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Help with planning 7 weeks in NZ

Old Mar 17th, 2017, 01:24 PM
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Annhig, are you thinking of Karangahake Gorge?
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 02:12 PM
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yes, thank you deSchenke. the Karangahake Gorge it is and it was most interesting.
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 04:38 AM
  #43  
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annhig - you are of course correct re Whakatane and Mt Maunganui, I will pick one or the other. Also, your comments re the long drive from Coramadel. The last time we were there we were driving back from Coromandel town and it felt as though we were driving forever. I am rethinking whether we want to return yo coramandel at all on this trip and maybe add the days elsewhere??

Mlgb, Bethells or Muriwai look like perfectbplaces for our last night before returning the van in Auckland - thanks!

Maitai bay also looks amazing. Do you feel it is worth adding more days in tenBay of Islands area if we miss out coramandel?
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Old Mar 19th, 2017, 07:44 AM
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Hi Crellston -we had the Bay of Islands on our radar too but decided that it would be too much driving - thank goodness. What we did was bad enough. I can't help you with whether you should drop the Coromandel in favour of the Bay of Islands though as we never made it to the latter. It does look very interesting and worth the trip - but you would need somewhere to stay en route between Whakatane and the Bay of islands - google is saying that it's nearly 7 hours to drive so you couldn't do that in a day, even if it were accurate. [it's likely to be over optimistic, IME]

if you dropped the Coromandel that gives you another 3 days - which you coulf distribute between the Bay of islands and a one night stop en route.
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Old Mar 20th, 2017, 11:04 PM
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You could not drive all the way around the Coromandel Peninsula ( I liked Cathedral Cove and Kuaotunu well enough) http://www.whitianga.co.nz/about/discover-kuaotunu

Final night before heading north was Thames...So still 3 nights but less driving.

I like about 2 full days for the touristy bits of Bay of I, historic sites and maybe the farmers market although not sure if it is good in August. The wineries that way are not so great IMO. I would do 2 nights in Paihia and if the sun is out then Doubtless/Matai. When there isn't sun and the wind is blowing it is less spectacular!

I never went up to 90 mile beach so will be interesting to hear about, is it tour only?

Depending on how you route Northland, you may be interested in these historic hot springs, it was often stop #1 after I picked up my car rental in Auckland.

http://www.ngawha.com/

If you have never been down the west side of Northland I would try to make time for it, Hokianga Harbor etc is also nice scenery.
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 02:14 AM
  #46  
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Comments noted re long drive into and out of the Coramandel. Still not sure whether it is worth the diversion into Coramadel, however, I too liked Cathedral Cove also enjoyed the drive along route 309 from Whitianga https://accidentalnomads.com/2016/05...ith-wild-pigs/

By the time we hit B of I it will be October, so, based on previous experiences, I would hope the weather will be warming up a little and the farmers markets too.

Tours to 90 mile beach seem to be offered by just about everyone in the area but I was planning on DIY as our camper has no restrictions on off road (apart of course from not being a complete idiot! ). As part of the deal with Wilderness, I got a free PDF copy of "NZ Frenzy SI" a guide book written by a Kiwi that has lots of great info on less visited places which has a few ideas on places similar to 90 m.

Hot springs are always good. Especially when travelling in a camper where one may not shower as often as normal

Will check out Hokianga and the west coast - I think we stuck to the eas Bon our last visit.
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 04:57 AM
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Scott Cook, author of NZ Frenzy, is an American from Oregon

I found his book cleverly written, but only semi-helpful. He claims to cover places in NZ that other travel guides have overlooked, but anyone who has visited the NZ DOC website will find everything they ever wanted to know about these spots, plus some. DOC does a wonderful job IMO.

I just hope Scott Cook doesn't do to NZ what Rick Steves has done to some parts of Switzerland.
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 06:34 AM
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An American! Well I never! I haven't used his guide on the ground yet so I cannot judge.

I do agree, the DOC website does an amazing amount job of providing information. Also, www.newzealand.com has been very useful for creating a list of likely places - at least it was until I went back to look at he 50 plus places I had saved to my list and found they had disappeared!!!!

My problem with New Zealand is that there is just a huge amount of great information out there (more than anywhere else I have been) , that the problem is mainly in filtering that info and getting it down to manageable levels.

PS I have never been to Switzerland and haven't a clue who Rick Steves is so can't possibly comment
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 06:46 AM
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Like Peru, too many places, too little time. That was my spot for annual vacations until the USD tanked. I was back again a few years ago after friends moved to Auckland. For my earlier travels I often used the NZ Golf Guide which took me to some out of the way spots and met some great people.

But I got tipped off to Matai Bay on Tripadvisor, by asking for the most beautiful beach in Northland.
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Old Mar 21st, 2017, 04:35 PM
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Ohakune and Turangi are only about 1 hour apart (well in the car we have never had a campervan in NZ). It's a lovely area but in bad weather 4 nights maybe too long so Plan B could be Taupo where there is more stuff to do like movies or hot pool swims.
Doing the TAC in winter requires a guide for the average person or highly skilled at walking in alpine conditions if you are going solo. But there are other great shorter walks to do. What about a day skiing? Mt Ruapehu maybe covered in snow and the Whakapapa ski field offers great views on a nice day even if you just drive up there.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2017, 09:17 AM
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You are right tasmangirl, our time in the Tongariro areas is definitelygoing to be weather dependent. Our first time there was in July2008, the weather and snow closed in and we ended up putting your Plan B into practice. We ended up in a packed cinema watching Mama Mia - me and the one other guy there did feel a little out of place in a cinema full of women enjoyed the film though. Nice hot springs too! I am hoping for better this time as we will arrive in October

Thanks, I think I will give the skiing a miss. I am way too accident prone for that! I have already had to give up horse riding due to my propensity for continually falling.

Any suggestions for shorter walks in that location would be much appreciated. I seem to recall reading somewhere about a walking and biking track along a disused railway near Okahune but can't seem to find it again.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2017, 03:54 PM
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That would be Old Coach Rd. We biked it a couple of weeks ago. The next day we did a one-day trip to the Bridge to Nowhere, including jetboat and some canoeing. Our rainy-day option was the climbing gym in Ohakune, but it didn't rain - lucky us.

You may consider the Taranaki Falls walk from Whakapapa Village. On Mountain Rd, from Ohakune, is the walk to Waitonga Falls. Both were impressive.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:58 PM
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Thanks deSchenke. That was been winding me up for days! Taranaki and Waitonga Falls both look great and have been added to the list. As mlgb says, "too many places, too little time"
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Old Mar 23rd, 2017, 12:11 PM
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On the road to Karamea, about 16k north of Westport you will pass through the small town of Waimangaroa. It is worthwhile taking a short side trip from there to Denniston, an old mining settlement perched on the top of the hill. The mining displays are very interesting and, on a clear day, the view down the coast is spectacular.

Rob.
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Old Mar 29th, 2017, 03:35 AM
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For several years I’ve been traveling. I have visited almost every country. I also teach people how to travel for nearly free using points and miles. There’s something amazing about encouraging people to dream about a place they’ve never visited. As a traveler, I think these are the best destinations I have visited in New Zealand.

MOUNT TARANAKI

Situated in the region of the same name, on the North Island's western coast, Taranaki is a 2518m volcanic cone that last erupted in the mid-19th century.

FOX GLACIER CAVE

The South Island's Westland National Park is home to this glacier and its spectacular ice caves. In 13km, the Fox drops from the peaks of the Southern Alps to rainforest along the coast.

SOUTHERN ALP PEAKS

New Zealand's tallest mountain range contains 20 peaks over 3,000m, the highest being Aoraki/Mt. Cook at 3,750m. It's a great starter range for mountaineering.

MARLBOROUGH WINE TOURS

A guided Marlborough wine tour will give you unique insights into Marlborough wine. I had a delightful tour of the vineyards. This is a great way to combine a variety of wine tastings with exercise matched to your ability. It was a wonderful education in New Zealand wines, about which I knew little in advance. Highly recommended if you are a wine lover.

LAKE WAKATIPU

A finger lake shaped like a lightning bolt, the Otago region's Wakatipu is 80km long and shares a shore with the resort town and adventure tourism capital of Queenstown.

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING

The Tongariro Crossing trail runs for 19km through volcanic terrain in the center of the North Island. It passes the base of Mt. Ngauruhoe, known to a lot of the world as Mt. Doom. The national park is the country's oldest.

STERLING FALLS

Stirling is one of two permanent falls along Milford Sound.

LAKE PUKAKI MIST

Good views of the main Southern Alp peaks backdrop this Canterbury lake. The water's particular tint of blue comes from glacier-ground particulates.

MOERAKI BOULDERS

These strange geologic formations line the beach on Otago's eastern coast, just south of Hampden.

WATERFALL IN MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK

Mt. Aspiring is the only 3,000+ peak to stand outside the Aoraki/Mount Cook area. Its tiny national park is just 20 miles as the crow flies from Milford Sound and about 10 from the northern reaches of Lake Wakatipu.

NUGGET POINT

A lighthouse of the same name gives a good view of these southern Otago islets and their wildlife. If you could see for 2,000 miles out to sea, you'd be looking at the coast of Antarctica.

TASMAN

The shot above was taken near the start of Farewell Spit, a 26km sand spit sticking out of the northernmost point of the South Island.

HUKA FALLS

Close to 220,000 liters of water flow through this falls every second, as the Waikato River suddenly narrows from 100 meters to just 15.

FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

Like the Fox Glacier (listed above and located 20km south), the Franz Josef falls from mountains to rainforest in just 12km.

LAKE TEKAPO PANORAMA

Tekapo is similar in many respects to Pukaki (listed above), including fronting a killer view of the Southern Alps.

DOUBTFUL SOUND

Also located in Fiordland National Park, Doubtful Sound is larger yet less accessible than its famous cousin to the north.

BRIDAL VEIL FALLS

In the Waikato region of the North Island, close to the town of Raglan, this plunge falls has a height of 55m.

Hope this helps you.

Have a safe Journy.
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 12:22 AM
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Thanks Kiwi Rob. Denniston sound interesting, hopefully the weather will be kind and we will get to see the views. and I will add it to our route to or from Karamea. Currently debating whether I should reverse our route and go anti clockwise around the SI which would make Karamea one of our first stops in very late August?

Thanks for the list spanksmith, I agree, they are all very impressive places, however, I have visited many of those places on previous trip and and am trying to seek out places that are new to us this time.
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