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Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018
  
 
nampramos
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Hi guys,

Looking for advice regarding NZ. I'll be spending 9 nights on the South Island, traveling by myself. Never been to NZ but it has been a dream for many many years!

The main objective of this trip is landscape photography (my favourite).

I'd love to ride a bike there but the rental prices I've seen make it a big no-no! I'll have to contend with a cheap rental car. Suggestions for rental companies are welcome as well.

The best would be to rent an estate, fold down the back seats and sleep in there. This would give me mobility and I would not have to plan my itinerary too much ahead.

I have the feeling an estate rental won't be that cheap though. Is there something like "rent a wreck" in NZ? Second hand cars for rent or even private people renting out their cars?

If I end up just getting a tiny cheap rental car, then I'll be using Airbnb for renting a room. I had a quick look and seems to be very cheap, at $20-30 a night. The problem here is the need to book ahead and then be limited to a pre-arranged itinerary, which for landscape photography isn't the best, unless you really want to spend a lot of time at one specific place.

Finally, and most importantly, for those that have been in such a trip, what are the must visit places, those that are off the beaten path, and those that I can just skip?

Btw, If another photographer(s) wants to join, I'd be fine with that!

Thanks!



Dec 07, 2017 at 12:03 AM
PhilPDX
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


The Arthur's Pass area, Fjordland National Park and the west coast of the South Island in general are all well worth exploring. Just be very careful on the roads when you are driving (lots of P addicts around) and absolutely NO wild camping.

-Phil



Dec 07, 2017 at 04:20 PM
MalbikEndar
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


I was just there. I would add the walk from the Divide to Key Summit to your list.

A few thoughts. Lodging of conventional sorts tends to book up very early in NZ, don't know about Airbnb. Many rooms have microwave and refrigerator allowing you to make meals in the room. This can save a bunch in NZ. Roads are narrow, circuitous, two lanes at best, and locals drive faster than you may be comfortable with. Jucy rents cars, campers, and seems to also have a hostel operation. However in my experience their cars can be in very rough shape.



Dec 07, 2017 at 06:22 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


When I was there I did a loop from starting and ending in Christchurch. From Christchurch south to lake Tekapo, Moeraki boulders, Mt. Cook/Hooker trail, Lindi (sp?) pass, Glenorchi, Milford Sound, Sunrise (?) summit, then i the West Coast, Lake Mathesson, Fox Glacier, Arthur's Pass. Somewhere along the way I went to the Wanaka tree. Everything was scenic but not awe-inspiring, like Patagonia used to be before it became infested.


Dec 08, 2017 at 07:30 AM
PatrickSweeney
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


The wife and I did that a few years ago.

OK, motel rentals are not expensive, and you really should consider them. Even if you want to rough it, a stop every few days at a motel, for a real shower, a kitchenette, and laundry, is worth it.

Cars may seem expensive, but gas really is, at roughly $6 per gallon. So, consider fuel economy in your budget.

The South Island is great, but driving? Get your mind into "left is correct" mode, and "the road is even narrower than it seems" stance. that, and the locals drive fine for them, but a bit wild by our standards.



Dec 08, 2017 at 07:47 PM
nampramos
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Thank you for all the replies everyone, appreciate it!

What are "P addicts"?
Why no wild camping?

I've booked a small rental car since prices were starting to go up. I have 48h cancelation on it though, in case some last minute deal on a van comes up. The prices I've seen so far are very expensive for a solo traveler.

I definitely need to get my itinerary sorted so I can book accommodation. Trying to decide if I'm going to do the entire loop or just stick to a particular area where I can spend the days hiking around and looking for photo opportunities.

I'd definitely wan't to avoid any crowds! That's not what I am going to NZ for. I rather skip the more "famous" place and be more or less by myself. Waking up super early is fine with me.

Regarding the driving on the wrong side of the road, well, I am currently in Australia so kind of got used to that already. Tiny narrow roads? I can't have enough of them

More tips are welcome. Photos too!

Thanks!



Dec 10, 2017 at 05:32 AM
PhilPDX
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


"P" is another word for meth. No wild camping because car break-ins and robberies of tourists are happening on a regular basis in NZ. Not exaggerating!

-Phil



Dec 10, 2017 at 09:37 PM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


If you get to Wanaka you must climb Roys Peak

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbljOwAlB4k/?taken-by=rachstewartnz



Dec 11, 2017 at 01:15 AM
nampramos
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


PhilPDX wrote:
"P" is another word for meth. No wild camping because car break-ins and robberies of tourists are happening on a regular basis in NZ. Not exaggerating!

-Phil


Seriously? In New Zealand?! Break-ins with people actually sleeping in the car or next to it?

---------------------------------------------

Nick_Brisbane wrote:
If you get to Wanaka you must climb Roys Peak

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbljOwAlB4k/?taken-by=rachstewartnz


Yes! Absolutely! Every time I see photos of that place I just want to go there straight away. What a fantastic place it must be!




Dec 11, 2017 at 05:58 AM
 

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PhilPDX
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


nampramos wrote:
Seriously? In New Zealand?! Break-ins with people actually sleeping in the car or next to it?


NZ isn't the 100% pure paradise that the marketing guys want you to believe in. They have major problems with drug and alcohol abuse, and the related negative impact on their society. Very high child poverty and abuse, a big gang problem (mostly on the North Island), and lots of property crime. You can leave your car in a remote place or on the parking lot of one of the main tourist attractions like Milford Sound - there's always a chance that they'll smash your windows. Although, I'd guess that's a problem in almost all countries nowadays. In the past there were regular reports on tourists being robbed at gun point in their campervans at night.

If you want to read up a little, here's a web site (defunct, but still online) that reports on these things and then some. It comes across as biased, but I can assure you they are not exaggerating.

https://e2nz.org/new-zealand-warnings-and-dangers/
https://e2nz.org/migrant-stories/

https://www.unicef.org.nz/in-new-zealand/child-poverty


-Phil



Dec 11, 2017 at 04:14 PM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


We traveled around NZ in early 2015 for three months, 6 weeks in the south and six in the north in a hired car. We mostly stayed in camp site cabins, occasionally used Airbnb and two did two house sits and we did not encounter any of the gloom and doom scenarios described above.

Although we never came across this, we were told to watch out for tourists from 'right side driving countries' driving on the wrong side of the road in their large camper vans.



Dec 11, 2017 at 09:24 PM
PhilPDX
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Nick_Brisbane wrote:
we did not encounter any of the gloom and doom scenarios described above.


The crooks aren't lurking behind every bush with a club in their hands, of course, but that doesn't mean they are not there. :-)

Check out the travel advisory for NZ from the US Department of State for example.

"The crime rate in New Zealand is relatively low, but theft from cars, recreational vehicles, and hostels is common, especially in areas frequented by tourists."
"Violent crime against tourists is rare; however, if you are traveling alone, you should be especially vigilant and avoid isolated areas."


Or this older article from the NZ Herald:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10553238

I used to live on the South Island, by the way.

-Phil



Dec 11, 2017 at 11:47 PM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Fair enough (by the way the link is invalid) that traveller's should be vigilant but it would be a pity if he gets scared off as South Island, Jasper Banff NP and Namibia are my favourite photo spots.

The gloom and doom scenarios about Spain and Portugal in this forum were similar. We drove around each for a month in late 2015 staying mainly in Airbnb's and were vigilant particularly in urban railways and streets but never encountered a problem.



Dec 12, 2017 at 12:12 AM
PhilPDX
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


I just checked; the link is okay. You'll have to copy the address and open the page in a separate tab. Fredmiranda blocks it, it seems. Sorry by the way if my post came across as scaremongering. That wasn't my intention.

South Island is really beautiful, I agree, but it depends on what you are after. Scenery is breathtaking (I love the mirror lakes and the tree ferns on the West Coast for example), but wildlife is pretty much 'meh' as soon as you go inland. Unless you love sheep, of course...


Nick_Brisbane wrote:
...but never encountered a problem.


Oh, you could probably walk around East Oakland or South Central, too, in broad daylight. Not so much after dark, though.


Nick_Brisbane wrote:
... Namibia are my favourite photo spots.


Never made it that far, but I heard a lot of good things about Namibia. My favorite photo spot was in your neck of the woods: Carnarvon Gorge. Ever been there?


-Phil




Dec 12, 2017 at 12:55 AM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


I agree there is no wildlife in NZ, we decided early on to give up looking. Didn't even see the dreaded kea.

I went to Carnarvon Gorge a long time ago -but don't remember much - we have moved to NSW where there are some good places to shoot.

If you want to look at what Namibia looks like via my camera (We camped around some of the country) I am slowly completing a photo blog of our trip - these are the four Namibian posts (I guess you will have to copy the links to new page)

1. http://nickbrisbane.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/namibia---the-start

2. http://nickbrisbane.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/namibia---the-fish-river-to-klein-aus-vista-via-a-ghost-town

3. http://nickbrisbane.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/klein-aus-vista-back-to-swakopmund-via-sossusvlei

4. http://nickbrisbane.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/swakopmund-etosha-the-kavango-river-and-on-to-windhoek


Nick



Dec 12, 2017 at 01:23 AM
nampramos
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Thank you both for your comments/opinions.

I guess there's idiots in every country. I'll keep my eyes open and will most likely be spending every night on an Airbnb, unless I can find a cheap last minute deal on a camper.

Now I have one problem: itinerary Decisions, decisions, decisions!



Dec 12, 2017 at 11:56 AM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


Also keep in in mind the cabins in the camping sites - if you sign up (couple of bucks) with the Top 4 group (they are in most tourist areas) you get 10-15% off. From memory we ended up paying around 85 bucks a night.

I would try and see Mt Cook, Queenstown and Glenorchy, Wanaka, The Glaciers and Lake Matheson, Golden Bay and Abel Tasman NP, and Marlborough Sound. The trip from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass was a highlight (Some of Lord of the Rings filmed here).



Dec 12, 2017 at 08:23 PM
PhilPDX
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Help: NZ South Island Feb 2018


@Nick_Brisbane
Beauty! Hope one day I'll make it to Namibia. I just wish it wouldn't be so far from here.

@nampramos
If I had the choice, I would go from Christchurch to the tiny town of Arthur's Pass, leave my car there for a few days and do some hiking. There's a ton of beautiful and challenging trails up there. Down at the coast, Fox Glacier, (collecting greenstone in) Greymouth, and Punakaiki Pancakes Rocks further up north are all well worth a visit. Milford Sound and the famous Routeburn Track are overcrowded in NZ's summer. Bring insect repellent - loads of sandflies everywhere.

Enjoy your trip!

-Phil



Dec 13, 2017 at 12:30 AM







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