Non tourist adventures in New Zealand and Neighboring Islands
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Mar 15, 2012 5:07 PM Last Post By: jwhero
Mar 11, 2012 11:14 AM
Non tourist adventures in New Zealand and Neighboring IslandsWe're from LA and are considering a trip to New Zealand and Fiji in December 2012. Our past two trips my husband and I went all over SE Asia taking our own route. We like adventurous travel and we think Thailand is already too Western for our liking. We loved figuring out how to cross the new country border at Ha Tien Vietnam to Cambodia where there isn't an established route (no public transport service) so we hopped on the back of an old man's scooter. We like traveling on our own in countries where we don't know the language, eat great local food, meet the locals, enjoy the culture (beyond the basics), and look for trips that give us an opportunity to experience the region's real life, not the tourist zones.
Our challenge is to find a place that is warm, isn't too expensive (we know we can't probably beat the value of SEA), a country that has natural beauty (flora & fauna) and is a fun challenge to navigate. There has to be adventure, and I don't mean zip lining! We're open to traveling to islands on boats or whatever. I'd love any insight you have to truly adventurous spots in New Zealand and neighboring islands. I already know about Zorbing and that's not what I'm looking for (though I'll probably end up trying it) Any ideas?
We need to book soon as we're using frequent flyer miles and need to know our in and out points.
Thanks for your time and suggestions!
Mar 11, 2012 12:01 PM
1Thailand too westernized? There are many parts of it that see very few westerners, where you'd be hard pushed to get anyone who speaks English. You just have to get off the tourist trail that everybody else follows.
Mar 11, 2012 12:28 PM
2warm? NZ, but not always.
Not too expensive: not NZ.
neighbouring islands: Stewart Island. Tramp the big circuit, that will be an adventure, I hope you are fit enough and have sufficient backcountry experience. Waiheke, Rangitoto, Great Barrier, Little Barrier. Not too many others nearby.
food is really good. Lots of great stuff to see and do, most of it free or cheap if you have feet.
sorry, they do speak English. So that's probably the end of it.. :-)
Mar 11, 2012 1:22 PM
Mar 11, 2012 1:22 PM
4You can find extraordinary areas within NZ that aren't run of the mill tourist destinations. For example, the Far North outlying coastal spots, north Hokianga, East Cape, Urewera, Whanganui River, eastern Taranaki, Gt Barrier Island, north Coromandel. Prices within these regional areas reflect local content and expectations.
For Pacific islands, consider Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and Cook Islands (but not Rarotonga) - Polynesian languages widely spoken.
Mar 11, 2012 3:13 PM
Mar 11, 2012 4:55 PM
6ok, so I know I am biased, but there are some excellent off the beaten track hikes around us in the Kahurangi National Park. You can easily spend several days in the mountains here without seeing hardly anybody. Also, (again I am biased) we offer people the chance to actually fly a stunt plane themselves, and perform aerobatics.. if you think that sounds unlikely, check us out at www.uflyextreme.co.nz, and go to the link to the feedback websites either trip advisor, or rankers.co.nz. If you want to check out the Kahurangi national Park, these people know it better than almost anyone else. www.bushandbeyond.co.nz. hapy to give local advice if you get to this area..
and have to agree with the post about Stewart Island.. it is spectacular.. and very wild, but you do need to be fit to do that route.
Mar 11, 2012 8:24 PM
7The most 'off the beaten path' I've done in New Zealand and in the Islands mentioned above is sailing. It's slow and I'm not sure how hard it is to find crew spots (it was easy for me as I was crew for family) but it might be worth considering if you are looking for something different.
Also, as mentioned above, some places are 'touristy' because they are so spectacular and it would be a shame to miss them.
Fiji's wet season is Nov-April. If you are planning on going there (or one of the other islands), go as early as you can in your trip. Norfolk Islands might be a bit more settled but you would need to check this on the web
Mar 11, 2012 8:43 PM
8Completely agree with #3. If you're looking for the thrill of a new culture, NZ is not going to do it for an American (speaking from experience). Sure NZ has a unique culture, but it's a developed country where people mostly do what you and all your friends and neighbors do. Only they pay twice as much to do it (and you will, too!).
NZ is "touristy as" - with the "world's biggest" something and the "world's smallest" or "world's only" other thing around every corner. As #5 and #7 say, however, many of the touristy spots are touristy because they're awesome! I've been off-the beaten track several places in NZ. The greatest part was there weren't any other people. Otherwise, they were just relatively unremarkable places with a occasional scenic views. There's a good reason no one else is there!
Hope this doesn't come across as condescending. Just trying to say, "Wait! Stop! If your first paragraph describes what you're really looking for, turn back now!" South America is amazing (and absolutely nothing like Mexico, as many Americans who haven't been seem to think). Lots of adventure, border ridiculousness (look out for those Chileans!), and moments requiring ingenuity on your part. Avoid Brazil and it's VERY budget friendly, too! On par, almost with SE Asia!
Mar 11, 2012 8:45 PM
Mar 12, 2012 8:49 PM
10You will want to go and check out Chatham and Pitt Island... these are incredibly remote, very few people live there, 600 and 30 respectively.
Alternatively if you want adventure, have a look at hiking from Haast to Gunns Camp via the Hollyford.
Another option for something that the run of the mill tourist doesn't do would be getting down to the Auckland and Campbell Islands.
Your requirement for warm means that if you want to be in the South Island then you've got a window of about 2.5 months from mid-December.
The North Island there are lots of islands, but again there are places that are off the tourist trunk line, head into the hills in and around New Plymouth, you'll find hidden bays and beaches. The good thing about New Zealand is that there is very little to be afraid of, the biggest killer in New Zealand is the environment itself, but as is the case with anywhere you do get a few bad eggs.
Mar 13, 2012 1:52 AM
11Having lived here all my life, I think it would be fair to say that the activities that fall into the true "adventure" category (I'm not talking Zorbing, Bungy jumping, or white-water rafting, here) are also those that are high risk.
Step off the beaten track (figuratively and literally speaking) at the wrong time of year, you could die.
NZ is otherwise a very safe country, that will kill those with a taste for out-of-the-routine adventure, who are just a little unlucky/ill prepared. Overseas trampers get lost all too often. Sometimes they're not found for months.
That said, driving the roads can be a bit of an adventure at times. :-/
Mar 15, 2012 5:07 PM
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