Probably been touched up, but it looks genuine to me. No inexplicable bits, far as I can see.
My country is so breathtaking, wow! I almost forgot about places like that. Cool.
Now I want to go home.
One week is not enough time so definitely rent a car. My friends and I rented a car from some nice blokes in Queenstown which is a nice central starting point. Did some horseback riding, saw glow-worms and camped along the way to Milford Sound (extremely lovely drive but do watch out for the sheeps). There may not be enough time to drive all the way to the south but you can try then head up to Dunedin (pronounced Du-NEE-din), a lovely university town on the other side of the isle. Explore coffee shops, fabulous restaurants, yellow eyed penguins and some really steep hills. Then head back to Queenstown or end your trip in Christchurch to reaquaint yourself with city life – eat at Death by Chocolate. You can pre-arrange with the rental car office to have your car dropped off in a different city if you wish. Summer (Winter to us) is not that hot especially at Milford Sound so do bring a light waterproof jacket, a light sweater and a pair of good socks to keep you warm in the evening or nights on the campgrounds. Enjoy.
We went back and did a trip round the South Island last summer. If your time is limited, I would advise NOT driving ChCh-Nelson via Kiakoura, because to really enjoy this area (whales, vineyards, walks through the huge sheep stations) you need more time, and if you plan to do outdoor stuff, and see rivers, lakes, lots of water, you are better to focus on the West Coast and Southern Lakes district.
I’m from the West Coast, and have travelled extensively around the South Island. If you choose the areas you visit and want some more local info, let me know. Quickly, I highly recommend the glacier hike (Fox Glacier), the Porari river kayak trip in Punakaikai, fish and chips on any beach (watch out for killer sandflies, esp. down Haast-way), the trip in the caves down Fiordland to see the glowworms, and a walk around Lake Mahanipua. Also, you have to eat Snowflake icecream, the Japanese line up for those icecreams down South Westland. In Central Otago, try a Jimmy’s meat pie with a Speight’s Summer Ale. Also, the drive over Arthur’s Pass is a fun one.
By the way, lots of pics you see on postcards etc are not enhanced, on good days the colors of nature really are like that. Be warned, though, on the West Coast especially, a rainy day can be like typhoon rain in Taiwan, up to “an inch an hour” of rainfall. Sometimes you can’t even see the road ahead of you. Haast gets something like 3 meters of rain per year. That’s why the colors are so vivid. Finally, stay awake for one-lane bridges, there are so many and they just pop up in front of you.
Something that strikes me every time I go back to NZ is the awesome light. It’s fantastic. In the 19th Century artists used to travel from Europe to NZ to paint in that beautiful light.
I’m getting a hankering for civilisation this CNY. What price flights to Godzone?
Stragbasher asked: [quote] I’m getting a hankering for civilisation this CNY. What price flights to Godzone?[/quote]
Bloody expensive at Chinese New Year; you won’t get much change from NT$40,000.
You can have a Kiwi CNY in Taiwan - just invite me over to your place for a civilized* piss up.
*We can drink out of glasses if you want.
Whaddareya, some kinda poof?
If one were to undertake a trip to NZ around Chinese New Year, having no plans at the moment, can it still be done reasonably? What I’m wondering about is stuff like reservations, crowding, prices, etc. I’m beginning to gather that CNY is a busy travel time to NZ. Is that right?
So, to sum up, if I were to go at CNY for two weeks, could I just “pop over” there, bring money, and have no real trouble finding places to stay and a rental car (South Island), or would it all have to be carefully planned in advance just to have a place to sleep?
I’m even up for camping most of the time, but didn’t bring my gear to Taiwan.
February is a good month to go to the South Island - January is generally wetter and busier. As school starts 31 Jan, it should be easy to find accommodation in Feb, too. We had no trouble finding accommodation, rental cars, etc last CNY, but it was more difficult to get discounts. ALWAYS ask, you might be surprised what you can get, especially discounts for cash.
As someone already mentioned, ticket prices are high over CNY - a couple of weeks can a make a difference of around $10-15,000 TWD.
Tents are really cheap in Taiwan, you could always buy one and take it with you if you want to camp out. The sun won’t set till quite late in the South (around 9pm), and the twilights are perfect for BBQs and sitting around outside a tent.
SB, just to make you jealous, i am down for three weeks over CNY, or at least thats the current plan