GLBT Travelers - New Zealand
Sep 19, 11, 7:35 am
We are two 60 year old guys planning a 5 week trip to New Zealand starting from Dunedin in early February. We are looking for interesting places and scenery; nothing riotous.
We need some ideas of a route to take by car ending up in Auckland. Are there any friendly motel chains or restaurants that you could recommend ?
To be honest, although I've lived in NZ for quite a while now, I haven't seen too much of it! But here are my thoughts anyway which I hope you will find useful.
Dunedin is nice but make sure you're out of there before the students return for the start of university year (O week is late february and things can get a bit messy/rowdy then). Definitely go to Queenstown, wonderful scenery there. You could then move on to the glaciers (not sure if they are worth it in February) or go to Milford sound. Make your way up the west coast if you like rugged coastline. Head up towards Nelson, passing through the world famous Abel Tasman National park. Nelson itself is absolutely wonderful, and I think it'd be worth spending a decent amount of time there. Next stop could be the Marlborough sounds, then get to Picton and hop on the ferry over to Wellington.
My personal feeling is that South Island has much more to offer than North island. I wouldn't really know which way to go up the North Island. If you are into wine, it may be worth going on the east coast to the Gisborne/Hawke's Bay regions. Next stop could be Rotorua and then finishing at Auckland, or heading further north of Auckland to the far north and then coming back.
It may be useful to post your question in the other more generic forums. There is also an enormous of information about NZ tourism on the internet, seeing as tourism is big here. http://www.newzealand.com/ is the official website, but I don't know how useful it is. http://wikitravel.org/en/New_Zealand has some good practical travel information and sightseeing information.
Not sure about motel chains. I would think you would have to look at accommodation specifically in each region. For accommodation and restaurants we love to use www.tripadvisor.com. Hasn't let us down yet. Some smaller places may not have many reviews for the motels listed there, but it's pretty good for the larger places.
I know Dunedin decently well, so I'll start you off there. If you're looking for a fairly pricey and fancy dinner, we'd personally recommend the Two Chefs restaurant which is close to the Octagon. Have dined there a number of times and so far so good. Accommodation wise, we've stayed in Euro 315 and Bluestone on George, both of which were faultless.
Sep 23, 11, 10:39 pm
there is not a chain of hotels that I would recommend to you, but you may want to check out
www.gaystay.co.nz for a range of budget stays, b&b's and farmstays which you could incorporate into your trip.
Where to go :
Dunedin - couple of great places - Larnach Castle and the Tairei Gorge Train trip www.taieri.co.nz
I would drive north from Dunedin to Timaru then head west to Lake Tekapo. South to Queenstown. From there head to Te Anau and do the day trips to Milford Sound, and Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is an awesome trip but you can only go with a group, Its a boat ride up Lake Manapouri then over the pass to the Sound.
Head back to Wanaka and then west via the Haast Pass - up the west coast via the Glaciers.
Head onto Motueka and Takaka - Autumn Farm is a great place to stay.
Drive across to Picton via Nelson, Havelock and then Queen Charlotte Drive to take in the amazing views of the Sounds.
If you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan head south to Marlborough (only an hour) and do some wine sampling.
From Wellington I would head over the Rimutaka's to Martinbrough, then north to Napier. Head further north to Wairoa and drive inland to Lake Waikemoana . North to Gisborne and either around East Cape or inland to Whakatane.
From here you should head south to Rotorua and Taupo. Do not miss the geothermal area of Waiotapu.
From Taupo head around the lake and take the scenic route to Taumarunui and Te Kuiti - then Waitomo caves. From here I would suggest a visit to the Coromandel , then if time permits do a loop around Northland, head up the east or west coast and come back the other way.
This way you get to see the best of New Zealand.
I used to live in New Zealand and if you have any questions just ask.
Sep 24, 11, 4:51 am
Thanks to both of you guys. That really is the sort of information that we need.
Sep 25, 11, 5:56 pm
You are most welcome. Feel free to ask if you have any questions along the way.....