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Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Danville, California
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Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

We visited New Zealand and Australia for 3 weeks in early 2008. Haast was by far the WORST stop on our itinerary. We decided to stay here because it was about halfway on the drive from Greymouth to Queenstown. Big mistake!

There is nothing to do here. All the motels are overpriced dives, about $100 for a cheapo room that does not even compare to a $40 Motel 6 off the highway in the USA. There are a total of 3 restaurants for dinner, but don't be late as they close by 9 or 10pm. Did I mention that the restaurant prices were absurd? $26 for fish and chips!!! No joke. The local store closes at 7pm, and the gas station with minimart is also not 24 hour. So if you need milk for the baby (as we did) you could be up a creek.

But the worst part, aside from the fact that there is nothing to do here, is that the mosquito type bugs will eat you alive. We were still suffering from these bites a week later after we returned to the US!

As with all places there is one good thing: because there is so little ambient light (Population 60) you get a great view of the stars in the southern sky at night. And our motel owner was very nice, even if his place was overpriced. I mean we have paid less to stay on the Sunset Strip in LA - and this is about as far as you can get from that.

Needless to say there are better places to stop on this road. If we could do it again I would have stayed overnight in Franz Joseph Glacier or Fox Glacier (the former is a nice town) or further up the road towards Queenstown.

Avoid Haast at all costs.

Whangarei, Northland
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1. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Not sure if you are really serious with your comments about restaurants not staying open late and the minimart not being open 24 hours - as you pointed out this is a very small town.

Even in towns of 20,000 people in NZ, often restaurants don't stay open after about 9pm, thats just the way it is in NZ.

Sure, Haast might not be the greatest place to stay, but the comments in your post are a little unrealistic.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Hahahahaha....what were you thinking, Haast is one very tiny settlement, not a flaming multi-million populated city! It has a few businesses that service passing motorists on their way to the West Coast AND "people who don't do their homework" that end up staying there and paying for the priviledge! Afterall, as you found out, they have you trapped, there ain't nowhere else to go for miles. Also remember they have to cart all that food in from the metropolises as well, that's why it's expensive!

Auckland NZ
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90 posts
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3. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

A good example why Americans have the reputation they have. Expect all the services and trimmings where ever they go. Haast has one of the best information offices which is outstanding in a settlement this small.

Brisbane, Australia
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711 posts
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4. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Your expectations for such a small, isolated town with a population of 60 was totally unrealistic. As Zappers said, you should have done your homework.

Feilding, New...
Destination Expert
for Rotorua
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38 reviews
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5. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Do ALL the small towns in the US have twenty four service minimarts ? Somehow I seem to have missed them in small town America. You obviously were not prepared. Most people heading down South have the sense to use insect repellant. So how did you manage to get milk for the baby?

Wellington, New...
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746 posts
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6. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Come on Baraxo why would a place with a population of 60 have a minimart that would stay open 24 hours and restaurants that would stay open beyond 9 or 10p.m.!!! Do you think they are just waiting for another tourist like you to come and buy some milk for your baby! Best you do your homework next time you travel and realise that not all places on earth are waiting to cater for tourists like you.

Virgin Islands
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172 posts
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7. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

Haast sounds like just my kind of place. We'll be sure to stop by.

Umbria, Italy
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for Sunshine Coast, Umbria
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4,529 posts
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8. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

No wonder that the Septic Tanks are doing so well in Iraq they just really do have that understanding that comes from intensive examination of their objectives.

Coventry, United...
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23 posts
17 reviews
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9. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!

We stopped in Haast in August 2007 and I would also definitely put it in the places to avoid list! We weren't expecting much, but the service at the Heritage Park Motel was the only unfriendly one we had anywhere in NZ (I asked for milk and you'd have thought I was swearing at the woman! Milk was provided at every other motel)

However, we went to McGuires and they were lovely there. The chef cooked up a special meal for us. However, it is very remote, there is nothing to do if you are not into fishing. We went looking for the beach thinking a nice walk. Not easy to spot, but it took up 20 mins.

If doing it again, I'd make an earlier start from Wanaka and go straight to the glaciers. Haast is certainly on my places to give a miss to list.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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145 posts
10 reviews
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10. Re: Haast - a good town to avoid - do not stop here!


"A good example why Americans have the reputation they have." I support all the posts here that the taveler should have been more prepared for their travels and should not blame the delima on the DESTNATION. I do, however, take exception to Americans being singled out as the only persons to make these type of statements about their travels. As I travel to NZ next month I hope that I am accepted as an individual and not steryotyped by false generalizations about my nationalty.