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Our own rough guide to NZ...

Our own rough guide to NZ...

Old Nov 8th 2009, 8:06 am
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Default Our own rough guide to NZ...

i've been pondering this for a while, and thought with the summer hols coming up, it might be an appropriate time to start our own Rough Guide thread! so how's about we all add things in as they occur to us - either useful stuff about our own local area, or where we've visited (the good, the bad, and the ugly!) ... hopefully we'll create a useful go-to guide for those of us already here, and for those heading over on reccies or hols too.... it'll only be as good as we are though! if we get lots of good info here, we could maybe shift it into the wiki later.

I'll start things off then, and see how we get on!!

Last week we had two days in Coromandel

The Driving Creek Railway is worth a look in - especially if you have kids! Just north of Coromandel Town - the handbuilt train follows a 3km track up into the hills - return journey takes about an hour. There are usually two trains a day, but during peak hol times they run more often. There are no catering facilities at the site, tho plenty of cafes in town. The DCR is home to various potters and their wares are on sale in the shop. At the top, before making the return journey, our 3 year old said 'that was brilliant mum!' http://www.drivingcreekrailway.co.nz/Introduction.cfm

Rapaura Watergardens, just north of Thames is a lovely way to spend an hour or two. Nicely laid out gardens to meander round, and a twenty minute bush walk up to some lovely waterfalls. Our three year old enjoyed spotting bits of sculpture in amongst the greenery. There's a cafe on site which does coffee/cakes and light meals - the power was off when we visited, but we still enjoyed a slice of cake! The facilities were really clean and pleasant, and the staff/owners were really friendly and helpful. There is some 'boutique' accommodation on site, which frankly looked lovely (from the outside!), but a bit beyond us! http://www.rapaura.com/

Waiau Waterworks, a few k's outside Coromandel Town - with a three year old, we spent about 1.5hours here - i'd say allow longer if you've got older kids (or young at heart!) cos they'd be able to engage with all the machines and stuff. Good fun - if it was in the uk, you'd probably not see some of the machines and rides etc for health and safety concerns.... There is a small cafe on site, but when we visited (out of season) it didn't look all that appetising. http://www.thewaterworks.co.nz/

Butterfly and Orchid Garden, Thames - just north of Thames sited alongside a (in our opinion!) quite ropey looking campsite. We killed half an hour here - bit tin-pot but some really lovely butterflies! Has the feel of someones hobby that got bigger and bigger - dunno if that's true or not! The butterfly house is incredibly hot and humid, but you're able to come and go as you need to once you've paid your entrance fee. A small cafe on site - i think probably just drinks, but we didn't try it. http://www.butterfly.co.nz/

that's enough for now!
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Old Nov 8th 2009, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: Our own rough guide to NZ...

Muriwai Beach

Northwest of Auckland has 'black-sand and awesome surf'... There is surf-patrol through the season, and i think a surf school or two (but dunno what their reputation is like).

The beach is backed by dunes that they are working on building up at the moment. Loads of parking and some bbq spots (not sure if you need to pre-book).

We've seen quite a few people fishing off the end of the rocks at the near end of the beach - looks a bit precarious given the waves crashing around, but we're not fishing types! Dunno what they're catching there, but on a busy day, we've seen a queue forming for the best spots!

There is a gannet colony in residence (October - March) and you can get pretty close if you park in the car-park (signposted) and take a 10 minute walk up to the viewing points.

The Sandunz cafe (can't miss it when you head towards the beach) seems popular, and we've had some good coffee, milkshakes, cakes and light meals here.

A couple of minutes walk from the cafe there's a kids playground, where they've just installed some new kit - slides and climbing bits on top of the existing swings etc.
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Old Nov 9th 2009, 6:04 am
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Default Re: Our own rough guide to NZ...

For more information on Muriwai and other Auckland regional parks:

http://www.arc.govt.nz/parks/our-par...egion/muriwai/
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Old Jan 15th 2010, 7:36 am
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Default Re: Our own rough guide to NZ...

surely there must be some good, bad and ugly stuff you can share with us all now? it's holiday time!!

anyway... the recent 4 days in Auckland thread was the kind of thing i thought would be useful to have all in one place, so here's a link to it (aside from all the N v S stuff, there're some great suggestions in there...)

so AUCKLAND
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=646870

can't help noticing no-one down on the mainland has shared their local secrets with us northerners.... maybe they just don't want us to go visit <was that the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down??>
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Old Jan 16th 2010, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Our own rough guide to NZ...

Great idea for a thread

Hope some more tips on where to go get passed on soon


Thanks
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