Woman Traveling Solo to New Zealand

Old Jul 4th, 2009, 09:42 PM
  #1  
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Woman Traveling Solo to New Zealand

Hello!

I am traveling alone through NZ. Are there any places that would not be safe for me to travel alone? I have about 17 days in NZ. Do I have time to explore both islands without rushing? (I want to see the natural beauty, but I also want to to get a feel for the NZ people/culture(s).) People I know who have been to NZ, tell me to just skip the North Island. I am flying from Los Angeles, so I thought at least a few days on the North Island might be good. Also, is there any particular website or book that could assist me with accomodations. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
enjoyinglife is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2009, 10:04 PM
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You will see more Maori culture in the North Island than the South Island, particularly around Rotorua. You could easily spend two or three days in this region, plus the Bay of Islands north of Auckland are well worth visiting. So whilst the South Island is spectacularly beautiful, there is a lot to see in the North Island.
For accommodation try www.jasons.com, and for accommodation and tourist information, try www.onenz.co.nz or www.purenz.com
marg is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2009, 10:42 PM
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Auckland has its seedier bits but unless you're walking around darkened streets etc. it is probably no worse than seedier places of any city.

To be honest, 17 days is not an overly great length of time to see just one island be it north or south and you'll need to sort out whether you self drive, use flights/buses or take a tour.
www.newzealandatoz.co.nz is another site and in fact there's quite a few you'll find if you just google New Zealand.
Rotorua is fairly touristy but that's like a lot of places.
B of I has the Waitangi [sp.] meeting house where treaties between Maoris and the English were signed to end the Maori wars back in 1800s [ quite a bit of history about on that you might want to read - about 400 different Maori clans I think and a lot of thought as to mis-representation or lack of it which is quite understandable given travel and communication of those times].
I found an interesting point of doing a B OF I cruise was that the map handed out said this was the place some missionaries were eaten! - yep, something not readily too known I suspect is that Maoris were canabalistic.

Wellington has a great Museum on Maori history.

And really, I think that people who tell others to just skip the NI have not taken time to see enough of it.

When are you going and what sort of weather you enjoy best may also have a big bearing - see thread "14 days within the country" just below at No.4 at moment.

Not that you may decide on a tour, but www.magicbus.co.nz has tour information which is just handy to read re ideas on highlights to be seen.
And http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/index.php has some good independent travelling info including a map for distances/times.
Bushranger is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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With anything less than a week, I would suggest seeing only the South Island. But with 17 days, I don't think you would be spreading yourself too thin touring part of the North Island as well. Maybe split 10 days on the SI and 7 days on the NI?

NZ has to be among the safest places anywhere, but I wouldn't let that fact put down your guard. Australia was regarded much the same way until the early 90's when the news of Ivan Milat and the infamous Backpacker Murders came out. Goes to show there can be weirdos anywhere.
RalphR is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2009, 10:28 AM
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That isn't much time, really, but you could spend a few days on the North Island, either go to Rotorua area or north to Bay of Islands. Are you planning on driving?

As far as places to stay, you might look into B&B's, homestays, and the top-rated hostels rated under BBH, or the YHA hostels. Avoid the dodgier hostels that tend to be party central.

www.bbh.co.nz
www.yha.co.nz
www.bnb.co.nz
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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If you have been to Yellowstone, you will find Rotorura a bit disappointing. You can see a Maori show at the Auckland Museum before you fly home if you miss Rotorura. The shows are all very similar tourist concoctions. I ended up seeing two in Rotorura and that was one too many.

I do agree about the Bay of Islands.

I spent 17 days in New Zealand traveling solo without problems. You should similarly have none. I just saw a little over 1/3 of the North Island because I was based in a home exchange in Whangerai--very off the usual American tourist track. Nevertheless, I had a fine time.

I will return to see the South Island some other time. Remember NZ gets a lot more rain than Australia does. In the winter there, the South Island can be quite cold. Look at the map. It is very far south.

NZ looks a lot smaller on the map than it is when you get there. Also, except for a few roads, the roads are small and slow. Only 4 million people live in NZ (lucky NZ compared to the US!). They do not need a lot of multilane freeways there.

Remember to stop for sheep!
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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" Remember to stop for sheep! "
Ha ha! Lauren

But I was driving up SH1 one night, up past where SH10 takes off for B of I territory, and fortunately it was a section where I wasn't going too fast for all of a sudden there's a whole herd of cattle all over the road, about 10 PM or so it was and luckily some cows were of lighter skin colour so I saw them in time.

Finding a farmhouse to alert people was even harder!
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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When I was there I even got to feed a baby lamb because it was lambing season. I went to a place called Sheepworld west of Auckland towards Northland.

I always loved it when you would be tooling along on the NZ equivalent of a highway and then everything slowed down for a one lane bridge.

Great place!
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 10:28 PM
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There are occasions when you will encounter a mob of sheep (and, less frequently, cattle) being driven along country roads in NZ. If you do, if they are coming towards you, just stop and let them come through; if they are going away from you, drive on very slowly and they will move aside and let you through. Either way, just be patient and watch and enjoy the way the dogs will work the animals at the farmer's direction. Tooting your horn or revving your engine is counter-productive and may well lead to a sharp (and colourful) reprimand from the farmer.

Do remember that, after the animals have gone, their calling cards may well be left all over the road, so keeping your foot of the gas for a bit can help to keep your car a bit cleaner!
kiwi_rob is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Hi Enjoyinglife!

Your amount of travel days will be enough to see both islands; you just have to decide where your areas of interest are and decide accordingly. As you mention seeing the natural scenery and Maori culture, both can be done on either island, although as Lauren points out, many of the Maori shows are "similiar tourist concoctions" as she mentioned; also good advice about distances -- it does look alot smaller, but two factors: twisty, two lane highways and the WOW factor where you need to pull the car over and take yet another gorgeous Kodak moment shot of beautiful scenery!

Since your flight gets into Auckland early, have the hotel store your bags if you can't check in right away and then stretch your legs after that long flight and explore Auckland!

Next, head for the Bay of Islands or Coromandel. If you're driving, either is do-able, if not, take a bus to the Bay of Islands, ditto same for Rotorua.

When I have solo travellers, I try to book them into B&B's or farmstays. Not only do you "meet the locals", but you meet other travellers as well, so you're interacting with others rather than staying at a hotel where you have less chance of meeting others.

Hope this is helpful!

Melodie
Certified Kiwi Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2009, 06:33 AM
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Hi there,

When it comes to websites and books that might help you with accommodation, it all depends on your BUDGET and your travel style. The Lonely Planet is of little use to those who must stay 4 star and preferably five, just like those books on glossy paper with loads of photos (think the "Insight" imprint) would not be the publication of choice for someone using public transport and hostels.

You only ask about accommodation. Does that mean you'll be hiring a car? Anyway, if you are tending towards the cheaper end I would get hold of an LP before you leave home; then on arrival take the time to check out the racks of flyers at Auckland Airport. With luck you'll find the free BBH guide that lists lots, if not all, independent youth hostels. There's plenty of info in it to help you choose a hostel to suit your tastes, be it somewhere quiet or somewhere super-social. A lot of hostels also have double/twin rooms, and maybe even ensuite, which you can occupy as a single if you want.

As for safety - well the golden rule is if you wouldn't do it at home, don't do it away from home, and you'll be fine!! Simple really!!

17 days isn't long at all - you'd need almost all of it just to do a proper circuit of the bottom half of the Southern Island. However, if you are selective about where you go in the SI then you should have time (say 4-5 days) to get a taste of the top bit of the NI too. I agree with everyone who's recommended the Bay of Islands. As well as plenty of waterborne activities there's also a fine day trip you can take that goes to Cape Reinga. I loved the Coromandel but it is time-consuming doing it by public transport.

Have a great trip
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 03:56 PM
  #12  
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I will be traveling in late September and early October. I appreciate the information. I will be driving. I would like to stay at B&Bs and farmstays. A few days in the N. Island and more in the S. Island sounds great. Also, what airline should I use to fly between the Islands? Is it better to book it before I leave home? Does anyone have an accomodation they particularly liked? I think B&Bs and farmstays sound pretty good and affordable. Also, any restaurants, holes in wall, etc. that folks have really enjoyed? I really appreciate the help.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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September/October are a long way from best time of year you could plan to go for enjoying life el and not all that far away from about the worst time weatherwise in some respects.

So if you have any possibility of pushing it back a bit I'd certainly do so.

http://www.fodors.com/community/aust...he-country.cfm is the thread I referred to earlier [it had slipped down a bit] and there's references on there to finding B&Bs or farmstays.

You might be best to work out an itinerary first and then just google a location by itself and look at accommodation links or follow location up with 'bed and breakfast' or 'farmstay' and you'll get plenty.

I'm really a hostel cheapo most times myself when there going to a little camping wagon on a rural location and if you have a look at www.bbh.co.nz you may find there is provision there to have their guide posted to you - a good start and some of their quiter hostels are good value, one in particular at Kahoe Farm, a bit north of Keri Keri in northland area and a lovely older renovated farmhouse with a pet pig and an Italian who''l knock up a good pizza for you and find a bottle of wine - say hello to Tony and Cheryl if stopping.
Great back blocks walk there too and drop into the pub at Whangaroa Harbour for a quiet beer [you may be alone!] but awesome harbour.
At Pukenui[sp.] further north and at least a bit warmer, only a whistle stop spot, there's a tavern/shops and motel but bargain gem of an 100 yo house that serves as a YHA hostel at rear of motel in a waters edge garden and you'll likely have it to yourself.
Houhora Heads just down the road is a sublime great spot also or was when deserted near end of January [had me puzzled that did].

But NZ is all about having the time to meander about a bit with your drive, another unforgettable spot to stay at is the Masonic Hotel at Rawene on southern shore of Hokianga Harbour, if just to have your meal on back deck if weather permits - http://www.communities.co.nz/rawene/
A great peaceful country drive from Kohukohu up towards Kaitaia too or vice versa - you'll quite possibly have a half hours driving to yourself.

If you drive north from Auckland on SH1 [quite likely] unless you take the NW motorway route out and onto SH16 [worth doing one way and you do a loop with SH16 joining/leaving SH1 at Wellsford] anyway, keep your eyes peeled for on left before Warkworth I think it is, a Bee Place Cafe - great little interesting stop for a short or longer break for coffee/snack and sampling/buying some honey.
Bit further along about same stretch on right is a walk to a lookout - can't remember name but it'll be signposted [tourism brown]
About 30 km. past Wellsford you'll come to intersection of SH12 leaving SH1 and it is part of what is called the twin coast route, probably easier to head up eastcoast on SH1/SH10 to Bay of Islands and see what time you have left for NI and if you head to Hokianga Harbour you can come back down west coast - very undeveloped compared to east.
6 km. in from intersection at Maungaturoto is a lovely little Mexican food cafe if still operating.

Heading up SH1 from the intersection you'll go through a section of winding rising road and keep on lookout for a gravel/dirt drive on left that leaves SH1 quite steeply[maybe a rough sign] and you find yourself in a car-park with great landscape/ocean views and another place that is a fairly basic cafe but worth stopping for - good breakfast spot with the bees or there if planning on an early Auckland departure to miss traffic.

Flying NI to SI - http://www.airnewzealand.com.au/ and they often have specials.
You might want to fly from Auckland to Wellington or even price a one way car hire to fly from somewhere like Keri Keri or Kaitaia back to Auckland and on to Wellington and then look at using http://www.soundsair.com/ to fly into Nelson or Kaikoura on SI in a smaller aircraft for possibly a good look at Marlborough Sounds country.

Take some good winter woolies and wetweather gear.
Bushranger is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2009, 02:21 PM
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If you click on my screen name, you'll find my trip report from April 2004. We spent 10 days on the North Island.

Lee Ann
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 05:19 PM
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If you fly thru Christchurch, I like staying at the Windsor Hotel. They're very friendly and helpful in orienting you, plus their dog is sooo cute!

www.windsorhotel.co.nz

In Dunedin I usally stay at Hulmes Court. They have one small single room, but it it's taken as it often is, they may offer you a larger room at a discount.

www.hulmes.co.nz

The homestays I've enjoyed are a bit out of the way for a first trip. I found them using bnb.co.nz. If you are traveling as a single female I would use a website such as this one, or pickup an Autoclub accomodations guide at the airport.
You don't need to have the BBH handbook posted to you, the information is all online, and you can pickup a copy at the airport. Stick with the hostels rated at 85% and above.

The YHA hostels are almost uniformly good, and most have private rooms. The one in Mt. Cook NP was my favorite. They are very popular with all ages and will often sell out ahead of time, especially for the private rooms The one I did not like was in Christchurch, they had automatic closers on the doors that slammed all night long. But it is in an excellent location if you don't use the Windsor Hotel.
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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" You don't need to have the BBH handbook posted to you, the information is all online, "

That's also true to some extent mlgb but their guide does have handy info in it and they did send out some other helfpful literature too - all free and so why not when it is sometimes convenient to have a map and distance/time chart available offline or when checking other info online.
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Old Jul 13th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Because it's a PITA to lug around extra paper and they weigh your luggage, that's why! The I-Site at the airport will be able to fill in any paper copy needs that you have.

There are several good online mapping and distance sites online

aa.co.nz
wises.co.nz
mlgb is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2009, 03:40 PM
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Yes, smart thing to do with literature that can help prior to your trip and that you know is available in country is to make use of it but leave it at home and pick another if you need it.
No PITA lugging it about nor PITA of cross referencing between sites.
Bushranger is offline  
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