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barryzwick Feb 14th, 2010 06:10 PM

Auckland on Christmas, Queenstown for New Year's
Our itinerary puts us in Auckland for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Dec. 26, which I understand is also a legal holiday. We're a friendly enough couple, but nonetheless know no one in Auckland. What's open on these holidays? Any good ideas for the visitor? Are these good days or bad days for sailing to Waiheke--in fact, can one? Good or bad days for a bus tour to Rotorua? Yes, I know, everyone says we should drive. Sorry, not on the left, not during holidays. We're widely traveled but not looking to be dangers to everyone else.

We're traveling independently by air and bus and not on a tour. We're thinking of Queenstown or Christchurch on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Which do you recommend? In which city are more activities open to the visitor? Can you, for example, take the aerial tramway in Queenstown on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day? Are gardens or parks in Christchurch open on either day?

Thanks so much.

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mlgb Feb 15th, 2010 05:28 PM

A lot of restaurants in the Auckland business district are shut down for what seems like weeks around the holidays, but there should be limited bus and ferry service. I'd guess that restaurants in the major hotels and some on the Viaduct which cater to tourists will be open. There are quite a few Indian restaurants around which in my experience are open on Christmas Day. The museums and stores I"m sure will be closed on Christmas Day but probably open on Boxing Day.

susncrg Feb 15th, 2010 10:00 PM

I would pick Queenstown for Christmas Day. Since the entire town lives around tourism, many of the tour operators are open as well as restaurants.

dkw Feb 16th, 2010 01:30 AM

We spent Christmas in Queenstown in 2008 and there were alot of restaurants open, even on Christmas Day. In fact, we had dinner on Christmas Eve at the restaurant at the top of the tramway. Fantastic, massive buffet! We generally don't expect much of restaurants at major tourist attractions, but this buffet WAY exceeded our expectations.

We didn't participate in any tours on Christmas Day, but did take a mountain bike tour on Christmas Eve Day, and went rafting on Boxing Day.

I too would suggest that if you can flip things, you may want to consider Queenstown for Christmas, rather than Auckland.

barryzwick Feb 20th, 2010 08:51 AM

Thanks to dkw, susncrg and migb for your suggestions, and we will take them into account in our planning.

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