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Places to visit in New Zealand Watch

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    I'm taking a gap year this year and me and my friend are planning a trip to New Zealand, but I just wanted some idea of places to go and visit (or not to go). Please share your experiences so I can research a few ideas. Thanks


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    How long are you going for? I went for a month last year, everyone's different but I'll give you a run down of where I went and stuff? This might be long lol. One thing I will suggest is to invest more time in the south island than the north and start in the north island - the scenery gets more and more breathtaking the further south you go.

    My route was this: Auckland - Rotorua - Taupo - Wellington - Nelson - Kaikoura - Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Queenstown - Te Anau - ****ord Sound - Queenstown - Wanaka - Franz Josef - Hokitika - Christchurch (then flying back to Auckland for my flight back).

    Spend as much time as you can manage in Auckland to explore and get over your jet lag (I was just about alright with 3 nights, you could easily stay there for a whole lot longer). Rotorua is great for all the thermal activity around it and also you can take a tour from here the the Hobbiton set in Matamata if you're a LOTR fan. If you want to skydive, Taupo is the best place for this if you're worried about price, not the most scenic but it's still incredible and it's the cheapest, also the guys at Skydive Taupo who I went with are consummate professionals. Wellington was my favourite city and a must even just for the massive Te Papa museum. Use Nelson as a base to visit the Abel Tasman National Park (this place is an absolute do not miss) or you could do a multi day trek in the park or trek and kayak etc. My favourite day from my whole trip was the full day kayaking around Abel Tasman.. beautiful, crystal clear water. Kaikoura is the hub for whale/wildlife watching if you're into that, or there's the peninsula walkway that takes a few hours that gives breathtaking views. I'm not sure where Christchurch is at right now. When I went everything was still closed off after the earthquake but I think it's in a state of regeneration now. Lake Tekapo was the most peaceful place I went to and had by far the darkest night skies (I stopped here to go up Mt John cause I'm an astronomy nerd and the dark skies there are just unreal). Queenstown is sorta the traveller hub and is quite lively, you've got a lot of the extreme stuff like bungees and things in the area, it's also stunning and you must must must go up the gondola for the view. Also Arrowtown is nearby and definitely worth a visit. Te Anau has the glowworm grotto which I'm told is fantastic (I didn't go, I just used my time here for R&R). ****ord Sound is and ABSOLUTE DEFINITE MUST and you should pray for rain because there is nothing more spectacular than that place when it's raining or has been raining. I did a cruise with Mitre Peak cruises who I recommend cause they're boats are smaller and I'd go later in the day (avoid lunchtime if you're not a fan of HOARDS of day trippers). Wanaka is like a baby Queenstown but more tranquil, it's a base for skiing and the such. The long walk to the Franz Josef glacier terminal is pretty cool, and there's also a whole lot of forest walks in the area. There's more to do here than in Fox Glacier but at Fox Glacier there's also Lake Matheson which will reflect Mt Cook on a good day (wish I went there also!) Hokitika was just a stop off really but it's lovely, the beach and the driftwood sculptures on it are beautiful. To get back to Christchurch I took the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth which I highly recommend. Going through the Alps and expanses of Canterbury in one journey was awesome.

    Might have rambled a bit, but hope this helped a little
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    I used to live in NZ and the above poster has suggested some really good places to visit. If I could add one place, I would say that if you can afford to add on a few days in the North then a trip to Great Barrier Island is essential. It's about a 4 hour ferry ride from Auckland and I'm afraid I'm not sure exactly how much it costs as it was a few years ago when I went, but it would be well worth the money. The scenery is stunning and the island is all eco-friendly, with solar panels and little wind turbines outside each house. The beaches are to die for, and what with the island having such a small population it's generally not too hard to find one to yourselves! Kayaking in the sea is particularly fun, you could probably go all the way around the island if you wanted.
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    Thanks guys! This has been super helpful, I think you have planned my trip for me! We are thinking about going for maybe a couple of months, I might try and get some work in just to boost my funds so I can do a bit more activities, maybe fruit picking or something. What time of year is best to go, like not too expensive but not in the winter (or is it nice to go in winter?)?


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    Winter can be nice in some places, particularly the South Island (admittedly I didn't actually see much of NZ when I was there, something I regret!) but it depends where you go. Obviously you can expect some snow, especially in the South, but in places like Auckland I remember it raining a lot in winter, and by a lot I mean pretty much ALL THE TIME. If you don't mind rain then it's fine, although it might dampen the enjoyment of some activities (sorry, no pun intended). I'm guessing that you'd expect less tourists and cheaper prices for some things in winter, but it really depends what you want to do.
    Not being biased or anything, but you should definitely check out as much of Auckland as you can. Great city...
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    (Original post by Oats808)
    Thanks guys! This has been super helpful, I think you have planned my trip for me! We are thinking about going for maybe a couple of months, I might try and get some work in just to boost my funds so I can do a bit more activities, maybe fruit picking or something. What time of year is best to go, like not too expensive but not in the winter (or is it nice to go in winter?)?
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    I can't really help with that last question as I went in February in the height of Summer lol, but I hope you have a great time!

    You've probably thought about this but just in case not, make sure you get the right visa. If I remember rightly tourist visas are for three months and they're free for UK (and some others) passport holders but you're not allowed to work with them. Working holiday visas are for a year(?) but they cost and you've got to prove you've got a return ticket or enough funds to buy one AND enough to sustain you on your trip. Click on your country here and there's tons of info: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migra...orkingholiday/
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    I don't mind the rain, but I don't think I'll be a happy bunny if its happening all the time! Like if I want to go sky diving or go walking. I'll make sure I stay in Auckland for a good while, I'm expecting big things from there now, don't disappoint me!

    I was thinking of going anytime from march, April or may. Any knowledge of what to expect from the whether then?

    I have thought about the visas and I weighing up the options, I am eligible to get a New Zealand/australian passport, but I don't know whether it's worth it or whether just to go for a visa. Thanks for the link, that should be helpful

    What sort of accommodation did you stay in? Im thinking about hostels, I'd really like to meet knew people out there, other travellers and locals. But then are people easy to meet and friendly out there?


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