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May-June 2012 Issue 89



RUSH HOUR Braving Taupo’s thrills

LORDING IT Sampling Nelson’s wines

RIOT SQUAD We chat to the Kaiser Chiefs

! E M I T W O N S IT’S this w inter d n la a e Z New hite stuff in w e th g n ti to hit + WHAT’S ON FIJI ADVENTURES Your guide


Hot Water Beach, New Zealand


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EDITOR’S LETTER Snow bunnies rejoice! The winter is oh-so-nearly here, meaning it’s time to dust off those boards and get ready to hit the white stuff. But if you don’t know your Cardrona from your Coronet Peak, fear not, as we’ve got a full guide to all you need to know about the snow on p8. Skiing not for you? Don’t worry, as this issue we also take a look at Abel Tasman (p24), Taupo (p30), Fiji (p34) and much, much more.























Finding the right stuff in the white stuff: your guide to NZ’s snow season



Chatting to the Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman Ricky Wilson ahead of their Kiwi gig




One traveller tells us about going skydiving with a stranger over Wanaka



Exploring the South Island’s Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park



A grape novice’s wine-tasting tour through the vines of the Nelson region



Going through the motions in the North Island adrenalin hot spot Taupo



Getting down and dirty in Fiji as we find the South Pacific’s adventurous side




NZDIARY EDITORIAL Editor Andrew Westbrook Staff writer Alex Harmon Editorial assistant Leigh Livingstone Contributors Tom Sturrock | Damian Hall | Alex Vivas | Lee Taylor | Amy Richardson

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SEE for pick-up points

The most epic event on the calendar has to be the first ever major Flight of the Conchords tour on home turf. They are long overdue but it’s business time. Jemaine Clement and now Oscar winner Bret McKenzie want every Mutha’ucka to grab a ticket to their shows. They’ll be booming all the way from Hastings to Nelson if you’re into it. There won’t be too many dicks on the dancefloor if you hurry. The handful of remaining tickets start from $55, depending on the venue. Further info at $55

June 13-27




For possibly the best seafood you’ve ever tasted, you can’t go past this festival on the southernmost tip of the South Island. Succulent oysters are the star, but there is plenty of great NZ wine to suit whatever yummy food tickles your tastebuds.

Matariki is the Maori name given to a group of stars also known as the Seven Sisters and refers to the traditional Maori new year. Cultural celebrations will happen throughout June across NZ, but the northern tribes celebrate on June 21 with exhibitions and performances.

How’s this for value? $50 gets you more than 50 bands at this rocking festival in the beautiful Bay of Islands area. Both local and international acts put on their best shows across multiple venues over three days. Your ticket gets you in to see the works.

May 26 Bluff, near Invercargill

June 21 Northland

May 11-13 Bay Of Islands



TNT Magazine is printed on paper from sustainable forests. There is no business connection between the proprietors of this magazine and TNT Ltd, the worldwide transportation group. TNT Magazine does not assume responsibility for unsolicited submissions – material is sent at the owner’s risk. TNT Magazine accepts advertising material and other contributions in good faith, and takes no responsibility for claims, errors or omissions. Copyright here and abroad of all original materials is held by TNT Magazine. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden, except with permission of the publishers.





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Paint the town fluro

This film festival is the second largest in New Zealand and showcases over 50 queer films from around the world on the big screen. Now in it’s 18th year, the programme will feature historical dramas, investigative documentaries and hilarious short films for your entertainment. For a big dose of culture, there are some great NZ productions included in the diverse collection of lesbian, gay and transgender themed films and all of them will be vying for the coveted Best Feature Audience Award throughout the festival. No matter what your orientation, there is something for every film buff and with weekday tickets as low as $13 ($15 for evening and weekend) you can’t afford not to go.

Photos: Getty Images


May 31 - June 10 The Paramount Theatre, Wellington

VODKA CRUISER ILLUMINATE PAINT PARTY [TARANAKI] Dig out your whites and leave the stain remover at home, Illuminate is back on and this year they have a slip ‘n’ slide and hand held paint pumps to get you messy. Get artsy with the colourful paint while listening to an international line-up and checking out the most hi-tech audio-visual productions in NZ. This is not for the neat and tidy. Party packs with merchandise and drink tokens are $119. $59

June 2 ASB Showgrounds Epsom, Auckland

HOT RED HAWKES BAY New Zealand’s biggest regional wine expo is back for another year with a huge range of vino for the tasting. Lots of local wineries will be showing off their best reds, including their classic cabernet-merlots, but don’t ignore the crisp whites also on show. If you miss the event on Hawke’s Bay home turf then there are also expo days in Wellington and Auckland. Tickets are limited to 200 per venue so get in before they sell out. $35

June 1 Church Road Winery, Napier





”Let’s go Thundercats” – don’t be confused with cartoon characters, this action packed race day will have both young and old out on the beach. Watch the wave jumping and high speed racing of these inflatable boats with a meat pie in hand, the Kiwi way.

This rollersport triple header is going to be one seriously fast-paced event. The Sirens of Smash allstar team from Nelson will take on Christchurch and Dunedin in an adrenalin filled match. Cheer the girls as they “whip it” round the derby track on skates and roll over the competition.

Queenstown knows all about winter wonderlands and their annual festival promises just that. Street parties, fireworks, mountain action and music will all welcome the start of the frosty season. Rug up and get down there for a party.

With a jam-packed line-up including veteran and newbie comedians, this laugh-aminute event is guaranteed to give you a giggle. The shows will take place in Auckland and Wellington, then hit the road. Tickets onsale now. Some shows free.

May 12 Orewa, Auckland

May 26 The Trafalgar Centre, Nelson

June 22 - July 1 Queenstown

Now - May 20 Auckland/Wellington







The snow season ACROSS NEW ZEALAND

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At ir s



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Powder people From New Zealand’s unique club scene, to the big resorts and rail parks, here’s your guide to finding the white stuff this winter WORDS ANDREW WESTBROOK

I’m handed the details of my trip and look down puzzled. At the top, in shiny red letters, is the word “Christchurch”. “Er, is there still anything there?” I ask hesitantly. I’m met with a stony silence, but it’s a fair enough question. The city, the biggest on New Zealand’s South Island, endured a massive earthquake back in 2010. Miraculously, the Canterbury capital survived largely unscathed. That is until another monster quake hit in February last year, much nearer the centre, leaving large parts of the city as rubble. Since then, despite green shoots, opportunistic suburbs thriving and plans for a completely redeveloped CBD, a fair chunk of the centre – the elusive Red Zone – has remained out of bounds to mere civvies as, one by one, the remaining buildings are made safe or demolished. But I’m not heading to Canterbury for a natural disaster tour it turns out, hell no. I’m hitting the snow. While many of the South Island’s big, commercial ski resorts are further west, looking down on Queenstown and Wanaka, Christchurch, it seems, has been keeping a secret. On the up

In New Zealand, you see, there’s a thriving community of ski clubs offering access to snow fields on a no frills, cheap and friendly basis. There are just 10 of these so-called club ski fields dotted around the country, and seven of them happen to be within an hour or two of the Garden City. And the good news is that there is plenty of time to check them out, as the snow season goes well into October. But more on them shortly, as my first stop is Porters, a swift 90km drive from the airport. Boasting a trio of t-bar lifts and terrain for every level, Porters is the perfect place to get your snow legs back. Porters might be more commercial than the sociable club fields, but the neighbours’ friendliness seems to have worn off, as this is no faceless resort. And soon enough I’m booted up and hitting the slopes, carving some white lines. The clear air, spacious snow and lack of lift queues means I’m swiftly back in the swing. Too much perhaps, as a crunching fall from a waytoo-cocky attempt at a jump leaves me reeling. The surroundings might be breathtaking, but not as much as my lack of skills.

A few more runs to get my confidence back, however, and I decide it’s time to go clubbing. After stopping for the night, spending an evening propping up the bar with the locals at the Flock Hill Lodge in the heart of clubland, I head back off the main road and onto the gravel. Soon I’m winding my way back up the mountain roads towards Broken River. I reach a half-full car park and pull up, wondering what’s next. That’s when I see the cable car. As Yazz once sang, the only way is up, so in I jump with my bags, skis and boots and press the green button, which sends me soaring up into the trees with a shudder. Once settled into my bunkroom at the lodge, I waste no time in making my way up to the slopes. “Hang on a sec,” I’m asked. “Have you ever used a rope pull before… or a nutcracker?” “Err, no…” I reply hesitantly, trepidation increasing as I accept an extra glove and tow-belt with metal “nutcracker” attached. “Okay, I’ll send someone up with you.” Now, I’d been asked this several times over the previous couple of days, and I’d never really got to the bottom of what a nutcracker was. However, thanks to the wry smiles produced whenever I questioned it, I’d been nurturing a growing concern. After all, how the hell was I going to get up the slopes without a chairlift, t-bar, even a button lift? And I didn’t even want to think about what a nutcracker was. But my concern turns into slightly baffled excitement when suddenly I’m presented with the rope pull. My nuts, it turns out, were going to live to face another day. On the pull

Before me was a speeding rope. The trick apparently being to grab the rope with your double-gloved hand and hold on tight until you’re being pulled up and the rope isn’t flying through your fingers. Then, with your other hand, you have to flick the metal “nutcracker” over the rope so that it grips and, hey presto, you’re being pulled up the mountain while clinging on for dear life. It’s intimidating at first, to say the least, but the rope pull really demonstrates exactly what club skiing is all about – the complete opposite of what the perception of snow pursuits has become to many people. Cash and fancy outfits matter for TNTDOWNUNDER.COM


“Just a little bit further back...”

Heading out for a night ride at Coronet Peak community feel, with everyone stopping to chat to one ageing hiker who’s making the slow ascent all the way up the piste on foot. I’m also, I admit, a little relieved to be back in the stressfree world of t-bars. I’ve only got time for a final few runs, however, before the dash back to the airport, where I find a corner to nurse my aching body. I’d never even heard about the club fields before heading to Christchurch, but now I’m a convert. Thanks to uncrowded slopes, cheap prices and a really sociable feel, it’s hard to imagine a better set up from a snow-obsessed backpacker point of view. I’ll see you there. ❚

Care in the community

I experience that community to its full later that night when, after devouring a huge spread at dinner, I find myself the sole Pom in a room full of Kiwis as England labour to a narrow and tortured rugby victory on the TV, much to the amusement of my new buddies. On my final day, I stop off at another club, the brilliantlynamed Mount Cheeseman. Yet again I’m struck by the friendly 10


Last run of the day at Mt Hutt

Photos: Thinkstock, Tourism New Zealand, Miles Holden, Chris McLennan

nothing here. This is old school skiing taken back to its rawest roots, when all that matters is having fun chucking yourself down a mountain with a bunch of like-minded fanatics. Once upon a time, this is what all resorts would have been like. Anyway, several false starts later and I make it up, collapsing in a heap at the top as I struggle to untangle myself when the rope suddenly comes to an end. But I’m there, with all the valley below me. I shimmy my way halfway down before pulling into the rest lodge to grab a glass of water (and, ahem, maybe put off my second assault on the rope pull for a few minutes). And then a strange thing happens. Well, it would have been strange if it didn’t seem to happen every time I took a break to chill out for a bit. Somebody starts talking to me. Up in the clubs you see, many of the skiers are members, meaning they’re on the slopes throughout the season and have often been coming for most of their lives, while the nonmembers all stay in the same lodge for a week or so. The result is a thriving sense of community, with everyone keen to share their thoughts on their first love – the mountains.


Carving it up in The Remarkables

CARDRONA The basics: This is a great mountain for the average punter but it’s especially good for those who want to try their hand at freestyle stuff, with four halfpipes and two terrain parks full of jumps and rails. I came out worse for wear but felt I had pushed myself that little extra because Cardrona’s technical courses have a smooth learning curve. With wide open spaces, there are also plenty of lines to be had on a powder day. Where to stay: Cardrona is placed closer to Wanaka than to Queenstown but if you’re also looking for the good nightlife stay in Queenstown. There is a wide a range of hostels and lodges to choose from. Charge it: $95 will have you riding all day, while $69 will get you a half-day, but then you’ve missed out on the fresh stuff. More info:

TREBLE CONE The basics: My first day riding saw blue skies with a footand-a half of snow at Treble Cone – perfect conditions to fall all over the place, trying to find my mountain legs again. TC to the cool kids, this mountain, close to Wanaka in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, has excellent terrain, especially offpiste action. Be prepared to have your lungs explode from the crisp yet almost non-existent air. There are runs for all levels of snow lovers, with a quaint chalet for the hot chocolate afterwards. There’s even a new Jazz Fun Park full of rails and jumps. Where to stay: Wanaka is your nearest town, only 40 minutes away. Punching above its weight for fun, this town has a few sweet hostels, a lounge chair cinema and a good pub by the lake, even a skatepark for the gnarlies. Indeed, National Geographic Magazine recently named Wanaka as one of the world’s top 25 ski towns, the only southern hemisphere inclusion to make the list. Charge it: Lift passes are $95 for a full day or $69 for a half-day.

BIGGEST Ski Area easily accessed from Queenstown HIGH elevation means quality snow and huge views EASY drive or bus ride from Queenstown or Wanaka For more information or to buy your lift passes, rental, lessons and more...



More info:



SNOW PARK The basics: There is nothing basic about Snow Park. Just as it sounds, this resort is one giant park: no real terrain here, just every jump, halfpipe and rail imaginable with terrain features for every level of rider. What makes this place great is the vibe they create. A huge sound system pumps the hills so alive with music you’d think the Von Trapps were on the wheels of steel. Because we’re in the southern hemisphere, Snow Park has become a playground for the world’s best skiers and boarders in the northern off-season. Where to stay: Snow Park is right across the road from Cardrona so again, you’ve got the choice of Wanaka or Queenstown. Charge it: A day pass is $88 or a night riding pass pass is $41. As this is a specialist resort, there is no rental equipment, however you can hire gear from Wanaka or Queenstown. More info:

THE REMARKABLES The basics: The Remarkables are deserving of their name, rising from Queenstown and surrounds like a wall of ice. It looks like you could fall from top to bottom with one leap. This all-round resort offers plenty of space to roam both in-bounds and off-piste. It has some steep and deep snow as well as the groomed corduroy. Slink down the



hill after last runs and find yourself in aprés mode, by a fire in one of QT’s top bars. Where to stay: Queenstown is directly below Remarks. Once you get down the windy road it’s just a five-minute drive. Back to the hostel, take off your pants and jacket then shower, jacket back on, happy hour. Charge it: A day pass is $91, afternoon pass is $62. More info:

CORONET PEAK The basics: Kamikaze Kiwis have been skiing Coronet Peak for more than 50 years. It has a wide range of runs, a lil’ somethin’ for everyone, from halfpipes and parks to easy-does-it runs with a conveyer belt, in case, like many, you find the lift dismount the hardest part. Enjoy some sun on the patio in your fluoro one-piece and work on your goggle tan. Where to stay: Again, Queenstown is the place to be,

Board crazy just up the road. Charge it: A full day there is $95, while a half-day is $65.

powder to the final frost bite, floating on clouds like Care Bears... er, wait, like Monkey Magic, yeah, that’s it.

More info:

More info: visit and snow-plow to the heli-ski section for more details.

MOUNT HUTT The basics: Famous for its deep, dry snow and for having one of the longest seasons in Australasia, Mt Hutt makes the most of its location. The fields look back over the lush green Canterbury Plains and out to the Pacific Ocean. There’s a huge range of terrain, with plenty of space for novices to eat snow. Park monkeys are also guaranteed a rush with death-defying jumps and rails to sample. Where to stay: Methven is a small town just down the hill with a couple of good backpackers; otherwise, Christchurch is a popular option. Charge it: A day pass is $91, with half the day costing $62. More info:

CLUB SKIING The basics: Club skiing is like stepping back in time, when everything was more relaxed and you could buy a Coke for 20 cents. We can’t guarantee cheap Coke, but we’re sure that club skiing, with its long lines of high-grade white powder, is a fun day out. While the area of a club field is smaller than that of the big boys, so too are their crowds. Enter the clubhouse and you’re in for home-made soup or a delicious BBQ. We had some of our best days in club fields like Ohau and Mt Olympus. Charge it: Club fields are great stepping-stones between the major fields. With Chill you have access to eight mountains on the one pass. More info: Ski those digits over to or

HELI-SKIING New Zealand is one of the top places in the world for heli-skiing and a great way to see NZ. With your guides you’ll cop delicious

MOUNT RUAPEHU The basics: Just south of Lake Taupo in Tongariro National Park, near Frodo’s Mt Doom, Mt Ruapehu is home to the biggest ski area in New Zealand, with a vertical drop of 722m. It can get pretty busy in the peak season because of its size and proximity to Auckland but it offers world class terrain with a wide array of runs whether you’re experienced or still using the “pizza, french fries” technique. The views are spectacular – volcanic peaks circle your vistas. Spring skiing at Ruapehu is fantastic, lasting until November on a good year, with warm weather. Where to stay: Whakapapa Village (pronounced fukapapa, tee hee) Ohakune and the National Park Village are all nearby and have a number of hostels, and camping if you’re sharing two people to a sleeping bag, brrr. Charge it: A day pass is $95, while half a day costs $67. More info:

THE ONE PASS A number of top Kiwi ski resorts have joined forces for the first time this year, meaning that visitors can now buy one interchangeable pass that gains them access to eight snow regions across New Zealand’s South Island. The OnePassNZ gives snow bunnies the chance to ski or board at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Treble Cone, Snowpark, Snowfarm, Ohau, Mt Dobson, Roundhill and the Porters Ski Area. You can also top up your pass with snow dollars that can be redeemed at 42 off-snow businesses, meaning you can access everything from spas to Milford Sound tours, as well as for hiring snow gear and buying lessons. More info:



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Go to and click on the WIN page. See webpage for terms and conditions. Winners will be selected at random.

WIN FIVE DAYS WORTH OF FREE CAMPERVAN RENTAL With its soaring mountains, stretching valleys and minimal population, New Zealand is a country made for roadtripping, and never more so now that the snow season is upon us. Which is why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Backpacker to make it even easier for you to get on the piste this winter, thanks to this prize of a fiveday roadtrip holiday. After all, what’s better than having a sweet ride to the snow and a cosy bed to crash in after a hard day on the slopes, all rolled into one. THE PRIZE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING: CAMPERVAN HIRE: Five-day (four-night) hire of any 2WD Backpacker Campervan. Included will be the SmartPack, which




features living and sleeping equipment, liability reduction and camping stools. The vehicle can be collected from any Backpacker branch (Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown), with the prize valid from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013 (excluding Easter & school holidays, subject to availability at all times). Competition closes Friday, 29 June, 2012. Log on to for further details and to enter.

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Going back to the future There are few names bigger in indie music than New Zealandbound Kaiser Chiefs, so we gave frontman Ricky Wilson a call WORDS ANDREW WESTBROOK

Anybody that's seen the Kaiser Chiefs play live will know that singer Ricky Wilson is not a man that lacks energy on stage. He jumps, he screams, he stage dives and, if there's any scaffolding in sight, it's only a matter of time before he's scrambled halfway to the top, mid-song. He's as natural a frontman as you'll see. So it's perhaps surprising when, chatting on the phone from the UK, he readily admits that, even now, he gets stage fright before every gig he does. "Every night," explains Ricky, "a few seconds before I go out on stage, it always seems like the worst idea in the world. But I’ve got used to the fact now that I know that once I’m out there it’s great." "I’m not an applause junkie," he continues. "It’s not like I crave the appreciation, I can’t really explain it. I find it really weird. I mean, I don’t feel comfortable in a room with more than like eight people. I don’t know what happens or what takes over when I walk out on stage but I become very comfortable. It’s an outlet. We took about a year and a half, two years, away from the stage and I had to go running every day. It was mad, it was like I needed something else. It’s not so much that I like people clapping, I like knocking things over and being naughty. I think it’s kind of controlled aggression." Indeed it doesn't take long chatting to Ricky, who is typically laidback and dripping with his easy humour, for it to become clear that not getting bored is key for the three times Brit-award winning band that's enjoyed a succession of hits, like "I Predict A Riot", since debut record Employment first dropped back in 2005. "Anything new I love," says Ricky. "It’s great travelling the world, and I love it, but I don’t want to ever get used to it, because as soon as you get used to it, it gets boring." That probably explains why, when I ask if they've lined up any festivals for the next UK summer, he's like an excited backpacker with a ticket in his pocket, not interested in anything other than the upcoming trip. "You know what, I’m sure it’s all in place. But the thing is, people from the UK are kind of blinkered. They don’t realise there’s also loads in the rest of the world. It’s the most fun time to be in a band. We just travel the world, working at weekends. It’s a bit like being at school in summer." Indeed, the need to keep doing something original is

nothing new for the Kaisers. After releasing three albums in quick succession, the five-piece indie kings took some time off, returning last year with their first album in three years, released in a revolutionary way – the band recorded 20 songs

It's not like I crave the appreciation. I just like knocking things over and being naughty

for The Future Is Medieval and allowed fans to listen to them all on their website, before picking their 10 favourites to make up their own personalised version of the record. Seven months on, are they glad they did the experiment? "Well, I wouldn’t do it again, but it worked for us. At least we had an idea. In a world full of people moaning about the music industry, and there’s a lot to moan about, don’t get me wrong, but there’s no point moaning. So we thought let’s do something that might be an answer, not the answer, because it’s fundamentally flawed, but it was fun and it worked and we were the first people to do it. It certainly didn’t translate into sales but to have a million people come on your website in the first couple of days is great. As long as a million people know about it, that’s half the battle won." So, can we expect plenty more from the Kaisers? He's not looking to try something else? "Before the band, I had lots of shit jobs. Well, all jobs are shit man. Mainly I was an art teacher. I went into that all guns blazing, thinking I was going to change the world, then you realise you’re not going to change the world. It was kind of fun, the kids were cool, but I didn’t like all the paperwork. Now I'm in my favourite band and that's a good job. I'm pretty lucky." ❚ The Kaiser Chiefs play Auckland's Powerstation on Thursday, May 10. Tickets cost $66.30.




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MATT SAYS “Picture of the sun setting at Cottesloe beach, in Perth, Western Australia.”


RUNNER-UP A SHEEPISH VIEW Rena Terrach, 24, Germany

RENA SAYS: “Wellington with a sheep! Not easy to get, but if you go on the ferry to Somes Island, you can manage to get a pic with these cute animals. With The Hobbit coming in December, more and more people are coming to New Zealand.”

HOT TIPS: Daily life Everyday life can seem an uninspiring muse: there are rarely explosions, fast cars or extraordinary people. But real life is really what photography was made for. Your shots should be aesthetically pleasing but also have the potential to inform and record the way things really are. Take a step back from the hustle and bustle and allow the lens to take in the scene before you. Everyday life is where we dwell and it should be exciting. Use your skill as a photographer to bring that out in an image: you have the tools to capture life in all its glory (or mundanity). Your goal should be to make the ordinary extraordinary.



TWO NORTHLAND TOURS Matt wins a Total Northland Pass for him and a friend from Magic Travellers Network (, while runner-up Rena wins a Rough Guides ( book of choice, sent to an Australian or New Zealand address. Winners are chosen by the TNT team, with the editor’s decision being final. To enter the next Hot Shots competition, send your best travel photos (300 dpi jpegs), along with your name, age, nationality and a description, to


Book all your travel with

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Fed up of carrying heavy guidebooks? Then TNT has the answer ZEALAND & FIJI AUSTRALIA, NEW

We’ve published our 2012 Independent Traveller’s Guide to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.





It’s free, it’s online and it’s full of tips on where to go, what to do and how to find work. It’s also got listings for all the best hostels, tour companies and job agencies for all three countries, complete with links that will take you straight to their websites.

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If you’re travelling on, there’s also sections on Papua New Guinea and Samoa.


To check it out, just head to and click the link on the right hand side. TNTDOWNUNDER.COM



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A typical NZ tramp





recently walked the Tongariro Q ICrossing. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done! Are there any other great day walks? Leonie Frank, UK there’s another country more suited to A Ifhiking than New Zealand, we’d like to know about it. A mild climate and an abundance of spectacular landscapes combine to produce ideal conditions for tramping, as Kiwis like to call it. The best tramps are multi-day affairs taking you deep into the heart of the NZ wilderness, but if you’d prefer a warm bed and nice meal each night then you’re accommodated with a number of excellent day walks. Rangitoto, an extinct island volcano in Auckland harbour, is one of NZ’s most popular and accessible day tramps. Further north, the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga regions offer relaxed tramping amongst coastal scenery. If you have a yearning to tramp through South Island’s rugged landscape, Avalanche Peak is just the trail. The seven hour summit walk is rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. Happy tramping!

heading to NZ for two weeks and Q I’m want to base myself in one place but still see lots. Where would you suggest? Vincent Logos, USA you considered Wellington? The Kiwi A Have capital is ideally located near the southern tip of the North Island, allowing easy access to the wineries, ski fields and wilderness of the surrounding region, while volcanic Rotorua and art-deco Napier are a few hours’ drive north. Wellington is New Zealand’s coolest city, both style-wise and when its famous wind blows a gale off Lambton Harbour. The city is also home to a pumping arts scene, so catch a band and wander into a few galleries while you’re in town. The South Island is easily accessed by ferry from Wellington Harbour, with boats travelling through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds towards Picton. The Marlborough region offers world class wineries (famous for their sauvignon blanc) and some great tramping, while a couple of hours further along the road is Christchurch, the gateway to all the wonders of the south.

CHECKING IN BASE ROTORUA This hostel is located close to one of the many geothermal parks in the area. Although the hostel looks a bit shabby it’s clean and friendly. The outside heated pool is nice to relax in. If you stay OVERVIEW



three nights you get free pizza, sweet as. ROOMS All dorms are en suite and there is a female only area as well. A bed in a mixed dorm from NZ$27/night.


1286 Arawa Street Rotorua

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AWAY? I ditched the cold US for New Zealand a few months back. If you pointed somewhere on a map, it’s likely I’ve been there. And each place is always more spectacular than the last. MOST MEMORABLE DAY IN NZ? When I was visiting Cathedral Cove I remember thinking, “I just want to take this all with me”. I’d never seen the ocean so blue and water so clear. There was also an abandoned goldmine which was awesome. MOST OVER-RATED? I might get stoned for saying this but I thought Zorbing was over-rated. It was too short. Put me in one and roll me down Mt Cook, then I’m game. ANY STRANGE EXPERIENCES? Having to drive a campervan through a herd of sheep. They took up the whole road and we had to move so slow my buddy was able to jump out and hug one for a photo op. CRAZIEST EXPERIENCE? Climbing Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom to LOTR fans) in Tongariro National Park was pretty wild. Besides the fact that it could explode any minute, it was terrifying to climb it. CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS AUSTRALIA EXPERIENCE


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English lass KARIANNE FOX wanted to be shown the sights of Wanaka, so she strapped herself to a stranger... I had been travelling around beautiful New Zealand for two weeks, and knew the time had come to do that thing I always wanted to do, but the one thing that scared me more than anything. For someone who’s not even that comfortable in an aeroplane, what the hell was I thinking? Jumping out of a plane might not be everyone’s bag, but if there are any of you wondering, ‘Should I? Shouldn’t I?’ I have two words for you: DO IT! And those of you who are up for it, you’re going to absolutely love it! I arrived in Wanaka on a Saturday afternoon ready for my skydive the next day. Cloudy morning weather delayed the jump until the afternoon, but it was definitely worth the wait. Bright blue skies and not a lot of cloud or wind meant perfect conditions to experience the best adrenalin rush I’ve ever had. Plus there was absolutely stunning scenery in and around Wanaka. Not too shabby! Picked up from my hostel by the lovely Jane, we had a short drive to the airport and jumpsite with a relaxed chat and watched a DVD giving 22


everyone an idea of what to expect. Skydive Lake Wanaka’s motto is “Strap Yourself to a Beautiful Stranger”. Don’t mind if I do! After a friendly welcome by the staff, it wasn’t long before I was suited up, fitted with a harness and happily met my beautiful stranger, Ingemar. I then I met my cameraman, Eric, who filmed me right from the start. It was so awesome to have the whole experience recorded, to be able to look back on it whenever I want. Safety was advised, questions were answered. My heart rate? Crazy fast! Before I knew it I was in the plane with my big nervous smile, a man strapped to my back, and a camera filming the whole thing. With a smooth take-off we climbed to 15,000ft, which took about 20 minutes. No backing out now! Crikey. Any last minute worries and questions were answered by the lovely Ingemar, along with a running commentary about where we were and what we were looking at. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen such beauty all at once. Lakes, mountains, rivers, valleys. It took my breath away. The door to the plane was now open and with final safety checks and a few

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last tokes on my oxygen, I watched the two people before me jump. I think I screamed more watching them! Blimey. It was my turn next! I was on the edge, getting into position and hoping I wouldn’t throw up or pee my pants. Rocking back and forwards and then... three... two... one... GO! The freefall that followed was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had. Even though you’re falling at 200kph, you feel like you’re floating. Probably the closest you can get to flying, and it’s absolutely awesome! I didn’t have any trouble breathing, which had worried me before, and all I had to do was enjoy it. Eric the cameraman stayed for the whole freefall, capturing all the waves, smiles and gorgeous views, before descending to film my landing. Parachute opened and we slowly floated back down to earth, it was so peaceful I didn’t want to land! Legs up and arse down we glided across the floor with enough time for me to say goodbye to the camera and give the guys a massive hug. I was buzzing! I’m so jealous that they get to do it everyday! In hindsight, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to be so nervous as the experience of skydiving was purely a dream come true. The jump is over so quickly so you have to relish every second. If you’re unsure about doing a skydive: do it. If you’re scared: do it. If you’re in Wanaka: do it! Trust me, you will not regret it.



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The name game From the hippie haven of Golden Bay to the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park, the South Island’s north-west corner is as stunning as it gets, even by New Zealand standards WORDS DAMIAN HALL

The importance of the right name should not be underestimated. Take mine for instance. I could certainly have been cursed with worse (like Horace), but school life was hell after The Omen was on telly. Everyone started checking through my hair on the back of my head and as I’d missed the horror film (in which the murderous son of Satan shares my name), I assumed people were checking for lice. Which amounted to a confusing time for me with plenty of literal and proverbial head-scratching. Golden Bay, on the other hand, couldn’t have been named more perfectly. Especially when you bear in mind that it used to be called Murderers’ Bay, after a 1642 altercation between Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and local Maori that, at a guess, probably didn’t involve the exchange of many pleasantries. The word “golden” connotes treasure, utopia, and… Well, you do the math. I first heard of Golden Bay – the lengthy curve that forms the north-west tip of the South Island – when I collected my campervan in Christchurch. Eager for some inside knowledge, I asked the man with the vans where his favourite spot in the country was. His eyes looked dreamily distant as he said, “oooh, that’s easy: Golden Bay...” And then changed the subject, seemingly anxious he’d let a wonderful secret escape.

View finder As the van chugged slowly up the road that weaves up the endless Takaka Hill, part of Golden Bay’s charm was already apparent. With only one road in, it’s pretty remote. The hill, which is near enough a mountain, acts as a barrier, protecting the bay from the outside world. We finally reached the top and the breathtaking view was well worth the tortured ascent. It was all lush green glaciated valleys, meadows, rivers, pockets of woodlands and the dramatic Tasman Mountains, with the promise of quiet beaches and the food-rich sea to the north. After checking in at a campsite by the beach, a sunset stroll along deserted sands, with the orange light bouncing along the rock pools, it was easy to see why Golden Bay attracted hippies and artists in the 1970s. Many of the current population moved to the area after a

short-lived mining boom gave way to fertile farm lands, helped by the highest annual sunshine hours in the country. The next morning I was collected by Jane McDonald for a day tour around the region. Among other things a local historian, Jane’s great, great grandfather was on the first boat of settlers to land here in 1842 and she was keen to show off the bay’s beauty and heritage. What followed was a fascinating day of beautiful sights and interesting stories, by the end of which I was as good as ready to stay for good. We took a short walk to a breathtaking waterfall, saw an historic farm, a miners’ graveyard, Westhaven (like a smaller Marlborough Sounds), some imaginative art galleries, sacred Maori sights and even a delightful little chocolate factory. Two spots linger in the memory particularly: Te Waikoropupu (or “Pupu”) Springs, the bay’s most famous attraction, thought to be the clearest water in the world because it travels several miles in a network of marble tunnels. There’s a peaceful bubbling sound and amazingly transparent water, allowing a glimpse of a kaleidoscopic array of colours from the magical world below. One girl was sitting there with a hypnotic, serene look in her eyes. She looked in mid-epiphany. Te Anaroa Caves, with their amazing white calcite sculptures, unspoilt stalactites, stalagmites and whole ceilings of glittering glow worms, were pretty special too.

Enter sand, man The next day I embarked on a tour of the Farewell Spit – the world’s largest natural sandbar – which reaches out to North Island like a claw. The spit is a nature reserve of international importance, home to thousands of birds migrating from the Arctic Tundra, and can only be accessed in 4WD. Our humorous and impossibly enthusiastic guide, Kersten, explained how the 35km spit is still growing at six metres per year. “When it reaches Wellington we can build a road,” he said. “And a very profitable toll gate.” I was soon learning the signature signs of godwits, knots, bartailed godwits and the funny little variable oyster-catchers, which, romantically, always go round in pairs. We also saw fossils and lazy seals, before stopping for lunch at the lighthouse. The no-longermanned lighthouse sits in a small oasis of trees planted after a TNTDOWNUNDER.COM


Photos: Tourism New Zealand, Stirling Images, Gareth Eyres , Tony Brunt, Ian Trafford

Catching a cab, Abel Tasman style former lighthouse operator brought two bags of soil back every time he visited the mainland. On the way back we paused to climb and run down “live” sand dunes (they’re slowly rolling north). It’s a curious landscape, barren and windswept yet beautiful, and when land of the greener variety is a distant spec, it feels like we’re on an island of desert in the middle of the sea. Back on the solid stuff, we saw the spectacular cliffs and curious arch at Cape Farewell. It was a rewarding and entertaining day, especially when my note-taking made Kersten suspicious I might be a spy from the Department of Conservation. Courtesy of a local tip-off, later that night I visited Wharariki Beach. Simply one of the most beautiful stretches of seaside I’ve never seen: all grassy dunes, rock formations in the sea, caves, and seals randomly strewn about the sands, playing dead. It was wild and heavenly.

I teamed up with Stefan, a German student, who was the odd one out of three mates travelling together. Naturally he wanted to out-paddle his chums, so he did a lot of hard work. Unlike me. Even taking into account how blasé you can get about spectacular scenery while touring New Zealand, Abel Tasman is bloody stunning; all secluded, golden beaches that beckon at you in a way that you can’t resist, with a deep green, palm-dominated, woodland behind and the gleaming turquoise sea.

Float your boat

That evening I drove back over Takaka Hill to Marahau, near Abel Tasman National Park. I’d been dying to get there, to see if it justified all the hype – I’d been told it was the most beautiful place in New Zealand to go kayaking. The next morning, the plan was to explore the coastline from Anchorage up to Bark Bay. But to get to the sea we needed a lift, in a boat, on a trailer, pulled by a tractor. Driving though the small village in our boat, with tourists chuckling at the site, was surreally funny. The most basic rule of two-person kayaking is of course, take the back seat. There, not only are you in charge of steering the rudder, but are also able to take as many sneaky rests as desired without the person in front knowing, leaving you to sit back and soak in the superlative surroundings. 26


Onetahuti Beach, on the Abel Trasman Track

Ready, willing and Abel

After rafting up for mid-morning tea and biscuits we headed up towards a small rocky island. Our guide said we shouldn’t get too close to the rocks. As I was wondering why, I spotted my first seal. We slowly circled the island as a handful of the furry flippered critters could be seen frolicking on the rocks, and in the water. Then we headed for one of the many gorgeous little beaches for a spot of lunch. This slice of paradise is only accessible from the sea and was entirely ours. I took a short walk and seriously contemplated stealing off into the bush and being willfully abandoned there. When I returned there was a stunning spread of meats, cheeses and fruit and we tucked in greedily. Though, cleverly, I was able to eat half a litre of sand too.

Even taking into account how blasé you get about spectacular scenery in NZ, Abel Tasman is bloody stunning

The wind had picked up in the afternoon. We rafted up and erected a sail to try and get back the lazy way. But the wind was too strong and we struggled to raft together for long. We pulled into a lagoon and the contrast with the lively sea couldn’t be more stark. The water was transparent, shallow and we glided along peacefully and listened to birds singing their courtship songs in the bountiful greenery around us. The next day, I was pondering names again. I thought Abel Tasman was actually a fairly fitting one too. See (and here’s the clever bit), “man” is quite “able” to have a very memorable time there. But Farewell Spit on the other hand... ❚



Photos: Tourism New Zealand,Ian Trafford

A vine old time Touring the Nelson region’s vineyards is the perfect way to sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines. Or just get very pissed... WORDS ALEX VIVAS

“Hmmm. For a Sauv Blanc, it tastes surprisingly like Riesling,” says the Aussie fella next to me, after an intense slurp and swish-gurgle from his glass. And adds, “...uncannily like a Barossa ‘97.” “I don’t have a clue what you’re on about,” I say. In my head. As I nod along in agreement. Oh dear. I’m not just out of my depth, I’m thrashing away in the deep end, seconds from a horribly messy social drowning. I know about as much about the vagaries of wine as I do about the mating habits of Serbian shrews. I hate being a cliché. Yet here I am, living the English backpacking stereotype – booze first, think second, if at all. I’m on a wine tasting tour around the greedily verdant hills that nestle up behind Nelson, almost nudging the town into the sea. It’s an irresistibly charming and eternally sunny little town, surrounded by beaches and gorgeous national parks (not least the famous Abel Tasman – see p24 for more). I’d had a look around the afternoon before and visited the excellent World of Wearable Art (what it says on the tin), where I spent two enthralling hours, double-taking at some of the world’s most bizarre costumes and marvellously jazzed-up minis. Today the sun is out, I’m with an agreeable bunch of backpackers, albeit all older and significantly more vino savvy, 28


and I’m here to get to know Nelson’s famous wine region – without showing myself up too badly – sent by a (very lovely) magazine who assumed I know a thing or two about the stuff. I wish I did, but I have one of those primitive palates that can’t tell Semillon from a sausage. It almost all tastes the same. It almost all tastes good. The magazine probably also assumed I wouldn’t get so drunk I couldn’t really recall much about my day, other than hazy, vague, mostly irrelevant recollections. But, who would turn down free wine tasting, eh? I was furtively blending in quite successfully, until, after a few potent glasses my cover is blown. By me. “What”, asks our indefatigably cheery guide, “is your favourite type of wine?” I decide I’ll just say whatever Dave says. But, fatefully, she asks me first. Bugger it. I’ll go for the easy laugh. “Oh, you know, whatever’s cheapest usually, ha, ha, ha.” The rest of the group laugh with a half-hearted politeness that fails to mask their classification of me as a typical English thug. They’re smiling patronisingly but their eyes are saying, “as soon as he starts to sing ‘Here we go’, we’ll call the police.” As the rest of the group say sensible, knowledgeable things about Cabernet Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, I tell myself that maybe it’s time to button my cake hole for a while. Anyway, back to Dave. He might actually not be a Dave. But

that name is in my increasingly incoherent notebook. It also has the words “whoops”, “cider at last” and “do monkeys have toenails?” Dave was passionate about his wine. You could tell because he would actually – and you won’t believe this – spit it back out again. I think later I tried to jovially rib him about the current cricket rankings, too. Which wasn’t a roaring success. Anyway, enough about my social suicide and more about what I was sent here to report on. The internationally renowned Nelson area – the country’s fourth largest – at the top of the South Island, specialises in top tipples Pinot Noir, Chardonnay,

Dave was passionate about his wine. You could tell because – you won’t believe this – he would spit it out

Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. We visit somewhere between four and six wineries in all (again, my notes were inconclusive), each a little different and each with seemingly limitless amounts of free wine. And sometimes port. And it’s all very pretty. And the wine’s very good indeed. I only know it’s any good because the rest of the group seemed mighty impressed and bought lots, and they seemed to know their stuff. Our excellent guide, who’s name I don’t have, unless she was called Dave, drove the minibus between each winery and told us ample anecdotes about each one and their owners. Aside from, or perhaps because of, me showing myself up, we’re all having a ball. One place specialised in all sorts of crazily creamy liquors and ridiculously rich, alcoholic desserts, which I swooped down indiscriminately. Another had organic wine, and another, an alcoholic “natural energy tonic” which gave me a vital fillip. And some highly acidic and disturbingly-likable cider and enough oddly-coloured liquids to make me feel like some sort of all-too-willing alcohol lab rat. There was some welcome chocolate and fudge tasting somewhere along the line. And quite possibly cheese, too. My notes also tell me one winery is run by an English couple who claimed teaching drove them to drink and the wine industry. I wrote that this one was the best, but by then I was admittedly at the you’re-all-my-best-mates stage. Indeed, other than the previously mentioned (and probably a few more) faux pas, my memories are of blissful sunny moments of relaxed, grinning indulgence surrounded on all sides by a ripe greenness. Along the way I vaguely recall agreeing that Nelson’s Sauvignon Blanc is perhaps the very finest in the world. Somewhere further along the way my great mate Dave identified me as an “ABC” – anything but Chardonnay, which made me feel like I was slowly fitting in. By early evening we were all very hungry and agreed to go for dinner in Nelson, after nipping back to respective hostels to shower. Several hours later however I wake to find I’ve missed the dinner date by some time. And cradled in my arms is a three-litre bottle of New Zealand Scrumpy cider and another of Banana Liquor. ❚

Strolling through Nelson’s vines

Blagging it New Zealand’s mainly coastal vineyards benefit from a temperate, maritime climate. The vines are warmed by strong, clear sunlight during the day and cooled at night by sea breezes. A long, slow ripening period helps retain a distinctive New Zealand flavour.

The country’s 10 wine growing regions span the latitudes of 36º-45º and cover 1,600km (the northern hemisphere equivalent would run from Bordeaux to southern Spain). This makes for a vast range of climates, soil types and wine styles but, for beginners, here’s a rough guide to three of the best.

Sauvignon Blanc They say: The global big-hitter that put New Zealand winemaking on the map. Their exuberant take on this zesty variety is now internationally recognised as the benchmark. Ripe and rich in the North Island, light and crisp in the South. Good with seafood, fish and summer salad. We say: It’s a girl’s drink. The aroma is like an incontinent old woman locked in a home, the taste is comparable to that of a young chav buying his first Vauxhall Astra – excitable and likely to get you in a lot of trouble.

Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot They say: The star blends of the warmer northern regions, including Auckland, Northland, Waikato and the Hawke’s Bay. Vibrant and richly mellow with firm tannic structure. Good with rich red meats such as lamb or duck. We say: Best stored in a brown paper bag. Drink it with crisps, two-minute noodles or undercooked sausages.

Pinot Noir They say: A tough variety to get right, but the South Island seems to have managed it, with good examples coming from Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough, whose cherry-rich Pinot Noir goes into the making of the region’s famousMéthode Traditionelle sparkling wines. We say: A cheeky aroma that skips impudently up your nose and kicks your tongue right in the goolies.






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Taupo rush hour Situated bang in the centre of North Island, Taupo is often touted as being the adventure capital of the country’s top half, so we put our adrenal glands to the test WORDS LEE TAYLOR AND AMY RICHARDSON

Skydiving What would any sensible person do the night before jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet? Get an early night? Write a will? Perhaps make peace with the big guy upstairs (not you Mr Johnson, and I still haven’t forgiven you for stealing my favourite pulling pants from the communal washing line)? Me, I decided the nine hours before my first tandem skydive would be best served pouring as much alcohol down my throat as possible, talking crap and staggering home at 1am through my own personal earthquake. I guess you could say I’m a maverick. Nine hours later I’m in the back of a van with a mouth as dry as our driver’s sense of humour (“So, any last words?”), trying to figure out if it’s fear or the beer gripping away at my insides. My dark, brooding demure has nothing to do with acting cool, but everything to do with the thought of whether I would fall faster than my own vomit. “Hi, I’m Scott and you’ll be jumping out of a perfectly good plane at 12,000 feet strapped to me today,” says a blond, surfertype ushering me through to a tiny runway hangar. “It’s my first jump, so I might be a bit edgy,” he says deadpan. My goldfish expression has the desired effect and he breaks into a smile before sniggering, “Just kidding.” Great, I’m skydiving with the guys who write the jokes found in Christmas crackers. The briefing is anything but brief as I’m hackled with safety harnesses and ropes from every single orifice. Like David Banner, Scott suddenly turns into a professional monster, making sure I’m comfortable and aware of what part I will play in the deathdefying feat. Just as I give him the thumbs up, my name is called out and we make our way to the tiny plane at the edge of an equally tiny runway. Around this time a voice pops into my head and reminds me that this is my very last opportunity to call the whole thing off, head back to the hostel and tell the crew it was cancelled because of the weather. Now, this plan could have worked had there been a cloud in the sky, but unlike my underpants, the sky was clear. Being one of the last to enter the plane, Scott and I are seated near the door (I say door, but a flimsy piece of plastic would be a better description). Scott clips himself to me and for once, I’ve never been so pleased to have a man’s warm breath on the back of my neck. The tiny engine of the tiny plane roars for all it’s worth and we gather speed along the tiny runway. I let

out a tiny scream. As the plane gains altitude, it becomes increasingly harder to distinguish the sound of the flapping door and the noise coming from my trousers. The crew signal each other and Scott says something that I can’t make out because of the noise of the plane. It’s only when he begins shifting his weight towards the door that I know it’s time to take the leap of faith. Edging my way one bum cheek at a time, the door is removed and Scott insists I dangle my legs out from the plane. My first reaction is to tell him where to go, but then I remember the small thing about my life being in his hands and more importantly, the parachute on his back. I remember back to when I first decided to do this jump, surrounded by all that peer pressure, and how I secretly relished the chance to emulate Patrick Swayze in the film Point Break. But looking down at the gaping earth below, I feel more like Patrick Swayze in Ghost... dead. I just hope I don’t Whoopie Goldberg all over poor Scott. “Okay, three... two...” For some reason I don’t quite hear “one”. Just the roar of the air rushing past me, spinning cartwheels in the air and catching glimpses of the disappearing plane. I had prepared for the



Photos: Tourism New Zealand, Taupo Tourism

Taking a trip to the dropzone breathless sensation you sometimes experience on fairground rides, but it never came. So I scream with delight (well, more relief) and my mouth is filled with the kind of pressure one could only experience snogging Aretha Franklin mid “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” We level out and the sensation of freefall totally consumes me. It’s 100 per cent pure adrenalin. I’m totally pumped. I’m flying. I hope the feeling lasts for... Doh! Scott enables the parachute and I’m pulled to the heavens... by my crotch. Safety harness? More like sperm destroyer. It’s deadly quiet now, except for the beating of my heart, and the tranquility is overwhelming. It’s true what they say about the view from the top: Lake Taupo shimmers quite magnificently and the volcanic peaks of Tongariro can easily be taken in with a simple turn of the head. Still desperately trying to take it all in, I’m brought back to my senses by Scott, who tells me to prepare for landing. The ground rushes in below me and, remembering the briefing, I lift up my legs as Scott takes the impact. “Enjoy that?” yells Scott, smiling from ear to ear. “Amazing,” I yell back. “But it would have been much better without a fat Kiwi on my back.” Like I said, I’m a bit of a maverick. LT

BUNGY I’d always considered bungy jumping a bloody silly thing to do. And I’d said so – loudly – whenever the topic came up. But when you’re in New Zealand, where people eagerly leap off anything high-up in the name of entertainment, somehow the whole concept becomes more acceptable. And after a while I became curious. And my boyfriend (BF) agreed to jump with me. This marginally lowered the terror factor and enabled me to convince myself that this might be, in some twisted 32


way, romantic. In an ill-judged attempt to ease my nerves, BF didn’t tell me when we were going to do the jump until the last minute. So I had a large greasy fry-up for breakfast. I’d barely finished digesting it when we pulled up outside a big gate with a sign saying “Taupo Bungy”. And I was informed, “Err, we’re going to do the jump now, hun.” I gulped. And marched in not wanting the sadistic guys who run these things to smell my fear. “Are you scared then?” said the man behind the counter with an annoyingly big grin. Though I assured him I was not, he was still able to humiliate me by insisting I had to be weighed before the jump. With my confidence rapidly diminishing, I walked to the end of the platform, which jutted out over the edge of a cliff 47 metres up, desperately trying not to look down. I tried hard to pretend I was in a nice, cosy shed somewhere. It became harder and harder to keep up this fantasy as BF and I stood face to face while our feet were tied together, with some contraption, which wasn’t much more than a fancy elastic band. We shuffled over to the edge of the platform. It was terrifying. My legs were tingling horribly. I probably would’ve cracked BF’s ribs if I’d held onto him any tighter. Err, why was I doing this? I stood with my heels off the edge and grimaced for the camera. And that was it – we were over the edge and off... The blood rushed to my head. But my breakfast stayed put – just about – as the air whistled past my ears. I opened my eyes to see us being twanged up away from the surface of a beautiful river in the nick of time. A few more energetic bounces of the elastic and we were down, sitting in the boat sailing back to dry land. It was over – I’d just done that ridiculously petrifying thing I always swore I’d never do. It was both awful and amazing. I think I deserved a round of applause, frankly. AR

ROCK N’ ROPES I read somewhere that Hollywood’s elite pay something close to $US50,000 to have toxins flushed from their toned bodies through colonic irrigation. During four hours of sheer terror at Rock n’ Ropes adventure ropes course, I paid only $65 for the same result. Regarded as one of the top adventure activities available in New Zealand, Rock ‘n Ropes is a series of high rope challenges guaranteed to make you scream every swear word known to man. And boy did I go through them. Assigned to The Half Day Challenge, I was once again equipped with a safety harness and a random stranger named Chris, who would have my worthless life in his hands. I was then told to tuck my trousers into my socks, not for safety reasons, but to stop the excrement from falling on Chris below. And when the guide pointed out the first “warm-up challenge”– the Two Wire Bridge – I understood why. A mere 10 metres up, I had to traverse along two wires – one above me, one below – until I reached the other side (or died of a heart attack, whichever happened first). Climbing the wooden poles to the wire wasn’t a problem, it was trying to make my body and the wire stop shaking at the top that really got me. I knew Chris on the ground below – attached to the other end of my safety rope – would prevent me from falling, but I was urging my body to go against all the things it had learnt not to do since childhood. I made my way across, shaking like a junkie going cold turkey, the adrenalin gushing through my body like a waterfall. With my clenched muscles easing only briefly to carry out the tiniest of movement, it took well over 25 minutes to complete the “warmup”. My legs giving way when I was finally brought back to earth signified that I was, indeed, warm. Standing 11 metres up on one side of the Rickety Bridge, the next hurdle to overcome, I actually felt much braver after losing the initial fear – and most of my breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, my stomach still turned cartwheels whenever the wooden, uneven bridge tilted under my weight. But it appeared my adrenal gland had surpassed its daily, no, make that yearly, amount.The next few obstacles – the Heebie Jeebie, an asortment of out of control foot cables and diagonal ropes; the High Log, a thin log that must be crossed first forward and then backwards; and the Burma Bridge – were again heart-stopping, but achievable, once I knew what to expect. That was until I faced... the Giant Trapeze. Billed as “The ultimate head trip and a true leap of faith”, my mission was simple: scale the 13 metre pole, stand on top (with nothing to hold on to) before leaping forward to grab a trapeze two metres out in front of me. I felt quietly confident and determined to reach the trapeze, even though our guide had explained that it didn’t matter whether we reached it or not – it was taking the leap that counted. Still, having completed all of the challenges so far, I would accept nothing but total success. Reaching the summit of the thin pole was no problem, and I confidently placed one foot on top, ready to pull the rest of my body to join it. That was until everything decided to shut down and cease to conform. I was stuck, elegantly poised like a rabbit caught in headlights, with my arse in the air. A few encouraging words from below did nothing to persuade my rather comatose state, as I contemplated staying up there all day. There were a few conversations going on in my head. Well I say conversations but they were more like arguments. Evil Lee was telling me that I could do it and to stop acting like a pussy, while Good Lee was muttering the Lord’s Prayer, and to stop fantasising about Natalie Imbruglia while I was at it.

Summoning every ounce of strength, courage, and fingernails I had, I managed a half crouch and then a full stance, as if balancing on a pinhead. Great. Now what? Staring out at the trapeze, which felt as though it was in Australia rather than two metres away, I began to suck in as much air as possible. It was around this time that Chris and the rest of the crowd below hit upon the master stroke of counting down from three to one, to help encourge the leap. But this was soon deemed a waste of time having repeated the exercise at least five times, only to still find me impersonating Crouching Tiger. I could tell the audience was growing restless, and being the entertainer that I am, decided on a three count of my own.

I’ve never been so pleased to have a man’s warm breath on the back of my neck

“Three... Two... One.” With all the elegance of a mountain goat being flung through the air by a catapult, I grasped the trapeze. As my body jerked with the momentum, I opened my eyes and found myself dangling precariously over the delighted spectators, who rewarded the courageous mountain goat with a round of applause. Now who’s going to clean all that mess up? LT ❚



Adventure island FIJI

GETTING THERE Air Pacific flies to Nadi from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Return flights from $626. See

The long way: a long boat ride in the Namosi 34


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It’s Fiji time With jungle trekking, saving turtles and surfing reef breaks, Fiji is far more than just a relaxing holiday destination WORDS ALEX HARMON

WHEN TO GO: The dry season, that donates five per cent of its profits to They say timing is everything, whether from May to October, is the best you’re proposing to your other half, boiling saving turtles – I was awoken by a phone call. an egg or releasing a film starring Ryan time to go with temperatures It was 7am and the front desk was informing Gosling. Take Fiji, my belief is that right now averaging 25°C everyday. But It’s me that my surf instructor had arrived. is the best time to go, it’s the period between also the busiest time of the year I threw on some clothes, gargled some the calm and the storm. There’s a buzz in with Aussies and Kiwis trying to toothpaste and rushed to the front desk to the air, an excitement brewing, but it hasn’t avoid the winter at home. meet him, apologising for my incompetent exploded. There aren’t droves of foreigners CURRENCY: Fijian dollar (FJD). alarm. He tells me not to worry – I’m on ‘Fiji littering the beaches, sunburnt westerners 1 NZD = 1.45 FJD time’ now. For someone as perpetually late crashing their jetskis into each other, or ACCOMMODATION: A dorm as myself, this is music to my ears. ‘Fiji time’, drug-fuelled full moon parties – at least bed at Nomads Skylodge in Nadi I later find out, is used as an explanation not that I wasn’t invited to anyway. is $13pppn when booking with for anything from entrees coming out after Yet the adventurous side of Fiji is emerging mains, to buses not showing up. In other like a curious puppy and it’s blossoming. words: relax. TOURS: Hop-on, hop-off tours What Fiji has going for it is that it’s an My surf instructor Inia is waiting for me with Surfing exciting place wrapped up in a peaceful at the shore with his boat loaded up with tours with package. And when I say package I’m not surfboards and pineapples. He’s grinning activities/surfing referring to the all-inclusive honeymoon and with excitement about the surfing safari SEE: my-first-family-holiday packages that Fiji has we’re about to embark on. What he lacks in been known for in the past. The country is teeth he makes up for in his ripped, brown encouraging you to choose your own adventure. body. We’re heading for a break called “Swimming Pools” Swimming lessons When we first arrive in Nadi, we’re greeted by traditional Fijian dancers, ukulele players and adorned with leis. Sure, the clichés are still there, it’s a country that depends on tourism. On route to the hotel our guide tells us, “it used to be the sugarcane but now it’s you that is our number one priority”. You can tell they care too. Instead of being hassled in the street to buy the local wares, the Fijian people go out of their way to make you feel at home, always smiling, always greeting you with a friendly “Bula, Bula”. It’s hospitality they’re selling, not novelty keyrings. After a night of saving the Fijian turtles, which is another way of saying I was drinking Turtle beer all night – a beer




which I hope mirrors its name – playful and safe. As a novice surfer I tell Inia he’s dreaming if he thinks he can get me to surf the famous Cloudbreak. We speed past it and chuck a right to Swimming Pools. My hopes are exceeded. It’s named after the colour of the water and the clarity of the break. Turquoise water and soft, inviting waves. I’m deliriously uncoordinated, so I’ve never really been any good at surfing, even though I’ve given it countless amounts of tries. Thankfully after all these years I have Inia, a wide board and, as we pull up, the waves to ourselves. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting. On these charming 2ft waves I’m shown where I’m going wrong, how to position myself and how to prolong the wave. If my surfing skills were impotent before, it was like I had been given surfing Viagra. I was up all morning. On top of the world, watching the sun escalate over the nearby islands. Even the ominous coral sweeping close below my feet brought a smile to face.


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Not a crowd in the sky Even though it’s been two years since Fiji’s surfing restrictions were lifted, allowing anyone to surf the breaks without a permit, the crowds still aren’t there. Sure, there might not be much competition for these 2ft babies, but we had the whole break to ourselves for over three hours. Even as we coasted past Cloudbreak there was only a handful of surfers in the water. I’m told later that there are “only about 25 professional level surfers in the country”. It’s incredible to

ISLAND HOPPING PASSES Complete freedom to explore the Yasawa Islands, including Beachcomber. Choose from a 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 or 21 day pass. Passes from $279



Explore the real Fiji. From 5 to 11 nights. Includes vessel transfers, accommodation, meals and activities. Packages from $755

JetSet Accommodation is one of Nadi's premier choice for upscale accommodations desirably located in Nadi Bay. The exceptional location of our hotel places you amidst the famous Wailoaloa Beach and the Nadi International Runway.

ISLAND ESCAPES A bit like survivor but a lot more fun! Strand yourself on one island for 2, 4 or 6 nights. If you can stand the pain of coral lagoons and coconut palms then stay longer. Packages from $289

GREAT PAIRS 5 days 4 nights 2 islands Straight out of your tropical Island Fantasy. Two island stays have always been extremely popular so we ve made it really easy for you with a matching of islands that we think make a great pair. Packages from $543 Daily departures for all packages and passes from Denarau Marina

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think that a country with access to waves like these aren’t pumping surfers out like Russian ballerinas. Give it a few years, I ponder, Swimming Pools will need its own lanes.

Long boat mud slides I’m not sure how I ended up in a muddy river in the rain, rapidly going down stream, fully clothed the next day. We had been on a jungle trek in the rain. I know. When you’re

I felt like a soldier, except I was wearing thongs and a sarong

in paradise the last thing you expect is rain. After an eerie longboat ride through a dark jungle river, we trekked through the Namosi Highlands to view their spectacular waterfalls. Very quickly the clouds turned nasty and our Fijian guides considered turning us back. We told them we’d push on through, it’s not everyday you’re in Fiji, and you never know, it could pass. It didn’t. The grey clouds turned into an epic shower and with each step our feet went deeper into the mud. At times they became stuck and I had to use a stick to break free. It was treacherous, I felt like I was a

soldier on the Kokoda Trail, except I was wearing thongs and a sarong. We eventually made it to the falls and soaked our wounds, muscles and mud-stained clothes in the chilly pools. On the way back it was suggested by our guides that we take the express lane, i.e the rapidly flowing river. One of the guides jumped in and was sucked along like an Olympic luger. We were pretty quick to follow him in. Anything to avoid the arduous walk back through the mud, we surmised. At moments it was adrenalin-pumping fun, like tubing… without the tube. Other times it was terrifying. Throw in a few thousand drunk travellers and some riverside bars and Fiji would be sitting on a goldmine. Something tells me the deeply religious Fijian people will never go down this path, at least I hope they don’t anyway. Right now it’s just the small group of us and it’s peaceful – apart from a few screams and the laughing guides. “Don’t worry, we don’t have crocodiles in Fiji, just cannibals,” one of them quipped. I just tried my best to keep my head above water and not think about sea snakes, tangled roots, cannibals or anything that would be likely to drag me under. The current took us back to our longboat without any injuries, just a few bruises from body pile-ups along the way. Once aboard, the rain rinsed off our Namosi mud-stained clothes and we headed back into town.

Meeting the kava-ry That night we were introduced to Kava and its calming properties. The powder is made from the pounded root




Just you, me, and the turtles

. .N A m e

TOTALLY ! ! 38


s ay s

Kava: Fiji’s most effective contraceptive bowl, time is suspended and I could quite happily stay in this state forever. Now I understand “Fiji time” isn’t about sleeping through alarms, but a state of tranquillity where alarms don’t even exist. Timing might be a precise art but I hope this country remains in this relaxed time lapse for a while, I’d hate it to change too much. Tourism is a double-edged sword and while the country needs it to survive, I hope Fiji doesn’t sell out her soul for a keyring. Something tells me the kindhearted people won’t do that, although they might persuade you to get off the deck chair and into the mud, with their charming, encouraging nature. As we were told on the first night, “you people are sweeter to us than the sugarcane”. ❚

it all .


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Photos: Tourism Fiji, TNT Images

of the pepper plant and it’s what they call Fiji’s national contraceptive, because it makes men too tired for action. We’re offered the drink at a traditional ceremony, our nominated “chief” of the group hands us the bowl of murky water and in homage to the day, I clap three times and down it. Maybe it’s the muddy taste but I feel closer to the land of Fiji than ever before. The numbing effects of the Kava are immediate, sending my body into a nirvana that is probably heightened by the several beers I’ve consumed (in the name of the turtles) and the stunning surrounds. We’re overlooking the breathtaking Coral Coast and the rain has subsided offering a sunset I tell myself I’ll never forget. The blissfulness takes hold with every


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Top shelf industry Getting a job in a bar doesn’t mean giving up your life. It is a great way to keep the cash coming in while having a good time WORDS ALEX HARMON

Don’t mind if I do...

If you think that drinking is an expensive form of entertainment in New Zealand, then working in a bar as you travel could be win-win for you. Sure, you’ll be forced to forgo all those pub crawls in the city with your mates, but more importantly, after you finish working, you’re entitled to what bartenders refer to as “staffies”. In English: free drinks. Most owners allow this, but it’s up to their discretion as to how generous they are with “free booze”. Oh, and you’ll also get a fairly decent wage. Bar workers get around $20/hr with penalties (usually time-and-a-half) after midnight and Sundays if you’re a casual employee. Tips vary from bar to bar and can be as little as none if you’re in a little pub or up to $200 per shift if you’re in a top-notch cocktail bar or nightclub. If you’ve had no experience with bartending then it’s best to start at the quieter pubs where training will be provided on the job. There are one-day courses you can attend, but the best way to learn is by diving in head first. 40


The simplest option for getting bar work is to just walk in and speak to a manager. Experience isn’t mandatory, it’s personality that will seal the deal. Trying to keep that personality up when you’re dealing with piss-heads is another story. During the colder months, you’re likely to find bar work in the areas around the ski fields. Queenstown is a surething, being the party capital of New Zealand. You’ll find that work in all areas of hospitality is easy to pick up, from housekeeping to waiting. But the quicker the snow melts, the harder it is to find work in the service industry. Unlike Australia, the laws are a little more relaxed in New Zealand. You don’t have to spend time completing a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course. If you work in a clothing store, you’re expected to wear the clothes, and in bars, once you finish your shift, you’re expected to drink. And there’s nothing more satisfying than than that first beer, post-clock-off. Work hard, play hard: that’s the Kiwi motto. ❚


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BANKS Nationwide banks like Westpac, ANZ and Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) have the most branches and, if you are planning on spending a long period of time here, issue cards for use at ATMs (cashpoints).

You can change money at any bank. American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Thomas Cook travellers’ cheques are all widely recognised. Banks will give cash advances on Visa and Mastercard credit cards but for American Express you must go to a designated Amex office. Foreign exchange is available for all international flights at airports.

HEALTH Auckland Metro Doctors Travelcare

For accident and medical care and all international travel vaccines. Pharmacy, X-ray and laboratory. Open six days. BNZ Tower, cnr 125 Queen & Swanson Sts, Auckland, 09 373 4621, Email: doctor@ TMVC For all your medical needs. Christchurch, 03 379 4000

Air New Zealand 0800 737 000,


Soundsair Wellington 0800 505 005 03 520 3080

INSURANCE Downunder Worldwide Travel Insurance 09 376 8292,

Post Offices are open 9am-5pm on weekdays. Mail can be sent to ‘Poste Restante, CPO’ in the relevant city. CPO stands for Chief Post Office. Mail will be held for 30 days. Delivery time is two days between major centres, a bit longer for rural areas.


VISA CHIEFS VS BULLS Waikato Stadium. Fri, 25 May. From $10. Rugby league’s tri-nation Super XV is as big as domestic sport gets in NZ, and this year the Waikato Chiefs are proving the team to beat. Seddon Rd, Hamilton

PHONES Pay phones in NZ are usually of the card variety and phone cards are available in values of $5, $10, $20 and $50. The country dial code for New Zealand is 64. Country & area codes New Zealand 64; Auckland 09; Northland 09; Rotorua/Taupo 07; Wellington 04; South Island 03 Directory service International: 0172

Directory assistance 018


you must also have sufficient money (NZ$1000 for each month of your visit) to support yourself during your stay. If you wish to stay longer than three months, you should apply for a Visitor’s Visa (which will allow you to stay in NZ for up to nine months) before you arrive in New Zealand, although British passport holders on arrival in NZ may be issued a permit valid for a stay of up to six months.


Changing money

International operator: 0170 (reversed charges) Emergency (Fire, ambulance, police): 111 Compass communications Kia Ora cards. Prepaid calling card

DOM AIRLINES Auckland Air New Zealand 0800 737 000, 09 357 3000 Great Barrier 09 275 9120

The type of visa you will need to enter NZ is determined by how long you want to stay and what you want to do while you’re there. If you are only entering New Zealand as a tourist you may need a visa depending on what country you are from. If you intend to work while you are in New Zealand you can apply for one online, once you’re here. Citizens of many countries can get a 23-month Working Holiday visa. Visitor’s Visas Citizens of a number of countries do not require visas if they are visiting NZ for three months or less. On arrival, all visitors must be in possession of a valid ticket or enough funds to purchase a ticket out of NZ to a country they have the right of entry to, ie: you must already hold a visa for that country if one is required – you cannot expect to get the visa once you are in New Zealand. Your passport must be valid for three months beyond when you expect to leave NZ, and

If you like New Zealand and decide you’d like to stay here longer you may extend your stay to a maximum of nine months in an 18 month period. To do this you need to apply for a further visitor permit. You can apply for these permits online ( immigration.govt. nz). If you do need to apply in person, New Zealand Immigration Service offices are located in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The Auckland office is very busy and you may experience long delays when applying there. When applying, you need to show your outward ticket or prove your ability to purchase such a ticket; your current passport, a recent passport-sized photo and evidence that you still have sufficient funds to support yourself. If you do not have the required funds, you will need a guarantee of accommodation and maintenance from a NZ friend or relative who is willing to be your sponsor.


Photo: Tourism New Zealand, Rob Brown


WANAKA Wonderful Wanaka is the first big town you come to if you’re driving north, towards Haast Pass, from the South Island adrenalin capital Queenstown. And just like its bigger neighbour, Wanaka can also boast a disturbing array of adrenalin activities as well as a truly stunning Southern Alps backdrop. Lake Wanaka and nearby Mt Aspiring National Park, provide an outdoor adventure playground par excellence. You can fish, waterski, windsurf, go canyoning, jet boating, rock climb, enjoy long hikes, climb mountains, tandem skydive, kayak, raft, horse trek etc. In winter, Wanaka becomes a ski town, serving Treble Cone and Cardrona fields. Indeed, National Geographic has just named Wanaka one of the top 25 snow towns in the world, the only Southern Hemisphere inclusion on the list. As you enter town you can’t miss the eccentric buildings of the unique attraction Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World, while another site worth checking out is the Paradiso, one of the more unusual cinemas you’re ever likely to experience.






per day


$27* per day


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NOW *Campervan rates based on our 3+ day rate on our Breezer (2 Berth) booked now travelling 17 – 21 June 2012. Car rates are based on our 3+ day rate on our Economy car travelling in June 2012. Rates change weekly so contact our reservations team for the best daily rate. Minimum hire applies, offer subject to availability and liability reduction cover is additional. For full terms and conditions contact Backpacker Rentals.

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Pip & Pete’s Last Minute Special

Try our last minute super special T Met service predicting a high of 22 degrees today? Then we’ll give you a sizzling 22% discount off the already low rates on the Econo Camper of your choice. Contact Econo CCampers now on Freephone 0800 759 919 or check for the daily temperature and for full details. Subject to availability within 72 hours of vehicle pick up from either Auckland or Christchurch

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BUSES & TOURS Atomic Shuttles South Island buses. 03 349 0697, Bottom Bus Far south tours. 03 477 9083, Flexi-Pass Combines InterCity and Newmans. 0800 222 146, Flying Kiwi Wilderness Expeditions 0800 693 296, Kiwi Experience 09 336 4286 Magic Travellers Network 09 358 5600, 0900 62533,

RENTAL FIRMS Ace Rental Cars 0800 502 277, Apex Car Rentals 0800 939 597 , Backpacker Campervan & Car Rentals 0800 422 267, Bargain Rental Cars 0800 001 122,

Standby Cars 0800 789 059,

Wicked Campers 0800 246 870,

AIRLINES Air New Zealand 1800 737 000,

Econo Campers 09 275 9919,

Air Pacific Fiji flights 0800 800 178,

Escape Rentals 0800 216 171,

Emirates 050 836 4728,

Explore More 1800 447 363,

Jetstar 0800 800 995,

Jucy Rentals 0800 399 736,

Stray 09 526 2140,

Pegasus Rental Cars 0800 803 580, Rent-A-Dent 0800 736 823, Rental Car Village 09 376 9935,

Qantas 0800 808 767, Virgin Australia 0800 670 000, Webjet Flights comparison website.

FERRIES Interislander Linking Wellington and Picton. 0800 802 802,

WHITEWATER RAFTING Sure it might not be the best way to get from a to b with all your stuff, but New Zealand is stacked with places that offer world class rafting, with the options ranging from half-day excursions to four-day adventures. Rivers are graded from one (easy) to six (unraftable), according to difficulty, and this changes with weather conditions and water levels. Some of the best places to give it a try are Queenstown, Rotorua, the Whanganui River and Rangitata (Canterbury).


Photo: Thinkstock

Nationwide Rental Cars 0800 803 003,


United Campervans 09 275 9919,

Darn Cheap Rentals 0800 800 327,

NZ Travelpass 0800 339 966,

West Coast Shuttle Greymouth to Christchurch buses. 03 768 0028,

Spaceships 0800 772 237,






Airport Skyway Lodge Backpackers (BBH) 30 Kirkbride Road, Mangere. 09 275 4443,


In Maori language the city’s name is Tamaki Makau Rau, which translates as “the city of 100 lovers”. Auckland is admired for its cosmopolitan flavour, its sunny harbour for the fact that it makes every other city in NZ feel like a small town.

Albert Park Backpackers (VIP) 27-31 Victoria St East. 09 309 0336,

i-SITE Auckland Atrium, skycity, Cnr Federal & Victoria Sts

Auckland International Backpackers (BBH) 2 Churton St, Parnell. +64358 4584,

Backpackers World Travel 16-20 Fort St, 09 379 4126,

Base Auckland 229 Queen St. 0800 227 369,

Base Travel Level 3, 229 Queen St, 09 358 4874,

LADY GAGA Vector Arena. Thur, June 7 – Sun, June 10. $159. Calling all little monsters, your leader is coming! The multiple Grammy winner is heading to New Zealand for a series of Auckland shows.

i-SITE Visitor Information 287 Queen St, 09 979 2333, Ferry Tickets Online (For inter-island ferry services) 39 Beach Rd, 0800 500 660, Parks Information Centre Details on tramping, camping grounds, the Gulf Islands and exploring the regional parks. 21 Pitt St, open Mon-Fri, 09 366 2000

Mahuhu Crescent, Auckland

Airport Transport The airport is 21km from the city and shuttle buses run every half an hour. Airbus Airport is every 20 mins. 0800 247 287, City buses Tickets and timetables are available from the 10 central city Star Mart stores. 09 366 6400

Photo: Tourism New Zealand, Arno Gasteiger

Bamber House (BBH) 22 View Rd, Mt Eden. 09 623 4267,


Georgia Parkside Backpackers 189 Park Rd, Grafton. 09 309 8999, Kiwi International Queen St Hotel and Hostel 411 Queen St. 0800 100 411, Kiwi International Airport 150 McKenzie Road, Mangere. 0800 801 919, Lantana Lodge (BBH) 60 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell. 09 373 4546, The Fat Camel (Nomads) 38 Fort St. 09 307 0181,

BK Hostel (BBH) 3 Mercury Ln, Central. 09 307 0052,

New Zealand Backpackers 8 Nixon St, Ponsonby. 09 376 3871,

Auckland InterCity Travel Centre Buses around Auckland and the rest of New Zealand leave from here. Located beside the casino, Hobson St, 09 623 1503

Central City Backpackers 26 Lorne St. 09 358 5685,

Nomads Auckland 16-20 Fort St. 09 300 9999,

City Garden Lodge 25 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell. 09 302 0880

Train Intercity trains arrive and depart from Britomart, 12 Queen St, Auckland. 09 270 5211

City Groove Backpackers (BBH) 6 Constitutional Hill, Parnell. 09 303 4768,

Oaklands Lodge (BBH) 5A Oaklands Rd, Mt Eden. 09 638 6545,



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Pentlands (BBH) 22 Pentland Ave, Mt Eden. +64 9638 7031


Lizzie Joyce, England EATING AND DRINKING IN AUCKLAND Auckland boasts just about every type of cuisine you can think of, at very affordable prices. The cheapest way to find filling food is to head for the food courts that adjoin the larger shopping malls, such as the Downtown Food Court in the Downtown Shopping Centre on QEII Square. For drinking, Queen Street and the roads running off it are the best places to start. You’ll find comedy clubs, pubs and trendy watering holes, many offering deals. The Karangahape Road – or “K Road” – is NZ’s nearest thing to Kings Cross in Sydney or Soho in London. Bars and clubs are set among the bustling red light district of Auckland. You’ll find clubs with everything from 24-hour drinking and pool to trance and hardcore hip-hop. Auckland Viaduct (pictured) is also worth checking out. It’s a beacon for beautiful people and cute yachties, and the pubs are certainly lively when the sailors are in.


HOWDY LIZZIE. WHAT’VE YOU BEEN UP TO? “I’ve spent two weeks on the South Island and one on the North Island. I went through Christchurch, Kaikoura, Nelson, Greymouth, Franz Josef, Wanaka, Queenstown, Dunedin and Tekapo, then flew up to Wellington and travelled north to Auckland, via Taupo, Rotorua and Waitomo.” ANYTHING STAND OUT? “Blackwater rafting in the Waitomo Caves and doing the heli-hike up Franz Josef Glacier were definitely the highlights.” HOW ABOUT FOR A DRINK? “I would definitely go back to Queenstown. It’s got a really great vibe and some brilliant bars.”

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Ponsonby Backpackers (BBH) 2 Franklin Rd, Ponsonby. 09 360 1311,


Beaches Auckland is surrounded by great beaches, including Judges Bay, Kohimarama, Okahu Bay, St Heliers Bay and popular Mission Bay.

Princeton Backpackers 30 Symonds St. 09 963 8300, Queen Street Backpackers (VIP) 4 Fort St. 09 373 3471,

Aotea Square Markets Every Friday and Saturday at Aotea Square, Queen St. NZ fashion labels, retro gear, foods, Pacific-style crafts, jewellery and furniture, 09 309 2677,

Uenuku Lodge (BBH) 217 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. 09 378 8990 Surf ‘n’ Snow Backpackers 102 Albert St. 09 363 8889, The Brown Kiwi (BBH) 7 Prosford St, Ponsonby. 09 378 0191, Verandahs (BBH) 6 Hopetown St. 09 360 4180 Yaping’s House (BBH) 79 Owens Rd, Epsom. 09 623 4486, Uenuku Lodge (BBH) 217 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. 09 378 8990 YHA Auckland City Cnr City Rd & Liverpool St. 09 378 8990 YHA Auckland International 5 Turner St. 09 302 8200,

AUCKLAND DO Explorer Bus Sightseeing around Auckland, 0800 439 756 On the Road Tours and Charters Sightseeing bus tours of Auckland and the north shore. 0800 486 877, Harbour Ferries Ferries can take you all over the harbour. Info about timetables and destinations available at the Ferry Building on Quay St. 09 424 5561 America’s Cup Sailing Experience A unique opportunity to participate as crew on an actual America’s Cup yacht. Take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the action as you sail the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. The two hour sails departs daily from the Auckland Viaduct. No experience necessary. 0800 397 567, Auckland Museum See the world’s finest collection of Maori and Pacific Island artefacts. Explore New Zealand’s natural history, discover the largest bird that ever lived and experience a Maori cultural show. 09 306 7067, Auckland Zoo See kiwi birds in the nocturnal house and over 900 animals. 09 360 3800,


Awesome Adventures Three-day Bay of Islands tours. 0800 658 058,

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE Vector Arena. Mon, May 28. $89. Tickets for Flo’s all-too-brief Kiwi stopover are like gold dust, but as the date approaches, there’s bound to be a few knocking about. Mahuhu Crescent, Auckland Coast to Coast Walkway A walk between Waitemata Harbour and Manukau Harbour. It takes about four hours and takes in Albert Park, Auckland Uni, Auckland Domain, Mt Eden, and One Tree Hill. Devonport A 15-minute ferry or bus ride across the harbour on the north shore, Devonport is an idyllic setting for a picnic or a stroll along the beach. Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World A seawater aquarium with a moving walkway through a transparent underwater cavern. Antarctic Encounter is a recreation of an Antarctic environment where you jump on a snow mobile and tour a penguin colony, get attacked by an orca whale. Orakei Wharf, Tamaki Drive, 09 528 0603, Mt Eden The highest point in the city, 4km south of the city centre with spectacular views. Get there by bus. NZ National Maritime Museum The museum celebrates NZ’s maritime heritage. 09 373 0800, Ponsonby West of the city, explore Victorian architecture and narrow streets with cafés, bars, clothes shops, art galleries and some lively nightlife. Queen Street Auckland’s main boulevard with shops, cafés and restaurants. Whale & Dolphin Safari See whales and dolphins from Auckland’s doorstep. The Hauraki Gulf is considered one of the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world. See dolphins, whales, sea birds and/or even penguins. Dolphins are viewed on over 90% and whales on 75% of trips. Departs daily from the Auckland Viaduct. Dolphin viewing guaranteed. 0800 397 567,

Fullers Cruises Inner harbour cruises and longer cruises to Hauraki Gulf islands, with all-day passes and hop-on, hop-off options. 09 367 9111. Pride of Auckland The Pride of Auckland operates an impressive fleet of large, purpose-built yachts on the sheltered waters of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and is world famous for its sailing and dining cruises. Join them for a coffee, lunch, dinner, Waiheke sailing experience cruise or a full-day sailing adventure and experience the “City of Sails” for what it is known for. 0800 397 567, Auckland Bridge Climb Up and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Westhaven Reserve, Curran St, Herne Bay, 0800 286 4958, Auckland Harbour Bridge Jump NZ’s only ocean touch bungy, 40m high. Westhaven Reserve, Curran St, Herne Bay, 0800 286 4958, Canyonz Ltd Explore subtropical canyons and abseil down crashing waterfalls. 0800 422 696, New Zealand Surf Tours 09 832 9622, Sky Jump Fall from the top of the 192m Sky Tower, 0800 759 586, Sky Walk Walk around the external 1.2m wide platform, 192m up. 09 368 1835, Fullers Bay of Islands Tours One, two and three-day tours from Auckland. 09 358 0259,

Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A popular holiday spot, the peninsula offers water sport opportunities from windsurfing to boating. Busy in summer, this whole area is popular with bushwalkers. Hisbiscus Coast Visitor Info Hibiscus Coast Hwy, 09 426 0076. Marco Polo Backpackers Inn (BBH) 2d Hammond Ave, Hatfields Beach, 09 426 8455,


Victoria Park Market 3km from the CBD, an outdoor market with fruit, veggies, books, clothes and handicrafts.

Famous for its white sand and isolation, there are several coastal walks here and gorgeous views.



The island is dominated by a native forest a network of criss-crossing tracks.

Come to Waiku for snorkelling, fishing and exploring the caves. The Bream Bay Coast is a magnificent expanse of white sparkling sand just 30 mins drive from the city.

Orama Resort (YHA) Karaka Bay Rd, 09 429 0063,


Stray Possum Lodge (VIP) 09 429 0109,

Hen & Chickens Island and Sail Rock These offshore areas offer great sailing and diving. Boat trips leave from the area daily.

BARRIER DO Fullers Cruises Depart from the Ferry Building. 09 367 9102

Waipu Wanderer (BBH) 25 St Marys Rd, 09 432 0532.

Great Barrier Airlines Fly out of Auckland Airport or Auckland Shore Airfield. 0800 900 600,


Fullers Great Barrier Explorers Cruise and tours, summer only (October-April). 09 367 9111

WAIHEKE ISLAND A 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. It is popular for its long sweeping beaches and craft shops.

The waterfront has been developed in the style of the early settlers (except with cafés, restaurants and galleries) and Mount Parahaki towers 241m above the city. Stroll along enticing beaches and dive at Poor Knights Islands. one of the world’s top diving sites. Also pay a visit to petty Whangerei Falls. Whangarei I-SITE Visitor Centre 92 Otaika Rd, 09 438 1079

Hekerua Lodge Backpackers (BBH) 11 Hekerua Rd, Oneroa, 09 372 8990,

WHANGAREI STAY Bunkdown Lodge (BBH) 23 Otaika Road, 09 438 8886,

Waiheke Island Hostel Seaview Road, Onetangi, Ph: (09) 372 8971,

Coastal Cow Backpackers (BBH) 299 Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai Heads, 09 431 5444,


Little Earth Lodge (BBH) 85 Abbey Caves Road, 09 430 6562,

The “winterless north” is Northland’s famous tag. The subtropical climate is good all year round and the area boasts some of the best beaches in NZ. Highlights include Ninety Mile Beach, Kerikeri and the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Piano Hill Farm (BBH) Piano Hill, Kauri, 09 433 7090,


Whangarei Falls Backpackers (BBH) Ngunguru Road, Glenbervie, 09 437 0609,

The hot springs here have indoor and outdoor thermal pools and waterslides. Malolo House (BBH) 110 Commercial Rd, 09 420 7262,

YHA Whangarei, Manaakitanga 52 Punga Grove Ave, 09 438 8954,



NORTHISLAND WHANGAREI DO Dive! Tutukaka Poor Knights Islands dives, plus tours with kayaking, cave explorations, snorkelling, swimming, sea mammal-spotting.

PAIHIA Paihia is one of the most beautiful towns on the North Island with equal parts love for adventure, nature and a raucous nightlife. AwesomeNZ Tours include Maori mythology, dolphin swimming and fast boats. Maritime Building, on the waterfront, 0800 653 339, Bay of Islands i-Site The Wharf, Marsden Rd, Freephone: 09 402 7345 Base Travel 18 Kings Rd, 09 402 7111,

PAIHIA STAY Base Pipi Patch 18 Kings Rd 09 402 7111, Captain Bob’s Beachhouse (BBH) 44 Davis Cres, 09 402 8668,

Centabay Lodge (BBH) 27 Selwyn Rd, 09 402 7466, Mayfair Lodge (BBH) 7 Puketona Rd, 09 402 7471, mayfair.html Mousetrap (BBH) 11 Kings Rd, 09 402 8182, Peppertree Lodge (BBH) 15 Kings Rd, 09 402 6122,

BOOK NOW! Opua Forest The DOC provides a leaflet of forest walks, which features a small stand of Kauri trees. Drive into the forest via Oromahoe Rd or walk from School Rd. Te Rawhiti Cape Brett Walkway Guided tours include experienced local Maori guides, all meals, hut accommodation, transport by boat to hut taking in the famous Hole in the Rock, Maori culture, myths and legends and hangi, 09 403 7248

Saltwater Lodge (BBH) 14 Kings Rd, 0800 002 266,

Waitangi Treaty Grounds The site where the historic Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Also see carvings that represent all Maori tribes in NZ and one of the largest ceremonial waka (canoe) in the world, launched every Waitangi Day (Feb 6). \ 09 402 7437,

YHA Paihia Cnr Kings and MacMurray Rds, Paihia, 09 402 7487,

Boat cruises & dolphin watching Cape Brett “Hole in the Rock” Cruise Four-hour cruises, 09 402 7421

Pickled Parrot Backpackers (BBH) Grey’s Lane, 09 402 6222,

PAIHIA DO Haruru Falls Picturesque falls offering swimming, camping and kayaking opportunities – and a pub!

Dolphin Discoveries With the warmest water and friendliest dolphins (bottlenoses), this is a great place for swimming with the dolphins (conditions permitting). The high-speed luxury catamaran offers easy

follow us on access to the water and hot showers. Or do a “Hole in the Rock and Dolphin Viewing Experience” and see dolphins, whales, birds and other wildlife. Visit Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island during your island stop and explore this amazing place. 0800 365 744, Dune Rider Unique Adventure Tour Make your way up to Cape Reinga while traveling to the Gumdiggers Park and drive along the famous Ninety Mile Beach. Climb huge sand dunes and boogie board back down on the way and stop at the world famous Mangonui Fish Shop for fish and chips. Departing daily from Paihia. 0800 365 744, Excitor “Hole in the Rock” Adventure One-and-a-half hours, 0800 653 339, Lion New Zealand – “The Ultimate Day Sail in the Bay” Join Lion New Zealand, NZ’s most famous maxi yacht. Enjoy a fresh BBQ lunch and activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, natural walks at Otehei Bay or simply kick back and enjoy the island atmosphere. 0800 365 744,


Overnight Cruises The Rock 24-hour cruise featuring kayaking, snorkelling with stingrays, fishing for your dinner, dolphin spotting. 0800 762 527, Awesome Cape Reinga Via Ninety Mile Beach – learn Maori myths and legends, navigate the quicksand stream, ride the dunes, visit a thousand year old forest. 0800 653 339,

RUSSELL Catch a ferry to Russell, originally a sprawling fortified Maori settlement. Information Centre End of the Pier, 09 403 8020

RUSSELL STAY The Coast Road Farm (BBH) Coast Rd, Whangaruru, 09 433 6894, Ferry Landing (BBH) 395A Aucks Rd, Okiato Point, 09 403 7985, Wainui (BBH) 92D Te Wahapu Rd, 09 403 8278,


Arguably home to the most famous surfing scene in New Zealand, Raglan’s beaches have something for everyone. Manu Bay is said to have the longest left hand break for boardriding, but if that isn’t your thing, then there are some great spots along the coast for swimming or chilling out on a hot day. Situated on the west coast of the North Island, this is one of many New Zealand beaches that have black volcanic sand, creating a unique feel to a day at the beach. Raglan has a very active population and if you’ve had enough of the beach then there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. You can try horse riding, trekking through the bush or hiking to the top of local Mount Karioi. It’s a three hour trip but well worth it for the view of the area from the top. For something less strenuous, you can take a drive to Bridal Veil Falls or do some low-key mountain biking or cycling along the local trails on the weekends. The town itself is nice and compact, so visitors can enjoy a stroll through the shops and relax in one of the classy cafés full of local artwork.



Photo: Tourism New Zealand, Chris McLennan


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KERIKERI A highlight of the sparsely populated town is the wonderful Maori village. There is also an historic Maori pa (fortress) and the Kerikeri Mission Station. Dept of Conservation Office 09 407 8474

KERIKERI STAY Kerikeri Top 10 Holiday Park & Aranga Backpackers Aranga Drive off Kerikeri Rd, 09 407 9326, Hideaway Lodge Wiroa Rd, 0800 562 746 Hone Heke Lodge (BBH) 65 Hone Heke Rd, 09 407 8170, Kerikeri Farm Hostel (BBH) Ph: (09) 407 6989,

NRTH BAY OF ISL i-Site Far North South Rd in Jaycee Park. 09 408 0879, Farm Backpackers (BBH) End of Lamb Rd, Pukenui, 09 409 7863, North Wind Lodge Backpackers (BBH) Otaipango Rd, Henderson Bay, 09 409 8515, Pukenui Lodge Hostel (BBH) Cnr SH1 & Wharf Rd, Pukenui, 09 4098837,

MATAURI BAY A very well-kept tourist secret, Matauri Bay is Maori land, home to the Ngati Kura people, and has beautiful, quiet beaches. The Welcome Swallow Backpackers Off Matauri Bay Road, 09 4051 019, The Rainbow Warrior A monument to the noble but doomed Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, sits on the site of a Maori pa on the headland at Matauri Bay. Travellers come here to dive the ship’s wreck.

WHANGAROA This area was once well known for its Kauri forests, but these days it’s more about game fishing. The scenery is ruggedly spectacular and sailing cruises are popular. Tourist info centre Boyd Gallery, 09 405 0230. Sunseeker Lodge (BBH) Old Hospital Rd, 09 405 0496,

DOUBTLESS BAY Less touristy than the Bay of Islands, the area around Doubtless is made up of tiny bays and coves, beach resorts and historical villages.

KARIKARI PENIN The Rusty Anchor (BBH) 1 Tokerau Beach Rd, 09 406 7141,

TAIPA A tiny village with a boat-dotted harbour. You can swim with dolphins, hire boats or kayaks, and swim at the beautiful Coopers Beach. Taipa is worth visiting for its pretty beach.

KAITAIA The ideal starting point for Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach. Backpackers Heaven (VIP) Wagener Holiday Park, Houhora Heads, 09 409 8564, Main Street Lodge (BBH) 235 Commerce St, 09 408 1275, Pukenui Lodge (YHA) Corner Wharf Rd & State Hwy 1, Houhora, 09 409 8837, Waitiki Landing Far North Rd, 09 409 7508

KAITAIA DO Ancient Kauri Kingdom Giant kauri tree stumps are fashioned into furniture and other trinkets. Far North Regional Museum Featuring all kinds of goodies, like the skeleton of a giant moa bird and salvages from local shipwrecks. Pack or Paddle Thoms Landing, 09 4098 445,

90 MILE BEACH The west coast of the Far North Peninsula is Ninety Mile Beach,a beautiful strip of coastline that takes you way up to Cape Reinga.

AHIPARA This is the best spot for sandtobogganing, located at the south end of Ninety Mile Beach. YHA Ahipara Backpackers & Motor Camp 168-170 Takehe St, 09 409 4864, Farm Backpackers (BBH) End of Lamb Rd, Pukenui, 09 409 7863 Endless Summer Lodge (BBH) 245 Foreshore Rd, 09 409 4181,

AHIPARA DO Tuatua Tours Guided quad tours of Ninety Mile Beach sand dunes. 3 Main Road, 0800 494 288,

HOKIANGA Heading south, you’ll hit Hokianga Harbour and the quiet twin towns of Omapere and Opononi. The Koutu Boulders are worth a look. Hokianga Information 09 405 8869,

HOKIANGA STAY Okopako Lodge (BBH) 140 Mountain Rd, South Hokianga, 09 405 8815, Globe Trekkers Lodge (BBH) SH12, Omapere, 09 405 8183. Waitawa Farm Hostel (BBH) 164 Pukemiro Rd, 09 409 5809,

DARGAVILLE On the road from Hokianga, the famous “Big Trees”, the native kauri trees of Waipoua Kauri Forest. Once in Dargaville, attractions include the masts from the ill-fated Rainbow Warrior and the fascinating bird sanctuary nearby. Dargaville Info Centre 61 Normanby St, 09 439 8360.

DARGAVILLE STAY Dargaville Holiday Park (VIP) 10 Onslow St, 09 439 8296, Kaihu Farm (BBH) RD6, Kaihu, 09 439 4004, The Greenhouse Hostel (BBH) 13 Portland St, 09 439 6342,

MATAKOHE Travellers Lodge (BBH) 64 Jellicoe Rd, Ruawai, 09 439 2283 Kauri Country Northland 3hr 4WD eco-adventures, including free ticket to Kauri Museum. Devon Grove, Matakohe, 09 431 6007

WAIKATO Waikato District Info Centre 160 Great South Rd, Huntly, 07 828 6406 Shekinah (BBH) 122 Pungapunga Rd, Pukekawa, 09 233 4464,

HAMILTON Hamilton is NZ’s largest inland city and is known for its parks and gardens.


Hamilton Visitor Centre 5 Garden Place, Hamilton 07 958 5960

Given that it calls itself the “Rose Town of New Zealand”, it’s not surprising the 2,000-strong Rose Garden is the town’s major attraction.

DOC Office Level 5, Rostrevor St.

HAMILTON STAY Colts n Fillies (BBH) 37 Smith Rd, Karamu, 07 825 9809,

Te Awamutu Info Centre 1 Gorst Ave, 07 871 3259. Te Awamutu District Museum 135 Roche St. 07 872 0085

Forty Winks (BBH) 267 River Rd, Claudelands, 07 855 2033, J’s Backpackers (BBH) 8 Grey Street, 07 856 8934,

KAWHIA The main attraction of this peaceful port town, 55km south of Raglan, is the Maketu Marae where you can experience the rich cultural tapestry of NZ’s indigenous history.



Waikato Museum of Art & History Cnr Victoria and Grantham Sts. More than 3,000 items, with a permanent Maori War canoe. Gold coin donations welcomed.

Just 59km south of Hamilton, many travellers use this small farming community as a base for visiting the Waitomo Caves.

MATAMATA Rural town famous for being turned into Hobbiton in those films – some of the set still stands. Hobbiton Backpackers 81 Arawa St, 07 888 9972,

CAMBRIDGE This very Olde English town with its town square and abundance of trees is in the heart of Waikato. The region is famous for its horses and jetboating. Cambridge Tourist Info Centre Cnr Queen and Victoria Sts, 07 823 3456

Otorohanga Visitor Info Centre 26 Maniapoto St,

WAITOMO Definitely one of the best adventure spots in New Zealand. There are a range of caving adventures, from glowworm ogling, to long dramatic abseils deep towards the centre of the earth and excellent blackwater rafting (jump in an inner tube and let the underwater current carry you). Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre 21 Waitomo Caves Rd, 0800 474 839.

WAITOMO STAY Juno Hall (BBH) 07 878 7649

RAGLAN One of New Zealand’s best-known surfing beaches, Raglan is situated 48km west of Hamilton. Raglan Information Centre 2 Wainui Rd, 07 825 0556

Kiwipaka School Rd, 07 878 3395 Rap Raft & Rock Backpackers (BBH) 95 Waitomo Caves Rd, 07 873 9149,



Dundle Hill Walk A two-day walk through native bush; limestone outcrops includes overnight with spectacular views at Kays Cabin. 0800 924 866

Ewe Dream’Inn (BBH) 2458 State Highway 22, Glen Murray, 09 233 3144, Raglan Backpackers & Waterfront Lodge (BBH) 6 Wi Neera St, 07 825 0515,

Marakopa Falls, Managapohue Natural Bridge and Piri Piri Cave, 30 minutes drive from Waitomo.

Karioi Backpacker Lodge (VIP, BBH) & Raglan Surfing School 5 Whaanga Rd, Whale Bay, 07 825 7873, Solcape Accommodation Centre (BBH) 611 Wainui Rd, 07 825 8268 Waikatoa Beach Lodge (BBH) 8 Centreway Rd, Sunset Beach, Port Waikato, 09 232 9961,

Rap Raft ‘n’ Rock Blackwater adventures combining abseiling, rafting, glowworms, caving and rockclimbing all in one five-hour adventure. 0800 228 372, The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co Cave tubing in the blackness of the Ruakuri Cave river. 585 Waitomo Caves Rd, 0800 228 464,



NORTHISLAND Waitomo Glow Worm Caves 07 878 8227, Woodlyn Park Pioneer Show, caving adventure, and quirky accommodation in a 1950s train carriage. Waitomo Valley Road, 07 878 6666.

TE KUITI Located 19km south of Otorohanga, Te Kuiti is known as “The Shearing Capital of the World”. There’s also a magnificent Maori marae (meeting house) here. Te Kuiti Information Centre Rora St, 07 878 8077. Dept of Conservation 78 Taupiri Street, 07 878 1080. Tiffany’s Tearooms, Rora St, 07 878 7640

TE KUITI STAY Casara Mesa Backpackers (BBH) Mangarino Rd, 07 878 6697,

KING COUNTRY The King Country is the region south of the Waikato and the Maori influence has remained strong with the opportunity to experience Maoritanga (the Maori way).




A series of towns loop around the peninsula, broken by rolling green hills. Highlights include Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove and the cosy little Coromandel township.

There are heaps of walks to choose from. The Colville Range is the most popular but the Department of Conservation in the Kauaeranga Valley is the place to begin.



A great canyoning spot, with loads of natural pools and waterslides. Information Thames 206 Poland St, 07 868 7284 DOC Office 07 868 6381 Canyonz Ltd 0800 422 696,

THAMES STAY Dickson Holiday Park Victoria St, 07 868 7308, Gateway Backpackers (BBH) 209 Mackay St, 07 868 6339, The Sunkist International Backpackers (BBH, VIP, YHA) 506 Brown St, 07 868 8808, Te Aroha YHA Hostel Miro Street, Te Aroha (south of Thames), 07 884 8739,

Some 55km north of Thames is the town of Coromandel, home to the popular Driving Creek Railway. Coromandel Information Centre Kapanga Rd, 07 866 8598.

CORO STAY Anchor Lodge Backpackers (BBH) 448 Wharf Rd, 07 866 7992, Black Jack Backpackers (BBH) Kuaotunu, 07 866 2988, Colville Farm (BBH) 2140 Colville Road, Colville, 07 866 6820 Coromandel Town Backpackers (BBH) 732 Rings Road, 07 866 8830 Lions Den (BBH) 126 Te Tiki St, 07 866 8157


follow us on Tidewater Tourist Park (YHA) 270 Tiki Rd, 07 866 8888,



Whitianga, perched on pretty Mercury Bay, is the most popular Tui Lodge (BBH) stop-off point for travellers on the 60 Whangapoua Rd, 07 866 8237, Coromandel. You can learn to make your very own bone carving, dive and surf to your heart’s content.

OPOUTERE This is a good place to go to just chill out. The beach here is glorious and generally empty. Skinny dip anyone? YHA Opoutere 389 Opoutere Rd, 07 865 9072,

WHANGAMATA A real surfie town, Whangamata has one of the best surf beaches in New Zealand and a laidback atmosphere to match. Whangamata Info Centre 616 Port Rd, 07 865 8340 Southpacific Accommodation (BBH) Cnr Port Rd and Mayfair Avenue, 07 865 9580, Whangamata Backpackers Hostel (BBH) 227 Beverley Tce, 07 865 8323

Whitianga Information Centre 66 Albert St, 07 866 5555 Baywatch Backpackers (VIP) 22 The Esplanade, 07 866 5481, Cathedral Cove Lodge Villas (VIP) 41 Harsant Ave, Hahei Beach, 07 866 3889. Cat’s Pyjamas Backpackers (BBH) 12 Albert St, 07 866 4663. Fernbird (BBH) 24 Harsant Ave, Hahei, 07 866 3080, On the Beach Backpackers Lodge (BBH, YHA) 46 Buffalo Beach Rd, 07 866 5380, Seabreeze Tourist Park (BBH) 1043 SH25 Tairua-Whitianga Rd, 07 866 3050


Photo: TNT Images

Perrine Pelini, France


WELLINGTON Arguably New Zealand’s coolest city, the capital Wellington boasts an enviable nightlife and cultural scene. It’s very easy to lose a day in the country’s best museum, Te Papa, while the interesting mix of government employees and bohemians that make up the local population make it an always lively place for a night out, especially in the area around Cuba Street. Don’t miss getting the cable car up to the botanic gardens for some spectacular views over the city.


HEY PERRINE. SEEN MUCH ON THE NORTH ISLAND? “I was in a language school in Auckland and then travelled to places like Taupo, Waitomo, Cape Reinga, the Bay of Islands and the really beautiful Coromandel.” GOT A FAVOURITE PLACE? “I’ve got two. Coromandel, and especially Cathedral Cove, which is amazing and wonderful. plus the Bay of Islands, where we went to see and swim with dolphins.” HOW ABOUT AFTER DARK? “Simply clubbing in Auckland where the atmosphere is so cool and funny when you’re with the right people to enjoy every instant of your night. Sweet as!”







BOOK NOW Become part of the legend with New Zealand’s ďŹ rst Black Water Rafting company. An exhilarating world of ancient caves, rivers, waterfalls and breathtaking glowworms. Climb, leap and oat with the Black Labyrinth or descend into the black, bottomless depths with the ultimate caving tour, the Black Abyss. TNTDOWNUNDER.COM


NORTHISLAND Tatahi Lodge (BBH) Grange Rd, Hahei, 07 866 3992,

WHITIANGA DO Hot Water Beach & Cathedral Cove Rated as one of the world’s 10 best beaches, Hot Water Beach is an unusual phenomenon. For two hours either side of low tide you can dig a hole in the sand and sit in your very own thermal spa pool.

BAY OF PLENTY The Bay of Plenty, extending from the Coromandel Peninsula to the East Cape, was named by Captain Cook in honour of both the fertile nature of the region and the friendly local Maoris he encountered. Activities include paragliding, sky diving, white water rafting, 4WD safaris, gliding, jet boating and swimming with dolphins.


TAURANGA STAY Appletree Cottage 47 Maxwell Rd, 07 5767404, appletreebackpackers Bell Lodge (BBH) 39 Bell St, 07 578 6344, Harbourside City Backpackers (BBH) 105 The Strand, 07 579 4066, Just The Ducks Nuts Backpackers (BBH) 6 Vale St, 07 576 1366,


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Home to Ocean Beach which, at 15km long, is considered by locals to be among the finest surfing in the country. The town stands at the foot of Mt Maunganui, a slab of rock 232m high, around which you can appreciate stunning views.

For a very different adventure, visit White Island, an active volcano where sulphur-lipped fumeroles and roaring steam vents create a stark wonderland.

Mt Maunganui Visitor Centre Salisbury Ave, 07 575 5099

Lloyds Lodge (BBH) 10 Domain Rd, 07 307 8005

Te Puke Information Centre 130 Jellicoe St, 07 573 9172

The Windsor (BBH) 10 Merritt St, Whakatane, 07 308 8040,


Loft 109 (BBH) 8/109 Devonport Rd, 07 579 5638,

Hairy Berry Backpackers (BBH) 2 No One Rd, Te Puke, 07 573 8015,

Tuaranga Central Backpackers 64 Willow St, 07 571 6222,

Mount Backpackers (BBH) 87 Maunganui Rd, 07 575 0860,

YHA Tauranga 171 Elizabeth St, 07 578 5064,

Pacific Coast Backpackers (BBH) 432 Maunganui Rd, 0800 666 622,

Karibu Backpackers (BBH) 13 Landing Rd, 07 307 8276

WHAKATANE DO Dive White 168 The Strand, 0800 348 394, White Island Tours Departs Whakatane daily. 0800 733 529


Waimarino Adventure Park 07 576 4233

Kiwifruit Country Young Rd, Te Puke, 07 573 6340,

Rotorua is a must for three reasons: the abundance of accessible Maori culture, the steaming volcanic scenery and adrenalin thrills. Visit the bubbling mud at Whaka, take a dip in a thermal bath and pig out on a hangi at a Maori concert. Even the air here is special – it’s heavy with sulphur. You’ll smell it the moment you arrive.

Coyote Bar and Restaurant 107 The Strand, 07 578 8968,

Te Puke Vintage Auto Barn, 26 Young Rd, 07 573 6547

Tourism Rotorua & Visitor Info Centre 1167 Fenton St, 07 348 5179

One of the fastest growing places in NZ, Tauranga combines a young population with a harbourside atmosphere. Enjoy diving, sailing, fishing and surfing.

Butlers Swim With Dolphins 0508 288 537

Tauranga i-site 95 Willow St, 07 578 8103 Department of Conservation 253 Chadwick Rd West, 07 578 7677




ROTORUA STAY Base Rotorua 1286 Arawa St, 0800 227 369, Cactus Jack Backpackers (BBH) 1210 Haupapa St, 07 348 3121, Crank Backpackers 1140 Hinemoa St, 07 348 0852, Crash Palace Backpackers (BBH, VIP) 1271 Hinemaru St, 07 348 8842, Planet Nomad Backpackers (VIP) 1193 Fenton St, 07 346 2831, Rotorua Central Backpackers (BBH) 1076 Pukuatua St, 07 349 3285, Spa Lodge (BBH) 1221 Amohau St, 07 348 3486,

ROTORUA DO Agroventures Five adrenalin activities in one adventure park, including bungy jumping, sprint boats and a wind tunnel. 1335 Paradise Valley Rd. 07 357 4747, Hell’s Gate Mud baths to heal and stimulate your body 07 345 3151


New Zealand boasts some awesome diving for the enthusiast. The Poor Knights Islands (Tutukaka), off the coast of Northland, are one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, according to Jacques Cousteau. The diversity, density and colours of sub-tropical and temperate sea life among caves, tunnels and arches is amazing. There are also plenty of centres around NZ where you can learn to dive. Other than the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve (Whangarei), other top Kiwi dive sites include the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior (Bay of Islands), volcanic White Island (Bay of Plenty), plus Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds (Fiordland) for their uniquely shallow black coral.



Photo: Tourism New Zealand, Legend Photography


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Kaitiaki Adventures Extreme whitewater activities. Sledging and rafting trips on the Kaituna and Rangitaiki Rivers, 0800 338 736, NZONE Skydive Skydive from 15,000ft over Rotorua, 07 345 7250, Off Road NZ Sprint car racing, Monster 4X4, 4WD Bush Safari and more. 07 332 5748, Polynesian Spa Historical hot mineral water bathing spa on the edge of Lake Rotorua. 07 348 1328, Raftabout Whitewater rafting and sledging. 0800 723 822, Skyline Skyrides Spectacular Get the best views and luge down 5km of tracks, or take the 150ft skyswing. 07 347 0027, Waikite Hot Pools Natural hot spring water bathing. Provides private spas, BBQ area and campground facilities, 20 minutes south of Rotorua. 07 333 1861 Waimangu Volcanic Valley The location of the Pink and White Terraces which were destroyed in the 1886 volcanic eruption. Wet ‘n’ Wild Rafting Guided rafting options on five different rivers – the Wairoa, Rangitaiki, Kaituna, Motu and Mohaka. 0800 462 7238, Zorbing Get harnessed inside the perspex Zorb before rolling head-over-heels downhill. 07 357 5100,

MAORI CULTURE While you’re here, take the opportunity to see how the Maori lived before European settlment. The Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Whakarewarewa is a good place to begin. NZ Maori Arts & Crafts Institute 07 348 9047 The Realm of Tane A blend of guided tour, character theatre and story telling within a series of magical sets. 1220 Hinemaru St, 07 349 2999, Rotoiti Tours 0800 476 864 Tamaki Maori Village Tours, hangi and concert. Hinemaru St, 07 349 2999,

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village Maori village set amidst a landscape of geothermal wonders. Take a guided tour, see a cultural performance, check out Maori art. 07 349 3463,

LAKE TAUPO Lake Taupo used to be a hidden gem, but nowadays it’s the place to visit in the North Island, thanks to its wicked mix of adrenalin adventures, sedate lake life and after-dark partying. Taupo Visitor Centre 30 Tongariro St, 07 376 0027

TAUPO STAY Berkenhoff Lodge (BBH) 75 Scannell St, 07 378 4909, Blackcurrant Backpackers (BBH) 20 Taniwha St, Ph: (07) 378 9292, blackcurrantbackpackers@xtra. Rainbow Lodge (BBH) 133 Summers St, Ph: (08) 9227-1818, Finns Global Backpackers (VIP) Cnr Tongariro & Tuwharetoa Sts, 07 377 0044,

Rock ‘n’ Ropes Ropes Courses including the trapeze and Giant Swing. At Crazy Catz on Highway 5. 0800 244 508, Taupo Bungy Bungy from a platform 47m above the Waikato River. 202 Spa Rd. 0800 888 408, Tongariro Crossing Transport and National Park Links From Taupo and Turangi during summer months (NovMay). 07 377 0435, Taupo Tandem Skydiving Skydive from up to 15,000 feet (over one minute freefall). Free shuttle, DVD and digital photos. Yellow Hangar, Taupo Airport. 0800 275 934,

TURANGI On the southern shores of Lake Taupo, Turangi is known as the trout fishing capital of the world. It offers heaps of outdoor adventure activities and is a good base for venturing into the Tongariro National Park. Turangi Visitor Centre Ngawaka Place, 07 386 8999


Silver Fern Lodge Flash-Packers (VIP) Cnr Tamamutu & Kaimanawa Sts, 07 377 4929,

A Plus Backpackers (BBH) 41 Iwiheke Pl, Turangi, 07 386 89 79,

Sunset Lodge (BBH) 27 Tremain Ave, 07 378 5962,

Club Habitat Backpackers Assoc YHA 25 Ohuanga Rd, 07 386 7492,

Base Taupo 7 Tuwharetoa St, 07 377 4464, Taupo Urban Retreat 65 Heu Heu St, 0800 872 261, Tiki Lodge 104 Tuwharetoa St, 0800 845 456, YHA Taupo 56 Kaimanawa St, 07 378 3311,

TAUPO DO Craters of the Moon One of the most geothermally active areas in the region, full of boiling mud and steaming craters. Wairakei Park. Huka Falls Take a relaxing walk up to Huka Falls where the water pours over the 35ft drop at up to 62,000 gallons per second. The more energetic will enjoy the trek up Mt Tauhara where you will be rewarded with sweeping views. Hukafalls Jet Jetboating by the falls. 0800 485 2538,

Extreme Backpackers (BBH) 26 Ngawaka Place, 07 386 8949,

National Park Backpackers YHA (BBH) Finlay St. The hostel runs transport to the Tongariro Crossing, 07 892 2870,

River Valley Dorms 06 388 1444,

Plateau Lodge & Motel (BBH) Carroll St, National Park, 07 892 2993,

Mokai Gravity Canyon Extreme flying fox, bridge swing and bungy jump. 0800 802 864


River Valley Rafting and horse trekking. 06 388 1444,

Ski Haus (BBH) Carroll St, McKenzie St, 07 892 2854,


MT RUAPEHU The park’s showcase is Mt Ruapehu, an active volcano towering at 2,796m. Ruapehu Visitors’ Centre 54 Clyde St, 06 385 8427


Whakapapa Visitor Centre SH 48, Whakapapa Village, 07 892 3729

A summer holiday town which was once a large Maori settlement and the indigenous people maintain a strong presence here.

RANGITIKEI The Rangitikei District is a top destination for adventure sports. Amongst stunning scenery, you can navigate grade five whitewater and take the leap of elasticated faith from an 80m bungy. The Stockmans Lodge (BBH) 9 Dixon Way, 06 388 1584,

The East Coast is among the first places in the world to see the sun rise each morning. This is a relatively tourist-free area of New Zealand that has so much to offer that it can only be a matter of time before visitors begin to flock here.

Opotiki Information Centre Cnr St John and Elliot Sts, 07 315 3031 Central Oasis Backpackers (BBH) 30 King St, 07 315 5165, Opotiki Backpackers Beach House (BBH) 7 Appleton Rd, Waiotahi Beach, 07 315 5117,


Riverstone Backpackers (BBH) 222 Tautahanga Rd, 07 386 7004,

TONGARIRO The World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park, an extraordinary volcanic landscape which became Mordor in those films. Pop into the national park headquarters in Whakapapa. Adventure Lodge & Motel (VIP) Carroll Street, National Park, 07 892 2991, Forest Lodge (BBH) Cnr Omaki and Ohorere Rds, Owhango, 07 895 4773, Howards Lodge (BBH) Carroll St, National Park, 07 892 2827, YHA Matai Lodge (BBH) 1 Rata St, Ohakune, 06 385 9169,

Alan Gallagher, Ireland HEY ALAN. DONE MUCH TRAVELLING? “From Cape Reinga in the north all the way to Invercargill and Stewart Island in the south.” GOT A FAVOURITE PLACE? “It’s very difficult to pick since it’s all so beautiful and unique. There’s Milford Sound, Mt Aspiring National Park, Wanaka, Wellington, Rotorua, Paihia. The Tongariro Crossing was definitely one of the highlights, but I’ve loved it all!” AND AFTER DARK? “Chilling under the Milky Way in the Bay of Plenty would definitely be up there.”



NORTHISLAND EAST CAPE As you head around the Cape the towns get tinier and the scenery more dramatic. At Te Araroa, you can thead around to the East Cape Lighthouse. Brians Place (BBH) Potae St, Tokomaru Bay, 06 864 5870, Eastender Backpacker & Horse Treks (BBH) 836 Rangitukia Rd, Tikitiki, 06 864 3820, Maraehako Bay Retreat (BBH) SH35, Whanarua Bay, 07 325 2648. Mel’s Place (BBH) Onepoto Beach Rd, Hicks Bay, 06 864 4694,

GISBORNE Gisborne is a peaceful surfie town that boasts diving, windsurfing, kayaking and whitewater rafting; try Wainui, Midway and Makarori beaches. You can also soak up the Maori heritage at one of the largest carved maraes in NZ. Flying Nun Backpackers (BBH) 147 Roebuck Rd, 06 868 0461,

YHA Gisborne 32 Harris St, 06 867 3269,


BOOK NOW! Criterion Art Deco Backpackers (VIP, Roamfree) 48 Emerson St, 06 835 2059,

follow us on Travellers Lodge Hastings (BBH) 608 St Aubyn St, West Hastings, 06 878 7108,

Napier Prison Backpackers (BBH) 55 Coote Rd, 06 835 9933,


Wairoa Visitor Information Centre Queen St, 06 838 7440

Waterfront Lodge & Backpackers (BBH) 217 Marine Pd, 06 835 3429,

The Wairarapa is a green, tree-lined region north-east of Wellington, famous for its wine and its many sheep – quintessential NZ.

Haere Mai Cottage (BBH) 49 Mitchell Rd, 06 838 6817

YHA Napier 277 Marine Parade, 06 835 7039,


DOC office for hut bookings Lake Waikaremoana, 06 837 3900


Wairoa is a large town, great as a stop-over before heading into the area’s main attraction: the gorgeous Te Urewera National Park.

NAPIER Napier is a beautiful, surprising city. Its “pleasing to the eye” status is actually the result of an enormous earthquake which meant the entire town had to be rebuilt. Visitor Info Centre 100 Marine Parade, 06 834 1911 Depart of Conservation Office Marine Parade, 06 834 3111

NAPIER STAY Aqua Lodge (BBH) 53 Nelson Cres, 06 835 4523,

Hastings is 20km south of Napier and most notable for its fertile plains, which have given birth to a multitude of beautiful parks, gardens and farms. A1 Backpackers (BBH) 122 Stortford St, 06 873 4285, Glenross Lodge (BBH) Route 52, Rakaunui, 06 376 7288, Lochlea Farmstay (BBH) 344 Lake Rd, Wanstead, 06 8554 816 The Rotten Apple Backpackers (BBH) 114 Heretaunga St, 06 878 4363,


Home to the impressive Queen Elizabeth Park, the Wairarapa Arts Centre, and the best-tasting icecream in New Zealand. Chanel Backpackers 14-18 Herbert St, 06 378 2877

TARANAKI Best known for its snow-capped mountain, Mt Taranaki. Peaceful and impressive, Taranaki has skifields, excellent surf beaches, great walking and climbing.

MOKAU Palm House Backpackers (BBH) 06 278 6523,


NEW PLYMOUTH Taranaki’s major town is New Plymouth. One of NZ’s finest art galleries is here (the GovettBrewster Art Gallery). It hosts a great café. Department of Conservation 220 Devon St West, 06 758 0433

PLYMOUTH STAY Eco Inn (BBH) 671 Kent Rd, between Egmont Village and New Plymouth on SH3. 06 752 2765 Egmont Lodge (BBH, YHA) 12 Clawton St, 06 753 5720, Seaspray House (BBH) 13 Weymouth St, 06 759 8934, Shoestring Backpackers (BBH) 48 Lemon St, 06 758 0404 Sunflower Lodge (BBH) 33 Timandra St, 06 758, 2842 The Missing Leg (BBH) 1082 Junction Rd, Egmont Village, 06 752 2570,





HIYA VICKSTER. SEEN MUCH OF NZ? “I’ve been travelling for two weeks on each island, starting in Christchurch and ending in Auckland.” GOT A FAVOURITE PLACE? “Abel Tasman National Park, at the top of the South Island. It’s just so beautiful.” WHAT’S THE BEST THING YOU’VE DONE? “Whale watching in Kaikoura. It was amazing. I saw a sperm whale and hundreds of dusky dolphins.” ANYWHERE YOU’D REVISIT? “Probably Wellington. I just met some really cool people there.

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PLYMOUTH DO Taranaki Surf Charters 20 Beach Road, 025 592 306,

MT TARANAKI The Camphouse (BBH) 6 Egmont Rd, 02 74 538 975, Taranaki Accommodation Lodge (BBH) 7 Romeo St, Stratford, 06 765 5444,

TARANAKI DO Climbing Mount Taranaki It is possible to climb it and return to civilisation in one day, however the weather is notoriously volatile and you must always notify the DOC. North Egmont Visitors Centre, 06 758 3222.

STRATFORD Stratford Information Centre Broadway Stratford (State Hwy 3), 06 765 6708,

New Plymouth Info Centre Puke Ariki Complex, St Aubyn Street, 06 759 6080,

Wanganui Information Centre 101 Guyton St, 06 349 0508,

Wellington Visitor Info Centre Corner of Victoria & Wakefield Sts, 04 802 4860,

Department of Conservation Pembroke Rd, 06 765 5144

Department of Conservation Office Cnr Ingestre and St Hill Sts, 06 345 2402

DOC Information Centre Lambton Quay, 04 472 7356

SOUTH TARANAKI Information South Taranaki 55 High St, Hawera, 0800 111 323, Wheatly Downs Farmstay Backpackers (BBH) 484 Ararata Rd, Hawera, 06 278 6523,

WHANGANUI Braemar House (YHA) 2 Plymouth St, 06 348 2301, Tamara Backpackers Lodge (BBH) 24 Somme Pde, 06 347 6300, Whanganui National Park The major attraction is the Whanganui River, snaking through picturesque scenery. Explore with a kayak or riverboat tour.

PALMERSTON NTH Manawatu Visitor Centre 101 Guyton St, 06 490-508, Department of Conservation Office 717 Tremaine Ave, 06 358 9004 Grandma’s Place (BBH) 146 Grey St, 06 358 6928, Peppertree Hostel (BBH) 121 Grey St, 06 355 4054.

WELLINGTON The nation’s capital is to many people, New Zealand’s most interesting city. Te Papa, the multimillion dollar museum, has sealed its position as cultural capital too. Wellington has a small centre, is easily navigated on foot and as any Wellingtonian will tell you, it has more cafés per head than New York. The nightlife in “Welly” is pretty special too.

Maple Lodge (BBH) 52 Ellice St. 04 385 3771 Nomads Capital 118 Wakefield St. 0508 666 237,

Ferry to the South Island Boats to Picton on the South Island. Ferries can be booked up well in advance in holiday periods. 0800 802 802, Ferry Tickets Online 186 Victoria St, 0800 500 660,

WELLY STAY Base Wellington 21-23 Cambridge Tce. 04 801 5666 Cambridge Hotel (BBH) 28 Cambridge Tce. 04 385 8829 Downtown Wellington Backpackers (BBH) 1 Bunny St. 04 473 8482 Lodge in the City (VIP) 152 Taranaki St. 04 385 8560

Rosemere Backpackers (BBH) 6 McDonald Cres. 04 384 3041, Rowena’s Backpackers (VIP) 115 Brougham St. 0800 80 1414 Wellywood Backpackers 58 Tory St. 0508 00 58 58 Worldwide Backpackers (BBH) 291 The Terrace. 04 802 5590, YHA Wellington City 292 Wakefield St. 04 801 7280

WELLY DO Cable car Walk down Lambton Quay and you will see a sign for the cable car which departs every 10 minutes past Kelburn Park to the Botanic Gardens, 04 472 2199

Photo: Tourism New Zealand, Ian Trafford


THE EAST CAPE The East Cape, the easternmost tip of NZ, is a long way off the beaten track and the drive itself is a real mission – narrow and winding – but it’s worth it. Out here people still get about on horses and when the sun shines the beaches are wondrous. Climb the East Cape lighthouse at Te Araroa and be the first person in the country to see the sunrise that day. Gisborne is where Captain James Cook first landed in NZ (on 6 October 1769). He stayed just long enough to take formal possession of the country in the name of His Majesty King George III, before rushing off to ‘formally’ discover the rest of NZ. Gisborne is a city largely based on beach culture. Relaxed and friendly, there’s plenty to see and do and some good cafés and bars too. Wairoa, at the north end of Hawkes Bay, is the gateway to the Te Urewera National Park and is the proud owner of a 120-year-old lighthouse. In 1988 a disaster, in the shape of Cyclone Bola, struck this small community, and swept away the Wairoa Bridge. The damage has been repaired, but the legend of when ol’ Bola came to town lives on. With very few people, remote, gorgeous lakes, numerous rushing rivers, bubbling streams and lush primeval bush – Te Uruwera National Park is simply spectacular. A tramper’s haven and a fisherman’s dream, the national park surrounds the beautiful, eerie Lake Waikaremoana. The Lake Waikaremoana Track is one of New Zealand’s great walks and nearby Frasertown has a popular hostel for walkers.



NORTHISLAND Cosmic Corner Funk Store The funkiest store in the universe. Check out the legal highs and chat to the staff, who will happily point you in the right direction for parties, events and scenic spots. 215 Cuba St, 04 801 6970,


LADYHAWKE San Francisco Bath House. Fri, July 13. $43. The smouldering Kiwi is back on home soil as she prepares to drop forthcoming album Anxiety, the follow-up to her gem of a debut.

Mount Victoria The views are breathtaking. It’s damn windy so make sure you’re wearing heavy shoes. Walk, drive or bus it.

Parliament House Free tours. Visit the Beehive, a uniquely designed centre of government with a distinct style of architecture, 04 471 9503

follow us on Wellington Rover Tours Small group day tours exploring Wellington, its stunning rugged coastline and the Lord of the Rings locations. 0800 426 211, Beaches Wellington’s waterfront has cafés, restaurants and parks. Oriental Bay is good for a dip, but the water is cold and not always clean. It’s also good for a walk along the foreshore. If you are desperate for a swim, Scorching Bay is good or head up the coast towards Otaki where the best beaches in the region are found.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Many of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles and insects are living freely in this awardwinning conservation safe haven. Look for kiwis on a guided tour by torchlight. Times vary and bookings are essential. Waiapu Rd, Karori. 04 920 9213,

Museum of Wellington City & Sea Queens Wharf, 04 472 8904


171 Cuba St, Wellington Te Papa – The National Museum Experience the earthquake simulation room, find out what the early settlers went through and visit Te Marae, Te Papa’s living modern marae. Free entry, Cable St, 04 381 7000, Wellington Zoo Located in Newtown and home to a wide variety of weird and wonderful animal and bird life, 04 381 6750 Harbour cruises The harbour is a handsome thing and the best way to fully appreciate its beauty is by boat.

PLIMMERTON Moana Lodge (BBH) 49 Moana Rd, 04 233 2010,

KAPITI COAST Some 45km north-east of Wellington and famous for its long stretches of sandy white beaches is the area known as the Kapiti Coast. It’s a popular holiday spot for Wellingtonians who flock here during summer.


Tranz Rail The best way to explore the Kapiti Coast is by train and most places along the way can be reached within an hour or so, 04 498 3000 Stillwater Lodge (BBH) 34 Mana Esplanade, Mana, 04 233 6628

PAEKAKARIKI Paekakariki Backpackers (BBH) 11 Wellington Rd, 04 902 5967,

PARAPARAUMU The beach here is glorious and the scene of most of the action in town. Barnacles Seaside Inn (BBH, YHA) 3 Marine Parade, Paraparaumu, 0800 555 856,

KAPITI IS A sanctuary for rare native birds. There’s a good chance of seeing elusive kiwis and blue penguins. Kapiti Island Nature Tours Tours and accommodation, 06 362 6606,


Joanna Tilley, England HEY JO. BEEN MANY PLACES IN NZ? “Here and there, north and south. Auckland, Roturua, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson, Queenstown, Milford Sound and some ‘lil places in between.” GOT A FAVE DAY SPOT? “Golden Bay at the tip of the South Island is bloody gorgeous. Near Takaka there is a gem of a pub called The Mussel Inn and the areas around Anatori make you feel like you are a hobbit.” AND A FAVOURITE NIGHT SPOT? “Wellington has loads of cool bars and clubs pumping with young, funky things. Go courting in the bars around Courtenay Place.”



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ABEL TASMAN The Abel Tasman National Park has great tramping with 56,000 acres to explore. The Coastal Track is one of the most popular walks in New Zealand, especially in summer when you can cool down at the stunning beaches. Nelson, Motueka and Marahau are all good bases for visiting the park. Sea kayaking is excellent here too.

Vineyard Tourist Units & Cabins 328 High St. 03 528 8550


Abel Tasman Kayaks Ltd 0800 732 529

NELSON Nelson is seen as the “sunshine capital” of NZ. Home to a string of attractive beaches, Nelson is only a short drive away from the famous Abel Tasman National Park. The town boasts great cafés and a strong artistic subculture. Nelson’s great climate is conducive to fruit growing and travellers can find plenty of work in the area. Nelson Visitor Centre Cnr Trafalgar & Halifax St, 03 548 2304, Airport Shuttle 03 547 5782 Nelson City Taxis 03 548 8225

NELSON STAY Abode of the Buddha 181 Nile St East. 03 546 6890, Accents on the Park (BBH/VIP) 335 Trafalgar Square. 03 548 4335, Almond House (BBH) 63 Grove St. 03 545 6455, Alpine Lodge St Arnaud. 03 521 1869, Beach Hostel (BBH) 25 Muritai St. 03 548 6817, The Bug (BBH) 226 Vanguard St. 03 539 4227, The Customhouse (BBH) 252 Haven Rd. 03 545 8365, Footprints by the Sea (BBH) 31 Beach Rd, Tahuna Beach. 03 546 5441, The Green Monkey (BBH) 129 Milton St. 03 545 7421, Honey Suckle House (BBH) 125 Tasman St. 03 548 7576


MOTUEKA DO Wilsons Abel Tasman 265 High St, 0800 223 582, Southern Exposure Abel Tasman Sea Kayaking & Water Taxis 0800 695 292,

ABEL DO Wilsons Abel Tasman Sea kayaking, water taxis and lodge accommodation. 0800 223 582,

Somerset House (BBH) Gibbs Rd. 03 524 8624,

Nelson School of Music. Sun, May 27. $35. New Zealand’s favourite eight-piece reggae outfit are back on the road to coincide with the release of their new album Dust and Dirt. 48 Nile St, Nelson

Hu Ha Bikerpackers (BBH) State Highway 6, Glenhope. 03 548 2707, The Palace Backpackers (BBH) 114 Rutherford St. 03 548 4691, Paradiso (BBH) 42 Weka St. 0800 269 667, Rylands’ Retreat 163 Trafalgar St. 03 548 4691, The Palace Backpackers (BBH) 114 Rutherford St. 03 548 9001, Shortbread Cottage (BBH) 33 Trafalgar St. 03 546 6681 Tasman Bay Backpacker Hostel (BBH) 10 Weka St. 03 548 7950, Trampers Rest (BBH) 31 Alton St. 03 545 7477 Welcome House (BBH) 108 Parkers Road, Tahunahui. 03 548 5462 YHA Nelson Central 59 Rutherford St. 03 545 9988,

NELSON DO Abel Tasman Kayaks 0800 527 8022, Happy Valley 4x4 Motorbike Adventures Tours around spectacular private farm on chunky fourwheel motorbikes. 03 545 0304, Kaiteriteri kayaks Free transport from Nelson. 03 527 8383, Skydive Abel Tasman Tandem jumps from 13,000ft over Abel Tasman. 0800 422 899,

NELSON LAKES Located 118km south-west of Nelson, the park comprises Lake Rotoroa and Lake Rotoiti, and is surrounded by forests and mountains. Apart from tramping and skiing at Rainbow Valley and Mt Robert in winter, the lakes offer fishing and other water activities.

MOTUEKA This is an alternative hang-out for creative types and those seeking to veer off life’s fast lane. Most people use Motueka as a base to launch an assault on Abel Tasman National Park, but if you take the time to look around your efforts will be well rewarded. Try Marahau Beach and Cobb Valley. Motueka i-SITE Visitors Centre 20 Wallace St, 03 528 6543,

MOTUEKA STAY Bakers Lodge (YHA) 4 Poole St. 03 528 0102, The Barn (BBH) Harvey Road, Marahau. 03 527 8043 Eden’s Edge Backpackers (BBH) 137 Lodder Lane, Riwaka. 03 528 4242, Lagoon Lodge (BBH) 500 High St. 03 528 8652, Hat Trick Lodge (BBH) 25 Wallace St. 03 528 5353, The Laughing Kiwi (BBH) 310 High St. 03 528 9229, Old Macdonald’s Farm Holiday Park 03 527 8288, The White Elephant (BBH) 55 Whakarewa St. 03 528 6208,

Golden Bay Visitor Centre 03 525 9136



Arching east from the top of Golden Bay, this is a sand bar of epic proportions, home to some of the largest sanddunes in the world and some amazing birdlife.

Known as the “Heart of the Parks”, the much underrated Golden Bay region is a place of considerable natural beauty. If you venture slightly out of Takaka you will see the Te Waikoropupu (Pupu Springs), one of the largest freshwater springs in the world. Information Centre Willow St, 03 525 9136

The Marlborough Sounds are a beautiful labyrinth of islands and bays, serving as an impressive gateway to the South Island. Hire a kayak to paddle the coves in style, or go swimming with the dolphins. Anakiwa Backpackers (BBH) 410 Anakiwa Rd. 03 574 1388, Hopewell (BBH) Kenepuru Rd. 03 573 4341,

Dept of Conservation Office 62 Commercial St, 03 525 8026

The Partage Resort Hotel Kenepuru Sound. 03 573 4309,



Annie’s Nirvana Lodge (BBH, YHA) 25 Motupipi St. 03 525 8766,

This pretty town is the opening to the South Island, where the North Island ferry comes in, a centre for the many activities in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Aquapackers (BBH) Anchorage Bay, Marahau, Abel Tasman National Park. 0800 430 744,

Airport shuttle bus 03 573 7125

Golden Bay Barefoot Backpackers (BBH) 114 Commercial St. 03 525 7005,

PICTON STAY Atlantis Backpackers (BBH) London Quay. 03 573 7390,

Kiwiana (BBH) 73 Motuipipi St. 03 525 7676 Kanuka Ridge (BBH) 21 Moss Rd, Marahau, Abel Tasman National Park. 03 527 8435, The Nook (BBH) Abel Tasman Dr. 03 525 8501,

Bayview Backpackers (BBH) 318 Waikawa Rd. 03 573 7668, The Jugglers Rest (BBH) 8 Canterbury St. 03 573 5570,

River Inn (BBH) Golden Bay. 03 525 9425

Picton Lodge (VIP) 9 Auckland St. 03 573 7788,

Shambhala (BBH) Hwy 60, Onekaka. 03 525 8463,

Sequoia Lodge (BBH, VIP) 3 Nelson Sq. 03 573 8399,

KAHURANGI NP The second-largest national park in NZ, Kahurangi includes the Heaphy Track. There are more than 100 bird species and an impressive cave system to be seen here. For info see the Nelson DOC office.

COLLINGWOOD North-west of Takaka is the tiny community of Collingwood (the people aren’t particularly small, their numbers are), a good base for expeditions to Farewell Spit. The Innlet (BBH) Main Rd, Pakawau. 03 524 8040,

Picton Lodge (VIP) 9 Auckland St. 03 573 7788, The Villa (BBH) 34 Auckland St. 03 573 6598, Tombstone Backpackers (BBH) 16 Gravesend Place. 03 573 7116, Wedgwood House (YHA) 10 Dublin St. 03 573 7797,

PICTON DO Dolphin Watch Encounters Picton Foreshore, 03 573 8040,





Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company 03 573 6078


Southern Wilderness NZ Guided walk, wine trek and sea kayaking specialists. 0800 666 044, Waka Whenua Tours Wine tours. Sightseeing/ historical/ cultural tours also available. 03 573 7877

Nestled at the head of Pelorus Sound, Havelock is the best place from which to explore the Marlborough Sounds. For trampers and mountain bikers there’s the beautiful Nydia Track. DOC Office Mahakipawa Rd, 03 574 2019 Explore Pelorus Sea Kayaks 03 576 5251

HAVELOCK STAY Bluemoon Lodge (BBH) 48 Main Rd. 03 574 2212, Nikau Cottages 48 Main Rd. 03 443 9010 Rutherford YHA Hostel 46 Main Road. 03 574 2104,

PELORUS SOUND The largest waterway within the Marlborough Sounds, it can be accessed from Havelock, Linkwater or Rai Valley.



The Marine Backpackers (BBH) 26 Nayland St. 03 326 6609,


BANKS PENINSULA Banks Peninsula is a beautiful region with a stunning coastline chock full of mountains and wildlife. The two harbours of Akaroa and Lyttelton are craters of a once majestic volcano.



Canterbury House (BBH) 257 Bealey Ave. 03 377 8108,

Lyttelton is a quaint township with a beautiful scenic harbour and historic buildings. The harbour is a great place for boating, while the surrounding hills are good for mountain biking and walking.

Rugby League Park. Sat, June 16. $TBC. After missing the chance to see the All Blacks in the World Cup, expect the locals to go crazy for their team against a touring Irish side.

Chester Street Backpackers (BBH) 148 Chester St East. 03 377 1897,

Lyttelton Information Centre 20 Oxford St, 03 328 9093

95 Jack Hinton Drive, Christchurch Leeways Backpackers (BBH) 33 Lansdowne St. 03 579 2213, Peacehaven Backpackers (BBH) 29 Budge St. 03 577 9750, Stoney Acre 9 Marldene Avenue, Seddon. 03 578 6303,

KAIKOURA Kaikoura is famous for its large sperm whale population and picturesque mountain range. You can also snorkel with dolphins or swim with the inquisitive NZ fur seals (Sept-May). Kaikoura Visitor Info Centre, West End, 03 319 5641

KAIKOURA STAY Adelphi Lodge (BBH, VIP) 26 West End. 0800 423 574, Albatross Backpacker Inn (BBH) 1 Torquay St. 03 319 6090, Bad Jelly Backpackers (BBH) 11 Churchill St. 03 319 5538, Dolphin Lodge (BBH) 15 Deal St. 03 319 5842, Dusky Lodge (BBH) 67 Beach Rd. 03 319 5959 The Lazy Shag (BBH) 37 Beach St. 03 319 6662

The largest town in Marlborough, and considered (ahem, also) the“sunshine capital of New Zealand”. Whitewater rafting on the Buller and Gowan Rivers is great fun.

Lyell Creek Lodge (BBH) 193 Beach Rd. 03 319 6277,

Blenheim Information Centre The Forum Building, Queen St, 03 578 9904

Sunrise Lodge (BBH) 74 Beach Rd. 03 319 7444

Honi-B-Backpackers (BBH) 18 Parker St. 03 577 8441,

Top Spot Backpackers (BBH) 22 Deal St. 03 319 5540

Koanui Backpackers (BBH) 33 Main St. 03 578 7487,

YHA Kaikoura, Maui 270 Esplanade. 03 319 5931,



Around the World Backpackers 314 Barbadoes Street. 03 365 4363

Avon City Backpackers Worcester Street. 03 389 6876,



Department of Conservation 133 Victoria St, 03 379 9758

At The Right Place 85 Bealey Street. 03 366 1633

On the road-free outer Queen Charlotte Sound, everyone and everything travels by boat. The Queen Charlotte Track covers 71km and passes through magnificent forest, at times allowing spectacular views over the Marlborough Sounds. The whole track can be walked in four days, though you can also ride it by mountain bike. Endeavour Express Water Taxi Day-trips, round-trips and luggage transfers. 03 573 5456

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KAIKOURA DO Kaikoura is famous for its large sperm whale population and picturesque mountain r Albatross Encounter Enjoy the sight of the magnificent albatross so close to the boat you can almost touch them. 96 Esplanade, 0800 733 365 Dolphin Encounter Swim with the acrobatic dusky dolphins or if you prefer, join the tour to view them from the boat. 96 Esplanade, 0800 733 365, Fyffe House 62 Avoca St, Kaikoura’s oldest building, 03 319 5835. Kaikoura Kayaks Paddle with the playful fur seals, dusky dolphins and marine life of Kaikoura. Seal kayaking, kayak school, hire, retail and kayak fishing. 19 Killarney St, 0800 452 456, Seal Swim Kaikoura Swim with wild NZ Fur Seals. 58 West End, 0800 732 579,

CHRISTCHURCH Christchurch is the South Island’s major city and a lively, pretty base with a distinctly English feel to it. Much of the centre is still strictly off-limits, due to earthquake damage, however, there is still plenty going on in the suburbs. Throw in Mount Cook and Mount Hutt with their skifields (early June to late October) and the Canterbury area is well worth spending some time discovering. Christchurch & Canterbury i-Site Visitor Centre Cnr Deans Av & Kilmarnock St 0800 423 783

Foley Towers (BBH) 208 Kilmore St. 03 366 9720,


Jailhouse Accommodation (BBH) 338 Lincoln Rd. 0800 524 546

Swim with dolphins, horse-ride and paraglide. If your tastes are a little more sedate, the foreshore is lined with cafes, galleries and boutiques.

Kiwi Basecamp (BBH) 69 Bealey Ave. 03 366 6770

Akaroa Information Centre 80 Rue Lavaud, 03 304 8600

Kiwi House 373 Gloucester St. 03 381 6645

Akaroa Shuttle Christchurch to Akaroa buses. 0800 500 929

Marine Backpackers 26 Nayland St. 03 326 6609

Akaroa French Connection Tours and shuttle bus, 0800 800 575

Point Break Backpackers (BBH) 99 Seaview Road. 03 388 2050 The Old Countryhouse (BBH) 437 Gloucester St. 03 381 5504 Tranquil Lodge (BBH) 440 Manchester St. 03 366 6500 Rucksacker Backpacker Hostel (BBH) 70 Bealey Ave. 03 377 7931 Vagabond Backpackers (BBH) 232 Worcester St. 03 379 9677 vagabondbackpackers

C’CHURCH DO Black Cat Cruises Wildlife Cruises on Lyttelton Harbour. Free shuttle bus from Christchurch, 03 328 9078. Skydiving and training courses, 0800 697 593 Up Up and Away Hot air ballooning, 03 381 4600,

SUMNER This surf beach is also a great place to chill for a while. If you’re feeling adventurous, mountain biking, paragliding and surfing are just some of the activities you can try.

AKAROA STAY Bon Accord Backpackers (BBH) 57 Rue Lavaud. 03 304 7782, Chez La Mer (BBH) 50 Rue Lavaud. 03 304 7024, Double Dutch (BBH) 32 Chorlton Road, Okains Bay. 03 304 7229, Halfmoon Cottage (BBH) SH25 Barrys Bay. 03 304 5050, Onuku Farm Hostel (BBH) 03 304 7066,

AKAROA DO Akaroa Museum 71 Rue Lavard, 03 304 1013 Black Cat Cruises Offer a number of cruises in Akaroa. See Akaroa Harbour or swim with dolphins. 03 328 9078. Dolphin Experience Swim with dolphins in Akaroa Harbour. 61 Beach Rd, 0508 365 744,

LEWIS PASS About 200km north of Christchurch, the Lewis Pass connects the west and east coasts on the SH7, with stunning surrounding scenery.

SOUTHISLAND HANMER SPRINGS Hanmer Springs boasts the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve, where the water can reach 40°C (03 315 7511, Mt Lyford offers good winter skiing and is a cheaper option to the South Island resorts.

Backpacker Heaven (YHA) Cnr Bank & McMillan Sts. 03 302 8999, Kowhai House (BBH) 17 McMillan St. 03 302 8887,

Department of Conservation Cnr Amuri Rd & Jacks Pass Rd, 03 315 7128

Mt Hutt Bunkhouse (BBH) 8 Lampard St. 03 302 8894,

The Hanmer Connection Christchurch to Hanmer Springs buses. 0800 242 663

Pinedale Backpacker Lodge (BBH) 11 Alford St. 0800 638 483,

HANMER STAY Hanmer Backpackers (BBH) 41 Conical Hill Rd. 03 315 7196, Kakapo Lodge (YHA) 14 Amuri Avenue. 03 315 7472, Le Gite Backpackers (BBH) 3 Devon St. 03 315 5111, Waipara Sleepers (BBH) 12 Glenmark Dr, Waipara. 03 314 6003,

CASTLE HILL Gateway to the Craigieburn Range. Chill Adventures Multi-mountain snow passes. Springfield Hotel State Highway 73, Springfield. 03 318 4812,

ARTHUR’S PASS This township is the HQ for the magnificent national park which offers tramping expeditions to skiing. National Park Visitor Centre 03 318 9211 Rata Lodge Backpackers (BBH) State Highway 73, Otira Arthur’s Pass National Park. 03 738 2822 Smylies Accommodation (YHA) 03 318 9258,

METHVEN Methven is a small, friendly town popular with fishermen, hunters and backpackers. The area provides a variety of adrenalin thrills, including hot air ballooning, bungy jumping and skydiving. Mt Hutt also has the longest ski run in Australasia.

Redwood Lodge (BBH) 3 Wayne Place. 03 302 8964, Skiwi House (BBH) 30 Chapman St. 03 302 8772, Snow Denn Lodge (YHA, VIP) Cnr Bank & McMillan Sts. 03 302 8999,

TIMARU Despite being industrial, it’s picturesque with views of the Southern Alps, plains and sea. 1873 Wanderer Backpackers (BBH) 24 Evans St. 03 688 8795 Old Bank Backpackers 232 Stafford St. 03 684 4392 Timaru Backpackers 44 Evans St. 03 684 5067 Toru Toru Wha Backpackers 334 Stafford St. 03 684 4729

GERALDINE As well as a wonderful old movie theatre and whitewater rafting on the Rangitata River, visiting the mighty Emily Falls is recommended. Geraldine Information Centre Talbot Street, 03 693 1006 4x4 New Zealand Wilderness adventures and The Lord of the Rings tours, 03 693 7254, Rangitata Rafts Peel Forest, 0800 251 251 Rawhiti Backpackers (BBH) 27 Hewlings St. 03 693 8252

FAIRLIE Mt Dobson Ski Area, 03 685 8039, Tallyho Lodge & Backpackers 7 School Rd. 03 685 8723

Methven i-SITE Visitor Centre 121 Main St, Methven, 03 302 8955, NZ Info on Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Mt Hutt.

METHVEN STAY Big Tree Lodge (BBH) 25 South Belt. 03 302 9575,


LAKE TEKAPO A stunning turquoise-coloured lake, 100km west of Timaru. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935, frames the view beautifully. Activities include walking, watersports, fishing and skiing. Tailor-Made-Tekapo Backpackers (BBH) 9-11 Aorangi Cres. 03 680 6700, rtailor-made-backpackers@


BOOK NOW! Lake Tekapo Backpackers (VIP) SH8. 03 680 6808, stay@laketekapo.bix YHA Lake Tekapo 3 Simpson Lane. 03 680 6857,

MT COOK Mount Cook National Park is part of a World Heritage area that forms one of the most amazing sights anywhere in New Zealand. The showcase is the majestic Mt Cook (Aoraki). NZ’s greatest climber Sir Edmund Hillary used it as a practice ground before conquering Mt Everest, but Mt Cook has claimed the lives of more than 160 people. Discuss climbing plans with park rangers before you go. Department of Conservation Visitor Information Centre Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Village, 03 435 1819 The Cook Connection Day trips to Mt Cook from Tekapo. Ph: 021 583 211,

MT COOK STAY Mountain Chalets (VIP) Wairepo Rd, Twizel. 03 435 0785, YHA Mt Cook Cnr Bowen and Kitchener Drives. 03 435 1820,

WEST COAST Rugged is the word often used when it comes to the South Island’s west coast. It’s quite an amazing place, sparsely inhabited, untouched in many areas and studded with geographical wonders. Don’t miss the two mighty glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef, or the Pancake Rocks.

KARAMEA Karamea contains pleasant walks, interesting caves and the Oparara River, a great trout fishing spot. Walk along the wonderful Fernian Track or, try the more challenging hike up Mt Stormy. Karamea Information Centre Bridge St, 03 782 6652 Rongo (BBH) 03 782 6667,

MURCHISON With crazy terrain skewed by mining and earthquakes, one of the major attractions of Murchison is its proximity to Buller Gorge, a wonderfully scenic cluster of cliffs and trees. Activities include rafting on the Gowan River and mountain biking on the Matakitaki.

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REEFTON The centrepiece of the town is Victoria Forest Park, the largest forest park in New Zealand. Reefton Visitor Centre 67 Broadway, 03 732 8391 Reefton Backpackers 64 Shiel St. 03 732 8133, The Old Nurses Home (BBH) 204 Shiel St. 03 789 8881

WESTPORT Visitor Information Westport 1 Brougham St, 03 789 6658 Basils Hostel (VIP) 54 Russell St. 03 789 6410, Beaconstone (BBH) Birds Ferry Road, Charleston. 03 715 5760 Berlins Café & Lodgings (BBH) 1205 Lower Buller Gorge, Inangahua Junction. 03 789 0295, Pounamu Backpackers (BBH) Section 406, S H’way 6m Charleston. 03 789 8011, Robyn’s Nest Hostel 42 Romilly St. 03 789 6565, Swaines (BBH) Inangahua Landing Bridge, Highway 69, Inangahua Jnctn. 03 789 0226, TripInn (BBH) 72 Queen St. 03 789 7367 The Old Slaughterhouse (BBH) Highway 67, Hector. 03 782 8333

PAPAROA NP This park is home to the amazing Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. These are a series of eroded limestone rocks moulded into what appears to be a giant stack of pancakes. Visitor Information Punakaiki 03 731 1895 Barrytown Knife Making 2662 Coast Road, Barrytown, 03 731 1053,

PAPAROA STAY Punakaiki Beach Hostel (BBH) 4 Webb St. 03 731 1852,

Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park 03 523 9809,

Te Nikau Retreat (BBH, YHA) 03 731 1111,

The Lazy Cow Accommodation (BBH) 37 Waller St. 03 523 9451,

All Nations Hotel & Backpackers (VIP) SH6, Barrytown. 03 731 1812,


GREYMOUTH The west coast’s largest town is dominated by the Grey River. Highlights include the Monteith’s brewery tour, as well as aquatic activities like rafting and canyoning. Visitor Information Herbert and Mackay Sts, 03 768 5101 TranzAlpine Scenic railway from Christchurch to Greymouth, travelling through Canterbury Plains and the Alps. Departs 9am every morning. 0800 872 467

GREYMOUTH STAY The west coast’s largest town is dominated by the Duke Backpackers (BBH) 27 Guiness St. 03 768 9470 Global Village (BBH) 42-54 Cowper St, Ph: (03) 768 7272, The Hairy Lemon 128-130 Mawhera Quay, 03 768 4022, Neptunes International Backpackers (BBH) 43 Gresson St, 0800 003 768, Noahs Ark Backpackers (BBH) 16 Chapel St, 03 768 4868, The Ranch 37 MacDougall Ave, 03 762 7801, YHA Greymouth Kainga-ra 15 Alexander St, Ph: (03) 768 4951,

HOKITIKA Greenstone, a form of practically indestructible rock that was used by the Maori to make weapons and ornaments, is the main attraction here. There’s also the Westland Water World for all things wet, the Glowworm Dell and some excellent whitewater rafting. Hokitika Visitor Info Centre Carnegie Building, corner of Hamilton & Tancred Street, 03 755 6166

HOKITIKA STAY Beach House BPs 137 Revell St, 03 755 6859 Birdsong (BBH) 124 SH6, 03 755 7179 Drifting Sands Backpackers (BBH) 197 Revell St, 03 755 7612,

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Mountain Jade Backpackers (BBH) 41 Weld St, 03 755 8007,

Okarito Nature Tours 03 753 4014,

Riverview Cabins (BBH) 154 Kaniere Rd, 03 755 7440

Royal Hostel (BBH) The Strand, 03 753 4080,

Stumpers Accommodation 2 Weld St, 03 755 6154,

HOKITIKA DO Alpine Rafts Freephone: 0800 223 456. The Just Jade Experience Design and create your own treasures with NZ jade/ greenstone. Allow at least 6-10 hours. 197 Revell St, 03 755 7612,

WHATAROA About 35km south of Harihari and one of the South Island’s prime fishing spots. Also the magnificent white heron (Kotuku) colony which thrillseekers can reach by jet boat.

OKARITO The tiny beach settlement of Okarito, near Franz Josef Glacier, sits at the mouth of New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland – the Okarito Lagoon. Hike up to the Okarito Trig for excellent views.

YHA Okarito Palmerston St, Whataroa, 03 753 4347,

FRANZ JOSEF The glacier is about 12km long and offers a wide variety of challenging activities. To get the ultimate perspective on the magnitude of Franz Josef, head for Sentinel Rock, which gives a sweeping view over both the Waiho Valley and the mighty glacier. DOC Visitors Information Centre Westland National Park, Hwy 6, 03 752 0796

FRANZ STAY Black Sheep (VIP) SH 6, 03 752 0007

Montrose (BBH) 9 Cron St, 03 752 0188, Rainforest Retreat (VIP) Cron St, 0800 873 346 YHA Franz Josef 2-4 Cron St, 03 752 0754,

FRANZ DO Alpine Adventure Centre Footage on a helimax screen, 03 752 0793 Franz Josef Glacier Guides Guided walks and heli-hikes on the Franz Josef Glacier 0800 484 337, Glacier Country Kayaks Explore the glaciers from the water 03 752 0230,

Chateau Franz (VIP, BBH) 8-10 Cron St, 0800 728 372,

Skydive Franz At 18,000ft, they currently offer NZ’s highest skydive. 0800 458 677,

Glow Worm Cottages (BBH) 27 Cron St, 0800 151 027,

The Guiding Company 0800 800 102,



Similiar activities to Franz Josef only with fewer crowds. The best walk is up to the Welcome Flat Hot Springs. For stunning views, head up the wonderfully scenic Chalet Lookout Walk. Look out for the beautiful kea (grey-green mountain parrot). Nearby is Lake Matheson, with its stunning twin mountain reflection.

Running through Mt Aspiring National Park, this stretch of road is among the most scenic that you’ll come across in New Zealand, showing off pristine lakes, magnificent forests and waterfalls.

DOC Visitor Centre State Hwy 6, 03 751 0807

FOX STAY Fox Glacier Inn 03 751 0088 Ivory Towers (BBH) 03 751 0838,

FOX DO Fox Glacier Guiding Guided walks and heli-hikes on the FoxGlacier. 0800 111 600, Glacier Country Kayaks 20 Cron St, 0800 423 262, Skydive NZ: Fox Glacier 0800 751 0080,

DOC Centre Cnr SH 6 and Jackson Bay Rd, 03 750 0809 Haast Highway Accommodation Marks Rd, 03 750 0703 Wilderness Backpackers (BBH) Marks Rd, 03 750 029,

SOUTHLAND The top of your chest will quickly get sore as the South Island’s jawdropping scenery becomes more prevalent. From the adrenalin thrills of Queenstown to the achingly beautiful Milford Sound, there’s never a dull moment down south. Stop frequently, take deep breaths and enjoy one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Mt Aspiring National Park Visitor Info Centre Cnr Ballantyne Rd & Ardmore St, 03 443 8372





LAKE WANAKA The cosy town and its crystal-clear waters which reflect the dramatic landscape is the gateway to Mount Aspiring Park. The World Heritage area has magnificent tramping and mountaineering. Lake Wanaka boasts almost as many adrenalintastic activities as neighbouring Queenstown, such as mountain biking, jet-boating, canyoning, and whitewater sledging. It’s a favourite with snowboarders in winter, and has lively nightlife year-round. Boasting the most sceneray from those films with wizards and hairyfooted hobbits, there are great Lord of the Rings tours, too.


Lake Wanaka Visitors Centre The Log Cabin, Lakefront, 100 Ardmore Street. 03 4431 1233


Holly’s Backpackers (BBH) 71 Upton St, 03 443 8187, Mountain View Backpackers (BBH) 7 Russell St, 0800 112 201, The Purple Cow (BBH) 94 Brownston St, 03 443 1880, Wanaka Bakpaka (BBH) 117 Lakeside Rd, 03 443 7837, YHA Wanaka 181 Upton St, 03 443 7405,

WANAKA DO Adventure Consultants Mountaineering instruction courses and guided ascents, 03 443 8711, Aspiring Guides Guided mountain climbing and ice climbing instruction courses, 03 443 9422,


Resort Lodge (BBH) 6 Henry St. 03 442 4970,

Queenstown Travel & Visitor Centre Corner of Shotover & Camp Sts, 03 442 4100

Scallywags Traveller’s Guesthouse (BBH) 27 Lomond Crescent. 03 442 7083


Aspen Lodge (BBH) 11 Gorge Rd. 03 442 9671, Base Discovery Lodge Queenstown 49 Shotover St. 03 441 1185, The Remarkables. Sun, July 1. Free to watch. $25 to enter. Check out NZ’s best skiiers and boarders, or even have a go yourself, as they pull off their most impressive tricks, in a bid for big prizes. Queenstown

Classic Flights Vintage Tiger Moth flights over Lake Wanaka. 03 443 4043, Deep Canyon Canyoning in the Matukituki Valley. Adventure Wanaka, 23 Dunmore St, Wanaka. 03 443 7922, Frogz Have More Fun Sledge down either the Clutha, Hawea or Kawarau Rivers. 0800 437 649, The Silver Demon Aerobatic flights. 03 443 4043, Skydive Lake Wanaka Freefall from 12,000 or 15,000ft with views of NZ’s highest mountains. 0800 786 877, Treble Cone Ski Field 03 443 7443, Wanaka Rock Climbing One, three and five-day rock climbing courses for everyone. 03 443 6411,


Wanaka Flightseeing Milford Sound flight and cruise from Wanaka, 03 443-8787, Wanaka Sightseeing Includes Lord of the Rings tours, 2 Anderson Rd, 03 338 0982,

LAKE HAWEA Thirty-five kilometres long and more than 400m deep, Lake Hawea is a great source of salmon and rainbow trout.

QUEENSTOWN Paradise for the energetic traveller, Queenstown is one of the world’s most action-packed towns. The town, which is surprisingly small compared to its big reputation, is located on Lake Wakatipu and rises up to the peaks of the aptly-named Remarkables (which you can ski in winter). In winter, the town is a centre for nearby skifields and in summer adventure activities and tramping take over. There’s also a hectic social scene which extends well into the wee small hours.


Info & Track Walking Centre 37 Shotover St, 03 442 9708

Alpine Lodge (BBH) 13 Gorge Rd. 03 442 7220,

WANAKA STAY Albert Town Lodge (BBH) Cnr SH6 and Kingston St, Albert Town, 03 443 9487,

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Black Sheep Lodge (BBH/VIP) 13 Frankton Rd. 03 442 7289, Bungi Backpackers (VIP, BBH) 15 Sydney St. 0800 728 286,

Southern Laughter (BBH, VIP) 4 Isle St. 0800 728 448, The Last Resort (BBH) 6 Memorial St. 03 442 4320, Thomas’s Hotel & BPs (VIP) 50 Beach St. 03 442 7180 YHA Queenstown Central 48A Shotover Street. 03 442 7400, YHA Queenstown Lakefront 88-90 Lake Esplanade. 03 442 8413,


There are hundreds of activities to Butterfli Lodge (BBH) 62 keep you occupied in Queenstown. Thompson St. 03 442 6367, Bungy, jetboating and rafting are all experiences not to be missed, and in winter, skiing the Remarkables is Cardrona Alpine Resort Between a must. To really appreciate the Queenstown and Wanaka. 03 beauty of the region, take a scenic 443 7341, flight, or even jump out the plane. Deco Backpackers (VIP, BBH) AJ Hackett Bungy Queenstown 52 Man St. 03 442 7384, Jump off one or all of New Zealand’s most well-known Flaming Kiwi Backpackers (BBH) sites. Nevis Highwire Bungy, the highest in New Zealand – 134m 39 Robins Rd. 03 442 5494, above the Nevis River. The Kawarau Bridge, the world’s first bungy – 43m above the Hippo Lodge (BBH) Kawarau River. The 47m Ledge, 4 Anderson Hts. 03 442 5785, 400m above the town which you can jump day or night. Access is by Skyline Gondola. Nomads Queenstown 0800 286 4958 5-11 Church St. 03 441 3922, Pinewood Lodge (VIP) Queenstown’s best value accommodation. We offer an excellent variety of accommodation, everything from deluxe en-suite rooms with private bathroom amenities, inexpensive double and twin rooms, dorm beds and selfcontained family cabins. 48 Hamilton Rd. 0800 746 396, 03 442 8273,

Awesome Foursome Bungy (Nevis – 134m), jetboat, helicopter, whitewater rafting, 03 442 7318 Dart River Safaris Jetboating wilderness tours, 0800 327 8538, Fat Tyre Adventure Mountain biking/heli biking, 0800 328 897,

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Fergburger Best burgers in NZ. Shotover St, 03 441 1232 Flight Park Tandem Paragliding Operates from Coronet Peak 0800 467 325, Haka Adventure Snow Tours 03 980 4250, Mad Dog River Boarding River sledging & other actionpacked water activities, 03 442 7797, Milford Sound Flightseeing Scenic flights to Milford Sound, 0800 65 65 01, Nevis Snowmobile Safaris Helicopter ride & snowmobile adventure, 03 442 4250, NZONE Skydive Skydive from 15,000ft. 35 Shotover St, 03 442 5867, NZ Info on Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Mt Hutt,

Queenstown Rafting Raft the Shotiver, Kawarau and Landsborough rivers. 35 Shotover St. 03 442 9792 Real Journeys Visitor Centre Doubtful Sound & Milford Sound daytime and overnight cruises. Te Anau glow-worm cave excursions. TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship cruises and Walter Peak High Country Farm. 0800 65 65 01, Shotover Canyon Swing Jump or be released 109m off the world’s highest cliff jump. 0800 279 464, Shotover Jet Jetboat ride. 0800 746 868 Sky Trek Hang Gliding 03 442 9551, Vertigo Mountain Biking Heli-bike and gondola downhill. 0800 837 8446,

GLENORCHY Just out of Queenstown is Glenorchy (or “Isengard”) which has some of the best walks in the area, including the Greenstone and Caples tracks.

Department of Conservation Beech St, 03 442 7933

Department of Conservation 03 249 8514

Glenorchy Backpackers Retreat (VIP) Cnr Mull and Argyle Streets, Glenorchy, Ph: (03) 442 9902

Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Kinloch Lodge (BBH) 862 Kinloch Rd, 03 442 4900,

ARROWTOWN Poplar Lodge (BBH) 4 Merioneth St, 03 442 1466, Riverdown Guesthouse (BBH) 7 Bedford St, 03 409 8499

TE ANAU Home to the second largest lake in NZ, Te Anau is a beautiful little town, a good jumping off point for the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. The park is the largest in New Zealand and offers some spectacular sightseeing. The Milford Track is one of the most famous in the world, but often booked out. The Routeburn, ReesDart and Kepler are ace alternatives. Fiordland I-site Visitor Centre Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, 03 249 8900

Grumpy’s Backpackers Te Anau-Milford Sound Highway, 03 249 8133, Rosies Backpacker Homestay (BBH) 23 Tom Plato Drive, 03 249 8431,

Air Fiordland Flights to Queenstown, Milford and Mt Cook, 03 249 7505

Steamers Beach Backpackers (BBH) 77 Manapouri Rd, 03 249 7457,

Real Journeys Coaches to Milford Sound, 0800 656 503

Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers (BBH) 48 Lakefront Dr, 03 249 7713,

Scenic Shuttle Daily between Te Anau and Invercargill in summer months, twice weekly in winter. Connects with the Catlins Coaster from Invercargill to Dunedin 0800 277 483

YHA Te Anau 29 Mokonui St, 03 249 7847,

TE ANAU DO Adventure Fiordland 72 Town Centre, 03 249 8500

Top Line Tours Coach to and from Te Anau and Queenstown, 03 249 8059

TE ANAU STAY Barnyard Backpackers (BBH) 80 Mt York Rd, Rainbow Downs, 03 249 8006, Bob & Maxines (BBH) 20 Paton Place, 03 931 3161,

Fiordland Ecology Holidays 3-10 day cruises, all Southern Fiords. Mammal watching permit, 0800 249 660, High Ride Adventures Quad riding and scenic horse trekking. 03 249 8591, Luxmore Jet Jetboating on the Waiau River, 0800 253 826,



SOUTHISLAND Real Journeys Doubtful Sound daytime wilderness, small boat and overnight cruises. Milford Sound daytime, overnight scenic, nature and small boat cruises. 0800 656 501, Milford Track Day Walk Lake cruise and guided walk, 0800 656 501 Rosco’s Milford Sound Sea Kayaks 0800 476 726, roscosmilfordkayaks Skydive Fiordland Dive 44 Caswell Rd, Te Anau, 0800 829254,

MILFORD SOUND Green, wet and breathtakingly beautiful, Milford Sound is one of the most picturesque sights in the world. Much of the action in the Milford Sound takes place on the water and the best way to appreciate the beauty on show is on a cruise or kayak. Bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins all hang out there. Milford Sound Lodge (BBH) 03 249 8071,


Tracknet 03 249 7737,

Real Journeys 0800 656 501,


Great Sights On and under the water, 03 442 9445

The distance between Te Anau and Milford Sound may be 119km but the breathtaking scenery along the way makes the journey extremely enjoyable. Along the road watch out for the Mirror Lakes and the disappearing mountain. Another highlight is the 1.2km rough-hewn Homer Tunnel. It’s pitch black, having no lighting plus it’s pretty darn steep – a thrilling experience for those afraid of the dark.

Kiwi Reel Rifle Guided fishing & hunting. Kayaking on Lakes Te Anau, Manapouri and Milford Sound. Rental kayaks and mountain bikes, 03 249 9071 Milford Sound Underwater Observatory Discover a coral reef beneath Milford Sound, 03 249 9442

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BOOK NOW! Milford Sound Cruise & Observatory Visit 0800 656 501

Adventure Charters and Hires 03 249 6626

Milford Wanderer Cruises Day and overnight options with kayaking, etc. Coach connections, 0800 656 501, Tawaki Dive See Fiordland’s unique marine life on a day-trip with two guided dives in Milford Sound. Rental gear available, max four divers. 0800 829254, TSS Earnslaw & Walter Peak Farm tours, barbecue lunches, horse treks and cycling. Wanaka Flightseeing Milford Sound flight and cruise, 0800 105 105,

MANAPOURI Manapouri is the proud owner of arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful stretch of water. This is where the boat trip on Doubtful Sound leaves from – most start the trip in Queenstown or Te Anau. From the boat you may see seals and possibly dolphins and penguins.

Real Journeys 0800 656 502

MANAPOURI STAY Freestone Backpackers (BBH) 270 Hillside Rd, 03 249 6893, Manapouri Lakeview Backpackers (VIP) 68 Cathedral Drive, 03 249 6652, Possum Lodge (BBH) 13 Murrel Ave, 03 249 6623.

DOUBTFUL SOUND If you’re not one for crowds, an alternative Fiordland option is Doubtful Sound – the deepest of the fiords, made up of 100km of waterways. Where Milford is all pointy peaks and endless cascading falls, Doubtful is rounded mountains – a serene sanctuary, inhabited by loads of interesting critters. Real Journeys Daytime wilderness, small boat and overnight cruises. 0800 656 502


Fiordland Navigator Pearl Harbour, Manapouri 03 249 6602, Deep Cove Hostel Doubtful Sound, 03 249 7713,

INVERCARGILL The southernmost city in New Zealand, Invercargill is a farmingorientated community with a pleasant collection of parks and museums to keep you busy. Invercargill I-site Visitors Centre 108 Gala St, 03 214 6243 Dept of Conservation Office Don St, 03 214 4589 Catlins Coaster Invercargill to Dunedin via the Catlins with many stops to the main natural attractions and wildlife encounters. Farmstay options are available, 0800 304333, Stewart Island Flights Flights to Stewart Island, 03 218 9129,


Daniëlla A-Tjak, The Netherlands HI DANI. WHAT’VE YOU ENJOYED MOST IN NZ? “I’ve got to say two things. First, the Tongariro Crossing. The walk is eight hours but so worth it! You feel like you are walking in The Lord of The Rings. Also, Franz Josef Glacier (pictured). It feels as if you’ve landed in another world, surrounded by ice.” GET A CULTURE FIX AT ALL? “We went to Maketu and had a Maori culture night that was really special. They all did a performance for us and taught the boys how to do the Haka while us girls learnt how to do the Poi.” WHERE’S BEST FOR NIGHTLIFE? “I went crazy in Queenstown, ending up dancing on the tables! Be careful, you’re gonna spend a lot of money there.”



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INVERCARG STAY Kackling Kea Backpackers (BBH) 225 Tweed St, 03 214 7950 Southern Comfort (BBH) 30 Thompson St, 03 218 3838 Tuatara Lodge (VIP) 30 Dee St, 03 214 0956,

SOUTHERN SCENIC The beautiful road west of Invercargill towards Fiordland is known as the Southern Scenic Route. The Dubliner (BBH) 105 Tiverton St, Palmerston, 03 465 1896, Dustez Bak Paka’s (BBH) 15 Colac Bay Rd, Riverton, 03 234-8399 The Globe Backpackers (VIP) 144 Palmerston St, Riverton, 03 234 8527, Harbison Backpackers (BBH) 5 Harbison St, Otautau, 03 225 8715, Shooters Backpackers 73 Main St, Tuatapere, 03 226 6250

GORE Gore spans the Mataura river and boasts some lovely scenery in the Hokonui Hills and the Country and Western festival each June. Old Fire Station Backpackers (BBH) 19 Hokonui Dr, 03 208 1925, Anglem House 20 Miro Crescent, 03 219 1552,

THE CATLINS The beautiful Catlins is a sprawling mass of bush, forest and rivers, stretching all the way from Waipapa Point in Southland to Nugget Point in Otago. The best bit about the Catlins is the abundance of wildlife. Catlins Community Info Centre 3 Main Rd, Owaka, South Otago, 03 415 8371, Elm Lodge Wildlife Tours Two-day camping trips, 0800 356 563,

CATLINS STAY Blowhole Backpackers (BBH) 24 Main Rd, Owaka, 03 415 5635,

Curio Bay Backpacker Accommodation (BBH) 501 Curio Bay Rd, 03 246 8797. The Falls Backpackers (BBH) Purakaunui Falls Rd, Owaka, 03 415 8724, Fernlea Backpackers (VIP) Moana St, Kaka Point, 03 412 8834 The Split Level (BBH) 9 Waikawa Rd, Owaka, 03 415 8304, Surat Bay Lodge (BBH) Surat Bay Rd, New Haven, 03 415 8099, Penguin Paradise Holiday Lodge (BBH) 612 Waikawa-Niagara Rd, Waikawa Village South Catlins, 03 2468 552, Thomas Catlins Lodge & Holiday Park, 03 415 8333, Wright’s Mill Lodge (BBH) 865 Tahakopa Valley Rd, 03 204 8424

DUNEDIN Dunedin is Celtic for “Edinburgh” and many Scottish principles endure here. One thing the locals do much better than their Scots ancestors is play rugby, so if there’s a game on at Carisbrook (the “House of Pain”) while you’re in town, beg, borrow or steal to get yourself there. Dunedin Visitor Centre 48 The Octagon, 03 474 3300 Dept of Conservation Office 77 Stuart St, 03 477 0677 Penguin Patch 9 the Octagon, 03 471 8571, Email:

DUNEDIN STAY The Asylum Lodge (BBH) 36 Russell Rd, Seacliff, 03 465 8123 Bus Stop backpackers (BBH) 252 Harrington Point Rd, Portobello, 03 478 0330, Chalet Backpackers (BBH) 296 High St, 03 479 2075 Dunedin Central Backpackers (BBH) 243 Moray Pl, 03 477 9985, The Jolly Poacher (BBH) 74 Elm Row, 03 477 3384 Hogwartz (BBH) 277 Rattray St, 03 474 1487,

The Jolly Poacher (BBH) 54 Arthur St, 03 477 3384, Kiwis Nest (BBH)597 George St, 03 471 9540. Leviathan Heritage Hotel 27 Queens Gardens, 0800 773 773, Manor House (BBH) 28 Manor Place, 03 477 0484, On Top Backpackers (BBH) 12 Filleul St, cnr Moray Pl, 03 477 6121. Pennys Backpackers (BBH) 6 Stafford St, 03 477 6027, Queens Garden Backpackers (VIP) 42 Queens Garden, 03 479 2175, Ramsay Lodge (BBH) 60 Stafford St, 03 477 6313, YHA Dunedin, Stafford Gables 71 Stafford St, 03 474 1919,

DUNEDIN DO Baldwin Street In the Guinness Book of Records as the steepest street in the world. Cadbury World 280 Cumberland St, 0800 223 2879, Cosmic Corner Funk Store Check out the legal highs and chat to the staff about where to go for parties, events and the beautiful parts of New Zealand. 355 George St, 03 479 2949 Dunedin Public Art Gallery 30 The Octagon, 03 474 3240, Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony View blue penguins just metres away every evening at dusk. Waterfront Rd, 1-1/2 hrs north of Dunedin, 03 433 1195, Parachute Experience Skydiving from a great height 03 489 4113,

OTAGO PENINSULA The Otago Peninsula is a beautiful stretch of rugged coast, home to a fascinating collection of rare and native birds such as the albatross and yellow-eyed penguin.

Chillawhile Backpackers (BBH) & Art Gallery 1 Frome St, Roberts Park, 03 437 0168,

Billy Browns (BBH) 423 Aramoana Rd, Port Chalmers, 03 472 8323,

Coastal Backpackers (BBH) The Hall, Waianakarua Rd, All Day Bay, 03 439 5411,

McFarmers Backpackers (BBH) 774 Portobello Rd, Portobello, 02 5206 0640, mcfarmersbackpackers

Buscot Station (BBH) 732 Omarama, 03 438 9646,


Empire Hotel (BBH) 13 Thames St, 03 434 3446,

Historic Fort Taiaroa An underground complex built in the 1880s, this fortified stronghold has been inhabited since earliest Maori settlement of the area. Tours available at the Visitor Centre. Fletcher House, Broad Bay, 03 478 0180

Old Bones Backpackers (BBH) Rapid Number 468 Beach Rd, Kakanui, 03 434 8115,

Larnach Castle Australasia’s only castle. The architecture is amazing and the intricate details (including a foyer ceiling that took nearly seven years to build) are breathtaking.

YHA Oamaru, Red Kettle Seasonal (open September/ October to May/June only). Corner of Reed and Cross Sts, 03 434 5008,

NZ Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium Run by the University of Otago, the Portobello Aquarium and Marine Biology Centre (near Quarantine Point) is a refuge for a diverse collection of fish and reptile life. 03 479 5826 Elm Wildlife Tours 0800 356 563,


Alexandra and Roxburgh are the two main towns for fruit-picking work in the Central Otago region. Two Bob Flashpackers (BBH) Marshalll Rd, 03 449 3188,

Sinclair Wetlands and Educational Centre Freedom or conducted walks over 5km of walkways. Backpacker and camping facilities. Rapid no 854 Clarendon/Berwick Rd (signposted on SH1 30km south of Dunedin), 03 486 2654

Villa Rose Backpackers (BBH) 79 Scotland St, 03 446 8761,

Speights Brewery Heritage Tours 03 477 7697,

A charming little place noted for both its interesting collection of white granular limestone buildings and its large penguin population.

Royal Albatross Centre 03 478 0499,

Visitor Information Centre Thames St, 03 434 1656



Swaggers Backpackers (BBH) 25 Wansbeck St, 03 434 9999,

MOERAKI Just 30km south of Oamaru lies a remarkable collection of eerie giant boulders. Olive Grove Lodge (BBH) 2328 SH1, Waianakarua, 03 439 5830,

Taiaroa Head is the place to see the albatross colony, the only mainland colony in the world inside the bounds of a city.


Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony View blue penguins at dusk. Waterfront Rd, 03 433 1195,

The Dubliner 105 Tiverton St, Palmerston, 03 465 8123

KUROW Glenmac Farm Hostel (BBH) Gards Rd, 03 436 0200,

STEWART ISLAND The third major island of New Zealand, Stewart is home to wide array of wildlife and some good tramping. Much of Stewart Island is uninhabitable, not surprising given that the island contains 1,680km2 of thick, unrelenting bush. DOC Stewart Island Visitor Centre Main Rd, Half Moon Bay, 03 219 0002 Real Journeys Stewart Island Ferry Services, Paterson Inlet cruises (including Ulva Island), village and bays tours, guided walks and rental services (motor scooters, mountain bikes and cars),



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White Sandy Beach Dive Resort +679 666 4066

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MAMANUCA ISL Beachcomber Island Resort +679 666 1500,

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BOOK NOW! Bounty Island Resort +679 666 6999, Rau Kini’s Hostel +679 672 1959, The Funky Fish Beach Resort +679 628 2333, The Resort Walu Beach +679 665 1777,

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Fiji is thought to be amongst the best destinations in the world for diving. With over 400 species of corals, as well as plenty of sea walls, drops and caves, there’s something for the advanced diver, as well as perfect conditions for the beginner. There’s an abundance of tropical fish, as well as reef sharks, dolphins, manta rays and turtles while visibility is excellent too, often stretching to 50 metres. Plus, to top it off, sea temperatures average about 26°C all year around. Head to Beqa Lagoon for the legendary shark dives, where it’s not unknown for a tiger shark to turn up. Nothing’s gone wrong, to date...



Photo: Thinkstock


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SYDNEY STAY Base Sydney 477 Kent St. CBD. 02 9267 7718,


Bounce Budget Hotel 28 Chalmers St. CBD. 02 9281 2222,

Westend Backpackers 412 Pitt St. CBD. 1800 013 186 Boomerang Backpackers 141 William Street, Kings Cross. 02 8354 0488, Dlux Hostel 30 Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross. 1800 236 213 Kangaroo Bak Pak 665 South Dowling St. Surry Hills. 02 9261 1111 Avalon Beach Hostel 59 Avalon Pde, Avalon Beach. 02 9918 9709, Bondi YHA 63 Fletcher Street. Tamarama. 02 9365 2088,

Sydney Opera House. Fri, May 25 – Sun, Jun 3. From free. Only in its fourth year, this 10-day event has already become a Sydney institution, from the lit up Opera House to acts like Karen O and Florence. Circular Quay, Sydney Manly Backpackers 24-28 Raglan St. Manly. 02 9977 3411 Cammeray Gardens 66 Palmer St, North Sydney. 02 9954 9371

BRISBANE STAY Aussie Way Backpackers 34 Cricket St. 07 3369 0711, Banana Bender Backpackers 118 Petrie Terrace. 07 3367 1157, Base Brisbane Embassy 214 Elizabeth St. 07 3166 8000, Base Brisbane Central 308 Edward St. 07 3211 2433, Brisbane Backpackers Resort 110 Vulture St, West End. 1800 626 452,

Lochner’s Guesthouse 8 Gowrae Ave. Bondi. 02 9387 2162,

Brisbane City Apartments 1800 110 443,

Aegean Coogee Lodge 40 Coogee Bay Rd. Coogee. 04 0817 6634,

Brisbane City Backpackers 380 Upper Roma St 1800 062 572,

Surfside Backpackers 186 Arden Street. Coogee. 02 9315 7888, Glebe Point YHA 262-264 Glebe Point Road. Glebe. 02 9692 8418, Boardrider Backpacker Rear 63, The Corso, Manly. 02 9977 3411 The Bunkhouse 35 Pine St, Manly. 1800 657 122,

Frogshollow Backpackers 27 Lindsay St. 1800 068 686,

Brisbane City YHA 392 Upper Roma St 07 3236 1947, Chill Backpackers 328 Upper Roma St. 1800 851 875, Bunk Backpackers Cnr Ann & Gipps Sts, Fortitude Valley. 1800 682 865, The Deck Budget Accommodation 117 Harcourt Street, New Farm. 04 3377 7061 Tinbilly Travellers Cnr George and Herschel Sts. 1800 446 646,

Gecko Lodge 146 Mitchell St. 1800 811 250,

Home at the Mansion 66 Victoria Parade. 03 9663 4212,


Lamrock Lodge 19 Lamrock Ave. Bondi. 02 9130 5063,

Coogee Beachside 178 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee. 02 9315 8511,

Elkes Backpackers 112 Mitchell St. 1800 808 365,

Habitat HQ 333 St Kilda Road, St Kilda. 1800 202 500,

City Resort Hostel 103-105 Palmer St. Woolloomooloo 02 9357 3333,

Sydney Harbour YHA 110 Cumberland Street. The Rocks. 02 9261 1111,

Darwin YHA 97 Mitchell St. 08 8981 5385,

The Greenhouse Backpacker Level 6, 228 Flinders Lane. 1800 249 207,

Easy Go Backpackers 752 George St. CBD. 02 9211 0505,

Sydney Central YHA 11 Rawson Place. CBD. 02 9218 9000

Banyan View Lodge Darwin 119 Mitchell St. 08 8981 8644,

Flinders Station Hotel 35 Elizabeth St. 03 9620 5100,

Big Hostel 212 Elizabeth St. CBD. 02 9267 7718,

The Furnished Property Group 02 8669 3678,


Exford Hotel 199 Russell St. 03 9663 2697,

CAIRNS STAY Bohemia Central Cairns 100 Sheridan St. 1800 558 589, Bohemia Resort Cairns 231 McLeod St. 1800 155 353, Calypso Backpackers 5 Digger St. 1800 815 628, Dreamtime Travellers Rest 189 Bunda St. 1800 058 440, Gilligans Backpackers and Hotel Resort 57-89 Grafton St. 1800 556 995,

Melaleuca on Mitchell 52 Mitchell St. 1300 723 437,

Home Travellers Motel 32 Carlisle St, St Kilda. 1800 008 718,

Youth Shack 69 Mitchell St. 1300 793 302,

Hotel Bakpak Melbourne 167 Franklin St. 1800 645 200,


Melbourne Central YHA 562 Flinders St. 03 9621 2523,

Central City Backpackers 138 Collins St. 1800 811 507,

Nomads Melbourne 198 A’beckett St. 1800 447 762,

Hobart Hostel 41 Barrack St. 1300 252 192,

Space Hotel 380 Russell St. 1800 670 611,

Montgomery’s YHA 9 Argyle St. 03 6231 2660,

The Spencer 475 Spencer St. 1800 638 108,

Narrara Backpackers 88 Goulburn St. 03 6234 8801,

Urban Central 334 City Rd, Southbank. 1800 631 288,

Pickled Frog 281 Liverpool St. 03 6234 7977, Transit Backpackers 251 Liverpool St. 03 6231 2400,


JJ’s Backpackers Hostel 11 Charles St. 07 4051 7642,

Billabong Backpackers Resort 381 Beaufort St. 08 9328 7720,

NJOY Travellers Resort 141 Sheridan St. 1800 807 055,

Britannia on William 253 William St, Northbridge. 08 9227 6000,

Nomads Beach House 2 39 Sheridan St. 1800 229 228,

Emperor’s Crown 85 Stirling St, Northbridge. 1800 991 553,

Nomads Cairns 341 Lake St. 1800 737 736,

Globe Backpackers & City Oasis Resort 561 Wellington St. 08 9321 4080,

Nomads Esplanade 93 The Esplanade. 1800 175 716, Northern Greenhouse 117 Grafton St. 1800 000 541,

MELBOURNE STAY All Nations Backpackers Hotel & Bar 2 Spencer St. 1800 222 238, Base Melbourne 17 Carlisle St, St. Kilda. 1800 242 273, Central Melbourne Accommodation 21 Bromham Place, Richmond. 03 9427 9826,


Adelaide Central YHA 135 Waymouth St. 08 8414 3010, Adelaide Travellers Inn 220 Hutt St. 08 8224 0753,

Ocean Beach Backpackers 1 Eric St, Cottlesloe. 08 9384 5111, One World Backpackers 162 Aberdeen St, Northbridge. 1800 188 100,

The Old Swan Barracks 6 Francis St. 08 9428 0000,

The Witch’s Hat 148 Palmerston St. 08 9228 4228,

Annie’s Place 239 Franklin St. 1800 818 011, Backpack Oz 144 Wakefield St. 1800 633 307, Blue Galah Backpackers Lvl 1, 52-62, King William St. 08) 8231 9295,

Perth City YHA 300 Wellington St. 08 9287 3333,

Underground Backpackers 268 Newcastle St, Northbridge. 08 9228 3755,

Adelaide Oval Home to the Adelaide Backpackers Inn 112 Carrington St. 1800 24 77 25,

Glenelg Beach Hostel 5-7 Moseley St. Glenelg. 1800 359 181, Hostel 109 109 Carrington St. 1800 099 318, My Place 257 Waymouth St. 1800 221 529, Shakespeare Hostel 123 Waymouth St. 1800 556 889,




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CHILLS AND THRILLS If the air is cold and dry, what Q 1.type of snow is made?

What is it called when a Q 6.snowboarder changes stance?

b) Icy d) Blue

Which NZ place is by Coronet Peak? Q 2.a) Auckland b) Christchurch

is the Norse God of winter? Q 7.a)Who Ullr b) Thor

d) Wellington

On a ski field, which colour slope Q usually the easiest? a) Blue c) Black

c) Loki

a) Toronto b) Oslo c) Sochi d) Skidi

Q 4. Who invented the modern form of snowboarding? a) Jake Burton Carpenter b) Andrew Billabong c) John Jones d) Sir Edmund Hillary

Q 9. When a skier loses their skis during

Q 5. The first snowboard was called a... b) Spank d) Snurfer











3 9 2


7 2 66


6 3





1 6


a fall, what term is used? a) Yard sale b) Splat attack c) Fall fool d) Ski stack





d) Skidi

Where will the next (2014) Q 8.Winter Olympics be held?

b) Green d) Red

a) Snob c) Sneat

a) Reverse b) Switch c) Change-up d) Shimmy

Where is Russell Crowe from? Since Aussies will claim any New Zealand icon they can: pavlova, race hourses and rugby league players, it’s no surprise that they try and pass Russell Crowe off as an Aussie actor. But the South Sydney Football club owner was actually born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1964. He moved to Australia when he was four years old so his parents, both film-set makers, could pursue their careers. However, he went back to New Zealand to finish schooling at the age of 14. Rusty started out as a musician and had the cringe-worthy stage name Russ Le Roq. His musical career, just like his heritage, is turned a blind eye to by Aussies.


These come in all shapes and sizes and women generally wear them better than men. But if you’re not wearing them on a beach, you could be in trouble. “Togs” is the Kiwi slang for your bathing suit.

THIS TIME IT’S... FIJIAN ACTIVITIES 1. HALO BRAIN TOOL 2. WRATH KISS WHIMS 3. LEGGY BUREAU 4. JEST KI ANSWERS: 1. Hot air balloon 2. Swimming with sharks 3. Rugby league 4. Jet ski

c) Queenstown


ANSWERS: 1. a 2. c 3. b 4. a 5. d 6. b 7. a 8. c 9. a

a) Powdery c) Wet


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