hmm... don't know any discussion forums, but since no one reply to help you out, if i may, then i share with you my experience on my last trip there in 1998 lor.
i took the damn gung-ho, kilat style of trekking through south island. camped and stocked up on food. hitch-hiked. even chanced upon an army camp and they gave me a lamb chop meal!!! wha seh! damn power
very safe place. but damn frickin cold. at nite it's -5 to -10 degrees celcius. daytime is nowhere above 16 degrees C. don't take the plane up to mount cook!!!! you will regret and IF you make it back alive, you will be so happy you survived the ordeal!!! damn alot of accidents happen up there cos of unpredictable winds. everyone that comes down the plane has green faces.
you can rent a vehicle and drive round south island before catching one of those ferries that ships pple and vehicles on board to north island.
christchurch is highly racist. very bad experiences for me. ranged from not being treated as a paying customer in a shop (the guy pretend never see me and didn't want to serve me, nor entertain my requests), to being scolded by the bar-top dancers to tell me and my friend to get out "cos we were chinks".
north island is slightly better, but in NZ, things get more expensive as you move upward.
i was in NZ's South Island for 3 weeks in November 2002. With respect to Jermsdayout's comments.... I didn't experience any racism there EXCEPT for one occasion on a coach from Dunedin to Christchurch. Some drunkard kept making rascist comments on my gf, like how "amazing" it was that she could read English from a book...etc etc. We were the only Asians on that bus and i was fuming mad. nearly wanted to kill him.
Other than that incident, the rest of the trip was amazing. We had a free n easy trip. Took coaches that allowed us to extend overnight stops if we want - n then hop on again to the next coach that comes daily. Stayed at Lake Tekapo for 3 days and it is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth: a turquoise lake surrounded by the snow capped Southern Alps. Most commercial trips only include this place as a pit stop and its really a shame!!! Stay there for a few nites n explore the area n do some hiking.
Do visit Queenstown if u wanna do some extreme/adventure sports. We tried white-water sledging, where u bodyboard e Kawarau river. damn shiok. n cold.
Food is not cheap i would say. Unless u go for fast food/food courts/finger foods. There's kebab shops there set up by turkish immigrants n the kebab is superb. Perfect for takeouts n eating on the go.
Weather wise..if u're planning to leave in May or June..its gonna be cold as it is approaching mid winter (July). Days are gonna be short too, with dusk coming at 5++pm. Good for skiing n winter photography.
hi, if you are going Lake Tekapo, there's this Italian restaurant that I highly recommend...its called "Pepes Restaurant & Bar"...its just at one end of the row of shops at Lake Tekapo. I tried the chicken with berry (can't remember which berry liao) sauce pizza, pork with apple sauce pizza and carbonara...its fantastic and at decent prices.
I made a trip to NZ in the winter of 2002 and will be going there again this july for my honeymoon. Of all the travel experience that i have gathered thus far, i would rate NZ as one of the best i've ever gone through. I've for many a times toyed with the idea of teaching in NZ.
What do you want to know about travelling in NZ? There can be so many things to say about travelling in NZ so you'd need to pose some questions so people would be able to help you. I will cover the two most important aspects of NZ travel below.
For starters, first you would have to look at how many days you can spend in the country. It will largely determine how far you can cover. Remember, if you intend to cover more ground over a given time frame, it will mean that it will just be touch-base and go. Second, are you intending to drive or are you taking the bus? If possible, drive. The bus system in NZ aint as sophisicated as those in canada or the states; especially in the south.
Driving: Go to Pure NZ website @ www.purenz.com. One thing i like about this website is that it provides good driving routes for a range of length of stay. So if you have two weeks in the south, you can search for driving route options that may maximise your experience there.
If you search through the internet, you would observe that the average price of a 1.6 saloon for most established companies would range around 70-85 NZD, depending on the number of days you rent. This will be the same price you will be quoted if you walk-in. Tip A: travel companies can do car bookings at a significantly lower price and they are able to search for the lowest price (among the established companies) for a certain category. I was quoted a price that is 25% lesser by my travel agent as compared to net rates. Tip B: You might get a cheaper price if you approach the local small scale car rental co. If it even be free (you pay petrol) if they require to have a car taken to a location and you are willing to go. That said, the connectivity of the local companies is lower; you might be expected to pay more if you want to drop your car off in a rather isolated place. Also, you may like to check out the notice boards on hostels or restaurants for any car deals or car pools.
Hey... Yeah, it's really safe and traveller frenly. Didn't encounter any racism there, but ALOT of wonderful service along the way. The woman in a camera shop in Queenstown (Facing the pier) saw my E-1, wanted to take a look at it, and ended up blowing it clean for me! She also drew a map for us n shown us the shortcuts with beautiful scenery along the way to the other towns... there's alot more but can't keep babbling on that.
I rented my car from Scotties... can't rem the website but u can definitely find it on the net. wonderful service. i got my 1.6l mazda at only 49 bucks a day! their whole family drove us to the airport when we returned the car at auckland. We didn't ask... they offered... :thumbsup: btw, oct might still be a bit dangerous for drivin... snow haven't melted completely at some places... depends on the weather.
no time to put up my itinerary yet, but you can check out my photos on the website. my recommendation, 2 wks south, 1 wk north.. must trek Tongariro (north) and Routeburn (south). Forget milford. u need to book ahead like a year, and from the people i met along the way, most of them said Routeburn is much better. Both treks are 1 way, so if you're driving, plan for it properly... the treks r quite tough, but scenery worth the effort.
Accomodations: First question: How many travelling? Four is a very good number. Accomodations are cheaper in the south. Especially if you are going in the winter period of July to Aug, they are in abundant supply. Be expecting to spend about 25-30NZD per pax for a hostel room (twin share). Motels are found all over the south. Prices range from 60NZD for a room with ensuite to 100 for two with ensuite. The ensuite usually consist of adequate cooking facilities and a small living area to chill. Very economical if you're travelling in fours. Tip A The later you check in, the more the owner might knock off the quote price. Bargain. We managed to do a 100 NZD run for almost all nights in the south, after a bit of bargaining and checking in at around seven~ish. Do your grocery shopping for dinner before you look for accomodations and you'd be able to check-in in time for to prepare dinner.
Places that i loved from my last visit:
1) ChristChurch's botanical gardens/sunday market at the arts center (wkends only).
2) Kaikoura - Listen to the pebbles 'sing' when the water recedes. Dolphin Watch for whales and dolphin watching. Mussel Boys!!! Must try.
3) Lake Tekapo - Dreamy at sundown. The colours were amazing. Pastel hues of purple and violet.
4) Queenstown? - Adventure adventure. The most captivating is the grandour of the Remarkables (and they totally deserve their title). Springboard to the Milford Sounds. Must see!! Must see!!
5) Dundedin - Quaint and warm little city with deep scottish roots. Go visit the Otago peninsula.
6) Havelock - Wineries. Loads of wineries. And mussel boys if you missed the one in kaikoura.
Please note that while i loved every bit of the south, i hated almost every minute of my stay in the cities of the north. Auckland and Wellington were a waste of time. So most information are only of the south.
My iterniary: Three weeks; 2 week south, 1 week north.
ChristChurch - Lake Tekapo - Omaru - Dunedin - Queenstown - Milford - Ashburton - Kaikoura - Havelock - Picton >>> Cross north >>> Wellington - Upper Hutt - Napier - Rotorua - Te Puke - Ha Hei (Coromandel) - Thames - Auckland.
Things that i missed last year but going this year
- Franz Josef or Fox Glacier
- Doubtful Sounds in place of Milford Sounds (a whooping two hundred dollars though)
- Abel Tasman
Three weeks this time in the south.
Like Chongkm said, there's just too many good things to say about the place. Hope we've not made you too excited already.
Chongkm: You are Peter's wedding photographer right? Peter told me about you. I was supposed to shoot for him but i decided to get married at almost the same time too. :bsmilie: The internet is such a small world.
Jesus... how did u manage to figure out it's me?!?! My nick's not even my full name... Geez... :think: amazing... btw, my itinerary's about the same as u. went south, made a round, n went up. last n disappointing destination = auckland... SUX...
Yeah, I hated the north too... I got my speeding ticket there, and they're still sending me red letters until now. Be careful when driving in the north. south basically no police.
If you're going north, Tongariro, Abel Tasman or the bay of islands is probably the only place to visit. the rest, screwed... forget it. if u go south first, u'll b so disappointed with the north.
taking a flight sg to auckland --> domestic flight to christchurch will save you a couple hundred bucks than direct to christchurch... book on the airnz website...
This is so true... The stark contrast between the south and the north i believe made the north worse than it actually is. But one thing's for sure: Auckland is really bad.
Talking about there being no police in the south: I had this garang lady friend who decided to do a one-person trip to NZ. Bravely hitched-hiked with a lone traveller who turned out to be a serial molester/rapist on the run. Almost a victim herself. The guy managed to avoid the cops for a long time and repeatedly commit crime because there were almost no police people in the south.