Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Zealand Artist's Tour: Getting There and Traveling around

The hardest part of getting to New Zealand is deciding which route to take. All of the major airlines around the world fly to New Zealand . What you will have to do in some cases is fly via the nation of the airline i.e. Malaysian airlines will take you via Malaysia and that would be Kuala Lumpar. As New Zealand is in the southern most reaches of the Pacific Ocean you are spoilt for choices of where to stay whether you fly , sail or even cruise . The later you are more restricted though . If you are flying then you can fly via Asia or the America's if flying from Europe . If flying via America's then you can either do the obvious and fly through the USA but there is the more imaginative route via Canada and through the Pacific Islands or maybe via a South American country .Flying via Asia there is no limit to the choice of stop overs that you can take that will make the journey that much more interesting , the only real limit being time . Of course if you fly either way there is always the opportunity to do a small excursion via Australia .

If you wish to sail to New Zealand then there are a number of opportunities . One would be to be a part of a crew on a yacht that is sailing to New Zealand from you resident country . Alternately if you fly to the Pacific rim then you might be able to catch a yacht that is sailing to New Zealand but you will have to catch it at the right time of year as the yachts doing a round trip generally want to be in NZ for the summer .
If you want to sail back part of the route , i.e. across the Pacific Ocean then you can catch one of the numerous yachts sailing back north . One word of advice though about sailing apart from the obvious of being sea sick is that you will stand a better chance of being selected as a member of a crew if you have crewed a yacht before and if you have some skills such as navigational or generally sailing .
Once in New Zealand the next problem would be to get around . Your means of transport would be greatly dictated by your budget .

The cheapest but not the most reliable is hitching . There is plenty of scope to hitch in New Zealand but do not expect to get a lift every time and if you want to improve your prospects of getting lift it is advisable to be walking along by the road . I found that I was offered numerous lifts without even having stuck my thumb out . I was told on a number of occasions that the driver would not normally pick up a hitch hiker if they are just sitting beside the road . This is a catch twenty two situation if you have been walking all day and have run out of steam .

The next means of getting around which is quite popular and reasonably cheap is cycling . Bike's in New Zealand are comparable with other parts of the world whether it be price or quality so you could always buy one out there .

The next mode of transport that is not cheap but it gets you to a destination and that is relying on the bus and coach service . The most common one being Newmans or Mount Cook line . These are nation wide coach services that you can book ahead , and even via the Internet . There are other local bus services that are worth taking for their entertainment value . One thing that you will always have is a break/stop of at a cafe .
The next mode of transport would be via a car . These come in two categories , those that are hired or rented and those that are bought . There are car hire specialists in all of the main cities in New Zealand also you can arrange your hired vehicle from your country of origin there is usually a restriction though with hiring and that is you cannot take the vehicle onto a metalled road as it will damage the paint work and heightens that chance of a accident if your not used to driving on these types of roads . If you decide to buy a car whilst in New Zealand then there are a number of things that you need to know that are a legal requirement. One is that you will need to be insured , this is reasonably cheap and comprehensive . We got full comprehensive insurance cover for the year which insured our luggage and window screen and we also got full AA membership which is nothing to be sniffed at , all of this cost us some $185 .Finally on the legally side of life it will be worth getting guide to the highway code . there are a few minor differences with driving in New Zealand , one being that any vehicle turning right into a junction must give way to vehicles coming out and any vehicle turning left into the junction must give way to any vehicle turning right from the opposite direction . As well as this they drive on the left in New Zealand , this may sound like I am stating the obvious but there are numerous accidents involving people who drive on the wrong side of the road and many with fatal results .

Buying the car is not too difficult as there are car dealers in all of the major cities plus car are parked by the side of the road with for sale notices . As well as this you could consider going to a back packers lodge and see if any are for sale . you might be able to get a bargain from somebody who is about to leave the country after their own journey around NZ .

If you buy from a dealer you can be spoilt for choice of vehicle from an elderly but reliable vehicle to a brand new one off the for court . Japanese car are predominant in New Zealand but you can get a British one such a Land Rover or even a German make , such as a BMW

Next you will need a warrant of fitness , this is comparable to the MOT in Britain . If you buy a trailer as well then this will need to have a warrant of fitness .Next is the road tax . When you buy a vehicle the person selling the vehicle has to pay a registration fee but as a buyer you might be asked to contribute or maybe even pay for it yourself by the vender . The cost of fuel in New Zealand is comparable with the prices in Britain and fuel stations are dotted around NZ , even in some of the more remote places .
The comments about cars also applies to motorbikes , one exception being that you might consider taking your own by shipping it out and then arriving just as the motor bike arrives . this has been done a number of times and can be cheaper than actually buying one in the New Zealand .

Finally you might consider trying to walk most of the way when traveling around New Zealand . If you do then there is plenty of scope to do so , if you do you be rewarded with some of the most picturesque views that very few people get to see , the only limit is your imagination and your sense of adventure . One word of warning though if you are going to be adventurous always be safe and check the local weather , it can change very quickly in New Zealand.

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