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My friend booked a spa experience and it included entry into the more expensive pools so I paid to use them as well. The sign board when you enter the spa advises that only approx 10% of visitiors use these pools so i was expecting a lovely quiet, relaxing experience.
Upon entering we found a bus load of tourists already in the pools running from pool to pool in their underwear (not even bathers) and shouting across the pools. Definately not relaxing.
Written Aug 6, 2012
Address: Hinemoa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Phone: 64 7 348-1328
We did the Tamaki village and hangi dinner. Our bus driver was very entertaining, the village tour was informative and interactive. My favourite part was the hangi dinner, seeing where it is cooked and then getting to try it... yummmmm!
We booked this tour through our hotel the afternoon of and paid on the night. Tour included pick up and drop off :)
Updated Aug 6, 2012
Address: 1220 Hinemaru St, Rotorua, New Zealand
Phone: 64 7 349 2999
We did the intermediate aqua zorb and whilst it was terrifying I am SO glad I did it. You have the opportunity to purchase photes at the end and even get a free picture to upload to Facebook. Staff very friendly.
Note- BYO towel or you will need to buy one
Written Aug 6, 2012
Address: Cnr Western Rd & State H'way 5 Ngongotaha, Rotorua
Phone: Reception: +64 7 357 5100
Every now and then somebody asks for great half- and full-day hikes in New Zealand. So now I post a list here, so I do not have to retype it every time the question pops up in the VT Forum.
I will mark the hikes which are along the main tourist tracks with stars; the others are a bit too far off these tracks if, for example, you have only three weeks in New Zealand.
***** The Tongariro Crossing Track surely is the most spectacular day hike in NZ.
**** Once you are there, you could also take the chairlift up Mt. Ruapehu and then walk to the crater lake and back.
- (Mt. Tarawera is the only one you cannot do on your own, only guided tour and have to pay for it - Maori land.)
- Walk to the northern tip of Coromandel Peninsula
- Mt. Taranaki (Egmont) - would be a five star walk but you will struggle to include it in a 3 week itinerary
**** City-to-Sea Walk in Wellington (Island Bay to Karori)
- Near Napier: Te Mata Peak and the walk to the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers (for the latter you have to get information about the tides, as you can only walk to the colony at low tide)
**** Abel Tasman Coastal Track (take water taxi to one of the northern beaches and walk down south to Marahau, so you do not have to hurry to a water taxi pick-up point later in the day)
*** You can also walk a day or several hours at Farewell Spit, veeeery lonesome
- Day hike into the Heaphy Track from the southern end (from Karamea; Kohaihai Bridge)
- Nelson Lakes National Park: There are several great day walks, best up to the St. Arnaud Range, as no transportation is needed; with boat transport great hike to Angelus Hut and lake
**** A day on the crater rim in the Port Hills above Christchurch (details on my Christchurch page)
***** Take ferry from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour, walk up Mt. Herbert and back (day hike from Christchurch)
***** (For Summit Walk on Banks Peninsula (starts/ends as Mt. Herbert walk) you would need transportation to the start/end at the Hilltop Tavern; you could take the morning bus named Akaroa Shuttle which could drop you off there)
**** Another fabulous walk from Christchurch: Take bus to Gondola, get up there or walk up Bridle Path, from there to Evans Pass, Godley Head, Boulder Bay, Taylor's Mistake, Sumner, bus back to Chch city centre
***** Walk on one of the two West Coast glaciers (guided tours only!). If you are fit you should choose Franz Josef Glacier. (More info on my West Coast page)
**** Copland Track as a return day hike from the West Coast (The entire hike is for very experienced hikers only)
*** Alex Knob Walk with great views of West Coast and Franz Josef Glacier (access from glacier access road)
***** From The Divide (on the Milford Road) to the Key Summit and a bit further into the Routeburn Track and back (see my Milford Sound page)
- Several good walks from Glenorchy (northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, 45 min from Queenstown), also at Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Skippers Canyon
***** From Mt. Cook Village: Mueller Hut, Hooker Valley - and finish off with a short walk to Tasman Lake which is full of floating icebergs
***** Lake Tekapo - Observatory - along the ridge, then down to the lake and from there back to the township
*** Kaikoura Coastal Walk
*** There are plenty of great day hikes in Arthur's Pass National Park,
also from Hanmer Springs, Mt. Somers, to Mt. Sunday (castle location in Lord of the Rings), etc. etc.
**** Fantastic walks in Mt. Aspiring National Park (from Wanaka), for example to Rob Roy Glacier. There are a few five star walks with splendid views, for example the walks starting at Diamond Lake (to Lake Wanaka viewpoint and Ridge Track).
You can check details - and find more hikes you will have no time for LOL - on this website:
* My star rating is focussed on great views and landscapes, not the scale of the mountains.
Updated Apr 24, 2012
To be at the Top of the World is always something amazing for me. So i didn´t miss riding on the Gondola way up to the upper part of the Land. With my Family it was perfect because we did lots of fun joyriding.
Written Apr 12, 2012
On my visit i saw lots of young people going fishing at the Avon River and Heathcote Rivers. As one of the outdoor activities fishing is considered one of the favorite means to spend their leisure time while relaxing on the water grounds. Christchurch is surrounded by lots or rivers, lakes so that this makes it a paradise for hobby anglers.
You can go fishing all the year round here and the access to both rivers are not hard to find.
Updated Apr 12, 2012
Auckland's harbour is one of the most beautiful of any city. The 360 Discovery cruises include sightseeing cruises, trips out to Coromandel town, island cruises, and more. Mine was a basic narrated harbour tour, lasting about two hours. This is another good way to see a lot of the city in a fairly short time.
The boat is comfortable, with plenty of seats and a modest snack bar.
Written Mar 28, 2012
Address: Pier 4, 139 Quay St, Auckland, PO Box 1346
Phone: 0800 360 3472
Surrounding the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a vast urban park known as the Auckland Domain. With miles of hiking trails, this is one of the city's foremost outdoor attractions. Be sure to visit the Wintergarden Complex, consisting of two greenhouses, formal gardens, and a fernery.
Written Mar 28, 2012
New Zealand's largest and probably most visited museum is the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It's not just a military museum, but has all kinds of exhibits on the Maori culture, the European settlers, the country's flora, fauna, and natural history. There is a LOT to see here.
This country and Australia both played a key role in both World Wars, and suffered great casualties. Relative to their small populations, their losses were truly horrendous. This museum has a number of memorials and exhibits that cover this.
Be sure to see the Maori war canoe, and wood carvings.
Written Mar 28, 2012
Address: The Auckland Domain, Parnell
Phone: 09 309 443 fax 09 379 9956
If you have only a brief stay in Auckland, and a desire to make the most of it, then I recommend the Sky Tower. Standing 328 meters (1076 feet) tall, it is nearly the height of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. There is a main Sky Deck and another lower observation deck. The tower also has a buffet restaurant, a cafe, and shops.
Written Mar 28, 2012
Phone: 0800 SKYCITY (08007592489)
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There is so much to do and something for everyone. Adventure sports, more relaxed activities and many water based adventures.
Lots of tracks for tramping (hiking) either day trips or...