New Zealand
The gem of the Antipodes, the two islands that make up the country of New Zealand are a wonderland of snow-capped mountains, ancient forests, thermal springs, long beaches, fascinating local culture and colonial history, and stylish cities. It is small enough to explore all these options on one New Zealand holiday, but large enough tomore
Dale Young - Chatham Island Experience Feb 2011 - Dale Young. Date of travel: Mar 2011
Watch out! My friend Jim and I booked an 8 day fishing holiday at the Chatham Islands booked through Pukekohe Travel. The itinerary sounded great, 5 times ˝ day fishing trips, guided tours to see the sights on the island and help to get paua shellfish and beach & rock fishing. All this from comfortable accommodation and promised use of a van while we were there. All up cost was $2508 including insurance which was paid 4 months in advance. Our problems started when the plane didn’t come to Auckland on the 24th Feb as booked. We got various stories to explain this, including that the plane was held up in Christchurch on Tues 22nd, fog on the island preventing takeoff and one report that the engines needed to be serviced. So, our holiday was cut to 7 days and we were told that we had no recourse or possibility of partial refund. On arrival we were told by our hosts that it would be uneconomic for them to take us fishing as we were just a party of 2, we would have to tack in on fishing trips for other visitors to the island. This meant that we got one fishing trip while the deckie was filleting fish from a previous trip and 3 times 2˝-3 hour trips shared with up to 9 trampers from various other groups. Because we had to share trips with these non fishers, it also meant that we would only be taken out if the weather was very good. While the wind was up on some days, Jim and I would have still been keen to go fishing but the skipper wouldn’t take the boat out citing bad weather. There was one day we couldn’t go fishing because the boat was being used for a shark dive for other customers, we were offered the chance to tag along, but were told that it wasn’t really a fishing trip…. For serious fishermen, it’s not at all ideal to have to share trips with non fisherman, who tend to get seasick and through inexperience cause a lot of line tangles…. We were also told that the promised “Use of a van (8 or 12 seater)” didn’t actually mean that we could use a van at all; all it meant was that they would pick us up and take us to the airport for our flights. We found this out after paying $50 each for a seafood banquet at Kaiangaroa (about 50km away) at which time our host, Val Kroon Junior asked how we intended to get there. As a large party of 38 had arrived from the Bay of Plenty, the Kroon family was very busy looking after them and we were told that there was no room for us on any of the buses going to the banquet. After some haggling, the best result that we could obtain was for us to rent a small van for $50 per day, ˝ price. We were left to find our own way there. We were told that there is no money in it for the Kroons for our trip and this is all we could expect. When we went to settle up on our last day, we were surprised to find out that we were charged full price for the vehicle rental for 2 days, the reasoning for this was that because of bad weather and the fact that we weren’t out fishing in the boat, we must have used the rental van for the whole day. We didn’t actually get our 5 times ˝ day fishing trips, as the wind got up to 40 knots on our last day. Once again, no compensation for this was allowed; we were told that this was our bad luck and that the Kroons couldn’t be held responsible for bad weather. So, although we did get out on some fishing trips and we did catch a lot of fish; the holiday didn’t live up to our expectations. Having to pay $300 extra to rent a vehicle, losing 1 day and also losing one of our fishing trips contributed to our disappointment. It’s a shame, Jim & I had been really looking forward to a fantastic experience which was spoiled because we couldn’t get our hosts to deliver on their promise.
Te Aroha is great - Jyoti. Date of travel: Aug 2009
Life in NZ is very charming.Te Aroha is one of the most beautiful place in NZ.I visited there last year with my husband.Te Aroha is a pretty rural town that makes a great base for exploring the Waikato area, Coromandel and Tauranga, all within an hour's drive! The Holiday Park was established from a 100 year old homestead with stately oak trees providing plenty of shade. Accommodation includes powered camp sites, comfy wooden cabins and fully serviced family cottages sleeping up to six people. All cabins and cottages have a television and some cooking facilities. We have 2 hot pools, one with Hydro jets ideal to massage any sore joints from the long drive and a pure mineral water hot tub, set in the rocks, with seating for 6 and open all season. You might just be blown away by the umbrella of stars and our stunning sunsets on a cold winter's night sitting in the hot mineral water. The children's play area incorporates tree swings and a trampoline. For rainy days, there is a family room which has toys and books. Older kids can pick up our free of charge wireless signal from most places to keep them entertained.
New Zealand - Magnificant! April, 09 - Elizabeth de Jager. Date of travel: Apr 2009
I,ve long wanted to travel New Zealand as it is the country of my favourite rugby team, the All Blacks. I had the opportunity to do this during April 2009 and it was magnificant. I loved the forests and National Parks, I will never forget my walk in the Abel Tasman National Park. I hope to visit New Zealand again in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup. The country is awsome, the food is awsome and the rugby is superb!
New Zealand - Jonathan Newey. Date of travel: Mar 2007
After six months travelling the world, I can safely say the South Island of New Zealand wins first prize for the most consistent, dramatic scenery. A popular trip is to drive from Christchurch across to the west coast and then down to Queenstown and beyond. Do not recommend Greymouth, very grey. Cannot recommend enough a town called Wanaka on the shores of Lake Wanaka, less developed and more civilized than its more well known neighbour Queenstown. Allow yourself plently of time as there is so much to see, you do not want to be rushing. Very remote, friendly people, however probably not the easiest trip to do on a small budget.
New Zealand! Rotorua - Stace. Date of travel: Aug 2006
Is full of sheep and the kiwis are awesome too, nowhere else in the world! and the geothermal activity is quite interesting.
4 season's NZ - Bilbo Steyn. Date of travel: Apr 2006
My good friend invited me along for a 2 months holiday in New Zealand, flying there from the UK. We managed to buy a old, tired looking Toyota stationwagon and travelled through NZ with Penny(the car). We were on a very strict budget, so we were very particular about what we wanted to see. We bought a blow up mattress that fit perfect in the car, and so we travelled from spot to spot. If we felt like stopping, we would. If we wanted some adventure, we'd venture into a town. We travelled all over NZ, meeting the most amazing people. Buying a 2nd hand car was the best and most affordable way for us to travel through NZ. The North Island was by far our favourite, and Nevis Bungy in Queenstown our most daunting adventure. Although we didn't have all the money to do all the touristy things, we experienced New Zealand the best way we could. 2 things that is a must: have good insect repellent against the sandflies and a warm flease, it get's very chilly. Tour Operator: Independent travel
Marcus Bailey. Date of travel: Apr 2005
The great Kiwi North/South divide: Once my partner and I had booked flights to New Zealand this year, people started to tell me what we could do, which places we should see…as well as those we could avoid! The opinions of my friends varied so much, but the majority told me to spend most of my time on the South Island. I have to say that we did see some amazing things throughout New Zealand. In terms of size, it isn’t much bigger than the UK, and we only had to travel for a couple of hours to see contrasts in landscapes and lifestyles. It was so easy to drive around New Zealand. The only traffic jams (which were just a handful of cars) we found ourselves in, were when herds of New Zealand lambs wanted to cross the road. For me, the highlight of the North Island was spending a couple of days in the Bay of Islands. Here, we came across serene coastline, Polynesian influences and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the British signed a treaty with the Maori people which determined the way they live today. You’ll find the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves a couple of hours drive south of Auckland and these left us speechless. Spending a day and night in sulphur smelling Rotorua was enough time to see boiling mud pools, geysers, thermal baths and go on a must-do visit to a Mauri village (constructed especially for us tourists of course!). Driving between Rotorua and Wellington took us past some stunning scenery…but it only served as an introduction to some bigger and better sights we saw in the South island. We stopped over in Napier for a night which is half way between Roturua and Wellington. Napier boasts more Art Deco buildings than Miami! Most of the town was rebuilt during the Art Deco period following a huge earthquake. If you try to compare it to Miami, you’ll expect to see Napier full of Hispanic people and bars pumping out Gloria Estefan tunes. This isn’t the case as it’s a relaxed and quiet town. Wellington is situated at the bottom of the North Island and is where you pick up the ferry to the South Island. Wellington was my favourite city during the holiday and beats the more industrial Auckland hands down for culture, sights and restaurants (the nicest part of Auckland was Parnell and is the best area place to eat, drink and relax). What about the South Island? Well, the ferry journey to the South is stunning in itself, especially the last hour which takes you through Marlborough Sounds. You look around and all you can see is deep water and high mountains. When we reached land, it was just a two hour drive to Kaikoura. We stayed overnight and had an early start to go whale watching. This was a worthwhile trip. The tour boat searched for whales, we went and found them, and when we did, the crew even tipped us off when the whales were due to dive (this allowed us to get our cameras ready). During the trip we were sometimes just 50 metres away from the whales…it was really intimate. Another treat on this trip was coming across a pod of 300 dusky dolphins and they provided us with great entertainment. If you’ve visited Stratford-upon-Avon or Cambridge in the UK, then you’ll feel like you haven’t left home when you reach Christchurch. We thought it was worth going around on the trolley tour, but if we went back, wouldn’t plan to stay around for more than a couple of days. Further down the east coast, we came across Royal Albatross, seals and yellow eyed penguins. This area was a real nature lover’’ paradise. If you’re Scottish, then trips to Dunedin, Invercargill and Bluff will make you feel at home, but don’t expect any of them to be on such a grand scale as Edinburgh. Three days in the lake side resort of Queenstown just wasn’t enough. Queenstown is the home to outdoor pursuits and we did 360 degree turns on a power boat, bungy jumping, horse riding and visited sights used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Queenstown was the ideal base to visit the famous Milford Sound. Don’t drive there – take a bus tour. It would take hours to drive and the mountain roads twist and turn, which means it isn’t an easy journey. Our coach driver kept us entertained and stopped off at key sights. Our tour included a trip on Milford Sound using a small boat. This allowed us to get close and personal with the sights. By the end of the day we had seen so much beautiful scenery that we took it for granted and only appreciated it when we arrived back in the UK. The West Coast gave us the opportunity to see glaciers. We went on a plane ride to appreciate the size of them. The flight was also a good opportunity to see Mount Cook. You can tell we had an action packed few weeks and may be asking yourself which island I preferred? North or South? I can’t decide. Both presented unforgettable memories but they were very different. Why not visit New Zealand yourself and decide which you prefer? Must dos: - Bay of Islands. Drive from Auckland and base yourself in Paihia for 2 nights - Maori village in Rotorua - Whale watching in Kaikoura (visit www.whalewatch.co.nz for more information) - Milford Sound Day Trip (book with www.kiwidiscovery.com – they also offer wilderness/rafting excursions in the summer too) Tour Operator: Independently booked
Jeff. Date of travel: Jan 2005
What a fantastic country! If you love the outdoors and huge landscapes this is the country you need to see. My wife and I hired a camper van and toured both islands over a 3 week period. For me the South Island was simple breathtaking. It got to the point where you'd turn a corner and... oh, it's another amazing view. The roads were good—quite too—and if like activities New Zealand has them aplenty. In fact i was so taken with the country (and a memorable visit to Hobbiton film set) that I created a non-commercial website documenting our travels. You can see it at: http:web.ukonline.co.uk/jeff.jane I hope it inspires you to think about going to New Zealand. The only downside for me is that it is a fairly new country. Yes there is of course the Maori culture, but most of the towns are fairly similar and lack a bit of history. But the landscapes more than make up for it. Tour Operator: Travelbag
Stewart Island - Heather. Date of travel: May 2004
Stewart Island
I travelled the whole of NZ, and absolutely loved it! I can't imagine anywhere else on Earth that could be as peaceful for me (except maybe Patagonia or the Poles!). Glenorchy was my favourite place in NZ (South Island, Isengaard in Lord of the Rings was filmed here), you can find it to the West of Queenstown, the other end of Lake Wakatipu. It is amazing. A little 4 house town situated next to a huge prairie style field, surrounded by the Rees-Dart river, a snow-covered Mt Earnslaw and the Remarkables range...beautiful! Anyway, since no one has mentioned Stewart Island so far, I wanted to put in my two pence! Stewart Island can be reached from Bluff point via the Forveaux Express boat (30 min journey). Hold onto your hats for this ride, as the waters of the Forveaux Strait are very unpredictable! Once you've crossed the Strait, you will reach Half-Moon Bay (AKA Oban) - this is the main inhabited town on Stewart Island, it has only 100 people or so living in it. The town itself isn't particularly alluring, but it's nice enough. A word of warning though, if you're backpacking (as I was), avoid Innes Backpackers...the man who runs this place is a little too friendly for my liking! I highly recommend that, whilst you're on the Island, you walk the Raikura Track (one of NZ's 'Geat Walks'). It is quite a gruelling walk if it has been raining, but well worth it! Off the track you can view the Kiwi in its natural habitat at night, this is the only place in NZ that they can still live undisturbed. Also, if you can, try to sample some Paua, it is a fish but (surpise, surprise) tastes like chicken once grilled. The island boasts temperate rainforest and freshwater streams. Geographically, it is the southern-most inhabited land before you hit Antartica, but it's still amazingly temperate! If you're a peace or wildlife seeker, Stewart Island is well worth a visit.
Mark Bablesmore. Date of travel: Apr 2004
You MUST see the Lord of the Rings films to get an idea of the awesome scenery in New Zealand - this is where they are set and it is inspiring stuff! The country is really as beautiful as everyone says.
Mike Tonneson. Date of travel: Nov 2003
Absolutely loved New Zealand - its really paradise - but no-one mentioned that I would have to deal with clouds of tiny biting sandflies! I reckon they are there to see that the country remains unspoilt by too many people - otherwise there is nothing that would keep the hoards away!
Hotels in New Zealand User Rating
5-Star Hotels
Langham | * * * * * |
Skycity Grand | * * * * * |
Stamford Plaza | * * * * * |
4-Star Hotels
Carlton | * * * * * |
Citylife | * * * * * |
Crowne Plaza | * * * * * |
Duxton | * * * * * |
Grand Tiara | * * * * * |
3-Star Hotels
Centra Airport | * * * * * |
Copthorne Anzac Avenue | * * * * * |
Copthorne Harbour City | * * * * * |
Grand Chancellor - Airport | * * * * * |
Kingsgate | * * * * * |
2-Star Hotels
Aspen House | * * * * * |
Nz Osaka House | * * * * * |
Other Hotels
Arrowfield Apartments | * * * * * |
Chalet In The Ferns | * * * * * |
Penny | * * * * * |
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