New Zealand

Richard Harbourne 20 November 2007
New Zealand - What a country! I have been lucky to visit New Zealand twice. The last time in 2007 I spent 2 weeks in the South Island and a year before that I visited the North Island.

New Zealand is a place for all ages but especially if you are the adventurous type and like outdoor activities.

The first time I visited New Zealand I was on a work trip so we packed a lot into one week. We started off with a few nights in Auckland, which is a very clean and modern city. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel right down by Auckland’s beautiful marina. Auckland is quite small and a good place to start as that is where the International Airport is. If travelling to New Zealand I would recommend to start your holiday on either the North or South Island and then fly out of the other driving and stopping off at different places in between. This is how you will see the whole country and get the most out of it.

There is so much to do but a few trips we took was the coach ride to Mangere mountain. This was fantastic and you will see the whole city and the bridge from the top. This only took a few hours. We then took a jet boat tour out of the harbour which was at high speed and was great fun. It's the best way to see the coastline and get your adrenaline pumping. If that's not enough you could do the sky jump from the tower in the city which is at 630 feet. (I chickened out of this I'm afraid).

We then drove south to Rotorua visiting the Waitomo glow worm caves along the way taking a boat tour inside the caves, this was spectacular. We then took a helicopter tour to White island and landed on an active volcano. This was an experience I will never forget as it was my first time in a helicopter, the views were amazing.

We spent a few of the days in various different hotels along the coasts up to the Bay of Islands where the two oceans meet. If you are lucky you may spot a shark from the cliff tops as we did. It was about 20 feet and possibly a great white. We also drove along 90 miles of beaches the whole length to Cape Reinga which again was stunning stopping off for photo opportunities.

The second time I visited New Zealand in 2007 was for a holiday and I flew into Christchurch, stayed there for a few nights. Christchurch was quite small and 3 days would be enough here. We then travelled down to Queenstown by internal flight which was less than 1 hour. This was my favourite place in New Zealand. Such a beautiful place and so many different kinds of sports and activities to take part in. One of my favourites was the cable car ride up to Bobs Peak. You have views over Queenstown and the mountains surrounding Queenstown.

Once at the top you can also do the luge ride which are toboggan type single seater cars on wheels. They can go quite fast and you ride along a single track. They have a restaurant at the top where we had lunch by the window and just admired the views and watched all the different sport activities that were going on. There is something for everyone here.

We then went to the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier which is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand's West Coast Glaciers. We stayed here 1 night in a motel but whilst we were there we took a helicopter ride up to the glacier and landed on top for photos and to walk around in the snow. Another one of hundreds of amazing trips to take whilst visiting this country.

From Franz Joseph we took the Alpine train journey which ran from Dunedin back to Christchurch which was a great way to see more of the country and its coast. The journey took us around 3 hours from Dunedin back to Christchurch.

So much to do and see in NZ you need at least 3 weeks to see the whole country. The best way is to hire a camper van which are widely available and can be picked up on arrival and which I can arrange as well as an itinerary for you whilst you are there.

I hope I get to do this all over again.