new zealand on this budget/time limit?

Old Sep 4th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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new zealand on this budget/time limit?

Would you fodorites be so kind as to give me some advice? Wanderlust has once again nestled (well, that's probably not the right verb for wanderlust) into my brain and I need to travel again. I have ten or twelve days in October or early November, $2000, and no traveling partner. I'm trying to decide on a destination. I'd fly out of LAX. One of my main interests is New Zealand (I will also post this message here), but I fear that I want to cover too much area for my budget and time limit (I'd like to hit Rotorua, Doubtful Sound, and Queenstown). I am also 23, which in many countries is too young to rent a car, so I would have to rely on alternative transportation.

I'm not looking for city interests this trip--more culture (I'm particularly interested in indigenous cultures of South America, Australia, NZ, etc), nature, scenery, hiking, etc. Any suggestions on any place in the world would be wonderful.
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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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Your age will not stop you renting a car in New Zealand.

These are some of the top things to do in New Zealand from New Zealand travellerís feedback, and are in no order. I have tried to put them in order, starting at the top of New Zealand to the bottom of New Zealand

Throughout New Zealand
Buy the Lord of the Rings location guide, and do some hunting out of familiar scenes from the LOTR trilogy.

North Island
Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach
Swim with the dolphins in Paihia, Bay of Islands
Vertigo Climb, Auckland Skytower - beyond the observation decks, and wear an orange suit to do it.
Take a ferry or kayak from Mission Bay, Auckland to Rangitoto Island & climb to the top.
Waiheke Island - only 35 mins by ferry from Auckland, for some great wineries, maybe spend the night.
Raglan- & catch some wild surf.
Waitomo Haggas Honking Holes and tubing the glow-worm caves
Kayak from Whitianga to Cathedral Cove - then go to Hot Water beach and dig your hole in the sand
Drive from Opotiki to Gisborne then around the East Cape and back to Opotiki
Hawkes Bay- wineries, East Coast, North Island
Whakatane- Take a scenic flight over White Island, an active volcano.
Rotorua - to see the geysers, thermal activity and smell, visit Te Whakawerwera for your Maori cultural experience.
Drive out to Lake Tarawera near Rotorua- check out the Blue and Green lakes on the way
Taupo- Tandem Skydive 12,000ft
Craters of the moon outside of Taupo
Tongariro Crossing- one of the best one-day walks in the world, stunning scenery with volcanoes
Walk up Mount Taranaki- West Coast, North Island
Watch the sun rise at Te Araroa - the eastern most place in NZ
Martinborough- wineries- bottom East Coast, North Island
Te Papa Museum in Wellington- you could spend all day here learning about NZ / Maori -culture

South Island
Abel Tasman- for relaxing walking and kayaking around the National Park
Walk the Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds- Top, South Island
Marlborough- wineries, top East Coast, South Island
Kaikoura- for whale watching and swimming with dolphins
4 day hike, Banks Peninsula - East Coast, South Island
Moeraki Boulders - East Coast, South Island for unusual round boulders
Christchurch- Arts Centre
Akaroa- for a bit of French New Zealand history
Dunedin- for historic homes, albatross, yellow eyed penguins and seal colonies
Oamaru- for Old Oamaru Stone buildings and Penguin watching
Pancake Rocks and blowholes- Punakaiki, upper West Coast, South Island
Mount Cook - South Island
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers- West Coast, South Island
While looking at the glaciers in the Fox/Franz Josef area take a cruise out to Lake Matheson first thing in the morning to take some amazing photos of the reflection of Mount Cook in the water
Wanaka- a relaxing place in Central Otago
Arrowtown- an old Central Otago Goldfields town with an old Chinese village, 20 minutes from Queenstown
Queenstown- for adventure activities and party atmosphere
Pipeline Bungy Jump in Queenstown
Drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy- have a beer at the Glenorchy pub, after stopping and taking plenty of photos whilst on the drive
Queenstown- wineries
5 day trek of Routeburn/Greenstone Track
Walk Milford Track- one of the Worlds best.
Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park- lower West Coast, South Island
Doubtful Sound in the Fiordland National Park- swim with dolphins
The Catlins- for nature East Coast, South Island
Stewart Island- for nature bottom South Island

Once you have done all these things you will have had a great look around beautiful New Zealand

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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 04:59 PM
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Hi europediana -

NZ is a great place for people of all ages, but it's particularly well set up for young adult travelers like yourself. The country is full of safe, inexpensive, well equipped hostels, and from what I understand, they're some of the best in the world.

NZ also offers a wide range of bus transport, which is a good way to see the country, save money and meet other like minded travelers. Renting a car is also an option, but it's going to make a big dent in your budget, as car rentals in NZ can be expensive - especially for drivers under 25.

With 10-12 days, I'd highly recommend you stick to only one island, as distances in NZ are deceiving and it takes longer to get from point A to point C than you might expect.

There are flights from LAX to Auckland, and good connections from there to Christchurch if you choose the South Island.

NZ is walking nirvanna and you'll have many, many tracks to choose from.

Suggest you take a look at these sites:

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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 05:49 PM
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If you could fly into Christchurch, visit Doubtful Sound and Queenstown, then fly from there to Auckland, it might work. Air New Zealand was recently offering a deal from LAX to Auckland or Christchurch that included a free stop in Queenstown.

Otherwise, I'd stick with one island, as Melnq8 suggested. We spent 10 days on the North Island in April 2004 - you can see pictures at

Lee Ann
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 01:54 AM
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I had the pleaure of touring New Zealands South Island, I can thoroughly recommend the Whale watching tour out of Kaikoura in the North East of the Island (2-3 hour drive from Christchurch). The tour is run by Maoris and you see Giant Sperm Whales, Dolphins and Seals, Kaikoura is also very scenic.
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Old Sep 7th, 2006, 09:14 PM
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Thank you all so much!
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