O for Awesome
August 9, 2011 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Help me have the best, most random 2 weeks in NZ!

I'll be flying into Auckland on August 18 and out on August 31. So far all I have planned is two hip hop shows I want to try to get to. One is in Auckland and one is in Hamilton. I've just been made redundant, so the intention of this trip is to party, have some random adventures and loosen up from my life back home so I come back with some fresh new ideas about what I want to do with my life. To me this means, meet lots of people, don't plan TOO much, get drunk and party with randoms, do some backpacking, explore a bit of nice nature (beaches/forests/mountains etc), go with the flow and say yes to whatever sounds fun at the time. I think I want that seedy backpacker experience before I go home and grow up a little bit and I definitely want to hit the clubs on the weekends (maybe I can find other travellers to do this with?). I don't want to jump out of or off anything, and I don't want to ski or snowboard.

I'm 27, female, Australia, travelling by myself and have never been to NZ before. Suggest away, good people of metafilter. What are fun random things to do during this time? What clubs are good to check out on the weekends (prefer hip hop/rnb but open to whatever's big)? If I just turn up at a backpackers (suggestions for these also needed!) am I likely to just be able to find other randoms who want to check stuff out and wing it?
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet to Travel & Transportation around New Zealand (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I quite like wiki travel.

Couch surfing for meeting people?

Thorntree, which is the lonelyplanet forum, might be helpful. (Linked to the NZ 'branch')

Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? there are tours of the locations that you can do.

Google is really your friend- sniff out a crumb of info, and find more and more information and keep going.

I've heard that hitch hiking is pretty do-able in NZ, but you shouldn't go by yourself. (Best combo safety and rides likelihood taken into account, 1 man, 1 woman pairs, 2 women, 2 men in that order)
If I just turn up at a backpackers (suggestions for these also needed!) am I likely to just be able to find other randoms who want to check stuff out and wing it?
Yes, most probably!
posted by titanium_geek at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2011

This is far from Auckland, but if you are interested in heading south, the bottom of the south island, known as the Caitlins, is awesome. Not much clubbing going on, but beautiful for backpacking/hiking/penguin spotting.
posted by equivocator at 9:23 PM on August 9, 2011


More gigs:
posted by The Monkey at 9:48 PM on August 9, 2011

NZ has the best music, best gigs, and the best DJ's - yet I have no advice for you there.

When I lived there...

Out of the ferry terminal in Auckland Harbor there was a "coffee cruise" ($5?) that dropped you unexpectedly at Rangitoto Island for two hours - it's a volcano! You can hike it up into the crater!!

My BEST hike was Tongiriro National Park. Full Stop. It's a 2 day hike - so so so worth it. I don't know how narly it might be in winter, tho.

You go through 4 seasons in a day, every day, in NZ. But more so in winter. You don't need tents and stuff for hiking because you can book a DOC huts on all hikes - you just need clothes that wick away moisture, decent tramping shoes but nothing expensive or elaborate, clothes that dry quickly, and food. Also a sleeping bag. Think water-proof as often as possible.

Be open to adventures and the people, they will undoubtedly point you in the right direction every time if you just want to fly by the seat of your pants.

You'll be in God Zone (a/k/a God's Own) Country. See a Kauri Forest if you can.


Additionally, I once took a ferry to Waiheke Island from Auckland (lots of vineyards there) and slept on the beach with some friends in the summer - so lovely!

posted by jbenben at 10:26 PM on August 9, 2011

A lot of the stuff you might normally do in Summer just isn't that fun in Winter here, but Rangitoto is good, or hit the vineyards on Waiheke Island, and if you can rent a car or something get yourself out to a beach on the west coast of Auckland (Piha, Bethells Beach etc), or head out to the Arotaki Visitor Centre (West Auckland) and find a day walk to do in the Waitekere Ranges http://www.arc.govt.nz/parks/our-parks/arataki-visitor-centre

The new Wynyard Quarter area has just opened up, so probably worth a walk down that way if you're in the city, and while you're over that way, the Oceanz fish adn chips on the outside of the Auckland Fish Market are one of Auckland's great delights.

If you want to get further afield, take a trip to Coromandel and hit Hot Water Beach etc, or head up north and see Paihia, Russell, and visit Waitangi where the Treaty was signed.

Hanging out in backpackers is probably a good way to meet social people and find drinking buddies. Check out http://www.biglittlecity.co.nz/ too as there's lots of info and offers on bars and restaurants (and it is restaurant month in Auckland).

Personally I'd give Hamilton a miss, it's a hole. But if you're going there, House on Hood is a great craft beer pub.

Do bear in mind that August is likely to be a bit cold and pretty wet, and the weather changes fast in Auckland, so layer up and a mini umbrella is a good idea :)
posted by girlgeeknz at 11:45 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and keep an eye on your drink if you're travelling alone, drink spiking is more common than it should be.
posted by girlgeeknz at 11:47 PM on August 9, 2011

If you want the seedy backpacker experience, go to Queenstown. It's packed full of internationals, all young, all wild, and there's plenty of stuff to do. It's in a gorgeous part of the country, so you can get your nature fix as well, but I'd be hard pressed to think of a place that does 'seedy backpacker' (in all the best ways) better than Queenstown.

For Auckland, find a hostel near Ponsonby Road and head out to a few bars. If you go to Grand Central and there's an Irishman named Neal with incredible red hair and matching moustache, tell him Rowan sent you and you may get a free drink.

New Zealand is full of backpackers, so you're likely to find people all over the shop. Also, everything's cheap! I certainly miss the beer and avocado prices...

Have a blast!
posted by twirlypen at 12:38 AM on August 10, 2011

I'd recommend the South Island. I just came back from a 2 week trip around the North Island and there really weren't many people about, especially midweek. Pretty much everyone we spoke to said Queenstown was the best place to be this time of year.
posted by Kris10_b at 4:40 AM on August 10, 2011

Rangitoto Island for two hours - it's a volcano!

Erm, yeah. All of Auckland is freaking volcanoes.

Personally I'd give Hamilton a miss, it's a hole.

There's a big bridge there. Sometimes people jump off to end it all. The story goes that they actually die of boredom on the way down.

If you want the seedy backpacker experience, go to Queenstown.

Keep in mind that it's currently ski season, so your odds of success with "just turn up at a backpackers" is likely to be poorer in Queenstown than practically anywhere else in the country.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:45 PM on August 10, 2011

Hey Awesome,

I have also recently moved here for job and kinda find it hard to get friends. I do go out with some of my workmates though. We go to hiphop clubs here but it's not that hiphop compared to back home but still something is better than nothing right?

Anyway, if you wanna hang out, drop me a line as I will be going out in the weekend.
I am also planning a trip to Hamilton just to cruise down there and see things so tag along if you want. Don't really have any plans and will go as I come along to the bridge.

It will be nice to find new spots in NZ and will give me any option to see places around as my work mates are pretty busy with their stuffs. I have to beg sometimes to them to go hang out. Yeah I know it sounds like I got nothing to do but I can show you around places I have been to.

So drop me a line and we can hang out.
posted by lovelifeinnz at 4:51 PM on August 15, 2011

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