a great holiday season and a wonderful New Year.
Warm regards
Mary
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Nov 8th, 2018, 01:09 PM
  #36
 
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Have a wonderful trip nycmary!
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Nov 8th, 2018, 02:26 PM
  #37
 
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Best of luck, Mary, Have a safe and enjoyable trip.
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Jan 14th, 2019, 12:58 PM
  #38
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Hello everyone - Diamantina, Melnq8, tasmangirl, Tdiddy12 - I just wanted to thank all of you who helped make my trip fantastic. Diamantina - we did the Milford Cruise, picked a small boat - and it was truly wonderful. Thanks for your advice on that. We have been asked what our favorite places were and I can honestly say - it's impossible to pick out one or two or three etc. Loved doing some day hikes in Arrowtown and Queenstown and Te Anau, sadly, our Franz Josef heli hike was canceled but the walk in the valley to the glacier was lovely. The hike in Abel Tasman was amazing - wish we had another day there for another hike. Loved Lake Wanaka - took a guided nature hike on one of the nearby islands - delightful and interesting. The drive up the West Coast was beautiful providing views that could not be beat.

All this trip convinced us is that we have to plan another trip there as soon as we can get it together. Thank you all for a wonderful experience!!!
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Jan 14th, 2019, 03:06 PM
  #39
 
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nycmary, thanks for reporting back. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time and are already thinking about returning!
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Jan 15th, 2019, 10:00 AM
  #40
 
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nycmary,
I'm glad you had a good time! We so loved it and would like to go back. Also a shout out, again, to all who helped us on our trip. Diamantina, MeInq8 and tasmangirl. We just got back from two weeks in Zihuatenejo, Mexico and I proudly wore my New Zealand t-shirts and got a lot of comments. We've been back almost a year now, did the month of March last year and can't wait to go back. KEEP Traveling.
Tdiddy12
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