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New Zealand
Old 01-11-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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New Zealand

To those that have experienced NZ if you have any opinions about whether travelers/vacationers can achieve a full experience in a 9-day stay please opine. I am planning a trip to either Fiji or NZ next month and would prefer Fiji unless it is actually possible to get a full and satisfying trip to NZ in that short time period: For me, a full trip would include a decent amount of water/snorkel activities while hitting as many "hot spots" as possible without being in a rush. I fear that the physical size of NZ - will limit only to North Island as that is clearly a big enough territory for any vacation - would make most of the trip either a 1) stay in a small and defined area since it is too large to venture out at which pt we might as well go to Fiji, or 2) attempt to see and do too much which makes the trip one long road trip rather than a relaxing travel vacation.

Regards.
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
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I've never been but would love to see the country. But according to Billy and Akaisha who are retired full time travelers, Americans are somewhat frowned upon there. See below link to a chat I had with them about the country. Not trying to talk you out of the trip as I would like to go, but something to be aware of. Of course there are plenty of countries that do not look favorably upon us. Within the chat, they reference their website which has additional info on NZ.

Overseas travel for single, 63, F = stupid?
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusLevy View Post
To those that have experienced NZ if you have any opinions about whether travelers/vacationers can achieve a full experience in a 9-day stay please opine. I am planning a trip to either Fiji or NZ next month and would prefer Fiji unless it is actually possible to get a full and satisfying trip to NZ in that short time period: For me, a full trip would include a decent amount of water/snorkel activities while hitting as many "hot spots" as possible without being in a rush. I fear that the physical size of NZ - will limit only to North Island as that is clearly a big enough territory for any vacation - would make most of the trip either a 1) stay in a small and defined area since it is too large to venture out at which pt we might as well go to Fiji, or 2) attempt to see and do too much which makes the trip one long road trip rather than a relaxing travel vacation.

Regards.
I spent 17 days on the south island (did not even venture to stewarts or the north island) nad it was barely enough for the south island. I would say you are better off going to Nadi and enjoy your 9 days there which will be plenty of time in Fiji. I think anything less than 3 weeks is not enough time to fully appreciate all that the kiwi have in their homeland. The North Island has much less outdoor activity for adventurist types as well. However, you MUST make it to NZ some time in your life!
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:37 PM   #4
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Truthfully I would not allow NZ's stance against nuclear warships etc. keep you from going there. As an Aussie, we probably have more interaction with Kiwis than anyone. I have never met an unfriendly kiwi or anyone who has a personal grudge against an American. What you have to remember is they may not like American policies, but the majority of people can differentiate between government policy and what an american tourist does. I don't think Kiwis have time to hate upon Americans, they are too busy with their rivalry with Australia, as the two countries try to one up each other on the sporting field.

However, you may want to keep an eye on the political situation in Fiji. Ever since the coup I wouldn't assume that things are going smoothly there. They were recently expelled from the Commonwealth because of their refusal to hold democratic elections. You don't want to get caught up in any of that whilst you are on vacation.
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:57 PM   #5
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several years ago I considered a move to NZ - ran across this blog at that time - this starts you in their blog about the time they moved there:

Moving to New Zealand

One thing from an expat newsgroup was the tall poppy rule - guess Kiwis have a saying; "the tall poppy gets cut". Think that urges no ostentation - don't stick out in the crowd.

Actually think that's reasonable travel advice anywhere.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:46 PM   #6
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I am very wary of any expat blogs as it can all be taken with a grain of salt. Any country out there, you can normally find those who have moved and found their niche and accept their new country for what it is - not perfect and not home.

However, there are a large amount of bitter and twisted expats who have made the move and absolutely hate it and accept no responsibility for the situation they find themselves in. They blame the new country and the people for everything. You should take a look at the British Expats site and see what they moan about - no Marks & Spencer to buy your underwear, the sun is too hot, the grass is not green enough, the beer is not right, the fish and chips are not the same blah blah blah. What gets me is when they complain about the locals not being friendly enough, you know no-one wants to hang out with a whinger and how can you compare a new acquaintanceship with a friendship that spans back to your childhood.

The tall poppy syndrome is something that is alive and kicking in Australia and New Zealand. Basically our experience and our interpretation is if anyone rises above the pack, the masses must do what they can to cut that person down to size. We have lived in a number of different countries and we see a few countries as follows. In Australia if you work hard, achieve success and buy yourself a Porsche you think you are up yourself, you are a showoff and we must try and undermine that success. In the UK if the same thing happened someone would key your Porsche. In the US if the same thing happened everyone would say good on you and try and work out what they could do to get a Porsche of their own.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:07 PM   #7
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Three friends and I traveled in NZ for 17 days during '99 and didn't have a single negative incident. But even if I did, I wouldn't just take my word for it and strike it off the list. There are caustic people everywhere who could have real or perceived grievances against you for any number of reasons, so why let that stop you from a new experience?

The friction between Aussies and Kiwis was apparent, but it still seemed friendly. It's a wonderful country to visit.

9 days is pretty short as you've noted, so you're wise in restricting your travel to a particular area. We spent almost all our time on the South Island, so I can't comment too much on the North.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:00 AM   #8
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I've spent a few weeks in Fiji and a couple months in NZ. I enjoyed both immensely, and I personally would choose NZ over Fiji (I like hiking/nature a lot), but:

a) Although NZ is fairly small, it's packed with sights and activities, and would be tough to recommend for such a short trip
b) Water/snorkel activities are obviously better in Fiji (esp. warm water activities)
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:06 AM   #9
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As an expat Kiwi, I would say you can get a reasonable amount out of a nine day trip but will have to pick and chose what you want to see and will have to decide on North Island or South Island. If you go South Island, I would start in Queenstown and do the Milford Track, hire a car and drive up the west coast, do the whale watching (check that the time of year is correct), do some of the Malbourough vinyards and finish with time on the beaches (or hire a boat if that is your thing) in the same area for fishing, scuba diving etc. The NZ Toursim Board has a lot of information: New Zealand, the Youngest Country - Tourism New Zealand official travel information > New Zealand

If you want tropical snorkling, Fiji is the better option.

People in NZ have no issues with Americans (or people from just about anywhere). For most people the no nukes policy is a complete non issue.

The comments made by others on the "tall poppy syndrome" are, sadly, spot on.

One word of warning, hiring a car is the best way to see the country and it is relatively easy to find your way around, but NZ drivers are not exactly the best in the world so take care on the roads.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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I appreciate all the feedback on this topic from everyone. My preconception of NZ was that it is an expansive and beautiful country with quite varying topography and climate zones that makes for an outdoor/hiking paradise - my gf and I love to hike regularly (completed an amazing 10mi hike here in SoCal this past wknd). Indeed, in some ways I would guess it would be a much grander version of the Big Island (HI) which I find to be an amazing place as it has all the crazy topographical variations in addition to all the wonderful warm water activities. This comparison to the BI is also why I fear a 9-day trip to NZ would not be optimal as I know that the BI itself can be barely covered in that time period - and NZ is clearly a few more acres to say the least. In addition, on this vacation my desire is to focus on the snorkeling and other water activities.

As for the socio-political and related "tall poppy" issues my INTJ personality has precluded me from sticking out in any situation my entire life unless first provoked Given the relatively small population of NZ the cutting of tall poppies within their society would be something that I expect - as with most Island societies it is simply foolish to drive a Ferrari when the natives are in Jeeps.

Thanks also for the specific mention of the current political issues in Fiji - I was not aware. It is certainly a potentially serious issue to consider for any outsider. Unfortunately, that makes this entire decision bw Fiji and NZ a tricky calculus: I visualize myself stuck in the middle of a political war on a small island in the South Pacific on one hand or driving for thousands of miles while never getting the chance to stop the car in one of the most beautiful countries in the world on the other hand!

Clearly the correct answer is to have the gf decide and then blame her for any bad results.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusLevy View Post
I appreciate all the feedback on this topic from everyone. My preconception of NZ was that it is an expansive and beautiful country with quite varying topography and climate zones that makes for an outdoor/hiking paradise - my gf and I love to hike regularly (completed an amazing 10mi hike here in SoCal this past wknd). Indeed, in some ways I would guess it would be a much grander version of the Big Island (HI) which I find to be an amazing place as it has all the crazy topographical variations in addition to all the wonderful warm water activities. This comparison to the BI is also why I fear a 9-day trip to NZ would not be optimal as I know that the BI itself can be barely covered in that time period - and NZ is clearly a few more acres to say the least. In addition, on this vacation my desire is to focus on the snorkeling and other water activities.

As for the socio-political and related "tall poppy" issues my INTJ personality has precluded me from sticking out in any situation my entire life unless first provoked Given the relatively small population of NZ the cutting of tall poppies within their society would be something that I expect - as with most Island societies it is simply foolish to drive a Ferrari when the natives are in Jeeps.

Thanks also for the specific mention of the current political issues in Fiji - I was not aware. It is certainly a potentially serious issue to consider for any outsider. Unfortunately, that makes this entire decision bw Fiji and NZ a tricky calculus: I visualize myself stuck in the middle of a political war on a small island in the South Pacific on one hand or driving for thousands of miles while never getting the chance to stop the car in one of the most beautiful countries in the world on the other hand!

Clearly the correct answer is to have the gf decide and then blame her for any bad results.
Can't believe I'm saying this to a californian, but you could keep your dollars at home and just drive up into oregon to spend them.... our seasonal climates are 180 degrees out from NZ and you wouldn't find me in the ocean, but aside from that..
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:23 AM   #12
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Several years ago DH and I celebrated our retirement by renting camper-vans in both NZ and AU for several months and had a great time. To go so far for just 9 days is better than not going at all.

Observations:
NZ drivers are frustrated racers. The roads are narrow and curvy. We happened to meet a safety engineer at a camp ground. He said that NZ drivers learned on underpowered English cars, now they drive JN cars usually purchased used. They enjoy driving fast but don't handle it well.

NZ national culture is 'do good', AU is 'do well'.

Both discriminate against those of indigenous descent. AU has issues with Asians, there are regular reports of assault against Indian college students.

NZ South Island is much like the Pacific NW.

There is quite a bit of competition between the two countries
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:21 PM   #13
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Clearly the correct answer is to have the gf decide and then blame her for any bad results.
A very long analysis and then blame someone else - actually, very funny!

Have a great time - either place will probably be fine as your time is limited and you truly aren't an ex-pat but a tourist. Both countries rely on tourists for part of their income, so I'm sure they will treat you well. Yes, the limiting factor will be time and what you want to do with that time.
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