Sunday, July 15, 2007

Renting A Motor Home To Travel New Zealand

Renting A Motor Home To Travel New Zealand

Whether you crave a holiday full of outdoor adventure or a relaxing vacation sampling gourmet cuisine and award winning wines, New Zealand has something for everyone. And, there is no better way to explore this highly diverse country than to rent a New Zealand motor home. With many tourist destinations within a few hours of each other and a well-maintained network of roads and highways, renting a motor home or camper van in New Zealand provides travelers the freedom and flexibility to experience all of the sites and attractions while enjoying all of the comforts of a home on wheels.

With many companies specialising in renting motor homes in New Zealand, it's helpful to compare prices and availability on the internet. Rates tend to be higher during the summer months of December through February, and the best deals are to be had from May through September. Reputable rental companies will offer comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance, and 24-hour customer service. Other features that are also frequently offered when renting a camper van in New Zealand include itinerary planning, kitchen utensils, linens, unlimited mileage, ferry booking assistance, airport pickup, and luggage storage.

Camp ground facilities throughout New Zealand are generally very well maintained and in convenient, and often times, scenic locations. Along with BBQs, kitchen facilities, restrooms and showers, most campgrounds have laundry rooms and playgrounds. It's always a good idea to reserve space at a campground prior to arrival, especially during the peak season of summer. Although most New Zealand motor homes and camper vans have a shower and toilet on board, it is illegal to discharge this waste into anything other than an approved dump station. Keep New Zealand clean and green. Should you dump the waste elsewhere it will end up in out pristine waterways. The main pick up and drop off cities for a New Zealand motor home or a New Zealand camper van are Auckland and Christchurch, although some companies have an office in Wellington, Picton or Queenstown. One way hires have a minimum hire period. It is also legal to park motor homes in New Zealand on national park land as long as there is not a "Parking Prohibited" sign posted.

Most first time visitors of New Zealand visit both the North and South islands to experience the vastly different landscapes. Camper vans and motor homes can be conveniently driven onto the Interislander ferry for the three hour journey between the islands. Most rental companies will gladly book reservations for the ferry and provide you with all of the information that you will need prior to setting sail.

When touring the stunning beauty of the South Island, it's especially important to be aware of the weather. Snow frequently falls in the winter months, and chains are required on some roads. The speed limit on New Zealand open roads is 100 km or about 62 miles per hour. To have a safe motoring holiday, it's essential to stay within the speed limit and to obey all of the traffic signs. Many of the roads, while well paved and signed, are somewhat narrow and often slick from rain or ice. Photo radar is used throughout the country to enforce the speed limits, and there are strict laws forbidding drinking and driving.

New Zealand is an amazing country with plenty to offer every traveler, and motor homes and camper vans allow the convenience, comfort, and flexibility to make the most of your holiday. Without wasting time checking into hotels or unpacking and packing up cars and suitcases, you can spend your time enjoying the sites and relaxing in your home on wheels. Happy Motoring!

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Author Bio

Mike O'Brien offers advice and information about new zealand car rental This is a quality web site with a choice of New Zealand car rental, motor home hire and general New Zealand information at your fingertips!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Zealand's South Island

New Zealand's South Island
by: Ramnish Gupta

Natural, untouched beauty! That's what New Zealand's South Island is all about. The South Island is home to the Southern Alps and some great skiing and snow boarding opportunities.

Christchurch is the busiest city in the South Island and also offers an international airport, with flights connecting directly to a lot of overseas destinations. The Sumner Beach, Gondola, Avon river and Cashmere hills are the main attractions in Chistchurch. The city centre is always busy with trams running frequently making it a great place to hang out!

Dunedin with it's Cadbury's factory and Queenstown with it's adventure attractions are the other two cities that can't be missed in the South Island. Queenstown also has bungee jumping opportunities, jet boats and ski dive opportunities. Milford sound tours also leave from Queenstown, and are highly recommended. Stewart island can also be visited by ferries leaving Invercargill.

Most cities in the South Island are well connected by Trans Rail and that's perhaps the most convenient way to travel. Alternately, rental cars can also be booked and a drive along the West Coast is highly recommended. Getting to the South Island from the North Island is possible by either catching the Interislander ferry from Wellington or a Sounds Air flight from Wellington airport. Domestic flights run by Air New Zealand and other airlines also connect most other cities in the South Island to Wellington.

About The Author

Ramnish Gupta is based in New Zealand and has a keen interest in travel and photography. His website New Zealand Photography has travel information and photographs from all over New Zealand.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Tourists Guide To Auckland New Zealand

A Tourists Guide To Auckland New Zealand
by: Thomas Smith

Have you ever traveled to New Zealand? If not, you are in for a treat! Auckland, New Zealand is a beautiful place to visit and a city that is large, exciting and a truly fun place to be.

Auckland, New Zealand is surrounded by the sea and lovely green forests. As you fly into Auckland you will be amazed at how fresh and green everything looks. You may notice many hills that are covered with grass that looks freshly shorn. These are the volcanic hills that are kept in shape by the sheep in the area.

You may be surprised at the city of Auckland because it has over 1 million inhabitants and has been developing in size and in sophistication over the last several years. You will find that many of the shops are now open 7 days a week and the bars and nightclubs remain open into the late hours of the night.

The cultural blend of the people in Auckland is fascinating. There is a wonderful mix of Polynesians, Asians, and Europeans. You will also find an interesting blend of activities in the city. You will see cyclists, runners and lots of people participating in water activities. There are at least 70,000 powerboats and sailing crafts in the greater Auckland area. Plan to visit one or two of the 102 beaches that are within an hour of the city.

One of the greatest assets of Auckland is the Waitemata Harbour. This name means, sea of sparkling waters and the name fits this lovely harbor. In 2000 the city held its defense of the Americas Cup and the regatta helped a major redevelopment of the area begin. Viaduct is the name of the area now and some of the citys most popular cafes, restaurants and bars are located here.

When you buy an Explorer Bus Pass you can see the city in an inexpensive and convenient way. There are stops at nine of the major attractions in the city and you can hop on or off at any of these stops.

Ready for the wilds of Auckland? Visit Mt. Eden, sip wine at a winery and then journey on to Muriwai Beach. You can spend half a day taking a tour or you also have the choice of two day-long jaunts. There are even tours that are designed for those who want a comprehensive wine-tasting experience.

The Auckland Museum is certainly worth a visit and dont leave the area without a trip to see Parnell Village. This is a place where you can shop to your hearts content at the upscale boutiques and shops. There are Victorian villas in the area, also. You will want to head up to the top of the Sky Tower for the superb view and the National Maritime Museum is lots of fun, too.

Different and fascinating? Visit Auckland!!

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About The Author
Thomas Smith

You can find city central hotel Auckland by going to the Search New Zealand Hotels website Find the Best Deals on Auckland Hotels. Our website also showcases Auckland vacation packages, car rentals, flights to Auckland and last minute deals.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Lord of the Rings: Finding Middle Earth in New Zealand

The Lord of the Rings: Finding Middle Earth in New Zealand
by: Rene Smith

The Lord of the Rings story has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. New Zealand has been lucky enough to be involved in this global phenomena thanks to Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The wide-open spaces, diverse landscapes and spectacular scenery of New Zealand were the best place to film the movies, allowing New Zealanders to showcase their country and create a growing Lord of the Rings tourism industry.

The Lord of the Rings back-story

When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the original Lord of the Rings novels between 1937 and 1949, he would have had no idea of the huge impact they would have on future generations throughout the world. The stories have had a massive influence on pop culture and you come across many Lord of the Rings references in songs, movies and other literature.

Tolkien had earlier written a book called The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings novels followed as sequels and continued the epic fantasy theme and have since been reprinted into over 30 languages, making it one of the most popular franchises of the 20th century.

The Lord of the Rings story is based around human like creatures such as Elves, Hobbits, Wizards, Dwarves, Orcs and Men. They live in a sprawling world named Middle Earth, home to mysterious beings, magical rings, the devious Gollum, huge battles, the dark realm of Mordor and much, much more.

Part of the success of the Lord of the Rings can be put down to its complexity and Tolkien’s endless work in developing a credible and highly detailed back-story. This back-story is brilliantly revealed as the story progresses, filling in important details and creating a living and breathing world with a rich history in the minds of readers.

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movie trilogy

After several acclaimed but moderately successful feature films, New Zealand's Peter Jackson diverted his attention to a new project, one that would consume many years of his life and eventually turn him into a star and one of Hollywood's most sought after directors.

Jackson always had a desire to make an updated film of the Lord of the Rings and often wondered why it hadn't been done earlier. After years of negotiating and revised scripts, Jackson and New Line Cinemas finally agreed to film and release the Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of The King. Filmed entirely in New Zealand, the films proved to be financial gold mine for both parties with the combined profits of the movies, video games and related merchandise easily heading in to the billions of dollars.

The movies were released to much critical acclaim and while some purists felt that Jackson deviated too far from the book, most agreed that it was both faithful to the book and a spectacular motion picture. The three movies combined for 17 Academy Awards with The Return of the King being the most successful, earning 11 of these, including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson.

The movies created a huge windfall for New Zealand in terms of publicity, tourism, the movie making industry and the creation of Weta Workshops as a leading special effects design studio. Wellington was even chosen as the destination for the premiere of the final chapter of the trilogy, The Return of the King.

Finding Middle Earth in New Zealand

With the Lord of the Rings thrusting New Zealand's spectacular scenery in to the limelight, it was inevitable that a demand to see it up close and personal would be created. Labelling itself as "Middle Earth", New Zealand's tourism industry gained a much-appreciated boost thanks to thousands of travellers taking part in tours and scenic trips. Immersing themselves in various film locations, ardent Lord of the Rings fans and casual travellers alike could enjoy the wide open spaces of New Zealand knowing that these were where the movies plot twists, dramatic scenes and great battles took place.

Filming took place throughout the country, with areas surrounding Wellington, the lower North Island and Christchurch receiving the most attention. The Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps and Mt Potts high country station serve as particularly beautiful and inspiring areas to see various Lord of the Rings film locations such as Edoras, Helms Deep and the Misty Mountains. All are accessible with tour groups and you'll have the opportunity to meet new friends with similar interests along the way.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings story has affected the lives of millions of individuals around the world and none more so than here in New Zealand. His epic tale of courage and honour has not only inspired readers but also helped Peter Jackson create his own masterpiece, opening up a whole new generation to Tolkien's wonderful story. New Zealand's film industry has been taken to a new level with the burgeoning local industry talent allowing other blockbuster films such as the Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong to also be filmed in the country. The benefits spread further into tourism and related areas with many overseas visitors coming to experience New Zealand's special link with the Lord of the Rings.

About The Author
Rene Smith is a travel guru who lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Visit Christ Church Holidays for information on Lord of the Rings tours, travel articles, reviews and helpful tips on planning a vacation to Christchurch, New Zealand.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Thrills And Spills Of White Water Rafting in Christchurch, New Zealand

The Thrills And Spills Of White Water Rafting in Christchurch, New Zealand
by: Rene Smith

About 2 hours drive from Christchurch you will find the Rangitata River. It’s located near Geraldine, a beautiful area of the South Island with some stunning landscapes and natural features on view. The river is also perfectly suited for white water rafting with a number of exhilarating rapids to go with the flat sections that are great for practising your skills or getting a well-earned breather.

Most operators that take rafting trips on the Rangitata River take you to and from Christchurch in a shuttle. Like most white water rafting trips, it can be intense at times and without needing to be a professional athlete, it helps if you are reasonably fit. The more you put in, the more you will get out of this experience, so if flying down gushing rapids is your kind of thing, then you’re going to have a great time.

The day starts off with a shuttle picking you up from Christchurch early in the morning. From here it’s a simple but pleasant drive through the countryside on your way to the Rangitata River. Once reaching the river, you drive further up it to a lodge where you will start your day of activities.

The first thing that needs organising is your equipment. This consists of things like a wetsuit, helmet, life jacket etc. They may not be the most comfortable or fashionable but the water can be cold so you’ll definitely appreciate it. After being kitted out, you’ll be split into groups that will make up those on your raft. It’s great if you’ve got a bunch of friends to go with but if not, you’ll probably meet some new ones by the end of the day anyway.

Driving further up the river you’ll arrive at the point where you’ll be starting your journey. It’s here that you’ll get your first taste of rafting. Each raft has one instructor who sits at the back of the raft, helps you avoid rocks, cracks jokes, ensures safety and in general makes sure you have a great time. Your instructor will brief you all on the basics, which include things like paddling, lunging to one side and pulling people back into the raft if they fall out (which can and probably will happen). You get plenty of chance to practise all these things as you gently make your way down a long calm patch of the river.

After everyone in your raft is confident with the skills, it’s time to hit your first rapids! This is definitely the most exciting part and what makes people come back for more. It’s a real adrenaline rush as your raft is thrown through the rapids, you can feel the power of the water as you bump up and down and side to side with each dip and change of direction. The instructors do a great job of keeping you on the right path although you’ll have to help them out when they need it, some rapid paddling is required to get through some of the tough spots.

As you head further down the river, you’ll get to enjoy a lot more exciting rapids that really get the heart going. Sometimes they can be so intense that people fall out or rafts flip over, this isn’t uncommon and the instructors will alert you if you need to pick up someone that went overboard. The risk factor is all part of the excitement but at no stage does it fell dangerous. The strength (or grading) of the river changes throughout the year but will always give you some very challenging sections of white water.

The main part of the trip lasts for a couple of hours before the river flattens out and you get the chance to have a bit of fun with the other rafts, i.e. splashing them with your oars or throwing their instructor in the water. You may also get the chance to jump off some very high rocks or float down sections of the river out of the raft (this is when you’ll be glad you’re in a wetsuit).

After loading the rafts onto the trailers, you’ll head back up to the lodge for a well-earned barbeque. By this stage you should be exhausted, just managing to stay in the raft all day can be hard work! After some laughs and a few final words it’s time to head home. You get the opportunity to buy photos taken of your rafts, which is a nice touch, albeit a slightly expensive one.

Going down the rapids is a truly awesome experience and one that you’ll be raving to your friends about for weeks. White water rafting comes highly recommended for anyone visiting Christchurch and looking for something exciting to try.

About The Author
Rene Smith is a travel guru who lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Visit Christchurch Holidays for his other articles, reviews and all the information you'll ever need to know on Christchurch, New Zealand.