The Hubbards Visit New Zealand

View Google Maps Satellite Image of New Zealand

Time, Tele, and Travel Facts

Note That New Zealand Is 18-22 Hours Ahead of North America Time.
At 10:00 AM in the Eastern US, it's 3:00 AM the Next Day in New Zealand

Current Time In New Zealand:

Dial 011 then the New Zealand Country Code 64 followed by the area code and number.
(I have included the country code in the numbers of the hotels below.)

Our Tour Was Conducted by

Tailored Travel

Click On Map For Information
Click On Picture For Hotel Web Site
March 7 - 8
March 7, 2006
Leave Orlando 12:56 PM
American Airlines #215

Arrive Los Angeles 3:26 PM

Leave Los Angeles 7:15 PM
Air New Zealand #19

Check Out Air New Zealand's
New Business Premier Seats

March 8, 2006
Cross International Date Line.
Lose this day by crossing the
International Date Line

between Hawaii and New Zealand.

March 9, 2006
Arrive Christchurch 5:45 AM

March 9 -10

We arrived in the largest city on the South Island, Christchurch (Pop. 380,000) at 5:45 AM after flying for nearly 14 hours from Los Angeles. After clearing Customs, we met our guide, Robert Panzer, at the airport arrival terminal. Robert took us to his van, and we began our trip. We checked into The Manor, a lovely B & B in the central part of Christchurch.

Settled in 1850 by The Church of England this very British city boasts Gothic architecture, stone buildings, Botanical Gardens, restored Tramway, and the Antarctic Center. The old university buildings are restored and home to many arts and craft studios.

Things We Did:
* Visited Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens

* Walked through the city and up to Cathedral Square
* Visited the Arts Center of Christchurch: situated in the historic buildings of the original University of Canterbury
* Took in a Maori cultural evening with explanations and show

* Took a day trip to Akaroa, a coastal village south of Christchurch.

The Manor

+64 3 366 8584
March 11
(331 km/206 miles, 4.5 hrs)

Robert drove us south via the inland Scenic Route 72. We stopped at the little village of Geraldine for lunch and ice cream. Leaving the plains behind for the mountains we drove on through the countryside and passed Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki with beautiful long views to Mt. Cook. Eventually we arrived in Twizel and checked in to The Heartland Lodge.

Dad and I by Lake Pukaki.

Heartland Lodge

+64 3 435 0008
March 12
Leaving Twizel we drove back a little ways to Mt. Cook. We visited the National Park and took a two hour hike up the Hooker Valley to view Mt. Cook. It was a crisp, clear day. Dad had a great hike and took lots of pictures.

At 3754 meters/12,308 feet, Mt Cook (Aoraki) is New Zealand's highest mountain. It towers above a splendid cast of massive snow-clad peaks that make up Mt. Cook/Aoraki National Park.

Nudging one side of Mt Cook is the mighty Tasman Glacier, a 30-km/18 mile giant and one of the longest outside the Himalayas. Leaving Mt. Cook we drove along the shores of the newly formed (hydro) Lake Dunstan.

We continued the drive through the Kawarau Gorge, old gold mining areas and stopped at the original Bungy Bridge - where the Bungy Jump originated. We contined into the action capital of New Zealand: Queenstown.

Queenstown is located along Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountain ranges - the Remarkables and Earnslaw. Arriving in the afternoon we checked into The Dairy, an historic and centrally located bed and breakfast.

Queenstown has over 200 attractions from bungy jumping to arts trails. Many shops are located in a compact and buzzing town centre.

Things We Did:
* Gondola ride: rise 450 meters/1475 feet above Queenstown to Bob's Peak to enjoy views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.

* Two Excellent Restaurants - Fishbone and Prime (great water view)

The Dairy

+64 3 442 5164
March 13
Overnight Boat Trip in Doubtful Sound

The deepest of all the fiords, Doubtful Sound has ancient rainforest and abundant wildlife. Virtually untouched by man, the Sound is a wonderful place to visit. Captain James Cook sighted the entrance to Doubtful Sound on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1770. He called the place Doubtful Harbor. Doubtful Sound is 40 km long from Deep Cove to the entrance of the Tasman Sea.

From Queenstown to Te Anau and on to Manapouri, the journey continued with a launch cruise departing Pearl Harbor across Lake Manapouri. After disembarking at West Arm, we traveled by coach across the Wilmot Pass and at Deep Cove boarded the "Navigator" for a leisurely exploration of Doubtful Sound.

We saw dolphins, seal lions, and lots of steep fiords with some beautiful waterfalls. The vessel anchored overnight in one of Doubtful Sound's hidden arms. There were kayaks and a tender craft for exploring the edges of the sound.

Dinner on the boat was great and LeAnn, the director led the passengers in singing "Happy Birthday" for Jim's 85th birthday. They also made him a special "birthday cake."

After dinner the ship's guide gave a great slide show and talk about the nature of Doubtful Sound and its inhabitants.

Fiordland Navigator

+64 3 249 7416
March 14
We returned for one more night in Queenstown at "The Diary." Dad and I took a walk in the Queenstown Gardens. Many beautiful and unique trees and flowers can be found there.

The Dairy
+64 3 442 5164
March 15 -16

(117 km/73 miles, 1.5 hrs)
Lake Wanaka and the Wanaka Township:
We headed out around 9:30 AM (our usual leaving time) and drove to Arrowtown just north of Queenstown. We had a nice walk along the river and took lots of pictures.

We had lunch at a nice little place in the quaint village.
We drove on to Wanaka, the town along the banks of Lake Wanaka. The crystal-clear waters of New Zealand's fourth largest lake reflect the snow-capped peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park, whose dominant feature is Mt Aspiring, towering above a magnificent glacier-sculpted wilderness.

We checked into the Mountain Range Lodge, a very modern and nice place with large comfortable rooms. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Relishes Cafe near the waterfront. The next morning Dad and I took a walk on the trail that goes around the lake. It was a beautiful scene. Dad took a little spill and cut his lip, so we had a quick visit to the doctor. New Zealand has a great medical system, most of which is paid for by the state. Dad did not require further treatment, so we went back to the Mountain for a nap.

Mountain Range Lodge

+64 3 443 7400
March 17
(262 km, 163 m, 3.5 hrs)
This morning we followed the Heritage highway to the Glaciers with lush forests and wetlands, beach views and ferns along the West Coast of New Zealand. We drove through the rainforest to the Fox Glacier.
These glaciers are unique in the world, as they are tucked in between lush green rainforests, with patches of the red Pohutekawa flowers on the hillsides. Commonly here are the New Zealand mountain parrots, the Kea, mischievous large green birds with a strong beak, beautiful vermilion red under their wings.

I took this picture at a stop not too far from the glaciers. I'm quite proud of it.

The Fox Glacier valley has steep straight up hillsides that lead up to the terminal of the glacier. We walked up to a viewpoint and took some pictures. A glacier is basically a big, slow-moving pile of snow and ice. You can't really ski on it, but for a price you can go up and walk around on it.

We drove on to Misty Peaks, a compact and pleasant B & B in the little town of Fox Glacier. Dave and Lee were our hosts and in additional to providing us comfortable rooms, they cooked us a fine dinner. We met a mother and kids from Hawaii and an older couple from Australia staying here.
A few minutes out of the township is Lake Matheson (Reflection lake). We took a walk through the lush rainforest with numerous ferns and mosses among the trees around the lake. There were great photos of Mt. Cook in the distance.

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are approximately 45 minutes' drive apart. We visited Franz Josef Glacier the next morning having visited Fox Glacier on our way in. Franz Josef is somewhat bigger and more impressive. Explorer Julius van Haast named the Franz Josef Glacier after his Austrian emperor. It was a foggy and rainy day so we did not take a long walk at the Glacier. This area is part of the UN World Heritage area.

Misty Peaks Lodge

+64 3 751 0849
March 18
(157 km, 96 m, 3 hrs)
The West Coast of the South Island is a sparsely populated region with dramatic scenery. It is an area of mountain peaks, impressive glaciers, tranquil lakes and raging rivers, lush rainforest and a magnificent coastline. Stretching 600 km/373 miles in length, the West Coast has either wholly or partially located within its boundaries five of New Zealand's 13 national parks.

Today we arrived in Hokitika, a funky little town on the coast. This bus/motor home is representative of the fell. We checked into Teichelman's B & B. Our hosts, Frances and Brian took great care of us and showed us around their interesting historic home. Hokitika is the third largest center on the West Coast. (4000 people) It is known for its arts and crafts espcially with jade or "greenstone" as it was known to the Maoris. Many local artisans work in natural media producing world-class works that visitors can purchase from one of the many art and craft outlets in Hokitika. The Jade factory allows visitors to see different types of jade in its natural state, jade carvers at work and the opportunity to purchase individually designed sculptures and jewelry.
In the afternoon Dad and I took a walk along the beach. It was a cloudy and drizzly day as a front was approaching across the Tasman Sea.

In the evening Brian took some of us out to the Glow Worm dell. Here we could see the tiny glowing glow worms in the complete darkness. It was really cool, but hard to explain in words. Brian drove us around town and show us the airport and the old wharf area and told us great stories about the history of Hokitika, once a thriving gold rush boom town. The next morning Frances cooked us a fine breakfast with many homemade specialties.

Teichelmanns B & B

+64 3 755 6805
March 19 - 20
(349 km/ 218 miles, 4.5 hrs)
Today we continued north along the coast exploring Punakaiki in Paparoa National Park. Here we saw the famous "Pancake Rocks" along the sea coast worn by the ocean into what look exactly like stacks of pancakes.

The Department of Conservation has built a great viewing trail that takes you out into the rocks and high over the crashing waves. Leaving the park we continued via the scenic Buller Gorge and the Spooners Range into Nelson.

Nelson is known for its year-round sunshine, golden beaches, three national parks, 300-plus working artists and craftspeople, boutique wineries, fresh local produce and seafood, historical streetscapes, waterfront cafes and restaurants, and a thoroughly relaxed lifestyle.

We checked into Muritai Manor on the edge of town and facing the bay. We photographed a beautiful sunset over the water.

A great meal was served at a waterfront eatery known as "Olivia's".
In the morning we took a walk along the Maitai River in the center of town. A side trail led to the Queen's Gardens. New Zealand is just packed with very "British" gardens - all nicely organized, symetrical, and well marked. After the gardens we continued up along the river to a park containing the spot of the very first Rugby Game. I believe there was still some damage to the grass remaining from that game.

A sign invited us to walk up to a spot known as "The Center of New Zealand." Approximately an hour later and 10,000 nearly vertical steps we arrived at the top to see a panaramic view. We stood at the geographical "center" of New Zealand for pictures (I would have been more than satisfied to take the pictures the center of the rugby field a few thousand feet below with a sign saying "...very near the Center of New Zealand.")

The view over Nelson, however, was spectacular from the top.

Muritai Manor

+64 3 545 1189
March 21
(via Picton, and the Interislander ferry)

Traveling up from Nelson to the old whaling township of Picton,
we boarded the ferry for a scenic 3 hour crossing of the Cook Strait via the Marlborough Sounds.

Wellington is a powerful and distinct city, New Zealand's capitol and home of the government. The inner city is nestled on the foreshore, harbor side and waterfront and looks out over the departing ferries. Built on a fault line, it boasts to be the café capitol with lots of culture, shops, and the National Museum - Te Papa (Our Place). There are also Botanical Gardens, observatory, cable car and the Parliament Buildings.

We left the ferry in Wellington and stayed at a downtown hotel, the Museum Hotel. It continued to rain and drizzle throughout the afternoon, so we mostly stayed in the hotel. We had a nice view to marina across the street.

Museum Hotel

+64 4 802 8900
March 22 -23
We drove out of Wellington through the rain toward Hastings and Napier in the Hawke's Bay region. Hawke's Bay is a region of striking scenic contrast with dramatic sea cliffs,
park-like farmlands, winding stony rivers and rugged hill country.

Along the way we stopped at Mt. Bruce for a visit to the aviary and bush walk. The rain paused just long enough for us to take a walk through the reserve. I took this picture (of which I am very proud) of a Kakariki bird.

We also got to view a real, live Kiwi Bird in a darkened exhibit (they're nocturnal, you know). We couldn't take a picture, but if you could take a picture it would look like this stuffed Kiwi found outside the exhibit.

New Zealand's mascot, the Kiwi Bird, is a nearly extinct, shy, reclusive, flightless, nocturnal forager. I hope they manage to keep a few alive.

Continuing to the Hawke's Bay region we enjoyed a change of scenery from the steep, stark mountains of the South Island. Adding color and interest to an already beautiful landscape are orchards, old homesteads, historic settlements, and vineyards of all sizes, which produce internationally, regarded fine wines. There are nearly 500 wineries In New Zealand.

We arrived at Hawthorne House an Edwardian-style villa amidst a leafy garden and is rich in the elegance of a bygone era. (Also famous for their own brand of coffee). It rained most of our two night stay here but we enjoyed the house and our hosts, who cooked us a nice dinner on the first night. On the second night we had dinner at a restaurant that's part of a famous New Zealand winery - The Vidal. It was quite good. We bought Cadbury chocolate bars for desert at a gas station on the way home.

For adventure we visited downtown Napier which was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 30's and rebuilt almost totally in the Art Deco style. It was a little like being in South Beach Miami, but a very nice little town. We did some shopping.

Hawthorne House

+64 6 878 0035
March 24
(223 km/139 miles 4 hrs)
Rotorua is by Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake near the center of the North Island. It is a very "touristy" area - I would call it the "Orlando" of New Zealand. Lots of shops and restaurants line the streets that lead up the lake where you can take a variety of boat rides or try to drive a golf ball onto a raft and win a fabulous prize.

We bunked at Waiteti Lakeside Lodge, a wonderfully situated B & B just outside of town. Our hosts, Brian and Val, have done a wonderful job of designing a running the this place. The weather was rainy and extremely windy so we didn't get to do much outdoors. After a tasty breakfast the next morning we did a little tour of the Geyser area.

We visited Hell's Gate Thermal Reserve to see boiling mud pots and steaming waterfalls. The smell of sulfur filled the air and our noses.

We went to Rotorua's Museum of Art and History in a lovely landscaped garden near the center of town. A new viewing platform was open atop the building, and it offered grand views of the surrounding area.

Waiteti Lodge

+64 7 357 2311
March 25
(234 km/145 miles, 3.5 hours)

We drove for several hours through the rain and less interesting scenery of the inner North Island to arrive on the outskirts of Auckland. If Rotorua is the "Orlando" of New Zealand, then Auckland is the "Miami." This multi-cultural city (convenience stores are all run by Indians - the red dot and turban kind) is big and busy with factories and mega-stores. There may be some nice scenery, but we arrive too late to see anything much and besides, it was still raining.

We checked into the Grand Chancellor Airport Hotel which is everything we've come to love about American airport hotels - overpriced, underquality, and just generally worthless. Rooms that wouldn't pass muster at a Hojo Inn; institutional buffet dinner (only eating option) shared with a busload of confused Japanese tourists; and internet access at $10.00 per hour. A Hampton Inn across the street would drive this place out of business in a month. Trust me there is nothing "Grand" about the place, and they are the only "airport" hotel I've ever found that charges a fee to ride their van to the airport - about 5 minutes away. If you ever come to Auckland stay somewhere else.

We are out of here early the next morning to go to Bay of Islands. I'm hoping we'll find somewhere else to stay on our return, and also that we'll find something worthwhile in the visit to Auckland.

Grand Chancellor

+64 9 275 1029
March 26 -27
(250 km /149m, 4.5 hrs)
We took the twin coast discovery Highway (1) North to Warkworth and Whangarei with beaches all along the way. We didn't really see any beaches due to the driving rain. This was a lost day due to the bad weather, but at least we got to the town of Russell and our B & B du jour - the Ounuwhao Harding House - a nicely restored home near the water on this resort penisula.

The driving wind and rain continued throughout the rest of the day and the night keeping us inside. I worked on some new songs. Dad took a walk outside in the rain under his poncho.

Ounuwhao Harding House

+64 9 403 7310
March 28
Return to Auckland for the last night. Stay at Copthorne Hotel on the waterfront in Downtown Auckland.

Copthorne Hotel

+64 9 377 0349
March 29
March 29, 2006 -
Leave Auckland 9:45 PM
Air New Zealand #2

Arrive Los Angeles 1:40 PM

Sheraton Four Points LAX
March 30
March 30, 2006
Leave Los Angeles 7:15 AM
American Airlines #244

Arrive Orlando 2:46 PM


Jim's Flickr Web Site Photos From Previous Trips

Rick's Flickr Web Site Photos From Previos Trips