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2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Jervis Bay...
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2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Just finished my reviews for our trip to the North Island at the end of October 2013.

We arrived Auckland, hired a car and drove to Paihia for 7 days. Then back to Auckland to pick up a campervan to go to Rotorua, Whakatane, Gisborne, Taupo, Tongariro National Park, Waitomo and back to Auckland.

We had a great time but I found it very expensive every time we wanted to do anything or eat anything. Day tours for $200pp seem to be the norm, every museum or site charged a substantial entry fee and it was well over $100 for 2 at any restaurant for a three course meal for 2 including drink.

I just think New Zealand is starting to price itself out of the market. Do others agree or am I just being stingy? It is much, much cheaper in Europe even taking into account the airfare doing the same sort of trip (by that I mean similar level of luxury or not as the case may be).

My trip report is here if you are interested:

http://atinybitlost.blogspot.com.au/

New Zealand
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1. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

I really don't agree that New Zealand is very expensive every time someone wants to do or eat anything. There are many scenic beaches, views and walks which are completely free. Some museums do charge but others are free eg Te Papa in Wellington, the Auckland Art Gallery and the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Auckland, and Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne.

Not having been to Europe for a few years, I can't comment on prices for restaurants and day tours in relation to European prices. New Zealand prices for tours and restaurants do compare well with Australian destinations I have visited in the last 2 years (Perth, the Swan Valley, Sydney, Melbourne). With the exchange rate in your favour, similar standard meals would generally be slightly less expensive in New Zealand. For tours, so much depends on the distance covered and the activities involved. I'm guessing that you did the White Island tour in Whakatane which is expensive, yes, but the costs involved in running it are high.

Tauranga
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2. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

I'm sorry you didn't like Mount Maunganui. Can you tell me why? I won't take offence. We have a fairly new CEO in Tourism Bay of Plenty I'm sure he would be very interested in your perceptions. I'm with you too. I don't like Surfers Paradise either, but that's just my opinion.

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

I've just got back from a month in Europe, and with the exception of Eastern Europe I found most places much more expensive than NZ, esp since every cathedral, castle, art gallery & museum charged substantial entry fees. In the UK the parking fees at many attractions added up too - £4 to park at Lands End for 10 minutes to take a photo. Light meals without alcohol usually cost $NZ40 pp (£20).

Then I went to Melbourne where you have to pay for the museum & big fees for the special exhibitions at the NGV. I was shocked at the price to visit the Cape Otway Lighthouse ($A18). I certainly paid over $50 pp for 2 courses + wine each time I went out for dinner - never ate 3 courses as couldn't afford too. A hamburger& beer at MEL costs $20!

Here in NZ most museums are free, cathedrals & churches are free, National Parks are free. You can do a lot without taking a tour.

I think you have to accept that travelling can be expensive, but there are many ways to cut the costs & still have a greta holiday.

Ballarat, Australia
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4. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

When we want a cheap relaxing getaway we go to SE Asia, and certainly NZ is expensive compared to there! But I don't think it is expensive compared to Australia. We find travelling in Australia very expensive and then we don't have the exchange rate helping us out. I haven't been to Europe in recent years but last time we were there we found it expensive for museum entries etc, and the quality of the food in cheaper restaurants was very poor I thought. We were on a budget and ate some truly awful meals, especially in Paris. For lunches we mostly went to parks and ate picnics that we put together from delis and they were wonderful, but cheaper restaurant meals were generally not good and sometimes disgusting.

When we go to NZ we do mostly free stuff like driving around having picnics and admiring the scenery, and hiking. We self-cater most of the time and only eat out a couple of times a week. We have a wonderful time and hardly ever eat a dreadful meal, and it doesn't cost a fortune. I guess whether NZ is expensive or not depends on what type of holiday you want. We go there for the great outdoors, most of which is free.

Occasionally we say we should go to NZ for a holiday some time when we've got lots of money, and do all the things we wouldn't normally do because they're too expensive, such as heli trips, but actually I'm not sure we'd enjoy it any more than our regular holidays.

Jervis Bay...
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5. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Hi cssr,

I think I was expecting to see the mountain rising out of the bay in isolation! It took ages to get there through the industrial area and then, as we got closer, there was bumper to bumper traffic in the actual area of Maunganui which we could not get out of for half an hour. I just didn't expect NZ to have such a populated beach area, I guess. I hadn't researched the area, it was a spur of the moment detour. Not our thing at all but obviously very popular with the locals. The beach was nice and deserted which was amazing considering the number of cars on the roads and people in the streets.

Edited: 10 November 2013, 21:16
Oz
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6. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Hi aussieastrogirl,

We are regular winter visitors to NZ (mainly for the skiing) as we find the conditions usually far superior to Australia and it is much cheaper than Thredbo or Mt Hotham. Indeed we can have a ten day holiday in the South Island of NZ based at Queenstown or Wanaka with "side bar trips", ski hire, lift tickets, car rental and accommodation for what it would cost to rent an apartment of similar standard in Thredbo for three or four nights. Short answer for our purposes NZ is much cheaper than Australia.

For our sins we are also regular visitors to the Netherlands. My wife is Dutch and likes to keep in regular contact with family back there. We find Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and Austria to be similar expense wise to Australia. The Scandinavian countries much more expensive and Spain and Portugal cheaper so I guess it depends on what part of Europe you refer to really compare "apples with apples".

IMHO you now to visit the South Island in winter for an amazing NZ holiday ;-)

Cheers

Tauranga
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7. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Thanks for your answer. I can understand your reasoning. The Mount has become very popular in recent years, with a great cafe culture and casual feel. Unfortunately you struck it during a long weekend, not that that makes much difference any more. Not that long ago you could go over there in the winter and be one of a few. Now you can walk around or up the Mount with several hundred other people. Most locals I know don't go near the place over the Christmas period.

Tourism is great, but sometimes I miss how things used to be. I can remember when we used to Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel and have the beach to ourselves all day. Now they've got a damn bus stop at the top of the hill.

Edited: 11 November 2013, 03:55
Jervis Bay...
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8. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Cssr

I live in a little coastal village of 300 people. In summer this goes to 3000 when the summer holiday crowd arrives! They seem to blend in and it's nice to have a bit of life around the place for a few months of the year but it is a shock to go on a regular walk along the beach with no one around and suddenly a week later find a whole lot of people!

Jervis Bay...
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9. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

Jean w I didn't say you couldn't do NZ cheaply just like for like travelling in Italy and Greece is much cheaper. I don't begrudge spending money on sites where entry fees are their only support and places like the pompalier house in Russell had a free very informative guided tour - pity for those who miss it. The Auckland art gallery which was lovely was the only free site we found in Auckland. Maritime museum $17 pp and museum $25pp. The art gallery and museum in Sydney are free. Just had a UK friend to stay in Sydney who went to the pub every night drank and smoked and complained that Sydney was expensive so I know how annoying complaints about costs are.

Ozrcflyer it's cheaper to go to the US to ski than Oz and my boys ski in NZ so there are good things about NZ. In fact we found the South Island more reasonably priced than the north. Maybe it was just the fact that we were travelling with others so our food choices were a bit limited - alone we might have found more sensibly priced restaurants. I just found some tours and some sites prohibitively expensive for us.

I did like huhu in waitomo and jimmy jacks ribs in Paihia great food and good prices,

We had a great holiday.

10. Re: 2 weeks North Island Trip report and thoughts.

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