New Zealand advice Please

Jun 26th, 2004, 04:50 PM
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New Zealand advice Please

I am contemplating a trip to New Zealand and seem to be a bit overwhelmed ( to say the least!).
There seems to be so much to see there and I do realize I have a lot of research and planning to do. But what are some of the 'must do's' in New Zealand? What should I absolutely not miss? I love the outdoors and would like to do some light hiking. Although I would like to see some of the cities, I'm not really interested in museums, but rather the beauty of the land.
If I only have 3 weeks or so, what 4 or 5 things would be your favourites?
I would really appreciate any advice.
I need a starting point here.
kodi is offline  
Jun 26th, 2004, 09:59 PM
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Here are some must-see places - in no particular order.
Milford Sound and/or Doubtful Sound
Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers
Bay of Islands
Arthurs Pass
Mount Cook
Coromandel Coast
Rotorua - not beautiful but interesting
marg is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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We picked up a copy of "The Rough Guide to New Zealand" and it was ideal in planning our trip. Hate to praise a 'Rough Guide' book on a Fodor's site, as this is the best travel sites I've come across, but in my opinion the 'Rough Guide' books cover what 'real people' want more then the Fodor's or Michelin ones.

TravelMaster is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Marg and Travelmaster, thank you both so much. It gives me a starting point and so much to look forward to. I actually do look forward to the research and planning part, but wasn't sure where to start. It's such a long way to go from Canada, and I don't want to miss anything!
kodi is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 08:57 AM
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I had similar travel objectives in planning my trip to NZ.
If you enjoy outdoors and wildlife, I would add the Otago peninsula outside Dunedin. We enjoyed the scenery and the chance to see wildlife (penquins, sea lions, albatross) in their natural habitat. We used Elm Wildlife tours and were very satisfied.
Take time to enjoy Milford Road, there are several tracks for hiking - you do not need to overnite - just hike in and out a portion of track. Te Anau would be a good location to explore Milford or Doubtful Sound and Milford Road. Saves the long drive from Queenstown.
(Note that most of the "must dos" suggested by the previous posters are in the South Island. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the land - the South Island is priority.)
slim is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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Kodi, agree it is a long way from Canada (25 hrs from my house in Ottawa to hotel in Auckland & 29 hours from the hotel in Wellington to home), so needed a well planned/executed schedule to maximize time there, enjoy the trip ... Z
TravelMaster is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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Slim, Thanks so much. The thought of seeing such wildlife is so exciting! I'd love to see penguins. My travel friend wants to hike the Milford Sound for the 4 day hike. I will just do a section of it and meet up with her at the end. I can always find great things to do in the area.
Wow, travelmaster, looks like I've got a long journey ahead. Twenty five hours is a long time. I'll have to 'learn' how to sleep on the plane. I've never been able to, but then I've never travelled so far either. What airline did you use? I'll be flying out of Toronto.
Also , do you think 25 days, or so, is enough time to get in a decent trip and a good feel for NZ?
Thanks again for all help.

kodi is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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Travelmaster, I forgot to say, I'll head to the library this week to get a copy of Rough guide..
kodi is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 06:37 AM
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Hi Kodi - we were Air Canada through Toronto to/from LA then Air New Zealand to/from Auckland (with Wellington-Auckland on the return), all on AeroPlan points. On the way down the Air Canada arrival gate was right beside the Air New Zealand with about a 2 hour wait, on the way back there was a 'security alert' so real pain. And yes the time does add up (Ottawa-Toronto 1 hr, Toronto-LA 6 hrs, LA-Auckland 13 hrs, then the gaps between flights, home to airport to hotel ... gets to 25 hours rather quickly). As for 'The Rough Guide to New Zealand', I picked it up at one of the Chapters in Toronto for aboout $30cnd (and they had a few copies).

Enjoy the trip,

TravelMaster is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 03:03 PM
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Any other favourite spots in NZ?
kodi is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 07:20 PM
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Hi Kodi

The posters above have suggested that you focus on the South Island. I would agree that the South Island is the more scenic of the two.

One area that does not appear to have been covered is the Abel Tasman National Parjk at the topof the South Island. This is NZ's most popular national park and as such it is busier. However that is a realtive term. You wont be queing on the tracks. It will pay to check out the websites and links to the National Parks. his links directly with details about Abel Tasman. There are also details on this site about other National Parks in NZ.

The link below is to the official NZ tourism site. It has things such as suggested itineries links to accomodation and reviews of various points of interest.

New Zealand is loaded with highlights from Cape Reinga in the North to Stewart Island in the south. But on a personal basis, some of my favorites are (in no particular order)

Queenstown and surrounds,
West Coast of South Island, particularly around Fox and Punakaiki,
East Coast of North Island especially around Waihou Bay, Te Kaha and down round Tolaga Bay.
Bay of Plenty, round Whakatane (biased here as that is where I grew up)
Central Otago
Otago Peninsula, stunning looking beaches (no good for swimming, way too cold but great for seals and penguins)
Mt Cook
Marlborough district
Nelson District (see above)
Northland from about Paihia up.

As you can see I have put in points of interest from both Islands just in case you visit both. If you just stay on the South Island you will enjoy that as well.

If you havre any specific questions about anywhere fire away, I or any of the other people with Kiwi experience should be able to help.

BTW I have an aunt in St Catharines who comes out to NZ each year for a holiday and she takes the AC/Air NZ option as it seems to be the most convenient.

Hope some of this helps

Kiwi_acct is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2004, 05:35 AM
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Steve, A great big thank you! I really appreciate all the information you've given me. WE are planning on at least three weeks and maybe four, so do hope to see some of the north island. I live about an hour from your aunt, but I'm not so sure I'll ever have the opportunity to return to NZ after this trip, so I want to see as much as I can. (I'm glad to hear she can make the trip so often.)
Is there a certain time of year to see penguins at Otago Peninsula? or are they there all the time? I'd love to see them.
WE are planning on coming in January. This is one of my dreams, to visit NZ and I want to enjoy as much as I can, without racing around like a lunatic! Thanks for the web sites and the info on Abel Tasman Park. It sounds wonderful. I'm sure I'll be posting more questions as I do our planning.
Thanks again.
kodi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2004, 06:36 PM
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Hi, kodi,
My husband and I saw the penguins in January about 3 years ago, and it was well-worth a detour off the main road to the albatross colony. I would agree with Steve's suggestion of the West Coast, Punakaiki and Fox in the South Island - the most awesome spectacularly-contrasting scenery.
Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island, accessed through Collingwood, is well worth a day's trip. You can only visit this area with an organised tour. The drive through the Lewis Pass is also an interesting trip between Greymouth and Christchurch.
Enjoy planning and following out your plans.
dotty is offline  
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