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Help with planning 7 weeks in NZ

Old Feb 28th, 2017, 03:44 PM
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Karamea is a dead end and no Google is not missing anything out! There is no road. I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort to get there.
If you have been to Wharariki Beach (?) you will find the scenery pretty much the same.
Waipoua Kauri forest does not take long to see so you could spend one night there. There is Tane Mahuta the largest kauri tree about 2,300 years old.
Paihia is easier to drive to than Russell. From Paihia for a day trip you could catch the ferry between the two.
I really like Whitianga - again it is probably easier to drive to in a campervan particularly if you go via Whangamata/Pauanui rather than the Thames/Coromandel village road. Lots of narrow windy roads in the area.
From Whitianga catch the passenger ferry over to Cook's Beach. It's a bit too far to walk to Cathedral Cove (13 km) so you could do that and Hot Water Beach in a day trip.
Waitomo Caves are very popular with tourists and offer a short cave experience or a full on black water experiences if you really like it underground.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 03:46 PM
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Thanks, google is showing 6.5 hours Karamea to Abel Tasman - way too much in one day hence the reason fork Murchison. I have probably been there but just can't recall it. Are there any other places tha would be better of and overnight spot on the way between the two places?

Sand flies - I hate those things!!!
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 04:06 PM
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Google underestimates hugely -anyway it's a long way.
You could stop by at the Nelson Lakes or have you done this? Some great walks around there.
Murchison is not that exciting! I can't remember it either so don't worry. For us growing up in Nelson and regularly doing the boring road trip to Christchurch it was the point that we looked forward to as we were just about home.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 05:56 PM
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<I have probably been there but just can't recall it.>

For good reason. The drive is pretty, the town pretty dull.

>

Funny how beautiful landscapes become boring when one lives in the place!

I get what you're saying tasmangirl - I used to feel the same way about the drive between Buena Vista and Divide, CO. As a kid, it bored me to tears. Only recently, as an adult returning to the area, did I realize what a spectacular drive it is and how lucky I am to live nearby.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 06:33 PM
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Karamea is out and back/end of the road country. I think I stayed in Westport before and probably Hokatika afterwards.. Cape Foulwind has a walkway near Westport. The Nikau palms are a unique landsape feature..you may think you're in Colombia!

If you are not going back down the west coast glaciers route you can cross back over via Arthur's Pass. There are also some good walks in that park and in Craigieburn Forest. And kea interactions.. or you could go first from Abel Tasman down toward Waipara/Hurunui wine country and Amberley and then cut across with a stop near Castle Hill/Flock Hill. You'll want to look into how the roads are in that area after the quake, e.g. I think Cheviot was badly hit in addition to Kaikoura.

http://visithurunui.co.nz/accommodation

I doubt anyone hates sandflies more than I do!



All of these routes are weather dependent. I learned how to read the isobar maps and plan my routing depending on where the rain is coming from next.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 08:17 PM
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Re the River road it took a full day. Can't recall where I started from though..
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 08:35 PM
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And yes on going all these way to Paradise and to Kinloch (there was a campground across from the Kinlich Lodge.)


The Kinloch Lodge website has info on walks. I remember enjoying Sylvan Lake as an easy forest walk to a pretty lake, passed someone in a dress shirt carrying his trout back. The lodge probably rents gear.
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Old Mar 5th, 2017, 12:26 AM
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Here is a first draft of our outline proposed itinerary. We arrive in Christchurch at Midnight on 26 Aug and will stay overnight in an airport hotel and pick up our van at 08.30 on Sun 27. The plan is to hit the nearest supermarket to stock up and then head off to Geraldine to stay at one of our favourite DOC site at Waika Gorge to kick off our trip.


Day Location
1 Geraldine (DOC Waika Gorge)
2 Oamaru (Moeraki/penguins/Otago Rail track ride)
3 Oamaru
4 Omarama
5 Glenorchy (via Queenstown to stock up on provisions)
6 Glenorchy
7 Glenorchy
8 Wanaka/Mt Aspiring NP (or perhaps some time at Lake Hawea?)
9 Wanaka/Mt Aspiring NP
10 Wanaka/Mt Aspiring NP
11 Jackson Bay
12 Jackson Bay
13 Hokitika
14 Karamea
15 Karamea
16 Nelson Lakes NP (via St Arnaud)
17 Nelson Lakes NP
18 Nelson Lakes NP
19 Golden Bay/Farewell Spit
20 Golden Bay/Farewell Spit
21 Abel Tasman NP
22 Abel Tasman NP
23 Abel Tasman NP
24 Marlborough Sound QCT
25 Marlborough Sound QCT
26 Marlborough Sound QCT
27 Picton ferry

I have tried to allocate more time to new places (like Nelson Lakes and Glenorchy) as well as adding time to places were barely skipped over on previous trips) .

I am trying to get the south island sorted out before allocating time and time to the north island.

On the basis of the above itnerary, we would have 23 days in the North. i was originally planning on less but, the more i look the more I get the feeling that i may have shortchanged the north on past trips.

I appreciate that this route leaves out some of the more famous sights, places like Aoraki, the Glaciers etc. but we have seen these before (and we will probably stop off en route at the glaciers to have a quick look and wander around Lake Mattheson)

I have tried to ensure that changing locations involves driving times of less than 4 hours max.

A few questions:
1. does this seem like a reasonable route? Too much or too little time anywhere?
2. i am in two minds re Oamaru - and did consider Tekapo ( been twice before) - Omarama - any thoughts?
3. Have i allocated enough/too much time between Abel Tasman and Marlborough?
4. anyone know of decent campsites in and around both locations. Especially Abel Tasman NP. Torantanui seems to bee the only accessible one actually in the park?
5. Keen on hiking so any recommendations for any of these locations would be appreciated

For some reason always seem to choose a clockwise route?? I suppose we could take an anti clockwise route but i am not clear on the driving options north from Christchurch post earthquake. Kaikora is one of our fav. places but from what i can ascertain the coastal road is not likely to be reopened this year
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Old Mar 5th, 2017, 01:18 AM
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Otago Rail Trail from Oamaru? Are you thinking of Alps to Ocean bike trail?
http://www.alps2ocean.com/

Info on Otago Central Rail Trail
http://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz/
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Old Mar 5th, 2017, 07:05 AM
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Crap, I just lost a very long response to your post!

Torantanui is where most Abel Tasman walkers end their treks, as it's the last boat pick up. However, it's possible to continue walking the track around the headland from Totaranui to Whariwharangi Hug and then on to Wainui. We did this once, and really enjoyed it - you will probably have the track to yourselves in August.

There's a nice little cafe called Penguins in Pohara, which you will pass on the way to Torantanui - we always stop there when in the area. It's named after the little blue penguins in the area - be sure to see if they're out and about, not sure of their schedules in August.

We've used Takaka as a base for exploring the area many times - it's one of our favorite spots. Takaka has a laid back hippie vibe and is more interesting than it appears at first glance.

As for campsites -

You'll find Marahau Beach Camp at the south entrance to the park:

http://www.abeltasmancentre.co.nz/

On the Golden Bay side you'll find these:

Golden Bay Holiday Park -

The park is on the seafront, 1 km down Tukurua Road, which is off the road between Takaka and Collingwood. Farewell spit, Cape Farewell and Wharariki beach are about an hour around the Bay to the North. The Abel Tasman Park and the start of the Abel Tasman Walkway are about an hour in the opposite direction. From the campsite it is 20 minutes to Takaka and less than 10 minutes to Collingwood.

Then there's Wharariki Beach -

http://www.whararikibeachholidaypark.co.nz/

And Collingwood Motor Camp:

http://collingwoodmotorcamp.co.nz/accommodation/

Having never camped in NZ, I can't say if they're good or not, but the surroundings certainly are.

I'll look at my notes for more hikes in the Golden Bay area and post back.
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Old Mar 5th, 2017, 07:25 AM
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In the Golden Bay area -

Waikoropupu Springs (known locally as pu-pu springs) - short boardwalk through NZ's largest freshwater springs - sacred spot for the Maori

Walk to Wharariki Beach - windy!

If you can fit it it, you might enjoy the all day Farewell Spit tour, lots of birds and a tour few international visitors seem to take - I've been twice, thought it was fantastic.

It's possible to walk a small section of the beach on your own, but otherwise it's controlled access.

Walks in the vicinity of Takaka/Golden Bay:

Wainui Falls Track - only 30 minutes - accessible northeast of Takaka at Wainui Bay

The Grove Scenic Reserve - an easy track leads through a tunnel of limestone rock to a viewing platform, short walk

Milnthorpe Park, 22 miles northeast of Takaka, a scenic reserve and reforestation project where non-native trees have been planted in an attempt to quickly regenerate the area. Take a track map, there are about 30 intersecting tracks through here Mitch’s Loop and Bellshill are the most challenging of the 11 we walked).

Kaituna Track - near Collingwood - follow the signs to Bainham to the Possum Cafe, situated on the edge of the Kahurangi Forest, directly across the road from the Kaituna Track. The cafe is quite interesting, due in no small measure to its remote location.

http://www.nakedpossum.com/
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 02:00 AM
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Not sure which one I meant diamantina! I will have to check. Thanks for the links.

"Crap, I just lost a very long response to your post!" and i thought that only happened to me . Thanks for taking the time to repost.

Thanks for the tips on Golden Bay, seems we like the same places! Visited some of those you mention (Wharariki Beach is my favourite beach in NZ, if not the world!) - others I have never heard of so will check those out. So much to see in the area and so few people around in September that I may have increase our time there..


All really helpful stuff, I am very grateful..
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 10:46 AM
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Here's your link to the Kinloch campsite

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...lenorchy-area/


Re the routing via Omarama it's far less scenic than going by Lindis Pass and then taking the "PigRoot" though the Maniototo which is 85 and comes out just south of Moeraki.Probably very could in August but maybe you can catch a curling match!

Moeraki harbor is the location of Fleur's Place restaurant, worth a detour if you like seafood...For me more of an attraction than the boulders.

I visited shortly after it opened and the famous Fleur was filling in as a server and she asked ME what the soup of the day was!

Oamaru is an attractive town but don't know if those penguins are around in August. I visited for the golf course and the penguins and the cheese and was doing a bit of a Janet Frame tribute tour. Recommend watching An Angel at My Table (1990)or even better reading the autobiography.

RE the direction of the routing.. I have done it counterclockwise and seemingly was nearly the only one I don't really know why that is. I was keeping an eye on the weather and saw that the fronts had moved around to coming from the east and wanted to hit the Glaciers while it was sunny. Apparently it had been raining solid for weeks (or months?) just prior.

So keep an eye on the metservice website as well as the DOC warnings.

I prefer Abel Tasman to Marlborough Sounds, if you take the ferry back to the NI..maybe drop a day there.

I have not been down to Jackson's Bay. As the west coast often has the sandflies and bad weather locked up , at a certain point you just want to keep going and get over to the east/drier side of the Southern Alps.

I believe the Fiordland Crested are around in August, and you can try to see them at Munro Beach. The blues are in fairly low numbers in August, more in September so you may want to plan those activities toward the end of you loop.
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Old Mar 8th, 2017, 02:28 AM
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Thanks for the link to the kinloch campsite etc. Lookslike a great place with loads on the doorstep.

The "Pigroute" along 85 does make a lot more sense, why dint I think of that. We will be in the oamaru area at the end of the month so maybe the penguins will be around. One of the main reasons for visiting will be to visit the steampunk museum, which we missed the last time. Maybe will add a night around Moeraki and visit Fleur. I vaguely recall we stopped at a beachside freedom site between Oamaru and Moeraki.

Re clockwise/counterclockwise maybe it is cultural/psychological thing. When we lived in Spain, we noticed we were always walking around museums, gallery's, places of interest in the opposite direction to the locals? I take what you say re keeping an eye on the weather reports. On previous visited we have been reasonably lucky and this time we have enough time to vary our route if need be. Had the coast road to Kairkoura, always a favourite stop, been open that would have afforded a lot more flexibility in changing routes. Who knows it may be open by September!
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Old Mar 12th, 2017, 01:55 PM
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crellston - here's a vote for Oamaru, so long as you can see the penguins. We liked the town which has a unique collection of Victorian buildings including an opera house, plus a botanical garden which we greatly enjoyed, but i'm not sure that it would be worth it if you couldn't see the penguins.

http://www.penguins.co.nz/new-zealand/

Here's the website for the penguin colony but all we did was to park by the beach and watch them come ashore - there are no problems with seeing them there and people were very respectful of their needs.

BTW we didn't eat a Fleur's but we had one of the best meals of the trip at an italian restaurant in Oamaru:

http://www.cucinaoamaru.co.nz/site/
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Old Mar 13th, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for that annhig. I like Oamaru, a pleasant little town where, as someone here pointed to me, I managed to photograph some "penguins" for our blog which turned out to be some other lesser bird - a greater shag or some such! I also recall calling in at the iSite and being told that it was $40 to go see one particular type of penguin!!!! so I think I may give these birds amiss this time around. I think we are set on a visit to the Steampunk museum, stocking up on provisions and then off to the wilds of route 85 where I have found some nice DOC campsites - with a poss diversion via Fleurs or Cucina Oamaru!
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Old Mar 13th, 2017, 01:56 PM
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crellston -we too were horrified by the cost of the official penguin visit, but so long as penguins are present, there is no problem seeing them - they just walk up onto the beach at dusk. [we're talking about fairy or little blue penguins here, not sure about any other sorts in the area].

You should also go down onto the beach at Moeraki to see the weird boulders - they look like something out of Dr Who!
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 03:09 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your input on our South Island itinerary, now for the north. So far I have come up with the following:

1 Wellington
2 Whanganui
3 Whanganui
4 Taranaki
5 Taranaki
6 Taranaki
7 Ohakune
8 Ohakune
9 Turangi/Tongariro
10 Turangi/Tongariro
11 Taupo
12 Whakatane
13 Mt Maunganui
14 Coramandel
15 Coramandel
16 Coramandel
17 Bay of Islands area
18 Bay of Islands area
19 Bay of Islands area
20 Cape Reinga
21 90 mile beach
22 90 mile beach
23 Auckland area
24 Auckland depart

Apart from Coramandel and Taupo, most of these places are new to us so any input would be much appreciated. The Tongariro crossing is a possible but clearly weather dependent and I may decide to cut some time in Turangi or Ohakune. No time in Rotarua apart from passing through as we have visited twice before.

Any glaring omissions? Too much time anywhere? In the Bay of Islands, I am think of staying in Pahia, Kerikeri or Russell - any thoughts on which would be best or maybe a combination?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 04:25 AM
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I'm not expert on the NI, Crellston, but I do notice that you have a few one night stands in the middle of the itinerary - for example I don't think that you would need to stay at both Whakatane and Mt Maunganui - they are only about an hour's drive apart.

OTOH the drive from the Coromandel to the Bay of Islands is a long one - nearly 5 hours, even if you stay in Thames. if you stay further north on the Coromandel, it will take even longer and I know from experience that the roads on the Coromandel take quite a long time!

We stayed at a very nice B&B in Thames which has a beautiful garden and as we were going to be arriving after a flight from OZ, we booked dinner there as well - it was one of the best we had on the whole trip:

http://www.cotswoldcottage.co.nz

When we left they told us about a very interesting area to explore on our way to Napier which was a walk around abandoned mine workings - it was somewhere near Waihi I think but I can't remember much more about where it was than that.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 05:20 AM
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Have you checked out the west coast beaches e.g at Muriwai and Bethell's.. you can do them on the way back toward Auckland.

http://www.newzealand.com/us/feature...coast-beaches/

For the Bay of Islands Russell involves more driving if you were to use it as a base. Paihia is close to Waitangi.

I might just do a stop over in Kerikeri on the way to spending the night at Matail Bay..it's worth the drive

http://www.doc.govt.nz/maitai?region...#activitypanel
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