New Zealand - On the run?

Oct 29th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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New Zealand - On the run?

I'm in a very early planning stage for a visit to New Zealand in the March time frame. The itineraries of others I've looked at on this forum seem to move from point to point on almost a daily basis. Is this a must?

We [wife/I] prefer establishing a base for 2 or more days, seeing the local sights and taking day trips outside the base city before moving on to a new base. Is this a realistic way to experience New Zealand? If the answer is interest dependent, we have no "to die for" interests but simply like to experience the local culture and see the sights that make people want to call a locale home.

This leads me to another planning question. Should I let my OCD nature rule and make lodging/transportation reservations prior to leaving home or is it easy enough to do on the fly? From other threads, it appears it should not be a major problem to wing it but I was wondering if there are any events like the Melbourne Cup in Australia that we should avoid?
freetoroam is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 09:40 PM
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Absolutely not. The reason some NZ itineraries seem frenzied is that many visitors don't have enough time to do the place justice, so they race about trying to fit in as much as possible in the time they have.

I have a three night rule that I try to adhere to - I allow at least three nights in a given area, which gives us time to explore it in earnest. There are exceptions of course, but this technique works pretty well for me no matter where I go.

The base city concept works well in places like Europe, but no-so-much in NZ. The exceptions that come to mind on the SI are Christchurch and Queenstown, but that's about it.

Although it's a small country, many attractions are well scattered...driving distances are longer than they appear on a map. Roads are generally one lane in each direction and tend to be narrow and winding. It's not uncommon to encounter sheep on the roads, etc. Add to that all the reasons to stop along the way, and well, you can see the problem...

As far as booking in advance - if you travel over Easter and local school holidays you'll definitely want to book. If you have your heart set on staying places such as Mt Cook, you'll probably want to book in advance too, as March is still high season. Otherwise you'll probably be okay, but you might want to book early in the day of your anticipated arrival to avoid turning up to a small village with limited lodging options, like, say Franz Josef, and having to search for accommodation late in the day.

How much time do you have to work with?
Melnq8 is online now  
Oct 30th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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We moved around a lot - two nights in Wellington was the longest we stayed anywhere - but we only had 10 days. I would *love* to go back at a slower pace.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 09:51 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. Not the answer I was hoping for but kind of what I suspected. Guess we'll have to accept the need to move about more than we would like and plan accordingly.
freetoroam is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 05:58 PM
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I think NZ is one place where it does pay to do some advance planning so that you know that some places are really a one night stop and others are worth 3 or 4.

Its a good idea to build in some rain days although March is a pretty good month to travel.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 08:08 PM
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If you have 3 weeks you could do south island at a leisurely place & actually see everything.But u havent mentioned ur time frame or which parts North or South Island or both? SOme places like eg Franz Joseph staying more than one night would be a waste, also staying in Kaikora would be a waste but let me know the details.Also book in advance for sure.
drsaloni is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 11:50 PM
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How about renting a small rv-camper? Lots of them available and it would take care of your accomodation needs. Although ferry service between North & South Island can be expensive, you might find one way deals from Christchurch to Auckland or vice-versa that may defray some of the ferry cost. One way airfare between these cities is about NZ$100 with advance purchase. New Zealand is a very beautiful country to drive.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 04:10 AM
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Come to Auckland we are the best big little city in the world! You can do everything here, we have theme park rainbows end, ferries to Waiheke island and all the wineries and wine you can visit and drink. Great night life and museums.
livin_the_dream is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 12:14 PM
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drsaloni's comment on Franz Joseph (I hesitate to deem it advice) is a good example of why you need to research activities based on your interests before deciding how many nights to stay in a location and whether to book ahead. (I would ALWAYS book for the glaciers area). If you booked one night and it was bad weather or you discovered after you arrived that you might like to hike to or onto one or both glaciers, or sround Lake Matheson, or to Okarito Trig or to see the Lagoon, you might very well be sorry you just booked one night. If you just want to drive to an overlook, then you might want one night.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 03:04 PM
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I wholeheartedly agree with mlgb. I always recommend visitors spend at least two nights at Franz/Fox if they plan to do any activities or hiking, as the weather often throws a wrench into one's plans. I can't help but think that those who find it a waste to spend an overngiht anywhere in NZ have probably missed quite a lot.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:16 PM
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Posts: 119
Actually we were in Franz Joseph for 2 nights, weather was horrid on one of them but ofcourse this forum does reflect personal opinions only
drsaloni is offline  
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