Seeking help for NZ trip Dec 2006

Old May 4th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Seeking help for NZ trip Dec 2006

Hi everybody
Below is my trip outline. It is a 50th birthday trip for my wife, I am a couple of years older. We enjoy beaches and hikes. Botany, geology and ecology are my hobbies Prefer outside activities than inside activities. We are wine drinkers so tasting are a must. I am seeking any and all input. I am not flexible on the days we fly as all the tickets are purchased.

Thanks GP

Day1 (December 12, 2006) Arrive Dunedin 9:10am Via ACV, SFO and AKL
Day 2 ?
Day 3 Rent Car and ?
Day 4 Drive down Catlins coast stay over night ???
Day 5 ?
Day 6 Drive to Te Anau
Day 7?
Day 8?
Day 9?
Day 10 Drive to Queenstown drop off car
Day 11 Bungy jump and wine tasting tour any recommendations?
Day 12 Fly to Nelson overnight ?
Day 13 Transfer to Awaroa Lodge
Day 14 Awaroa Lodge
Day 15 Awaroa Lodge
Day 16 Awaroa Lodge
Day 17 Transfer to Nelson overnight ?
Day 18 Nelson? wine tasting tour any recommendations
Day 19 Fly to Auckland , arrive 6:15 depart Auckland 8:00pm Arrive Arcata Ca. 4:24 same day!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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Awaroa Lodge is really nice, but it is quite isolated on an Abel Tasman Park bluff overlooking a beach. You might want to consider spending less time there, unless you really just want a quiet out-of-the way place for solitude and relaxing.

From Dunedin, you should spend at least a day out on the Otago Peninsula, looking at yellow-eyed penguins (Penguin Place), Royal albatrosses (Taiaroa Head), and the coast.

On the Catlins coast, check out Cathedral Caves, which are only accessible at low tide. Also, nearby Waikawa has petrified wood exposures at Curio Bay, and boat trips out to look at the rare Hector's Dolphins.

I'm assuming that you will explore Fiordland after you arrive in Te Anau. You might want to consider an overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound. Also, the road from Te Anau to Milford is a great trip, with lots of walking opportunities along the way (Lake Gunn, Mirror Lake, Lake Marian, and The Chasm).

In Queestown, consider taking a raft trip, and also the Skyline gondola has spectacular views from the top.

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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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Here is a list of the top things to do in New Zealand from other travellers.

New Zealand
Buy the Lord of the Rings location guide and do some looking

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
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

Enjoy filling in your gaps.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:25 PM
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Hi Alf and GBZ thanks keep the sggestions coming, Alf you hit the nail on the head of why we chose Awaroa Lodge that where we will spend Christmas

Have Fun
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Old Jun 15th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Old Jun 15th, 2006, 12:37 PM
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For the night of Day 2, take the Elm Wildlife tour of the Otago Peninsula. We really enjoyed the town of Dunedin.

In Te Anau, take the tour to see the glowworm caves. Take a day trip to the Milford Sound and take a cruise there.
Take an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound if your budget allows.

In Queenstown, DH bungy jumped at Kawarau (sp) bridge and we had lunch and a wine tour at Gibbston Valley. Very enjoyable and great wine. I would spend an extra day in Queenstown to take the TSS Earnslaw cruise to the sheep show and also the gondola up to Bob's Peak (great place to drink wine at sunset!)

You will have an incredible vacation. Post a trip report when you get back and let us know how it went!
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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Dont drop the car off until you have bungy jumped and driven to the wine area which is near the bunjy jump. But would you want to do both on the same day??
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Old Jun 19th, 2006, 03:32 AM
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HI GP - The Catlins is a MUST - and Invercargil area - then at Tuatapere you can be picked up to spend the day on a jet boat going through L. Hauroko (deepest lake in NZ) and jetboat down a 27 km 'waterfall' - just awesome before driving to Doubtful Sound the next day.(a MUST do too!!) Enjoy! Here's a link
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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We went to NZ last January, and the highlight for us was a half day on Milford Sound with Fiordland Sea Kayaks - awesome experience!
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 06:46 PM
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Since you are in Dunedin, it would be good to keep the Taieri Gorge train in mind, especially on a bad weather day or if you are tired from travelling. It goes thru the "Rock and Pillar" country which is a different kind of scenery than I saw elsewhere in NZ.

But definitely go out to the Otago Peninsula and see the wildlife.

If you switch your itinerary around you can also take it as part of a oneway trip to Queenstown.
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Old Nov 12th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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We are also going in Dec/Jan for my wifes 50th and I am a few years older also. We love wine and hiking and this has been very helpful. Happy BDay and I hope we all have a great time.
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Old Nov 13th, 2006, 10:50 PM
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Have a wonderful trip! We just returned from 24 days in NZ. We took the "Summer Sampler" wine and cheese tour with Queenstown Wine Trail and loved it. They also have a longer wine tour which you might enjoy. They pick up and bring you back so you can enjoy and don't have to worry about drinking and driving (the blood alcohol limit is lower in NZ than in Calif). They are at Our driver/ guide was one of the owners so he was very knowledgable and personable.
By the way, we love the Earnslaw, too. And, don't miss the views of the lake and mountains at night. Enjoy.
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