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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:56 pm 
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I'll be spending sometime in Australia and NZL May-June of this year - I was wondering what ZSers would recommend!

- Places to visit
- Sights to see
- Tips
- Where to avoid
- How not to get killed by spiders and crocs!

I'm very keen to do some hiking and multi-day trips in both places so any information about that would be really helpful.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:26 pm 
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If you want to avoid getting killed by the local fauna, enjoy Australia's two isolated patches of civilisation, Melbourne and Sydney. Stay away from open water and nature. You could visit Uluru or a meteor crater while you're there, but you'll need to watch out for deadly drop-bears and giant spiders that erupt out of the ground and swallow people whole while snarling like dogs.

New Zealand on the other hand, is like a graceful and comfy armchair the size of Japan. You'll be here in autumn/winter, it's pretty temperate, so if you're going hiking you'll need warm gear and flexible plans.

In the warmer, creatively named North Island, there's a good hike called the Tongariro Crossing. At altitude and very exposed though. There's a whole lot of geothermal sightseeing in the central North Island, along with touristy Maori cultural experiences.

You'll probably land in Auckland in the North of the Island. Auckland is full of and surrounded by docile volcanoes. There are the Waitomo caves and Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings south of Auckland, moving south you get to the geothermal area, lake Taupo (a supervolcano), Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu (Skiing, check when the season usually starts). The southern part of the North Island is pretty docile and farmy. The capital Wellington is pretty cool, good to visit as lots of good stuff is in walking distance. Surprisingly good cultural scene, craft beer everywhere, you can get a ferry to the South Island.

The imaginatively named South Island is the most beautiful place on Earth. You may have extremes of amazingness in the US, but the South Island is everything you could need packaged conveniently. There's a good walk though the Abel Tasman National Park at the north end, but it might not be the best time of year for it. There are whale watching trips out of Kaikoura on the way south to Christchurch, which is recovering from a savage earthquake in 2011. There are some cool things around the town which has generally had good disaster recovery results in the city.

If you go all the way south to Dunedin, it's also a good cultural city, huge indie music cred, but small by world standards. There are some cool bits of nature around there, north of Dunedin there's an area of surreal round boulders on the beach at Moeraki, the coastal area south of Dunedin is called the Catlins and is pretty cute.

The west coast of the South Island is narrow and steep, generally pretty remote, and has the people New Zealand is most proud of. Several mining areas, classic pubs. Don't know what you'd do there though, I've never been. In between are the Southern Alps, and the roads through them are pretty awesome. There are some scenic train rides available in both Islands too, worth considering as a lot of the nature is not packed with actual destinations, it just sits there being epic.

Tips - We don't tip, just pay the bill.
People are generally very friendly by world standards, don't freak out if you have instant friends unless you're obviously getting played as a tourist. Oz and NZ are remote places, we love visitors. If you get talking, you'll find we love individual Americans, have a pretty cynical view of "America", and can't tell your political parties apart.
Our gangs are generally not psychos, they're old school compared to US ones. You might not see them at all anyway.
Be careful of your stuff, but you're not likely to get robbed. We only started locking our doors in the last 20 years.
There are few places to avoid. NZ society is not as polarised as most of the world. There are some suburban areas you wouldn't want to look out of place in, but they're small, spaced out all over the country and you won't see them unless you stop off in remote small towns or get on the wrong city bus. Same goes for Oz AFAIK.

Being a New Zealander, I haven't done much of the above or been to all those places. We go overseas as soon as we can afford it as a rite of passage. I'm happy to tell you anything else I know, feel free to give a rundown of your plans and interests, all the above is pretty mainstream.

FWIW I live near Wellington and don't go out enough to know what's cool right now, 20 years of mixing bands and breaking up fights used up all my love of the nightlife.

Good of you to make the effort to come down here though, respect.

Sheep.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:56 pm 
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Never been to Australia, but New Zealand is amazing. My favorite part on the Northern Island was 'black water rafting' in the Waitomo Caves. You hike up a hillside in a wet suit, enter the caves, then jump off a small waterfall into the darkness and float in an inner tube down a glow-worm filled cave system. One of my favorite moments in my entire life.

We also loved pretty much all of the Southern Island. I think my favorite site there was the Cook Glacier. The mountain is so steep that the glacier comes down into a jungle. There's something terribly surreal about walking out of a jungle... at the base of a glacier. Beware the keas, though! They're mountain parrots, and the little bugger savaged our windshield wipers something awful.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:36 am 
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Im a born and bred Australian. The wild life over here is safe, spider and snake bites a rare, and rarely fatel.
Crocs live only in the far north in the Northern Territory, the north of Queensland and Western Australia. Up there
you keep clear of water when setting up camp, and only swim where its safe.
Its much more dangeros in the US, you guys have bears, big cats, dear, poisonous snakes and alligators

The obvious places to visit (depending on how much time you have) are Sydney and Melbourne
for the city sights.
For the bush expeience, the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney (where I live) is a huge wilderness area full
of hikes of all durations, day hikes, weekend hikes, and week long hikes.
Theres the south coast, and the north coast of NSW, lots of beautiful hinterland and mountains, country towns, rivers
and countless beautiful near deserted beaches.

In other states, far north Queensland, anywhere in Victoria, anywhere in Tasmaina and Hobart its capital.
Google "Hikes in Australia" and " hikes in the blue mountains" and "states of Australia" and take your pic of places to visit.

As for tips, every one over here are pretty friendly and helpfull, and we don,t usually "Tip" at restaurants.
We don,t have a tipping culture here, I usually round up the bill to the nearest dollar, and pay them that.
Its safe everywhere here, there is no place to avoid, except the usuall common sense stuff about late nights and bars.

Hope this helps, cheers.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:12 am 
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Thanks everyone!

Haha when I wrote Tips I meant more like general tips vs tipping money :) But good to know that as well.

I have family around Sydney so the Blue Mountains area will deff be on the list.

Black Sheep - thanks for such a detailed overview of NZ - I started some preliminary reading on hiking and the trail system, seems well organised.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:13 am 
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Don't go to Australia. It's shit and full of wankers. Spend the extra time in NZ - you should budget a month per island to see it all properly.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:35 pm 
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As you can see, we have a charming, self deprecating sense of humour down here as well. Don't let the Australians deter you from visiting, but don't believe them when they say the sea there isn't full of swimming knives.

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Fear? I know not fear. There are only moments of confusion. Some of them are deeply stamped on my memory and a few will haunt me forever. Hunter S. Thompson

Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones. Ernest Hemingway


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:40 am 
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Well brief update as the time draws closer.

I decided to do the Overland Track in Tasmania so have just sorted out my logistics for that. Should be good fun even if I'm doing it a bit late in the season.

Am heading to Auckland in June, potentially just sticking around the North Island, potentially hopping down to the south. Already time and money feel short :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:34 am 
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Alias, I hope you survived Auckland to make it out to some of the more rural places!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:30 pm 
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You make it sound so nice..... but I am not stepping foot in New Zealand until someone tells me why I had to fly 23 hours to wind up someplace where they look like me and talk English. At least have the decency to make up a fake language.

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