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FROM NEW ZEALAND - Originator of the 'Birthday Season'

Currently in Auckland: NZST

Saturday, 13th of July 2024


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Travel New Zealand


Here you will find information on traveling to and within New Zealand. We will provide links to transport and lodging web sites and try to provide some handy hints and anecdotes along the way.

Things to see on your South Island road-trip - Sponsored Link

New Zealand according to wikitravel

New Zealand National Anthem - Link

Link to Vayama - Etiquette for the World Traveller - Slovenia - They have put together a set of tips to both help you avoid embarrassment as well as to help you fully experience the culture of your destination.

December Trip - One of the nicest days of the Spring ... as a matter of fact, the first really nice day, along with a couple of friends we drove over to Crystal Mountain in Swanson, Waitakere. This Gallery, Crystal Mine Museum, cafe , and theme park is located only 20 kilometres from Auckland.

The first order of the day was a cup of coffee and a bite of brunch at the cafe. After that we browsed through the Gallery and marvelled at the selection of gifts and souvenirs made from semi-precious stones, crystals and other minerals.

Crystal Mountain also offers a Crystal Mine Museum, function centre, animal park and a children's play park. It is a surprising little gem located not far from Auckland.

On the way home we made the 'required' stop at Matua Valley Wines located on the Waikoukou Valley Road near Waimauku. There we tasted a couple of their new whites and settled on a fruity sauvignon blanc to enjoy at a table in the garden area.

What a great day we enjoyed and all of this just short drive from home.

Sheep Run Amok!

New Zealand's answer to Spain's "Running of the Bulls" - the "Running of the Sheep" - turned to chaos after hundreds of the animals ran amok through the streets of Te Kuiti injuring one whole spectator on Saturday.

They leapt over barriers designed to keep them on the main street and protect 7000 spectators who turned up to watch the annual event.

All semblance of order completely broke down, the sheep crossing the main road and the rail track before heading into the hills. It was a stampede of cotton balls!!

One woman was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious when she was bowled over by the frightened sheep. (I'm not kidding!)

Only 400 of the nearly 1500 sheep let loose kept to the planned route and crossed a finish line 'helped' by Prime Minister John Key.

(One radio announcer was heard to wail, "Oh, the humanity - It's, it's,it's aah! I, I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen ...!")

What a great trip we had on the Hauraki Gulf.
The ferry operator at Gulf Harbour is offering a tour of the Hauraki Gulf with stops at three islands. It is called the "360 Discovery." They call it that because you can stay on the ferry as it makes its rounds and come back to where it started at Gulf Harbour. You can also get off at any of the three stops and they will pick you up on the next round, which occurs three times daily.

Sunday we caught the 9:00am sailing and had a bumpy but enjoyable ride to Rangitoto and Motuihe islands before disembarking at Waiheke for a bus ride into town. After enjoying a walk around town we ended up at a local restaurant for a lunch of chorizo paella and a couple of beautiful New Zealand wines.

After that we caught the local bus down to the ferry landing and boarded the ferry for a very smooth and leisurely trip back to Gulf Harbour. We were back at Whangaparaoa by 3:30pm after a thoroughly enjoyable day on the water and at Waiheke Island. All three islands offer great hiking trails and beautiful scenery of the Hauraki Gulf, the islands that dot its landscape and even the waterfront of downtown Auckland. The whole trip costs $32 and there is even a break for seniors with a New Zealand Gold Card to make it $20 for the trip.

It is experiences like this, off the beaten track, where you really get a sense of the true New Zealand.

Note:The Hauraki Gulf lies between the Auckland Region, the Coromandel Peninsula, and the Hauraki Plains. Hauraki is Maori for North Wind.

Air New Zealand and Qantas have banned men from sitting next to unaccompanied children. (Most men would like to see about ten rows of separation between them and any children... sometimes that would include their own.)

Traffic Lights:
North American and Canadian visitors:

In New Zealand you cannot turn left when a stop light at an intersection is still red!

From the USA to New Zealand and US residents traveling overseas:(flights ex-USA)
A list of Air New Zealand Web Specials:

Signs of the Times
In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

Money Exchange:
Just a word to the wise, when travelling overseas, exchange a small amount of money for your destination currency 'before leaving.'

Not only will you probably get a better exchange rate at a local bank (assuming they carry the destination currency) but you will also be assured of having enough cash to get local transportation or other necessities in case machines don't work at the destination airport.

Wilderness Junior faced this problem when landing at LAX last year. He didn't carry any cash, assuming he could use his credit card in a machine at the airport. The machines did not work! There he was at the airport in LA without a dime.

I will not go into the drama that he experienced except to say he finally found a lone machine, deftly hidden, that thought he looked honest enough to give him some (of his own) cash.

New Zealand Visitor Information: The Visitor Pack is designed for people who are considering a holiday in New Zealand and would like additional tourist related information, including if their country has a visitor visa waiver with New Zealand. Also included in each Visitor Pack is the official immigration visa application forms and documents for those that are required to have a visitor visa to enter New Zealand. New Zealand Visitor Visa Pack

Seen in a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entering guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

New Zealand Immigration Information: For informative current advice and official government documentation regarding NZ visas, permits and residency along with knowledgeable articles on Government & Law, Kiwi Business, Education, Employment, Cost Of Living and New Zealand Life.
New Zealand Immigration Packs

Link to a list of countries on the Visa Free List

Link to a list of airlines currently flying to New Zealand

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Link to New Zealand Met Service

Power: New Zealand has a 230 - 240 voltage power supply, and power adapters will be needed for most international plugs. North American 110 volt items should not be used, unless you have the proper adapter.

Electrical power points are usually three pins and for those visitors from 230volt countries, adapters to fit local sockets can easily be purchased.

Driving in New Zealand
- Most importantly, we drive on the left side of the road! When you are on the road with other cars this is quite obvious. The danger lies when your car is the only only one visible.

Think left:

It is just as important to think left when stepping off a kerb to cross a street. Motorcyclists find it much more difficult to adapt, try tying a red rag to the left handlebar to remind you of this important difference.

Another feature of New Zealand driving is that we have a unique give way rule at intersections. Become familiar with this before taking to the road.

Traffic Circles:
In his blog A New Zealand Motorcycling Adventure Steve Larsen says about Traffic Circles; "Further complications came from traffic circles (called rotaries or roundabouts elsewhere). If your only experience with them is from the Boston area, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the civility and smooth traffic now at these intersections. These you enter and bear left and go around clockwise, yielding to traffic on the right."

This blog is a very good read by the way. On the other hand, I remember the rule about traffic circles by the saying; "If you get hit on the driver's side of your car by another car, you are in the wrong." I know, if you get hit by another car it's too late! I thought of that too.

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