Leisure Opportunities

In 2002, 1,955,700 people travelled to New Zealand to holiday or visit family and friends.

AROUND AND ABOUT THE NORTH ISLAND

The Bay of Islands

Starting in the ‘winterless north’ there are so many beautiful beaches you would find it hard to choose which was the best. The Bay of Islands, with Paihia the most popular holiday resort, is the most beautiful holiday spot. From here you can go on the ‘Fullers Cream Trip’ on a modern catamaran — The Big Cat — and cruise around all the beautiful little coves in luxury, dropping off at Russell, an old settlement across the harbour from Paihia. There are lots of game fishing launches which can be privately hired, or you can just pay to go for a trip on one and catch the ‘big one’.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges and resorts. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

The Coromandel Peninsula

Travelling south through Auckland, the next notable holiday favourite with New Zealanders is the Coromandel Peninsula. Here you will find many beautiful secluded shores, with bush and grass verging onto the beaches. At Hahei Beach, named after a legendary Maori explorer, you will find two Maori Pa sites at the southern end, and beyond that two ‘blowholes’ which can provide a spectacular sight at high tide. A two hour return walk at the northern end of the beach leads to a large seaformed cavern known as Cathedral Cave.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts and holiday homes. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

The Bay of Plenty

South once more, we reach the Bay of Plenty, renowned for its wonderful long expanse of white sands. Mount Maunganui is the most popular holiday spot, especially for the young people, who find lots to do during their summer holidays, from bungy-jumping to white water rafting. This is the place to go if you are looking for a hectic New Year’s Eve, with bands and open air concerts all the rage. Tauranga, the main city of the Bay of Plenty, lies across the harbour from Mount Maunganui. There is a harbour bridge for easy access. Here you will find an excellent selection of shops and facilities. A big feature of this area is the Hot Water Sea Pool complex at Mount Maunganui. Here you can luxuriate in wonderful temperatures all year round. There is nothing nicer on a cold miserable day than to go along to the Pools. To lie in the lovely hot water at night to look at the stars is a great experience.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday homes and homestays. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

The Lakes

Inland now to the Lakes, to Lake Rotorua first. Here you will be able to sightsee to your heart’s content, as this is the place to be for the traditional Maori Concert Parties, and Maori Hangi’s, the Maori way of cooking. A hole is dug in the ground, lined with stones, and a fire lit. The stones heat up, and when they are hot enough, food wrapped in sacks is lowered into the pit. These are then covered and the food left to cook for many hours. The results are delicious. Rotorua is a land of thermal activity with hot water geysers and hot mud pools — many of the motels in this area have their own thermally heated spa pools. The imposing Tudor Towers, set amongst beautiful gardens, is the place where the early settlers used to flock to ‘take the waters’ with a bathhouse built for rheumatic people. The fishing is excellent here, the lakes and streams abounding with big fish. At the Rainbow Springs visitors centre you can feed large trout by hand in the pools which run through this area — no fishing is allowed here though! Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday homes, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

LakeTaupo

Lake Taupo lies in the centre of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau. Here is the world famous Wairakei geothermal hydroelectric power establishment. Lake Taupo itself is a very popular retreat for many a ‘top person’ or movie star wanting a peaceful fishing holiday. This is where you always catch ‘the big one’! Here also are thermal hot baths, the AC Baths being a very popular venue. There is also an old historic hotel, De Bretts Thermal Resort, with two large thermal mineral outdoor pools, freshwater pools and 12 private minerals pools. Here the early settlers used to come to soak their rheumatic limbs in the comforting waters.

Taupo also makes a good stopping off point for the ski fields just 90km south, at Tongariro National Park. If you are a golfing fan, you can play a round on the internationally famous Wairakei Golf Course, or maybe the Taupo Golf Course further into town would suit you. Lake Taupo itself offers a variety of attractions with yachting, water skiing, jet boating and rowing.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, and homestays. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can alsoh be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Mount Egmont

We can cross now to the west coast and New Plymouth, with Mount Egmont National Park on the doorstep, an ideal environment for the tramper, or we can take it easy and use the Mount Egmont daily shuttles.

Golfers have a choice of nine golf courses; bowlers are very welcome in all the clubs; and fishing enthusiasts will be well satisfied with the rivers and streams.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Sightseeing in Wellington

South to the capital Wellington, where there is sightseeing in abundance: you can either go around at your own pace, or join one of the city tours — either of these is certainly a ‘must’ to explore the steep hills, narrow crowded streets, Parliament, a quaint cable car, art galleries, a zoo and the Botanic Gardens to mention a few.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, serviced apartments and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

DISCOVERING THE SOUTH ISLAND

From Wellington you can cross to the South Island by sea or air. By sea you can cross with your car at around $190 for the car each way, $59 per adult $35 per child each way. The alternative is to cross by sea at a cost of $59 and catch the Mount Cook Landline Coach to your destination. The coach will meet the ferry and take you to Christchurch for $132 per person. To fly across to, say, Christchurch from Wellington will cost around $250 one way by Air New Zealand or Ansett.

In the South Island the scenery is equal to anywhere in Switzerland, with the majestic mountains begging you to go skiing (in the winter of course!).

Picton

Why not stop awhile in Picton, where you will alight from the ferry? Picton is the principal centre of Marlborough Sounds, a breathtakingly beautiful scenic reserve with regular launch cruises in and around the bays in Queen Charlotte Sound. You can also take a fishing trip and a moonlight cruise during the summer months.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Christchurch

Christchurch has a lot to offer, with lovely parks and reserves, and the Avon River idling through gives a peaceful restful feeling — even though Christchurch itself is a very busy tourism centre. You can make your base here whilst you visit all the places of interest, as Christchurch is fairly central, and has excellent transport facilities.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a must, even out of the ski season. There is windsurfing, water skiing and fishing to be had — not forgetting the excitement of white water raft trips and exhilarating jet boat rides on the nearby rivers. Ride on horseback along the original goldmining trail to the historic town of Moonlight, or by mini-coach to the beautiful Skippers Canyon, also steeped in goldmining history. For the more leisurely minded, a trip on the SS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu is a delight. The scenery is wonderful.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Franz Josef

Up the west coast of the South Island you will pass through Haast Pass, Fox Glacier and then onto Franz Josef. This is a small tourist centre near the northern boundary of Westland National Park. Franz Josef is a tranquil settlement nestled amongst the splendid native forest of the coast under the massive peaks of the Southern Alps. There are many safe, pleasant walking tracks in the surrounding bush and foothills of the mountains. Of particular interest is the Franz Josef Glacier, which is a short walk or drive from the town.

Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, holiday parks and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Nelson

Moving on northwards still, passing through Hokitika, Greymouth until you reach Nelson. Nelson has the reputation of being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. It is sheltered by the hills, and has fine mountain, river and lake scenery. There are golden beaches — Tahuna, Rabbit Island and Cable Bay. At Tahuna there is a children’s playground, skating rink and golf course. Accommodation is covered in this area by bed and breakfast, motels, hotels, luxury lodges, resorts, holiday parks, homestays and backpackers. For comprehensive and up-to-date information on location and prices for these accommodation options go to www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

SKIING IN NEW ZEALAND

The skiing season in New Zealand extends from June to late October at ski areas in the North and South Islands. Many fields also have snow-making equipment to ensure reliable snow depth and quality. New Zealand has 12 commercial ski areas, 12 club ski fields and one commercial cross-country ski area.

In the North Island the main skiing centre is Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park. There are two commercial ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa, and one club field (Tukino) at Ruapehu, with the Manuganui ski club area in Mount Egmont in Taranaki (New Plymouth). In the South Island the commercial ski areas are Coronet Peak, the Remarkables (Queenstown), Cardrona, Treble Cone (Wanaka) Ohau, Mount Dobson (Aorangi), Porter Heights, Mount Hutt, Mount Lyford (Canterbury), and Rainbow Valley (Marlborough). There are ten smaller ski club fields in the South Island.

The Waioru Nordic Ski Area on the Pisa Range near Wanaka offers 24 kilometres of cross-country skiing. Glacier skiing on the Tasman and Fox Glaciers, with access via ski-planes, is also available, while guided heliskiing and ski touring open up the Ben Ohau Ranges, the Harris Mountains, the Two Thumbs Range, the Mount Cook/Tasman Glacier area, Mount Hutt and Queenstown in the South island and the Ruahine Ranges in the North.

Winter skiing holiday packages

There are a variety of package holiday specialists that are listed on the website for Tourism New Zealand at www.purenz.com. Skiing is such a large part of the New Zealand winter that these companies can cater to your specific needs and at your level of budget. Whether you want to go skiing, snowboarding or heliskiing on one mountain or many they will provide you with a package deal to suit you. Both Air New Zealand and Ansett offer competitive deals in the winter season but these prices vary seasonally. So the best idea if planning a skiing holiday in New Zealand is to go to the Tourism New Zealand site and have a look at the package deals on offer and also check your local papers for hot deals. Information can be obtained and your holiday booked from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

Transportation

By bus

There are two main bus passenger operators that provide daily scheduled services, through the country. Newmans Coach Line provide services in the North Island and around the major tourist routes in the South Island, while Intercity Coachlines operate the largest network throughout both islands.

Travelling by coach is an easy way to see New Zealand in comfort. All accommodation, meals and baggage are taken care of and the driver or guide often provides a commentary, pointing out all the significant sites and stories relating to historic events or Maori legend. Most destinations have several departures daily. You can book in advance but this is not usually necessary.

Newmans Coach Lines have timetables for both the North and South Island. They offer a Stopover Pass, which means that you can travel for up to three months over a selected route travelling whenever and wherever you want. The North Island pass takes you from Auckland to Wellington via the main cities for around $95 for adults. The South Island pass travels from Christchurch to Queenstown via Milford Sound for around $132 for adults. For more information about this service contact Newmans Coach Lines on Tel: 64 9 913 6200. Fax: 64 9 9136121.

Intercity Coachlines have three different comprehensive packages: a North Island pass, a South Island pass and a New Zealand pass, and within each pass there is a variety of different travel routes to cater to your plans, giving total flexibility as to when and where you want to go. For more information contact Intercity Coachlines on Tel: 64 9 913 6100. Email: info@coachnet.co.nz

Renting a car

Discover New Zealand for yourself. All international car rental businesses are available in every major city. Budget, Hertz, Avis as well as a few local companies offer comprehensive motoring on New Zealand’s uncongested, good quality roads.

Rent-a-Dent has branches all through New Zealand. They supply quality rental vehicles and competitive prices. They have cars, station wagons and campervans for hire. Cars start from $59 per day and a mini coach from $95 per day. These prices include unlimited kilometres, and GST (Goods and Services Tax of 12.5%), but not insurance. For further information contact the Auckland branch at 105 Cook Street. Tel: 64 9 309 0066. Website: www.rentadent.co.nz.

Two-wheel rentals

You can also tour New Zealand on two wheels. Mike Vinsen, a licensed motor vehicle dealer at 300 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland, Tel: 64 9 827 6619, has motorcycles, mopeds and scooters for rental, with helmets and riding gear also available.

BACKPACKING AND FARM HOLIDAYS

Backpacking

Backpacking is a very popular form of holidaying. There are hostels in most tourist towns and cities, where you would expect to pay an average of $20 per night for single accommodation, $15 for shared. These prices include Goods and Services Tax. All hostels have self cook kitchens, laundry facilities and common areas where you can meet and exchange information with fellow travellers.

You do not have to be a member to stay at any of the hostels, and no institutional rules apply. Linen and blankets are available for hire, though some hostels supply these free.

Discount cards

Discounts have been arranged for many backpackers’ hotels, from film developing and tandem parapenting, to cheap fruit and vegetables. Many hostels have VIP cards so you can take advantage of these discounts.

Some discount cards give excellent travel discounts — 50% off Air New Zealand and Ansett New Zealand domestic fares, 30% off Intercity Coaches and Trains, 10% off Kiwi Experience-Backpackers Adventure Travel, and 10% off Fiordland Travel (South Island). These specials are available on the VIP Backpackers Discount Card which can be purchased for $20 and is valid for 12 months. For further information write to: Back Packers Accommodation Council of New Zealand, level 15, Price Water House, corner of Hobson and Wyndham Streets, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel: 64 9 377 4714.

Farms and homestays

Farms and homestays are a popular way of spending a holiday. What better way to get to know the New Zealanders than by staying in their homes with them as a host or hostess? Tourism New Zealand has 59 farmstays listings. To view these go to their website at: www.purenz.com

It may be the perfect opportunity to get away from city life and take a walk in the clean country air or you may want to join in with the farm’s day-to-day running or you may like to try a traditional New Zealand home cooked meal. Many farmstays are close to an abundance of outdoor activities like skiing, horse riding, and fishing. Homestay accommodation tends to find something to suit everyone.

Farm homestays mean living on a typical working farm, varying in size from 100 to over 10,000 acres, often running upwards of several thousand sheep. In addition you can find dairy farms, orchards and properties with horticulture.

Country homestays are usually based on a few acres in the country, handy to a major city or town. They usually run some sheep, and possibly other animals such as deer and goats. Quite often country home hosts are retired farmers, or they may work in a nearby town or city. These are referred to as ‘lifestyle blocks’.

To get a run down on prices for homestays go to www.purenz.com and contact the places of your choice through their internet sites or phone numbers. It is advisable to book your farm or homestay as far in advance as possible to secure the properties of your choice, especially from November through to February. A holiday can also be booked through your local travel agent. Bookings and information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

YOUTH HOSTELLING

Youth hostelling is a very popular way to see New Zealand. For information contact New Zealand Youth Hostel Association, Auckland. Tel: 64 9 309 2802. Fax: 64 9 303 9525.

The traveller must be aware of the fact that New Zealand is no longer free of crime, and you must always keep in mind the following:

  • Do not travel alone.
  • Do not hitch hike.
  • Do not give lifts to strangers.
  • Do not leave valuables in cars.
  • Do not place yourself in an isolated situation.
  • Always be aware of dangerous situations just as you would at home, and in the rest of the world.
  • Do not place your trust in a smiling face.

VISITING NEW ZEALAND’S ISLAND NEIGHBOURS

The beauty of living here in the Pacific Ocean is the number of idyllic islands available for the holiday of a lifetime. If you dream of two weeks basking in the sun on a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ type island, then you will be able to take your pick.

Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides)

This is a chain of more than 80 islands, only three hours’ flying time from Auckland. This diverse country’s features include active volcanoes, coral islands and wide sandy bays with luxuriant tropical vegetation. The time zone is one hour behind New Zealand.

The population are Melanesian inhabitants born in Vanuatu and called ni-Vanuatu. The country’s population is about 130,000. The official languages are English, French and Bislama (pidgin English). Summer is from November to March with an average of 28 degrees Celsius and winter from April to October with an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius. Dress is casual, but not too brief: tropical clothes for men’s evening wear and light dresses or skirts for ladies. The cost of a seven day stay is around $939 per person to $2,000 per person.

Fiji

Fiji is 300 islands of beaches, reefs, corals, forests, rivers and peace! If you are a lover of Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe or Mutiny on the Bounty this is the place to be! Here you can see the water though which Captain Bligh sailed after the mutiny; you can picnic on deserted islands, see old cannibal ovens, and let fish nibble your toes.

Fiji has something for everyone, with accommodation from extreme luxury to affordable budget. It is a paradise for backpackers, not only because of the wide range of affordable budget accommodation ranging from $5 upwards, but also because of the friendliness and genuine hospitality of the people. Seven days here will cost between $950 and $2,200 per person, depending on the time of year.

Norfolk Island

An interesting aspect of Norfolk Island is its colourful past filled with some of history’s more notable seamen, such as Captain James Cook and the Bounty mutineers.

From its early days as a convict settlement, the island has become an historian’s paradise with its old buildings as from the penal days to the early homes of the Pitcairn settlers (Bounty descendants).

There is something to do all the time here, without repeating yourself too often — bush walks, snorkelling, fishing, surfing, diving, horse riding, gun clubs, golf, tennis or bowling, just to mention a few. There is a wide range of accommodation available, and seven days here would start from $1,100 per person.

Tonga

The kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago of some 170 islands scattered across the South Pacific near the International Date Line and just north of the tropic of Capricorn. Tonga remains a kingdom, its government a constitutional monarchy, and member of the British Commonwealth. The Head of State is King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, son of the late Queen Salote. The capital is Nuku’alofa.

It is claimed that Tonga has been inhabited since 500BC and Tongans are descended from ‘Lapita’ people, the forerunners of today’s Polynesians. The climate is cooler and less humid than most tropical areas. The average daily temperature is 24 degrees Celsius The hottest months are December/January. Seven days here will cost approximately $800 to $1,600 per person. There is a wide range of accommodation.

The Cook Islands

One of the best things about Rarotonga and the Cook Islands as a holiday destination is that it can be whatever you want to make it: sunshine, crystal clear lagoon waters, with swimming, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, tennis, golf, bowls, squash, canoeing and many more activities. Accommodation is varied with both budget and luxury hotels, the approximate cost for seven days being $1,300 to $2,600 per person.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

New Zealand recreation is generally aimed at the great outdoors! The obvious beach activities include swimming, snorkelling and year round activities such as wind surfing and sailing.

Sport, fitness and leisure have played a key part in creating and shaping New Zealand’s national image, both at home and abroad, and contribute much to the lifestyle New Zealanders enjoy. Everyone has the chance to take part in some form of sport or leisure activity and it is government policy to promote access to it for all New Zealanders.

An extensive and varied park system which includes national, forest and maritime parks, historic and scenic reserves, walkways and many local parks and reserves, showcases the environment and provides a full spectrum of recreational opportunity.

Top sports for people over the age of 15 years are swimming/ diving, cycling, snooker/pool, tennis and aerobics. In the recreational physical activity section walking comes out tops followed by running/jogging, cycling and fitness classes. In terms of favourite leisure activities reading is the most popular followed by watching television and videos, visiting friends, listening to music and gardening.

Marching is a New Zealand-born sport, originating in the early years of the 1930s Depression. The grades in marching cover four age groups, the senior grade for those 16 years and over, the junior grade for girls aged 12 to 16, the midget grade for seven to 12 year olds, and the introductory grade for six to 12 year olds.

There is a large following for big game fishing, lake and river fishing. Shooting and hunting is very popular, the principal game birds being duck, swan, pheasant, quail, geese and chukor. The season is, however, limited to six to eight weeks starting on the first weekend of May.

Skiing, mountaineering, tramping and walking offer an immense variety of venues to people in all age groups. Golfing and bowls (indoor and outdoor) are also very popular, with a huge selection of clubs throughout New Zealand.

For the more daring, there is white water rafting, abseiling, mountain climbing, parachuting, gliding and bungy-jumping. You can find these and a lot more thrilling outdoor sports with up-to-date pricing on the Tourism New Zealand site www.purenz.com. Information can also be obtained from New Zealand Tourism Offices overseas.

DINING OUT

Over the past few years cafe style eating has become very popular. You will find tables to sit at outside cafes in most cities in New Zealand. Magazines and newspapers are available for you to read and an array of food and beverages from all-day breakfasts to vegan and vegetarian meals are on the menu.

Every style of restaurant and eating establishment is to be found now in most parts of New Zealand, with Thai, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, New Zealand and European cuisines. You can expect to pay $20 to $30 for a fairly inexpensive meal, and for the high class establishments in top hotels and some of the more ‘intimate’ restaurants, somewhere in the region of $50 to $70 a head.

BYO — visitors will notice that many restaurants hold a ‘byo’ licence, that is, these establishments are permitted by law to allow clients to ‘bring your own’ liquor with them, to be consumed with their meal. There is usually a ‘corkage’ charge of $l-$3. Restaurants of this nature are distinct from those who are licensed to sell liquor on their premises.

A new feature of dining out which is becoming quite popular is the ‘dessert’ restaurants like ‘Death by Chocolate’ and ‘Strawberry Faire’. Here you choose a dessert and finish up with coffee.