New Zealand Dec 08 - Jan 09

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This set of webpages is dedicated to my trip to New Zealand.  I was there from Dec 23rd 2008 – January 13th 2009.  I’ll put a little background here and the travel logs and albums are linked below. 


Background on the trip

The thing that convinced me to go to New Zealand was an episode of Globe Trekker in 2006.  I don’t remember where I saw the show, PBS I think, but Trekker Zay Harding was walking the Milford Track and I sat there in awe for the full episode.  The place really hit me and that is when I started the trip planning. 


Thanks to Mario for sending me a box of materials from his trip to NZ in 2007.  That helped a lot!  Also, thanks to my mom for watching Fozzy while I was gone. 

Flights and Van rentals

There are several options to get to NZ and I went with the cheapest, Air Pacific.  They are based out of Fiji and they have daily flights from LAX to Nadi, Fiji and on to NZ.  Their service was excellent and the drinks were free, so no complaints there.  The 747s are a little dated, but they are doing full retrofits in 08 and 09 of their 747 fleet.  I bought my tickets cheap through a broker in Los Angeles called the Welch Travel Service 650-876-1945. If you have the money to blow, I’d recommend flying Air New Zealand though.   They have direct routes and a newer fleet. 

The standard way to travel in NZ is by van or RV.  You can search all day every day and still never really research all the van companies well enough.  At some point you just have to pick one and hope it works out.  My plan was to do this whole trip in under 5k, so I went with one of the cheaper options for vans.  The van rental was also my biggest expense on the trip, more than my flights, but it would be my home away from home for 3+ weeks.  My small van company was fine, and I would recommend them, but be warned that all the small van companies use older minivans.  I almost rented a sweet LandCruiser with a roof-top tent from Britz, but the price was outlandish and with the amount of rain in NZ, I think a RTT would be a real pain in the ass.  

In case you’re wondering, I did pull off this whole trip, flights, van rentals, food, adventures, liquor and more liquor, totaling less than 5k and much of that I paid for over time throughout the year before I left.  So it was not that painful of a trip cost wise. 



Google Earth file (.kmz) that opens in GE and shows all my camp locations and other waypoints --Link--

General Map of my trip --Link--

Bird List for the trip --Link--


On to the reports...


(Details on my rentals van; Gallery of cool vehicles seen in NZ)

Part 1 – December 23rd – 31st 2008

(Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Ferry, Fox Glacier, Gillespie Beach, Queenstown, New Year’s Eve)

  • Part 1 Narrative with a few photos sprinkled in --Link--
  • Part 1 Full Image Album --Link--

Part 2 – January 1st – 6th 2009

(LOTR Tours, Dunedin, Otago, Invercargill, Stewart Island, Te Anau)

  • Part 2 Narrative with a few photos sprinkled in --Link--
  • Part 2 Full Image Album --Link--

Part 3 – January 7th – 14th 2009

(Milford Track, Long drive north, Moreki Boulders, Hamner Springs, Tongariro National Park, Fiji)

  • Part 3 Narrative with a few photos sprinkled in --Link--
  • Part 3 Full Image Album --Link--









© 2007