Hello! Ok, I'm going travelling for the first time with a gap year company this October. I hit Auckland, NZ mid October and will be coming back about 10 months later. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice?
Obviously I'll be working when I get there but I don't know wether I will be moving from job-to-job and hostel-to-hostel or if I'm going to get one stable job and one place to live. I have no idea wether I should take a a huge rucksack or a suitcase and what to pack?
It was also be great to know what places I should check out when I'm there? I've got 10 months and therefore plenty of time!
Steph - welcome to New Zealand.. your ten months will seem not long enough!
There is so much good info on the web, this is just to encourage you that all things are possible - you will find locals and fellow-travellers friendly & relaxed - especially when you get off the beaten track.
You may find someone with whom to buy a cheap car for the ultimate freedom.
The hop-on hop-off buses are a good alternative - though some trips are pure party and you may not want to get into that.
wwoof-ing and http://www.fhinz.co.nz/ - two orgs where you won't get paid but live as part of the family for ~4 hours work a day - gets you right into rural Kiwi lives.
Masses of seasonal work on orchards and vineyards.. www.hinton.co.nz is a good place in Alexandra.
Don't miss out the Catlins coast with its rare animals - yellow-eyed penguins, sealions, hector's dolphins and its Jurassic forest at Curio Bay. We are happy to offer a welcome on our coastal farm if you pass our way 032469526. I come from UK myself and travelled a lot from age 18 - and well remember the thrill of it all!
Enjoy yr travel-planning.. Seafarmer
I agree with everything seafarmer says. I just spent 6 mo on the south island of New Zealand in ’08 and ’09. You will absolutely love the country. Absolutely love the country.
I can only speak mostly for the south island. I spent most of my time in Christchurch. ChCh is less expensive than Auckland or Wellington and has just surpassed Wellington as the second most populist city in NZ at 420,000 people. Loads of things to do in Christchurch, I like the Hagley Park Botanical Gardens. It is beautiful during the time of year you will be there.
Dunedin: You can tour the Cadbury Chocolate factory, Larnach Castle in Dunedin is the only Castle in NZ. Dunedin is a Uni town.
Try and pick up a inexpensive vehicle if you can. It’s not hard. You will see.
Also, the “I-SITE” centers (tourist info centres) are hugely helpful, unbelievably helpful.
My advice, take as little luggage as possible but take something for all extremes. You will have cold windy rainy blustery days and nice warm breezy days, all in the space of about 6 hours.lol. Seriously it is very beautiful there but take a rain outfit, some shorts, good pair of tennis shoes, decent pair of nice shoes, people say bring hiking boots but unless you’re a serious outdoor person…it’s up to you.
I don’t know what kind of traveler you are, do you like moving from place to place and carrying all your worldly possessions on your back every time you move or do you prefer to establish a home base and work from there? I’m the latter kind of traveler.
Sights I would recommend;
1) Milford Sound, kind of touristy but well worth it, I highly recommend it. I departed from Lake Te Anau instead of Queenstown because I prefer a little quieter atmosphere. Queenstown is big on adventure sports and party, party, nothing wrong with that just not my scene.
2) Lake Wanaka, superbly serine and a little night life if that’s what you like as well. I suggest you check out Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World while in Wanaka as well.
3) The Punakaiki Rocks or Pancake Rocks on the west coast of the south island. Try to time your visit with the high tide for the best show. Any I-Site Centre can advise you of the times for high/low tide at Punakaiki.
These are just some minor highlights. You will not have any trouble at all finding your own path to adventure in NZ. You will absolutely love it. If you don’t, I’ll give your money back.lol
Check the private message I sent you as well.
Happy Travels. If you get lost, have fun.
I was in New Zealand earlier this year from March to May and had a fantastic time. Though I was purely travelling, I did the Kiwi Bus, which despite my initial reservations about was fantastic.
A quick list of things to see/do in NZ from my experience:
Taupo - Tongariro Crossing is amazing
Rotorua - I did White Water rafting here which was great
Coromandel hot water beach plus Cathedral Cove
Nelson - visit Abel Tasman National Park, it is really nice
Franz Josef - Full day glacier hike is great, you can also skydive here
Wanaka - Puzzling World is really good fun as mentioned above And go to Cinema Paradiso, amazingly quirkly little cinema
Queenstown - Fantastic place - this is the centre for all the adrenalin based sports, like bungee jumping, skydiving, canyon swing, etc, etc. I had a fantastic time here.
Kaikoura - Pretty nice little town, nice coastal walk and a good place to go whale watching/dolphin spotting, etc, etc
Renwick (Marlborough wine region) - great location, hire a bike and cycle round all the wineries getting free wine tastings (and more and more drunk)
Banks Peninsula - very picturesque
Eat as many pies as you can, try and a Fergburger in Queenstown, and NZ has the best ice cream in the world, the 'Memphis Meltdown' Big Hokey!
As others have said, you will love New Zealand.
agree with all comments made above. You do not have to plan anything at all unless you want to walk the great walks as Milford Sound etc. which you can book through the department of conservation (www.doc.govt.nz/). It is one of the easiest countries if not the easiest country in teh world to travel and enjoy nature & cities.
Travel light would be my recommendation for any travel and indeed for both warm & cold. I thought the South Island most itneresting with all its nature (Abel Tasman, Fox & Franz Josef Glacier (quite touristy but still interesting), Routeburn track, Kepler Track, Rees Dart Track, Milford Track, Mt Village, Lake Tekapo), but Tongariro Crossing is definitely very special on the northern Island & Coromandel is very pleasant too. Northern Island is way more urbanised than southern island. The fjords are very wet but spectacular.
don't plan too much and just enjoy.
Wow, thank you everyone for your replies!
seafarmer- Thank you for that, Caitlins Coast sounds really good so I'll be sure to check that out
rabudman- Wow, thank you for such a detailed reply. Is it a bit sad that I've written down every place suggested? In response to the hiking comment- I'm not afraid of a bit of walking, but I wouldn't consider myself a strong hiker. I might just take some good walking trainers rather than chunky boots.
I have no idea what kind of traveller I am yet but I do prefer the sound of setting up a home base and going from there. Thanks for the private message too, I'll start responding to that in a minute.
Steve79- Thank you for the long reply also! I have heard of the Kiwi bus trips somewhere else. I think it sounds like a pretty handy way of seeing the sites and then seeing the 'off-the-beaten-track' from there. Haha thank you I will deffinitely try all the pies and ice-creams!
Marie-Jose-Thank you! I think travelling light really is the best plan. Thanks again!