theres lots of horse riding places dotted around the country. i know a couple of people who went with dart river stables in glenorchy, 45 mins out of queenstown, and they all really enjoyed it. like most stables around the country the horses were used in the filming of lord of the rings and the last samurai.
also glenorchy is definatly worth a visit anyway.
theres a good wildlife tour out of dunedin http://www.elmwildlifetours.co.nz/tours/ i did the penninsula tour i think. i got to see albatross and their chicks, penguins, fur seals, sea lions and plenty of sheep. it was great. bizarrely we even drove down a lane called "dead horse lane". how long did the dead horse have to be there for them to name the lane after it?
Personally I love the South Island. Lake Tekapo, especially (and I'm surprised Sander didn't pitch this wonderful spot to you!). It's a really quiet little village by a beautiful lake. New Zealand's most famous church, built by the pioneers of New Zealand, is also located here. If you are travelling by coach from Christchurch down south to Queenstown, or vice versa, the driver will drop stop here for a few minutes to allow tourists some photo opportunities.
Still further down south is Milford Sound, a popular tourist destination. Beautiful though a little out of the way. Many people seem to do it as a day trip ex-Queenstown, but that really wouldn't do it justice (and not to mention it's really tiring doing bus rides for hours on end...). I stayed there for two days, and both days I see a very different Milford Sound. Probably has got to do with the tide, the fog, and the rain...
Oh, and there's Akaroa, a little French settlement a "short" distance from Christchurch. It's just "down the road", as the Kiwi might say (but it's actually across a mountain...). A bus departs for Akaroa daily from Christchurch's Cathedral Square (if my memory serves me right). Quaint little place that's edged itself permanently in my mind.
Personally I love the South Island. Lake Tekapo, especially (and I'm surprised Sander didn't pitch this wonderful spot to you!).
*g* It's called delegating. I figured I've converted enough people by now that I can rest on my accomplishments and have you, my disciples, spread the gospel of Lake Tekapo on by behalf. :D
(Also, since the original poster said he was staying mostly in Auckland, it's a bit out of the way to really be recommending.)
I guess you can't really see New Zealand without seeing the South Island! And you can't see the South Island without taking a glimpse of Lake Tekapo!
Nobody mentioned skydiving! Apparently Lake Taupo (relatively near Auckland) is the cheapest place to do it, but I've read that Lake Wanaka (somewhat near Queenstown) is THE place to do it. Lake Wanaka is beautiful from the ground, and I can imagine what it must be like from a view up there!
Firstly.. I'm a girl, Sander lol..
Hoping to go to the south Island but it is so expensive to get there!
Would you liek me to tell you how it went once i've beenand gone?
Oops - that'll teach me not to check profiles before making such assumptions.
And yes, please do give feedback once you've been; that's alway very useful for people who'll search the forums in the future, and personally I'm always interested to hear if a place like Hobbiton still lives up to my memories.
I'll post this here instead of clogging up the forum with new posts!
just on the back of the original post, would you guys recommend doing the whole 'Kiwi Experience' thing, paying for all your transport in advance? Me and my girlfriend will be in NZ (nrth & sth) for a month, and want to fit in as much as possible.
However, only thing is, we're trying to keep it as tight as possible financially.
If anyone has been before and could help, we'd really appreciate it. Also, if you've any recommendations for accommodation (anywhere in NZ)...please let me know!
Thanks so much
Darren: No, I would absolutely not recommend it. The kiwi experience is about 30% more expensive than taking InterCity/Newmans coaches, and what you get back for that extra cost is the company of a lot of 18-year olds interested only in partying, commentary on sights that you can read for yourself in your lonely planet, and an incessant barrage of sales pitches for activities on which the kiwi experience gets a kickback. (Of course, if you're looking for a party atmosphere, it might be just the thing for you. There are a lot of people who have the time of their lives on the kiwi experience. I tried them out for a few days and discovered I wasn't one of those people, though.)
As for places to stay; the YHA at the aforementioned Lake Tekapo is by far my favorite accommodation anywhere in the world. The most perfect view, and a very cozy lounge. (Makes the kinda crappy showers be very bearable.) In general I'm a fan of all YHAs in New Zealand, although there's some exceptions (Gisborne YHA sucks), and a few non-YHA hostels like pacific coast backpackers in Mount Maunganui, or the mahana homestead on the Queen Charlotte track which surpass most anything else. (And, again, if you're looking for a party atmosphere, you'd probably favour VIP hostels over YHA hostels.)