New Zealand

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dekecarver
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New Zealand

Post by dekecarver » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:02 am

I have an interest vacationing with my wife and 12 year old son in New Zealand for about three weeks next year. One thing that I would like to do is trout fish in the mountains and the rest of the trip can be anything. Knowing the diversity of the board, I'd appreciate any feedback regarding time of year, key places to visit ..recommendations that I could start looking into. We would be flying out of the Washington DC area. Thanks in advance.

karlrasche
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Re: New Zealand

Post by karlrasche » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:18 pm

We went in feb and had good weather and not overwheming crowds. Rented a car in Auckland, drove down to Queenstown, and hopped a flight back to Auckland for the return flight.

Domestic flights are an easy way to get around, but I remember seeing a fair number of camper vans on the road if thats an interesting way to see the country.

There’s plenty to do everywhere, and never enough time to do it all! With three weeks, you could divide your time up between the islands - our experience was that they had pretty different vibes.

Shallowpockets
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Re: New Zealand

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:23 pm

Well, you got your north island and your south island. A Google search would be a start to whittle things down for you. Trout fishing in the mountains is a narrow interest. Probably Google that also. There are also guide books likely available at your library. You won't be seeing all of New Zealand in just three weeks.
Let's see. There is wine country, there is adventure (mountain biking, hiking, bungee jumping, etc. There is seafood. In north island there are hot springs.
All those will turn up something on an Internet search.
Or maybe start with 'New Zealand tourism'.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: New Zealand

Post by Artsdoctor » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:08 pm

dekecarver wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:02 am
I have an interest vacationing with my wife and 12 year old son in New Zealand for about three weeks next year. One thing that I would like to do is trout fish in the mountains and the rest of the trip can be anything. Knowing the diversity of the board, I'd appreciate any feedback regarding time of year, key places to visit ..recommendations that I could start looking into. We would be flying out of the Washington DC area. Thanks in advance.
We've vacationed in New Zealand for many years, so I can speak to this.

February and March are the best months, in general.

The country is small but it takes a bit of time to get around--you don't really have the interstate freeways you're accustomed to here. We've found that it's far better to enjoy specific parts of the country rather than trying to see large chunks at a time (I'd really discourage you trying to "do New Zealand" in one trip).

The first thing you're going to find is that the costs will vary a great deal. New Zealand has some of the most exclusive resorts in the world, so if cost is no object, you'll have no problem spending large chunks of change on fishing alone. On the other hand, New Zealand takes its parks very, very seriously and you'll have no problem finding incredibly well-kept hiking trails and plenty of fishing areas for very little money.

The topography is exceptionally varied for such a small country. In the north, you're going to find sub-tropical regions and in the south, you're going to find glaciers.

You can start here:

https://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/t ... ng-rivers/

Lindyhopper
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Re: New Zealand

Post by Lindyhopper » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:25 pm

We were there for January 2017.
NZ is primarily two islands, in all about the length and size of CA
Weather is typically quite a bit different between North and South, increasing your packing needs
3 weeks is probably not enough time to see all
Every day is like seeing a post card.
Young country - oldest building is from 1830
Many people do a one-way camper rental
Easy driving, but they take speed limits very seriously
Cheap domestic flights
Many sites provide discounted hotel rates, but Airbnb might be cheaper, esp. in AKL
Very outdoorsy – hiking, “thrill seeking”
Everyone’s trip is different, but all seemed to be having a good time. Highlights of our trip were
North Island
 Mt Doom Hike / Tongariro Alpine Crossing (very long)
 Hobbiton – well worth it if you saw LOTR
 Rotoura – (hot springs) ok, but not as impressive as Yellowstone
 Napier – Art Deco city; part of their wine country
 Aukland is OK, but nothing special
Middle
 We skipped, but Wellington is many people’s favorite city in NZ (bottom of North Island)
 Kaikoura Whale watching (top of South Island)
South Island
 Milford Sound
 Queenstown (ride to the top, Fergburger lived up to the hype)
 Wanaka / Puzzle World

straws46
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Re: New Zealand

Post by straws46 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:41 pm

We spent three weeks there in 2017. Our two favorite places were the botanical garden in Wellington and Milford Sound which was a day trip from Te Anau. Wanted to take trains, but the one from the top of the south island to Christchurch was closed due to an earthquake and the one across the south island was closed due to a fire. Wherever you go on the south island, the drives are spectacular but be careful and take it slow. The roads are narrow, have one lane bridges and they are filled with large busses and gawking tourist. That can be a bad combination.

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friar1610
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Re: New Zealand

Post by friar1610 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:14 pm

My wife and I went on a two week Trafalgar tour a few years ago and loved the country!

You may have the wherewithal to travel first class or business class. We generally don't but for that long flight (LAX to Aukland) we flew Premium Economy with Air New Zealand. It is really worth any added expense! I don't know of any other airline where upgraded economy class is so upgraded. We also flew Air NZ to Sydney for a few extra days and even though that was straight economy, it was still a much better experience than any economy on U.S. carriers.
Friar1610

stan1
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Re: New Zealand

Post by stan1 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:44 pm

Not sure if this is what you have in mind but the classic slow travel NZ visit is to rent a camper van and drive around the South Island.

Topic Author
dekecarver
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Re: New Zealand

Post by dekecarver » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:35 am

Thanks for the replies. The camper van option is sounding very interesting.

oko
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Re: New Zealand

Post by oko » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:07 am

Would you consider going to Tahiti or Fiji for a week + 2 weeks in NZ instead of 3 weeks in NZ? Because if you travel half round the world, IMO it makes sense to visit those places also. We did exactly that in 2013. I agree that NZ is very beautiful, but nothing so much special really there. Milford sound is something that can be said to be unique. And we loved Queenstown, a very beautiful city. Other than that, everything we saw is really available in USA and even in Texas Hill Country.

We flew to Tahiti from there. 1 day in Tahiti, 2 days in Moorea and 3 days in Bora Bora. I loved Moorea and Bora Bora.

informal guide
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Re: New Zealand

Post by informal guide » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:00 am

Our family did a trip 3 years ago and loved it. We spent the majority of our time in the South Island, with a rental car - an excellent choice.

One caution if you drive - -beware of speeding. Our teen-aged daughter spelled me driving and 15 minutes later was stopped for speeding - just 10km/hr over the limit, in a very rural area. It was the first time our daughter had ever been stopped. It was about 1 PM but we learned that everyone stopped has to undergo a breathalyzer test behind the car. The officer was extremely courteous. Also, they have an efficient way of collecting the speeding ticket fines. We had misplaced the ticket but received a written notice back in the States, complete with instructions on how to pay in US $.

moehoward
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Re: New Zealand

Post by moehoward » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:05 am

Also, if you driving take a GPS, you'll need it. We brought one with New Zealand maps on micro SD. Other friends have bought one while in NZ.

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Watty
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Re: New Zealand

Post by Watty » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:09 pm

There have been a number of threads on New Zealand that you can search on to get more specific questions to ask. Three weeks is about the minimum to make going to New Zealand worthwhile, try to add on as many days as possible since between the travel time and being jet-lagged the first day or two that eats up a lot of your time.

A couple of points on rental cars.

1) New Zealand is sometimes excluded from credit card rental car damage coverage so check into that. I am not sure if the American Express optional rent a car coverage that is around $20 per rental excludes New Zealand or not but that is what I often use when traveling overseas.

2) Do not try picking up your car when you first arrive, you will be jet lagged and prone to accidents when driving on the left. When you return to the US you will also be jet-lagged and adapting to driving on the right again to be extra careful when you return too.

3) Gas stations are not as common as in the US and many small towns you see on the map will not have a gas station. We were running low on gas and ended up going through three towns before we found a gas station. Fill up more frequently.
Last edited by Watty on Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wilderness Librarian
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Re: New Zealand

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:10 pm

moehoward wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:05 am
Also, if you driving take a GPS, you'll need it. We brought one with New Zealand maps on micro SD. Other friends have bought one while in NZ.
Never been to New Zealand - will definitely go someday. I am more of a paper map person. I would consider purchasing relevant sheets (possibly medium scale) of their official government topographic series. Trace your route with a highlighter as you go along. The maps become a souvenir of your adventure. I did this for a bicycle trip in the UK in 2000. Bought 2 copies - kept one at home. Traced exact route at the end of each day. Maps terribly dogeared as I knew they would be ( also ripped unnecessary parts & discarded as I went along). When I got home transferred route tracings to clean copy.

oxothuk
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Re: New Zealand

Post by oxothuk » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:59 pm

I visited NZ in 2017 with my wife and two other family members. 3 weeks on the South Island was nowhere near enough time to see it all.

We really enjoyed walking the Milford Track. We did this with Ultimate Hikes - a bit pricey but well worth it. For most of the rest of the trip we stayed in B&Bs we found on TripAdvisor and found them very reasonably priced and high quality.

Driving in NZ was easy despite being on the left. No freeways but otherwise roads were similar in quality to US. Don’t expect to make fast time - figure about 60 km per hour on average.

The country is very clean. I don’t recall seeing any graffiti on the South Island. Most houses we saw were ranches on small lots.

moehoward
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Re: New Zealand

Post by moehoward » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:08 am

Wilderness Librarian wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:10 pm
moehoward wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:05 am
Also, if you driving take a GPS, you'll need it. We brought one with New Zealand maps on micro SD. Other friends have bought one while in NZ.
Never been to New Zealand - will definitely go someday. I am more of a paper map person. I would consider purchasing relevant sheets (possibly medium scale) of their official government topographic series. Trace your route with a highlighter as you go along. The maps become a souvenir of your adventure. I did this for a bicycle trip in the UK in 2000. Bought 2 copies - kept one at home. Traced exact route at the end of each day. Maps terribly dogeared as I knew they would be ( also ripped unnecessary parts & discarded as I went along). When I got home transferred route tracings to clean copy.
Nothing wrong with analog maps.

musselpoint
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Re: New Zealand

Post by musselpoint » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:03 am

New Zealand native here, with a background in the tourism industry.

Trout fishing tends toward higher end/luxury tourism. There are a number of very nice, very expensive lodges that have great river locations (Owen, Motueka, Brunner to name a few in the South Island) where you will be wined, dined, and provided excellent guiding. Choppers are used for access into more remote areas. All marvelous, and for a high price.

In my business I sought out guides who would work directly with clients so they didn't have to buy into the whole accommodation/meals/guiding package. My knowledge is dated but you are welcome to PM me for some names (FWIW, I am not an angler). And of course you can go out on your own - there are many excellent rivers with different levels of ease of access.

You can also hire your own chopper - in the north-west corner of the South Island I have worked closely with an excellent helicopter operator who is has invaluable local knowledge - he'll drop you off in a very remote area for the day or overnight. A lot more bang for your buck and potentially more fulfilling than staying at one of the 5 star places. Keep in mind NZ fishing license regulations: https://fishandgame.org.nz/licences/fis ... -licences/ and rules pertaining to species/rivers.

Think carefully about the campervan option. I know several folks who have hired a van but ended up staying in motels for various reasons (comfort, convenience). And then they're stuck with a cumbersome vehicle. Kiwi drivers, who can tend toward the aggressive, call campervans 'road snails' or often something less polite. That said, excellent camping spots abound (BYO sandfly repellent).

As an NC resident, the direct Auckland-Houston flight has been excellent for same day connections back to the East Coast. That's not always an option when flying back through LAX or SFO, and two red-eyes in a row are not my cup of tea. Air NZ's AKL-ORD route should be in operation by 2019 - depending on flight times that might also be a good option if you're connecting to/from DC.

Enjoy your planning!

autolycus
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Re: New Zealand

Post by autolycus » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:46 am

Nobody has yet thrown in a recommendation for Abel Tasman on the South Island. If you like hiking and/or kayaking, it is a beautiful and unique area. My wife and I did one of the single-day kayak and walk guided tours like listed here

https://www.abeltasman.co.nz/

I think this one, specifically: https://www.abeltasman.co.nz/a-day/kaya ... with-walk/

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