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Introduction Map of New Zealand A Rundown of the Regions Driving on New Zealand Roads Ten Practical Things You Need to Know Handling Your Campervan Mapping the Way Crossing Cook Strait Invaluable Campervanning Tips NZ Distance Calculator All the Camping Information You Need to Know What You Can Expect from the Weather Geography, Scenery and Wildlife The Indigenous Culture - Maori An Oenophile’s Paradise Famous Pubs Eating, Kiwi-Style The Ten Best Beaches in New Zealand 50 Places You Absolutely Must Visit! These Boots Were Made For... Lesser-Known Gems from Local Insiders Experiencing Middle Earth Hot ‘n’ Steamy! Speaking “Kiwi” Forgotten Anything? A Checklist of Final Things to Consider Planning your Route Touring Routes Sample Itineraries More Handy Sites to Check Out 3 4 5 8 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 19 21 23 25 27 28 29 31 39 41 43 44 46 47 48 49 50 55
For generations of New Zealanders, or “Kiwis”, setting off in the family campervan (motorhome or RV) to explore their magical country at their own pace is the kind of relaxed, free-spirited holiday they take for granted. If you’re reading this book, congratulations on making the decision to follow in their footsteps! Consisting of two main islands and several other small ones, New Zealand (or Aotearoa in Maori – meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”) is a perfect destination for a campervanning holiday. It’s friendly, uncrowded, compact, and is like nowhere else you’ll go, in that the landscapes change from one spectacular vista to another every 20 minutes or so. New Zealand is notable for its stunning scenery (including recognisable locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy); its unique ﬂora and fauna (even if its national emblem, the kiwi, is a rather oddlooking ﬂightless bird); its geographical remoteness (even Australia is nearly 2000kms away); its innovative people (it was the ﬁrst country to give women the vote and Kiwi Sir Edmund Hilary was the ﬁrst man to climb to the top of Mt Everest); its delectable food and wine (Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Bluff oysters Read on to get the BEST advice, tips, tricks and secrets on where to go, what to do, how to plan and mistakes to avoid, to truly get the most out of your New Zealand campervanning holiday. In New Zealand you can absorb the fascinating Maori culture, experience sophisticated cosmopolitan society with a laid-back twist, and travel to remote spots it’s possible no other human has ever even set foot on. anyone...?) and its love of adrenalinepumping extreme sports (bungy-jumping was invented there!).
CAMPERVANNING IS AN IDEAL WAY TO EXPERIENCE THIS LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN – YOU CAN TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN PACE AND STOP WHEREVER YOU LIKE, FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIKE!
There’s a vast number of campsites and holiday parks dotted all over the country to accommodate you and campervans to suit any budget – and best of all, there’s an extremely favourable exchange rate to take your money a lot further.
MAP OF NEW ZEALAND
A RUNDOWN OF THE REGIONS
Auckland The largest and most cosmopolitan city, with the balmiest climate. Known as the “City of Sails”, set amongst 49 volcanoes and surrounded by beaches, it offers some of the world’s ﬁnest sailing, boating and ﬁshing, and in the aftermath of the 2002-2003 America’s Cup yachting challenge, many great restaurants, hotels and bars are thriving. Galleries and museums abound, and the city is hugely multicultural with a unique Polynesian ﬂavour. A great base if you’re just touring the North Island. Northland & the Coromandel Peninsula Both regions are within two hours of Auckland. The beautiful Bay of Islands to the north is popular with tourists, Waikato & Bay of Plenty While the Waikato is home to some pretty scenery, its main city Hamilton lives in the shadow of Auckland somewhat and there isn’t a whole lot to attract tourists. The Waitomo Caves are a highlight though. The Bay of Plenty, however, has a vibrant beach culture, particularly Mt Maunganui. Come here for boating, ﬁshing, surﬁng, sunbathing and golf. travel further upwards and you’ll ﬁnd more secluded beaches. Fishing, diving, and camping are just some of the major drawcards, and the region is steeped in Maori culture. The Coromandel is south of Auckland, a little more craggy and remote, and its east coast boasts some top surf beaches.
AUCKLAND’S DISTINCTIVE SKYLINE FRAMES THE WAITEMATA HARBOUR.
Rotorua, Taupo & Tongariro National Park Home to the majority of NZ’s thermal activity, Rotorua offers a unique geographical and Maori cultural slice of NZ life, as well as a plethora of adventure tourism activities. Combined with Taupo, the central region is unbeatable in terms of volcanic landscape, Maori attractions and things to do. Choose from trout ﬁshing, mountaineering, skiing (water and snow), biking and tramping to name a few. Gisborne & Hawke’s Bay East Cape and Gisborne offer hype-free insight into Maori culture and the area has some of the most underrated beaches and surﬁng. Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay are signiﬁcant wine-producing areas, and while Gisborne is sometimes a little too laid-back to appeal to tourists, Napier’s Art Deco charms are legendary. Taranaki & Wanganui This is where the heart of small-town, provincial New Zealand lies. You’ll also
see breathtaking mountain scenery – this is where Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai was ﬁlmed. Wellington The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is renowned for its rich arts culture and second-to-none restaurants and bars. The Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa (known as Te Papa) is its major attraction and will give a unique insight into understanding the country’s history and culture. Pack your scarves though – Wellington is not nicknamed “The Windy City” for nothing!
Nelson & Marlborough Characterised by three national parks and gorgeous golden beaches, Nelson is known for its “hippy” feel and arts and crafts emphasis. The wine-growing region of Marlborough coupled with the majestic scenery make this a must-see destination.
THIS PARLIAMENT BUILDING IN WELLINGTON IS FONDLY KNOWN AS “THE BEEHIVE”.
Christchurch & Canterbury A primary starting-point for exploring the South Island, Christchurch is famed for its old English feel, Victorian-Gothic architecture and stunning gardens. Choose from over 40 wineries, or several ski ﬁelds within a two-hour drive. From here, day trips to Kaikoura, Hamner and Methven are all viable. West Coast & the Glaciers The top of the West Coast (Westport to Karamea) and the bottom (Haast to the glaciers) are amazing. The middle bit, not quite so much. Apart from greenstone shopping and the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (more on that later) it’s best to just swiftly make your way to the other end. Queenstown and Wanaka This region of New Zealand is astounding in terms of physical impact. Some say Queenstown itself is “too touristy” but it’s easy to see why they ﬂock there. There’s lots to do, lots to see and lots of people. Wanaka is just as beautiful but has a more low-key personality than Queenstown.
Milford Sound This fjord in the south-west is New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination, meaning it also draws thousands of people each year, even with its remote location. It’s a stunning place, even with up to 50 tourist buses arriving per day. Dunedin, Southland and Stewart Island Invercargill and Southland are sleepy, slow and very friendly, epitomising the famous Kiwi hospitality. Dunedin is Gothic-inﬂuenced and somewhat grim during winter, but the region enjoys a clear, crisp summer. The volcanic Otago Peninsula is steep, rugged on one side and with a sheltered microclimate on the other and brimming with wildlife – penguins, albatross, seals and sea lions. Further south are the Catlins Coast and Stewart Island, magical and totally unspoiled.
MILFORD SOUND IS ONE OF NEW ZEALAND’S MOST POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATIONS.
DRIVING NEW ZEALAND ROADS
So, you’ve got your campervan and you’re ready to go! But driving on New Zealand roads, not to mention driving a campervan on New Zealand roads, may be an entirely different experience than you’re used to. country. Be aware that many campervan rental companies will not allow you to drive on unsealed roads, however with an estimated 98% of the county having sealed roads, you can get to almost anywhere in a campervan. • New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. If you aren’t used to driving on the left side of the road, it might pay to rent an automatic campervan and be extra careful at turns. Remember you – the driver – should always be in the centre of the road. • With its low population densities away from the cities, New Zealand has only around 150km of freeway or motorway, but almost 9500km of sealed rural main roads. • New Zealand roads are generally good if they’re sealed/bitumen but can be quite narrow and winding out in the • You may have to stop for ﬂocks of sheep of herd of cattle being moved across the roads. • There are some unique road rules, for example if you’re turning left at a corner and an oncoming car is turning right at the same time, the oncoming car has right of way. It’s generally just a good idea to always give way to the right. • Most roads are two lanes with the occasional passing lane, with multi-lane highways in the larger cities.
NEW ZEALAND ROADS ARE GENERALLY GOOD IF THEY’RE SEALED BUT CAN BE NARROW AND WINDING OUT IN THE COUNTRY.
• All drivers, including visitors, must carry their license with them at all times, although you don’t need a special license to drive a campervan. • Wear your seatbelt: it’s an instant $150 ﬁne if you’re caught without it. The police do spot checks for seatbelts and drunk drivers regularly. • The open road speed limit is 100kmph (62mph); in towns and built-up areas, 50kmph (31mph). The police use speed cameras, both ﬁxed and mobile. • Maps, speedometers and road signs are all in kilometres.
have to give way to pedestrians before you can turn. • People under 20 must have a zero breath alcohol reading, and people over 20 must not exceed 400 micrograms per litre of breath. It’s hard to judge this for yourself, so the best advice is to not drink at all before driving your campervan. • If you hold a valid and current overseas driver license or international driving permit, you can drive for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. • Many roads in New Zealand have one
• At trafﬁc lights, a green arrow means you can go in the direction indicated – even if the main light is red. Look out for the green man crossing sign when turning at trafﬁc lights. Often your light could be green but you
lane bridges on them, where vehicles travelling in one direction must give way to vehicles going in the other direction. The smaller red arrow on the sign shows which direction has to give way.
MAKE SURE YOU STAY WITHIN THE SPEED LIMIT AT ALL TIMES AS POLICE USE BOTH HIDDEN & MOBILE SPEED CAMERAS.
TEN PRACTICAL THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. For emergency services – police, ambulance and ﬁre – dial 111. 2. You need a passport valid for three months after your departure date and fully paid tickets for your return, but you don’t need vaccination certiﬁcates or visas if you don’t intend to work. During your stay you’re covered by Accident Compensation including free medical care, although this doesn’t cover loss of earnings outside new Zealand. It’s still a good idea to get travel insurance. 3. Electricity is using a three-pronged plug and is 230 volts, so American 110 volt items should not be used (the exception being electric shavers which often have special outlets). Adaptors can be purchased easily. 4. Internet cafes are proliﬁc in New Zealand, almost every small town will have at least one. 5. ew Zealand operates a decimal currency system based on dollar and cent denominations as follows: Single Coins: 10¢; 20¢; 50¢; 1$; 2$. Single Notes: $5; $10; $20; $50; $100 8. Many payphones accept credit cards and all towns and cities and most places in between have cellular coverage. All major credit cards are accepted in most places. 9. The country code for New Zealand is +64. When calling from outside the country, ﬁrst dial the country code, followed by the city code (eg 03), but without the zero. For directory assistance within NZ, call 018. 10. Tourist Information FM radio provides visitors with a history and culture of each area, the availability of local services, accommodation and activities 24 hours a day. A blue road sign will tell you if you’re in a broadcast area with transmission on frequency 88.2FM (100.4FM for German language and 100.8FM for Japanese). 7. NZ time is 12 hours ahead of GMT, and in the summer (Oct-Mar) clocks are put one hour ahead. 6. Tipping isn’t expected for service anywhere – however if you feel it was exceptional, it is most deﬁnitely appreciated.
HANDLING YOUR CAMPERVAN
• Check with your individual campervan company, but generally your insurance will be deemed invalid if you drive on the following roads as they are unsuitable for campervans: 90 Mile Beach (the Far North); North of Colville Township (top of the Coromandel Peninsula); Ball Hut (Mt Cook region); Skippers Canyon (Queenstown region); or above the carpark at any ski ﬁeld. Snow chains may be required in certain areas, again, check with your rental company. • Campervans are taller than most passenger vehicles so know the clearance height required and consider things like service station canopies and low-hanging branches. • Some highways either restrict or recommend non-use for vehicles over a certain length, so research which roads you can travel and how to access them. • Be aware of driver fatigue. Stop regularly and if you feel sleepy, make sure you pull over. • If you are going to tow something behind you, consider whether your campervan can carry the extra weight up steep mountains or slippery surfaces. Make sure the hitch attachment is secure, and also consider the total length of the campervan and attachment combined. • Before each leg of your trip, make sure you thoroughly check the following on your campervan: electrical and plumbing systems; integrity of the LPG tank; ﬂuids, brakes and tyres; angle of mirrors; and the hitch and coupling system. • Always bear in mind that campervans are heavy and require longer braking distances than you’re probably used to.
KEEP IT CLEAN, GREEN AND SAFE
• • • Protect plants and animals – they’re unique and often rare Remove rubbish – carry out what you carry in Keep streams and lakes clean – when washing, take the water and wash things away from the source, and let soapy water soak through soil to be ﬁltered • Take care with ﬁre – douse with water and check ashes before leaving (preferably use a portable fuel stove) Keep to the tracks – there’s less risk of damaging fragile plants and ecosystems Respect the country’s heritage – many places in New Zealand have spiritual and/or historical signiﬁcance
MAPPING THE WAY
New Zealand is the perfect country for touring by campervan as it’s big enough to have a huge array of attractions, and small enough that you can actually get to see most of them. New Zealand is 1,600km long and 450km at its widest part. Covering an area of approximately 270,500 square kilometres (all islands combined), it’s about the size of Japan or the UK (although with far less people – 4.1 million) or the state of California. There is also a series of seven incredibly useful highway route planners available at visitor centres throughout the country. They include titles like The Twin Coast Discover Highway and The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and detail the best features along the way. The website www.nztourmaps.com has an excellent map of scenic routes in New Another good rule is to plan to travel around 2-300km comfortably per day. Zealand including scenic locations, and detailed maps of both islands. You’ll receive a set of maps when you hire your campervan. One of the best general maps is issued by the AA, who also sell other, more detailed maps. Wises also produce an excellent map which is available at most bookshops, stationers and petrol stations. Allow a few nights in one location to avoid having to travel every day.
IT’S SUGGESTED IF YOU WANT TO TOUR BOTH ISLANDS THAT YOU SPEND 40% OF YOUR TIME IN THE NORTH ISLAND AND 60% IN THE SOUTH.
HERDS OF SHEEP MAY SOMETIMES CAUSE TRAFFIC JAMS ON REMOTE RURAL ROADS.
CROSSING THE COOK STRAIT
If you plan on touring both the North and South Islands in your campervan, you’ll need to book a Cook Strait ferry crossing between Wellington and Picton.
• Most of the campervan hire companies will book this for you at a discounted rate when you hire your campervan. Be careful though – the price they charge to do this varies wildly. Most will be cheaper than booking it directly – some won’t. Do the math. Remember, though, that you won’t be able to book direct tickets from overseas.
companies that cross the strait – The Interislander and Bluebridge Ferry Services. • There are several sailings a day in both directions across Cook Strait but try to make the crossing in daylight - the run down Queen Charlotte Sound is quite beautiful. • Other options (if you leave your
• You can purchase ﬂexi-tickets if you haven’t decided on the date of your crossing, although these are subject to availability. It’s preferable to pick a date and be guaranteed. • When comparing the rates your rental company is offering against booking directly, remember there are two ferry
campervan behind for the day) are The Lynx, a fast catamaran that operates in the summer months (which takes an hour and three quarters), or ﬂying over with SoundsAir. You could even send the campervan over on the ferry, shuttle to the airport and ﬂy over to get more time on the other side.
THE 92KM VOYAGE TAKES 3 HOURS AND HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FERRY RIDES IN THE WORLD.
INVALUABLE CAMPERVANNING TIPS
• Take soft and collapsible luggage, not rigid suitcases, to ﬁt in the often small storage compartments in campervans. • Be aware of nocturnal animals such as possums when driving at night. Too often people lose control of their vehicles trying to dodge them. Just keep driving! • Visitors underestimate the power of • Baggage areas at the international airports are patrolled by sniffer dogs whose priority is actually ﬁnding fruit and vegetables, not just drugs! Forgetting an apple in your backpack can cost you $200 in an instant ﬁne. • Don’t try and tick off too may sights in too short a time, or you will spend your whole trip looking out the window of your campervan. • Get off the well-trodden tourist routes and interact with the locals to discover • If you do get badly burnt, take an anti-inﬂammatory such as ibuprofen, moisturise frequently, drink loads of water and avoid more sun. the sun in New Zealand because the temperatures aren’t extreme. In fact, a combination of very little air pollution and a thinning of the earth’s protective ozone layer over New Zealand means the burn times are vicious (as short as 12 minutes). Apply waterproof SPF30+ frequently, and cover up with sunhats, clothing and sunglasses. parts of New Zealand that are generally reserved for local knowledge. You’ll also ﬁnd many of your fellow campervanners are New Zealanders getting out of the cities. Successful campervanning relies on matey-ness, at which Kiwis excel.
SUCCESSFUL CAMPERVANNING RELIES ON MATEY-NESS, AT WHICH KIWIS EXCEL.
Photo from KEA Campers.
Also avoid applying aloe vera unless you are certain it’s pure – many highlycoloured versions actually have a high alcohol content which further dry out the skin. • Two Kiwi favourites that are highly accessible when travelling are mince pies (a ﬂaky, high-calorie meat pie), and battered ﬁsh and chips wrapped in paper. Approach both with caution – unless you brought elastic pants. • When parking at a holiday park, unspoken etiquette is to position your van so your sliding door does not face your neighbour’s door. That way you can avoid enforced chit chat and retain some privacy. • Levelling blocks can be handy if you don’t like sleeping on an angle, but planks (or VERY thick cardboard) are also worthwhile to place under your wheels as you park if it looks like it will get very muddy.
• Bring all the essentials, but don’t overpack. Do you really need more than one pair of the same type of shoe? You’ll be glad for any square inch of extra space to live in inside your campervan
IF YOU WANT TO TOUR BOTH ISLANDS, PLAN TO STAY AT LEAST THREE WEEKS. YOU’LL NEED TEN DAYS TO DO EACH ISLAND COMFORTABLY
• Remember not to leave any valuables in your vehicles or use the safes provided in some vehicles to avoid theft, which is unfortunately quite common in NZ. • If you are travelling in rural and remote country areas around New Zealand make sure that the gas and petrol or diesel tank is full as fuel stations are more widely spread.
MAKE SURE YOU PLAN FOR PLENTY OF TIME TO PROPERLY ENJOY EACH SIGHT.
Photo from KEA Campers.
NZ DISTANCE CALCULATOR
North Island Travelling Distances
Auckland Cape Reinga Gisborne Hamilton Kaitia Masterton Napier New Plymouth Paihia Palmerston North Rotorua Taupo Thames Wanganui Wellington
461 436 591 213 231 378 82 159 313 460 341 259 472 74 143 779 476 520 346 695 898 609 237 319 289 350 163 356 415 667 178 229 147 360 252 332 233 346 888 109 450 368 581 181 99 962 751 693 116 863 560 594 441 779 982 451 521 300 242 367 412 109 153 108 328 531 400 834 448 215 609 750 393 291 334 415 467 547 950 567 116 1088 867 809 232 979 676 720 450 895 1098 441 509 126 325 647 426 368 241 538 235 279 114 454 657
Be aware that although you may have calculated the distance to get somewhere, you should allow for the fact that many New Zealand roads are very winding and it might take you considerably longer than you estimated simply from the length in kilometres.
South Island Travelling Distances
Athurs Pass Christchurch Dunedin Franz Josef Haast Hanner Springs Hokitika Invercargill Kaikoura Milford Sound Mt Cook Nelson Picton Qeenstown Westport
688 826 288 110 914 226 759 671 266 664 558 1155 1104 307 966 947 514 245 157 669 329 947 280 445 1107 919 187 861 720 373 825 478 330 392 547 145 256 714 137 899 466 306 285 620 218 549 294 435 658 554 356 615 677 262 426 146 395 140 581 510 686 500 470 531 408 280 567 424 495 570 217 545 402 331 790 702 283 695 360 408 579 135 252 578 183 764 418 428 340 487 333 150 451 248 399 253 102 668 311 914 412 390 468 560 200
These travel distances are shown in kilometers, with 1km equalling .621miles. For example, the distance to travel by road from Auckland to Paihia is 241 km or 150 miles, from Kaitia to Paihia is 116 km or 72 miles.
CAMPING INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW
• When you arrive in each new town, it’s best to head straight to the Visitor Information Centre, or “i” (information) site, generally located in the centre of town. The staff will give you advice and brochures on anything that’s of interest. • Campgrounds or holiday parks in New Zealand are generally of a high standard and usually cost around $7-$15 per person, per night. Booking isn’t usually necessary except in peak season (around Christmas and New Year). You can choose to stay every night at a campground, or certain nights to use the extra facilities. Most campgrounds will let you use the facilities without staying the night for a small charge. • Some councils are now making certain regions “no free camping” zones though, so just be aware of this. It’s usually best to pull off the road and park behind some trees. Also make sure you’re not on private property! • Luckily, New Zealand has pretty liberal laws when it comes to free camping. As a general rule you are okay to park up in most places such as off the road or by a beach or riverside unless there’s a sign prohibiting overnight camping. All that’s asked in return is respect for the environment and the locals. Be sensible and don’t park anywhere that restricts others, or anywhere that might interfere with nature.
BE SENSIBLE AND DON’T PARK ANYWHERE THAT RESTRICTS OTHERS, OR ANYWHERE THAT MIGHT INTERFERE WITH NATURE.
Photo from KEA Campers.
It’s generally legal to do this, but if you aren’t sure, or haven’t seen the sign, you could have yourself rudely awakened! Discretion usually helps. • The backbone of New Zealand’s amazing opportunities for holidays like this is the huge number of campsites available. The range from having self-catering facilities such as hookups, pools, barbecue areas and
cabin accommodation, to being simple grassed areas with toilet facilities (and yes, this may just be a “long drop”, or pit toilet). • There are too many campgrounds in New Zealand to list them all here – the DOC runs 235 alone. Check out http://www.jasons.com/NewZealand/camping-and-holiday-parks for a comprehensive list.
What to do with rubbish and waste
Most holiday parks will have a rubbish collection facility. The website: http://www.tourism.govt.nz/Our-Work/Our-Work-Summary-page/Dump-Station-Guide/ has a list of over 600 dump stations throughout the country for campervan users’ toilet and waste water. You’re doing the environment a favour when you use these.
EACH CITY’S “I-SITE” WILL POINT YOU TOWARDS THE BEST ATTRACTIONS.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE WEATHER
New Zealand is described as having a “temperate maritime climate”, but that makes it sound less complex than it really is! Ranging from warm subtropical in the far north to cool temperate climates in the far south, with severe alpine conditions in the mountainous areas, it’s often a little unpredictable and can change rapidly within a short time. • Most places in New Zealand get over • New Zealand doesn’t experience a large temperature range, but cold fronts or tropical cyclones can quickly blow in, so be prepared with your clothing when you’re away from your campervan • The North Island has a warmer, milder climate. The Auckland average summer temperature is 21C/70F and winter is 11C/52F, and the west of the island receives slightly more rain than the east • Sometimes during winter, in the South Island and the centre of the North Island roads may be closed due to snow and ice. The New Zealand AA can provide you with up to date conditions in these areas 2000 hours of sunshine per year, and during summer months daylight can last until 9pm. In winter it generally starts to get dark around 5.30pm • The South Island is cooler. Dunedin’s average summer temperature is 15C/59F and winter 6C/42F. The contrast in rainfall is much greater due to the Southern Alps, with the west coast being the wettest place in New Zealand and the east coast the driest
MOST PLACES IN NEW ZEALAND GET OVER 2000 HOURS OF SUNSHINE PER YEAR.
SPRING Spring lasts from September to November, and can quite unpredictably be almost any combination of warm, dry, humid, raining, cold, frosty or hot! It’s an exciting time in New Zealand, with thousands of newborn lambs, lots of beautiful blossoms (check out the blossom festivals in both Alexandra in Central Otago or Hastings in Hawke’s Bay), and melting snow making river water levels exhilaratingly high if you want to go white water rafting. SUMMER Summer spans December to February (although sometimes carries on a bit later if you’re lucky!). Expect high temperatures, lots of sunshine, long days and mild nights. This is the time to visit New Zealand’s many amazing beaches and lakes (most of which are safe for swimming) and get into some of the watersports on offer.
AUTUMN Lasting from March until May, it’s starting to cool down but it is still possible to squeeze in a few last swims at the beach. New Zealand’s native ﬂora is evergreen but there are also many deciduous trees around so it’s still a colourful season. WINTER June until August sees much colder temperatures all over the country and more rainfall in the North Island. If you’re going to New Zealand in winter, thermal and waterproof clothing are musts. The mountain ranges become snow-covered, providing great skiing and snowboarding. Although the South Island is colder than the north, the east coast in fact experiences very little rain so this is a great time to visit glaciers and mountains.
THE CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD AT LAKE TEKAPO IN THE SOUTH ISLAND HAS SPECTACULAR VIEWS.
GEOGRAPHY, SCENERY & WILDLIFE
• North of Auckland are sub-tropical beaches and huge kauri and giant fern forests, and to the south is the central thermal plateau. You can see some of the largest planted forests in the world, steaming volcanoes, ski-ﬁelds, and New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, all within a few hours as you move down the island. • In the South Island, the Southern Alps divide its entire length, creating some of the most beautiful, rugged tracks on earth. There are around 360 glaciers in the Southern Alps, the largest of which is the Tasman Glacier, 29 kilometres long. • Fiordland, named a World Heritage site by the UN, is the home of Milford and Doubtful Sounds, and Mitre Peak, which Sir Ernest Rutherford described • These include ﬂightless birds such as the kiwi and the yellow-eyed penguin, and a primitive lizard called a tuatara. Introduced predators have killed off many of the original inhabitants, and possums are so proliﬁc and damaging to New Zealand’s native bush even the WWF approves their commercial harvesting. • New Zealand was once part of Australia (although never mention that to a Kiwi!) but drifted away on a different tectonic plate long enough ago to have its own distinctive ﬂora and fauna. as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The coastal plains of Canterbury and Southland round off the South Island’s unique geography.
LAKE WAKATIPU IN QUEENSTOWN IS HOME TO FASCINATING WILDLIFE.
• New Zealand wildlife is notable for its lack of poisonous creatures (aside from the very rare katipo spider) and you don’t have to watch out for snakes - there are none in the country whatsoever.
• The native forests are warmtemperate, evergreen rainforest of podocarps (rimu, totara, matai and kahikatea) with associated evergreen tree species and giant tree ferns.
FIVE TIPS FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
1. Simplify Less is more. Emphasise the main point - although not at the expense of perspective. Eliminate the unimportant, but keep things in context. 2. Sharpen Know your limitations when it comes to handheld images. Obtain a good tripod and learn to use it – you’ll be amazed at the difference. 3. Use good equipment Disposable cameras are out of the 5. Safety No shot is worth injury! Don’t hurry, and lose better judgement. Watch out around rocks, cliffs, trails and streams. 4. Rule of Thirds Rather than placing subjects in the middle, position them a third of the way from either side, implying motion. Place horizons a third of the way up or down. question! They have ﬁsheye lenses that cram everything in. The better the camera, the better the picture.
THE INDIGENOUS CULTURE - MAORI
New Zealand is home to the Tangata Whenua (people of the land), the Maori. History says New Zealand was ﬁrst sighted by Polynesian navigator Kupe, in around 950AD. Around 1350AD, seven huge migratory canoes (waka) brought the ﬁrst Maori to New Zealand from Hawaiiki. Geographically isolated, they developed their own unique culture as they settled throughout the land. Maori legend has travelled down history through song and dance, telling stories of creation and the gods such as Tane Mahuta, god of the forest. Maori is a hugely spiritual culture, which considers status and prestige to be passed down from their ancestor’s spirits. Ancient Maori artforms are now considered precious taonga (treasure) of modern Maori, therefore artforms such as bone carvings and greenstone necklaces are considered The marae, or meeting house is still the centre of Maori communities today. The whakapapa (family tree) of each iwi (tribe) is retold through intricate carvings. Visitors are welcomed to maraes with strict formal protocol such as a powhiri (welcome) and hongi (pressing of noses). tapu (sacred) as they are believed to carry the original owner’s spirit.
NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST KNOWN KAURI TREE IS ALSO NAMED TANE MAHUTA. IT’S BETWEEN 1250 AND 2500 YEARS OLD AND NEARLY 170 FEET TALL. VISIT IT IN THE WAIPOUA FOREST IN NORTHLAND.
MAORI IS A HUGELY SPIRITUAL CULTURE, WHICH CONSIDERS STATUS AND PRESTIGE TO BE PASSED DOWN FROM THEIR ANCESTOR’S SPIRITS.
You’ll be able to experience Maori culture all over New Zealand, but in particular at:
• • Rotorua (Tamaki Maori Village, Mitai Maori Village and Te Puia) Waitangi, Northland (The location of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori Chiefs and the British Crown in 1840) • • • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington Auckland War Memorial Museum National Marae, Christchurch
If you’re visiting a marae, there are some important cultural rules to observe (although they vary with each iwi):
• • • • • Don’t drink, smoke, chew gum or eat inside the whare hui (meeting house) Take off your shoes before going inside Don’t hang clothes on pictures or carvings Don’t sit on pillows or tables Don’t walk in front of a speaker
MAORI TATTOOS ARE AMONG THE MOST DISTINCTIVE IN THE WORLD.
AN OENOPHILE’S PARADISE
Chances are, you’ve it heard mentioned that New Zealand produces some of the best wine in the world. Whether you salivate over sauvignon blanc or go gaga for gewürztraminer, you’re sure to ﬁnd the perfect drop in one of the many winegrowing regions that span the country. Auckland/Waiheke Island Thirty minutes west of the city there are several wineries along Henderson Valley and Lincoln roads. Try Soljan’s Estate’s winery and cafe, Kumeu River, Matua Valley and Nobilo. Waiheke Island is east of Auckland by ferry and is notable for Stonyridge Estate, Goldwater Estate and Te Whau. Fuller’s and Ananda Tours both offer wine tours. Gisborne A small region to the north of Hawke’s Bay, this has the world’s most easterly Wellington/Wairarapa One of NZ’s smallest yet most highlyacclaimed wine-growing regions, it includes Gladstone, Masterton and Opaki, as well as Martinborough in the south. Check out www.onyerbikehb.co.nz/wineby-bike-routes.asp for something a bit different! Hawke’s Bay The second-largest wine producing region. Sample Napier’s gorgeous grapes amongst its pretty Art Deco architecture. Bordeaux blend reds are prominent here, as are syrah and chardonnay. In Hawke’s Bay you’ll ﬁnd famous wineries such as Craggy Range, Villa Maria, Babich and Esk Valley. vineyards. Go for the chardonnay and gewürztraminer.
VINEYARDS, LIKE THIS ONE IN MATAKANA, ARE DOTTED ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.
Martinborough’s mix of topography, climate and soil lend it perfectly to the production of fantastic pinot noir and other red varietals. See www. martinboroughwinetours.co.nz for a unique, customised tour.
The wines round here are generally white, including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling and pinot gris. Wineries include French Farm and Giessen Estate.
Queenstown and Central Otago Surrounded by mountains interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges these are the most spectacular vineyard settings in New Zealand. Try Amisﬁeld Winery overlooking Lake Hayes, Mt Difﬁculty Wines Cafe and Olssen’s Garden Vineyard. Contact www.queenstownwinetrail.co.nz or www.appellationcentral.co.nz.
Marlborough This is the biggest wine producing region in New Zealand. Come here for arguably the world’s best sauvignon blanc – the perfect partner to scallops and greenlipped mussels! Check out www. marlboroughwinetours.co.nz.
Waipara Valley Recommended are the Omihi Hills, Pegasus Bay and Muddy Water pinot noirs. You may also want to drop in on international wine consultant Daniel Schuster at his pretty vineyard, Daniel Schuster Wines. South of Waipara This area includes Amberley, West Melton, and Banks Peninsula.
INTERESTING FACT ST HELENA WINERY NORTH OF CHRISTCHURCH IS ONE OF THE FEW NEW ZEALAND PRODUCERS TO MAKE A PINOT BLANC.
TRY THE FAMOUS PINOT NOIR OF WAIPARA, NORTH CANTERBURY.
FAMOUS NEW ZEALAND PUBS
Mussel Inn New Zealand’s remotest boutique microbrewery (producing all their beer, ales, ciders and house wines on site) is two hours away from Nelson in the heart of Golden Bay. Very subtly signposted and rather like a Kiwi woolshed in appearance, it is an icon of the region where you can enjoy live music and simple fare. Environmentally-oriented, the owners famously used to use the bribe of a free beer for every possum killed in a bid to eradicate the critters! Pub Cardrona Cardrona is also the name of a gold rush township between Queenstown and Wanaka, a ski ﬁeld and a Wanaka local beer. The often-photographed local pub was made famous by an advertising Puhoi Pub One of the ﬁrst structures to be built by Bohemian settlers in the 1860s, the relics of their kauri-felling lifestyle still live on inside the authentic colonial tavern, which is just as much museum as pub. Nestled in the charming historic village north of Auckland, the pub is saved from being fusty by fantastic food and the friendly bikers who congregate there, displaying their motorbikes in a shining array outside. campaign by the Speights Brewery in Dunedin, which then capitalised on its popularity by building replicas of the distinctive building throughout the country, including Auckland. Relax at the original in front of the open ﬁre after a day’s skiing.
PUB CARDRONA IS PART OF A FAMOUS NEW ZEALAND ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN.
• In keeping with the laid-back ethos, Kiwi dining is generally enjoyed in a relaxed and informal style. Barbecues are a huge part of New Zealand culture. • The cuisine is described as Paciﬁc Rim, a fusion of European, Asian and Polynesian inﬂuences. Dishes with a distinctive New Zealand ﬂavour might include lamb, pork, venison, crayﬁsh, shellﬁsh (such as scallops, oysters, pipis, tuatuas, mussels, and paua), salmon, snapper, kumara (sweet potato), kiwifruit, or tamarillos . • A traditional Maori feast (hangi) is cooked in an underground pit lined with hot stones, where meat and vegetables are covered up with earth and left to cook for several hours. Kiwis sometimes use the Maori word for food – kai. • Other Kiwi treats include Gingernut biscuits, Pavlova (the national dessert), Pineapple Lumps, hokey pokey ice cream, and Marmite. • New Zealand has many highlyacclaimed restaurants, serving not only New Zealand cuisine but Italian, Indian, Turkish, Thai, French, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and more. Happily, many restaurants in New Zealand are BYO wine – it pays to check ﬁrst as this can save you a lot of money when you go out for dinner. • At the annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, brave people can sample some slightly more “out-there” New Zealand foods such as mountain merino, venison tongue, sheep eyes, cicada and pistachio ice cream, or bug larvae.
NZ HAS MANY EXCELLENT RESTAURANTS SERVING ALL TYPES OF CUISINE.
THE TEN BEST BEACHES IN NEW ZEALAND
Cooper’s Beach One of the safest beaches in Northland, it is a small township between two Maori fortiﬁed settlements and one of the beautiful beaches of Doubtless Bay. Partially shaded by native red-emblazoned pohutukawa trees, it’s perfect for running, walking, swimming, or just lying. Cape Kidnappers Situated in Hawke’s Bay, southwest of Napier, here you’ll ﬁnd spectacular geological cliff formations and a gannet colony – soaring seabirds that nest on the cliffs. You can get there by overland bus, beach tractor or on foot (mind the tides). Kawhia An old whaling port situated on the North Island’s west coast, much of Kawhia’s appeal is its quietness and isolation. When the tide’s low, you can sit in your own Onetangi Bay, Waiheke Island Accessible by ferry from Auckland, this bay’s wide stretch of golden sand lets you see for miles. Gaze at the steep pinnacles of Great Barrier Island and Little Barrier in the distance, and indulge in deliciously warm swims. Whale Bay, Raglan Famous for its left hand break and consistently good waves, surfers come from around the world to this beach in the Waikato region with its black volcanic sand to compete in the international competition held there every summer. Even if you don’t surf, you can still enjoy the laid-back bohemian lifestyle it creates. hot pool dug in the black sand of Ocean Beach, where Te Puia Springs bubble up through the sand.
Matauri Bay 30kms north of Keri Keri in Northland’s Bay of Islands, Matauri Bay offers sheltered white sand beaches, fantastic walking tracks, amazing views and crystal clear waters. The Rainbow Warrior, a famously ill-fated Greenpeace vessel, was given its ﬁnal resting place near Matauri Bay (at the Cavalli Islands) where it has now become a living reef, attracting marine life and recreational divers. Haast Beach Fittingly wide open and windswept for the South Island’s west coast. Strewn with thousands of huge pieces of driftwood, this desolate and remote black sand beach is known as one of New Zealand’s most hauntingly beautiful. Ohope Beach Located in the Bay of Plenty, here you can take in breathtaking views of the active volcano White Island as you stroll around 11kms of unbroken pristine sand which slopes gently into a wide expanse of safe warm waves. A great family beach.
Wharariki Beach An hour’s drive from Takaka in Golden Bay (at the tip of the South Island), and a thirty minute walk over farmland from the road, this is one of the most dramatic beach views you’ll see. Rolling dunes, caves, rock formations, cliffs, islands and the odd seal make this surreal landscape almost Dali-esque. Piha A major day-trip destination for Aucklanders, 45 minutes away on the west coast, Piha is famous for its rugged natural beauty, excellent surf, black sand, treacherous waters and iconic Lion Rock. It’s also worth doing the forest walk to the pretty, three-tiered Kitekite Falls, where you can also take a freshwater swim.
PIHA BEACH ON AUCKLAND’S WEST COAST IS FAMOUS FOR ITS RUGGED BEAUTY.
50 PLACES YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST VISIT!
1. Boat Trip Down Milford Sound Amazing, even in the rain when the waterfalls pour off the hills that edge the Sound. The scale of the landscape is phenomenal. 2. Scenic Flight Over Mt Cook Well worth the NZ$270 or so it costs. Even the people who slog through the snow to get there don’t get such a view. 3. Fiordland Even better on a wet day (not hard, as it’s the rainiest place in New Zealand) – a living set of Lord of the Rings. Some would say it’s the ultimate must-see. 7. Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki 4. The East Cape Road Journey back in time as you travel this remote highway and see wild horses, stunning coastline, Maori culture and empty beaches. It’s also the ﬁrst place in the world to see the sun. These thirty-million-year-old limestone formations on the South Island’s west coast are huge and look like sky-high stacks of grey pancakes. 6. Kaikoura The Dolphin Encounter lets you swim with or watch the delightfully exuberant dusky dolphin. Don’t be surprised to see whales off this beautiful coastline either. 5. Skippers Canyon Relive the pioneer days as you travel to an old gold-mining area via a treacherous road, and bring yourself back to reality with a bungy jump! Rental vehicles aren’t allowed on this track, so leave the camper behind and do a 4WD safari.
MAKE SURE YOU SEE THE PANCAKE ROCKS AT PUNAKAIKI ON THE SOUTH ISLAND’S WEST COAST.
8. Queen Charlotte Sound Take the scenic loop from Picton to the little ﬁshing village of Havelock to admire the bush-clad sounds and indulge in green-lipped mussels. 9. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers One of the few places on earth you’ll see glaciers this close to the ocean, creeping down from the Southern Alps to the untouched rainforest. 10. Hamilton Gardens Stretched along the banks of the Waikato River, this relatively new 143-acre reserve contains an English herb garden, an Italian Renaissance garden, a Japanese contemplation garden and scented gardens to name a few. 11. Blue and Green Lakes, Rotorua From the stately redwood forest on the edge of town, past the Blue and Green Lakes to the Buried Village and Lake Tarawera, there are plenty of jawdropping sights to see.
12. Auckland’s Waterfront Drive from downtown along the curving seaside Tamaki Drive to Mission Bay for a fabulous view of the North Shore, Rangitoto and Brown’s Island plus a peek at Auckland’s cafe culture. 13. Hicks Bay Stop at the high point above Hicks Bay before you descend into Te Araroa to see New Zealand’s largest pohutukawa tree and the East Cape Lighthouse. 14. Wellington’s Kelburn Cable Car Above the busy shopping street, you’ll catch a view of glass-faced high rises silhouetted against the harbour. Step off the cute red cable car and into the Botanical Gardens which have great sea views. 15. Sky Tower, Auckland The best city view not only in New Zealand, but in the whole Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy 360 degree views of Auckland and walk over glass ﬂoors to test your courage.
A GUIDED WALK ON FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER IS AN EXPERIENCE YOU WON’T FORGET.
16. Hundertwasser Toilets, Kawakawa Hold on until Kawakawa to have your most memorable public toilet experience ever! Designed by ecologist, architect and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, they feature quirky copper handwork, sculptures, mosaics and tufts of grass on the roof. 17. Cape Reinga The windswept northernmost tip of New Zealand, where the Tasman Sea and the Paciﬁc Ocean meet. It’s marked by a lighthouse and a pohutukawa tree that holds great Maori spiritual signiﬁcance.
19. Mt Taranaki This picture-perfect mountain is arguably the most impressive-looking in NZ and only a thirty minute drive from most towns in the region. Enjoy stunning views of waterfalls and forest, go for a day-long hike, or take your skis or snowboard. 20. Mt Maunganui A favourite holiday spot for Kiwis thanks to its golden bay and busy beach culture in summer. Trek 45 minutes to the summit of “The Mount” for a great view of the Bay of Plenty. 21. Dunedin
18. The Blue Spring at Putaruru Wander the Te Waihou walkway at remote Putaruru (between Tokoroa and Tirau on SH1), along the Waihou Stream. It’s fed by an underground spring that produces the most amazing turquoise, crystal-clear water that’s then bottled in the town and sold nationally and internationally.
A unique combination of cultural riches, ﬁne architecture, and worldfamous wildlife reserves. A university city with strong Scottish heritage, it’s also New Zealand’s oldest city.
CAPE REINGA LIGHT HOUSE AT NORTH CAPE IS AT THE NORTHERNMOST TIP OF NEW ZEALAND.
22. Auckland War Memorial Museum After a signiﬁcant revamp, this beautiful structure houses some excellent interactive attractions, as well as the largest Maori and Polynesian section in the world. 23. Eastwoodhill Arboretum Situated near Gisborne and said to be one of the most magical places in the country, this is one man’s life’s work and contains over 3,500 species. The colours are particularly amazing in autumn. 24. Nugget Point You may not have seen another human for hours by the time you get there. From the wild, windswept Catlins promontory you’ll see seals, penguins and seabirds galore. 25. Rangitoto Island Created by a volcanic eruption around 600 years ago, this stunningly symmetrical, circular island is accessible by ferry from Auckland
and offers a walk through forested wilderness to the cone’s tip to view the city from a new angle. 26. Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua The NZ Tourism Awards Supreme Winner in 1998, this recreation of an ancient Maori village shows Maori life pre-European settlers. Learn about the culture and eat from a traditional hangi (dug-out ground oven). 27. Puzzling World, Wanaka After experiencing the huge maze, the Illusion Rooms, the Forced Perspective Room and the Tilted House, you may never view the world the same again! A family attraction with a difference. 28. Craters of the Moon, Taupo Named for its other-worldly atmosphere, this 30-minute walk through a geothermal park gives you amazing views of bubbling craters, mud pools and steam vents from wellformed pathways and elevated viewing platforms.
RANGITOTO ISLAND IN AUCKLAND’S HAURAKI GULF OFFERS A NEW VIEW OF THE CITY.
29. Horse riding at Pakiri Beach A fabulous nature experience. Ride through native bush, over rolling farmland and down dramatic Pakiri Beach with views out to the islands.
You’ll see steaming tunnels and sheer cliff faces, a crystal blue crater lake covered in white mist, and the eerie ruins of an old factory. 33. Auckland’s West Coast
30. Arrowtown After checking out the arts and crafts and local wineries in this quaint town, take a walk to see fantastic views, historic places, or relics from the gold rush of the 1860s. 31. Marlborough Sounds A stretch of deep coves and remote bays surrounded by native forest, this is a lush wilderness full of rare birds, dolphins, penguins and seals, as well as an array of pursuits such as ﬁshing, diving, kayaking and hiking. 32. White Island New Zealand’s only active marine volcano is accessible by boat off the coast of Whakatane.
Just a short drive from the city lies a native rainforest and rugged wild coastline ﬂanked by the Waitakere Ranges, formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. These also created the distinctive black sand at these famed beaches such as Piha, Muriwai, Karekare and Bethell’s. 34. Abel Tasman National Park Located at the top of the South Island, this park features golden sandy beaches, rocky granite outcrops and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track. If you don’t make it to the track, hiring kayaks at Motueka will make for a very memorable experience.
THE GOLDEN SANDS OF ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK ARE WORLD-FAMOUS.
35. The Putangirua Pinnacles This trek can be done in a day, but it is recommended to stay overnight in the hut. Climb to the peak and see 360 degree views of the Coromandel Peninsula, the Hauraki Gulf, the Bay of Plenty and the Hauraki Plains. 36. Stewart Island New Zealand’s third-largest Island is accessible from Bluff over Foveaux Strait. It’s a tramper’s paradise, a stunning ecological sanctuary and extremely peaceful. You’ve got a good chance of spotting a kiwi in the bush here. 37. Queenstown Mountains and lakes provide the backdrop to New Zealand’s adventure capital. Go white water rafting, bungy jumping, skydiving, jet boating or “zorbing”, where you’re rolled down a grassy hill in an inﬂatable clear plastic ball.
38. Napier A huge earthquake in 1931 and the subsequent rebuilding made it one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world.
SIP DELICIOUS HAWKE’S BAY WINES AMONGST THE ARCHITECTURE AND CHECK OUT THE HUGE ART DECO WEEKEND IF YOU’RE THERE IN FEBRUARY.
39. Te Papa One of the largest national museums in the world, this giant new structure on Wellington’s waterfront is said to be ﬁve years ahead of its time. A magical interpretation of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, you could spend all day here.
ENJOY QUEENSTOWN AT DUSK WITH THE REMARKABLE RANGES IN THE BACKGROUND.
40. Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens Christchurch is known as “The Garden City”, so this place has a lot to live up to – and does.
43. Tongariro National Park New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area, a status which recognises the park’s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations. 44. Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola The steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere, this cableway will take you to Bob’s Peak for some clean crisp mountain air and unsurpassed views of The Remarkables and Lake Whatipu. 45. Lake Taupo New Zealand’s (and the Southern Hemisphere’s) largest lake, it offers swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing, boating and more, next to a laid-back little town. You can also snow ski, mountain bike, hike and trout ﬁsh in the area.
WEEPING CHERRIES, DAFFODILS, BLUEBELLS AND HUGE OAKS CAPTURE CHRISTCHURCH’S DISTINCTLY ENGLISH FLAVOUR.
41. The Milford Road Called one of the best drives in the world, it offers primeval rainforest, mirror-like lakes, waterfalls, colourful moss and lichens and snowy sheer mountain faces, as well as the slightly daunting historic Homer Tunnel. 42. Waiheke Island 35 minutes’ ferry away from Auckland, Waiheke boasts a sub-tropical climate, 100kms of biscuit-coloured beaches, award-winning wineries, galleries and museums and a strong sense of island community.
TREES BLOSSOM IN CHRISTCHURCH’S FAMOUS BOTANIC GARDENS.
46. Auckland Sometimes seen as just a landing port, Auckland is worth staying in for a few days to experience fantastic specialty shopping, exciting nightlife and attractions such as the Harbour Bridge Climb and Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. 47. Te Puke The self-proclaimed “world kiwifruit capital”, this is evident by a giant kiwifruit sculpture.
49. Waitomo Caves Take a subterranean journey and discover an underground labyrinth of limestone caves and formations.
TAKE A CAVE ECO-TOUR, SEE THOUSANDS OF GLOW WORMS, OR GO BLACK WATER RAFTING – NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!
50. Cathedral Cove
48. Paihia The gateway to the balmy Bay of Islands and close to the scene of some of New Zealand’s most poignant history. A great base to jump on a boat and explore the 144 islands and see some amazing marine life.
Accessible from the northern end of Hahei beach or a track from the carpark, the beautiful sandy beach of Cathedral Cove is separated from Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay by a stunning natural rock arch.
CATHEDRAL COVE IN THE COROMANDEL PENINSULA IS PERFECT FOR TAKING AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHS.
THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR...
NEW ZEALAND HAS MANY GREAT HIKING (“TRAMPING”) TRACKS, THE DIVERSITY OF WHICH WILL AMAZE YOU.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) maintains them all as well as managing bookings. Here is a sample of the best, with varying lengths so you can match them to your skills and abilities, and have the choice of getting back to your campervan for the night or having a mini-adventure over a few days. Tongariro Northern Circuit This is said to be the best day walk in New Zealand, which winds its way over Mt Tongariro and around Mt Ngauruhoe. It’s a combination of many unique and diverse landscapes like volcanic craters and glacial valleys, culminating in the huge sulphurous mountain. It has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery you’ll ever witness. It’s 32km long and takes around 2-3 days. Huia Loop Walk, Waitakere Ranges This is a beautiful scenic track through young Kauri forest with a view of the Manukau harbour and a great waterfall for swimming in. The average walker takes 7-8 hours to complete this trek, although make sure you spend some extra time wandering around the “Mt Doom” area. The Routeburn Track An internationally renowned and popular alpine track between Fiordland and Lake Wakatipu through Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, it’s one of the DOC’s Great Walks.
EMERALD LAKES, IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK, ARE PART OF NEW ZEALAND’S BEST DAY WALK.
It’s a nice easy one for beginners or those not looking for too much exertion, and takes about 3-4 hours (if you don’t stop for a dip). Milford Track
doing kayak tours, day walking and coming in to the beaches by water taxi. Waitakere Dam, tunnels and Anawhata Stream Loop This easy 4.5 hour-long walk takes you
New Zealand’s most-renowned track is a breathtaking alpine journey through Fiordland National Park. It’s so popular there are some restrictions – only 40 people may start it per day, and it must be completed in the 3-night time frame.
through kauri forest, pretty streams, up ridges for amazing views and past spots of interest to engineering types (water supply) and history buffs (kauri felling). Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk A 3-4 day track that follows the shore of the lake for most of its length and combines moderate tramping and amazing opportunities for ﬁshing and swimming. There is a range of terrain and bird life is abundant. For a full list of DOC’s Great Walks, visit their website at www.doc.govt.nz.
YOU’LL SEE GLACIERENCRUSTED MOUNTAINS, THE TALLEST WATERFALL IN NEW ZEALAND AND THE SECOND-LARGEST LAKE.
Abel Tasman Coast Track Another of DOC’s Great Walks, this is an easy 3-5 day tramp that offers stunning coastal views, golden sands and excellent swimming. It’s a popular walk and far from remote as you’ll see other people
Booking is essential. They also have all the information of what you’ll need to bring, planning, preparation and safety.
MACKINNON PASS ON THE MILFORD TRACK IS ONE OF NEW ZEALAND’S MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOTS.
There’s a lot of information to be had about New Zealand’s main attractions - but there are also a few places kept a little more hush-hush to preserve their specialness from the madding crowds. But you’re about to be let in on a few of the best ones... Awana Bay, Great Barrier Island You’ll marvel at why barely 1,500 people make their home on this 110-squaremile island. There’s a cosy beach town that seems a world away from the manic hustle and bustle of Auckland, and lots of walking tracks to explore and enjoy the amazing scenery and wildlife. Get there by boat or seaplane. Matai Bay, Northland Lake Alexandrina You would never see this from the road, or know it was there unless you had spied it from the summit of Mt John on the McKenzie Plains. The lake is a cool dark blue oasis on a dry brown landscape, While thousands of tourists visit the nearby Cape Reinga, Matai Bay on the Karikari peninsula is a stunning expanse of pure white sand and turquoise water akin to a tropical island. Kerosene Creek, Rotorua Not a luxury bathing experience by any means, but one full of charm. Beside a steaming creek of geothermally-heated water is a natural spa bath with millions of bubbles jetting up to the surface, and further down the path is a small heated waterfall. About 30km down the highway towards Taupo from Rotorua, turn into Old Waiotapu Rd and the springs are about 2km down. only accessible by gravel road and only surrounded by very few baches and ﬁshing huts. Row boats are the only types of vessels permitted on the lake.
MATAI BAY IS ON THE KARIKARI PENINSULA IN THE FAR NORTH.
Kaikoura Seafood Barbecue Hidden near the end of Fyffe Quay in Kaikoura is a little-known mecca for seafood-lovers, serving the freshest ocean bounty for jaw-droppingly reasonable prices. It’s open seven days a week from 10am till dark. Waitomo Glow Worm Walk Don’t feel like paying for a cave tour to see glow worms? Known ofﬁcially as the Ruakuri Natural Tunnel Walk, it snakes along Waitomo Stream and starts 4km from the village at a carpark off the Tumutumu Rd. The 40-minute walk is lovely in the day, but at night tens of thousands of glow worms light up the fern-lined walls. Dorothy Brown’s, Arrowtown A well-kept secret of this historic mining town, visit this chic boutique cinema tucked away off the main street.
You can sit on a red fur-lined bean bag next to a roaring ﬁre and read a book with a glass of wine underneath the crystal chandeliers while waiting for the movie. New Chum’s Beach, Coromandel You have to clamber over the rocks from Wainuiototo Bay and ascend a dirt track through rainforest to access this secluded strip of sand that looks like a shipwreck setting out of a Defoe novel, only ablaze with pohutukawa. One of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. Moeraki Boulders Hundreds of huge spherical stones, some up to four metres wide, are strewn along the beach for a truly magical sight. Their formation was much like that of an oyster pearl, only on a much larger scale!
WATCHING THE FIRST LIGHT HIT THE MOERAKI BOULDERS IN OTAGO IS A MAGICAL SIGHT.
EXPERIENCING MIDDLE EARTH
For many visitors, no trip to New Zealand is complete without a tour of the ﬁlm sets that made it so famous. When Peter Jackson decided to ﬁlm the Lord of the Rings trilogy there, the country even appointed the venture its own minister to oversee the project! There are several guided tours of “Middle Earth” – but just remember that some scenes were amalgamations of various landscapes into one, and digital manipulation renders many unrecognisable. But of course it’s still an excellent way to see the country’s magniﬁcent scenery with an interesting twist. If you want to do your own tour, below is a list of some of the locations used. Nelson Jens Hansen Jewellers made “The One Ring to Rule Them All”. Takaka Hill A beech forest here became Chetwood Forest. Mt Owen Near Nelson, this was the location for Dimrill Dale. Mt Sunday The foothills of the Alps became Edoras, capital of Rohan. Twizel Barren ﬁelds to the west of the town were used for the Battle of Pelennor ﬁelds, although Queenstown’s The Remarkables were put in as the backdrop. Wanaka The Black Rider’s chase sequence occurred near here.
Otaki Gorge Location for much of the Shire countryside around Hobbiton. Tongariro National Park Mt Doom and Mordor were mainly shot here. Putangirua Pinnacles Aragorn journeyed through on the Dimholt Road. Wellington Helm’s Dep was in the nowinaccessible Dry Creek Quarry; parts of the hobbit’s ﬂight from Nazgul were on Mt Victoria; the Embassy Theatre saw the premiere of The Return of the King; and the city was temporary home to most of the actors while ﬁlming.
Arrowtown and Skipper’s Canyon The Ford of Bruinen were shot here. Queenstown The Pillars of the Kings were ﬁlmed on the Kawerau River near the bungy bridge; scenes were shot at Deer Park; parts of The Remarkables became Dimrill Dale. Glenorchy Scenes of Isengard and Lothlorien were ﬁlmed here and Saruman’s tower, Orthanc, was digitally placed into the landscape. Mavora Lakes The island of Nen Hithoel was shot here.
HOT ‘N’ STEAMY!
The North Island is part of the Paciﬁc’s “Ring of Fire” and has many active volcanoes (caused by the Earth’s Paciﬁc Plate cramming against the Indo-Australian Plate). White Island is constantly erupting, and Mt Ruapehu last blew in 1995. In Rotorua and Taupo, hot rocks cause water to boil up as hot springs, and steam as fountains called geysers. Thermal activity is most intense here, although there’s a subterranean band of it across the North Island, from the Bay of Plenty down to Tongariro National Park where Ruapehu sits. Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland A 20-minute drive south of Rotorua, the visitor centre here is the gateway to one of New Zealand’s most colourful thermal environments. Craters of the Moon, Wairakei Tourist Park This sprang up in the 1950s when the nearby power station lowered underground water levels. It’s a 30-minute walk where you can witness not only steam vents and bubbling geysers but also lots of interesting plants that have adapted to thrive in the hot steamy conditions. It’s absolutely worth arriving by 10.15am for the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser.
THE WORLD-FAMOUS CHAMPAGNE POOL, GEYSERS, HOT MUD AND BUBBLING LAKES FORM A RAINBOW OF COLOUR AND STEAMY CHAOS IN A NATURAL BUSH SETTING.
THE CHAMPAGNE POOL AT WAIOTAPU THERMAL WONDERLAND IS A MAIN ATTRACTION.
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua One of Rotorua’s award-winning geothermal reserves, Hell’s Gate deﬁnitely lives up to its name. But alongside the violent boiling mud of the Devil’s Cauldron, and the hot pool where Maori Princess Hurutini lost her life, is also a form of heaven – a spa facility featuring mud baths, sulphur pools and traditional massage.
Whakarewarewa This thermal valley incorporates a living, breathing Maori village that relies on geothermal power for everyday living. Its homes, shops and even kindergarten are surrounded by boiling mud pools and steaming pavements. Locals act as tour guides between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Orakei Korako
Waimangu Volcanic Valley Considered one of New Zealand’s best In 1886, Mt Tarawera erupted, splitting it in two and exploding Lake Rotomahana to 20 times its original size, forming the seven craters that make up the valley now. Walk through, or take a cruise on the lake to view the world’s largest hot spring and other geothermal activity. The most dazzling feature though, is the turquoise pool known as Inferno Crater. It looks refreshingly cool but could easily cause third-degree burns. geothermal attractions, here you’ll ﬁnd the largest number of active geysers, plus hot springs, mud pools and large silica terraces. The natural landscapes preserved in time are so primordiallooking that scenes from the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs were ﬁlmed here. You can also take a bush walk to the sacred Ruatapu geothermal cave and thermal mirror pool.
THE POHUTU GEYSER CAN BE SEEN AT WHAKAREWARENA THERMAL VALLEY.
Although the ofﬁcial language of New Zealand is English, like any country it has its own colloquialisms. Below is a list of a few you might encounter on your holiday. You’ll be “sweet as” in no time!
Bach - Small holiday home, pronounced “batch” Bonnet - Car hood Boot - Car trunk Bumper - Fender Boy Racer - Young person in a fast car with a very loud stereo Capsicum - Green or red pepper Chilly bin - Sealable polystyrene or plastic box for keeping food or beer cold Choice - Good Chook - Chicken Dairy - Corner store selling bread, milk, newspapers, cigarettes and the like Duvet - Quilt Flannel - Face cloth Good on ya, mate - Congratulations, well done Gumboots - Rubber boots, wellingtons Ice block - Popsicle Jandals - Thongs, ﬂip-ﬂops Jersey - Pullover Jumper - Sweater Judder bar - Speed bump Lollies - Candy
Loo - Toilet Pakeha - Non-Maori person Panelbeater - Auto body shop Piss - Beer, as in “get on the piss” Pissed - Drunk Pissed off - Angry Pissing down - Raining hard Reserve - A park in a town or city Ring - Phone someone, as in “I’ll give you a ring” Rubbish - Trash or garbage, as in “throw it in the rubbish” Sealed road - Paved road Serviette - Paper napkin She’ll be right - It will be ok, not a problem Sparrow’s fart - Crack of dawn Ta - Thanks Tea - Dinner, evening meal Tiki tour - Roundabout way of getting somewhere, scenic route Tip - Dump or recycling depot Togs - Swimsuit Wop-wops - Out-of-the way location Zed - Z, the last letter of the alphabet
FINAL THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Most campervan hire companies in New Zealand are reputable and thorough. However, there are some important things to double check: • That you have a copy of, and completely understand, your rental agreement, eg your responsibilities and those of the renter, as well as your liability • That you have gone over and understand all the costs involved • Whether they have a 24-hour number you can call if you have any problems • Whether there are manuals for all the electrical equipment and facilities • Whether you get a spare set of keys • Whether certain things are included, such as wooden levelling blocks for uneven sites, and extension cables and hoses to accommodate electrical, sewer and water hook-ups Things You’ll Be Glad You Brought: • Lots of Ziploc bags – for storing everything from bottles that might leak, to damp clothing • Your address book for postcards • Travel size alarm clock • Small ﬂashlight with new batteries • Pocket knife • Spare pair of cheap sunglasses • One set of clothing that dries fast • Disposable camera (just in case!) • Small, collapsible umbrella • Notepad and several pens • Books and games for night time • Car phone charger • Whether everything is working properly, eg doors, windows, appliances, controls, ﬁxtures, and smoke alarms • Whether the gas bottle has been ﬁlled by the rental company or if it needs ﬁlling ﬁrst
DOUBLE-CHECK EVERYTHING, THEN RELAX AND ENJOY.
PLANNING YOUR ROUTE
Planning an itinerary obviously depends on what style of traveler you are, and what types of things you want to see. You might be a relaxed traveler who prefers to drive at a relaxed pace, allowing yourself the time to stop at whatever river or park takes your fancy on the way, or you may want to travel at a fairly swift pace. You might be interested in scenery or hiking alone, or you may want a balance between nature, cultural attractions, and seeing the main centres. Think about what you’ll be doing day to day. Do you want to be in a holiday park each night, or just some nights? Do you want to stop at a destination each day, spend a few nights in each place, or spend a few days just driving, absorbing the sights from your van? If you’re travelling with kids, consider what family-friendly attractions exist in each place. Be conscious of whether you’ll want a day here and there to just rest and Also make sure you consider interspersing rest or relaxation days after days that will be particularly strenuous, such as a day-long hike. This is particularly important if you are doing a long drive the next day. relax, without travelling or doing strenuous activities. How much ﬂexibility do you want to give yourself? Do you want to plan a rigid schedule or play it by ear some of the time?
TIP: CHECK OUT THE KRUSE AUDIO GUIDE SYSTEM (WWW.KRUSENZ.COM) WHICH USES GPS TECHNOLOGY TO PLAY INFORMATIVE COMMENTARY ABOUT EACH PLACE YOU ARE VISITING.
There are also some main signposted touring routes in New Zealand that you may want to incorporate into your itinerary. (They usually take a few days to complete and there are brochures on each one available at any i-site, giving you more details on exact length, attractions and points of interest. Check out the websites that most of them have as they may inﬂuence your route! Below is a brief description of each. Paciﬁc Coast Highway Linking Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and the East Cape, you’ll see spectacular coastline and get a taste of the Hawke’s Bay wine regions. See www.paciﬁccoast.co.nz. Twin Coast Discovery Highway See stunning beaches and great Kauri forests as you head north of Auckland and travel along both the East and West coast of Northland. See www.twincoast.co.nz Thermal Explorer Take in the wondrous sights of the tourist hotspots (literally!) of Taupo, Rotorua, Ruapehu and the Waikato region. See www.thermalexplorerhighway.co.nz. The Southern Scenic Route Drive from the Southern Alps past some of New Zealand’s wild, rugged coastline and mountain country, ﬁnishing up in Dunedin. See www.southernscenicroute.co.nz Inland Scenic Route 72 Travel from North Canterbury inland down State Highway 72, past Mt Hutt ski ﬁelds and through rural NZ until you link up with State Highway 1. Alpine Paciﬁc Triangle Hamner Springs, Kaikoura and the Waipara Valley are some of the most popular spots in the South Island and this highway links the three. See www.hurunui.com The Treasured Pathway Through the Marlborough Sounds and into Nelson through Kahurangi National Park and up to Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island - if stunning scenery’s your thing, this is a must-do. The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail Exactly what it sounds like… perfect for following if you want to travel through Hawke’s Bay, the Wairarapa region and Marlborough chasing the perfect drop. See www.classicwinetrail.co.nz
Here are some sample itineraries of various types and lengths – seven days, 14 days and 21 days. Mix and match them to create your own perfect plan if you like. We’ve included an option for seeing both the North and South Islands in 14 days, but bear in mind that it will be very rushed – consider doing just one island thoroughly if you only have two weeks, or adding an extra couple of days to your trip.
7-DAY SAMPLE ITINERARIES
North Island Day One – Arrive in Auckland, drive north to the Bay of Islands Day Two – Drive around to explore Northland Day Three – Leave early, drive down to geothermal region Rotorua Day Four – Spend the morning in Rotorua, drive to the Coromandel via Mt Maunganui Day Five – Explore the Coromandel – include Whitianga and Cathedral Cove at Hahei Day Six – Drive back and spend the day in Auckland, have lunch at a winery on Waiheke Island Day Seven – Depart Auckland South Island Day One – Arrive in Christchurch and spend the day. Include a visit to Banks Peninsula Day Two – Head to Hamner Springs, visit Thrillseeker’s Canyon Day Three – Drive to Kaikoura and go whale-watching from the sky Day Four – Drive to Blenheim and visit one of Marlborough’s famous wineries Day Five – Drive up to Abel Tasman National Park via Nelson Day Six – Drive back down to Christchurch via the Inland Highway, stopping in Murchison for lunch Day Seven – Depart Christchurch
14-DAY SAMPLE ITINERARIES
North Island Day One – Arrive Auckland, check out the city and Sky Tower Day Two – Drive to Northland and visit some cultural attractions Day Three – Drive to the Coromandel Peninsula and check out its many beaches Day Four – Drive to the Waikato region via the Firth of Thames Day Five – Drive to New Plymouth, tour the Sugar Loaf Islands marine park Day Six – Climb to the summit of Mt Taranaki Day Seven – Drive to Wellington, shop in the city and go out for dinner Day Eight – Visit Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa – The Museum of New Zealand Day Nine – Drive to Napier and go on a wine trail Day Ten – Drive to Te Urewera National Park in northern Hawke’s Bay Day Eleven – Drive to Taupo and catch a trout from the lake Day Twelve – Drive to Rotorua and check out the geothermal activity Day Thirteen – Explore more Rotorua and relax at the Polynesian Spa Day Fourteen – Drive to and depart Auckland South Island Day One - arrive, pick up campervan in Christchurch, rest and explore Christchurch the next day. Try exploring from a different angle with a scenic balloon ride Day Three - drive to Franz Joseph Glacier, do a heli-hike Day Four – drive to and explore Lake Tekapo Day Five - drive to Dunedin, explore the Otago peninsula Day Six – continue to explore Otago, do the Elm Wildlife Tour Day Seven - drive to Te Anau, explore, see the glow-worm caves Day Eight - Doubtful Sound overnight cruise (Book this asap!) Day Nine - drive to Queenstown, go on the Skyline gondola and luge Day Ten – Explore Arrowtown/Cromwell area, tour some wineries Day Eleven - head up to Wanaka area, explore and see a couple more wineries Day Twelve - drive on to Hokitika, see the Gorge, Lake Kaniere, Dorothy Falls Day Thirteen - drive to Hamner Springs Day Fourteen - drive back to Christchurch
Both Islands Day One - Arrive Christchurch, pick up campervan and explore the city Day Two - Drive to Lake Tekapo and climb Mt. John for 360 degree views of the Southern Alps Day Three - Stay in Lake Tekapo, hike to Cowan’s Hill, take a helicopter ﬂight over the Southern Alps complete with glacier landing Day Four - Drive to Queenstown, stopping at Mt Cook for lunch Day Five - Do a daytrip to from Queenstown to Milford Sound Day Six – Have a relaxing day and see Queenstown Day Seven - Drive to Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, stopping at the various waterfalls along Haast Pass
Day Eight – Still at the glaciers, see Peter’s Pool at Franz Josef Glacier, and hike some of Roberts Point Day Nine – Leave early, drive to Picton, passing Punakaiki around high tide for the blow holes Day Ten - Ferry to Wellington, explore Wellington Day Eleven - Drive to Tongariro National Park Day Twelve - Hike in Tongariro National Park (do the Tongariro Crossing if weather allows) Day Thirteen - Drive to Auckland via Rotorua for lunch and to see geothermal activity Day Fourteen - Depart Auckland
MITRE PEAK AT MILFORD SOUND.
North and South Island For this tour, you’ll need to rent a campervan that has a reciprocal arrangement between branches in Auckland and Christchurch. Day One – Arrive Auckland and explore Day Two – Pick up your campervan and drive to the Bay of Islands (Paihia). Explore, perhaps by Excitor, an amphibious vehicle/ vessel that takes you from Paihia to Cape Brett and the Cathedral Cave Day Three – Drive down via Auckland to Waitomo, and visit the glowworm caves Day Four – Drive to Rotorua Day Five - Spend the whole day in Rotorua, you’re spoiled for choice of attractions to see Day Six – Save Waiotapu Thermal Reserve just south of Rotorua for the morning to see the Lady Knox geyser erupt at 10.15am. Drive to Taupo, stopping at Huka Falls. Lunch at Lake Taupo, then drive from Taupo to Napier and spend the afternoon Day Seven - See the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers then drive to Wellington, stopping in Martinborough for a glass of wine Day Eight – Take the whole morning to spend at Te Papa. After lunch, shop or go to the Botanic Gardens Day Twelve - Drive to Punakaiki, stopping just before it at Cape Foulwind near Westport to visit the seal colony. At Punakaiki, see the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Day Thirteen - Drive to to Hokitika (famous for its greenstone carving and glass blowing) then continue to Franz Josef Glacier. Book a heli-hike, then go and see the movie Flowing West, shown in the movie theatre of the Alpine Adventures Centre Building Day Fourteen - In the morning drive to Lake Matheson, famous for its reﬂections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Then drive back to Franz Joseph for your helicopter tour. In the afternoon drive to Wanaka and relax Day Eleven – Leaving early, drive to Marahou to explore the Abel Tasman National Park by boat or kayak. At the end of the day, drive back to Nelson Day Nine – Take the ferry to Picton and explore the town and the Marlborough Sounds. Walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track Day Ten – Drive to Nelson via the Queen Charlotte Drive. Relax in Nelson for the afternoon
Day Fifteen - Drive to Queenstown, stopping at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge to look at (or jump from) the world’s ﬁrst bungy jump site. Take the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu Day Sixteen – Do Queenstown’s Shotover Jet Boat Ride, then drive to Te Anau Day Seventeen - Drive to the Milford Sound and explore by boat. In the afternoon drive back to Queenstown Day Eighteen – Drive to Mount Cook Village and visit Mount Cook Salmon Farm (on the shores of Lake Pukaki). Take a scenic ﬂight over the region
Day Nineteen - Drive to Christchurch and visit the Botanic Gardens, check out the Arts Centre or the Canterbury Museum Day Twenty – Either drive to Kaikoura, or book a whale-watching tour from Christchurch. You can also do this by helicopter if you prefer Day Twenty One – Drop off your campervan and shop for souvenirs before departing Christchurch
THE STUNNING SCENERY OF QUEENSTOWN IS A MUST-SEE.
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