NZ FIRST TRIP ADVICE PLEASE

Old Apr 18th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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NZ FIRST TRIP ADVICE PLEASE

I am planning to visit NZ.

I greatly prefer to stay in as few places as possible to avoid the changing hotels hassle. However, looking at a map, it seems it will be very hard to stay several nights at a time per hotel. Is it possible at all to have longer stays, if I am willing to do lots of driving?

Are there any reasonable hotel chains that offer free breakfast and very clean rooms? Fridge is definately nice to cool drinks and keep snacks. By reasonable price, I am thinking of $100. USD approx per night. I am able to spend more, however, a reasonable, reliably nice chain is very desirable. New is always preferable to old or renovated.

I do want a few beachfront with a balcony treat nights. I know that will cost more, maybe a lot more. Any advice on great beach hotels?

Also, I want to fly as light as possible, baggage wise and shop when I get there for shampoo, toiletries, snacks, spf lotion, picnic things (plastic silverware, plates, glasses, etc.). Any thing like a giant Walmart with self check registers there? I will be renting a vehicle and prefer to shop when I arrive and get the boring part over with. Also, I prefer not to look for stores in remote areas.

Flying into AKL most likely and taking the ferry between islands.

Is AKL the best place for shopping for these kinds of things?

I greatly appreciate any advice. Advice on any other topics also welcome.

Thanks for any help or advice.
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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Hi Chocolate -

How much time do you have to work with?

Do you plan to see both islands, or just one?

If you're coming from the US, you'll find that goods can be expensive in NZ. You'd be better of bringing your own toiletries IMO. Paper and plastic goods and snacks can be picked up at any grocery store for a reasonable price. Countdown is a warehouse style grocery store, New World and Fresh Choice are two other grocery store options. The Warehouse is another option for this and that, but they don't carry much in the way of food as I recall.

I've never seen self checkout in NZ, and have yet to see anything similar to Walmart, but I haven't been to Auckland in years - I'm most familiar with the South Island.

Bella Vista is a chain of inexpensive motels that is well entrenched on both islands -

www.bellavistamotels.co.nz/

If you provide a few more details about where you want to visit, how much time you have, and your interests, you'll get a better response.
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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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This is another recommendation for Bella Vista motels. We stayed at several during our last visit to NZ and found them all to be modern and very clean, provided all the basics and were managed by very pleasant people. I think we averaged about $NZ90 to $NZ100 per night for two of us.

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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Depending on what time frame you have. I found that to cover both islands, you would need the minimum of 2 weeks.
Do you intend renting a hire car? or travel on the NZ intercity coaches?
As for a large supermarket store, try PaknSav (they have a website which shows the locations of all stores) They carry everything you would want, from meat, vegetables, seafood, beer/wine, tin food, etc, etc,
Examples of where to base yourself could be as follows:
North Island...1 Bay of Islands,
forget Auckland just another large city...2. Rotorua (lakes, thermal region, and nearby volcano mountains.
South Island....1.Nelson (Abel Tasman National Park, Picton, Marlborough Sounds & Blenheim (wineries)...2. Although a bit touristy, I would have say Queenstown, mainly for the lake, mtns, and thrill sports. Also can take a long coach trip from Queenstown down to Milford Sound for the day, and also a coach visit to Mt.Cook. Nearby lakes, eg. Hawea & Wanaka both very nice to visit.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Thanks for the info.

I plan to stay three weeks, visit both islands and rent a vehicle while there.

Any ideas on the best beach area. I love to walk on the beach anytime, especially at night. Is there a beach with a string of hotels where there is some lighting on a board walk or similar? The goal being a nice, long, safe walk on a beach in the evening. Swimming weather not necessary, the most I do is dip my feet in the water and chilly doesn't matter. One of my favorite beach experiences was stretching on a recliner, reading a book on a balcony in winter. There were even snow flakes one day. So, warm really is optional.

Thanks for any advice or ideas.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 08:23 PM
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Lots of beaches in NZ, although I can't think of any that have a string of hotels on them (fortunately!). There might be some options on the NI, but nothing comes to mind on the SI.

You can safely stroll along any NZ beach at night - the biggest threat is sandflies.

Here are some beaches on the SI - most of which have nearby accommodation in the way of B&Bs, cottages, homestays, etc:

Kaiteriteri
Golden Bay
Catlins
Abel Tasman
Marlborough Sounds
Kaikoura (seashore walks)
Stewart Island

You can walk for miles along the coastline in The Catlins, but accommdation options are limited.

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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 08:41 PM
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Here's a list of NZ 'best beaches' per Frommer's - looks like two of my recs made the list:

http://www.frommers.com/destinations...313020110.html
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 08:50 PM
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And just because I'm bored this morning, here's another list:

http://www.no1guide.co.nz/forum/topic.php?id=25
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 03:11 AM
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As mentioned previously, NZ is different from the states in that it does not have a string of hotels/motels along a stretch of beach. Also you'd probably be better off doing 2-3 night stays (with possibly a one nighter here and there) and then continuing on.

We stayed at a couple places that had really great lake or beach views:

Abel Tasman:
Ocean View Chalets (http://accommodationabeltasman.co.nz/)

Hokitika:
Shining Star Chalets http://www.bestwestern.co.nz/shining...ex.cfm?booking

Wanaka:
The Moorings (http://www.themoorings.co.nz/)

Te Anau:
Campbell Autolodge (http://www.cal.co.nz/)

Kaka Point (The Catlins):
Cardnos http://www.cardnosaccommodation.co.nz/

I would also recommend taking toiletries with you as the prices are quite high. You should be able to find all your necessities in Auckland before heading out.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:07 AM
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Another recommendation for Bella Vista -- we stayed last December at their hotels in Kaikoura and Christchurch, and they were very reasonably price, well located, friendly staff, good service, and well appointed (clean, fridge, nice bathroom). I hadn't heard about the chain before my trip, so we didn't book them in Franz Josef or Queenstown, but we saw the Bella Vistas in those places and they looked equally smart.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 10:48 PM
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Thanks for all the great info.

Sorry, it took so long for me to get to thanking everyone, again.

I have been doing other things rather than working on my NZ holiday.

I am starting to realise I need to get my itinerary done and lodging booked soon. If not, I will get frantic later.

Thanks for all the advice.
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