Sunday, August 21, 2011


Train Trips
Auckland to Wellington – “Overlander”; 011-64-04-495-0775;; 423 mile, 12-hour journey; down lush North Island spine, passing farming hamlets, snow-capped volcanoes, steep river gorges, over Raurimu Spiral, through 2 tunnels, 3 horseshoe curves, and complete circle; runs December through April and on weekends in May through November.

Crown Beach Resort & Spa – Arorangi; 011-682-23953;

Farm at Cape Kidnappers – 446 Clifton Road (Te Awanga); 011-64-06-875-1900;; Julian Robertson-owned property.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market – Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds, Kenilworth Road (Hastings); 011-64-06-974-8931;
Urban Market – Daily Telegraph Building, Tennyson Street (Napier); 011-64-06-974-8931;
Oruawharo – 379 Oruawharo Road (Takapau); 011-64-06-855-8274;; total seclusion; 4-bedroom villa includes 16 acres rugged isolation, private beach, on water; host and chef on hand; beautifully white sandy beaches.

NORTH ISLAND (does not include Auckland)
Cathedral Cove
Sights & Sites
Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve – Hauraki (Area Office); 011-64-07-867-9180;; Cathedral Cove is named after cave located there linking Mare’s Leg Cove to Cathedral Cove; Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay are also located within reserve; walking track from Hahei Beach’s northern end; Maori name Te Whanganui-A-Hei (“Great Hei Bay”) refers to Hei, tohunga from Te Arawa waka; according to tradition, Hei chose area around Mercury Bay as tribal home, proclaiming ownership by calling Motueka Island Te Kuraetanga-o-taku-Ihu (“my nose’s outward curve”).

Coromandel Mussel Kitchen – corner State Highway 25 & 309 Road; 011-64-07-866-7245;; seafood.

Mercury Bay
Sights & Sites
Hot Water Beach – Whitianga, 12 kms southeast; or; name comes from underground hot springs that filter up through sand between high and low water tidal reaches.

Treetops Lodge – 351 Kearoa Road (Horohoro); 011-64-07-333-2065;; natural paradise in 2.5K wilderness estate of game and waterfowl; lodge suites and villas come with bubbling spa baths.
Sights & Sites
Kuirau Park – Ranolf Street & Lake Road; 011-64-07-348-4199;; volcanic area that you can wander around for free; most recent eruption (in late 2003) covered much of park (including trees) in mud; boiling mud pools, crater lake, and plenty huffing steam.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – 201 Waiotapu Loop Road; 011-64-07-366-6333;; sculpted from Ks of years of volcanic activity; considered New Zealand’s most colorful & diverse geothermal attraction, featuring bubbling mud pools, mineral terraces & geysers.

Craggy Range – 253 Waimarama Road; 011-64-06-873-0413;; 2 cottages at this winery.
Terroir Restaurant – 253 Waimarama Road; 011-64-06-873-0413;; massive cedar doors and high circular roof give rustic character; menu is loosely country French, but not unsophisticated; open wood fire turns out dishes such as confit-stuffed rabbit leg with pancetta, pearl barley risotto, sautéed liver, and chestnuts; from eclectic dessert menu, pressed apple terrine with French toast and burnt-butter ice cream is great; on warm evenings, dine on terrace with Te Mata Peak views.

Avalon Resort – 340A Kerikeri Road; 011-64-09-407-1201;; affordably lovely; 4 cottages, complete with kitchens; man-made “natural pool” and plethora of domesticated wildlife.

Matakana Village Farmers’ Market – 2 Matakana Valley Road; 011-64-09-422-7433;; Saturdays, 8-1 p.m.

Kauri Cliffs – Matauri Bay Road; 011-64-09-407-0010;; expensive and luxurious; great spa; pink sand beach.

NAPIER (Ahuriri)
Café Ahuriri – 16 Mahia Street (Ahuriri); 011-64-06-834-3833; few streets back from beach; classic, New Zealand home-style baking; sunny courtyard filled with tables with umbrellas and leafy shade trees.
Milk & Honey – 10 Harding Road (Ahuriri); 011-64-06-833-6099; beachfront restaurant attached to refurbished Crown Hotel; good for coffee.
Picada – 3/87 Bridge Street (Ahuriri); 011-64-06-835-1492; organic deli and grocer.
Retro Gallery – 1/9 Nelson Quay (Ahuriri); 011-64-06-835-5303; art scene locale that also serves as local hair salon.

NORTHLAND (includes Cavalli Islands)
Canterbury – Deep Water Cove; among world’s largest “purpose-sunk” ships.
Rainbow Warrior – Cavalli Islands; 131' sunken ship; former Greenpeace flagship, famously sunk in Auckland harbor by French commandos in 1985.
Cavalli Islands Retreat & Spa – Aotearoa; 011-64-09-402-0111;; 4 bedrooms and 4 baths; extraordinary and accordingly expensive.
Kauri Cliffs – Matuari Bay Road; 011-64-09-407-0010;; Julian Robertson-owned property.

Chateau Tongariro – State Highway 48 (Mount Ruapehu); 011-64-07-892-3809;; standard issue, historic hotel rooms; ask at front desk for hiking trail directions and/or river-rafting opportunities, weather permitting.
Ruapehu Room – State Highway 48 (Mount Ruapehu, at Chateau Tongariro); 011-64-07-892-3809;; seafood appetizers and New Zealand standards (rack of lamb, for example).
Sights & Sites
Tongariro National Park – Whakapapa Village, State Highway 48 (Mount Ruapehu); 011-64-07-892-3729;; oldest national park in New Zealand; UNESCO World Heritage Sites; world’s 4th national park; active volcanic mountains in park center include Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu, and Tongariro; numerous Maori religious sites within park; ask about rigorous, 8-hour “Alpine Crossing” hike, which is well worth effort.

WAIKATO REGION (includes Hobbiton, Matamata & Taupo)
Bars & Nightclubs
Redoubt Bar & Eatery – 48 Broadway; 011-64-07-888-8585;; welcoming fireplace.
Chestnut Lane Cottage – 4 Chestnut Lane (Eldonwood; 011-64-07-888-5173;; private and sparkling clean; small bed & breakfast.
Redoubt Bar & Eatery – 48 Broadway; 011-64-07-888-8585;; welcoming fireplace; heavy food.
Shire’s Rest Cafe – 501 Buckland Road (Hobbiton); 011-64-07-888-9913;
Workmans Cafe Bar – 52 Broadway; 011-64-07-888-5498;; greasy spoon popular with locals.
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours – Buckland Road (Hinuera); 011-64-07-888 6838;

Huka Lodge – 271 Huka Fallas Lodge; 011-64-07-378-5791;; Waikato River fishing lodge; owner’s cottage has cantilevered infinity pool; excellent restaurant.
Sights & Sites
Forgotten World Highway – New Zealand State Highway 43; runs 158 km from Stratford (Taranaki) to Taumarunui (King Country); includes “ghost towns” (Toko, Douglas, Te Wera, Pohukura, Strathmore, Whangamomona, Marco, Koruatahi, Tahora, and Tatu) and 10 km off highway is Ohura; goes through rugged, beautiful countryside, climbing 3 saddles (Strathmore, Whangamomona, and Tahora); 14 km past Whangamomona is Moki Tunnel (also known as “Hobbits Hole”); just before Moki Tunnel is turn for Mount Damper Falls (island’s 4th highest); past Moki Tunnel is Tangarakau Gorge with walls just under 200' h; road takes up to 3 hours.
Spa Thermal Park – 172 Spa Road (Tauhara); 011-64-07-376-0899 (council office);; hot stream flows into Waikato River.

Sights & Sites
Waitomo Glowworm Caves – 39 Waitomo Caves Road (Waitomo Caves); 011-64-07-878-8227;; limestone caves filled glowing bugs are among North Island’s premier attractions; name Waitomo comes from wai (water) & tomo (hole or shaft); dotted across region are numerous shafts dropping into underground cave streams & systems; 300-plus mapped caves in area, 3 main caves are Aranui, Glowworm & Ruakuri.

WELLINGTON (includes Kelburn)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Customs Brew Bar – 39 Ghuznee Street; 011-64-04-385-2129;; no to-go cups.
Merkato Fresh – 37 Miramar Avenue, Shop #2 (Miramar); 011-64-04-388-2138; fresh pasta, wild pork pies, and freshly made pastries; locally produced gelato, too.
Midnight Espresso – 178 Cuba Street; 011-64-04-384-7014; architecture student hangout.
Bars & Nightclubs
Coco at Roxy – 5 Park Road; 011-64-04-388-5555;; art deco-themed.
Gasworks – 11 Tauhinu Road (Miramar); 011-64-04-388-8427;; laid-back bar; also, barbecue (sometimes free).
Hawthorn Lounge – 82 Tory Street; 011-64-04-890-3724;; 1920s-style speakeasy.
Matterhorn – 106 Cuba Street; 011-64-04-384-3359;; Wellington institution.
Mighty Mighty – 104 Cuba Street, Level 1; 011-64-04-385-3890; bar with live music.
Motel – 4 Forresters Lane (Level 1); 011-64-04-384-9084;; 50s-style lounge.
Museum Hotel – 90 Cable Street; 011-64-04-802-8900;; central location near water.
Ambeli – 18 Majoribanks Street; 011-64-04-385-7577;; Mediterranean.
Arbitrageur – 125 Featherston Street; 011-64-04-499-5530;; French bistro; highend.
La Boca Loca Taqueria – 19 Park Road (Miramar); 011-64-04-388-2451;; Mexican food.
Martin Bosley’s – 103 Oriental Parade; 011-64-04-920-8302;; seafood.
Boulcott Street Bistro – 99 Boulcott Street; 011-64-04-499-4199;; contemporary New Zealand-traditional bistro fusion; wine bar.
Gasworks – 11 Tauhinu Road (Miramar); 011-64-04-388-8427;; laid-back bar; burgers and steaks.
Hummingbird – 22 Courtenay Place; 011-64-04-801-6336;; locally sourced meat dishes on busy street for nightlife.
Larder – 133 Darlington Road (Miramar, at Camperdown Road); 011-64-04-891-0354;; filled with movie types because near Weta Cave; goat cheese souffle.
Maranui Surf Lifesaving Cafe – 7 Lyall Parade (Lyall Bay); 011-64-04-387-4539; nz; great breakfast-lunch place; big ocean views.
Matterhorn – 106 Cuba Street; 011-64-04-384-3359;; Wellington institution.
Trawling Sea Market – 220 Cuba Street; 011-64-04-384-8461; great seafood; barebones atmosphere.
Merkato Fresh – 37 Miramar Avenue, Shop #2 (Miramar); 011-64-04-388-2138; fresh pasta, wild pork pies, and freshly made pastries; locally produced gelato, too.
Weta Cave – 1 Weka Street (Miramar); 011-64-04-380-9361;; when Weta Workshop created Lord of Rings trilogy’s special effects, did so in this cavelike gift shop and minimuseum; close encounters with characters, displays, and props from movies will give you unique perspective on Middle Earth and other well-known movies, like King Kong and Narnia; can buy pop culture collectible items, including limited editions and hard-to-find miniatures.
Sights & Sites
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary – 31 Waiapu Road (Kelburn); 011-64-04-920-2222;
Roxy Cinema – 5 Park Road; 011-64-04-388-5555;; art deco-themed movie theater.
Te Papa Tongarewa – 55 Cable Street; 011-64-04-381-7000;; national museum; name means “Our Place.”
Wellington Botanic Garden – 101 Glenmore Street (Kelburn); 011-64-04-499-1400;; 25 hectares of preserved native forest and unique species.
Weta Cave – 1 Weka Street; 011-64-04-380-9361;; museum and small workshop for CGI special-effect companies, Weta Workshop and Weta Digital.

POOR KNIGHTS ISLANDS (includes Aorangi & Tawhiti Rahi)
protected by government, can access only through licensed dive operator; must arrange in advance.
Blue Mao Mao Arch – Tawhiti Rahi; Jacques Cousteau places this among world’s top 10 dive sites; wide central cavern illuminated by side chambers.
Cream Gardens – off Tawhiti Rahi Island’s northeast side; dive wall that starts with kelp and descends into coral reef.
Lost World – barely 30' deep; winding passageway maze linking 2 large grottoes open to sun and latticed with rock arches.
Sugar Loaf – few miles southwest of Poor Knights Islands proper; rock pinnacle that towers above ocean; vertical wall plunges 200'.
Tie Dye Arch – heavily encrusted arch surrounded by rainbow sealife.
Tui – 210' sunken ship.
Waikato – 372' sunken ship.

Rikoriko Cave – Maroro Bay (Aorangi Island); world’s largest sea cave.

Bars & Nightclubs
Britomart Country Club – 31 Galway Street; 011-64-09-330-2541;; open-air bar; boule court and putting green.
George – 50 Park Terrace; 011-64-03-379-4560;
Otahuna Lodge – 224 Rhodes Road (Tai Pau); 011-64-03-329-6333;; Relais & Chateau; 30-acre estate (historic property) with 7 guest suites; lovely kitchen garden; Clark Suite has lovely stained glass windows and Garret Suite is cozy; Botanical Suite has direct garden access.
Café Hanoi – corner of Commerce and Galway Streets; 011-64-09-302-3478;; contemporary Vietnamese.
Canterbury Guiding Company – Fendalton; 011-64-021-734-431;; custom tours, such as to tiny waterfront village, Akaroa (only original French settlement in New Zealand), including harbor cruise through extinct volcano; also can arrange private tour of Fishermans Bay Garden, historic private residence notable for location (on cliff high above Pacific Ocean) and terraced gardens; also, private tours available of Mt. Somers Station, 10K acre family-run sheep ranch.
Made – 30-32 Customs Street; 011-64-09-366-1693;; high-end clothing boutique.
Storeroom – 34 Customs Street East; 011-64-09-358-2848; moody atmosphered boutique; clothing.

Brentleigh Homestead – 1032 Riversdale Ardlussa Road; 011-64-03-201-6166;; farm setting; includes breakfast and cocktail hour; farm tours.
Heartland Hotel Croydon – Queenstown Highway; 011-64-03-357-1919;
Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses – State Highway 1 (at Station Road, RD 1); 011-64-03-319-6559;; tree-houses built 30' high in manuka grove; elegant; located on deer farm and overlooking olive orchard; 360º views; most comfortable beds anywhere; great breakfast buffet.
Original Kaikoura Seafood BBQ – 194 Torquay Street; 011-64-27-330-0511; try seafood fritters; beachside shack.

Sights & Sites
Marlborough Wine Trail – 15 mile bike trip, passing through 30 wineries.

Queenstown (includes Otago)
Blanket Bay – Rapid 4191 (Glenorchy); 011-64-03-441-0115;; luxury on grand scale in majestic setting; gorgeous stone buildings; outstanding level comfort and service.
Matakauri Lodge – 569 Glenorchy Road; 011-64-03-441-1008;; lakeside property recently renovated; Julian Robertson-owned property; 4 luxury suites, 7 villas & 1 guestroom.
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside – Earl Street and Marine Parade; 011-64-03-442-7750;; in city center; reasonable.
Queenstown Park Hotel – 21 Robins Road; 011-64-03-441-8441;; character and personal flavor.
Rees Hotel – 377 Frankton Road; 011-64-03-450-1100;; 60-room boutique on lakefront; expansive private balconies and chic wood furnishings by local furniture designer, Ed Cruikshank.
Spire Hotel – 3/5 Church Street; 0-64-03-441-0004;; boutique hotel; 10 spacious, individually decorated rooms.
Botswana Butchery – 17 Marine Parade (Queenstown East); 011-64-03-442-6994;; concept dining facing waterfront; exterior wood-burning fireplaces, large bar and lounge area; meat and seafood; sandwiches at lunch.
Fergburger – 42 Shotover Street; 011-64-03-441-1232;; local favorite; “Little Lamby” is “mutton on bun,” topped with mint jelly and tomato relish; “Big Al” starts with half-pound bacon, beef, cheese, and 2 eggs.
No. 5 Church Lane – 3/5 Church Street (at Spire Hotel); 0-64-03-441-0004;; boutique hotel; cocktails and innovative meals.
Rata – 43 Ballarat Street (Otago); 011-64-03-442-9393;; open dining room, bar, and patio; Michelin starred chef.
True South – 377 Frankton Road (at Rees Hotel); 011-64-03-450-1100;; highly regarded.
Milford Sound Scenic Flight – Queenstown Airport Terminal (at Queenstown Airport); 011-64-03-442-3065;; great way to get breathtaking area overview.
Shotover Jet – Gorge Road (Arthurs Point); 011-64-03-442-8570;; jet boating; will transport you round trip to various out-door activities.
Sights & Sites
Fiordland National Park – 1 of best hikes in world in this park; 33.5 mile stretch called “Milford Track,” 1st explored by Sir Edmund Hillary; out of Te Anau, can hike “Kepler Track,” 37-mile, circular “tramping” track travelling through South Island spectacular scenery, ranging from rocky mountain ridges to tall mossy forests, from lake shores to deep gorges (compared with other New Zealand tracks, high standard construction – most streams bridged, boardwalks cover boggy areas, and very steep sections have steps – moderate walking track that takes 3-4 days to complete; also, “Routeburn Track.”
Remarkables – Otago; mountain range and skifield on Lake Wakatipu’s southeastern shore; range lives up to name by rising sharply to create impressive backdrop for waters; high point is Double Cone (2319 ms) with Ben Nevis (2230 ms, named after Scottish mountain) further south in Hector mountains; named by Alexander Garvie in 1857-58, allegedly because 1 of only 2 mountain ranges in world that run directly north to south.
Skyline Gondola – Brecon Street; 011-64-03-441-0101;; take gondola (luge) up to viewing deck on Bob’s Peak.

Hotels & Lodges
Lodge at Tikana – 374 Livingstone Road; 011-64-03-236-4117;; luxury lodge.

1 comment:

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