i would suggest hostels if you are on a budget.
personally auckland was my least favorite place – it was the most similar to american cities.
as for where to go? well most people prefer the south island (this is only a boat ride away from wellington).
i like both islands.
seeing as you are there for only a week i would suggest either renting a car and picking 1 or two locations OR looking at bus tours.
is there anything specific you enjoy? hiking? sky diving? scuba diving? etc.?
hope all be wonderful
I love hiking, and my sister is interested in the nature preserve. We are also considering a wine tour. I am considering renting a car because I love to explore that way. Do you have experience with driving/drivers there? How is it?
for hiking i would check out this website: http://www.doc.govt.nz/
for driving – take the first day to get used to driving on the other side of the road – just take a map and get out of the city part and drive for a few hours.
another option is to rent an rv – then you can sleep in the car.
if you decide to go the rv route here are some links that may or may not help (i didn’t really look into them – i just remember there being maps & pamphlets with camping/rv locations)
if i remember the company i saw all the time i;ll let you know – for some reason it is on the tip of my tongue.
I am totally an NZer here….
Driving, no worries BUT- it is driving on the left. As soon as you are out of the cities, driving is easy as.
I would recommend staying in Wellington, as it is a terrific city, and really easy to get around, beautiful and loaded with things to do. The trains are great for getting out of town too.
For a wine tour, contact tranzit coachlines on your arrival (based in Masterton). There you could take a train out of wellington (return journey like $20) to Featherston, and jump on a wine trail coach from there to Martinborough. Martinborough is home of really fantastic wineries.
You should really think about staying in the Wairarapa (region where Featherston and Martinborough are located) basically as they have all the nature you could want, from bushwalks, to the coast, seal colony and an awesome wildlife reserve, “Mount Bruce”.
Message me if you want more details and stuff…. :)
hey there -
i reckon stay at a hostel in the central area – you won’t be there alot and it’s a good launching point.
in wellington, the cuba street area is great – i used to go to the matterhorn to drink / socialize and fidel’s for food / coffee. lots of cute shops along this street. the lido cafe on victoria is awesome – used to have nice jazz on sundays – food, wine, people-watching. i lived right across the street from it.
if you are only there a week, i’d stick to wellington – otherwise you try to cram too much in and don’t really enjoy and relax which is essential to enjoying new zealand.
te papa is the national museum – right on the waterfront – must see.
also : the city gallery. there’s a waterfront complex area full of art, places to sit, stroll, take photos – you’ll find it.
there’s a welcome / info center right by the library downtown on victoria street
- that’s the place to find super helpful people and look at brochures and decide what may be of interest to you.
it’s hard to say.
if there’s a rugby match on at the caketin (the stadium there) – go! super fun.
also, just cruising is great.
botanical gardens, beehive (parliament). just set out with a couple destinations in mind and see where the day takes you.
wellington is the arty city of new zealand – so any interest in opera, symphony, plays etc can be satiated.
i’m happy to give any more help – just ask.
have a GREAT time – talk to people – kiwis are super open and friendly.
Thank you! The rugby match is a great idea — I’ve never seen one.
I would recommend trains and buses for getting around. As for where to stay, hostels definitely!! You meet so many people just like you who are traveling as well. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made from fellow backpackers like myself! It’s also a good thing to ask others where they recommen traveling to. I was taking my trip city by city based on my lonely planet book and other peoples recommendations. Have fun!!!
Well, I think a week will be a very short time , even if you stay in Wellington. There are so many things to do and see there : the cafes, restaurants, cuba street, Te Papa Museum … You can stay at any backpacker : this is the best way to make friends. Visit the I-Site for best recomendations for travelling, booking hostels,rent a car: they used to be very
helpful. Wellington is the cultural centre in NZ. I wouldn´t want to go to Auckland. Too big, so crowd.Instead, rent a car and go North to NAPIER ( wyneyards), > 300 km > and if you feel energetic, visit ROTORUA >224 km>, where you can find geothermal activities [geysers] and visit a Marae ( Maori temple ) > Maoris are the first inhabitants of NZ.
But he truly beauty of NZ lies in South Island with breathtaking views.You would take a ferry in Wellington . The most beautiful cities in NZ are located there ( Christchurch, Queenstown, Dunedin, and so on…
Next time you went to NZ go South…
One week isn’t nearly enough time to check out NZ. If you can, you should extend your stay for at least 2 weeks but preferably 3 weeks minimum. Then you can check out a heap of other things.
However as stated, I reckon you should hire a camper van or sleeper vehicle and drive around for the whole week. There are various companies which offer these types of rentals which vary in price and quality. Here are 3 of the more popular options:
This will essentially save you money (because you are not doubling up on accommodation and travel expenses) and is much more flexible.
I would recommend heading to the south island and I suggest this itinerary:
- Kaikoura is a very popular destination: go whale/dolphin watching, seals/sealions, seafood, rafting/diving/surfing/hiking… etc etc.. mountains on ocean.
- West Coast – rain forest and natural beauty
- Nelson – hippy town with beautiful beaches… close to malborough sounds, and Vineyards.
This would allow a couple of days at each stop with only a few hours between destinations.
Imo you don’t have enough time to go to Queenstown or further south without spending way too much time in the car.
Good luck and have fun
Hi, Blythezilla—I’m envious! My two children (daughter, then 15; son, then 17) spent the night in Wellington 12JUL2006 at the AYH. Unfortunately, it was only overnight—we had arrived from Christchurch (train), and were off to Auckland (all day bus) the next morning. It was exceptionally windy—I do believe Chicago is less so! We found the area around the hostel to be quite alive, lots of bars, friendly people in the street, all very nice. The hostel was extremely good. Since there were only 3 of us, another hosteller (male) took the 4th bed. This was one night out of a 7-week odyssey we took Down Under, 27MAY-15JUL2006. I am currently writing about that grand adventure, and you can access more information at my website: www.juanitohayburg.com or on my facebook page. Even though my information is dated, I hope it is helpful. Enjoy your travels. Remember, “you don’t know until you go.”
Highly recommend a camper van, or if you are even more adventurous, accomplish the same goals in a decent sized car, just bring along a sleeping bag. Loads of pull outs/rest areas along the roads.
One of my favorite places in all of NZ was Cape Palliser. Drove out there one evening, parked at the end of the long winding road, woke up a dawn and went and watched fur seals wake up and playing in the water near the rocks. Along that same way are the Pinnacles, some part of the LOTR was shot there, and it’s a pleasant hike to see some interesting geology.
In Wellington, don’t miss Te Papa if you like natural history museums. Eat at Hell’s Pizza.
North of Wellington is the Mount Bruce Wildlife center, you can see Kiwi there, as well as other native birds. Further up, the Waitomo Caves (namely the Lost World Epic tour) is possibly the most amazing good time to be had in the entire country. Bridal Veil Falls is not far from there, a nice spot, very short hike through the amazing subtropical rainforest. there is also another kiwi house/wildlife zoo in nearby Otorohanga
South Island has whale watchin, penguin colonies, and the moraki boulders on the eastern side.
Western side has some great parks, but you would probably only be able to enjoy a few with only a week. I would wager the North Island has a bit more of the quick hit daily type activities.
Of course lots and lots more to do in this here if you would get further down the south island or to the top of north island.
Speaking as a kiwi who lives in the US and travels home alot. When you fly into NZ you will fly into Auckland Airport (and you fly out of Auckland as well)so,if you want to see Auckland you can do it at the start or end of your trip.
A great way to travel is the hiring of a little campervan ( I just did it in Nov) check out www.exploremore.co.nz and look at their campers such as the rotovegas. Its cheaper than hotels and rental cars and soooo flexible. You can just drive where-ever you want and pretty much find a river or beach and pull your van over and camp (ok there are some exceptions) but they are very few and far between. They have depots at the airports so its pretty easy… to get from AUckland to anywhere else, your options are by air or by road/rail and it sa great way to see the countryside
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