New Zealand Notes for Budget Travelers
Spending Tips from the Experts! Some of you are probably wondering how the heck we are making our money stretch around the world. The answer is on a budget! As we planned and planned and then planned some more prior the trip, we did our best to estimate our costs from everything to tickets and visas and travel insurance to daily costs and special, one-time expenses like tours.
Hei konā rā New Zealand
Sarah, Leah & Sue Tomorrow we say goodbye to New Zealand and the lovely Kiwis (people, fruit and birds) and head for Oz. New Zealand has been good to us. It’s a beautiful country to tour, and I imagine one of the easiest places in the world to travel.
Rainbow Falls When Kiwis go on vacation they go to Northland. It’s the peninsula north of Auckland, and you’re sandwiched in between the South Pacific and the Tasman sea, so there are loads of beach options. It’s where most of the Maori population is located these days too.
Spotted - 9:30 Club Guy in Auckland
9:30 Club Guy So LeeAnne and I are back in Auckland briefly before we head north to visit Sarah. We’re here primarily to finally pick up our tickets and run a few other errands around town. So after we’ve finished our business we’re walking down by the harbor right around sunset and we approach a big guy on the sidewalk.
That Smell: Rotorua
Anyone Smell Eggs? Rotorua stinks, literally (some may say figuratively too, but that’s another entry all together) it’s the center of a lot of geothermal activity here on the North Island. There are geysers and steam and the smell of rotten eggs all over up here.
Near Miss - Cousin Sammy
At the same time LeeAnne and I are doing our around the world travel my cousin Sam Forrest is doing something very similar. Last I had heard he was in South America so I never really even thought about the possibility that our paths might cross, but small world that it is, it seems he jumped over the Pacific by way of the Galapagos and Easter Island and was in Auckland when we were in Wellington – opposite sides of the North Island.
The Wild West Coast
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks After touring the Lakes District and Fiordland, we headed over Haast Pass to the west coast, described as wild and quite wet by most brochures and guidebooks. The drive over Haast was on one of our first clear, sunny days.
The Ice Storm: Glacier Country
Sure Footed LeeAnne Traveling up the West Coast of the South Island we did hikes to the Ice faces of two of the biggest glaciers in New Zealand Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph Glacier. I’d never seen glaciers except on TV before and the experience was well worth the trip out.
Serious LOTR Country - Milford Sound
Good Lord of the Rings! Fjordland – the southwestern corner of the South Island – feels very different from the rest of the country. For one thing it’s almost all a huge temperate rain forest. So you’ll have a forest of conifers littered with huge ferns, and these crazy mountains that don’t belong in the Lord of the Rings – they’re the source material for it.
Crazy Blue Lake Tekapo The first stop in our career as car campers is Lake Tekapo – a wonderfully blue-blue (almost phony looking) lake in the Southern Alps. We’re also at a pretty high altitude, and the lake is rather remote so residents of the lake area claim to have the clearest sky’s in New Zealand.
Diary of a Car Camper - New Zealand
Not ours, but I wish it was... We’re starting kind of a second leg of our stay here in New Zealand, the bikes are gone and we’re renting a car for the rest of the trip. Of course it’s going to give our legs a break and let us have a lot more range in terms of where we can go and what we can see in a day.
Cycling New Zealand - That is a Wrap
Lets Stick a Fork in this one LeeAnne We are back in Christchurch finally, after spending the past few weeks biking the South Island. From here we rent a car and head to the west coast over the mountains and then back up to the North Island.
Eat Your Heart Out Charlie
Cadbury World If you’re like me, watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the original with Gene Wilder) when you were a kid was a little disturbing. Our tour of Cadbury World in Dunedin proved to be full of a little of that same creepiness as well as loads of chocolate goodness!
Dunedin - San Francisco of the South?
Tribal Graffiti New Zealand is a very hilly place. Dunedin is the MOST hilly place we have been yet in the country. In fact it’s the home of the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street. And the motorway in to town – the main artery for cars trucks etc.
Big Birds, Sleepy Sealions and Super Cute Penguins
Cute Yellow Eyed Penguins with Happy Feet while they are Marching Yesterday we threw the budget out and splurged for our first tour in New Zealand. Actually, it was quite a bargain and worth every penny!
Stretching out from the Dunedin coast is the Otago Peninsula.
Somewhere Between Clinton and Gore
Along the Presidential Highway So we are back on the road cycling. This time we are lighter (we dropped a bunch of stuff off with acquaintances in Christchurch), smarter (we’ve traveled south by bus and are riding north to keep the wind at our backs), and more motivated (if you read our post on Invercargill you’ll understand, we need to get out of here!
Invercargill is not a hotbed of activity The Legend of Burt Munro Have you seen the movie “The Worlds Fastest Indian”? It’s the true story of an elderly Kiwi who breaks the world speed record for motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah at the ripe old age of 69.
Christchurch... or Disneyland?
Is it Christchurch, or Epcot? I once had a conversation with an Australian woman about the nature of Kiwi’s, “They’re more British than the British she said.” Now, asking an Australian to define the nature of a Kiwi (or vice versa) is never recommended, and you shouldn’t expect an unbiased answer, but in the case of Christchurch …she may have been on to something.
Pedal, Pedal, Pedal
A Bad day on the bike is better than a good day in the office So our plan for a while has been to bike while in New Zealand. After considerable research and contemplation, we decided to rent bikes and bike on the South Island only.
One Night in the Jailhouse
LeeAnne adds her marks to the door An unexpected end to our second day of riding was that LeeAnne and I spent the night in the jailhouse.
The Chevoit (Pronounced Chevy-Ut) Motel is built on the grounds of the old Cheviot jailhouse – which still stands.
Hobbits & Elves
Well, San Francisco has hills and Cable Cars too. But that is where the comparison ends We arrived in the capital city of Wellington on Monday evening after 11 hours on a bus traversing the North Island from Auckland.
Reflections on Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Hokey Pokey
Flavored Milk is Big Down Here The three things that stand out about food here in New Zealand are their love of (In order) Ice Cream, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes (known locally as Kumara).
Let’s cover the last first, when I first saw it listed on the menu I just assumed that Kumara was a strange type of sausage.
The City of Sails
Lively Auckland We arrived in Auckland early Friday morning and spent three days there exploring the city. Since we only spent a few days in one city, it’s probably not fair to make any kind of sweeping generalizations about Kiwis or New Zealand for that matter.
Return Ticket Please!
Incident at LAX Finally, after months of planning, preparations and daydreaming, we were off. Lee Anne’s sister in law and niece Megan saw us off in Dallas, and we were on our way to our first stop – New Zealand.
Kia Aro from New Zealand!
After fifteen hours of flights and four or so hours of lay-overs we’ve arrived at our first destination: New Zealand.
You may say to yourself: “Too Easy! An Around the world trip that starts half-way around the world, they’re cheating.” Well, yes maybe we are cheating.