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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » New Zealand trip - What to do?

   
Author Topic: New Zealand trip - What to do?
Miro
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*So...

My sister and I will be traveling around New Zealand for a couple weeks in March. I know we have a couple Kiwis here, and I'm sure a few others have visited. Any suggestions on what not to miss? Places to go? We're still working out our plans. We do plan to explore parts of both islands, we just don't know which parts, yet. A few things on the list so far include a rugby game, day hiking, gorgeous scenery, some sort of water activity (kayaking, rafting).

Also, if anyone's currently in NZ, I offer powers of Hatrack half-reality.

Edit: I probably won't be able to check back again for several days. Don't take my lack of response as lack of interest.

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Carrie
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Grow your hair out and pretend to be hobbits.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Miro:
I know we have a couple Kiwis here

I'm not sure we have any currently-active ones.
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Ron Lambert
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If you are going to New Zealand, you might want to visit some of the places where the Peter Jackson-produced Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. Especially the place that has the multiple waterfalls, which they used as the backdrop for Rivendell. They may even have guided tours for the LOTR fans. I wonder if Hobbiton is still there, if they did not have to clear away all the round doors and stuff.
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Sterling
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Jump off the Sky Tower in Auckland. (Or walk around the outside of the top. But jumping is easier.)

Visit Hobbiton. I know- completely touristy thing to do, but it really is kind of cool.

Hike around Mount Doom in Tongariro national park. Just be sure to wear good boots, and be in reasonably good shape; the "eight hour hike" took us ten.

There are lots and lots of awesome beaches on the North Island; allow time to explore them, look for shells, swim, bodyboard, and the like.

There's a good web site for booking hotels in NZ called Wotif. If it's in your price range, we were very well treated by a motel called Aristotles in Auckland.

ADD: Yes, Hobbiton is still there ; the facades, anyway, though much of the paint and other construction (like the fake oak tree) has been removed. New Line's original contract called for them to return the area to its natural state, but people started making pilgrimages to the area before the process was complete, and the land's owners realized they were sitting on a gold mine. And it's still really neat.

[ February 06, 2009, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Drifter
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The weather should be lovely in March.

Tramp to the Kauri trees in Northland or Bay of Plenty. Black water raft at Waitomo. There is a Maori village experince at Rotorua that I'm told is fabulous. Rotorua itself is a neat place to stay although somewhat stinky when you first arrive [Cool]
Jet boating on the Motu river is very spectacular. Lots of stuff to do wherever you go though.
Be brave: eat Kina [Wink]

Have a look at Miro trees:)

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Cashew
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Miro:
I know we have a couple Kiwis here
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not sure we have any currently-active ones.
unquote

I'm a currently, if sporadically, active Kiwi [Smile]

March is a great month to visit. The weather is still gorgeous, with the stinking heat of February out of the way.
My picks:
The Bay of Islands, for stunning scenery and NZ history.
Goat Island, about 90 minutes north of Auckland. It's a marine reserve with wonderful snorkelling and stuff. Any of the beaches and regional parks around that area (Leigh/Warkworth): Tawharanui is particularly beautiful.
Rotorua is a good visit
Te Papa National Museum in Wellington, NZ's national museum - a little controversial in its style but nevertheless an important place to visit.
If you're going to go to a rugby game, go to a Super 14 game in Christchurch. As a true blue Aucklander I have to say our team sucks, Christchurch's has been strong for ages, you'll see a good game.
Whale watching at Kaikoura

Lots of other good stuff, I'm sure you've checked the NZ visitors websites, but this seems a good one:
http://new-zealand-travel-guide.com/

Have fun.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
stinking heat of February
That's the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.
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Ron Lambert
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South of the equator, y'see. That would be like July to us in the northern hemisphere.
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Cashew
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
stinking heat of February
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's the most bizarre thing I've ever heard

unquote

Ha! I knew when I wrote that that someone would react that way! [Smile]

And guess what. July is freezing!!!

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Uprooted
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quote:
Originally posted by Carrie:
Grow your foot hair out and pretend to be hobbits.

Fixed that for you. [Wink]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Cashew:
I'm a currently, if sporadically, active Kiwi [Smile]

[Cool]
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twinky
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There's a lot of awesome stuff to see and do in New Zealand. A bunch of great things have already been mentioned. I second Cashew's nod to the Canterbury Crusaders (in red) -- and not just because my dad played for them, decades ago.

Rotorua, while stinky, is pretty neat.

For Lord of the Rings junkies, the One Ring was crafted in Nelson. IIRC, Nelson is the most consistently sunny place in the country, although it's possible to catch it on a cloudy day. It's also at the geographic centre of New Zealand, and (arguably) the location of the first rugby match played in the country.

I thought the pancake rocks at Punakaiki were pretty cool.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is visiting Milford Sound. It's somewhat commercialized in that you go out into the sound on pretty big boats, but the scenery is so incredible that it hardly matters.

Queenstown is also somewhat commercialized, but nonetheless, spectacular. You can do some pretty cool stuff there (not me or anyone in my party; I wanted to but didn't have time).

Even just driving around in some areas is so beautiful that you hardly need to stop anywhere.

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Miro
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I'm sorry for not responding earlier. My 2 1/2 weeks in New Zealand were awesome! Thank you for all the suggestions.

We started by hopping a short flight down to Queenstown and renting a car. We did a short hike overlooking Queenstown on the first day. The second day, we were supposed to go skydiving, but it turned too windy in the afternoon, so we were cancelled. Deciding that we couldn't leave Queenstown without some sort of adventure, we went bungy jumping instead. The most terrifying few seconds of my life. I quite literally fell kicking and screaming.

Then we went kayaking in Milford Sound, which was absolutely gorgeous (despite all the rain). We drove up the west coast, planning to have some fun in Fox Glacier, but it poured the whole time, so we just drove through. Ditto for Arthur's Pass.

We spent a short day in Christchurch, which is very pretty. We watched the Canterbury Crusaders lose to someone (Highlanders?) from the Holy Grail pub. It was a rather sorry match, only two field goals.

Then we drove to Picton and took the ferry to Wellington. I loved Te Papa. So different from the Smithsonian museums I grew up with in DC. Very cool. We wandered around for a bit and headed up to Paraparaumu to spend a day at the beach. It was quite warm enough, but was nice nonetheless.

We swung back through Wellington to wander the city and see the gardens and finished the day with a quick trip to the WETA cave. After spending the night in North Palmerston, we headed up to Taupo. Unfortunately, we left too early to visit the Rugby Museum.

In Taupo, our skydiving appointment was again cancelled for wind, but we rescheduled for the next day. We adopted our roommate at the hostel, a Brit on a six-month holiday, and saw the local sights, including Huka Falls and a glass-blowing studio. The next morning, we finally got to jump out of a plane, which was a *lot* of fun and so much less terrifying than bungy jumping. Then we took a short hike to a hot spring which was amazingly hot and very nice. It feeds into a cold river, which makes for a nice contrast.

Then we swung through Rotorua to see the geyser and other geological wonders. It did smell.

Then we headed for Auckland, where we met up with an old rugby teammate who now lives there. We watched the Blues demolish the Cheetahs (a South African team). The next day, we cheered our friend on in her team's dragon boat regatta.

The next day, we headed for the Coramandel peninsula and the beaches. We saw a lot of gorgeous views, many only a few minutes' hike from the roadside. I'm blanking on the name, but the place we stayed was quite nice. We hiked to Cathedral Cove and finished the day at the Hot Water Beach, where our hydroengineering skills were put to work directing flows of steaming hot water and cold water to make the perfect mix to lay in.

Then we had to drive back to Auckland to drop my sister off at the airport. I headed north past Auckland and spent a day at the Bay of Islands, followed by seeing the big Kauri trees. Then I, too, had to return to the Auckland airport. Though I did get some really good pizza in Auckland first.
Pictures!

I'm tempted to return when my enlistment's up. It's so gorgeous. I wouldn't mind spending a year or two - maybe more - down there.

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Cashew
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Glad you had fun! Good pics too!
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Teshi
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Apparently there's a lack of teachers in New Zealand. The teacher I volunteer with has applied to work there and told me about it. When I graduate...
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Cashew
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Big lack, Teshi. I teach high school and there's a shortage at both primary and secondary levels. What do you teach?
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Teshi
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Nothing yet, but in a year's time it's going to be subject English, Canadian grades 4-10.
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Cashew
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I don't think you'll have much problem getting a job, many schools recruit pretty seriously over seas, and foreign teachers whose first language is English are popular.
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