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New Zealand

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I'm heading off in Jan to New Zealand for 12 months (so far...) and I wanted some recommendations - cool things and places to do/see/explore.

We are also thinking of renting a campervan for a few months to travel around in- has anyone done this and could give good/bad experiences?

This is the first time i've travelled properly (i'm only been on 1/2 week holidays before) so i'm nervous but also excited :D

any advice is appreciated :yes: :wave:

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i went last year for six weeks buttt i only went to the north island, but it was amazing :D a few things id recommend isss

    - we went on a roadtrip along the coromandel which is like the peninsular of the north island (i think, im not so good with geography!) there were loads of beach type towns and beautiful places to see among there, my favourite place i went was cathedral cove the views were just breathtaking

    - rotarua is a really interesting place to visit its where they have the thermal springs, geysers and hot mud pools, we visited a traditional Maori village there and went to the spas, we also went aqua zorbing (the rolling down the hill in the ball thing!) which was so much fun i did it twice more before i left :D

    - theres loads of thrillseeking type of stuff if you like that sort of thing, i went black water rafting in waitomo which was one of the scariest but best things iv ever done, i went parasailing in paihia which is also another lovely place to visit, its at the very top of the north island in the bay of islands. it has a good nightlife and quite a lot of activities to do there, i went swimming with dolphins and on a catamaran cruise sort of thing :)

    ahh i think i could go on all day about this but i have things to do, if i think of anymore or you have any questions let me know :D x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can second the recommendation to visit Roturua, really visually impressive.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aaaah 12 months in NZ, I'm so incredibly jealous! I had 6 weeks out there and that was fab but I'd love to go for a whole year.

    As for things to do, Firey's post is spot on for the north island, but in my opinion the south island's even better and well worth seeing. In the north, Sky Tower in Auckland's worth a visit, fantastic views. I definitely second the zorbing, I did that in Rotorua as well and it was so much fun. We also went on a day trip with Awesome Adventures up in the Bay of Islands which was great, they packed loads in including sand boarding, a visit to the very northerly point of the island (Cape Reinga), a drive along 90 Mile Beach and the best fish and chips ever :yum: We also went to the Kiwi Encounter, a kiwi sanctuary in Rotorua where you can see baby kiwis being fed - really cute. If you really want an adrenaline rush, you have to go skydiving over Lake Taupo. The views are incredible and it's the cheapest place to do it in the whole of NZ apparently. It was the absolute highlight of my trip and something I would recommend to EVERYONE. Spend some time in Wellington if you can too, it was my favourite city - lots of cool shops and a great music scene (if you can catch Fat Freddy's Drop or Shapeshifter while you're over there, do it, both awesome live bands :D ) Plus it has lovely gardens you can stroll around too.

    As for the south island it's hard to know where to begin! Abel Tasman up at the top of the island is stunning - it's a national park and there are some lovely walks/treks you can do. Hanmer Springs is worth a look although it's in the middle of basically nowhere, they have natural hot springs there you can go and bathe in. We went whale watching in Kaikoura which was awesome, they take you out in a boat and you get to see whales up close in the wild - breathtaking. On the drive into Kaikoura you'll see also seals basking on the rocks really close by :) Also you have to try crayfish while you're there (basically lobster), it's pretty cheap there and delicious. Franz Josef/Fox Glacier is where you can go glacier trekking which I would definitely recommend, it's hard going but worth it - a really unique experience. We did Franz Josef as I think it's a bit cheaper, we did a half day trek and it was class. That's fairly close to Mount Cook as well where you'll find some of the most beautiful scenery ever. Akaroa is worth visiting, it's a French-inspired little town which is very picturesque, we went swimming with dolphins there (they have Hector's dolphins which is the smallest breed in the world I think, they are fab and friendly). Lake Wanaka was probably my favourite place in the south island, again the scenery is stunning, it's a buzzing town with loads to do on and around the lake (and a very helpful optician should you run out of contact lenses as I did!) Then there's Queenstown, the extreme sports capital where you can go luging - you get a cable car up the side of a mountain then career back down it on a go cart, loads of fun. There's loads of stuff to do there and the drive down into it is amazing scenery-wise. Milford Sound is lovely too although the midges really pissed us off after a bit, it's still worth visiting though as you can take some fab boat trips etc. Christchurch was lovely, that was the last city we went to - it's strangely English, has a fab nightlife scene and there's a bar where you can get these fantastic varieties of flavoured sake, it's called Ishimoto and is in the SOL square in Christchurch. Oh and I think it was Oamaru we went to and saw yellow penguins REALLY close up, babies and parents - a definite personal highlight :)

    Aaagh there's loads more I could recommend but it's hard to remember everything we crammed into our 6 weeks! We travelled the length of New Zealand (from Auckland to Christchurch) in a camper van hired from a company called Escape - http://www.escaperentals.co.nz/ - they do wicked customised vans which come with their own sinks, barbeques, bedding etc (word of advice, check the gas levels in the bbq before using it for the first time or you could end up with an undercooked Christmas dinner as we did!) I absolutely loved our van, it was a pleasure to drive and you have the nice community aspect of having something in common with other tourists you spot driving them. I would say that 6 weeks living in it with my boyfriend was tough going though. It's not massive by any stretch of the imagination and I found it hard at times being cramped in together all the time. But that was really the only downside (apart from no loo or shower but you can just stay at campsites and use communal ones, usually pretty cheap and in reasonable condition) - it was great having the freedom to go wherever we liked whenever we liked and the drives were fantastic thanks to NZ's stunning countryside.

    Anyway, hope that's some help to you - I will add to this if I remember anything else!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ahh i missed so much stuff out! i went sandboarding in cape reinga too :D and i neeeeearly went bungee jumping off the sky tower in auckland until the weather started torentially raining :D i didnt go skydiving but its something i really regret. in lake taupo i did this rock'n ropes course which is basically like a playground but 50+feet up in the air. like the picture haha!

    i forgot to recommend a place called tauranga, i spent a fair bit of time there was thats where my friend lives and its lovely - it also has a hot spas, a mountain you can climb :p and a gorgeous beach, with restaurants and bars etc, i loved it :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wow- thats amazing advice, thanks guys!!!

    I'm gonna get my map out and highlight all these places now :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Haha you lot know more than me :p

    But places you want to go to are Rotorua (prepare yourself for the smell of sulphur, though you'll get used to it), Taupo and the Coromandel.

    Auckland is apparently the city to go to, but I personally find it too huge with all it's mini-towns all over the place (I'm going up in a couple of weeks and will go to the casino :)).

    WELLINGTON! YES! Come here :) It's fucking windy as (disgusting *summer* weather today), but you won't really get an atmosphere like Welly :) Friendly people, awesome cafes, and really easy to get around the main town. If you hit Wellington during the Rugby 7's - um early Feb, same time as Waitangi day - that's a pretty much HUGE party that goes on Friday - sat night. EVERYONE goes to the rugby in costumes and walking through town that day is awesome - and town at night will be packed as.
    It's been good weather every year for it, so I hope it is this year. The 7's tickets sold out in 3mins for this year. That's 35,000 tickets. "You can't beat Wellington on a good day" :)
    Take a trip to Kapiti Island and if you want to camp it on the Kapiti coast, best beach is Paekakariki. There's a camping ground 2mins away from the beach.

    I've only been to the south island once in my years but Abel Tasman National Park is absolutely stunning. It's near the top of the south island. And go to the SI from Wellington on the Ferry :)

    You will also want to go to the other major cities - Christchurch and Dunedin - but maybe not in winter. Dunedin is often in the low 10C's degrees and often in negative degrees during winter.

    Apart from that ^ what they said! They have traveled a shit load more this country than I have!

    A site you may find useful for cheap travel is http://flightbookings.airnewzealand.co.nz/vgrabview/en_NZ/ where you can get $1 flights some times, but you have to be super quick! Sign up for daily notifications.
    Also, http://www.nakedbus.com/
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks again :D I'm getting nervous, only a week and a half to go!!! I have the feeling like i'm gonna forget stuff, or i haven't planned enough etc, but i'm sure that'll all go away when i get there- i think it's just the feeling of 'OMG..this isn't just a package holiday' LOL

    :D:D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do let me know how you get on, I'm spending a semester at the University of Victoria in Wellington next year and would like to see as much as I can!

    Have fun out there :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Give me a yell if you need a yarn ;D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Give me a yell if you need a yarn ;D

    Thanks, done :D Is 'a yarn' a chat??
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Haha yes! Introducing you to the kiwi chatter ;p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    skakitty wrote: »
    Thanks again :D I'm getting nervous, only a week and a half to go!!! I have the feeling like i'm gonna forget stuff, or i haven't planned enough etc, but i'm sure that'll all go away when i get there- i think it's just the feeling of 'OMG..this isn't just a package holiday' LOL

    :D:D

    Aaahhh so jealous! You will be fine though. It's not like you're travelling to the middle of nowhere, you will be able to buy whatever you forget. You're going to have a blast :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Make sure you pop over to Australia for a bit too! (Preferably Queensland)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Nah man, read this.

    I was laughing a lot

    http://www.cracked.com/funny-163-australia/

    Especially the last part.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Nah man, read this.

    I was laughing a lot

    http://www.cracked.com/funny-163-australia/

    Especially the last part.

    Haha that is very true, though I lived there for a year and didn't see half the deadly stuff that you hear about.
    I didn't say ANY snakes, did see a few massive spiders (but they were harmless one's), and I still see more regular spiders around the house here than I did over there.
    I saw plenty of Kangaroo's, Possoms, Wombats, Dolphins, tropical fish, Sea Turtles, Koala's and various types of Parrots though....none of which are deadly.

    BUT....I did come very close to swimming with a Reef Shark and there are shit loads of gigantic Cockroaches (harmless but MINGING!)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I saw GIANT spiders every where *cringe* but apparently harmless. Didn't look fucking harmless to me! Creepy fucking things.
    The only things that really creep me out here are huhu beetles *shudder*
    And I've only seen one once, recently and didn't know what the hell it was. Cross between a giant moth *screams* and a weta and a beetle. Yuck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi This might be an overdue please look out campervans through Motorhome New Zealand to access an array of motorhomes from different operators, if you are going to cross both island. advice ahead to prevent unecessary fees. this can be settled by an agent for lesser hassle.
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