NZ destinations - 3 North 5 South?

Aug 27th, 2018, 06:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,893
AltTravelr. I agree with Tasmangirl. On Waiheke, Te Motu and Passage Rock were amongst my favorites. too (though I loved the reds). The bus stops at Wild on Waiheke and Stonyridge, which is just short, well-marked walk through the vineyards to Te Motu. From Te Motu, it's a short well-marked walk through the vineyards to pretty Tantalus, which is also near a bus stop. So you can walk a little loop, getting off at Wild at Waiheke, visit each of the these wineries, then board the bus again after Tantalus. Each of the wineries has a restaurant, but Te Motu's restaurant, The Shed, is the most highly regarded of these.

You'll need a car to get to Passage Rock, or you can take a tour:
Tour Info - Ananda Tours Waiheke Island

We visited Passage Rock after driving on the unpaved road to Man O'War, another wonderful winery with a beach. We hardly saw any other drivers along the way.

The bus on Waiheke also stops close to Cable Bay Winery. Mudbrick Winery is about a 10-minute uphill walk from Cable Bay Winery. Both wineries are stunning and have restaurants. You can also walk from Matiatia Wharf (the passenger ferry dock) to Cable Bay Winery. This uphill walk takes 15 minutes, mostly through a nature reserve.

If you enjoy running on beaches, I'd recommend Onetangi Beach at low tide. It's Waiheke's longest beach, almost 2 km long.

Here are a few images, which I have resized twice but still seem quite large!

Te Motu Winery

Passage Rock Winery, sea in the far distance.

Looking out from Mudbrick Winery
Diamantina is offline  
Aug 27th, 2018, 11:42 PM
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Gorgeous photos.
We go to The Shed every year for our wedding anniversary (and some times other times!). The menu is not that big but every meal I've had there was amazing.
Don't miss Waiheke Alttraveller!
tasmangirl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2018, 03:35 AM
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Oh wow!! What gorgeous shots. Thank you for those and also for all the comments about both Rotorua and Queenstown. Since we are rather slow travelers I try to look for reasons to NOT see a place that is mentioned often - having a tough time with that here.

I love the specific winery suggestions. I can't think of a better way to overcome our jetlag than to be in the vineyards first thing!
AtlTravelr is offline  
Aug 28th, 2018, 03:51 PM
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Lovely photos Diamantina!
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2018, 01:43 AM
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Thanks kindly for the compliments.

Tasmangirl, what a romantic way to celebrate!

AltTravelr, I was going to just provide links to the above Waiheke wineries, but their websites didn't quite convey what it's like to be there, unlike these great websites for two of Central Otago's most scenic wineries:
Rippon (in Wanaka) and
Mt. Difficulty (in Bannockburn)

I feel obliged to advise you that even though you'll be coming at the overall driest, sunniest time of year, you might still get rained on so don't forget your rain gear just in case. This past summer, the North Island and parts of the South were affected by occasional but heavy rains and flooding, probably because of La Niña climate patterns and climate change, but Cyclone Fehi also played a part. Chances of a similarly wet summer are slim.

I can understand what a tough time you're having trying to decide on Rotorua and Queenstown. You'd have plenty of other options if you decide against staying in one or both of these places.

Last edited by Diamantina; Aug 29th, 2018 at 01:49 AM.
Diamantina is offline  
Aug 30th, 2018, 12:23 AM
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When in Rotorua visit one of the thermal areas. But if you have been to Yellowstone they will not be very impressive! (so I have read as I have not been to Yellowstone but it's a reasonable assumption that people from the USA have).
My favourite is Orakei Korako which is closer to Taupo. It's in a native bush setting and you go across a little lake to get to it.
When in Queenstown at the lakefront stand and admire Walter Peak and Cecil Peak. If the TSS Earnslaw is steaming across the lake it's a beautiful sight. Then turn around and admire the jaggedness of the Remarkables.
Have a lovely trip! I'll have to figure out how to post a photo.
tasmangirl is offline  
Sep 7th, 2019, 06:46 AM
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I have just now realized that I never said a proper thank you to all on this board who helped me with our trip to New Zealand. I know it is very late in coming but I did want to say thanks and also let you know what we ended up doing. Our trip was supposed to be from the first of Feb (2019) to the middle of March - 5 weeks in New Zealand with a quick hop to Sydney & Melbourne in order to catch our returning flight. Unfortunately, my husband had to have emergency eye surgery that delayed our trip. We literally had our bags packed and were checked in to our flight when we learned of the problem so instead of re-doing the entire trip, we decided to just start where we would have been anyway, 2 weeks in. The result is that we missed much of the North Island so are already planning a return trip! Here is a quick summary of where we ended up:

Arrival in Napier, 3 nights - we loved this Art Deco town! Did the Art Deco Trust Walking Tour as well as a 1/2 day wine tour. Excellent start to our delayed trip.
Pick up car and drive to Wellington, 3 nights - met up with friends here, went to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, drove a bit of the smaller towns nearby. Too little time - we'd love to go back!
Ferry to Nelson, 4 nights - another great place, another wine tour - this time by bicycle. Spent a day at Tasman National Park doing the hiking/water taxi thing. Best beer here.
Kaikoura - splurge night at the Hapuku Tree Houses.
Christchurch, 2 nights - we had friends who said they didn't find much of interest in Christchurch - for us this was exactly the opposite. The most interesting thing to us was just walking around and seeing the rebirth of the city from the earthquake. Of course, we were there a week or so before the mosque shootings, so we perhaps feel even more for this city now.
Twizel - 2 lovely nights at Lakestone Lodge with beautiful views of Aoraki/Mt. Cook. I found this from another Fodorite's trip report and it was our favorite lodging.
Dunedin - 2 nights here too, allowing us to drive the Otago Peninsula.
Te Anau (1 night) and Milford Sound Cruise (1 night) - just a taste of the fjord area but again, so beautiful.
Wanaka (3 nights) - I need to find another adjective besides "great" "fabulous" "wonderful", etc. But you get the idea.
Queenstown 1 night - this was the right amount of time for us. Of all the places we went, this was the most underwhelming. Perhaps it was the crowds, perhaps it was the overabundance of jet boat and other thrilling rides. We did the Queenstown Hill Hike and a (not jet) boat ride on the lake. Our B&B was nice, but not fabulous, dinner was good but not great. But I'm not sorry we went and we were bound to find something we didn't like!

Overall the thing I tell my friends is we found NZ to be absolutely incredible. It was everything that everyone said it would be. Thank you again for all your help with our trip plans!
AtlTravelr is offline  
Sep 7th, 2019, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thanks for reporting how your trip went. I was happy to read that, despite your husband's need for emergency eye surgery, you still had a splendid time. What a wonderful journey!
Diamantina is offline  
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