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> What not to miss in New Zealand
Yvonne
post Mar 14 2006, 12:45 PM
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Going to NZ later this year but only for 3 weeks. There is so much to see and I am loath to miss anything but also realistic, i know I can't see everything.

Please advise me...what must now be missed under any circumstances
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stevejames
post Mar 14 2006, 01:16 PM
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The first thing that springs to mind is a walk called the Tongariro Crossing. It's a stunning walk up through farmland past snowy mountains, through volcano craters (complete with emerald-green volcanic lakes) and down through forest. You get to see lots of the different landscapes New Zealand can offer, and it only takes a day. Highly recommended!

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ScottWoz
post Mar 16 2006, 09:21 PM
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Hi Yvonne,

Steve's absolutely right. It's often referred to as one of the greatest one-day-walks in the world. For only a day out of your trip, it's one you'll never forget.

New Zealand was (and still is) the first country on my hitlist. I've been doing it in depth, 18mths so far.

The big problem is, is that it's all good .

My suggestion would be to make the most of the little time you have and not to rush things. There is too much to see and the more you delve, the better it gets. I see so many people whizz frantically round both islands in as little as 2 weeks and while they 'see' the highlights they don't really get to 'experience' them fully. This may be fine if you simply want to see as much as you possibly can, but again, it depends on what you're looking to get out of the experience.

If you think you may come back at some point, I'd recommend concentrating on one island first. The North Island with its green rolling hills, Maori culture, thermal activity and long, sweeping heart-stopping beaches is dramatically different to the South Island, with it's glaciers, snow capped peaks and serene lakes and rivers. It's a stark contrast and often feels like a completely different country. But they are both naturally stunning.

Also, it depends on the time of year you visit as to what you get. The winter season is on its way and is already starting to get cold here. The autumn colours are starting to bloom and it's all beginning to look quite magical.

If your outdoorsy, there is plenty to do in both islands. New Zealand is a true haven for the outdoors enthusiast, there's just too much to list.

If you can give us an idea on what interests you or really fires you up, I may be able to suggest more specific things that you could build in to your plan.

Either way, you'll LOVE IT!

Cheers


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Yvonne
post Mar 17 2006, 02:48 PM
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Hey guys

To be really honest, I think this is a one time thing, we won't be visiting again. I really don't want to look back with regrets...of having missed things or or having rushed it!

My mission:
I am from Cape Town and extrememly proud of it wink.gif . I believe that CT is the most beautiful place I have ever experienced wub.gif and I am on a mission to visit somewhere that impresses me more. I want to be awestruck by the natural world around me so I know I'm heading to the right place by visiting NZ. I want grandeur and greenery

This trip will be happening in November. We fly in to Auckland and out of Christchurch and were considering hiring a car for the whole 3 weeks.

I would like to do a fair bit of hiking/ tramping though I would also like to rest a bit...needing a holiday (Bay of Islands as well as hot water beach near the Coromandel Peninsula have been recomended) ! Not really into the cultural thing. More into mountains than beaches though we do want to do some swimming

Not really into adrenaline activites though black water rafting in Waitomo caves does sound appealing.
My husband loves the cold so one of the glaciers is a must-do.
Also the tranz alpine train trip from Christchurch to Greymouth or even just to Arthurs pass and back sounds great.
Would like to visit Abel Tasman or Marlborough Sound. Would also love to visit Milford Sound but it is really far to travel... what to do?

help!! blink.gif Thanks
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ScottWoz
post Mar 19 2006, 12:50 AM
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Hi Yvonne,

Regarding your ‘mission’, you’re in luck. If you’re looking for grandeur and greenery, you’ll get it. If you want to be awe struck, you will be.

Unfortunately, you will miss things and as you only have three weeks it will still seem a bit of a rush as there is sooo much to see.

You’ll be arriving late spring, almost beginning of summer so you’ll be here at the right time for what you’re interested in. Hiring a car is an excellent idea as you’ll get all the freedom and flexibility you need.

From what you’ve told us, and if I were you, I’d spend around a week in the North island and two in the South. You’ll be doing a lot of driving but that’s the way it goes. For the north, the Bay of Islands is spectacular, there’s just something about the place that captures you. The day trip from Paihia to Cape Reinga - the very top of the Northland - via ninety mile beach is excellent and certainly worth considering. The Coromandel is also exceptionally good. On your way south after Waitomo, you’ve really got to choose between travelling through the middle (Rotorua and its mass of thermal activity, Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park with it’s world famous one day walk) or hitting the East coast (Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Napier) which has excellent beaches and greenery and also gives you the chance to see some incredible sunrises of which you’ll be the first mainlanders in the world to see.

Though the North island can still adequately cater for some of your ‘would like to’s’, everything else on your list can be easily satisfied in the South Island – mountains, glaciers, awe and grandeur. The Abel Tasman and Marlborough Sounds are relatively close. The beaches of the Abel Tasman are beautiful: white sands and emerald green waters. For your tramping options you could have a bash at the Abel Tasman coastal track or the Queen Charlotte track around the Marlborough Sounds.

The Tranzalpine is a great experience which will have you back in Christchurch inside a day. Before you get to Christchurch though, Kaikoura (2hrs north) is well worth a visit for the abundance of marine life which inhabits the area. Here you can take a boat and see sperm whales and swim with dusky dolphins in the wild - a most memorable experience.

I would strongly recommend heading down south. The route inland from the east coast through ‘the southern lakes’ (Tekapo, Pukaki (and Mt Cook!), Wanaka, Wakatipu) is an absolute must. Some of the colours are mind-blowing and the vast snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps will leave you speechless. This route will lead you on to Wanaka and Queenstown - both scenically stunning though Queenstown is much more touristy and pricey – but a stunning location nonetheless.

I really think for a once only experience, you must experience the Fiordland – the Milford Sound. Even the Doubtful Sound which is much less touristy and no less dramatic. There are plenty of options including overnight cruises on both, scenic day cruises, even flyovers. You can base yourself in Queenstown, Te Anau or Milford to do these, though the hours drive from Te Anau to Milford is breathtaking. Also, once you’re around these parts you have access to some pretty spectacular treks – the Kepler track in Te Anau, the Routeburn track from Glenorchy just to name a couple. You could even coincide your Milford visit with your completion of the Routeburn track as it finishes at ‘the Divide’ - very close to Milford. (The Milford track is very popular and is often booked up to a year in advance, so be sure to check availability before making definite plans.)

As you’ve already said, the glacier hike (or heli hike) is a must and you won’t be disappointed. In fact, the whole west coast is wild and rugged and is also often missed. You could easily lose a few days there!

I guess it really depends how long you take to absorb all this in the short time you have. Oh and just to throw you right off course, if you can manage to squeeze anymore in, ‘The Catlins’ on the South East coast is well worth a visit, including ancient petrified forests and native seals basking on the beaches.

There is simply far too much to see and do and while it’s unfortunate to miss things, I still reckon it’s important not to rush too much and miss the ‘experience’. If you really embrace what New Zealand has to offer, the quality of your trip will far outweigh the quantity.

Cheers smile.gif


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whereshegoes
post Mar 20 2006, 01:44 PM
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I chose to hike up Fox Glacier and was quite impressed. I also did the Abel Tasman and thoroughly enjoyed it. THe Milford track was fully booked but I did get a chance to go scuba diving and saw the rare Black Coral.

The guys are right. It is really hard to go wrong in this stunning country.

Enjoy!


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