traveling with 2 teenager boys 14 & 15

Old Jan 21st, 2006, 12:52 PM
  #1  
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traveling with 2 teenager boys 14 & 15

South Island: 30 Days, Feb 16 - March 16. Have rented a van and will be tenting on our holiday. We have no particular schedule, but would like your opinion on how many days to spend in different areas. What would be the high points for 2 teenagers that love excitement. We do not have an unlimited budget, but will "splurge" on special things.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 01:35 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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If the "kids" like to hike and camp you cannot go wrong in any of the national parks...

Nelson Abel (5 days) -- ocean kayaking and treking

Queenstown (3 days)! -- Do Hacket Kawarau River bungy jump -- or get a "deal" on 3 different locations -- this will really test their excitement level (you can do it, too ! or pay $5 to watch); cable car to top of "mountain" and then walk down (2-3 hours) --if teenagers have too much energy walk UP (3-4 hours) and take car down...jet boats !

Milford hiking/treking (limitless) !!! Te Anau -- good hikes (1-3 days) around the lake...

Dunedin (2 days)-- Taeri Gorge train; (albatross; penguins; Larnach Castle --perhaps the teenagers can walk outside or sleep while folks tour for a couple of hours...but suspect they will enjoy a quick trip to the top)

I teach teenagers -- they WILL complain no matter what, but will tell all their friends how wonderful it was. And your memories will be absolutely magical !
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Greymouth has black water rafting, Punakai, has great walks, beach, horseback riding. Abel Tasman is the greatest - aqua taxi service is fantastic. We just returned from NZ Trip report AU & NZ. Give yourselves at least 3-4 nights in each place so you have enough time to get to know the town. Depending on where you are starting out you can go on www.purenz.co.nz and it gives you great itinerarie to look at.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 11:41 PM
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A word of warning; just about every commercial campground in all of NZ has a trampoline, which presents a big attraction for kids, so you should be prepared on how to handle that. My wife did not want ours using the trampolines, as she has seen too many serious resulting injuries. It was always a big fight for us.

I agree that Abel Tasman would be a good place to hike along beaches and/or kayak. You can take a water taxi out from Marahau, then walk/kayak back.

Right next to the DOC Punakaiki campground (which by the way, is a nice one), you can rent canoes or kayaks to play around on the Porarari River. Our kids loved pulling their boats up a small rapid, then repeatedly shooting it. Also, visiting Pancake Rocks at the right time (high tide) can be a big hit, as the blow holes erupt.

Lots of fun stuff for teens in Christchurch - ours told us that Caddyshack City was one of the best miniature golf courses the've encountered, and it is a good indoor rainy day activity. So is the International Antarctic Centre, near the airport; and the downtown Southern Encounter Aquarium. Our kids love pools, and the Queen Elizabeth II Park pool complex was huge, with multiple pools, giant floats, and two waterslides.

If your teens like adventure, they should definitely take a guided walk up onto either Fox or Franz Josef Glacier. A big splurge here would be to go heli-hiking at high altitude on the glaciers.

We liked Wanaka as a much less frenetic version of Queenstown. A highlight for us was a several-hour raft trip down the Clutha River; fast-moving, but basically no rapids. A local tourist trap is Puzzling World, but our kids still really liked the very intricate maze.

Queenstown is pretty wild, and a teenager's paradise. It'll cost you though. Of course, there is bungy jumping at the birthplace of the 'sport', Kawarau Bridge. The Skyline Gondola ride takes you up to spectacular views and more bungy opportunities. There are raft trips down the local rivers, and the famous

If you like wildlife, you can see hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) on the Otago Peninsula, at Penguin Place; or Korora (blue penguins) at Bushy Beach in Oamaru. At the far tip of the Otago Peninsula, at Taiaroa Head, there is also a large Royal Albatross colony.

Kaiakoura is famous for boat trips to view whales and dolphins, but a lesser-know location is Waikawa, where you can take a boat tour to view the rare Hector's Dolphins.

Dunedin also has the giant Moana pool complex, with slides, inflatable floats, and high dive boards.

If you have enough time, consider taking the ferry from Bluff to Stewart Island, which is quite remote. You can take water taxis to nearby islands (such as Ulva) for great hiking, and this is going to be the best place to get to see Kiwis in the wild. You can reserve an evening Kiwi trip with the local DOC office.

A boat trip in Fiordland is a must-do, but you should consider going on the much less-crowded and more remote Doubtful Sound, versus the more popular Milford Sound. You can still take the spectacular drive to Milford.

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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 11:44 PM
  #5  
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A word of warning; just about every commercial campground in all of NZ has a trampoline, which presents a big attraction for kids, so you should be prepared on how to handle that. My wife did not want ours using the trampolines, as she has seen too many serious resulting injuries. It was always a big fight for us.

I agree that Abel Tasman would be a good place to hike along beaches and/or kayak. You can take a water taxi out from Marahau, then walk/kayak back. A good 2-3 day location.

Right next to the DOC Punakaiki campground (which by the way, is a nice one), you can rent canoes or kayaks to play around on the Porarari River. Our kids loved pulling their boats up a small rapid, then repeatedly shooting it. Also, visiting Pancake Rocks at the right time (high tide) can be a big hit, as the blow holes erupt. 1-2 days.

Lots of fun stuff for teens in Christchurch - ours told us that Caddyshack City was one of the best miniature golf courses the've encountered, and it is a good indoor rainy day activity. So is the International Antarctic Centre, near the airport; and the downtown Southern Encounter Aquarium. Our kids love pools, and the Queen Elizabeth II Park pool complex was huge, with multiple pools, giant floats, and two waterslides. 2 days.

If your teens like adventure, they should definitely take a guided walk up onto either Fox or Franz Josef Glacier. A big splurge here would be to go heli-hiking at high altitude on the glaciers. 2 days.

We liked Wanaka as a much less frenetic version of Queenstown. A highlight for us was a several-hour raft trip down the Clutha River; fast-moving, but basically no rapids. A local tourist trap is Puzzling World, but our kids still really liked the very intricate maze. 3 days.

Queenstown is pretty wild, and a teenager's paradise. It'll cost you though. Of course, there is bungy jumping at the birthplace of the 'sport', Kawarau Bridge. The Skyline Gondola ride takes you up to spectacular views and more bungy opportunities. There are raft trips down, and the famous jet boats blasting up, the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. 2 days.

If you like wildlife, you can see hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) on the Otago Peninsula, at Penguin Place; or Korora (blue penguins) at Bushy Beach in Oamaru. At the far tip of the Otago Peninsula, at Taiaroa Head, there is also a large Royal Albatross colony. 3 days.

Kaiakoura is famous for boat trips to view whales and dolphins, but a lesser-know location is Waikawa, where you can take a boat tour to view the rare Hector's Dolphins. 1 day.

Dunedin also has the giant Moana pool complex, with slides, inflatable floats, and high dive boards.

If you have enough time, consider taking the ferry from Bluff to Stewart Island, which is quite remote. You can take water taxis to nearby islands (such as Ulva) for great hiking, and this is going to be the best place to get to see Kiwis in the wild. You can reserve an evening Kiwi trip with the local DOC office. 2-3 days.

A boat trip in Fiordland is a must-do, but you should consider going on the much less-crowded and more remote Doubtful Sound, versus the more popular Milford Sound. You can still take the spectacular drive to Milford. 3-4 days.

Have a great time!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:13 AM
  #6  
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...and that goes double for me!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 05:23 PM
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Re: Queenstown, great place for those of all ages that like to do stuff.

Go on the kart things at the top of the skyline gondola in Queenstown, not as expensive as bungy and if they've a hint of competetiveness, they'll have fun. I'm 33F and I couldnt get enough!! Parents can join in or just sit and enjoy the view.

another place I love in Queenstown (and good for teenagers I imagine) is The Cow pizza and spaghetti house in cow lane.

We did kayaking on milford sound which wasn't too expensive (comparable to a boat tour) and a lovely way to see the Sound.

Don't know if they're into it, but there's also a quite a bit of Lord of the Rings type tourism in NZ now, with many different types of tours in different locations.
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 01:35 PM
  #8  
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thank you all for all the great info. We're going to have a wonderful time in your great country!
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