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Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Swindon, United...
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Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Hi All

Following an unexpected cash injection the wife and I are currently in the very early stages of planning a 4 week trip to NZ in February 2011.

We fell in love with NZ when we visited in 2008 and none of the holidays we have had since can even compare - we simply can not wait to return. The hairs on my body stand on end just thinking about coming back.

This is my review from our last 3 week trip -

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255104-i125-k2389…

In short we visited the following places (I have detailed it so you can see the rough route we took) - Auckland, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Picton, Kaikoura, Arthurs Pass, Franz Josef, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Christchurch.

Now this visit will be just as actioned packed as the last with us hoping to do a Sky Dive, Caving and White Water Rafting - amongst other things -

So what help do I need?

- Can anyone recommend a white water rafting company for a couple who have never done it before, but love all things action packed?

- Clearly we missed areas on our first visit - what are must see areas on this return? Were alrready thinking Bay Of Islands, Coromandel, Punakaiki etc etc - I should add, we intend to do both islands again.

Were still trying to decide if we should redo the campervan or hire a care and stay in B&Bs etc, both have their advantages/disadvantages - Will see how the budget works out after all our activities :-)

Look forward to hearing from you soon -

Regards

Paul

Rarotonga, Cook...
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1. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Kia Ora Silentdark1979,

I recognised your name as soon as I clicked onto the forums! How have you been since your previous visit? Wonderful to hear that you are returning, and soon!!

Absolutely see the Bay of Islands and Northland next visit. Great skydiving from Kerikeri and Whangarei airports with Ballistic Blondes. And the flight-see visit to Cape Reinga with Salt Air takes in much of the coastline and stunning unspoilt bays and sandy beaches along both coastlines.

Caving in Northland - Abbey Caves in Whangarei, and Waipu Caves south of the city would be top adventures. Both are unguided, bring equipment. Guided cave adventure Kawiti Caves, in Kawakawa, Bay of Islands. I highly recommend the cruise over to Poor Knights islands from Tutukaka, Whangarei if stopping to explore Abbey Caves, in Glenbervie - Whangarei Falls in this area.

White water rafting, excellent opportunities in Bay of Plenty around Tauranga and Rotorua - I'll leave that to some of the Nth is experts to suggest a tour. Coromandel is very nice over summer. Have you thought about visiting Great Barrier Island, NE of Auckland? Fly from Auckland airport or take car-ferry from downtown Auckland city.

Tongariro National Park for alpine trails. Taranaki offers awesome outdoors adventures, black sand surf beaches along the surf highway, and there are several great sea-caves along the Taranaki coastline. Whanganui River is another North Is must see. So too would be a trip around the East Cape from Whakatane - Opotiki. Gisborne is fabulous in summer - not to mention their warm weather, oh and this district welcomes freedom campers should you take the campervan option. Napier with its sprawling acres of wines, and the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Martinborough wines and Castlepoint's wild beach.

I can understand why you are having gooose bumps just thinking of the endless potential to explore more! There was a private cave adventure in this are of lower Nth Is, but not sure if the farmers allow public access any longer.

Happy planning.

Auckland, New...
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2. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Hi

Good to see that you are coming back to NZ

For white water rafting in the north island I can without hesitation and from experience recommend Kaituna Cascades

www.kaitunacascades.co.nz

who are based in Rotorua.

They raft the Kaituna in Rotorua which is series of drops including a 7 metre waterfall. They also do tandem kayak trips down the Kaituna. They also raft the Rangitaiki which apart from some large rapids at the start is fairly gentle and very scenic. The other river which they raft is the Wairoa but only on days when the water is released – most Sundays through the summer months – this is full on excitement.

Swindon, United...
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3. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Hey Frangipani - I certainly recognise your name too from my queiries relating to my first trip. Thanks for taking the time to respond so fully once again.

How have I been since the last trip???? Very well thanks, although with daily thoughts of NZ, my life is tinted with sadness that I havent been able to come back sooner. If it wasnt for my Mum & Sister Im sure I would be a resident of NZ now :-) I am quite simply totally in love with the place - Hope it hasnt changed too much by the time we return.

Will save your comments and do some research on the areas - 4 weeks should be plenty to get the most out of my time there - Fingers crossed the budget stretches as the activities are costing a small fortune at present.

Lonekaurilodge - Thank you also for taking the time to respond. Im glad you have mentioned Kaituna Cascades as that is one I have made a note of - not badly priced either and one of the few that offers waterfall drops.

My countdown is well and truly on already - I am already so so excited about coming back to such an amazing place.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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4. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

The beauty about NZ is that there is lots of stuff in the provinces, and cities too, that dont cost an entry-fee. I'm thinking more about the beaches, the waterfalls, the non-guided caving adventures, the native bush walks, lakeside scenery, viewing wildlife in many places, and some geothermal areas. Perhaps the major difficulty will be selecting the ultra-adventures like white-water rafting and sky diving. However, Im certain the tour company that lonekaurilodge recommends offers high value. I also know that the skydiving adventures away from some more popular tourist areas extend the budget nicely.

BTW, have you thought about flying to NZ this time via my other island - Rarotonga? Very much the Kiwi experience but with a tropical flavour! Air NZ flies via LAX once week. Not much has changed here. Truly a blessing! Cheers.

New Zealand
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5. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Hello Paul, wonderful to hear you are planning another long visit :)

The best skydiving in the country as in Wanaka http://www.skydivewanaka.com/

plus while here take a drive up the stunning Matukituki valley to Mt Aspiring National Park. There is great hiking, biking (heli-hiking is fantastic. The helicopter takes you up, you ride down), horseriding, rock climbing, jet boating in and around Wanaka :)

Swindon, United...
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6. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

WanakaLakes

Many thanks for the suggestion - definately think we will be using your recommendation for a skydive.

You should work for the Wanaka Tourist board :-)

Its an area we missed out on, on our last trip, so any other suggestions of things to do/see whilt there will be greatly appreciated.

My wife and I may have to review our plans as we wont be able to bok anything until June as Campervans and Flights are costing more than when we last came across - although granted, we are hoping to come for longer this time.

Breckenridge...
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7. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

I would look at

Nelson- Abel Tasman

Kaikoura- swimming with the dolphins

Catlins area

Tongariro Crossing

Enjoy,

Matt

New Zealand
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8. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

You will find renting a car and staying in motels a more affordable option than using a campervan. You also will find campervanning more restricted this trip, with fewer places to freedom camp than in 2008. By the time you add campsite fees (which can be $50 per night in popular spots) it is an expensive way to travel. DOC sites are only a few dollars per night, but then you can't hook up to power.

Each motel unit is a self contained apartment with fully equipped kitchen so you are still able to cook your meals if you wish.

ohttp://www.newzealand.com/travel/accommodation/accommodation-options/accommodation-options-motels.cfm

Plus you could stay in a B&B occasionally, a wonderful way to meet the locals :)

Swindon, United...
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9. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

HOORAH!!!

Im all booked up -

Land in your wonderful country on the 2nd February 2011 and stay for 4 weeks.

I have gone down the campervan route once again - but rest assured there will be no illegal camping from me, I will be a safe and courteous driver at all times and promise to clear up any mess I make.

Now to plan the itinerary -

Derby,UK
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10. Re: Long Overdue - but were heading back to NZ! Help Needed

Hi Silentdark,

I remember your trip report post last time round too. You lucky pups... we're sadly not going to be able to afford to get out to NZ this Xmas as planned. Fingers crossed and we might win the Lotto ;-)

The Coromandel was a highlight for us last trip and down towards Mt Maunganui as was Dunedin/Otago Peninsula for nature tours...so I could recommend these if you missed them last time.

Cheers....

Cheers.