Things to do in NZ
- For all you Club Puckers going to NZ and staying on here are some ideas on places to go.....FYI Fisch - the rivers are amazing and I hear the fishing is fantastic, you should take your fishing rod .......Yesterday Brigit asked me for some thoughts and suggestions of what to do in NZ. I know a number of you are staying over and thought you might like to see my summary too.South Island:
Akaroa - Banks peninsula, 1.5 hrs drive East of Christchurch. very pretty town, can take harbour tours and see Seals, Hectors Dolphins, penguins (very very small) and birds: Akaroa Harbour Cruises, main Wharf Akaroa, 03 304 7641. They also arrange cruises where you go out and swim with the Hectors Dolphins (in a wet suit).
Abel Tasman National Park : North Shore of the South Island: probably best to fly to Nelson, then drive to Motueka/Takaka (2hrs drive). At Kaiteriteri you can pick up Seakyaking tours - there are various lengths to the tours varying from half a day to a full day. It is better to be sea taxied north and kayak south. You can also do overnight hikes in the park along the coast and then be picked up by a water taxi and taken back to your originating point.
Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle contact info: cruise@....
Rich and I Kayaked with Ocean River Sea Kayaking company they were very good: www.seakayaking.co.nz.
Fox Glacier/Franz Josef Glaciers: West Coast. Not sure where you would fly to to visit here, maybe Westport or Greymouth:
Both of these have a lot of tourists visiting - so go early or late in the day. We hiked to the terminal face of both - across the glacial valley - it was really cool, and when the sky was clear you can see the top of the glacier and the snow fields - it is possible to take helicopter rides up to the snow fields and walk on the glaciers.
Drive through Mt Aspiring National Park, along the Haast Pass. This road connects the West coast to Queenstown/Wanaka. It is an amazing drive, through river valley beds, views of mountains and glaciers, through rainforests and waterfalls. There are stops along the way for you to get out and walk. Wanaka is a really nice town From here we did a hike up to the foot of the Rob Roy Glacier, it required a 40 minute drive off road on gravel (we did it in a hire car) - there were a few streams we had to cross (in the car) on the way. The hike was gorgeous and worth the view at the end. Be careful of the Kia's - they are parrot like birds. very intelligent, but apt to steal your food and belongings and wreck you car! In Wanaka we stayed at the Lake Wanaka Lodge stay@...
Didn't spend a lot of time here, the town is pretty small, but may be worth going to as it is the adventure capital of the world and perfect for adrenalin junkies. You can take a speed boat tour through the shot rive canyon, parachute jump, bungee jump.
Fjordland National Park
Drive to Te Anau and pick up the ferry for either Doubtful Sound in Manipouri (10 minutes from Te Anau), or drive North to Milford Sound - I think you can go on either day trips or overnight trips on both Sounds. We went to Doubtful Sound with realjourneys on the Navigator. www.realjourneys.co.nz. A pod of about 50 bottle nose dolphins live year round in the sound, they visited and played around our boat one morning - it was fabulous.
In Te Anau we stayed at this really cute B&B called the cosy kiwi bed and breakfast: www.cosykiwi.com
I rented a vodafone from the airport when I arrived - it was really useful and not too expensive. It gave me the freedom to be ale to call ahead and book places to stay or activities .We looked into renting an RV then decided that a car would give us more flexibility for our O/N stuff. There are a lot of motels in NZ and we didn't have a problem getting into them - except for the Fox/Franz Josef glacier area (we got there at the weekend), it was also the beginning of the season, march will be the end, so vacancies could be back to how they were in Nov/Dec. I also met some people who rented RVs and they loved that too - there are tons of RV parks all around NZ. At the end of the day it's choice. With the RV at least you know you have a bed for the night. There are also plenty of day hikes if you don't want to do overnight hikes. We took our tent incase we decided to camp out, but didn't do that either. I think the main decision was the cost to rent an RV versus a car and stay in motels.Our car Hire was approx $300 for the week (we were there for three weeks) and room rates varied from $31 - $75 /night (for two people), then there's food, but most of the motels have their own kitchens so you have the choice to cook for yourself.
Hope this helps,