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Trip by Myself to NZ (March) - South Island - Suggestions?!

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1. Posted by backpackNZ (Inactive 1 posts) 4y

backpackNZ has indicated that this thread is about New Zealand

I am a 23 y/o male from Washington, D.C. (USA), and, for a number of reasons, I decided this morning to book a trip to New Zealand which leaves next Saturday (3/6/2010) and extends through March (16 days). While I've got my Lonely Planet guide, and have some friends who have given me suggestions about where to go, I am sort of overwhelmed at all there is to do/places to see and want to make sure I hit all the high points while I'm there.

Also, if you're reading this and looking for a mate to accompany you on any of your travels - or are looking for someone to bunk with at one of the many Youth Hostel's (I'm thinking Nomad, maybe Queenstown Central) let me know, because again, I'll be flying solo and would love to meet new people! Whether it's a day excursion, grabbing a drink, getting extreme (hike/bungy/skydive/hang-glide/surf/etc.), getting our party on, or meeting new people together - let's get in touch and try to meet!

OK- So back to the matter at hand. I have my ticket booked, but don't have an itinerary finalized and so I'm looking for help (e.g. "no, don't go there, go here"; or "you should check out 'xxx'"). I am a total adrenaline junkie, and so obviously I plan on spending a good portion of my time in Queenstown. Since Queenstown is the focus of my Journey, that is where I plan to fly in and plan on staying at least 3 of my 14 days there. Since I have many to do's in Queenstown I'm thinking that I might end up staying there for 5-7 days, so I can do one exciting activity each day:

[1] Saturday (Day 1): Travel day
[2] Sunday (Day 2): Settle in
[3] Monday (Day 3): Bungy jumping
[4] Tuesday (Day 4): Sky Diving
[5] Wednesday (Day 5): Rafting,
[6] Thursday (Day 6): Kayaking
[7] Friday (Day 7): debatable

After I have my week of fun (and hopefully meet a ton of great people along the way), I want to head out of Queenstown and travel around (which is where I'm sort of getting overwhelmed). Here are the things I want to do, and I was hoping that people could give me suggestions about the best places to go/how to get there for the following:

[8] Spend time at an amazing beach or lake - 2-3 Days (Saturday-Mon: Day 8-10). I hear Dunedin is amazing, and was thinking about taking the Taieri Gorge Railway from Queenstown to Dunedin. As far a best places to go for beaching/beautiful waterfront escapes - is Dunedin good, or is there somewhere else I should consider? I'm planning on doing my fair share of partying/drinking in Queenstown , and while I'm not opposed to going out in Dunedin/[insert beach/lake town here], I was thinking that Days 8-10 should be spent somewhere which is low key (or at least where I can go 'off the beaten path' and unplug).

[9] Find a great, scenic, countryside to hike in (Tuesday - Thursday: Day 11-13). I know there are probably a lot of great places for this, and I've heard of the 9 great hikes - but I've also heard that the 'typical' hiking spots are tourist traps - and I'm really looking for somewhere that's literally 'off the beaten track'. Any ideas about a good place to hike where I wouldn't constantly be surrounded by other people?! Also, if you have a suggestion, any idea about where to stay? I'm trying to keep this trip as budget as possible, so hopefully I can find a Youth Hostel, or someone to take me in on this stretch (or I could camp outside, any thoughts on that?), but any suggestions would be helpful!!

[10] I fly out on Sunday (Day 16) and want to spend the last two days back in Queenstown, to sort of come full circle on the trip (Saturday-Sunday Day: 15-16), which leaves Friday (Day 14) open to whatever. I don't have anything in mind, so any suggestions, must-do's, personal recommendations would be greatly appreciated for Thursday: Day 14.

I know this is a super long post, but I've got less than a week before take-off and need to get my plan ironed out. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and, if you respond - thank you so, so, so much in advance for doing so and lending me advice for my exciting trip! If there's anything I need to know/pack/bring/look into - any and every suggestion would be so extremely, super helpful!

Thanks again!
b

2. Posted by seafarmer (Budding Member 9 posts) 4y

You'll have a great time... travelling by yourself is the best way to meet folk I reckon. There's always someone to join up with for a day or two.

The backpackers hostels in NZ are good - and as you get off the beaten track they get better.

You could go to Omarama and go up in a glider - to my mind it's better value than hanging upside down by a rope! And the paraponting/paragliding is something else.

By March you will find plenty of space everywhere.

Dunedin is a fun university town. + The Otago peninsula is the big drawcard there, with penguins and albatross. They have big chicks at the moment.

I live in the Catlins which is highly recommended but without yr own transport u are limited to the Bottom Bus or Catlins Coaster (same company). You would be wowed by Curio Bay/Porpoise Bay.

Stewart Island is marvellous too - a lively fast ferry ride of an hour from Bluff.

The Taieri Gorge railway doesn't go to Q town. It's a day return trip from Dunedin to Middlemarch.

Don't forget Wanaka, it's over the Crown Range from Q'town, even more gorgeous.

Have a great trip - it's an easy country to be in - just doesn't have the public transport you may expect.

3. Posted by Kelvin Ang (Budding Member 43 posts) 4y

The "no itinerary" plan is a great plan for a country like NZ

I think you pretty much got it covered. I agree on Wanaka, a lovely place although not too sure if it'll be much fun for an adrenaline junkie. The glaciers would be a nice walk too if you're heading up that way.

I was going to suggest Fly By Wire (Queenstown) but it seems the business may be up for sale! In any case it might be worth checking it out if you ran out of exciting stuff to do in Q'town.

http://www.flybywire.co.nz/

Youth hostels and budget backpackers are everywhere and the quality is generally pretty good. If you're driving, remember that we drive on the left side of the road.

Have fun!

4. Posted by Dodger (Respected Member 860 posts) 4y

When In Q town, don't forget to do Shotover Canyon Swing Most people rate this much higher than the bungy.

Also take a ride in a Jet boat

And save at least a day fomountain biking there are some great trails and a dedicated mountain bike park.

Oh and cause you are going to have so much spare time in Qtown take the Gondola up the mountain and the luge down.

The time of year your going is going to be very hit and miss that you get a good day at the beach. But still worth a trip, the sea can be quite spectacular.

[ Edit: Edited on 02-Mar-2010, at 15:37 by Dodger ]

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