Must See/Dos in New Zealand

Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 09:34 AM
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Must See/Dos in New Zealand

Hi,

My wife and I are staying in Nelson at The Waters (5 nights) and Bay of Island at Huntaway Lodge (4 nights) before heading to the Great Barrier Reef. This is our first trip ,and maybe only trip, to NZ and I would like to get feedback on any must see/do/visits/eats in each area.

We will have a car and have no trouble driving. I know this is a broad topic and apologize in advance for that, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Sounds lovely! To help people here help you, what are your interests? What made you pick those two places over others? Are there things you're already planning to see in those areas?

Lee Ann
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Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Hi Dave -

Can't help with the North Island, but your base in Nelson will give you easy access to the following, all of which I recommend:

Abel Tasman National Park - I suggest you take a water taxi from Kaiteriteri into the park to walk a section of the track as a day walk, or do a walk/kayak combo. I've walked most of the track this way, most recently from Medlands to Anchorage. It's a beautiful way to spend a day in Abel Tasman. If you're not a walker you can also just take the boat trip. There are also departures direct from Nelson, but if you have a car, Kaiteriteri is something to behold. Details here:

http://abeltasmanseashuttles.co.nz

http://www.abeltasman.co.nz/

There's a very nice walk from Little Kaiterteri to Stephen's Bay, secluded and beautiful. Just drive to Little Kaiteriteri, park at the beach and walk up the hill to your right.

A drive out to Marahau, the start of the Abel Tasman Track is also a good option, where you can walk as far as you want. En route, be sure to stop at Split Apple Rock, a short walk to the beach - you'll also see this rock from any boat trip you take.

Mapua Wharf - about 25 minutes from Nelson - a beautiful historic wharf with a waterside park and an assortment of cafes - great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Locally made craft brews available at the Golden Bear, best fish and chips in the area available at The Smokehouse.

You might enjoy the drive from Nelson across Takaka Hill to Golden Bay - Te Waikoropupū Springs is an interesting stop with a short boardwalk, a sacred place of the Maori people.

If you plan well and book in advance, you can fit in the 4x4 tour of Cape Farewell too - this leaves from Collingwood, which is about a +2 hour drive from Nelson, but it's a place very few people seem to visit - it's the most northern point of the SI - a very long day trip, but well worth the effort. http://www.farewellspit.com/

Then there's the Moutere Hills between Nelson and Motueka - think craft beers, wineries, beautiful countryside and NZ's oldest pub. Easy to spend the better part of a day here.

Then the beer, wine and craft trail around Nelson:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-e...r-trail-on-map

http://www.winenelson.co.nz/wineries.htm

You might also enjoy the drive from Nelson to Havelock - here you'll pass through the Rai Valley (some walk near Pelorus Bridge) and some views of Marlborough Sounds from Havelock. Perhaps take the mail boat out into the sounds.

http://www.themailboat.co.nz/mailruns.html

I guarantee, you will not run out of things to see and do!

Have a great trip!
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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Thanks for the great feedback! We do like to go on hikes, but are enjoy wine tasting and going to local restaurants. Also, snorkeling and kayaking when we are in the Caribbean, so I was wondering if the water is warm enough to snorkel anywhere in New Zealand.

Thanks again.
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Some info on snorkeling here:

http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealan...w-zealand.html

You'll probably want a wet suit. That water is pretty darn cold.
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Old Dec 14th, 2014, 03:41 AM
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you will have plenty of opportunities to snorkel on the GBR so I'm not sure that I would prioritise that in NZ; that said, the water around the Bay of Islands might be warm enough not to need a wetsuit, depending on when you are going to be there.

We loved Nelson and only managed to do about ½ of what Mel has mentioned in the 2 days we had there which definitely wasn't long enough. We did a coach trip to Abel Tasman [nice not to have to drive for a day, and it included the boat trip there and back and a very good packed lunch to eat on our walk] and a day exploring the wineries, which we did ourselves, as we didn't want to be limited to the places that the tours take you to, though that does solve the problem of who is not going to drink!

Our fave place to eat in Nelson [and one of the best we found in NZ] was here:

http://www.boatshedcafe.co.nz

As we had kept ourselves deliberately hungry, we had the "Trust the chef" which was very good, but you'll have to be going some to want the 3 course option. You will need to book a table especially if you want to eat here at weekends.
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Old Dec 15th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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Thank you. I will leave the snorkeling gear in the bag until we get to the GBR. We're on our way! Leave SFO at 10:30 pm Monday and get to Nelson 7 pm Wednesday. Whew, these old bones are going to be tired...
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 02:22 AM
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Dave - a nice lazy day to start with, I think. it might be the day to do a wine tour organised by someone else, or just go for a wander round. We liked the area around the local church - a lovely garden and nice places to sit and watch the birds and sqiuirrels. the pub on the right as you leave the church and walk back into town served some pretty good beer too.
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 03:43 PM
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Specific wineries in Upper Motuere that are worth a stop are Kahurangi Estate and Neudorf. The wines were excellent and setting in the rolling hills, exceptional.

If you venture over Takaka Hill, you needn't go as far as Collingwood. Go to The Grove, Rawhiti Cave, Wainui Falls, Pupu Springs. The Ngarua caves at the top of Takaka Hill are pretty cool as well, but a little commercial.
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