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December 2009

Bend, OR
12 posts
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December 2009

We will be visiting over Christmas break 2and into the new year 2010. 3 weeks total. We will have 2 teenage boys with my husband and myself and want to tramp the Milford Track. Here are my questions:

1) Best place to be for Christmas? Christchurch, Wellington....? We want the experience of NZ without fighting crowds.

2) Why is there a higher age limit on zip lines than bungie jumps. We aren't sure about letting our boys do either and I would like to know more about the safety of each.

3) With only a couple of weeks, what are the best areas to drive and which areas to fly?

4) Are there any trains which go North/South for communters?

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Bend, OR
12 posts
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1. Re: December 2009

I also wanted to know if it is essential to have hotel reservations during the high season? We traveled around Australia during August and didn't need to worry.

Wellington, New...
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746 posts
59 reviews
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2. Re: December 2009

Yes, if you are going to be here over the Christmas break you will definately need to think of booking ahead for accommodation and the Milford Track walk. This is our main annual holiday period. The best place to be? Well, that depends on what your interests are. Usually locals head to the beaches, lakes or rivers and the cities are relatively quiet. Where are you flying into? You probably need to have a general plan of what you want to see and do and then we can help with ideas and suggestions from there.

Te Anau
Destination Expert
for South Island, Te Anau
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3,727 posts
39 reviews
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3. Re: December 2009

Hi BadToby,

With only 3 weeks, and some of tht taken up with the Milford Track walk I would suggest confining yourself to the South Island, or at least getting to the South Island fairly quickly.

Passenger trains are almost a thing of the past in NZ, with the exception of a few "Excursion" trains operating in some localised areas. There is a passenger train operates from Auckland to Wellington; marked to be discontued, and reinstated due to national outcry. Don't know how long it will survive, though. There are long distance coaches, but most travel between the islands is either by air, or by car.

Christmas is generally a low key event in NZ. Mostly, with a few exceptions, we don't go in for decorating our houses to any great extent; probalby because it gets dark so late, and by the time darkness sets in there is no one around to admire the display. Most towns & cities will have street decorations, and the shops will be frantically trying to sell off the last of their Xmas stock, but other that this it is a mostly family affair.

New Year is a different story. The whole country goes on a drinking binge, stays up all night, and generally make prize idiots of themselves. Party central in the South Island is Queenstown/Wanaka. if you want to avoid crowds then you should avoid these places over New Year. Te Anau is generally quieter, as are most cities, since the populace will mostly be in Queenstown or Wanaka.

Not sure about age limits for various attractions. THis could well be just the policy of the operators, or it could be based on something such as physical size. Of all the stomach churning things you might want to do in New Zealand, bungy jumping is one of the safest. To date there has never been a fatality during a bungy jump (tough wood). Every other extreme sport has one or two fatalities each year, with the most dangerous being white water rafting. IMO anyone who would get into an overinflated inner tube with 12 people who haven't a clue what they are doing, and bounce down grade 5 rapids, needs their head read.

You will definitely need to book in advance. Work out a rough itenerary, then book the Milford Track, and adjust the rest of your itenerary around that. THe best way to tavel is by rental car. Nothing else gives you the same flexibility, and as there are 4 of you the PP cost will not be much different from coaches.

4. Re: December 2009

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