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Advice for 25th Anniversary in NEW ZEALAND, south island, in February 2007??

Advice for 25th Anniversary in NEW ZEALAND, south island, in February 2007??

Old Aug 7th, 2006, 01:27 PM
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Advice for 25th Anniversary in NEW ZEALAND, south island, in February 2007??

Hi fodorites, I'm trying to plan a very romantic 25th anniversary trip in January/February 2007. We are leaning towards New Zealand (but also on the table are Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Chile.)

I think New Zealand is going to win because Australia seems too hot in January; we have already been to Hawaii; Fiji and Tahiti are so far for us and I'm not sure they are better than Hawaii which is closer to our home, San Diego...

We were in New Zealand over 20 years ago and it was a magnificent whirlwind tour. Would love to go back and spend the whole time on the south island, scenic areas...

The flight from San Diego to either Auckland or Christchurch is so awfully long...over 17 hours...we will only have a maximum or 10 days for the trip...long enough?

I notice prices on Quantas go down on February 1...we could fly after February 1...

Suggestions for romance in New Zealand? (Also still considering the other places...have to decide soon...)

Thanks! Oh, we enjoy easy hikes, scenic wonders, eating where the locals eat, culture and history, getting off the beaten path sometimes; music; nice rooms with a view; and my husband is a biologist and gets excited about native flora and fauna.

Has anybody been way south in New Zealand? I heard it's beautiful and less touristy on the very southern tip of New Zealand?

Loved Milford Sound on our first trip...remember having just a few hours up at gorgoue and silent Mt. Cook...(I think it's called Mt. Cook...it's been a long time!!!)

If we fly on February 1, will New Zealand will be crowded with buses? (We will rent a car?)

Thanks very much!

Anybody have experience with flying to New Zealand from San Diego or LAX, California??
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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Typo above...I meant "GORGEOUS and silent Mt. Cook".
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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 06:23 PM
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I've flown from NZ to LAX several times, although not recently. My flights were on United and Air NZ, both times in business class, both times part of around-the-world tickets on Star Alliance partners.

Yes, it's a long flight, about 12 hours I think, but much shorter than the flight from Singapore to LAX that I find myself on twice a year these days - 16.5 hours in Executive Economy. Yikes.

Where exactly do you mean by "way south"? We've been to Stewart Island, which is about as far south as you can get. We've also spent time in Invercargill and Dunedin, as have many on this board. Dunedin has alot of options, whereas Invercargill is pretty much a flat, agricultural town. Invercargill tends to get a bad rap, but we found plenty there to keep us busy for a few days. Romantic? Definitely not.

It took us years to finally work Stewart Island into our itinerary. We enjoyed it, but probably won't go back. I believe there are one or two exclusive lodging options there, and there's enough to keep a person busy for a few days - hiking, birdwatching, etc.

I've found way north on the South Island to be "less touristy", but I've never been during the height of the tourist season (Dec-Feb) so keep that in mind.

I love the Golden Bay area. Lots of things to see and do. The Marlborough Sounds, which I mentioned on your previous thread is also a great place and an easy place to lose oneself.

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Old Aug 7th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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These are some of the top things to do in New Zealand from New Zealand travellerís feedback, and are in no order. I have tried to put them in order, starting at the top of New Zealand to the bottom of New Zealand

Throughout New Zealand
Buy the Lord of the Rings location guide, and do some hunting out of familiar scenes from the LOTR trilogy.

North Island
Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach
Swim with the dolphins in Paihia, Bay of Islands
Vertigo Climb, Auckland Skytower - beyond the observation decks, and wear an orange suit to do it.
Take a ferry or kayak from Mission Bay, Auckland to Rangitoto Island & climb to the top.
Waiheke Island - only 35 mins by ferry from Auckland, for some great wineries, maybe spend the night.
Raglan- & catch some wild surf.
Waitomo Haggas Honking Holes and tubing the glow-worm caves
Kayak from Whitianga to Cathedral Cove - then go to Hot Water beach and dig your hole in the sand
Drive from Opotiki to Gisborne then around the East Cape and back to Opotiki
Hawkes Bay- wineries, East Coast, North Island
Whakatane- Take a scenic flight over White Island, an active volcano.
Rotorua - to see the geysers, thermal activity and smell, visit Te Whakawerwera for your Maori cultural experience.
Drive out to Lake Tarawera near Rotorua- check out the Blue and Green lakes on the way
Taupo- Tandem Skydive 12,000ft
Craters of the moon outside of Taupo
Tongariro Crossing- one of the best one-day walks in the world, stunning scenery with volcanoes
Walk up Mount Taranaki- West Coast, North Island
Watch the sun rise at Te Araroa - the eastern most place in NZ
Martinborough- wineries- bottom East Coast, North Island
Te Papa Museum in Wellington- you could spend all day here learning about NZ / Maori -culture

South Island
Abel Tasman- for relaxing walking and kayaking around the National Park
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds- Top, South Island
Marlborough- wineries, top East Coast, South Island
Kaikoura- for whale watching and swimming with dolphins
4 day hike, Banks Peninsula - East Coast, South Island
Moeraki Boulders - East Coast, South Island for unusual round boulders
Christchurch- Arts Centre
Akaroa- for a bit of French New Zealand history
Dunedin- for historic homes, albatross, yellow eyed penguins and seal colonies
Oamaru- for Old Oamaru Stone buildings and Penguin watching
Pancake Rocks and blowholes- Punakaiki, upper West Coast, South Island
Mount Cook - South Island
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers- West Coast, South Island
While looking at the glaciers in the Fox/Franz Josef area take a cruise out to Lake Matheson first thing in the morning to take some amazing photos of the reflection of Mount Cook in the water
Wanaka- a relaxing place in Central Otago
Arrowtown- an old Central Otago Goldfields town with an old Chinese village, 20 minutes from Queenstown
Queenstown- for adventure activities and party atmosphere
Pipeline Bungy Jump in Queenstown
Drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy- have a beer at the Glenorchy pub, after stopping and taking plenty of photos whilst on the drive
Queenstown- wineries
5 day trek of Routeburn/Greenstone Track
Walk Milford Track- one of the Worlds best.
Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park- lower West Coast, South Island
Doubtful Sound in the Fiordland National Park- swim with dolphins
The Catlins- for nature East Coast, South Island
Stewart Island- for nature bottom South Island

Once you have done all these things you will have had a great look around beautiful New Zealand

More New Zealand stuff

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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 12:04 AM
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Melnq8, I thought it was 17 hours from LAX to New Zealand? Which New Zealand city did you fly into/out of? We actually live in San Diego, and sometimes drive up to LAX if the flight is cheaper. Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, I was thinking as far south as Stewart Island, but you don't sound like it was too exciting for you. Now, I haven't checked out "way north" on the south island yet. We're still trying to decide for sure which country we are going to! New Zealand is still a top choice.

GBZ, thanks for the huge list of things to do! What is your favorite?

I am very excited about the idea of New Zealand for this anniversary.
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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Melissa -

Our last flight from Auckland to LAX took just under 12 hours. I've never flown LAX to Auckland, but sometimes flights do take longer one way than the other, (Singapore to LAX is a prime example) although certainly not 5 hours more.

Last time I checked, Qantas, Air NZ and United were all flying this route. Don't forget, you'll be crossing the international dateline.

From Auckland, it's a short hop to Christchurch by plane or you can take the ferry from Wellington to Picton. I think the ferry takes about three hours.

Don't get me wrong about Stewart Island - we enjoyed it. We're avid walkers and that's what we did - walked. I mentioned that we probably wouldn't return primarily because getting there can be a logistical nightmare unless you have plenty of time.

To get to Stewart Island, we spent one night in Omarau (we didn't want to drive any further than that after a long overseas flight) and one night in Invercargill, then drove to Bluff, paid to park our rental car for three days and took the ferry to Stewart Island. All this just as a means of getting there. That's fine if you're headed that way anyway, but it's time consuming otherwise.
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Melnq8, I see the problem with Stewart Island. My husband did indicate that if we go to New Zealand, since it's so far, he might be able to get a few extra days off work...maybe we will have closer to 2 weeks which would be great.

I scared him when I said I am picturing special accomodations every night. I think he was imagining Ritzy places every night and he said we better go someplace really close and short! I said no wait, I can find us romantic accomodations in New Zealand for 2 weeks for the same price that a bungalow over the water would cost for 1 week in Fiji or Tahiti! He is afraid he is going to have to stay with a lot of "snooty" people.
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Old Aug 9th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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Flying from LAX to AKL is 12-13 hours. If you are coming up with 17 hours you are picking up a layover along the way (and you don't want to do that!). United no longer flies LAX to AKL but the good news is that you will code share on Air New Zealand, which is much better!

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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 01:01 AM
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mlgb, thanks for the info on the 12-13 hour flights from LAX to AKL. Which web-site would I find those on? I was looking in several places including the Quantas web-site. (We are actually coming from San Diego, but sometimes we drive up to LAX if the price and schedule is convenient...sometimes we prefer to fly out of San Diego.)
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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I fly only Air New Zealand to Auckland from LAX and I promise you it's only 12 hours. Go to the website at airnewzealand.com and take a look at their online deals, which are pretty good. The fares do fluctuate some due to the time of year, and sometimes you get a free stopover on the way back. You also will get United FF miles, if that's important.
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Check out this site www.touchofspice.co.nz for really special services and accommodation which would be ideal for a romantic occasion in Queenstown. Queenstown is always a great destination because the range of options is so varied. Jan/Feb, particularly Feb is the best time of summer. Not too hot, long evenings and not too busy. Also check out: www.queenstown-nz.co.nz. Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 11:26 PM
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oliverandharry, thanks, I will check out the air new zealand site...do you think that's better for flying from LAX (better than Quantas?) How comfortable and roomy are the seats, relatively speaking? (We just flew Aer Lingus from LAX to Dublin and the seats were worn and extremely cramped... Yet when we flew Lufthansa to Italy in 2004, the seats were much more comfortable and noticably roomier.) We find there are some airlines which are more comfortable than others...
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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See the web site, www.seatguru.com/
and you will find air line seat technical data giving you the seat width and pitch [distance front to back] for the flight you are considering.

You will need to have details on what aircraft you will be on. They also show the seats on a diagram so you can learn how many seats across too.

Hope this is of help.

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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 01:46 AM
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Woodie, I have heard of that web-site and it sounds like one I will want to consult from now on. Thanks for the link.
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Old Aug 15th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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We flew Air New Zealand and were happy with the seats and the service. Their website has descriptions of their seats, the amount of leg room, etc.

LEe Ann
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 12:42 AM
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Yes, you need the Air New Zealand nonstop flight. The seating even in economy was not too bad and the service was good.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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For a romantic trip I would recommend the "tourist trail" in the South Island. Fly into Christchurch. Stay at a nice hotel and spend a day or two citying it. You are only talking $150NZD a night for a fairly nice hotel if you look hard enough.

Travel early Feb just after school goes back.

Rent a car and drive SH8. Stop at Lake Tekapo (perhaps for a stay) - some swanky places here and good if you like fishing or water sports.

Picture stop at Lake Pukaki and you can turn off the Mt Cook if you want. (fill up!!)

Next stop Wanaka. Then Queenstown. Day trip to Milford. If you still have a car get up for the early 11am sailing - you will have the road to yourselves. The Buses do the 1pm sailing.

Queenstown is the most expensive place, always many toursits so book early. And if you were there 20 years ago it has changed a lot. But I still think it is one of the best places in NZ and cannot be convinced otherwise.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Hubby and I spent 3 weeks on the South Island last year and are planning our next trip. Our favorites, besides doing the Milford Track? Swimming with the Dolphins in Kaikoura and kayaking in Abel Tasman. We rented an apartment in Nelson and had gorgeous views. Our next trip will be walking the Queen Charlotte Track. (Queenstown was too busy and touristy for us, though we had some good times there.)

Enough about me...I really logged on to tell you that we flew Qantas as well, and the thing that made our flight bearable was picking our seats wisely. Go to SeatGuru http://www.seatguru.com/ and check out your plane. When I did that, I found out that in the back of our plane were three rows of 2 seats accross, rather than 3 accross. NOT sitting next to a stranger for 12 hours is a good thing.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old Aug 20th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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Good to see you are leaning towards NZ. Excellent choice! Renting a car is the absolute best way to get around NZ. The roads are perfect & it is completely safe. There isn't even any wildlife about which to worry. For romance, you must stay at the Whiteshadows B&B in Queenstown- there is no better place. The website does not do it any justice. It is by far and away one of the most romantic spots on our planet. The hosts are lovely- they are from the U.S. The food is fantastic. The scencery is breathtaking and the accomdations are beyond lovely. Based on your previous posts, the SW corner of NZ will meet all of your needs. You may want to stay in Te Anau as well. . . . best of luck. GL
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Old Aug 24th, 2006, 12:15 AM
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The final decision is 2 weeks in New Zealand for our 25th anniversary...in early February! Waaa-hoooo! I my husband.

That is 2 weeks including travel time. We will want to fly out of LAX and get the direct flight to New Zealand.

Well, maybe I should post a new question, as this one actually mentions other counties as a possibility, but now the final decision is definitely for New Zealand. (Since my husband voted for my favorite choice!)

We also have some future trips to look forward to, as we have put the Cook Islands and Greece on our "future trips" list for September trips...and Chile is on the list for "someday" as well.

ELENDILPICKLE: Good to know that Air New Zealand has comfortable seats and that their web-site has some seat info.

Mlgb: Good to hear from another person who had a good experience with Air New Zealand.

WILEES: Thanks for all the tips for New Zealand! I like that tip about taking the 11:00 am Milford Sound trip since the buses do the 1:00 trip... Somebody else mentioned there's an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound...

Jelley: Well thanks for letting me know you enjoyed Quantas...I guess I will compare flight times and prices for Air New Zealand and Quantas out of LAX...Actually we live in San Diego but usually for international flights the best times are available by driving up to LAX...

Gaillauren: Thanks for your recommendations.

I am so excited! Okay I'm going to post a new question on New Zealand only since now our choice is made...Thanks everyone!
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