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Lisa R.

New Zealand trip - Advice needed/I'm nervous

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I'd love some advice from those who live in NZ and those who've traveled there.

 

My college ds found a great airfare from US to NZ in June. (Thank you Scott's Cheap Flights!) I don't make rash or rushed decision ever...and then I did. He told me it was a great airfare that wouldn't last and I needed to decide now! So I did. 

 

Now I'm feeling anxious. I LOVE to travel. This kid is super fun and loves to travel too. 

 

We'd be arriving on a Saturday and leaving the following Saturday in June flying direct LA to Auckland. 

 

How do we get around? I've read car travel is the best way but I'm nervous about driving on the other side of the road. I'm a good driver and drive lots of miles in high traffic suburbs and city. DS is still under 21 years old so I'm sure he can't rent a car. Besides, it might make me more nervous if he drives...

 

Can I get a bus pass that drops off and picks up most places we'd like to go?

 

With the 12 hour time difference, will we be able to make the most of these 7 days? 

 

While both of us love to travel, we are both cursed with motion sickness. I'm wondering if the ferry between the north and south islands will make us sick. Is there a better option? In high school I took the hovercraft between England and Paris and it was among my worst motion sickness travel experiences ever. I am a front seat only car passenger/don't read in the car or on planes/can't do a sailboat kind-of-girl. 

 

So feel free to tell me to knock it off. I want to enjoy this spontaneous decision I made. I guess the travel around the country by car and motion sickness with other forms of travel are my concerns. 

 

Any tips or advice?

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With only 7 days I would choose one island to focus on.  Distances are small in NZ when compared to other places in the world, but there is heaps to see.  If you try to pack too much into each day you will find the trip is a blur.  Also, roads for much of the country aren't of the quality of the interstate system found in the US.  I grew up in the States & learned to drive there.  I find driving here fine, with the exception of driving in Auckland.  I HATE driving in Auckland & avoid it whenever possible.  I will drive THROUGH Auckland (i.e. no stopping), but if we need to go somewhere IN Auckland, I get dh or one of my dc to drive.  Fuel is more expensive as well.  Local prices up in Northland, where I live are $2.019 / litre today & this is one of the cheapest areas for gas prices in the country.  

 

I suffer from motion sickness as well.  If you drive, you will have the option of stopping when necessary.  If you choose to take a bus, just let the bus driver know you tend to get carsick & usually they will find you a seat near the front.  I have had to ask a bus driver to stop for me to get sick many years ago & they were understanding.  Buses + windy roads + morning sickness were not a great combo for me.  SeaBands ( the motion sickness wrist bands) helped me some & were better than tablets as they didn't make me drowsy.  The Cook Strait ferry crossing can be beautiful, but if you get sea sick, it is horrible.  

 

As far as jet lag, I find flying west easier than flying east in recovery time.  YMMV 

 

To see the most in only a week you may want to look at a bus tour.  They will hit the highlights & you won't need to worry about driving on the other side of the road.  Remember seasons are opposite from what you are used to .  June is winter here in NZ.  Few parts of NZ get snow & even that doesn't stay long.  Winter's tend to be more wet & cool, seldom dropping below freezing.  

 

FYI- the first weekend in June is a long weekend as 4th June is a public holiday (Queen's B-day).

 

Edited by Deb in NZ
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When we went 14 years ago (wow!), we flew directly from Auckland to Christchurch, since we wanted to spend more time hiking on the (IMO) more beautiful South Island.  The Routeburn Trek, a guided bus/kayak tour to Milford Sound, hiking the Mt. Cook area, a glacier visit, and blackwater rafting/glowworm trip are standout memories.  We did take the ferry back to the N. Island, and I don't remember getting seasick on that leg, though I sure did on our whale watching trip out of Kaikura. (all spellings might be wrong here...).  I could have been medicated though, as motion sickness is a problem for me.  I agree with Deb above about a bus tour. 

 

We did a combo of bus and rental car. We also had a rental car problem because they did not have the automatic transmission car my husband special-ordered--they are exceptions there, or at least were then.  While I know how to drive standard, I refused cause I was too scared of the wrong side of road issue. And I wasn't about to teach my husband on vacation :)!

 

We went in March, so different weather.  It was an amazing trip.

Edited by Karen A

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OK. I agree concentrate on one island or a couple of areas. Remember June is winter here although our winter isn't bad and usually only a handful of roads get closed. With only a week buses wouldn't be that convenient unless you want to stay in the cities. A lot of tourists do cause crashes by driving on the wrong side of the road but rental cars have signs on dashboard and there are some roadside signs and arrows. I would make a list of what you want to see and pick 3 or 4. Petrol isn't $201 a litre but it is $2 something depending on where you are. Our petrol includes road tax and some other stuff.

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I can't believe you got the fare!  So jealous.  I saw it about a few hours it was sent out and tried to book it, but it wasn't working through the airline's site.  What site did you book through? 

The other sites I wasn't comfy going through because of such horrible reviews. 

 

Are you sure it is going to be honored?   I saw a really great fare like this a few weeks back and the airline didn't honor it and let the people know after 7 days.  

 

 

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I can't believe you got the fare! So jealous. I saw it about a few hours it was sent out and tried to book it, but it wasn't working through the airline's site. What site did you book through?

The other sites I wasn't comfy going through because of such horrible reviews.

 

Are you sure it is going to be honored? I saw a really great fare like this a few weeks back and the airline didn't honor it and let the people know after 7 days.

Oh! I didn’t see that. It was booked by Smart Fares. We booked it two days ago. Hmmm. Now that makes me wonder.

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Oh! I didn’t see that. It was booked by Smart Fares. We booked it two days ago. Hmmm. Now that makes me wonder.

 

Have you used Smart Fares before?  I see negative reviews of them too.  

 

I hope it all works out for you.   Have you gotten conformation yet?

 

I think it is unfair that  we only have 24 hours to change our ticket purchase, but the airlines do not have that. 

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 Local prices up in Northland, where I live are $201.9 / litre today & this is one of the cheapest areas for gas prices in the country.  

 

 

 

:scared:  :scared:  :scared:  :scared:  HOLY PETROL-SHOCK BATMAN.  Is this for real?  $201.0 a litre?!? I knew stuff was expensive there but no idea it was that expensive! 

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:scared:  :scared:  :scared:  :scared:  HOLY PETROL-SHOCK BATMAN.  Is this for real?  $201.0 a litre?!? I knew stuff was expensive there but no idea it was that expensive! 

 

It's been higher than that a couple years ago.  I seem to remember prices getting close to $2.20/litre.  We live only 30 miles away from NZ's only oil refinery, so transport costs shouldn't be a factor for my local prices.

 

opps---just noticed that my decimal point was in the wrong place.   :laugh: sorry.  But if you plan to drive, realise that gas prices are much higher than what you are used to in the States.

 

Edited by Deb in NZ
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We drove.  We had one driver (who originally learned to drive in India, though that was decades ago).  Anyhoo, after about a day of all of us hollering reminders to drive right (i mean left), it had become habit.  We did not have any problems with driving.

 

We started off in Queenstown and drove around to a few other cities and back to Queenstown.  Then we flew to Auckland and drove from there to Christchurch.  From there we flew to Fiji on the way back to the USA.  :)

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You definitely want to drive. We once did a trip in South Island driving between motels (not as dodgy as US ones  :leaving: ) and it worked out great!

 

June is winter in NZ, and whilst day times can still be warm and sunny, you could end up with quite cold temperatures at night, and/or lots of rain (otherwise I would say get a camper van and not bother with the motels.)

 

With only 7 days I wouldn't bother getting down to South Island unless you fly. I don't think 7 days is enough for more than 1 island. There is plenty to do and see in North Island - and it is still beautiful albeit not quite as empty as South Island. The photo in my avatar was taken in the Coromandel peninsula - at the top of North Island :)

 

I agree with DebinNZ that jet lag is worse travelling east. 

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Ok, I guess I’ll drive. Automatic cars are available to rent, correct? I haven’t driven a stick shift in years and wouldn’t want to try it over there. My guess is manual cars are more prevalent due to gas prices.

 

Okay. So only explore one island since we only have 7 days. The South Island intrigues me more although either would be amazing. We could fly to the South Island and this would help us avoid crossing on the ferry.

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It's been higher than that a couple years ago.  I seem to remember prices getting close to $2.20/litre.  We live only 30 miles away from NZ's only oil refinery, so transport costs shouldn't be a factor for my local prices.

 

opps---just noticed that my decimal point was in the wrong place.   :laugh: sorry.  But if you plan to drive, realise that gas prices are much higher than what you are used to in the States.

 

LOL, okay that sounds much better! Although still pricey. I was wondering how anyone there afforded transportation beyond bike at those prices!  :lol:

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12 hours is not a hard time difference to adjust to.   My personal theory is that since the light and darkness are never the same as your brain expects, your brain just gives up and does a reset.  In my opinion, 6 hours West is the worst.   But, just do the normal thing of being well-hydrated and well-rested at the start, and you'll be fine.  

 

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Yep that was it.   

 

It was an Error Fare that is why it was so low.   It was like $250 out of O'hare that isn't a sale it is an error.   I don't fault them for not honoring them.  Normal price is at least 1000 more than that.   Most Error fares get cancelled.  

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