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Old 08-27-2016, 04:32 AM
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Default Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

The Dark Lord :sauron: figured it was about time to tour my kingdom of Middle Earth. Haven't toured the marches since the Second Age, and I'm hearing rumblings of a ancient evil, whispers of a nameless terror....

Recommendations?

Anything below seem unnecessary or exorbitant?

"day 1 - ARRIVE AUCKLAND
On arrival in Auckland, ‘The City of Sails’, seat in coach passengers will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Self drive clients will collect your rental car at the airport and drive to your hotel.

" "day 2 - AUCKLAND
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Auckland city including a visit to Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium and Antarctic Encounter. The remainder of the day is free. (B)" "day 3 - AUCKLAND - WAITOMO - ROTORUA

Travel south through the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. On completion continue over the Mamaku Ranges to reach the ‘Thermal City’ of Rotorua. (B)

" "day 4 - ROTORUA
Visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve to see boiling mudpools and roaring geysers. Following this, visit Rainbow Springs to see New Zealand’s trout, birds and wildlife before continuing to the Agrodome for a New Zealand farm show featuring sheep dog demonstrations, cow milking and an introduction to the stars of our sheep industry. The afternoon is at leisure. This evening enjoy an authentic Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert. (B,D)

" "day 5 - ROTORUA - WELLINGTON
Travel south to reach the popular lake resort of Taupo before continuing on the Desert Road, dominated in the background by the three peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. Continue south through farmland before arriving in the ‘Capital City’ of Wellington (B)

" "day 6 - WELLINGTON
Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Wellington and a short guided tour of Te Papa (the ‘Museum of New Zealand’) before enjoying a free afternoon to explore New Zealand’s capital city. (B)

" "day 7 - WELLINGTON - PICTON - KAIKOURA
Journey across Cook Strait and into the Marlborough Sounds before arriving in Picton. Travel south through the town of Blenheim, before reaching Kaikoura – here you might like to take an optional whalewatch cruise or scenic flight (optional activities not included in the tour price). (B)

" "day 8 - KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH
Leave Kaikoura behind as you turn inland and travel through North Canterbury to reach the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch. (B)

" "day 9 - CHRISTCHURCH - MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN
Travel across the fertile Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd before continuing on to New Zealand’s highest mountain - Mt Cook. Depart Mt Cook and follow the shores of Lake Pukaki south through the historic Central Otago region to the ‘Alpine Resort’ of Queenstown. (B)

" "day 10 - MILFORD SOUND
Follow the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu to Lumsden, and onward to Lake Te Anau. Enter the Eglinton Valley and travel through the Homer Tunnel to reach Milford Sound. Enjoy a cruise on this world famous fiord. Return to Queenstown. (B)

" "day 11 - QUEENSTOWN
A free day to explore the endless optional attractions available. Queenstown offers bungy jumping, jetboating, gondola rides and much more. Optional activities not included in the tour price. (B)

" "day 12 - QUEENSTOWN - GLACIER REGION
Depart Queenstown and travel via Lake Wanaka and through the historic Haast Pass, gateway to the World Heritage Westland National Park. Continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. (B)

" "day 13 - GLACIER REGION
A full day at leisure to explore this magnificent glacier region. Optional activities include a scenic flight or guided walk on one of the glaciers. Optional activities not included in the tour price. For Self Drive clients, entry to the Glacier Hot Pools is included. (B)

" "day 14 - GLACIER REGION - GREYMOUTH - CHRISTCHURCH
Travel north to Greymouth and board the world famous Tranz Alpine train (seat in coach passengers only). Ascend through lush beech forests past the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps. Travel over Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. (B)

" "day 15 - DEPARTURE DAY
Your arrangements conclude today with a departure transfer or the return of your rental car. We trust you enjoyed your Kiwiway Vacation! (B)"
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Last edited by Sauron; 08-27-2016 at 07:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2016, 09:49 AM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

Cool! If you have some spare time in Christchurch look me up.

That itinerary seems pretty classic, taking in the main scenic highlights. Of course, like most such, it risks spending a lot of time in the tourist puddle and missing some harder to visit gems. A lot of extra recommendations will depend on what you're into, and how much time you have to spend. Do consider self-drive rather than coach. I guess it's more tiring to drive but there really is a lot to stop and see or take diversions to.

The other consideration is when you'll be here - there are plenty of annual occasions and events, and the seasons make a difference.

NZ doesn't have much in the way of impressive historical sites I know you've enjoyed elsewhere, being only human occupied for some 800 years, with few structures standing older than 200. Probably the major museums are the best places to get insight into the Maori prehistory and some of the extinct natural history (Haast's Eagle). We're more well set up for outdoor pursuits, if you're into any of that I can provide some suggestions. The major galleries should have some of the better local artists if that's more you're thing, again I can give some names to look out for. Culturally the Maori concert is probably a good idea, although if you get a chance check out something less tourist-oriented, like Kapa Haka or a Pasifika event, probably easiest to find in Auckland. If you're into wildlife the obvious places to go are Tiritiri Matangi near Auckland, Zealandia in Wellington, and one of the boat trips off Kaikoura.

Believe it or not, we have some great food here. There's not really a clear "kiwi cuisine" as such - although there are Maori foods like the hangi you've got listed. Seafood (in Maori, kaimoana) is something that can be very good. Our best restaurants tend to take good local produce and influences from overseas and can do it very well. As usual when travelling, the food options in the tourist areas can be pretty average, so do check out some online reviews.

In terms of things on the list, I'd say the farm stuff is probably not that thrilling unless you're into that kind of stuff, despite agriculture's place in NZ's history and economy. Wellington's a nice small city, maybe book a tour of the Weta studio to see some portraits of yourself. Christchurch still has a pretty unusual disaster-rebuilding vibe in the central city so take a walk around to check that out. I would say don't bother much with Queenstown unless you really want to bungee jump or river raft, because I have a local's disdain for overpriced tourist resorts. Better to take a drive round the Central Otago area instead. The 19th Century gold rush relics may be of interest. Either that or stop in at a smaller vinyard to sample the riesling. Try to add Dunedin into your trip if you can. Not only is it a nice little city with some of the more picturesque older architecture and good wildlife watching (penguins, albatrosses), it's also where Petra recently relocated to.

I could add heaps more, but not sure if you want to spend an extra 3+ months here...
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

I approve this thread. NZ is one of those locations I keep hankering to spend way too much time on a cramped airliner foisting bad food on clueless rubes to reach. (Flying 'Nazgul Air', are you?) I don't know if I ever shall, so I'm heartened to see that the Dark Lord has decided to inflict itself on them...particularly after a long flight.

N-V....that's all I have, Dark Lord. Nuthin' but N-V.

I don't see a visit to the Shire on your list.
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

Thanks, fragment.

So the timeframe would be late October to mid-November. I was aiming for springtime, but if you think that's too early, then let me know. I've been warned that weather is still fickle that time of year.

Also, if there are any holidays I should know about - or avoid -please let me know. I understand there's a Labo(u)r Day coming up soon....?

I have four nights in Queenstown, on this itinerary. So I either need to change it, or figure out how to navigate the tourist traps...
I'd be up for some river rafting. I've been doing that in the Pacific Northwest for 20+ years, so I'm well acquainted with the requirements and risks.

If I can trim a day or two out of this itinerary and exchange it for a free, unscheduled day (i.e, to find my own off-the-path entertainment) then so much the better. I have already added an extra day in Auckland, and an extra day in Rotorua to visit the movie set of a well-known film that badly disparaged my name.:frodo::gandalf::gollum2::eomer:

Would like to hear your opinion about:

* Waiheke?
* Rangitoto?
* Hawke's Bay and Napier?
* Dunedin?
* Milford Sound - worth a change of itinerary to see it?
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Last edited by Sauron; 08-27-2016 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 08-28-2016, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

:popcorn:

And anticipating
:snapshot::museum:
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Old 08-28-2016, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

Why, might I ask, is Mt. Doom not on your itinerary? Too many bad memories maybe?
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Kiwis and fans of New Zealand: tell me where I should go

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron View Post
So the timeframe would be late October to mid-November. I was aiming for springtime, but if you think that's too early, then let me know. I've been warned that weather is still fickle that time of year.
Weather then can be fickle, but just make sure you have some warm things and wet weather gear on hand and you'll be fine. February is the most settled and warm month in most places. You might be too late to catch the blossoms and bulbs in the cities but too early to catch the rata and pohutukawa flowering (our most impressive native flowering trees). But otherwise, should be pretty decent time to come.

Quote:
Also, if there are any holidays I should know about - or avoid -please let me know. I understand there's a Labo(u)r Day coming up soon....?
I don't think there's many holidays of much significance to travellers in your time period. Labour Day here is in late October but pretty low key, mostly an opportunity to brush off the barbecue or do some gardening. I'll try to keep an eye out for events that could be of interest, but websites are your friend there.

Quote:
I have four nights in Queenstown, on this itinerary. So I either need to change it, or figure out how to navigate the tourist traps...
I'd be up for some river rafting. I've been doing that in the Pacific Northwest for 20+ years, so I'm well acquainted with the requirements and risks.
You can do rafting in all sorts of places, we've got plenty of water and mountain/gorge types of terrain. But Queenstown's probably as good a place to do it as anywhere. Not having tried it myself, websites are probably your friend again.

Quote:
an extra day in Rotorua to visit the movie set of a well-known film that badly disparaged my name.:frodo::gandalf::gollum2::eomer:
Make sure you stop on the Desert Rd (a stretch of the main road south from Taupo) to get a portrait with Ngauruhoe (aka Mt Doom) then. Also the afore-mentioned Weta tour.

Quote:
* Waiheke?
* Rangitoto?
* Hawke's Bay and Napier?
As a southerner I'm unfamiliar with these places.

Quote:
* Dunedin?
This, however, is my second home town and I think it's a great little city, as I mentioned above.
Activities include trains, a harbour cruise and an ecosanctuary. Some of NZ's better surviving 19th century architecture is here too. Also seals, sea-lions and penguins on the beaches.

Quote:
* Milford Sound - worth a change of itinerary to see it?
I would say so. Not only is the sound majestic (take the boat trip while there if you can) but the scenery on the way there is stunning. If you haven't had your fill of caves at Waitomo you could stop and Te Anau for a trip across the lake and cave tour. Long extra drive to Milford though.

One thing to note about NZ is that the more scenic the spot the more ferociously it's defended by the biting insects we call sandflies. Extra strength repellent is recommended, especially for Milford.
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