New Zealand Master Thread

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by wijomas, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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  2. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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    About New Zealand
    New Zealand is known in the native Maori language as Aotearoa, often translated as "the land of the long white cloud."

    New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty which includes: jagged mountains, steep fiords, pristine lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic features. The islands are one of Earth's richest flora zones and is inhabited by some unique fauna, including many flightless birds such as the kiwi, which is the national symbol.

    The Maori culture continues to play an important part in everyday New Zealand life, and there are abundant opportunities for the visitor to understand and experience the history and the present day form of Maori life.

    The country is sparsely populated, but easily accessible. New Zealand has modern visitor facilities, and developed transportation networks. New Zealand often adds an adventure twist to nature, and is the home of jetboating through shallow gorges, and bungy jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.

    Geography
    New Zealand consists of two main islands and many smaller ones in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 1600 km southeast of Australia. With a population of four million in a country about the size of the United Kingdom, many areas are sparsely settled.

    Be sure to allow sufficient time to travel in New Zealand as distances are large, and roads wind along the coast and through mountain ranges, particularly on the South Island. It is possible to tour for three or four weeks on each island, although you can certainly see highlights in far less time.

    Time zones
    New Zealand leads the world time wise. 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+12) and 20 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Daylight Saving (GMT+13) begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April.

    NZST New Zealand Standard Time - GMT+12
    NZDT New Zealand Daylight Time - GMT+13
    CHAST Chatham Standard Time - GMT+12:45 (used exclusively in the Chatham Islands)
    CHADT Chatham Daylight Time - GMT+13:45 (used exclusively in the Chatham Islands)

     
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  3. wijomas
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    Getting There - How to Fly to New Zealand
    Placeholder
     
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  4. wijomas
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    Getting In - Customs, Immigration, and Agricultural Inspections
    Reserved
     
  5. wijomas
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    Getting Around - Guide to Travel within New Zealand
     
  6. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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    Getting Help - Who To Call, Where To Go
    The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111. Ambulance, Fire and Police can be contacted through this service. Full instructions are on the inside front cover of every telephone book. It often is answered in the first 30 seconds after calling.
     
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  7. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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    North Island
    The North Island is the smaller of New Zealand’s two main islands, and is surprisingly located north of the South Island. It’s home to many exciting cities, towns, and villages – including Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city (which has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world) and Wellington, our capital city.

    Most visitors to New Zealand will fly in to Auckland International Airport. About 30 minutes from the Auckland CBD during normal traffic conditions (up to an hour or more during peak times), you can expect a taxi to cost about $60. Taxi prices vary, and are displayed on the side of the cab. For a cheap option (but don’t expect too many luxuries), call Discount Taxis on 09 529 1000. Expect to pay about $40 to the city. Another option is the Airbus Express which is around $16 oneway, or $23 return. Shuttle services are also available.

    North Island highlights include geothermal Rotorua, the Bay of Islands, Lake Taupo and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum.

    You can find some more of the highlights of the North Island on the New Zealand Tourism Guide website.
     
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  8. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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    South Island
    The South Island of New Zealand is characterized by grand open landscapes. Divided by a backbone of mountain aptly called the Southern Alps, the South Island is known for spectacular mountains and fiords, large beech forests, golden sand beaches and broad plains. Generally cooler in climate than the North Island but don't forget sunhats and t-shirts - temperatures are routinely in the 30 degrees celsius in summer. In winter the sea buffers the temperatures which rarely drop much below 0 degrees except in mountainous regions.

    ThatJohn provides an excellent example South Island itinerary on this Google map, and another in this post:

     
  9. wijomas
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    Stewart Island
     
  10. wijomas
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    Outer Islands & Other Territories
     
  11. kiwi
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    Chatham Islands have their own wierd time zone.
     
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  12. wijomas
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    Added :) I was wondering when you were going to turn up here! Let's get some of your awesome info over here, too :D
     
  13. straitman
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    The cynic in me finds it amusing that NZ has a master thread and Sydney already has four threads of its own! [​IMG]
     
  14. wijomas
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    wijomas Gold Member

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    :D
     
  15. ArizonaGuy
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    I'm really looking forward to updated information here. While the administrative info won't be anything new I do have a couple of weeks primarily on the South Island in May and still can't make up my mind fully on what to do - and the wife has left it entirely up to me since she's terribly busy with school and work for a while yet!
     
  16. wijomas
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    Updated info should be up over next couple of days :) Where in the South Island exactly are you going to be?
     
  17. ArizonaGuy
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    It's not completely set. Here's the entire part that's been planned. :) I have lots of ideas but not sure of my route yet.

    14 May: Arrive AKL, having experienced NZ1's new BP seats. :) Day to wander city, recover from jetlag. I rarely need that but my wife will.
    15 May: AKL-CHC, arriving mid-day.
    29 May: Depart AKL in the afternoon aboard NZ8.

    Probably spend 2 nights in CHC. Most likely will take TranzAlpine, then pick up car in Greymouth. Take a couple of days meander (glaciers, Mt. Cook, anything that seems interesting) and eventually end up in ZQN for 3 or 4 nights. A day of which will include Milford Sound. After that, I'm not entirely sure what else will or will not make the list. I'm contemplating returning to AKL from DUD on the 26th or 27th so there might be time to do some bus tour day trip to Rotorua or elsewhere. (Are Waitomo caves worth seeing?)
     
  18. ThatJohn
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    If the weather is nice and you're staying centrally, do the two-hours-on-an-America's-Cup-Yacht thing from SailNZ (I'm unaffiliated but loved it). You also get entry to the excellent Maritime Museum nearby. One of my faves.

    I have a 21-day South Island driving itinerary that you may like to pull some bits out of. Alternatively:
    • yes, the TranzAlpine across the Southern Alps is a great day, I hear. (Haven't done it yet; it's on the list.)
    • the Akaroa peninsula is reputed to be gorgeous
    • you should totally do the dorky dorky Lord of the Rings Edoras tour, even if you don't care about the movies: the scenery is just stunning
    • Mt Cook is awesome. The Hermitage Hotel is apparently where all the right people stay.
    • Consider the drive up the coast (or a quick flight on an adorable tiny aircraft!) to Blenheim, home of the Marlborough wine region. If you're interested in wine, I'm happy to update my wine map based on last week's expeditions.
    • Ditto to ZQN for the Central Otago region if you're into your Pinot Noirs.
    • I have never done Milford Sound, but people rave about Doubtful Sound more. I've done Doubtful Sound. Fiordland cruises were awesome last year, but they have a new boat. My parents (here visiting) are doing that next week, so just poke me later if you want a review.
    • fly into ZQN just for the scenery, spend a day there and fly back to Christchurch if you like. Try to get on as small a turboprop as you can (Beech 1900D are awesome, if they even fly that route!)
    • DUD is kind of pointless apart from some 1800s history. Yawn. But I'm an Anglo, so anything from this Era is yawnworthy ;)
    • I hear Rotorua is smelly but Taupo has nice spas. (And I hear this from drag queens, who know.)
    • Come to WLG, it's kind of awesome and we're good at putting together afternoons in a local brewery bar next to the museum (where other halves can go do cultured things) to say hello.
    Make sure you book internal NZ flights on the .co.nz website and not foreign ones -- the low fares aren't loaded internationally.
     
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  19. ArizonaGuy
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    Is that link correct? I get no custom map. It just acts as if I'd gone to maps.google.co.uk.

    In the upper right just above the map, the link icon should give you a goo.gl shortened URL for your map.
     
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  20. ThatJohn
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    How odd. I had assumed the ?mid= was a, um, map ID. Oh Google. Voilà the relal map.
     
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  21. aabrock
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    ThatJohn, thank you for the itinerary! I'll have a 3 week stint in the South Island at the end of the year, starting in Queenstown and finishing in Wellington for New Year's Eve; your map just became my starting template :)
     
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  22. Rich
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    The smell in Rotorua made my wife sick. My next trip I want to have more time so I can get to the South Island. I loved the drive around the North Island, though.
     
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  23. Rambuster
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    I will be travelling to ZQN soon (Queenstown).
    Can anybody recommend a 5* hotel there ?
     
  24. ThatJohn
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    You're very welcome! Do feel free to ask questions and throw itineraries around here.

    I also have wine itineraries for Marlborough and Central Otago if you're interested ;)
     
  25. ArizonaGuy
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    My problem is (as is always the case) no matter how long you plan to visit some place there's never enough time to do everything you'd like. Wouldn't matter if I had 3 months, I'd still be poring over what to cut from a wishlist. Of course that's why you assume you'll always be back. (Besides my obsession with anything Irish, I've been there 5 times and most of the cities I love in Europe at least twice.)

    As I've previously said, after arriving in and spending the day in AKL on a Saturday we will head directly to CHC Sunday mid day and staying there for one or two nights. Here's the roughness so far (and this is 14 - 29 May):

    Day 01: Arrive and stay in AKL
    Day 02: Fly to and stay in CHC
    Day 03: Either a day trip or overnight trip to Akaroa. My wife is a French teacher and confirmed Francophile. :)
    Day 04: To Mt. Cook - Long drive, hence the likely day trip in Akaroa to save an hour+ driving this day
    Day 05: Leave Mt. Cook mid-day for ZQN
    Day 06: ZQN
    Day 07: To Manpouri or Te Anau
    Day 08: Join overnight trip on Doubtful Sound (Booked this already but is refundable - but only runs 3x weekly)
    Day 09: Return to Manapouri or Te Anau - the overnight cruise won't have us back until after 17:00

    Here's where I'm now considering two different ideas - A & B.
    Day 10A: Drive to Fox Glacier - another long drive, I'm aware.
    Day 11A: Time at Fox Glacier and spend second night here
    Day 12A: To Greymouth
    Day 13A: Morning drive up coast before returning to Greymouth for TranzAlpine to CHC
    Day 14A: Either fly to AKL this morning or the last flight the previous night
    Day 15A: Pick from the range of day trip tours out of AKL

    Day 10B: Drive to Dunedin.
    Day 11B: Dunedin (Penguin Place - my wife loves any cuddly looking animal)
    Day 12B through Day 14B - uncertain. Ditch car and hope for Pointsbreak @ IC WLG? :)
    Day 15B: Would still like to be in AKL for some random day trip. Not absolutely necessary though

    Day 16: NZ8 AKL-SFO @ 17:15

    Even this is cramming, I realize. But any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We're not really going to hike Fox Glacier so considering a splurge, weather permitting, from ZQN to the glacier via helicopter. Not sure if I want that expense however.
     

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