Money Saving Tips for North Island NZ

Old Feb 14th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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I like GPS partly because it is so convenient and if there are road closures and detours the GPS will give alternate routes while my printouts from Google will not have alternatives. The other concern of mine is that I will not have wi-fi on the road since I will not be using my iPhone due to the exorbitant cost of data access and unfortunately we are not AA members.

Thanks for the tips. I also read about iSites where we can get info. Another idea is that I could download the all the map images to my iPad since I won't have wi-fi on the road. I heard all the hotels we are staying in charged for Wi-fi access so we may have to search cafes that offer free wi-fi.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Jo888,
Are you coming in from SFO? When I look at the Hawaiian flight there appears to be eight people on our confirmation number.
I would love to have extended to do the South Island but we just don't have the time. I guess we will just have to come back.
The eyesight maps appear to be good that I downloaded for my iPad.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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There are ways to find out about road closures without having GPS.

In NZ wi-fi and internet in general is expensive and they are also map-literate. So doing without GPS is probably the norm.

The government websites are good,

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/

for weather
http://www.metservice.com/national/home

for parks
doc.govt.nz

Most DOC publications can be downloaded for free, whereas if you purchase them at the DOC offices, there is a charge.

BTW Te Papa national museum in Wellington is free. National Parks are free. Most botanic gardens are free, including the one in Wellington (you need to pay for the cable car though).

Commercial activities tend to be expensive due to poor exchange rates. Look for discount offers, perhaps the AA card will get you % off.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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The Auckland airport has numerous free maps,brochures and booklets for NZ housing. We took our European TOM TOM with us and downloaded the NZ maps and were glad we did as it helped especially in the bigger cities for getting around.

Bring some CD's with you or an IPOD format for the car as the music really passes the time on the long car runs between. Auckland and Rorotua,Taupo to Wellington,Christchurch to Mt. cook!
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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We got a little irritated at the lack of non-specific directions when we were in NZ in 2004 - "go north on the highway until you reach..." - but after a couple of days, we realized that they were accurate. There just aren't that many highways in New Zealand.

Lee Ann
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 02:29 PM
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Neuman605 - Hawaii Airlines also leave from Seattle so we are lucky that we don't have to fly to LAX or SFO to catch the flight. Good idea for downloading maps on to iPad.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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Is it worth the $$ to take a the Hobbiton Movie set @ Matamata/Rotorua?
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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I'm from Southern Illinois and have lived here for 12 years. I think you'll just generally be shocked at the prices of things. Even living here, we can't afford to eat out. It's stupid. But you do have all your fast food places here. I would recommend shopping at Countdown. Most places offer a fuel savings if you spend $40 or more on a shop. Right now it's .4 cents a liter which is not much. Sometimes you can get .10 to .30 cents if they are running promotions. Gas prices will vary region to region. We live in Hamilton and paid $2.17 a liter a few weeks back and when we went for a holiday in Rotorua we paid $1.96 a liter. But just coming from one end of Hamilton to the other, it's $2.20 on our end and it was $2.12 on the other. We went to Rotorua a few weeks back and stayed at a holiday park which is something I would recommend doing. But we are a family of 5. A backpackers is a cheap option as well. Be prepared to pay expensive prices for attractions. We paid $100 for Rainbow Springs and there isn't really much to it. Even the hedge maze was $45. Rotorua is an awesome place to visit though, I feel at home there. We lived 45 minutes north of Auckland for 8 years and I myself would recommend venturing away from Auckland city to see more of greater Auckland, it's awesome! Anyway, just my 2 cents
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 06:33 PM
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Good lord $100 for Rainbow Springs? Per person?
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 06:37 PM
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NZNelson,
What are your recommendations for the greater Auckland area? We don't have a lot of time there but are thinking of a harbor cruise and the Sky Tower, other than that we really aren't sure what to do. Also what/where would you recommend for best priced Maori experience.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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$100 for Rainbow Springs was for a family of 4. And it's nothing compared to the big attractions of the US. All attractions here are like that though. Rainbows End which is our ONLY theme park with roller coasters and such is incredibly expensive and boring.

Neuman - I think it will depend on what you want to do in Auckland. I would recommend the Sky Tower. It's a great thing to say you did A harbor cruise would be nice as well. I don't know the pricing of such. We used to live in Whangaparaoa which is a lovely area as is most of the East Coast beaches. If you want a drive and to explore, I could recommend that. Free beaches and free scenery. Just beautiful! Feel like camping? Shakespeare Park is a lovely place to camp, right on the beach. There is a cruise that leave Gulf Harbour that takes you to a bird sanctuary on an island. Can't remember the name right off. Fishing charters are always fun too. Coming from the midwest, you won't be getting these sorts of saltwater fish and they are yummy! I think if you are looking for a Maori experience such as a dance and hungi, your best bet will be Rotorua. When my family came here in 2001, we booked a hungi and dance show through a hotel in Rotorua. Can't remember what it cost. There are many of these experiences in Rotorua. Check out the website rotoruanz.com. I don't know what sort of money you have to spend but another way to find places to stay is bookabach.co.nz where you can book holiday homes around the country. Not all of them are cheap but traveling with a group can make them affordable and fun We've just booked on in Tindalls Bay for $360 for 3 nights. So we have a house with beach views. Gorgeous! Can we share e-mail addresses here? If so I can give you mine if you want to contact me direct Christi
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 09:31 PM
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Motels or cabins are the way to go as opposed to hotels. Motels will have kitchen, some cabins do also. Going to the supermarket and buying cereal, milk, vegemite will save you going out for breakfast.

Fish and chips is not a cheap meal anymore, well it isn't in Nelson anyway.
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Old Feb 16th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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We won our NZ trip as part of a Lord of the Rings promotion. I was interested in visiting Matamata, but they had removed everything from the filming, and the pictures I saw looked like the way Tolkien describes the "scouring of the Shire" in Return of the King. It seemed a little depressing.

Since filming The Hobbit, the owners of the farm got permission to leave the sets up, and they've built a pub on the property. It looks and sounds much more appealing now.

Don't go to a hotel-based hangi. Instead, visit Te Puia www.tepuia.com or, if you don't want the concert and hangi experience, you could just go during the day.

In Auckland, we took the ferry over to Devonport, picked up a self-guided walking tour brochure at the information office, had lunch, and enjoyed a nice relaxing day walking through town.

Lee Ann
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