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Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,585
2,221
kiwi and wannabe-kiwi monkies, please help me out:

i'm tentatively planning to travel to new zealand this upcoming (northern hemisphere) spring. april 15-26, including travel time.

- is this enough time given the travel days on either end?
- airfare looks like it'll be about $1600 round trip from seattle. are accommodations and food exorbitant? i'd plan on lower-end hotels -- i won't be backpacking between hostels, if that helps.
- for someone who wants to seriously scope out the country for possible long term residence or emigration where should i visit? auckland, i'd assume.
- things one must see or do?
- must i rent a car to get around?

TIA. non-kiwis who have visited please feel free to post your travel photos and tales.

 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
26
behind the viewfinder
it's a fvcking awesome place. in '95 we spent 3 weeks there for our honeymoon, 1 week in the north and 2 in the south.

more later...i'm tired and i need to download and work on my Wire photos.
 

gsweet

Monkey
Dec 20, 2001
734
5
Minnesota
it's late so i'll make this short.

i spent 7 months in hobart, but took plenty of time (through field mapping courses and travel) to see the rest of the country. i personally don't think 9 or 10 days is nearly enough, but hey, you work with what you've got. i'm a geologist, so this place was heaven for me with more to see than anywhere else i can think of; volcanoes, hotsprings and the tropics up north / glaciers, massive intrusive mountains/tectonics down south. just awesome! i'd say that my favorite bits were definitely on the south island, but that's because i love the drama of standing in the tasman sea, looking up the beach, through a rainforest, up a glacier and to the top of mount cook at 10k+ feet.

pics are various between travel and study...

solidsol.com/gabe/NZ1

(replace "1" with 2-6 for more pics)

oh, and just after i discovered photoshop...

http://solidsol.com/gabe/tweakedNZ/index.html
 
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Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,890
4
Hypernormality
Hi Toshi

OK, First off 10 days is a really short time, you are going to have to make a few tough choices about what you really want to see. Secondly don't hope too hard for great weather at that time of year. We'll be going into winter. Pack for rain and wind.

My wife says 'You don't need to come to try it out, just move here. We promise it's better than America.'. :)

I'd personally say that Auckland might be one of the places you might want to miss. It has some cool parts but is the most 'generic big(ish) city' bit of NZ and has traffic jams and all the other things big cities have all over the world.

Come to Wellington. If you like the Pac NW, you're probably going to like Wellington the most out of the three large NZ cities. Christchurch = England. You'll have missed most of the cool stuff that happens in and around the city during the summer, but there's still alot to do including great all-year round riding.

What do you fancy doing? I'll try and suggest stuff. Plus I can probably hook you up with a nice and more importantly free place to stay whilst in Wellington.

My wife suggests a short loop of the top of the South Island top and tailed in Wellington.

You could get in a bit of nature, a bit of Dolphin swimming and hiking and a bit of culture.

I agree about going 'one better than backpacking', although having said that some of the YHAs here are better than some of the cheap hotels. Scenic Circle hotels in particular don't have a great reputation. I've been around a bit and have a good friend who is Ops Manager at YHA Wellington who could probably suggest some nicer places once you decide on where you want to go. Often here you can pay the same price and get a quite different experience.

Are you traveling alone or with family/GF/fiancé?
 

skunkty14

Monkey
May 29, 2007
175
0
I spent 4+ months there while doing undergrad, it's a friggin sweet country. +1234 on your trip being on the short side as others have suggested, for the amount of travel time and expense you put in to get to that part of the world stay as long as reasonably possible. Travel down there does take a bit longer than in the US, roads aren't as flat and wide.

I'd say Aukland is a good start, didn't spend much time in Wellington or Christchurch but both were nice. Spent a lot of time in the Dunedin area, some rag on it, but if you don't like the city it's very easy to get out into the sticks quickly.

Keep in mind your just a quick jump away from SE Asia, Fiji, Australia, etc. once you've made it all the way down there.
 

drkenan

anti-dentite
Oct 1, 2006
3,443
0
west asheville
I spent almost a year there straight out of college. I lived in Wanaka (on the South Island) during the winter and Wellington after that and I probably went to every town in the entire country. Your trip is a bit short but I'd rather go than not go. In fact, the wife and I are going back for 3 weeks in Feb for a friend's wedding.

As others said - Auckland is cool but skip it for a first trip. Seriously - don't miss Queenstown, Milford Sound and Wellington (especially Milford - can't stress that enough). Those alone should keep you busy . If you have the chance, drive up the West coast of the South Island.

Feel free to ask any more questions as you're planning your trip. I'm envious - I can't get the wife to move back or I'd go in a flash. :banghead:

Here's a pic of the wife sitting on top of our Mitsubishi Sigma (US$400) outside of Wanaka:

 
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valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,792
36
Japan
it's late so i'll make this short.

i spent 7 months in hobart, but took plenty of time (through field mapping courses and travel) to see the rest of the country.
I suppose those Kiwis can have Tasmania if they really want it, it's not as if we're using it.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,585
2,221
I have no wiggle room on duration of stay, sadly. Going by myself: Jessica has to return to work (she's a teacher) so this would be a solo jaunt. Skip Auckland, eh? Ok. gsweet, I'll check out your photos tonight.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
26
behind the viewfinder
the problem w/ skipping Auckland is that you would also likely miss Coromandel, which is amazingly beautiful.

but given yr short duration, i'd just concentrate on the south island.
 

Heidi

Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
10,139
685
Bend, Oregon
I can't find my ride report from when we spent a few weeks mountain biking around the northern part of the South Island. We traveled by RV and had a blast.
 

Demomonkey

Monkey
Apr 27, 2005
857
0
Auckland New Zealand
Queenstown rocks!! You'll be between seasons but if you're here just to check the place out you'll have a great time. People bag Auckland, buts its actually a pretty cool city.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
Skip Auckland. I apologise to any AKers, but it's a sh1thole of a huge sprawled-out city.

There could be a list of things to do a mile long. You only have 10 days. Hardly ideal to see everything.

City-wise, Wellington is really the best city IMO. So much to do there. Biking, surfing, diving and you'll love the windy roads.

The south island is by far nicer than the north. It is bigger, more isolated, less people and more to do. The big mountains are there too.

Christchurch could be worth a look (in regards of where to look to live), as is Queenstown. Ski resorts always need docs and QT is such a cool place. I can (and I'm sure a few others here) hook you up with some contacts over there, wherever it is you are wanting to go.

If I were ever to return to NZ, I would choose between Wellington and Queenstown. The only 2 places I would consider. Maybe Rotorua as well.

If you are going primarily for a whirlwind tour, check out Nthland, Coromandel Peninsular, Welly, Milford Sound, Queenstown/Wanaka.

If you are going to scope out possible living places, go to Welly, Qtown, Rotorua.

As someone else said, I usually advise people going there to spend 2/3 of their time in the South Island.

Wawaweewa.

And I think you'll find that 'Bluebird' is the word.
 

gsweet

Monkey
Dec 20, 2001
734
5
Minnesota
I suppose those Kiwis can have Tasmania if they really want it, it's not as if we're using it.
damnit. thank you vb...late night brainfart. correction, that should be dunedin. i was, however, in hobart for a few months and am heading back in a week. freudian slip of some sort?
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,585
2,221
an update: the bride to be may be vetoing this trip. like i said it's constrained on the early end by, uh, the wedding itself. she has no vacation afterwards, and has to return to the dungeons of the school at which she teaches music. i, on the other hand, have the lion's share of my scant vacation afterwards.

we shall see.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,585
2,221
an update: the bride to be may be vetoing this trip. like i said it's constrained on the early end by, uh, the wedding itself. she has no vacation afterwards, and has to return to the dungeons of the school at which she teaches music. i, on the other hand, have the lion's share of my scant vacation afterwards.

we shall see.


and vetoed it is. i'll make the journey, just not this year.