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Check out the New Zealand trip report from Fan of Dan

North Island Activities and Attractions
Auckland - boating, hiking, Sky Tower talk, Kosher, Chabad, Hilton & Crowne Plaza Hotels with points.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves - a unique New Zealand attraction.
Lake Taupo - great boating activities, bungee, and a nice Hilton.
Hobbit Movie Set Tour - if you are into that.
White Island - The only active volcano in NZ, has rave reviews.
Tauranga - Mount Maunganui Summit Track, nice beaches.
Tongariro National Park - the first one created in NZ.
Bay of Islands - Beautiful beaches, old town charm in Russell, and great hikes.
« Last edited by Yaalili on May 17, 2016, 07:32:09 PM »

Author Topic: New Zealand Master Thread  (Read 45210 times)

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #40 on: September 03, 2013, 10:56:05 AM »
For all those who haven't been to new zealand, a word about the landscape.

In short, New zealand is a place where you say WOW! until you simply get pissed off of saying WOW!

Long,
When you fly into new zealand, at first it looks from above nice, but like things you've seen flying into a country before...
you get off the plane, and get into the city, say, christchurch, and it's a very nice city.

But, then you take a drive outside of the main city area, and the first thing that happens is you say wow! you drive a little further, and come around a bend, and you are dashing for your camera snapping away, and gawking the whole time saying WOW!...

For the next few hours of driving all you say is WOW. you say wow so much you get tired of saying wow. the beauty you behold is so wondrous, yet it has become repetitive in that you have filled your 64gb memory card to the brim with all the pictures you have taken and you are out of batteries. yet there is so much more beauty to behold it is simply frustrating!

At this point, you give up and decide to simply close your gawking mouth, and appreciate the beauty with your eyes.. your camera can stay in your bag.. you can't capture every second of beauty all day long, and it's annoying..

(i spent 2-3 days in christchurch 7-8 days in dunedin and 1 day in Queenstown)

Awe-some.

I've heard it's the prettiest place on earth. Thanks for sharing.

Looks great! You should really go to Mt Cook. If you can, take a chopper up to the top for a glacier landing, which is from the coolest things to do down there.

Do you remember how much the heli was?
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #41 on: September 03, 2013, 11:08:43 AM »
I've heard it's the prettiest place on earth.
Ehh, definitely not all of it. 
I've for the most part only been in urban area there, so that should explain ;)

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #42 on: September 03, 2013, 11:32:03 AM »
Ehh, definitely not all of it. 
I've for the most part only been in urban area there, so that should explain ;)

Seems it does explain:

When you fly into new zealand, at first it looks from above nice, but like things you've seen flying into a country before...
you get off the plane, and get into the city, say, christchurch, and it's a very nice city.

But, then you take a drive outside of the main city area, and the first thing that happens is you say wow! you drive a little further, and come around a bend, and you are dashing for your camera snapping away, and gawking the whole time saying WOW!...

Shame you made it all the way to NZ and couldn't see it's most beautiful parts...
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Offline Fan of Dan

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #43 on: September 03, 2013, 01:51:46 PM »
Fan of Dan - I had Mt Cook on the list previously, specifically walking the Hooker Valley track as it looks amazing. It's just that going from Mt Cook to Franz Josef requires going all the way down and around, and it's a lot of driving just to see Mt Cook. Since I have the Abel Tasman walk, and hiking the glacier, I thought I could skip Mt Cook... I'll look it over again.

As it is, this itinerary requires a lot of driving...
I hear that. Are you going to take Arthur's pass back into Christchurch? When we went every night we stayed somewhere else and did a big loop around the south island. Crazy amount of driving. We went in the NZ winter when everything was white and really pretty. There were also few tourists although I do want to go back and see it in their summer.

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #44 on: September 03, 2013, 01:55:57 PM »
Do you remember how much the heli was?

We paid 150 NZD pp including the glacier landing. Everyone else on board had paid 400 pp but we were a walk in and they had 2 extra seats. I told them I can only afford about 300 NZD total and they can either take me and increase their profits or we simply can't do it. They made us promise not to tell the others and we were on! My wife even got shotgun  :)

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2013, 01:58:21 PM »
Some pics from the chopper

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #46 on: September 03, 2013, 02:45:39 PM »
We paid 150 NZD pp including the glacier landing. Everyone else on board had paid 400 pp but we were a walk in and they had 2 extra seats. I told them I can only afford about 300 NZD total and they can either take me and increase their profits or we simply can't do it. They made us promise not to tell the others and we were on! My wife even got shotgun  :)

Sweeeet.

Some pics from the chopper

Unreal.

My research tells me they look the same in the summer?
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Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #47 on: September 03, 2013, 02:46:43 PM »
Fan of Dan - I had Mt Cook on the list previously, specifically walking the Hooker Valley track as it looks amazing. It's just that going from Mt Cook to Franz Josef requires going all the way down and around, and it's a lot of driving just to see Mt Cook. Since I have the Abel Tasman walk, and hiking the glacier, I thought I could skip Mt Cook... I'll look it over again.

As it is, this itinerary requires a lot of driving...
spot on. i too skipped mt cook for that reason, though i did see on the helicopter tour

Offline Dan

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #48 on: September 03, 2013, 02:56:40 PM »
spot on. i too skipped mt cook for that reason, though i did see on the helicopter tour
TROIDH
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #49 on: September 03, 2013, 03:10:03 PM »
My research tells me they look the same in the summer?
Yes it should look the same in the summer, because the snow and ice is for the most part from glaciers.

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #50 on: September 03, 2013, 03:34:14 PM »
TROIDH

:)

Like I said, by now he probably has mixed up New Zealand with New Guinea...

Yes it should look the same in the summer, because the snow and ice is for the most part from glaciers.

Good deal.
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Offline MendyP

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #51 on: September 03, 2013, 09:57:06 PM »
I hear that. Are you going to take Arthur's pass back into Christchurch? When we went every night we stayed somewhere else and did a big loop around the south island. Crazy amount of driving. We went in the NZ winter when everything was white and really pretty. There were also few tourists although I do want to go back and see it in their summer.
I have us driving up the west coast to Abel Tasman and driving Queen Charlotte Drive by Picton (which is supposed to be beautiful) over to Kaikoura to go swimming with the dolphins .... so no Arthur's Pass... what can you report on Arthur's Pass?

Two other questions:
1) From what I've read, you can't bring in meat from the US. Is it true however that you can bring in (kosher) meat from Australia?
2) I see news articles about a chabad having opened in queenstown early last year, yet it's not listed on chabad.org. Anyone know the deal?

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #52 on: September 03, 2013, 10:23:35 PM »
I have us driving up the west coast to Abel Tasman and driving Queen Charlotte Drive by Picton (which is supposed to be beautiful) over to Kaikoura to go swimming with the dolphins .... so no Arthur's Pass... what can you report on Arthur's Pass?

Two other questions:
1) From what I've read, you can't bring in meat from the US. Is it true however that you can bring in (kosher) meat from Australia?
2) I see news articles about a chabad having opened in queenstown early last year, yet it's not listed on chabad.org. Anyone know the deal?
Arthur's pass is really scenic but not worth rerouting for. In regard to food, they went through everything. The agent checked every single package to make sure that it said from Australia, and I mean every single package. AU is fine but the US is certainly not and IME there is no shot I would have go it thru. Make sure whatever you get says from AU on the packaging.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #53 on: September 04, 2013, 03:46:26 AM »
I have us driving up the west coast to Abel Tasman and driving Queen Charlotte Drive by Picton (which is supposed to be beautiful) over to Kaikoura to go swimming with the dolphins .... so no Arthur's Pass... what can you report on Arthur's Pass?

Two other questions:
1) From what I've read, you can't bring in meat from the US. Is it true however that you can bring in (kosher) meat from Australia?
2) I see news articles about a chabad having opened in queenstown early last year, yet it's not listed on chabad.org. Anyone know the deal?
you can bring meat from the us as long as its shelf stable and contains  no bones (such as the meal mart and kj meals)

as of march 2013 there was no chabad in zqn

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #54 on: October 14, 2013, 05:53:28 PM »
Hi All -

Been planning a NZ trip for a little while now. Looking at Feb 2014 for 2 weeks. Hoping to book next week. Currently have 154,000 AA miles and 73,000 Starpoints. It appears AA puts you on Qantas and you need to change in AUS. Additionally, award flights to the South Island (ZQN, CHC) appear to be gone, so it's looking like I'll use AA miles for RT to Australia and buy flights RT to NZ. Here's the draft itinerary so far. Any insight would be appreciated :)

- Fly Sunday night from NYC, arrive Brisbane on Tuesday morning. No flights to Queenstown til Wednesday, so spend the day on the Gold Coast. Book the Sheraton with Starpoints. Relax after the long flights on the beach.
- Fly Wednesday to Queenstown. Skyline Gondola and Luge.
- Thursday: Doubtful Sound Cruise
- Friday: Milford Sound Cruise, drive back to Queenstown for Shabbat
- Shabbat: Walk around Queenstown. Minus 5 Ice Bar on Sat night.

- Sunday: Franz Josef Glacier Ice Explorer and Hot Pools (3 hours on ice, including helicopter up)
- Monday: Barrytown Knifemaking, Punakaiki Beach (Pancake rocks and blow holes)
- Tuesday: Abel Tasman National Park (rated #1 walk in NZ)
- Wednesday: Encounter Kaikoura (swimming with dolphins)
- Thursday: Fly Christchurch - Sydney. Walk around Sydney. Harbour Twilight BridgeClimb.
- Friday: FeatherDale Wildlife Park (feed kangaroos, pet koalas). Bondi-Coogee Beach walk.
- Shabbat: Great Synagogue, walk around
- Sunday: Fly home

Planning to use 150K AA miles on 2 tix: LGA-DFW-BNE going there, SYD-LAX-JFK coming back. Will be purchasing tix for BNE-ZQN and CHC-SYD for the trip to NZ. Plan to use starpoints for hotels in Australia, and research hotels in the South Island...

Did you end up booking?

Firm up your itin?
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Offline MendyP

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #55 on: October 15, 2013, 03:03:53 PM »
Hey AJK -

Yeah, actually just booked this past weekend! Very excited. Took a while to get the OKs from work. At this point AA mileage tix to NZ don't exist, only to AUS. We booked the following:

  • Sun: Fly LGA-DFW-BNE (AA mileage ticket). Arrive BNE Tuesday.
  • Tue: Spend the day at the Gold Coast, on the beach, relaxing. Booked Sheraton using Starpoints.
  • Wed: Fly Virgin Australia (paid tix) BNE-ZQN. Kills most of the day. Do some activity in Queenstown: Skyline Gondola and Luge, perhaps paragliding, TBD. Drive to Te Anau for the night.
  • Thu: Doubtful Sound Cruise. Night in Te Anau.
  • Fri: Milford Sound Cruise and drive through Fiordland National Park. Drive back to Queenstown for Shabbat.
  • Shab: Explore Queenstown (Queenstown Hill, Queenstown Gardens, Lake Wakatipu) ... need to research this more, as shabbat doesn't end til almost 10pm. Sat night: Minus 5 Ice Bar. Night in Queenstown.
  • Sun: Drive to Mt Cook - Hike the Hooker Valley Track. Long drive over to Fox Glacier for the night
  • Mon: Drive over to Gillispies Beach for a bit, then to Franz Josef Glacier for a glacier hike, followed by the glacier hot pools. Drive to Greymouth for the night.
  • Tue: Barrytown Knifemaking for the day, followed by Punakaiki Beach briefly, then drive to Kaikoura
  • Wed: Swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura. Drive to Christchurch, explore
  • Thu: Fly Air NZ CHC-SYD (paid tix) in the AM. Booked Westin with Starpoints. Explore Sydney, The Rocks, etc. Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb at twilight.
  • Fri: FeatherDale Wildlife Park (kangaroos, koalas). Walk Bondi to Coogee.
  • Shab: The Great Synagogue. Explore
  • Sun: Fly home SYD-LAX-JFK

Itinerary is mostly together. Just booked all the motels/B&B's and a car in NZ (6 different places for 8 nights). Booked the SPG hotels for BNE and SYD. Debating staying in Bondi Beach area for Shabbat, although really prefer to use Starpoints and not $$. Need to research where to walk/see on Shabbat for Queenstown and Sydney a bit more.

Any and all suggestions appreciated :)

Offline AJK

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #56 on: October 15, 2013, 03:16:37 PM »
Wow. Nicely done. Looks like you did your research.

I'm still in the planning stages... first need to work out my flights, and then I'll try and firm our itin.

You're going early feb?
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Offline MendyP

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #57 on: October 15, 2013, 03:20:28 PM »
Yup. Late summer there and crap weather here in NY.

When are you looking to go?

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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #58 on: October 15, 2013, 03:27:42 PM »
Around the same time.
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Re: New Zealand Master Thread
« Reply #59 on: October 15, 2013, 03:37:49 PM »
I'd be curious to see your itinerary as well once you get that together. Here's some links that may be useful as well:

Apply for a visa for Australia: https://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ETA/etas.jsp (none needed for NZ)
Allowed food/drink to import to AUS: http://www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/travel/cant-bring-form/australian_biosecurity (i still need to go through this)
Allowed food/drink to import to NZ: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/enter/declare (i still need to go through this)
Kosher NZ directory: http://www.kosher.co.nz/kosher-kiwi-directory.html