We are finally taking a trip through our own country, spending about 10 weeks travelling round the South Island. We know most of the main, or popular, "must sees" but would like to find out about some of the hidden gems.
Hi All Travelblog users,
We are finally taking a trip through our own country, spending about 10 weeks travelling round the South Island. We know most of the main, or popular, "must sees" but would like to find out about some of the hidden gems. As much as we'd love to do some longer hikes or kayak trips, we are travelling with a small baby (we do have a mountain buggy and front pack/wrap though). We dont necessarily need "family friendly" activities, as she will only be 4 months old when we leave home. Also any good, cheap campgrounds - DOC, private, free camping...
All suggestions welcome!
Are you planning to visit Stewart Island? I was there in April & had a fantastic 4 night stay there. Within half an hour of arriving a weka nonchalantly crossed the road a few metres in front of me & the tui, kaka & bellbirds were easy to see & hear.
The walk to Maori Beach (6 hours return) was wonderfully scenic, fairly easy & the beach itself was deserted (excepted for a fat kereru perched in a nearby tree). If this walk is too long there are several picturesque, shorter walks on the island.
I also popped over to Ulva Island sanctuary (a short boat trip across one of Stewart Island's many bays) & saw lots of native birds in their natural environment (thanks to Ulva's Guided Walks based on Stewart Island). Ulva Island is very easy to walk around.
For me, both Stewart Island & Ulva Island are a potent reminder of how much native wildlife has disappeared from most of the rest of NZ & they provide a real contrast to the silence of much of the South Island's forests - thankfully we still have these places.
Hope this is helpful.
- the hidden valley is definitely worth a visit ! It's one of the finest thermal area in the world and remained unchanged for millions of years. It was the site where the BBC documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs" was filmed.
Oh yeah, Wai-O-Tapu Themal Wonderland
is also worth a look ...
... only if you have a strong stomach and don't mind the smell of sulphur (AKA the 'Eggy F@rt' as my son calls it)
P.S. Oooops, Sorry my mistake ! I think Rotorua is in the North Island, not South ! Definitely worth a visit anyhoo
Thanks Jo - they are North Island! But never mind. We have been to Wai-O-Tapu and many other places round Rotorua and Taupo, but not Orakei Korako yet. Maybe we'll try and stop there on the way south, your pictures make it so tempting!
Hi Karen and Colin
We are just about to discover NZ for the first time. Can you share some of the gems you discovered?
Denise and Marcel, have a look at our blogs (we are still catching up with the end of our trip) then get in touch again if you have further questions, we'd be happy to answer them. Remember to let us know what sort of things you enjoy doing and how long you have here!
Hey there are gems everywhere, the fact you have four months means you will probably discover most of it, I would also drive the scenic routes!
A few things that you may have already thought about.
Nelson, Golden Bay, Kaikoura, Hokitika, Wanaka,
There is a waterfall in Kaikoura with seal pups its a bit north from town.
I would highly recommend a little place called Hopewell in the Marlbough sounds, it is beautiful - lovely people and another world.
I am a Dunedin Local at the moment, and would highly recommend the Otago Peninsula.
The Wanaka to West Coast drive is amazing.
The Christcurch to West Coast drive is amazing.
The Catlians are really rucked and undeveloped, I really appreciate what they have to offer.
I know lots of Diving information if you are that way inclined.
I know they are trying to close down of Freedom campers at the moment, but we are very relaxed in New Zealand.
I think that one of my favourite things to do whilst I was traveling round the south isand was the seal colony at Kaikoura. there is a 2 hour round hike you can do there that is quite easy and hugs the coast.
I blogged about it here
Hope this helps
[Edited: 2011 Jul 11 08:33 - Jabe:6222 - No URL drops on forums, please.]