New Zealand Hidden Gems
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 12:47 PM Last Post By: hereandtherenz
Jun 8, 2012 1:44 PM
New Zealand Hidden GemsHey Guys,
I know you get a lot of these "Where to go" messages but I hope you can stand one more!!
My girlfriend and I are off to NZ this summer and we have 30 days in a camper. It's our second trip to NZ and last time did a lot of the main highlights. We did Chch, Kaikoura, Mt Cook, Wanaka, Queenstown (although in May so out of season), Milford Sound, Fox, Marlborough, Picton, Wellington, Egmont, Whangamomona, Taupo, Rotorua, Coromandel and Auckland.
We only have 5 weeks last time so it would be a bit much to say we'd 'done' all of these. We'll defineitely be going back to some of these however .......................
We'd love to spend some time in New Zealand's hidden gems, what are the main things we missed or the things that everyone misses?
We have a budget of about NZ$200 a day and are flying in and out of Auckland
Lots of thanks
Greg and Steph
Jun 8, 2012 1:55 PM
Jun 8, 2012 2:56 PM
2August could be rather cold if you plan to stay in a campervan. I suggest that you visit places around the North Island during August where it should be (historically) warmer. You could always have a play in the snow around Tongariro NP, or New Plymouth (Taranakai/Mt Egmont).
How about Auckland - Raglan - Waitomo Caves - Mt Ruapehu skifields (Whakapapa and Turoa) - Wanganui - Kapiti Coast - Wellington. If your flights during August depart from Auckland, grab a domestic flight using air NZ's Grab-a-Set deals and fly north from Wellington to Auckland.
For your summer trip, I suggest that you arrive Auckland, but spend time touring Northland and the Far North. Awesome coastal and native bush scenery, very affordable camp grounds and free activiities. Drive right up to Cape Reinga on the road (can't use the beach if hiring a vehicle). Karikari pensinsula, and the area just south of the Cape have awesome remote beaches.
Bay of Plenty has lots to offer from Waihi Beach south through Tauranga and the Mount to Whakatane and Ohope. But also do an East Cape tour including Hicks Bay, Tolaga Bay to Gisborne, then Napier and Hastings. Return north to Auckland from Napier, or continue on to Wellington through Martinborough with a side visit to Castlepoint or Cape Palliser further south of Martinborough.
Jun 8, 2012 4:05 PM
Jun 8, 2012 5:50 PM
4I'm confused too. Your summer, our winter, = August??
three places I see off your list from your last trip are 1) Nelson/Golden Bay region, including the Kahurangi National Park; 2) the East Cape/Hawkes Bay (Whakatane round the Cape down to Napier/Hastings); 3) Northland. all would be quite nice places to spend time in August - compared to others.
Jun 8, 2012 7:14 PM
5Did you check out the seal pup "nursery" north of Kaikoura?
From what I see on Youtube, it may not be that "hidden" anymore though. Amazing no less!
Back in 2006, my accomm. provider in town had only just found out about it himself.
About 25 kms north of Kaikoura at Ohau Waterfall(very beautiful irrespective of the seals btw) you may be able to witness dozens of baby seals frolicking about, upsteam from the pounding surf.
Jun 8, 2012 11:53 PM
Jun 9, 2012 12:33 AM
Jun 9, 2012 12:49 AM
8weather permitting, top of the west coast of the south island; loads to see and do round Greymouth, Westport, Hokitika and then on to Karamea for the unmissable Oparara Basin and the end of the Heaphy Track.
lots of mining and NZ history in this area. I would highly recommend Beaconstone hostel but I think they close over winter.
You said you've been to Marlborough; did you visit Golden Bay? Takaka, Rawhiti caves, Farewell Spit and the seals and lots more.
good luck in that campervan, brrr... :-)
Jun 9, 2012 5:07 AM
9Welcome Flat hut is a great walk, but not sure I would do it in August. Denniston on the West Coast is great on a fine day. Pupu Springs in Nelson if you didn't see them last time. The forgotten highway and the river road near Whanganui are good drives.
Yes August in South Island will be cold, but some spectacular scenery with the snow. I never understand why people say don't go in winter.
Jun 9, 2012 7:10 AM
Jun 9, 2012 12:28 PM
11Someone tried to tell me the other day "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes and a bad attitude"!!!!! That's obviously complete rubbish but I like the sentiment.
We know it's not going to be warm sunshine but we're coming prepared and are very realistic as to how cold it's going to be, especially in the south. We had a month in a much more basic van in May 2009 and it snowed very early that year.
We are teachers in the UK so don't have any choice when we take our holidays. NZ is amazing year round and we're looking forward to making the most of snow capped mountains and skiing :o)
Jun 9, 2012 3:05 PM
12Jaded - there won't be any seal pups there in August. But it is still a nice walk.
The cost north of Westport is beautiful and amazing and I love it - it isn't visited often as there's not much there other than the amazing nature and it's a dead end. I'd love to try to walk right around the top corner one day... you can drive quite a way on the Golden Bay side as well.
And I wouldnt' worry about being a camper. With only two of you it shoudl be bearable. Modern campers have pretty effective and comfortable heating. I think I'd rather be in a camper than facing the chilly 5 minute dash to the nearest loos, and getting undressed for a shower in frigid camping ground changing rooms.
hostels would probably be better, but you have so much more flexibility in a camper for day stops...
ETA I think I'd do Welcome Flat in August. I'm not sure that I'd feel like getting half naked for the hot pools, but the walk further up the valley would be amazing - we walked it in November? I think and you could still see massive hanging glaciers up in the valleys to the side. We walked up to the next hut but unfortunately the clouds came in and we didn't get to see the view to Mt Cook summit. We did meet a guy up there who was walking back down after being rained in for a couple of days - would pay to check the river crossings before you went. I woudn't want to be making wet crossings in August.
Jun 9, 2012 7:51 PM
13We only went as far as the Welcome Flat hut. Sounds like it might be worth another trip to do the next bit. We sat in the hot pools and looked up to where the track went but didn't have the time. It was summer when we went so we did all the wet crossings, but there were diversions with swing bridges for most of them. Much of the track is up a river bed with some scrambling over large rocks. Says 8 hours I think but we did it in 5 1/2 and I think we were slow.
Jun 10, 2012 1:42 PM
14We stayed at the Welcome Flat hut (actually we were camping, but man that's a flash hut) for two nights, and on the middle day we walked to the next hut and back. Great views. Shame we missed out on the view of Mt cook though.
I don't think you were slow at 5 1/2. We took longer than that but we have a bad habit of standing around looking at birds for 30 minutes ;-) the feathered variety, obv. Also the bottles of wine may have slowed us up a bit on the way in...
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
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