NZ Bus tours. Which one?

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Sep 28th, 2003, 12:56 AM
  #1
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NZ Bus tours. Which one?

I'm headed to NZ for 12 weeks in Nov/Dec and will hit both islands. I hope to WWOOF, kayak, horse trek, tramp. I am 38, female, and traveling solo, I hope to take a full month bus tour of the country. I'm wondering which company would be most suitable for my age range? I like to have fun, but don't want a really noisy, raucous bus full of hungover 20 somethings. I wouldn't mind camping and hostelling both. Also wonder what the weather will be like (don;t much like camping in the rain). I;ve heard Flying Kiwi and Magic might be good options. Stray has apparently gone out of business? Anybody done a tour with any of these companies and have advice? I'd like to have folks to go out to eat and drink with when in the towns and would like some organized activities, so i don;t have to get off the bus alone and just wing it. Should I start my 12 week trip in November or December? Is taking the bus tour in January a big mistake? Will there be huge crowds of tourists? Also anybody done any WWOOFing in NZ? Comments on your experience? Thanks!
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Sep 28th, 2003, 04:00 AM
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Hi Queenbee
Yours is a great question.

I did advise a 28? year old on a bus trip and she complained of the behaviour of the 20 year olds.

Have you considered driving yourself and staying at youth hostels, backpackers and cheap B&Bs. You won't lack for company and you wil quickly find a travelling companion who will share the costs.

The weather November/December? Tricky! Two years ago in December we had rain or it was wet on 22 out 31 days. Last year we had a wet November and early December. But it also rained in the North Island in January and February. I have a small vineyard so I watch the weather! So you could have wet weather for about 20% of your visit.

January - the weather tends to be more settled in February and March which are tradionally drier. We really don't get big crowds - we only have 3.7 million people in the whole of the country and while it getds busy over Christmas it is a short lived peak. If you want to go camping come in Feb/March.

WWOOFing - we have an orchard up our road who is into that so I will get a bit more information for you tomorrow - when it stops raining!

Horse treking and Kayaking
There are some great 3 to 5 day packages in various parts of the country. Are you reasonably experienced at both of these? I just ask because a young woman came out to NZ with a 5 day horse trek booked - fell off on the first day and broke her wrist. Apparently she had not ridden before! We have ACC in NZ which means the country will look after you while you are here but you cannot sue. We have some great fun outdoor activites but it pays to get your skills up a bit before you come if you can.

Regards
Kerry


Kerry
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Sep 30th, 2003, 08:17 PM
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Hi Kerry,

Thanks for your reply. I have ridden horses before and kayaked around an entire island off the coast of Baja last January, so I'd say I was expereinced. Do you know of any good outfits to rent from or tour with? Whats a good 3-4 day horse trek to go out on? Where are you located? I'd appreciate hearing about the orchard up the road. What do they grow? Can you tell me about your harvest schedules? What kind of farm work are we looking at here? I have a farm here and grow cut flowers mostly. I wouldn't mind driving, but would like some organized activities. Thanks for your advice.

Sally
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Oct 1st, 2003, 03:39 AM
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Hi Sally

I live in the sunny Bay of Plenty right on the coast. We have a small (family consuma) vineyard - about 1500 bottles a year.

But this is the Kiwifruit capital of the world so we have kiwifruit orchards all round us plus avocados. The kiwifruit work is broken into three phases. Winter prunning round June and July; summer prunning December to February; and picking April to June with the bulk in May. The WWOOF property is kiwifruit. Organic production of kiwifruit is popular in this area.

Other seasonal work can be found in the vineyards of Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Otago and Canterbury with prunning June to September and picking Late February to May.

If you are into flowers then in our region have calla lilies that are picked for export over the summer. The spring bulbs are out right now but will be finished by the time you arrive.

Kayaking
Depends if you are looking for sea kayaking, white water or river cruising. I had a great trip kayaking on the Whanganui River in the central North Island. They run and 3 day and 5 day options.

Horse treking
Onced again there are some great ones up north of 3 to 5 days, and a couple in the central North Island round Mt Ruapehu that I have done. Down round the Motu River they run a good treking trip also.

I'll get together a list of operators I know and post it for you tomorrow.

Regards

Kerry
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Oct 1st, 2003, 04:00 PM
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KT
 
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Hi, Queenbee. I don't know whether you've tried the Thorn Tree forums on the Lonely Planet site (www.lonelyplanet.com), but I think you're more likley to find WWOOFers there than on Fodors. Also, you probably already know this, but the NZ WWOOF site (ww.wwwoof.co.nz) site has forums, too.

Somebody I know who's in his 50's but still an adventurous budget traveller type did a Flying Kiwi trip last winter and liked it. He said that he was the oldest by far, and that most of the others were in their 20's to mid-30's, but that it wasn't party-party-party. The leader discouraged raucousness, but of course that might depend upon the individual leader's personality.

You could also plan to patch together a bunch of rides on backpacker buses -- then you wouldn't be stuck on a particular tour. It seems like lots of backpackers' hostels organize activities that you could join once you arrive.
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Oct 1st, 2003, 04:01 PM
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KT
 
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Oh, all those W's confused me. Of course, the site is www.wwoof.co.nz. Sorry.
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Oct 3rd, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Thanks Kerry for all your useful info! I wondered if you knew of any calla lily growers (or other flower production) in particular that i could contact?? names, emails? Is there a list or organinization of flower growers in NZ?? Do you know the name of the kiwi-wwoof hosts? I'd like to do some sea kayaking and heard Abel Tasman is a good place. i woundn't mind spending a week there. glad to hear your friend had a good flying kiwi tour. I haven't heard anything bad about them yet.
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