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New Zealand - Musey & Others!

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CrookedRock

Brilliant_Rock
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Alrighty! So most of you have probably read that I'm getting married in Queenstown, NZ. Yah yah, I know the Bachelor was just there, but they stole the idea from me!
Anyway we are making this a long trip and even considering throwing Australia on the end of it. For right now though we are just planning out the NZ part to see how much time we need and where we want to go. I know I've given out some NZ advice here before bc I was there in '06. What I'm curious about is places I haven't seen or places tht you reccomend are a def don't miss. Hotels you loved, etc...
Quick recap of where I have been: Queenstown, Christchurch (although it was riny and we saw nothing, is it worth a visit?), Marlborough wine country, ferry from S Island to N Island, Wellington obvi, Taupo (maybe it was Rotorua, ugh I'm getting old!), Auckland, Russell (I think this is where the Hole in the rock was), KeriKeri.

So what have you guys seen or done that I missed? And Musey tell me about your honeymoon! I saw some pics that were beautiful, but I'm not sure exactly where you went!

Has anyone done the Tranz Alpine train? Been to Greymouth? Fox Glacier? Hawkes Bay? Rotorua/Taupo?
 

Dreamgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Never been there but it looks like such a lovely place!
 

musey

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Hey, CR!

We tried to hit all the "must-sees" as recommended by a couple of friends, but we only had 15 days, so of course we missed a lot of stuff! A lot of our time was spent simply driving and taking in the beautiful scenery. Here's a rundown of what we did. Let me know if you want to hear more about any particular area!


Christchurch
Stayed at Hotel So - LOVED it! It's not everyone's cup of tea, but we thought it was fantastic.
There wasn't a lot to do/see here... we basically flew in, stayed over, and left early-ish the next day.

Dunedin
Stayed at Hulmes Court B&B, which was walking distance to the octagon. Would recommend, but not glowingly like some of our fave places.
Went to Cadbury World (fun, but not a must-do), walked around the Octagon, saw the famous train station - beautiful! Basically just explored the town (one of our favorite things to do), mostly on foot. The central area is very walkable.

Queenstown
Don't remember the name of our hotel offhand, it was nice but nothing special.
Did the luge (LOVED IT!! MUST-DO!), explored the town on foot. Drove to Milford Sound and took a boat ride through... I think that if you want to see Milford Sound (if you haven't already), the boat is the way to do it. The view from road access is pretty, but you do NOT get the whole picture of that area's beauty!

Wanaka
Didn't stay here, just passed through. It's worth stopping for the views over the lake, but I didn't get the impression that there was much else to see/do.

Fox Glacier
Stayed at a local B&B. I'd imagine they're all about the same

Absolutely beautiful views across the mountain range. Some of my favorite pics are from that stop.
We did a glacier hike, the half-day one (I think it was about 6 hours, but I don't remember for sure). Very easy hiking, IMO. Not as cold as you'd expect. Spectacular experience.

West coast drive
We went all the way from Fox Glacier to Nelson in one day - the long way. With stops it was about a 14 hour trip. We did a short hike (~1 hour) to a Franz Josef Glacier overlook, stopped at Punakaiki (the paved walk to the coast is a must-do, IMO), had lunch in Greymouth (we had no interest in greenstone/jade so we didn't spend much time), somehow missed the signs for the seal colony
and fueled up in Westport. From there we basically drove straight (as straight as you could call that route
) to Nelson, stopping for scenic overlooks.

Nelson
Stayed in a hostel right on campus that wasn't too bad, but I'll never stay in a hostel again
. There was an Indian festival going on so we walked around the campus and festival to find dinner. Had that cook-your-own-food-on-a-hot-stone meal for the second time that trip... I loved that. Try to do that once on your trip, it's so fun!

Wellington
You've been there


Rotorua and Waitomo
Stayed at Patty's (or Paty's, or Pati's, or something... she's famous around there) and had a great time with her, she was very helpful.
Zorbing: must-do
Glowworm caves: must-do... do the inner-tubing tour if you're brave enough!
Luging again: must-do
We wanted to do the springs but didn't have time.


Coromandel
Stayed in Coromandel town at a combined hostel/inn. It was nice, but nothing special.
Driving Creek Railway: so fun. One of my fondest memories of the trip. You get beautiful views of the peninsula from the top!
We drove around the tip of the peninsula and stopped for overlooks as usual. Were SO tired that we didn't bother with the Cathedral Cove hike, but I really wish we had. Oh well.
Looped around to Auckland, where you've been, so I'll stop here!


We used Eyewitness (travel guide) for most of the trip while we were there. It was great.


ETA: I know you said you've already been to Auckland, but if you like zoos, you should really visit theirs! We went there to kill time before our 10pm flight back to LA, and we both LOVED it. It's a fantastic zoo.
 

CrookedRock

Brilliant_Rock
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Thanx so much Musey! It sounds like we did some of the same things...

Christchurch~ We basically did the same thing. Flew in and flew out. I just found this beautiful place not too too far from there that I''m going to look into some more. Terrace Downs
We are also considering that train I mentioned. It''s only a few hour trip across the island and I think it ends in Greymouth. Last time I was there we did the drive to Marlborough from Christchurch, but I thik it would be neat to do the drive you did this time!

Dunedin~ Don''t really know anything about it! But it sounds like if we miss it, it wouldn''t be the end of the world...

QT~ Is that not one of the most gorgeous places ever? Craziest thing too, I have a friend who just moved there! Can you say "Wedding Planner" LOL

I can''t remember where we stayed last time, but it was good. As long as you are near town I think it''s fine. Although for our wedding night and the night after we are going to stay at either Azure or Blanket Bay to just really treat ourselves and get away and relax.
We did the luge when we were there too. Loved that. FI wants to bungee... we''ve both done it before, but I''m not jumping up and down about doing it again. I''d far rather skydive! But I''ll be a trooper!
Milford Sound is where we are getting Married! When I was there with my parents I told them that and they laughed! HAHA who''s laughing now? We did the fly over, boat ride, then fly back route and loved it lat time. This time we are going to have to figure out the logistics of the helicoptoring to the mountains to get married and also going down to the sound to take the cruise, bc I would hate for FI to miss that. Unfortunately i think we are going to have to make it 2 trips... I tried to see if there was a private boat there I could charter but the smallest one was for 60 people... they said I could still carter it but that seemed a little excessive to me. I just can''t imagine getting on one of those cruises in my gown! Cheesy!!


Fox Glacier~ Very interested in that FI loves the outdoors, me sorta. I just hate being cold for extended peroids of time! Glacier hike for half day would be awesome, FI would be the happiest man alive if I agreed to that! Was it a group thing or did you do it just the two of you and a giude? I would hate to hold up a group of experienced hikers.

West Coast Drive~ I def think this is the way we want to go this time. Sounds more senic than the other side. Good to know!

Wellington~ Did you like it?

Rotorua~ There are some amazing places to stay there! What made you pick that over Taupo? I''ll have to look up Patty''s!
we actually stopped at the zorb place and I wimped out! LOL It was freezing out and they were doing it with water in the zorb! BRRR...
I did a glow work cave thing... pretty cool. Never saw tubing. Not sure about getting in the water in those caves... You did it???
The sulfur springs? I want to do that this time too...

Coromandel~ I don''t think I did this. But again there are amazing places to see and stay there! I think it''s a must do this time.

I take it you guys aren''t big wine-o''s like we are. LOL I keep trying to fine wineries along the way!
Good to know about the book. I was just about to order some on Amazon. I was looking at the footprint book too, never used one before. We took Fodors and Frommers with us last time and found Frommers to be much more useful and down to earth. Fodors kept reccomending $1000 a night rooms!

So overall, did you love NZ? would you reccomend it to others for a honeymoon?
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
Date: 3/12/2009 2:17:11 PM
Author: CrookedRock
Fox Glacier~ Very interested in that FI loves the outdoors, me sorta. I just hate being cold for extended peroids of time! Glacier hike for half day would be awesome, FI would be the happiest man alive if I agreed to that! Was it a group thing or did you do it just the two of you and a giude? I would hate to hold up a group of experienced hikers.
We did a group. I don''t think you''d hold anyone up
I am not ''experienced'' at hiking per se, but I am athletic. I found myself puzzled at the frequent stops, snack/water breaks, etc. because I never felt tired. The guides cater to tourists and program stops in.

I think there''s more than one hike tour company, but the one we did offered different lengths and difficulties. So they''d help you figure out what will work for you.

I think you''d definitely be making the right choice by going!

West Coast Drive~ I def think this is the way we want to go this time. Sounds more senic than the other side. Good to know!
VERY scenic!

Wellington~ Did you like it?
Yes, and we did the typical things (exploring on foot, Te Papa museum, etc.). We both really enjoy discovering hole-in-the-wall type restaurants, so we did as much as we could of that. We were only there for 1.5 days, though, just like everywhere else we went, so there was a limit to our exploration!


Rotorua~ There are some amazing places to stay there! What made you pick that over Taupo? I''ll have to look up Patty''s!
Honestly, I didn''t do the majority of the honeymoon planning - my husband took charge of it because I had my hands more than full with the nitpicky wedding stuff that he wasn''t as interested in. I think it came down to time, and there was never a question of whether we''d go to Rotorua, it was a given. We didn''t hear much about Taupo from Tripadvisor + friends that had visited or lived there.

we actually stopped at the zorb place and I wimped out! LOL It was freezing out and they were doing it with water in the zorb! BRRR...
The water is WARM! Didn''t they tell you that? Sure, it''s cold at the end, but it''s like rolling around in bath water. I can''t believe you missed zorbing!!!!!

I did a glow work cave thing... pretty cool. Never saw tubing. Not sure about getting in the water in those caves... You did it???
No, but I wish I had. My friends did it and said it was one of the most amazing experiences of their lives (second only to skydiving, which they also did in the Rotorua area).

Coromandel~ I don''t think I did this. But again there are amazing places to see and stay there! I think it''s a must do this time.
If you like scenery, there is NOTHING in ALL OF NEW ZEALAND like Coromandel. Wow. Just beautiful.

I take it you guys aren''t big wine-o''s like we are. LOL I keep trying to fine wineries along the way!
Nope, not really big drinkers at all
we did do wine tasting in Queenstown (one of those auto-dispenser things), and bought a couple bottle of our favorites.

Good to know about the book. I was just about to order some on Amazon. I was looking at the footprint book too, never used one before. We took Fodors and Frommers with us last time and found Frommers to be much more useful and down to earth. Fodors kept reccomending $1000 a night rooms!
Yeah, we had Eyewitness and Fodors. Loved Eyewitness.

So overall, did you love NZ? would you reccomend it to others for a honeymoon?
Of course! I don''t think anyone could go there and not love it. I think they''d have to try to hate it. Or maybe be really anti-outdoorsy types. It''s of course a very different trip than museum hopping, fine dining and five-star hotels in Europe, so if that''s one''s ideal honeymoon I''d tell them to skip NZ.

I loved everything about our honeymoon, even the drizzly rain that followed us nearly the whole time!
 

CrookedRock

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
1,738
Sorry, I don''t know how to do the fancy quotes like you!


HAHA! I figured the zorb water was warm! But I was more concearned about throwing up inside of that sucker. Ew! I was afraid it would be like that awful fair ride the Gravatron, which makes me sick for hours!

Tubing the glow worm caves was an amzing experience? Wow I guess I''ll have to look into that! Probably gonna need some of that fine NZ wine to get in there though.

Sounds like you liked Coromandel the best! Maybe I should be getting married there!

I know exactly which wine place you are talking about in NZ! Does this look familiar? Hopefully I''m not totally exposing myself here! LOL

NZ Wine store.jpg
 

CrookedRock

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
1,738
LOL, clearly I had fun there!
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
When we were there, a Japanese man came in armed with his own glass. He kissed his wife and then she left, and he proceeded to get DRUUUUUUUUUUNK.

She came back about half an hour (and probably 50+ "tastes") later to find him gargling wine and staring into space. She said something about shoe shopping (my husband understands Japanese a tiny bit) and left again. He was still there when we left, a whole cheese & fruit platter later!

That man LOVES HIM SOME WINE!
 
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