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New Zealand South Island SPLENDOR: Celebrating 25th Anniversary Surrounded by RIBBONS OF WATERFALLS!!! Feb. 2007

New Zealand South Island SPLENDOR: Celebrating 25th Anniversary Surrounded by RIBBONS OF WATERFALLS!!! Feb. 2007

Jun 1st, 2007, 12:45 AM
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waggis: Thanks for your compliments, and I'm really glad my story brought back your lovely memories! It sounds like your experiences were similar to ours. Yes, New Zealand is paradise...after 2 trips there it still isn't nearly enough! I feel so fortunate though. Paradise on earth!
Melissa5 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Melissa~ I loved reading through your report. I cherish New Zealand so much and my husband and I are planning our 5th trip in December/January for our 10th wedding anniversary, so I am always looking for nuggets that we have missed. So exciting! We now have friends there that we visit as well. I agree with your comment that if you could only go one place, it would be the Fiordland area. We always stay at Campbell Lodge as well! You know you are living right when Barry gives you a frequent visitor discount I wanted to put in my two cents for the Catlin National Forest. Yes, it is way down there. Yes, it is totally remote. But, we found it to be just stunning, especially the long white beaches with NO ONE around for miles. My husband and I had a five star lunch right on the beach (salami and bread from town I asked the park attendant at CAathedral Cover how many people they receive on a really busy day. She said 80 to 100. Even many Kiwis have never been there. Just lovely, we wished we had not rushed it and stayed for a few days.
wannabakiwi is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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I have looked back over this thread and perhaps I missed it- where is Caitlin Forest ?
okoshi2002 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Sorry, this was not in Melissa's report, but we really liked it. The Catlins Forest Park is in the very south end of the South Island. On this trip, we wanted to go to Stewart Island and Ulva Island (a bird sanctuary) but we did not need as much time there as we thought, so we went on to the Catlins Forest Park. We had to rush it in just over a day. but it was really beautiful and unbelievably remote. We wished we had stayed for a few days. However, I would not put it on my list for people if this is your first time to NZ. People already come to NZ with such hectic plans! How was your trip? From the thread, it looks like you made the trip not too long ago?
wannabakiwi is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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okoshi -

The Catlins is a region which lies between Southland and South Otago. It can be accessed via the coastal route between Invercargill and Dunedin.

It's a beautiful area with forests, scenic reserves, fur seals, sea lions, lots of bird species and yellow-eyed penguins.

This site provides more info if you're interested:


Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 12:30 AM
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wannabakiwi: Enjoy your 10th anniversary trip. How fantastic it will be your 5th visit to beautiful NZ! We drove through the Catlins area during our long drive from Dunedin to Te Anau via Invercargill, so we didn't have time to stop, but I agree our impression was that it would be a good place to spend several days on a second trip to NZ...it is a bit out of the way for people planning their first visit to NZ, UNLESS they have a long vacation, like if they have 6 weeks, they could fit it in comfortably.

Enjoy many gorgeous and romantic days!
Melissa5 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Melissa and Melnq~ I have finally made it through the whole post and wrote down several gems from you. Thanks again for all the effort. Melissa and I are alike as far as planning. My husband just "shows up" ready to go but I love to research. It is fun! I thought I would share a few things that we have enjoyed doing, not all in one trip! I tried not to repeat the fantastic gems you have already shared.
In Te Anau
We really loved the Ata Whenua (Shadowland) cinematic experience of the Fiorlands. $10. The pilot and naturalist took years to shoot the film. He built a theatre in Te Anau just to play this and it is his wish that it never play in any other cinema. You can get a copy of the movie at the theatre for a great inexpensive souvenir. We also loved our all day "Taste of Milford Track" tramp with Trips and Tramps, ask for Bob! Don't be intimidated with the "all day hike." I am in good but not great shape and it was just fine. Right on the main street of Te Anau, at South Lakes Helicopters, you can take a flight over Doubtful Sound. This is another breath taking experience. It is expensive, but take Melissa's advice and look the other way The dinner at Redcliffe was good. We ate there several times and you can walk there right from Campbell's Lodge. Finally, we LOVED Rosco's Milford Sound Kayak tour. You do not have to be super fit for this and seeing the Sound from the water is absolutely stunning.

Queenstown area
We love to have lunch on the patio at Gibbston's Winery. The new winery called Amisfield Wine Company is simply beautiful inside. We ate in their lovely courtyard. We did not find the food and wine to be overwhelming, but since it is fairly new, I would definitely give it another shot when we return. The restaurant is really worth seeing, so if you don't want an expensive meal, go in for a wine tasting. We love the walks around the Queenstown Gardens and always finish the trail at the restaurant on the far end of the beach for a glass of wine ( I forgot the name, but it looks like a crown).
Melnq, I am definitely going to try Little India the next time we go! I would also HIGHLY recommend Mantra in Arrowtown. Just delicious Indian food. We also like the Craig Potten photography studio in Arrowtown. We bought 3 prints back from his work. His NZ photography book, Moment and Memory, is another lovely souvenir. The Queenstown Gondola ride will take you to a fabulous view if the weather is clear. I can go on and on sorry...
wannabakiwi is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Hi wannabakiwi - (I wanna be one too)

Enjoyed reading about some of your favorites and have taken note of Mantra - will give it a try when we visit QT in August. We too, enjoyed Amisfield Winery - absolutevely loved their Pinot Noir and my notes indicate we left the winery with three bottles, which is a lot even for us. Is
the restaurant new? I can't remember if it was there during our last visit in 2005.

Incidentally, an employee of Amisfield recommended Ashraf's Indian and Kashmiri Restaurant in Wanaka, which we tried and really enjoyed too.

All this talk about food is making me crave a nice curry.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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wannabakiwi: I still salivate when I think of Little India in Queenstown! It has spoiled me for any other Indian food...haven't found it's equal in San Diego. It makes me smile to think of you doing all the planning and your husband just coming along. Sounds like us! I do ask for his input, but he is so busy he likes me to plan the trips. Since I like planning it works out great! Now my 20-year-old daughter seems to have my planning skills (planning curse?! ) as she is helping me plan our family trip to Washington DC for September.

I'm still dreaming of fuzzy baby penguins also...

Melnq8: Hello! Are you planning your next trip to NZ yet?
Melissa5 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 11:58 PM
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Melissa -

Yep, all planned and booked. Just waiting for August to roll around.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2007, 03:00 PM
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Melnq8: Hurray for you! Have a wonderful time in New Zealand in August! Are you going back to Queenstown for that tantalizing Indian food? Little India, I think is the name? I pop into this forum now and then so I haven't seen your itinerary.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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Hi Melissa -

Yep, already thinking about that wonderful Indian food. We'll have multiple opportunities to eat at Little India, as we're visiting three towns which have Little India restaurants (CH, QT, Nelson). My pants are getting tight just thinking about it.

Here'a our itinerary:

Arrive CH early am - drive to Hanmer Springs - one night to recover from overnight flight

Drive to Nelson area - three nights Upper Moutere (wine country!)

Drive to Golden Bay/Takaka - three nights

Drive from Golden Bay to Picton, take water taxi to Bay of Many Coves in Marlborough Sounds - three nights (splurge of the trip to celebrate hubby's 50th and belated 25th anniversary)

Water taxi back to Picton, drive from Picton to Punakakai area - three nights

Drive Punakaiki to Haast - one night (transit)

Drive Haast to Queeenstown - three nights

Drive Queenstown to Wanaka - three nights

Drive Wanaka to Christchurch - two nights

Melnq8 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2007, 08:29 PM
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Melnq8, have you planned your whole itinerary around the Little India food stops? Good idea!

I'll look for your trip report when you return! Enjoy! Happy 50th to your husband and happy belated 25th.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2007, 08:59 PM
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Melissa - how'd you guess?

We discussed hanging around CH on our day of arrival long enough to have lunch at Little India before driving to Hanmer, but alas, they're not open for lunch on Sundays...

Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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topping for indiancouple
mlgb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 05:48 PM
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Excellent trip report. Bookmarking.
indiancouple is offline  
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