New Zealand - recommendations/tips??

JohnM Aug 4, 2013

  1. JohnM

    JohnM blah blah blah

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    I'm going to NZ for a month in Novemember. I've spent a month there years ago, and so am quite up on the tourist stuff to see - but would welcome any tips/recommendations from any kiwis/residents/recent travellers of anything interesting/off the beaten track as well as any good veggie cafes, hostels/B&Bs and decent pubs. the vague plan is a week in north island and 3 in south. thanks in advance

    :Smile3:
     
  2. nionn

    nionn Guest

    I'm out of touch but it certainly is a beautiful place. Could it help plan a visit to pick out a few key activities and then meander between them?

    chocolate fish cafe out around the bays from wellington was a favourite for brunch
    32617TC00_w.jpg

    Are there particular landscapes that you're more drawn to? coast / mountains / volcanic?
    Is it part of the plan to fit in any hiking? multi-day walks with backpacking kit?

    I think my favourite day out there might have been cycling along the Buller Gorge
    [​IMG]

    in Dunedin potpouri is ace for veg eats. Probably just a regular guidebook would have current listings? I think mushroom mag has party/festy scene info too.
     
  3. JohnM

    JohnM blah blah blah

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    Thanks for the reply - i've got a Rough Guide and spent a month there a good few years ago - so am fine with sorting out the basic trip & route - I was more after recommendations kiwis/ex-pats may have about their home town, cafes pubs etc that the guide books may have missed

    :Smile3:
     
  4. nionn

    nionn Guest

    in wellington, in all the guide books, but still worth visits, fidel's for coffee>slow boat records for browsing>bodega for beers and gigs>good luck bar late night cocktails & sunday lunch at matterhorn (home of the fat freddy's live cd release) makes for a fine enough weekend. a drive out to eastbourne via go bang cafe in petone, a walk through belmont regional park & an evening on the sofas at lighthouse cinema passes the time.

    in auckland maybe follow where Recloose is djing for nights out.

    in dunedin, coffee at strictly then a visit to the albatross then the penguins at sandfly bay is nice. some of the caitlins coast is lush! if heading deep south
    Catlins-cannibal-bay-793x600.jpg

    if you eat fish http://www.fleursplace.com/index.htm near the boulders at moeraki is supposed to be pretty special.

    cinema paradiso in wanaka is a must visit. "Halfway through, the film stopped & we had a short interval. Everyone went outside to the adjoining cafe & got freshly baked cookies (still warm), homemade ice cream or a beer & then settled back into their chairs. This is how all cinemas should be. It was more like being round someone's house"

    for a place to stay / pint with a view then http://www.awaroalodge.co.nz/abel-tasman-eco-lodge/ is worth a visit - you could water taxi/sea kayak if not up for a few days strolling on the abel tasman path

    defo try and make time for at least some day hikes into the hills - or even pack kit for longer trips if poss. Scenery is just epic in the hills
     
  5. heva

    heva mischief-maker.....

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    Allo John,

    Yay you're coming to New Zealand :Grin: I'm not sure whether you have a vague schedule in mind, but I thought I would share some of my faves....

    I reckon it’s all about the walks over here – there are some truly stunning places. If you have access to a vehicle, then nothing beats just doing some random road-trip and seeing which small town you end up in (there’s lots of small towns).

    Did you have anything specific in mind? If so then please feel free to ask and if I can assist then I will. It may also be asking Biggins as he also lived in NZ for a few years J

    Some of my fave places:

    SOUTH ISLAND:

    Abel Tasman NP: This is possible *the* most beautiful walk I have done. It's a relatively easy walk, and you can take it at your own pace - they have camping spots on the beaches along the way. You have to take all your own supplies along the way – so 3 days is a good length of time so you don’t feel like a pack-horse.

    I’ve done this a few times and I can recommend a schedule if you want to. There are guided trips you can do, but you can do it yourself for hardly anything.

    abeltasman.jpg

    Golden Bay:
    If you do the Abel tasman then you will start and end your journey in Golden Bay. The main town is takaka and it’s a bit of a hippy-type place. Lovely though – loads of veggie cafes and a good place to chill for a few days. I’d recommend making the journey to the http://www.musselinn.co.nz/ - they do great brews and awesome live bands on the weekend.

    If you stay in Takaka then I’d also make the effort to go to Te Waikoropupu Springs - the World's clearest freshwater springs (apparently). Wainui Falls (top of Abel Tasman) is also worthy of a visit.

    Queen Charlotte Track:
    Also top of the north island is another beauuuuuuuutiful walk along the Queen Charlotte track. This is a bit more effort than the Abel tasman, but totally worth it. You can just take a day-pack, and get all your stuff boated to wherever you are staying. I’d recommend spending 2 days doing this, staying one night along the track. Stunning scenery – I can again recommend a schedule for this walk if you want? This walk is based out of Picton – which is where you get the ferry to coming from the N to the S Island. J

    qc4.jpg
    qc2.jpg

    Rainbow Road:
    I was told about this road by a Woofing host – and it’s really a cool road to take if you can. I’m not sure if you’re gonna have a vehicle – but if you do, then this one is a real gem. It’s a private road, approx. 100km between Hamner Springs and St Arnaud. You can spend a whole day driving though, and soaking up the landscape – it’s big mountains, rivers, Lake Tennyson in the middle (good picnic spot). You’ll likely see nobody the whole journey….as it’s a private road there’s a $25 toll which you pay the land-owner (you’ll see along the way). I loved this drive (I reckon it’s 4WD but *totally* worth it).

    rainbowrd.jpg

    Lake Tekapo / Mt John
    I really enjoyed Lake Tekapo – there was a really nice campsite there – with hot springs. There’s a really nice (not too long) walk up Mt John, on top of which is an observatory. Well worth a visit…the colours of the lakes round there are super blue.
    mtjohn2.jpg

    NORTH ISLAND:

    Rotorua:
    The main town is a bit touristy, but, the geothermal parks are definitely worth a visit. It kind of worries me that the whole town is steaming from the ground….feels like something is brewing. If you’ve not been before then certainly something to experience. I’d recommend visiting Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) for a good fix of pretty coloured bubbling landscapes. If you are in the area then I’d also make a visit to fairy springs - a short walk but truly stunning :Smile3:

    rotorua.jpg

    Coromandel
    Coromandel National park is a bit of a winner – again, stunning walks to be had. Check out Cathedral Cove – good place to spend the day and take a picnic. White sand and big rocky archway thing….lovely J

    coromandel.jpg


    They are just a couple of my faves the pop into my head. I could go on, but thought I'd just give a few snippets. If you look in my FB albums there are quite a few more piccies, so you could look there and see if anything appeals, in which case I can tell you more. If you have a particular itinerary in mind I would be more than happy to assist. If you plan to come through Wellington then definitely shout me up J
     
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  6. Biggins

    Biggins Cake Or Death

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    Looks like Heva has covered lots of good stuff there.

    Phat Productions do Psy nights - http://www.phatproductions.net/

    They have (plenty of) Opus and play good tunes. Don'tr expect any prog to be played though.

    West Coast of the South Island is nice and the drive up and around the north east (between Whakatane and Gisbourne) is supposed to be lovely. We never got round to it. You would also be int he vicinity of Urewera National Park which is supposed to be lovely.

    My main recommendation would be to get mobile and a good map and drive down dirt roads to go exploring. ALso bear in mind that Free Camping is tolerated (so long as you don't take the piss) so you can often park up in a secluded spot and people don't mind.

    Department of Conservation run campsites in many places and they are cheap and often in nice spots.

    http://www.doc.govt.nz/

    Campsite brochures

    http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-stay/

    Golden Bay is also worth a punt and there is a a place called Takaka where the usual hippy types hang out. VEggie Cafes there.

    If i think of anything else I'll post it up
     
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