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Kia Ora New Zealand!

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 10 June 2013 | Views [892]

Kia Ora New Zealand. I have packed so much into the 24 days I have been here, seen so much and yet I leave with so much left unseen. It is certainly a land to be explored and I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering some of the wonders it holds.

With the benefit of experience how would I recommend organising a stay in New Zealand? Firstly take all the time you can get! If arriving in Auckland, list the ‘must see’s’ on the North Island – namely The Bay of Islands going up to the most northerly point, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Waitamo Caves, the capital city Wellington, a Maori cultural experience along with any of the plentiful adventures available, then organise the necessary bus trips.

The ferry over to South Island costs NZ$65 per passenger, with an extra $175 for a car. It is certainly worth looking into flights as these are available from $29 one way. Start in Christchurch, hire a car, set out with a list of things you would like to see and then see where the road takes you getting there. South Island is well equipped for the touring visitor and how busy you keep yourself depends on time, stamina and your wallet! There is certainly enough to do from one end of the spectrum to the other. There is no limit to the number of activities and adventures available here and the enthusiasm for them is quite contagious. Consider looking at a relocation deal driving a hire car back to Auckland – with Jucy Car Rentals it cost me $1 per day hire, I chose the most comprehensive level of insurance at $17 per day but as insurance is not mandatory here you can choose your level of risk and pay a bond accordingly. They also supplied me with a free tank of fuel and paid for the ferry passage of the car. The 5 days given to get the car from Christchurch to Auckland was ample to do some sight-seeing along the way.

New Zealand has the advantage of being cheaper than Australia. It seems that roughly what you pay in AU$, you will also pay in NZ$. The difference being that NZ$1 = £0.53 and Aus$1 = £ 0.64. In real terms that means that a hostel dorm in Australia costs around AU$30 per night (around £19). A hostel in New Zealand will cost around NZ$30 (approximately £15). There is no doubt that the standard of hostels that I have come across in New Zealand generally far exceeds those in Australia.

Were such a job available, I think that my whirlwind tour changing hostel almost every night has qualified me to detail the perfect hostel. Location is always a plus - too central to a city and you are likely to be in party zone. Small dorms of a maximum of 6 perhaps, with a locker, drawers or hanging space available. Clean and spacious gender separated bathrooms, preferably with tiled shower cubicles - a definite bonus. Bunk beds would only feature as part of a family room and would not squeak with every turn! A real towel would be provided and the option of an extra pillow. A well designed and clean kitchen leading to a communal outdoor area and an inviting lounge and TV area. Many hostels have some or occasionally most of these things but I never did find the one that had them all. I have enjoyed different hostels for many different reasons but the welcome from everyone at Ponsonby Backpackers in Auckland crowned it ‘home’. I also have to mention Seabeds in Paihia and Watson’s Way in Renwick for providing the extras and being outstandingly clean. This is not to say that many of the others were not of a high standard but short of listing them all in descending order, I have chosen just three that stood out the most.

En route to Brisbane I wonder idly where I would choose to live in New Zealand if the question ever arose. Auckland I rule out because such a high percentage of the country’s population live there and it is set to expand even further. Wellington, I am told, is extremely windy and prone to mud slides. Christchurch with its history of earthquakes due to tectonic plate action is probably not a wise choice either. I discount Dunedin the university town and Queenstown the tourist/party town also both also being a little too far south for winter comfort. Hamilton I can see one day becoming an outer suburb of Auckland. Rotorua perhaps, getting past its sulphuric aroma. There is no clear choice meaning I would simply have to spend longer investigating this!

Dinner Party Trivia: New Zealand is steadily moving away from Australia and the meeting of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates means that the mountains around Milford are growing at around 36mm a year, the same rate as one’s finger nails.

I have thoroughly enjoyed New Zealand and take away some fantastic memories – an unexpected jewel that merits further exploration and is somewhere I will definitely aim to allowing myself plenty of time to enjoy this utterly fabulous place.

Tags: auckland, backpacking, car hire, fabulous, ponsonby, relocation car hire, seabeds, watsons way


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