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Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Looking at the deals available you have 4 to 5 days to travel from Auckland to Christchurch. You pay just $1-5/day to return the vehicle, plus free ferry crossing. I note that you don't get any fuel allowance, but then its a good deal regardless. My preferred route would be from Auckland to the Corimandel Peninsula, then down the east coast to Wellington, then crossing the ferry to the South Island of New Zealand, landing in Nelson, I would be inclined to head direct to Christchurch. I dont know if you need a booking to cross the strait. I've done it before, but I actually picked up a new hire car on the other side.
The other alternative is a 'fly & drive' strategy, whether you stay in hotels or backpackers. I prefer the campervan route myself. I have yet to campervan in NZ, but having been there I understand the Pacific Islanders (Fujians or Samoans) cause some problems. Haven't been hit by a Pacific Islander in NZ, but I was in Sydney, but it probably feels the same. I dont know there propensity to throw thinks or vandalise campervans. Hopefully it doesn't become a sport. I did however spend time in a NZ pub on a Volcanic Geology uni field trip, and hanging out in a pub in Auckland (the wrong pub as tourists are prone to do) they were pretty intimidating people. Actually I was winning successive games, but basically an Islander came up to me and said he wanted to play. Experience told me not to argue the point.
For that reason I suggest avoiding the major cities - particularly Auckland. Maybe there are similar problems around Rotorua. The great aspect of NZ is the nature, so that is where I would suggest you spend your time.
After spending a day or two in Christchurch I would rent a car and drive to Queenstown, see Milford Sound and the Frans Joseph (?) Glacier, and back to Queenstown. If possible I would then get a campervan back to Christchurch. This will allow you to go a different way, and or maybe find a few nice overnight camp stops. The south island is great for campervanning as there are few people there.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com
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