Posts matching the tag "activities"
March 13, 2014
If you are pondering a visit to New Zealand, consider a visit during the off-season. Not only will you be rewarded by quiet beaches and walking tracks, campgrounds will be blissfully serene, and highway travel will be (almost) worry-free.
Although New Zealand has a relatively small population, international visitors boost the population to nearly 5 million (that’s and extra 20%) during the peak summer period. And, although the summer is warmer than other times of the year, competing with locals (not to mention other international visitors) for space at the country’s hot-spots can be a bit unnerving.
Autumn and spring both have their advantages, particularly for those interested in the outdoors.
- Daytime temperatures are more forgiving, allowing for comfortable long-distance tramping and mountain biking. Some campervan companies have bikes and gear available for hire (no need to find another provider), so make sure you ask when researching your campervan rental.
- Bookings for popular walking tracks, huts and backcountry campgrounds are less likely to be full. Most Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites and walking tracks (with overnight facilities) require booking. This is to manage demand over peak periods, as well as a visitor register for emergencies. Always remember to to sign in and sign out of walking tracks in New Zealand.
- Discounts on activities and accommodation are often available during the quieter visitor seasons. When reserving your campervan, ask the company what ‘extra value’ components are included if you hire over the shoulder and off seasons: you might be surprised at what is available.
How much time do you need to visit New Zealand?
When visiting any country, allowing plenty of time to ‘get to know ‘ the place is always better than rushing around.
Here are a few pointers in your New Zealand trip planning:
- 10 days – 2 weeks: Visit One Island (North or South), unless you have plans to fly between them
- 3 weeks: Just enough time to do a quick tour of both islands
- 4 weeks: Allows enough time for a break of a couple of days at your favourite spots on a two island tour
- 5-6 weeks: Enough time to experience the hidden gems New Zealand has to offer
Planning a visit outside normal peak season is an excellent option for those able to do it. Not only will you get to see more of the country, you’ll be able to meet more of the locals and experience more of what “real life” in New Zealand is really like.
August 13, 2013
Most visitors travelling into New Zealand will arrive in Auckland. For those who haven’t been to New Zealand before, the Auckland Airport is world class. In fact, it was voted one of the Top 10 Airports in the World, and the best in the Asia Pacific region 3 years in a row. That’s quite a nice way to start a visit to any new country.
The airport is approximately 45 minutes drive from the heart of downtown Auckland. Taxis and buses are easy to find outside the main terminal building, and camper van & car rental companies will either have an office located next to the arrivals area on the ground floor, or a free pick-up service to take you to their office (usually very near the airport).
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland has a plethora of activities for every kind of visitor. From harbour cruises (an absolute MUST for everyone), fine dining at the Viaduct, world class aquariums, museums and art galleries, excellent shopping, and regional parks for mountain biking and hiking, Auckland is a city of surprises.
Some of Auckland’s highlights include:
- A day trip to one of the many Hauraki Gulf Islands
- Wine tasting on Waiheke
- Farmers Markets: choose from La Cigale French Market, Otara, Hobsonville , Parnell or many other quality markets for a morning of fun
- Hiking & Mountain Biking: grab your bike or your cross trainers and head to one of 10 parks located within an hour of downtown Auckland
- Shopping is exceptional in the CBD
- If you love the sea, take a walk along the scenic Tamaki Drive and stop in at Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium
If you haven’t planned to spend time in Auckland, do yourself a favour and modify your itinerary . . . you won’t regret your decision.
July 4, 2013
When winter arrives, I often think it’s time to stay indoors and snuggle up with a good book.
But just as I’m getting ready to light the fire, the sun breaks through the clouds and the temperature starts to rise. This is exactly what happened when we were in Kaikoura a couple of weeks ago. The previous couple of days had been stormy, windy and well . . . really good book reading weather. We were camped north of town near Mangamaunu (one of NZ’s highest ranked surf spots) and had planned to leave the following morning as both the weather and the surf conditions had been a bit of a disappointment.
But, as so often happens on our winter road trips around the country, we woke to a near scorching summer day and perfectly forming waves brought on by the previous days of strong wind.
Perfect. We’re staying.
So, instead of packing up the campervan, we unpacked our longboards and headed out to play. Sure, the water was cold, but it’s nearly always chilly in this part of the country. The best thing about winter surfing in NZ is that the waves are quiet, often very quiet. We had the company of a 3 fur seals for the first hour, then a couple more campervans turned up with some keen surfers from Brazil and California. They, too, had been waiting for the weather to break and couldn’t believe that there were only 8 of us sharing the waves.
We spent another hour making the most of the sun and waves, then headed back to ‘home base’ for a bit of breakfast and a hot cup of tea. As the day progressed a few locals came out to enjoy the waves, but we had the beach to ourselves for nearly the entire day. Gorgeous location, perfect waves and summer time temperatures.
You never know what New Zealand will dish-up from day to day. It’s certainly nice to have the time, the freedom and an ‘house-on-wheels’ to be able to stay and enjoy a place when the opportunity arises.