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New Zealand
Old 05-19-2014, 04:58 PM   #1
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New Zealand

My mom wants to visit New Zealand. Any advice? Tours, etc? We are willing and healthy, but we've both become a bit gimpy in the last year with arthritis in various unfortunate spots. I don't think that either one of us is ready for driving on the right, but I've never taken a package tour. I used a cane on our recent vacation to shift some of the weight from my arthritic feet to my arthritic wrists and had no trouble walking a few miles per day. My mom has back trouble that precludes art museums , but is otherwise able to walk on flat and mild hills. We had fun 18 months ago on a Tylenol and Aleve fueled hiking tour to France, but have had some mobility set backs since then.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:41 PM   #2
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It is probably doable although we visited there many years ago and our physical effort was not a concern. We did a lot of driving and then walking around towns. The highlight of our trip was the Milford Track. Sorry I can't give you more guidance, except to say NZ is a great place to visit.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:13 AM   #3
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New Zealand is beautiful. We drove most of the North and South Islands. I am trying to think of places to go that require relatively less mobility.

South Island:
Queenstown is a very nice town (lots of shops, restaurants, garden walks, gondola ride). Very picturesque.

Te Anau (not too far from Queenstown) - take a boat tour on the famous Milford Sound. This is listed as one of the top things to do.

Kaikoura is a nice little town with both mountain peaks and ocean. We booked an awesome dolphin watching boat trip.

Christchurch had a nice botanical garden. It is a relatively big city (not for us) with ruins from the earthquake.

North Island:
Mount Maunganui had some picturesque views with a beach side and harbor side with some shopping. If you are able, there is a 3-hour, night time river kayak tour to see the glow worms that was unique. Might be difficult to do though.

Paihia is the gateway to the Bay of Islands. The town is a quaint Oceanside town with lots of shops and restaurants. Many of the cities have iSites which are like visitor information centers where tourists can book tours, hotels and get information. You can book a cruise to visit the Bay of Islands (we saw some dolphin along the way). The peak of the cruise is a huge rock structure known as Hole in the Rock that you go through in the boat.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:30 AM   #4
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1. Take as much time as you can for the trip. NZ is incredible, and you won't want to leave!

2. When travelling between the two islands, take a big plane between Auckland and Christchurch. Don't go between "Windy Wellington" and Picton on the ferry or the puddle jumper. The ferry can be very rough (with furniture being tossed around), and the puddle jumper can be worse. The woman next to me spent the whole flight weeping, and I thought I was going to die.
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:01 AM   #5
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The best way to visit NZ is to self-drive. So, if you are not comfortable to drive, you can consider joining a tour group. I have joined tour groups before - in my earlier travels. We self- drive nowadays. Alternatively, you can consider joining local organized tours to outskirts for a few days and explore the major cities on your own. That way you get some independent time on your own for a few days in cities like Auckland and Christchurch.
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