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Australia & New Zealand Australia and New Zealand family travel forum: Discuss family friendly resorts and hotels down under. Get vacation tips exclusively for families, from families.

 
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  #1  
Old 07-09-2009, 11:44 PM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Thumbs up New Zealand

I was reminded again last night just how fortunate I am to have had the wonderful adventure & experience to visit New Zealand. I was up late and lo and behold there was an episode of PBS's "Globetrekkers" on and what do you know, they're two men simultaneously touring through NZ's North & South Island. Since there is so much to see and do, I can understand why they would split the duties; also, once seemed more the thrillseeker, the other, more the trekker.......although trekker dude got caught up at the "wild food festival" in Hokitika (I was there!) on NZ's South Island, west coast, which gets about 20 FEET of rain a year!! Anyway, what they made this poor guy eat, I can't even write about and AM GLAD the festival wasn't on when I was there!!

They did visit the same Glacier that *I* climbed, but wild dude took a helicopter closer to the top and closer to the peak of the 10,000 foot mountains that the NZ Alps are graced with! I was very proud of myself as he described how some people have to spend HOURS climbing up (It was) onto the glacier, and then more getting down!! I felt the joy all over again.

They did hit a lot of the touristy spots - Queenstown (bungee-jumping birthplace) Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound, ChristChurch (but I was there and wouldn't miss it) on South Island. I had the good fortune to be spending *my* time on the farm of my friends on the southern Canterbury Plains, about an hour south of ChCh (the abbrev. for ChristChurch) and outside the front door was Mount Hutt, in all it's splendor and majesty! Spectacular. Anyway, THEY took me to all the places that the *kiwis* know to be even better than the places where the typical visitors go to and where I was IN HEAVEN.

New Zealand may be in a far off place, but if you can get there, get there. It truly is, probably the most NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL places on EARTH that I have ever seen and prior to that I'd already been on 3 continents! I would start to sound cheesy choosing adjectives to try to convey the grandeur of the spectacularly gorgeous country and warm, welcoming people. Unlike anyplace, anyone, anytime thus far in my traveling life, which this far, hasn't been too shabby. I've been around! I was so glad to see the show to remember (I don't ever forget because I still am friends with these folks, and the folks they introduced me to in England!) and just see a visual of the fact that I don't think anyplace rivals it on earth. New Zealand is just perfect.

That's about it. New Zealand is Perfect.

Oh and they have a REALLY GREAT Rugby Team called the ALL BLACKS, big time competitors. I learned to do cross-stitching while I was in NZ; but for the life of me, and I know sports, could NOT figure out Rugby. I just decided in my own mind - there are no rules. LoL works for me!! Oh wait, on the show last night, one of the trekkers had a go of it with the LADIES ALL BLACKS and got quite a whooping for his efforts - it was a good segment!

If you can do it - do it. You'll feel like you got to heaven a bit early!
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2009, 05:05 AM
MalNZ MalNZ is offline
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Thank you for you great comments on my homeland.

We have travelled quite alot, just come back from the West Coast of USA, Alaska and the Canadian Rockies.

Even though we saw some fantastic sights, we are so lucky here in NZ, we have it all in such a small area.

But us Kiwi's love to travel - we have already booked to go to Florida next April and looking at a Caribbean Cruise.

Mal NZ
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2009, 05:18 PM
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Some good specials to NZ right now, just wish it wasn't such a long flight down that a week trip would be more exciting to the family. I'd go for just a week with plans to go back again in the future, but oh well...I may just get out voted.

I guess I may check it out and put it to the family.

Trying to decide if we want to do a week in Auckland or if we want to do further South...maybe a split 3-4 days in each Auckland and Christchurch. Any advice for a week only first trip for me and DD? DW was there about 15 years ago.
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I love traveling. I've been to Dinsey at all different times of the year with Christmas being my favorite. I've been to six continents and hope to very soon visit Antarctica. Australia and Fiji are among my all time favorite foreign destinations.

Probably the most notable trip was October 2002, when we were at Bali the night of the first bombing there. *** You will find me on Cruise Critic as well with the same user name. Happy Travels to all!!!

Watch a quick look at my Christmas Light Displayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBS34hUQrpM




Past Trips (Most recent first):
Aug09 WDW Week; June-July09 RCCL AK Cruise, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Disney Land and Four Corners region; Apr09 RCCL Voyager of the Seas; Feb09 RCCL Mariner of the Seas; Dec08-Jan09 Voyager of the Seas; Oct98 Fiji's Matangi Resort; May-June85 UK & France vacation; many others before these.

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  #4  
Old 07-19-2009, 09:35 PM
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Thumbs up

Dave,

With ONLY a week, I'd give it all to SOUTH ISLAND of NZ. It just has such diversity and every natural wonder you could imagine, I personally guarantee you will feel sated and even sad that you might not have seen enough! It has a "main" city in Christchurch, which is SO very lovely, with the Avon river flowing alongside in which you all could go punting. There is another fabulous city further south that also gives you the option to witness some natural creatures in peace and in their own "homes" such as albatross, giant seals and yellow eyed penguin if you sign up for the tour (do it do it do it!) in Dunedin which has a bit more of a Scottish feel, as ChCh feels a bit more English. Everywhere in between is simply magnificent; go to Doubtful Sound instead of Milford (all the tourists go to Milford) go to see Lake Matheson EARLY in the morning.......breathtaking with reflections of two 10,000 foot peaks in a still-as-glass lake. I have the photo and often have trouble figuring out which side is up and which side is down.....it's that remarkable. One of these mountains is the renowned Mt. Cook. Head up the west coast and climb either Fox Glacier or Franz Josef. I did Fox. Cross back over the Alps after passing a cute town called Hokitika and drive up 10,000 feet to Arthur's Pass and begin your drive over back to the eastern/middle of South Island. There are also some wineries in the northern part of South Island, some with cozy B&B's.........there is PLENTY to fill one week, all of it on South Island with SO MUCH BEAUTY in nature, people and oh, sheep too. There are so many different types!!

If you can only do one week - DO SOUTH!!! Sleep on the plane and hit the ground running. You will be SO UNBELIEVABLY GLAD THAT YOU DID!! It's simply magical, majestic & magificent. I can't wait to go back. I have kiwi friends and we are like family now......so I will get back there and STAY long. I need more time to get over that flight!!! Also want to hit some S. Pacific Islands.

Hope you and your family do NZ Dave. You'll LOVE IT. I do GUARANTEE it without reservation........how much you will LOVE it is the only thing I can't guess!!
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2009, 09:44 PM
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Rancher Dave Rancher Dave is offline
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Thanks Colleen... I have no doubt I will enjoy all of NZ. Just haven't managed to get there yet. I am going to search out air deals here in a few minutes to see if it could work out.
__________________
I love traveling. I've been to Dinsey at all different times of the year with Christmas being my favorite. I've been to six continents and hope to very soon visit Antarctica. Australia and Fiji are among my all time favorite foreign destinations.

Probably the most notable trip was October 2002, when we were at Bali the night of the first bombing there. *** You will find me on Cruise Critic as well with the same user name. Happy Travels to all!!!

Watch a quick look at my Christmas Light Displayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBS34hUQrpM




Past Trips (Most recent first):
Aug09 WDW Week; June-July09 RCCL AK Cruise, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Disney Land and Four Corners region; Apr09 RCCL Voyager of the Seas; Feb09 RCCL Mariner of the Seas; Dec08-Jan09 Voyager of the Seas; Oct98 Fiji's Matangi Resort; May-June85 UK & France vacation; many others before these.

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  #6  
Old 07-20-2009, 02:05 PM
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So bummed, when I pulled up the air to NZ, the speicals were not coming up and the cost was too much to pull off an August trip. I need to surf to Qantas' site and see if they still have any specials I can snag as it is a go for a week away in August. Likely in the end we will have to settle for a USA vacation, but that is ok. It is still time away doing something fun.
__________________
I love traveling. I've been to Dinsey at all different times of the year with Christmas being my favorite. I've been to six continents and hope to very soon visit Antarctica. Australia and Fiji are among my all time favorite foreign destinations.

Probably the most notable trip was October 2002, when we were at Bali the night of the first bombing there. *** You will find me on Cruise Critic as well with the same user name. Happy Travels to all!!!

Watch a quick look at my Christmas Light Displayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBS34hUQrpM




Past Trips (Most recent first):
Aug09 WDW Week; June-July09 RCCL AK Cruise, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Disney Land and Four Corners region; Apr09 RCCL Voyager of the Seas; Feb09 RCCL Mariner of the Seas; Dec08-Jan09 Voyager of the Seas; Oct98 Fiji's Matangi Resort; May-June85 UK & France vacation; many others before these.

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  #7  
Old 07-26-2009, 07:37 AM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Lightbulb

Dave,

There are some travel agents (I know we're do it yourselfers!) that are "Aussie/NZ" specialists. I learned this from one such specialist a long time ago in this job. These specialists complete special training programs etc etc. Anyway, long story short is, they often get access to "specials" on sales that NO ONE else gets access to. Hence, if you are going to check out Qantas it might pay to check with an Aussie Specialist. They may also have deals with Air New Zealand, which is how I got Down Under. I did use a Qantas "Boomerang" pass though, so I could bounce around between NZ, Sydney and Fiji. I think Qantas calls it an air pass now. Anyway, I could google it for you but at this point, I've been up for almost 24 hours and need to go to bed. Not feeling too well. I'm sure you can google and Aussie Specialist, give them a call and see if they have anything in the way of sales/promos going on that are NOT on notice to the public. The Aussie Specialist I knew was a bloke called Mick but I don't know where he ever went off to. If you google Aussie Mick, he might just turn up! Let me know what turns up. Because end of August isn't even peak season for them so I would think they'd be running promos; or that the recession was perhaps putting a dent in tourism. That's why I think there must be a deal out there somewhere. Hope you find something!!
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  #8  
Old 07-26-2009, 09:12 AM
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buggsy62 buggsy62 is offline
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Default Motor Homes

We hired a motorhome for nearly three weeks and made our way around much of both islands. If we went back we'd certainly get a motorhome again. We had a family of five which included my 70yo father-in-law and were very comfortable in a 6-berth vehicle. We hired ours from United and the vehicle was in excellent condition and we had no problems at all with it and would use them again, but there are plenty of other hire companies there to choose from and research is easily done on the web.

NZ is set up very well for camping with many camping areas available just off the road often in very picturesque settings. Of course there are commercial caravan parks everywhere that offer the extra amenities like power and toilets and showers (our vehicle had a these but the waste water tanks quickly filled up with showers) and onsite water dump and fresh water.

New Zealand is a photographer's paradise. Mountains, lakes, glaciers, it's beautiful. We put the motorhome on the ferry between islands and the entrance to the South Island through the sound was breathtaking.
The roads are good but very hilly with plenty of twists and turns but this just tended to add some extra interest and character to the holiday.

New Zealand is definitely worth the effort. If I had to choose just one island I think it would be the South Island but this is certainly just my opinion and not necessarily shared by all our family. In fact if we went back again we would probably spend most of our time in the north of the North Island.

If you can get there do it. (It's almost as good as Australia )

Buggs
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2009, 12:30 PM
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Rancher Dave Rancher Dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HostColleen View Post
Dave,

There are some travel agents (I know we're do it yourselfers!) that are "Aussie/NZ" specialists. I learned this from one such specialist a long time ago in this job. These specialists complete special training programs etc etc. Anyway, long story short is, they often get access to "specials" on sales that NO ONE else gets access to. Hence, if you are going to check out Qantas it might pay to check with an Aussie Specialist. They may also have deals with Air New Zealand, which is how I got Down Under. I did use a Qantas "Boomerang" pass though, so I could bounce around between NZ, Sydney and Fiji. I think Qantas calls it an air pass now. Anyway, I could google it for you but at this point, I've been up for almost 24 hours and need to go to bed. Not feeling too well. I'm sure you can google and Aussie Specialist, give them a call and see if they have anything in the way of sales/promos going on that are NOT on notice to the public. The Aussie Specialist I knew was a bloke called Mick but I don't know where he ever went off to. If you google Aussie Mick, he might just turn up! Let me know what turns up. Because end of August isn't even peak season for them so I would think they'd be running promos; or that the recession was perhaps putting a dent in tourism. That's why I think there must be a deal out there somewhere. Hope you find something!!
I managed over the years to get hooked up on some great email lists. Sometimes you can find the specials offered thru one of several South Pacific area specialists and piece together an on your own package to accomplish the same for a great price.


Quote:
Originally Posted by buggsy62 View Post
We hired a motorhome for nearly three weeks and made our way around much of both islands. If we went back we'd certainly get a motorhome again. We had a family of five which included my 70yo father-in-law and were very comfortable in a 6-berth vehicle. We hired ours from United and the vehicle was in excellent condition and we had no problems at all with it and would use them again, but there are plenty of other hire companies there to choose from and research is easily done on the web.

NZ is set up very well for camping with many camping areas available just off the road often in very picturesque settings. Of course there are commercial caravan parks everywhere that offer the extra amenities like power and toilets and showers (our vehicle had a these but the waste water tanks quickly filled up with showers) and onsite water dump and fresh water.

New Zealand is a photographer's paradise. Mountains, lakes, glaciers, it's beautiful. We put the motorhome on the ferry between islands and the entrance to the South Island through the sound was breathtaking.
The roads are good but very hilly with plenty of twists and turns but this just tended to add some extra interest and character to the holiday.

New Zealand is definitely worth the effort. If I had to choose just one island I think it would be the South Island but this is certainly just my opinion and not necessarily shared by all our family. In fact if we went back again we would probably spend most of our time in the north of the North Island.

If you can get there do it. (It's almost as good as Australia )

Buggs

I agree these are some of the better special prices. If I recall correctly the big disadvantage for me and others who drive on the right side of the road is driving on the left side and getting used to that. The Kiwi's I am sure are used to crazy Americans driving on the wrong side until a honk gets them straight...

With only 3 yes a decent size RV would be fine. I actually have a 38' diesel pusher at the ranch so know what it is like to drive the big ones as well, although in a place like NZ with more winding roads and less luggage a camper van style would likely suffice.

Sadly unless, I come on a huge airfare special today, NZ will not be in the travel plans this Summer.
__________________
I love traveling. I've been to Dinsey at all different times of the year with Christmas being my favorite. I've been to six continents and hope to very soon visit Antarctica. Australia and Fiji are among my all time favorite foreign destinations.

Probably the most notable trip was October 2002, when we were at Bali the night of the first bombing there. *** You will find me on Cruise Critic as well with the same user name. Happy Travels to all!!!

Watch a quick look at my Christmas Light Displayhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBS34hUQrpM




Past Trips (Most recent first):
Aug09 WDW Week; June-July09 RCCL AK Cruise, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Disney Land and Four Corners region; Apr09 RCCL Voyager of the Seas; Feb09 RCCL Mariner of the Seas; Dec08-Jan09 Voyager of the Seas; Oct98 Fiji's Matangi Resort; May-June85 UK & France vacation; many others before these.

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  #10  
Old 08-02-2009, 03:01 PM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Exclamation

I don't know if it is typical of all opposite side of the road-driving countries, but I DO KNOW that KIWIS (first hand words from my friends) do PREFER that visitors DO NOT drive. The roads are indeed curvy, crossing bridges that only have one lane so someone has to wait for the other direction to cross, the roundabouts, etc......there have been MANY HORRIFIC often fatal crashes involving tourists in NZ.

I know lots of people drive in the UK, Ireland etc. But the NZ terrain and driving conditions ARE very different, ever MORE SO in South Island - there are not many straight line easy roads. It's not unlike the Scottish Islands.....I feared for our lives up there and the driver clearly was skilled at doing the driving but it was terrifying; again, roads, terrain etc was ALL very, very different.

I know folks do their camper van thing.......don't know how they do it, but they must stick to main roads. Back winding roads of NZ South are absolutely wild. If planning to, go very slow and CONCENTRATE!
Just thinking about safety here folks, and from what I learned about driving history of visitors from my resident friends - they dread it!!

Take Care
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