Suggestions for My Third Visit to Beautiful NZ

Mar 25th, 2010, 02:26 PM
  #1  
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Suggestions for My Third Visit to Beautiful NZ

From mid-May until early June I’ll be returning for my third visit to NZ. I’m lucky enough to work there every year. I’ll have more than a week off – although the days might not be consecutive. (Meaning, I might have four or five days off—two different times.)

Now I have to decide where to spend our time off during this year’s visit. In the past we absolutely loved staying five days just outside Abel Tasman. It was a perfect way to relax, go for long walks, and soak in those beautiful sights – without driving (which I find tiring). We also loved Waimangu Volcanic Park in the Rotorua area. Queenstown was amazing—and we did a day trip to Milford Sound.

We visited Northland/Bay of Islands and spent quite a bit of time (working) in Wellington and the Kapiti Coast, Auckland, and Christchurch. We love nature and easy walks—more than culture, adventure activities, and cities. FYI, we plan a few days in Rotorua to visit White Island from there and go to one of the other Volcanic Parks.

FYI, glaciers and fjords don’t hold much appeal because I’ve visited several glaciers and fjords in Alaska, Norway, and the French Alps. We're not interested in wines or "fine dining."

So … are there additional places that are “must-sees” for our tastes? Or should we return to Abel Tasman and the Queenstown area? I’ll be working in Auckland and Wellington—but don’t mind flying to wherever we want to go.

Looking forward to your suggestions! Thanks.
Songdoc is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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No suggestions, just sighing enviously...

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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Go ahead, rub it in Songdoc!

How about the Marlborough Sounds (you could fly to Blenheim, short drive from there), or the Catlins (you could fly to Dunedin or Invercarill, shortish drive from there).

Or perhaps the other side of Abel Tasman (accessed from Golden Bay & Takaka on the other side of Takaka Hill from where you were in Marahau). From this side you can explore the Abel Tasman track from the 'end' and/or keep going beyond Totaranui and explore a section that most trampers don't see. You can also easily get to Collingwood from this side, and perhaps take a 4X4 tour of Farewell Spit, something not alot of visitors seem to do. Plenty of tracks out this way as well as seals, etc. You could fly to Nelson and drive from there.

You might also enjoy the west coast between say, Westport and Hokitika, but that means more driving...

Or maybe Banks Peninsula (Akaroa)...just an ~hour's drive from Christchurch.

Or Stewart Island, you could fly to Invercargill and drive or take a bus to Bluff to catch the ferry.

Did you make it to Nelson last time?
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 25th, 2010, 10:50 PM
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May June, is that okay in the southern south Island? (I never go in winter myself). Not sure how Invercargill and Stewart Island would be. I's suggest the Catlins and Dunedin but I think you may have the same issues.

Perhaps Coromandel Peninsula, some nice beaches around that area. It may be very quiet in winter, though. I stayed at a B&B homestay that I enjoyed in Kuaotunu, there are some nice beaches nearby.

On the South Island northwest coast there's a homestay near Karamea that I recommend, great family. Might be weather issues though if it's raining I suppose you can help with the cows~

http://www.westcoastbeachaccommodation.co.nz/
mlgb is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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FYI, because of the business aspects I always go this same time of year--mid-May thru the first week of June. When I went to Queenstown two years ago, the weather was cold--but clear, bright & sunny--with highs of around 6 or 7 degrees (low- to mid-40s F). The snow on the mountains was absolutely stunning. With a scarf and gloves we were fine. (Of course I've just finished traipsing over half of England, Ireland, and N. Wales with high temps rarely going above 2 degrees (low thirties F). brrr...

Last year Wellington (which I'm skipping this year) was freezing with biting sleet and wind.

Hmm ... very interesting ideas, Melnq! Of course this is subjective, but ... do you think the above suggestions have the "wow" factor of the Queenstown scenery?

We saw very little of Nelson last time--just to & from the airport. I didn't seem like a place I'd want to spend five or more days--but maybe I missed the appeal.

The B&B looks beautiful--but DP prefers the privacy of self-catering or a hotel.
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Mar 26th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Not sure what the weather would be for you, since we did these things this summer (a very cold summer I might add), but loved Stewart Island, especially hiking around Ulva Island for the afternoon, Punakaiki at high tide (or you don't get the blowholes) and the trails around there, and Karamea area - going on a cave tour and hiking around the Oparara Basin and/or day hiking part of the Heaphy Track.

Enjoyed the Catlins and the Otago Peninsula too, but again, the weather may not be good enough at that time of year and I don't know if you get any penguins then or not. See my trip report for more details if interested.
susncrg is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Not sure much tops the Queenstown area for wow scenery, perhaps Mt. Cook, you can fly into Christchurch and drive to Queenstown with an overnight or two. You would bypass the scenic lakes Pukaki and Tekapo on the way. There is a range of accomodation inside the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 09:01 PM
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The Marlborough Sounds definitely has the wow factor (for me anyway).

http://www.worldisround.com/articles...6/photo80.html

Did you make it to Glenorchy last time?
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 29th, 2010, 04:27 AM
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All of these are great suggestions. There's just too much to see. I've been doing some reading and Internet surfing--and the Marlborough Sounds looks like it might fit the bill!

Melnq8--your pix are great. I'll post a separate thread re: suggestions for places to stay there.

I'm not sure if we got to Glenorchy. I think we might have driven through on a tour. That looks gorgeous, as well.

En route to Milford Sound we stopped for photos at Mirror Lake and loved that area. I do a lot of traveling and I don't think anything beats NZ!

Thx for the suggestions. We leave in 6 weeks. Better be making some decisions!!! And let's not even discuss Australia & Hawaii yet. AGGHHH. (Those are after NZ.)
Songdoc is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 04:45 PM
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Did you do see the glowworms in Waitomo? Unique!

I loved the seal colony near Wellington - Cape Palliser.
http://www.newzealandtravelpictures....y-new-zealand/

Also, hiking the Tongoriro National Park is really pretty. Famous for the crossing, but there are other beautiful walks there if you aren't into the 8 hour hike. We saw a Morepork (Ruru) owl during one of our hikes. Also, the summit of the volcano is pretty cool.
http://www.newzealandtravelpictures....iror-crossing/
New_Zealand_Luv is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 04:59 PM
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It has been a while since I've been to NZ but are you definitely set on the South Island? In Winter? We spent a whole month exploring the North Island in November (Spring in NZ). We really enjoyed our time on Coromandel Peninsula and also in the Hawkes Bay area.
travel4flowers is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 06:19 PM
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I'm a bit confused about why some posters think the weather should keep me from the South Island in late May/early June.

I visited Queenstown, Milford Sound, and Abel Tasman during this exact same period last year and the previous year. I wore a jacket, scarf, and gloves on the coldest days in Queenstown, but most of the days I didn't need them and was perfectly comfortable. There was snow on the mountains -- but the days were bright and sunny -- and not cold to me. Abel Tasman wasn't cold at all. I wonder if the posters are used to a much warmer climate than where I live.

FYI, I saw the glowworms--but not at Waitomo. I LOVED it! I've been to the Hawkes Bay area as well as the Bay of Islands. They're lovely areas -- but they don't have the same "wow" factor for me as Queenstown or Abel Tasman.

I'm looking at some very beautiful places in Marlborough Sounds and I think that's what it will be this time.
Songdoc is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 07:15 PM
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I think you answered that weather question with the following tidbit in your own post

Last year Wellington (which I'm skipping this year) was freezing with biting sleet and wind.

NZ has lots of microclimates, depending on which side the weather is approaching from, so if you're on the coast that is getting hit with a strong frontal system from the Tasman or Southern Ocean,you may very well enjoy "freezing biting sleet and wind" even in the springtime. And summer.

Queenstown is a bit inland so not as exposed as some other locations, generally the south and west coasts of either island will have the most blustery weather. I find the wind more exhausting than the cold.

Also it may be that some of us spend a bit more time outdoors doing more exposed tramps rather than easy walks.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 08:09 PM
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I personally love the SI in the winter/spring/fall. I rather enjoy being one of only two people on a track, or being the only customers at a wine tasting, etc.

Tramping in torrential rain isn't much fun though and there are often closures to deal with in tiny towns, but it doesn't keep me from going back in the off season.
Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 1st, 2010, 09:06 AM
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As long as you're overnighting somewhere with heat, and know how to drive on ice!
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Apr 1st, 2010, 03:51 PM
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I live in the Seattle area of the US so I'm not partial to spending my vacation in an area that has a similar winter climate. By June, I'm just want lots of sun. I think the Marlborough area is a wonderful area and you have a good idea of what to expect. I hope you do a trip report. I want to hear all about.
travel4flowers is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 05:19 PM
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Thanks for all the comments. I'm posting re: my search for lodgings under the "Marlborough Sounds" thread. I'm getting some interesting info.
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