WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU: The weather, driving times, bad food, scary places to stay, no gas, it’s not Napa, no radio, no movies, the search for an all-blacks shirt (the rugby team), don’t walk on the ‘flats’ unless you know the weather, what ‘Lodge’ REALLY means, speeding tickets, what exactly IS a long black, and the routes we should have done and why on earth they keep trying to offer you medicore wines from Whitehaven and Oyster Bay when there is so much good stuff?
Just thinking about where New Zealand is makes your head spin. Here you are surrounded by a country that feels so very English, but we are near Antarctica and Indonesia! Seriously? East Timor and those scary dudes who put peoples heads on stakes aren’t that far away. Bizarre. How does that jive with a country that can make tea and meat pies properly?
- It’s harder to find middle of the road hotels, its often sky high accommodation or very scary accommodation- they are there but its tough.
- Lamb is obvious here, also eat Akaroa salmon!! YUM.
- Eat a meat pie.
- Nelson is dismal- sorry.
- Wellington is the size of Baltimore Harbor.
- It rains a lot.
- Kiwis are NOCTURNAL…DAAAA
- Lodges don’t have proper bars or a scene at all and can literally be someones home pretending to be a ‘Lodge’, be careful!
- Get gas before long stretches of empty road!
- Road signs warn you that places are FAR apart in actual driving time–listen and add two hours to every long stretch.
- Get above compact car size; we had a Highlander. You will be overtaking trucks constantly that go 90, you can go 100. There are police–not many but they ticket above 100, got it? They got me 🙁
- If you live in America and want to see New Zealand but can’t afford it, go to Lake Tahoe.
- A great area to see Vinyards in North Island is Martinborough, which is a nice town/region not too far from Wellington.
- Don’t drink wines from Whitehaven or Oyster Bay as you can find them everywhere at home, do some research there are great wines here, not cheap though.
- Don’t miss Milford Sound like we did 🙁
- Take old DVDs, TV is a challenge!
- Take CDs (no iPod hook-ups in the rental cars out here).
- Don’t walk on the flats close to the rivers when it rains, unless you don’t want to come back.
- Visit the sea, not just the lakes, as the ocean and beaches are dramatic.
- There is white sand in the Abel Tasman Park
- There are only about 1 million people on South Island and most of those live in the Canterbury area. South Island is 33 percent bigger than North Island. 4 million people live in North Island, most in the Auckland area. New Zealand has 13 times as many sheep as people.
THE MAP TO TAKE
New Zealand touring atlas- this also has the L OF R sites!!
Isbn 10: 1-877302-37-6
+64 9 273 6459
LORD OF RINGS SITES
For Lord of Rings locations: they are everywhere!
Lots round Queenstown and Wellington: a lot close to airport and road to Featherston route 2
Franz Joseph glacier: The Lighting of the Beacons
Above Blanket Bay resort, near Queenstown And near the Matakauri: IIsengaurd, Lothlorien Amon Hen, Ithilien
The Shire/ Hobbiton, Matamata route 27
Mount Doom, Tongariro national park
Its tough as the weather is temperamental. Take layers and a waterproof jacket.
Inevitably what you need is always at BOTTOM of your case, resulting in the total UN pack. And then an irritating RE pack.
Note- On a road trip take two small cases rather than one big one so you are not lugging a huge case in and out–plus the organization is better, SUPPOSEDLY.
Some great guy to a photo of the merge like a zip sign
Long Black, Flat White, get used to it.
The coffee in New Zealand had been amazing. It is served very differently than in UK/USA. They don’t have filtered coffee carafes. All the coffee comes from espresso machines so you will be offered a long black or a flat white, get over it and go with it. A long black is basically a double espresso served in a cup with a small side jug of warm water (optional). A flat white is basically white frothed milk on top of an espresso, sort of like a cappuccino. The coffee is really good and when we got home Starbucks and Pete’s were not palatable for about a week.
THE WORD ‘LODGE’
Again, be clear here, New Zealanders use the word LODGE very loosely to cover anything from a camping van to the Matakauri as a ‘Lodge’. Be warned. Here ‘Lodge’ basically means lodging.
AIR/FERRY TRAVEL BETWEEN ISLANDS
If its raining or windy don’t take a ferry. We took an Air New Zealand flight from Nelson to Wellington which was very time consuming even though the actual flight was about half an hour. We didn’t know it but if you are in a rush to get straight to the Hawkes Bay area from South Island, Air New Zealand also flys to Napier which is way closer to Cape Kidnappers. If it hadn’t been windy we could have taken a smaller airplane from a company called Sounds Air, they fly from Picton or Blenheim to Wellington, but you can’t be carrying tons of luggage.
FUN! This is a seriously good trip.
All pictures are Copyright 2013 Trendy Girl Travels
(except where specifically credited to other people)