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New Zealand Help

It appears that I’ll be staying here till next Wednesday, then leaving for New Zealand for two weeks.

While I planned on visiting New Zealand, I didn’t plan on visiting this soon. As it turns out, this will probably work out for the best as I wont need to make a return trip to New Zealand.

The problem is, I haven’t done much if any research on New Zealand. I have a week to figure out what I should see during my stay. I have two weeks but I could always stretch it out a bit.

I’m assuming I’ll have to rent a car, else getting around will be near impossible.

Here is what I need from you: What should I see in New Zealand? (the Lord of the Rings tour has already been suggested, thank you)

I know there are fjords and penguins on the South Island, but I don’t know where.

Any advice would be helpful. I am usually without Internet and I don’t have a NZ guidebook.

*Oh, I have yet to take more than 2 photos on Rarotonga. Rainy and overcast.

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Comments

  1. AngieK says:

    Something else of interest I found: Milford Sound

    Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during successive ice ages. At its deepest point, off Mitre Peak, it plunges to a depth of 265 metres.

    Maori attribute the creation of the fiords to a ‘titanic mason’ by the name of Tu Te Raki Whanoa. With his magical adze, he sculpted Milford Sound’s sheer cliffs and towering mountains.

    Wet or fine, Milford Sound is breathtaking. The fiord’s sides rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade down precipitous cliffs.

    There are various ways to enjoy Milford Sound, the most accessible of New Zealand’s fiords. You can take a day trip on a launch or organise an overnight stay on a charter boat. Scenic flights, sea kayaking safaris and diving excursions can also be arranged.

    For a look at life below the water’s surface, there’s an underwater observatory in Harrison Cove. You can see black coral, 11-legged sea stars and delicate anemones, as well as intriguing snakestars that wrap themselves around the black coral.

  2. AngieK says:

    Here is a little thing I found on some of the natural phenomena of New Zealand:
    Ice ages, fault lines, volcanic zones and tectonic plate movements have all made their mark on New Zealand. Ours is a dynamic environment, sandwiched between two oceans and perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire. When extreme events happen below or above the earth’s surface, unusual scenery is often the result.

    Take the south-western corner of the South Island as an example. Here a procession of ice ages wrought an impressive collection of fiords. Further up the coast, there are two glaciers that refuse to believe the ice age is over – they’re still creeping down into the rainforest.

    For absolute in-your-face phenomena, the North Island never fails to satisfy. Active volcanic regions, including a marine volcano that you can walk through, are outward expressions of internal turmoil. Take a wander through the geothermal areas around Rotorua and Taupo – fumaroles, craters and geysers are endlessly fascinating. And what about boiling mud? It has to be the strangest thing you’ll ever find in a public park.

  3. Shane says:

    More ideas from the former NZer.

    “Been thinking a little more about this and there are a few more things your friend may wish to investigate. There’re a LOT of dormant (and somewhat less dormant) volcanoes in New Zealand and quite a bit of geothermal stuff, as well. Interesting places to go…

    “(1) Hot Water Beach

    “Out on the Coromandel Peninsula, there’s a beach where there’s some geothermal sites pretty close to the surface. At the right time of day (and tide) you can dig a hole in the sand, let it fill with water and then have your own personal hot tub. In that same neck of the woods, in a very small town called Coroglen, there’s a memorable biker bar.

    “(2) Tongariro Crossing

    “The NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) maintains about a zillion ‘walks’ in North and South Island, several of which are quite famous amongst trampers. In the North Island, the most well known is probably the Tongariro Crossing, which is a day-long hike in the chain of volcanoes south of Lake Taupo. Lots of time hiking in loose volcanic
    scree, but supposedly a great trip. South Island has some longer walks, such as the Routeburn and Milford Tracks. Here is a list of walks in the Taupo area, including the crossing
    http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/trackandwalkprofilesummary.aspx?id=36027

    “(3) Black Water Rafting/Cave Tubing

    “Near Waitomo in North Island, you can go tubing through a cave that has glow worms, which are a bioluminscent bug that live on the cave ceilings. If you do the cave tubing, I seem to recall that you actually repel (abseil) down into the cave to your tube while wearing a wet suit and helmet. I didn’t do this myself while I was down there, but I hear really good things about it. I was able to find this site about it:
    http://www.waitomo.com/black-water-rafting.aspx

    “(4) Rangitoto

    “From the ferry terminal in Auckland, you can take a ferry out to Rangitoto Island in the Huaraki Gulf and hike to the crater rim. Rangitoto is a dormant volcano that emerged from the sea within that last 1000 years or so. It’s a nice little day trip and you can generally get good views of Auckland from the rim. You can take a ferry out, do the hike and be back mid-afternoon.

    “(5) Ninety-mile Beach/Cape Reinga

    “You can take a bus out of Auckland up to the northern tip of North Island, Cape Reinga, and spend some time around Ninety-mile Beach, which is a sand beach on the west coast that’s actually about 40 miles long. Very impressive, with wild horses and virtually no people. This is a bit of a trip, might be able to do it up and back in a day, but more likely you would spend a night in Paihea in the Bay of Islands.

    “(6) Fly fishing in/around Lake Taupo

    “About this time of year, the rainbow trout start coming into the rivers around Lake Taupo to spawn. You can rent gear at some of the local shops though you’re better off getting a guide if you want to catch fish. The Tongariro River is one of the most famous rivers in the world to fly fish, made amous by Zane Grey in the 20s. Lake Taupo is about 4
    hours south of Auckland. Catch a couple of nice ‘freshies’ that are just out of the lake and have them smoked – delicious.

    “If your friend is going to South Island, there’s a few other things you can do of interest. Most notably are things like take a helicopter up to a glacier and do a bit of hiking. You can ski in Queenstown, but that’s a bit like Vale in the sense that everything is pretty expensive. Christchurch is the traditional jumping-off point for Antarctic expeditions and there’s a quite interesting museum/visitor center there.

    “I’ll write more if I think if anything else.”

  4. Shane Colin says:

    I don’t know jack about New Zealand, so I asked a friend who’d lived there for a year. I assumed you were headed to the North Island, so I think these notes pertain to there.

    “At McDonald’s in NZ, they put a beet slice and a fried egg on a couple of their burgers and call it a ‘megaburger’ or some such thing.. Quite good.

    “North Island will be warmer, but wetter, so it will seem just as cold.

    “There’s all sorts of geothermal stuff around Rotorua in North Island, though it’s kind of touristy. You can ski on a (kind of) dormant volcano, Mt. Ruapehu, in central North Island south of Lake Taupo. It’s early winter,though, and maybe now snow on the skifields.

    “If he likes scuba, then Poor Knights islands is the destination. Not sure about the visibility in winter, but that was the spot when we were there. At the time, and likely still, NZ was about the only place in the world where you can spearfish or hunt lobsters with scuba gear.”

  5. Jennifer says:

    The Blue Pools of Haast Pass- The scenic road over Haast Pass, the southern gateway to the West Coast, is one of the most stunning in the country.

    The journey offers a variable landscape of rainforest, wetlands, lakes, glacier-fed rivers and white water rapids.

    Make sure you stop at any of the short walks that are well sign-posted along this route. One of the best of them is just north of Makarora, located within the World Heritage listed Mount Aspiring National Park.

    This is the Blue Pools Walk, which has become world-renowned as a must-see highlight in this wilderness region.

    It features a carefully maintained gravel path and boardwalks that wind through a native silver beech forest and lead to a swing bridge strung high above the Makarora River. The views back to the mountains of the Main Divide are absolutely breath-taking.

    The track continues deep into the forest, with bellbird and tui calls echoing through the trees, to a series of crystal clear pools that have been carved out of the rocks by centuries of erosion.

    The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air.

    The car rental agency should be able to give you a map with directions.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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