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New Zealand suggestions


KateW

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Husband and I are off to New Zealand on honeymoon for three weeks over Christmas and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations of places to go, things to see etc? We're planning on two weeks in the south island and one week in the north. Remote lodges/cabins would be ideal. Thanks folks!
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On North Island (if you've got a luxury kind of budget) there is Huka Lodge on a lovely spot right by Huka Falls, near lake Taupo. We didn't stay there, we stayed in a cheap home stay in Taupo, but we walked by and from the other side of the river the grounds and lodge looked lovely. The town of Taupo is very average, but the lake is huge and lovely and it's quite a good base if you wanted to go to other places on North Island.
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Hanmer Springs in the South Island is a nice spot, about an hours drive north of Christchurch (where I'm from), small town in the middle of the Southern Alps based around the thermal pools that are a natural feature but have been developed into a nice thermal pool/spa complex. Also various other things to do such as mountain biking, horse riding, bungy jumping, jet boating, etc, etc, or just wandering around the forest and hills around the town.


If you're interested in whale watching, Kiakoura is a good spot for organised trips (again north of Christchurch, but on the coast).


If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, will try to help if I can.

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Oh let's all meet up then EDKiwi! Hammer Springs was fabulous! As was the North of the North Island, and also on the south island going to Omarama to go gliding (one of the two best places to go gliding from In The World), and - ohhh I could go on, it was a fabulous country. The road from Haast to Wanaka is one of the most fabulous roads in the country. Possibly the world!
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Oh yeah, Wanaka, Queenstown (bit touristy and pricey tho) and around the lakes down south is very nice. My cousin married an English fella and they went to Wanaka for a holiday and ended up moving there.


Forgot to mention Milford Sound or more generally Fiordland,(right at the bottom west coast of the South Island) well worth it if you can get down there. A boat trip out onto the sounds is well worth it, amazing scenery if you can put up with the bugs or the rain (seem to get one or the other down there).

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Thanks Moos... although I've been away from NZ for 9 years now and my holidays back there to see family these days are restricted to spending time in Dunedin with my parents, so I'm not really an expert on the nice places to go!!


Good suggestions from the others already. I would add that if you want to see Central Otago (the "adventure tourism" part of NZ) don't stay in Queenstown, which is far too touristy. Wanaka is nice (although also heading towards the too touristy side of things) as is Arrowtown - my favourite purely for it's quaintness. There are some lovely restaurants in Arrowtown.


If you head to Dunedin (where I'm from) be sure to look up Classic Jaguar Limousines, for all your sightseeing needs - and ensure my inheritance stays intact ;-)


I think the best way to see New Zealand is simply to hire a car, not set yourself unrealistic expectations about how far to drive in a day, and stop anytime you see a sign indicating a walk/waterfall etc. as there are some absolute gems tucked away for you to see. The West Coast of the South Island is particularly spectacular, and the glaciers (Fox and Frans Joseph) are well worth a visit - it tends to rain a lot and the sandflies (midgy type things) are annoying, but it's beautiful. Lots of good traditional kiwi pubs over that way too!


Have a wonderful time.

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Yes Arrowtown was sooo beautiful! We found ourselves near there for Christmas Day. Oh and another recommendation is riding through Wine country, along the north of the south island. We saw New Year in in Dunedin! Lovely town. And Christchurch was lovely too, with fabulous Oxford Uni inspired architecture.


And whatever you do, don't miss going up the Sky Tower's revolving restaurant in Auckland. Oh - oh - and don't forget the Coromandel peninsular south east of Auckland!

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I haven't spent a NYE in Dunedin since 2000, I'm jealous! Hope it lived up to it's reputation and put on a good show for you! Did you party in the Octagon? Many years ago I used to work at the Ra Bar which featured pretty highly in the New Year's celebrations, good fun.


Central Otago is also well worth visiting for the vineyards, if you're a wine lover. Fantastic wineries round that area with award winning wines being consistently produced. Central Otago pinot is my absolute favourite wine. Just make sure you leave your rental car at home that day! Many of the vineyards have brilliant restaurants attached, my idea of heaven!

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You guys are wonderful! Thank you sooo much for the tips. The only thing booked so far is three nights in a lodge in Wanaka on Christmas eve/day/boxing day and the rest will be an adventure! One more question please: what's the best way of getting from south to north island - fly or ferry?
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Yeah I think ferry is the best bet if you're driving, it's not that far between the islands anyway and you'll end up in the Marlborough sounds (if you're heading south) or Wellington (heading north) which are both good areas to check out.


As for the north island, I ashamedly haven't been up that way very much but the Coromandel and Bay of Islands are both very nice.

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The ferry is a great way to see some more amazing scenery while crossing between the islands, but be warned, it can get VERY rough out there. I've had a couple of absolutely foul experiences on the ferry, most recent involving them making all the passengers lie on the floor in the centre of the boat while we rocked and rolled all over the place. People all around being sick, possibly the longest boat trip of my life! But on a nice day it's lovely :)
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Napier is worth a visit. It's a small town that is famous for its art deco architecture, having been reubuilt following an earthquake (if my memory serves me well). Otherwise, Russell is a great little town that is worth an overnight stay. It's historic (first RC church in NZ) and on the sea and has a lovely feel to it.

If you are travelling there in one journey and not getting off for a night on teh way, do expect to be jetlagged, and try to avoid it as much as possible!

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Me and my missue where in NZ for two weeks only on our global tour. We flew from Auckland to Christchurch and hired the campervan thing. Now I detest camping/caravanning and my missus was 6 months pregnat and does too but it was great (although we had been travelling for 4 months so cooking your own food was a luxury in itself!). Freedom to go where you want and flexibility and transport - however although relatively small the South Island is a big place to drive round in a week but I'd certainly recomend considering doing this for some of it. We then got the train from Christchurch up to the ferry a lovely journey, hired a car in Wellington and drove back up to Auckland via Rotura
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Thanks Nero. We're stopping off in Singapore for the night on the way out but doing it in one go on the return leg (urgh!). Still, I can't complain as husband then has a 24 hr flight to the Falkands on the day we get back to the UK! (Oh the joys of the army!)
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If you are in Rotorua, try the Polynesian Spa. Don't be put off by the name or the adverts, it's a magic place of hot pools, open to the sky, lots of locals, few tourists. We sat in wonderfully warm water pools, looking up at the Southern Cross. You'll need swimming costumes, but towels, hair dryers and such are available in the spotlessly clean changing rooms.


Also, if you reach Dunedin, try the Taieri Gorge Railway. It doesn't run every day, so best to check and book in advance. Great little train, and fantastic views. Good fun.


We were in NZ three years ago, and loved every minute of it. I'm sure you'll have a great time.

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If you like mountain views whilst taking your vows at the altar then there a tiny church at the head of ake Tekapo on South island that has a window behind the altar that looks over the lake to Mt Cook. Lovely! Made me want to get married, alas the gorgeous American lass I was travelling with was confused about another :(


If you've just a week in North island then I wouldn't hang about in Aukland as it's mostly urban sprawl (one of the largest in the World I was told but that could've been local boasting), head North to the Bay of Islands/Coromandel for 3-4 days (doable but a bit rushed) and then head South for Wellington if you're going to take the Ferry to South Island.


Napier/Hawkes Bay is worth a swing by if you like Art-deco and wine as the Northern wine-region is around there, also a chocolate maker if I recall. Admitedly with only a week you'd be pushed to get there on the Eastern coast and on to Wellington via any other sights.


If you must do your sky-dive then Lake Taupo was where I did mine on North Island and it was truly awesome but if your budget can stretch then perhaps try when you get to South Island and do it over Abel Tasman National Park that's a little way's West and North of Picton where the ferry drops you. Friends' photos from there were even more awesome! Abel Tasman might also offer you some secluded lodging although you could also try around Picton and Queen Charlotte's Sound.

You have to get down to Fiordland for the sounds and the glaciers and if you're into your wildlife then the length of the East coast gives you penguins, seals, whales, dolphins, albatross and sheep amongst others. Swimming with dolphins can get a little chilly so either bring a thick wetsuit or something for hypothermia.

If it's wine you're after then head to Blenheim just South of Picton to taste your fill. Never fancied wine but the dessert wines were lustworthy.


You're on a whirlwind tour with just 2 weeks there so decide whether you want slow and romantic or wild and hell-for-leather. Just be prepared for all the possum roadkill and watch out for reckless driving on the narrower roads. We never had an incident in 6 weeks but they did have a problem over there with youths rushing about.


Have a fantastic trip and congratulations!


Your alternative is to follow hubby to the Falklands and try to get to the penguins etc on St Georges.

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Sky Dive over Fox Glacier (apparently the best place!!). Mount Cook on one side and golden sands on the other. I'd never do it again but was glad of the amazing scenery to help me through it.


Milford Sound I've heard is fantastic but when I went the weather was so awful you couldn't make out the sides of the fjords and it was drizzling all day.


I think the best thing to do is hire a car and go with the flow. Like was said above, the scenic points are really well signposted off the roads and you can find some really good places. Half of the pleasure of NZ are the views from the road. Be prepared to pull over a lot.


I think as you're going in summer then def head to the Bay of Islands and also 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga (touristy but I love all that 'you are x miles from the UK' kind of rubbish). I went in August and it was still pretty warm and it's all so quaint.


Also love the place where the mountainscape is mirrored in the lake but have no idea where that was now.

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