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New Zealand tips

Original Post
Patrick Wilder · · Birmingham, Alabama · Joined May 2015 · Points: 10

Headed to New Zealand in Februay. Anyone have tips on getting around the country? We only have roughly 15 days and want to maximize time not on a bus/train/car whatever so I am interested in renting a car. We have also looked at getting some kinf of bus/train pass instead. Any thoughts?

We are planning on basically gong down the west coast and ending in the Fiordlands. From what I've read, this is th eplace to climb. Any Suggestions for some moderate single/multipitch or potentially some 3rd/4th class peak bagging?

Let me know!! Trying to make the most out of two weeks and get the planning done ahead of time.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Lots of places to climb in NZ, Fiordlands are amazing but they don't need to be the only option.  Great rock climbing at Payne's Ford, Mt. Cook region, Wanaka area, Mt. Somers, and others.  I have always rented a car/van so I cannot speak to bus passes, sorry.  Arthur's Pass has lots of really good peak bagging and scrambling.  Mt. Angelus area is good too.

The NZ alpine club has an awesome website with climbs and scrambles all over the country:

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 230

I did a short tour of both Islands.  You can see a ton in 15 days if you keep on the move.  IMHO there is tons of really cool touristy stuff and hikes ("walks") and backpacking trips that are phenominal. I'm not sure single pitch climbing would be the best use of time in such a wild looking far away land.  Check out the thermal parks, the crazy blue bodies of water, hike on glaciers, eat seafood, explore caves, bungee jump, Mt. Cook NP, etc..

There is a really cool book or .pdf you can get called NZ Frenzy, they make one edition for the north island and one for the south, I went to several of the places in there and they were fantastic.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 230

oh yeah, you'll need a car, and gas isn't exactly cheap.

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 277

Rent a car. If you've never driven a right-drive car (i.e. they drive on the left side of the road), it'll take some getting used to, but driving in NZ is a blast. Lots of amazing scenery to take in, and very little traffic on the roads.

Timothy Case · · Boulder, CO · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 0

We were down there about a year ago and had a blast.  We rented a camper van from Spaceship Rentals and it was cozy, fun and easy to get around.  The roads are excellent, the scenery is amazing (and we live in Colorado), the national parks are epic and the coasts are stunning.  

Patrick Wilder · · Birmingham, Alabama · Joined May 2015 · Points: 10

Awesome, thanks for the input

Kim Bow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Go to Kawa Kawa Bay on lake Taupo. North Island. It’s a 10k walk in but you can pay for a boat to haul you and all your gear. The Climbing is fun, and there is so much of it. Epic place to camp by the lake and a real good community of people. 

Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

Sleeping in your rig is not only legal, but encouraged.

It's dirtbag Valhalla

Tommy Copeland · · Motueka, New Zealand · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 147

You’ll find there are tons of really good rent a cars here, if you are looking for more of a van, JUCY, Happy Campers, Kiwi Campers and a few others rent out vans from a few big cities. Those are a great way to get around and most have a bed and little kitchen with tons of storage space. Best Climbing is around the golden coast(Payne’s Ford and Pohara, but Charleston has a really cool sea cliff called the Cathedral rock that would be worth doing for sure. Check out South Westland for sure(Mt. Cook area). 

Patrick Wilder · · Birmingham, Alabama · Joined May 2015 · Points: 10

Anyone done anything around the Homer hut in Fiordland NP? I think we are going to try and spend a night or two here and hopefully get some climbing/ peak bagging in. 

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,468

Couple of tips:

It sounds like you're only going to be on the So. Island....Good!  North is great but South is fantastic.  I sort of liken it to a place where, if you look a bit, "You can find every nice place you've ever been to in the rest of the world." 

Re' Driving left...I found the times I found myself driving on their wrong side of the road was when, after driving correctly on the left side, I pulled into a pull-out on the right side of the road (for a view, etc) and THEN pulled out again.  THAT's when I was on their wrong side. Wasn't as big a problem if the pull-out was on the left side of the road. The "roundabouts" (traffic circles) aren't anywhere near as bad. 

You gotta go to Mt Cook.  

Eric and Lucie · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 140

We spent a few months there climbing on both Islands.  Full reports & info: 

Travis Senor · · Mailing Address in NC · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 60

Like others have said, definitely look to rent a car. A campervan would be the way to go in my opinion, even just a cheap-o one. NZ is extremely campervan friendly as well. It's the way to go if you want to maximize your time.

Since it says you're an AAC member, there is a partnership agreement (or whatever you call it), between the NZAC and the AAC where we can use their huts at a discounted rate. Something to keep in mind if ya want. The one right outside of Mt. Cook is very nice.

And as it hasn't been mentioned yet: Castle Hill! Bouldering, yes, but gorgeous and on the way to Arthur's Pass when heading out of Christchurch. Worth a stop. This might also be a good central resource:

I can't say much else for the climbing (either not having had partners, or not having been there during the proper season to play in the Southern Alps), but there's plenty of good peak-bagging in Arthur's well as Kea, which if you've never seen you'll get to know quite well should you camp out. Other non-climbing tidbits if you're on the West Coast: Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (and the Alex Knob track if you have a half-day to spare. If the cloud deck is low enough it'll take you above the clouds with a beautiful view of Tasman and Cook, also a great training hike.), the Monteith's Brewery in Greymouth (and nothing else!). If you end up in CHC with time to kill, there's a climbing gym in town as well maybe a mile or so away from the city center in the direction of the Re:Start mall.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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