New Zealand, Christmas 2003. Help Please!

Dec 28th, 2002, 11:36 PM
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New Zealand, Christmas 2003. Help Please!

My husband and I at the very beginning stages of planning a trip to New Zealand from the UK. We would like to stopover in Hong Kong or LA depending on which way around the flight is! Other than that we have no pre conceived ideas as to where to go and what to do. Please let us know your experiences and views of what should and what shouldnt be seen/experienced. He loves sailing/whale watching/dolphins.. I love watching but am not very outdoorsy. We are late 40's so like a little comfort!
Dec 29th, 2002, 01:03 AM
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Hi Tina

Great that you are planning to visit New Zealand. You are wise to start thinking now.

We had two English couples visiting over this Christmas and it sounds like you maybe clones! The wife was happy to take a hamock out on the lawn, take in the view over the harbour, enjoy the perfect weather we are currently having (in the North Island) and read a book. While the husband delighted in belting up and down the harbour in one of our Lasers.

I have commented before but for those of you who want to go whale watching and swiming with dolphins the Bay of Plenty (about 2 hours south of Auckland, and not to be confused with the Bay of Islands)abounds with sea manuals. It has the advantages of higher sea temperatures; operators that are commited to providing personal attention; and calm sea conditions. They offer a first rate experience without strong commercial overtones.

A point I like to make is that while the scenery is great in both the North and South Islands and there are wonderful experiences to be had; what I think makes a NZ holiday are the people you meet. We tend to be friendly, warm, genuine out-going people who welcome visitors. So in your planning do take time to get to know some of us.

I think this is best done by not rushing from one end of the country to the other but rather breaking your trip into a series of planned stops of 2 to 5 days and exploring from a selected base. There is no way that you are going to see or experience "everything".

I would suggest that you did a mixture of things, some of which maybe outside your comfort zone, like taking a sightseeing flight over say Mt Ruapehu (I was down the today and the Mountain was magnificant. Not a cloud in the sky and still with a good covering of snow at the top.) Go jet boating, of whitewater rafting.

And when it comes to accommodation do try our hosted accommodation such as B&Bs, lodges,farmstays, vinestays etc but also stay at cabins, hostels, motels (great value, clean, tidy and safe), hotels. The main thing is to have comfortable beds and good food - if you don't get a good nights sleep you will not be a happy camper!

How long should you spend in NZ? Depends on how much time you can spare. I would not come for less that 10 days, ideally I would like 25 to 30 days, and if you are like NZ's backpacker visitors then 3 months will be your time.

Should you visit both islands? Definately YES however if you have only 10 to 14 days I would prefer you to do one and come back again. I get a real feeling and have a number of worthwhile experiences I would spend 10 days in the North Island and 20 days in the South islands. If you have 14 days then go for 5 days in the North Island and 9 in the South Island.

What to see and experience? We can start to build that up over the year!


Dec 29th, 2002, 03:30 AM
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I agree with Kerry.Every part of N Z is interesting much in the way that the different parts of UK have their own special charm.NZ may look small but it has a huge variety of things to see.Good Luck.
Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:11 AM
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Hi Tina~ Kerry is right, the people in NZ are the BEST! I highly recommend that you stay in Bed and Breakfasts, especially in this country. The locals have given us so much more information than tour books can offer for accomodations, restuarants, hiking trails, excursions, wineries, art galleries, spots off the beaten path etc. For finer B and B's look up Friar's on the internet. Try also for all ranges of accomodations. As far as Hong Kong or Los Angeles, I have not gone this route but ran into many people in NZ that HK is much better than LA. I was born in California so I can say this, LA is blah!
Jan 2nd, 2003, 02:06 PM
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My husband and I are in New Zealand now. We just finished a sailing (where we saw dolphins) and a fishing trip. Now we are on the South Island and heading out to kayak in the Abel Tasman tomorrow.

You can read about our adventures and look at photos on our site It may be a little more adventurous than you are looking for but may spark some ideas. Feel free to email me any questions. We LOVE New Zealand and you will have a wonderful time.

Good luck.

[email protected]
Jan 10th, 2003, 11:11 PM
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Hi there and thanks a bunch for your responses. From all the posters on here it sounds like B&B's are the places to stay and will be visiting your suggested web sites. Kerry your suggestion of a flight would be great with me but I am not at all sure about white water rafting!! We will certainly take on board your suggestion of a few days stay in selected places and would love any help to build up our itinerary. I think it will be Hong Kong as I agree about LA and we are also thinking of a couple of days over New Year in Sydney (which I love) before flying onto NZ. We will have four weeks in total. So thanks all for the input and I am sure I will be emailing in the future with more questions!
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