Monday, February 11


Plans are afoot to visit New Zealand this year and I was wondering if you could recommend things I should not miss seeing or doing.
We intend to drive as we've been told it's the best way to see the country and along the way I'd like to visit museums, shows or maybe even participate in a workshop if possible. My interest lies in fiber art, embroidery and textiles but I'm open to view and be exposed to anything of beauty and creativity.
Should I avoid something? that would be useful information too.
Thanks in advance for any tips and suggestions you may have.
I hope you have a good week.     


Rachel said...

I preferred the south island a lot more native vegetation and untouched. Queensland, Wellington and Lake Tekapo were some highlights.

KnitCave said...

I'd recommend WOW (World of Wearable Art) in Nelson, South Island. It has been a long time since I've been but it was fantastic.

Touch Yarns were responsible for my textile journey, they are in Otago I I remember correctly but yarn can be found around the island. Here and there you will come across wonderful shops. I think there is a great one in Greymouth.

Things I'd recommend? Kaikora - go whale watching, swim with Hector Dolphins, it has changed since the earthquakes but there is still a seal colony. Oh, and sea kayaking.

Christchurch - a beautiful city. You can then catch the Transalpine express over to Greymouth and the west coast. See pancake rocks and go to the home of jade - Hokitika. The gorge nearby is stunning and a lovely walk.

Visit the glaciers (Foxx and Franz Joesph). You can fly over them or take a heicopter to the snow fields. You can hike to the face or walk the glacier.

Queenstown is beautiful and the home of adventure sports. It has the feel of a large ski resort (to me) and is certainly full of young sporty types.

There is so much more such as Haast Pass, Cromwell, Fjordland.

Drink wine and eat fish you are in for a wonderful holiday.

Charlton Stitcher said...

I really envy you this trip, Maya. We had a wonderful visit to New Zealand four years ago. It was part of a much longer trip which included eastern Australia and Singapore and was one of the best holidays we've ever had, and certainly the best since we retired (and that's saying something!). We shared the New Zealand part of the trip with very good friends, each couple hiring a small car. This proved to be a great idea as it meant we didn't live in one another's pockets but we had company as we travelled. We've now repeated the formula on several subsequent holidays.

You should certainly aim to hire a car and drive yourself around. The roads we encountered were the safest and quietest we'd come across anywhere in the world and driving yourself allows complete flexibility.

We flew in to Christchurch and then did a circuit down the east side of the island as far as Kaka Point which is one of several points east of Bluff from where you can stand on the cliff top and survey the enormity of the Southern Ocean to the south and the Pacific to the west. I describe this in detail because visiting South Island New Zealand is all about marvelling at the stunning scenery and the peace and the lack of people around. New Zealand doesn't have a long history of human occupation, being the last country in the world to be colonised - in about 1300 - so don't expect to see old buildings or much evidence of past human history. There are museums to visit but they are mostly quite small and local. Expect to see empty roads, scenic beauty and LOTS of trees!

We then went north to Queenstown, Te Anau and then across to the west coast, taking a day cruise down the wonderful Milford Sound. Don't expect to see this in dry weather as this coast has amazing quantities of rain but it's worth seeing whatever the weather. From there, we went north up the coast to see Mount Cook and the Fox Glacier and then to Hokitika and Greymouth before heading back to Christchurch at the end of our trip. In all this took us 11 days mostly with 2 nights at each stopover (our preference).

We planned our trip ourselves and booked all accommodation online before we left for the trip with no problems at all. There is a great deal of planning material online and the Lonely Planet or Rough Guides are most useful for giving details of museums and other attractions. Everywhere we went, people were welcoming and helpful and we have lovely memories of everthing.

Obviously, my comments above relate only to South Island as we felt we had no time to do justice to both islands. I think from speaking to friends who have visited that North Island is busier and has more towns with things to do. However, I think my overall positive feelings would be as true for North Island - and we plan to include it in a return visit some day.

I hope this has been helpful and that you manage to visit this lovely country. Bon Voyage!

Maya Sara Matthew said...

Rachel, the obsessive knitter and Margaret,
Thank you for your comments.
Yes we will be driving and like you all and others have advised - it's the best way to appreciate the natural beauty of New Zealand.
I'm looking forward to this holiday.
We want to do both North and South Island covering the coast, and mountains and sounds. With plenty of wine and local food. Must look at our plans again because I have a feeling they are a bit ambitious.
We'll probably have to plan another trip like you Margaret.
Thank you for sharing all your observations and memories.
I hope to do the same here on the blog when I get back
Thank you once more.

Maggie said...

As a New Zealander, in the far south, welcome! I hope you have a wonderful trip. Driving can be slow, so don't plan to go to far in a day, for safety's sake. We habe just been to Martinborough, north east of Wellington - one of my favourite small towns. Hire a bike (or tandem -so many to choose from) and cycle from one small vineyard to another. Houses to hire from bookabach etc.
Do visit the WOW museum in Nelson..and I am not a car enthusiast, but the car museum attached is splendid. (To my surprise). The Enchanted Garden in Christchurch Botanical Gardens showcases jenny Gillies's flower-inspired costumes..don't miss it.You should be able to see examples of her work on the net. There are several Embroiderers' Guilds in New Zealand, and I am sure they would welcome you to visit.

Didi-beadwork said...

This covers all bases. My brother and wife were in upper South Island and had a great time especially sea kayaking. Bay of islands way up north is magical.