New Zealand

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New Zealand - preliminaries & trip down ] Auckland Arrival 2004 ] Auckland to Opua 2004 ] Bay of Islands 2004 ] Stone Store & Kerkeri Mission House ] Waitangi National Trust Estate ] New Zealand to Fiji Passage ] Auckland-Warkworth ] Auckland to Victoria 2004 ] Kerikeri & North 2010 ] Warkworth 2010 ] Whangamata ] Rotorua ] Te Kuiti & Waitomo ] Auckland-Victoria 2010 ]

 

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New Zealand to Fiji - April 24 to May 21, 2004

New Zealand is a destination that deserves more time than I have given it with my first trip there in April and May of 2004.  I spent a grand total of about two weeks in New Zealand, and I didn't have time to even explore the whole of the North Island.  In fact, all I saw was a bit of Auckland, the Warkworth area, the Bay of Islands area, and the east coast between Auckland and Opua. Refer to the map below.

If you are interested in how I got involved in a four week trip to New Zealand and Fiji with only three weeks notice, and which involved crewing on an offshore sailboat (despite me not having any sailing experience), then read New Zealand - the preliminaries & trip down first. 

If you just want to jump right in to viewing photos and reading my narratives covering New Zealand (and my subsequent trip to Fiji), then join me in Auckland after my arrival.

Here is my whole trip (including Fiji) in chronological order:

bulletNew Zealand - the preliminaries & trip down - why and how I did it
bulletAuckland Arrival - a taste of the city in one day!
bulletAuckland to Opua - sailing the east coast of the North Island
bulletBay of Islands area - waiting around for good weather
bulletStone Store & Kerkeri Mission House - oldest buildings in New Zealand
bulletWaitangi National Trust Estate - Treaty House, Canoe House & Maori Meeting House
bulletNew Zealand to Fiji Passage - open ocean passage as crew aboard a 44' sailboat
bulletSuva 2004 - capital of Fiji
bulletNaua Fijiian Family 2004 - a reunion after 29 years!
bulletBeqa 2004 - an unspoiled island just offshore from Suva
bulletBeqa 2004 - Underwater - underwater photos of beautiful reef life
bulletAuckland-Warkworth - visited with my cousin and toured the countryside
bulletAuckland to Victoria - the trip back home

North Island, New Zealand - 16 days - Oct 22 - Nov 6, 2010

My friends and I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ms Volendam on the morning of October 22, 2010, after spending the previous 30 days cruising from Vancouver, Canada - Volendam 2010 Cruise.  The ship stopped in Bay of Islands and Tauranga before our disembarkation in Auckland.  We took day tours in both places, so please read New Caledonia to NZ if you are interested in those experiences.

Once we disembarked in Auckland on October 22, 2010, we spent the next 16 days touring through the North Island in a rental car, staying in B&Bs. We left New Zealand aboard a Qantas flight on November 6, 2010. Here is the whole trip in chronological order, travelogue style:

bulletKerikeri & North
bulletWarkworth
bulletWhangamata, Coromandel Peninsula
bulletRotorua
bulletTe Kuiti & Waitomo
bulletAuckland-Victoria, Canada

Just photos of the North Island: New Zealand on Zenfolio

Just videos of the North Island: New Zealand on Vimeo

You can click on the "Next" links at the bottom of each page and find your way through either trip from beginning to end.  Of course, the text link navigation to be found at the top of each page is always an excellent way to explore the JoeTourist website, especially if you want to jump around.

This map of New Zealand is included to illustrate just how little of New Zealand I managed to cover in these two trips.  The section of the North Island between Hamilton and the northern tip of the North Island (north of Opua) is the only area of New Zealand I have visited.  As I always say, leave some destinations for a future trip.

 

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Thoughts on New Zealand

First off, what I saw of New Zealand and its people I liked very much.  To be honest, I was expecting a bit more culture shock after travelling so far, but it is obvious that New Zealand is very similar to Canada in many ways.  We share our mutual compulsiveness for automobiles, cellphones, good coffee, the Internet, and eating in restaurants.  New Zealanders tend to not greet each other on the street quite as often as Canadians do, but that's not to say they are unfriendly - they are just a bit more reserved.  Perhaps that is their stronger ties to England showing through.  We are both Commonwealth countries, so we share our British Monarchy roots in our governments, laws, and values.  Unfortunately, we also share our problems with land claims and poor treatment of our native populations, due no doubt to our shared British colonization heritage.

New Zealanders drink good quality beer - on par with our Canadian cottage brewery and local pub beers we have grown to appreciate.  New Zealand produces a great deal of wine, however I found much of it did not appeal to my palette.  I'm not a wine connoisseur, so perhaps my opinion doesn't count for much, but I prefer our VQA Okanagan wines from my home province of British Columbia to the (admittedly limited number of) wines I sampled in New Zealand.

New Zealanders have noticeably higher quality fresh food than North Americans are used to seeing in our food stores.  Our fresh meats and vegetables tend to come from high volume food factories, so we are used to mediocre quality food at low prices.  Our organic foods might be on par with New Zealand's food.

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New Zealand Links

bullet New Zealand Information Network 'all things New Zealand' (New Zealand Immigration Service)
bulletNew Zealand Government
bullet Lonely Planet NZ - can't go wrong with Lonely Planet
bulletPhil's NZ - superb photos and a travelogue from an American
bullet Backpack New Zealand - good maps, touring info, whether you're a backpacker or not
bulletNZ Street Maps
bulletWise's maps - online and printed
bullet NZ Travel Planner
bulletDiscover New Zealand - features tools to help you find accommodation, travel packages, tourist attractions and New Zealand travel information. Easy-to-use search and select tools make finding the options that fit with your plans a breeze.
bullet WorldAtlas.com - maps of NZ
bulletVirtual NZ
bulletKiwi Experience
bullet New Zealand Vacations Travel to New Zealand Holidays New Zealand Travel Packages
bulletNew Zealand Travel, Accommodation, Tours, Vacation, Rental Car Information - Experience New Zealand Travel Agent
bullet Discover New Zealand Discover the World - this is a British site, but it is very useful!
bullet United Campervans (all less than 3 years old, luxury), and Alpha Camperfans (3-6 years old, budget)
bulletGreymouth i-SITE West Coast Travel Centre New Zealand - The official Greymouth visitor information centre offering expert advice and free bookings for accommodation, transport, TranzAlpine train, tours & activities throughout the South Island's West Coast.

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