Uniquely New Zealand is a Touring, Camping and Sailing Guide enabling one to get to the places in New Zealand that "Packages" can thankfully still not reach. It concentrates on the things that make New Zealand special and what has shaped the country, its people and their leisure activities. We are convinced that the simpler the lifestyle one is prepared to adopt the closer you will get to the real New Zealand and the better you will experience it's scenery, wildlife and sports. So what are the special and unique things that bring us back year after year that you should not miss.
Climate and Scenery - Mountains, lakes, forests and a spectacular coastline with deserted beaches, maritime parks and islands. New Zealand has them all and most of it is protected in National Parks and Reserves.
Active Thermal Areas - New Zealand is also an area which is very active geologically and has a number of fascinating thermal areas, predominantly North Island.
The Wines - The climate is ideal and there are many excellent wine areas in both North and South Island which we have visited.
Goldmining was important at the turn of the century and there are many goldfields with structures still standing some of which have been restored.
Kauri, both logging and the gathering and use of it's gum forms another unique part of New Zealand history worthy of investigation.
Maori Culture and Heritage - One can not fully understand and appreciate New Zealand without gaining some understanding of the Maori Culture and Heritage and the interactions with the first settlers and their way of life.
Sailing - New Zealand has some of the best sailing in the world from Auckland - the City of Sails - and the Bay of Islands. We have chartered from both.
The Peace and Quiet - In the UK you can never get away from people and noise - in New Zealand we have found areas whilst touring, camping and walking where even aircraft do not pass over for days and people are so rare, friendly and helpful you want to stop and talk.
We cover our own experiences of activities such as sailing, fishing and camping which are fundamental to the Kiwi way of life. The content draws extensively on our "Letters from the Antipodes" Emailed to friends the last 15 years with pictures added on our return to form a comprehensive touring guide. There is a lot of information but much of it is still organised chronologically. If you want specific information on, for example, a place you are thinking of visiting or an activity please try the Search Engine which has a complete index of every word on our sites and is updated weekly.
We have tried to extract information from the chronological organisation into specific pages which are accessible from the bottom of this page. We however have not been good at keeping these updated as often as we should.
These pages form a record of our travels over the last 18 years. We usually try to make the pages self contained so their is a certain amount of duplication when we return to favourite places. All the pages are generously provided with pictures, in the early days from film cameras and digital images taken from our video cameras which had still facilities. From the begriming the text had small thumbnail images which could be clicked to give an enlarged 'popup' image in a new window. By 2005 we were only using our new digital cameras and the new 'popup' images were provided in two sizes to cover different screen sizes and also to allow bandwidth reduction when mobile or on slow connections.
During the 18 years both the Internet and hardware has not stood still and there are now some new factors to consider, in particular many people including ourselves are now accessing our pages from Smart Phones and Tablets which are unable to handle popup images well, in most cases they open them in a new tab. We are now offering an option (the default) of using an Overlay technique most often called a Lightbox Effect. This is now available on all the NZ touring pages from 2004 onwards although the automatic scaling works best on pages written in the latest web standard HTML5. The final stage of changing the pages on the web site to a fully Responsive and Mobile Friendly design is well advanced and pages satisfying that criteria have a green Mobile Friendly icon after the link. Touring and Sailing pages prior to 2004 are best viewed on a standard computer or laptop as they use popup images and do not use the latest web standard HTML5. The display settings can be changed on pages with images on the bottom right corner.
New - Touring in New Zealand 2015 - A mixture of South and North Island.
Part 1 - Sailing from Waiheke Island to Great Barrier Island and on to the Bay of Islands via Tutukaka. A brief summary of the trip and a huge picture gallery
Part 2 - A journey round North Island - Rotorua, Napier, Wanganui, Mount Egmont and Taranaki, Taumarunui and Thames. This year we have restricted the detailed coverage largely to “First Time” visits plus a good number of pictures
Touring and Sailing in New Zealand 2009 - Three Months in North Island
Part 1 - Auckland, Sailing round Waiheke Island and the Coromandel
Part 2 - Rotorua, Tokomaru, Wellington and the Wairarapa
Part 3 - Wanganui, the River Road, Taumarunui, the Main Trunk and the Raurimu Spiral, Forgotten World Highway and the Tawhiti Museum
Part 4 - Taranaki with an update on Mountain House and The Anderson's Alpine Lodge, a walk to Dawson Falls from Mountain House, a visit to the Republic of Whangamomona, Napier and the Harvest Hawke's Bay Wine Festival.
Part 5 - Wairoa, Gisborne and the East Cape, Whakatane and White Island
Part 6 - Lake Tutira and the Napier Art Deco Festival
Part 7 - Wairoa, Waikaremoana, Rotorua and Auckland
All these pages have now been updated to HTML5 (with Lightbox Style Overlay pictures where appropriate) and are mostly fully Responsive and Mobile Friendly and display a icon.
New Zealand Wines, Wineries and Vineyard Restaurants - brings together our favourite vineyards to visit. Selection is not solely the on the quality of the wine but is biased towards those with good vineyard restaurants, magnificent scenery and a friendly and helpful approach.
Goldmining was important at the turn of the century and there are many goldfields with structures still standing. In five parts bringing together our information on New Zealand Gold, Goldmining Techniques and Goldfields gathered whilst touring, mostly in Otago, The West Coast and the Coromandel. New content in part 2 in January 2015.
Active Thermal Areas - New Zealand is also an area which is very active geologically and has a number of fascinating thermal areas which we have visited.
Taranaki, Walks in the Mountain House & Stratford Area, and the Forgotten World Highway - This covers our stays at Mountain House and the Stratford area, walks on Mount Egmont/Taranaki from the Mountain House area, Dawson falls and scenic drives on the SH43 from Taranaki to Taumarunui, known as the Forgotten World Highway which passes through the independent Republic of Whagamomina. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop. Additional content in January 2015
Sailing in New Zealand - An Introduction to Sailing in New Zealand with an index to our own sailing in the Hauraki Gulf, The Bay of Islands and the Coastal Passage between them and on up to Whangaroa Harbour. 14 parts in all.
New Zealand Book List: We have built up a library of books on New Zealand during our visits and have initiated a catalogue which will be extended in due course. Our books cover many topics from Sailing and Fishing through the Goldfields and Art Deco to Maori Culture.
Interesting Web Sites: We have found a number of useful Web sites on New Zealand that you may want to have a look at. They range from sources of maps to follow our travels to details of the treaty of Waitangi. They are the sites on our "favourites" lists and the ones we go back to and those used by the locals for everything from finding a telephone number to booking a train. There are brief comments on each site.
Kauri, both logging and the gathering and use of it's gum were important and form another unique part of New Zealand history worthy of investigation. We document our visits to some of the remaining forests, historic areas and museums.
Maori History and Culture in 5 parts. The Maori were the first settlers in New Zealand and first came from Polynesia about 1000 years ago. The occupied almost every area of New Zealand long before the Pakeha (European) missionaries, traders and settlers arrived and there were over 6000 Pa, fortified villages, by that time. They still have a very strong culture of their own with many traditions which flourish today. The numbers are now rising after a long period of decline and there are currently over 500,000 Maori, about 16% of the population.
Camping in New Zealand - What you need to know to start camping based on our own experiences - contains a useful table of the kit we took and bought in the first few years. Still interesting 15 years on.
GPS waypoints - Latitude and Longitudes of many useful places in New Zealand including many of the Department Of Conservation (DOC) and other campsites, downloaded directly from our GPS. The page describes a Freeware GPS Utility to handle GPS coordinates and map them and has files to upload to your GPS. Legacy Page - technology has passed this by!
Planning Guide - an early index to the information on our favourite places and activities with 15 categories ordered to loosely match our reasons for returning. In need of serious updating but the catagories are still useful.
I would be very pleased if visitors could spare a little time to give us some feedback - it is the only way we know who has visited the site, if it is useful and how we should develop it's content and the techniques used. I would be delighted if you could send comments or just let me know you have visited by sending a quick Message.
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