Where to go in New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Where to go in New Zealand

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about New Zealand
1. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Im starting to plan an extended vacation to Australia & New Zealand, what l would like to ask people to recommend - any suggestions as to where we should visit in New Zealand. We will be spending about 12 nights in NZ, along with 10 days in Oz. I know our plans in Oz but NZ is more open - so where should we go - what should we see? I really want to see the spectacular scenery - but l wouldnt say we were overtly dare devils so no jumping off mountains but some mild activity is ok!!

Looking forward to hearing the replies!


2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I really enjoyed Blackwater Rafting through the Waitomo caves. It's not as freakishly adventurous as bungee jumping or skydiving, but it was a lot of fun.

3. Posted by alandchris (Budding Member 6 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello there!!!

My name is Al and I am very passionate about people seeing the best of my country!

Here are my top ten recommendations for New Zealand

1 - Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound - THE best part of New Zealand - depending on your time options, you could go on a boat cruise to the mouth of the fjord or do a longer option of a guided sea-kayak trip. The drive up to the Fjord is AMAZING!

2 - Franz Josef Glacier - There are only 2 glaciers in the world that you can drive up to and then go for guided walks - and they are both within 30kms of each other. Franz Josef full day guided walks are by far the best option as FJGlacier is moving forward and is more dramatic at this time.

3 - Abel Tasman National Park - An easy walk for three days through spectacular coastal golden sand bays. You could also take a water taxi to one of the bays and do a day or half a days walk to another bay and get picked up again... or even better... Sea Kayaking!!!

4 - Queenstown/Wanaka - Queenstown is very commercial but definitely worth visiting and experiencing the many options for entertainment. The MUST SEE or DO activities are the Gondola ride up to Bob's Peak and the Luge at the top... Shotover Jetboats are popular (and Expensive)... There are full or half day Lord of the Rings tours... White water rafting or whatever tickles your fancy - Queenstown IS the Adventure capitol of the world. WANAKA is Queenstown's little sister... and is about an hours drive away... Beautiful lakes and you HAVE to do the maze and puzzling world.

5 - West Coast (South Island)- North of the Glaciers you have the amazing scenery of the West Coast - Greymouth is a nice place to stay a night (noah's ark backpackers is the BEST). The road North of Greymouth will take you to Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks) and then through the Stunning Buller Gorge.

6 - Mount Cook - New Zealand's highest peak is worth a look and a wander around... the lakes around the region have to be seen to be believed.

7 - Tongariro Crossing - North Island - Feel like doing a day's walk over some stunning Volcanic scenery (some of which was on Lord of the Rings - think... MORDOR).

8 - Rotorua - Very awesome place to be surrounded by NEw Zealand culture and heritage - best place to do cultural and geothermal activities. Can be pricey though!

9 - Waitomo Caves - As mentioned in an earlier post - Blackwater Rafting or just a general visit to the standard caves - quite cool!

10 - Last but not least - Northland - Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga and Kauri Forests... VERY COOL!

Feel free to message me and I can advise on the best self-drive route to take in these sorts of activities... or advise on flights or buses etc...

4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

This information is amazing - thankyou v much - AND - l may well take you up on offer of additional advice!


5. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Good choice.And out of those 10 i went to 8 of them while i was there late last year.

Purdy check out New Zealand on my blog for photos.


6. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Purdy, alandchris is probably the best authority on the subject, but I would add that 12 nights is such a short length of time. You will leave wishing you could stay longer.
Consequently, I would be tempted to stick to the South Island - particularly if scenery is your thing. The North Island has it too, but it's busier, whereas the South is tranquil and the scenery is absolutely everywhere.
If you can afford an internal flight, then you could add the North on.
Don't waste time driving and looking for motels. Hire a motorhome, then all you have to do is arrive, plug in and put the kettle on before you head off.

7. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Can only take max of 4 weeks off work and as we have mates we want to catch up with in Oz 12 maybe 15 days is max we can spend in NZ - still gotta be grateful!! Intend flying into Auckland - flying down to Wellington ferry across to South Island then to Christchurch and Queenstown - gonna base our travels around those cities and branch out from there!

Still we have 11 months to plan and nothing is set in concrete YET!


8. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Christchurch was the worst town i visited in New Zealand.We spent 3 days there and i wish it was only 3 hours and that would just be spent in the Antarctic Centre.

9. Posted by Chix (Full Member 114 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I lived in NZ for a while and would like to second pretty much everything alandchris said!

  • Franz Josef glacier is unmissable (do the full day hike - I only did 1/2 and am going back to do it again!)
  • Rotarua is like nowhere else I've ever been - whakarewararewa (I can't promise to have spelt that right!!) is great for Maori culture and bubbling mud pools!
  • Taupo becuase 'cherry island' is a great place to bungee jump - you get dipping into the river below...
  • Wanaka if you want somewhere beautiful and chilled out. Theres not much there except a lake and a mountain but I have vague drunken recollections of a very good karioke bar there too..!
  • Abel Tazman is fantastic for kayaking....beautiful golden sand.
10. Posted by mfs (Inactive 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi all
I'm completely new to this, but sure happy to have found this forum.

To AL ...yes do tell me more!

Am planning to visit next December/January 2007 on a max. 3weeks honeymoon starting from Auckland and finishing in Christchurch.

How would you suggest travelling the country to see the sights? especially on a budget and without prebooked accomodation.

best regards