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New Zealand - Dunedin

100% Pure - New Zealand - breathtaking scenery, best fishing, hiking and skiing in the world. Outstanding wineries, great golf courses, and you get a lot for your dollar.

This country is one of my top three favorite destinations.  It reminds me of home, Scotland, with Switzerland, Norway and Austria all rolled into one special place with spectacular Alpine scenery.  The South Island is special to me, everyone should visit it, and a must see is the city of Dunedin.    It means Edinburgh in Gaelic, which is very appropriate since it was settled by Scottish emigrants in the early l800’s.   I always hear bagpipes when I visit and they are proud of their Scottish heritage.

I can’t recommend New Zealand highly enough.   I was proud to be named New Zealand Travel Agent of the Year a few years ago.   My itineraries were judged the best out of 100,000 entries.    Great skiing, fantastic golf courses, and definitely a wonderful place for trout fishing.  Fantastic rivers to choose from, all jumping with fish.   It’s wineries are outstanding, and there are lots of luxury lodges in remote places to relax in.    I could play golf 365 days a year and not get bored.  I use my camera as much as my clubs and most of the courses are reasonably priced.   This is where you renew your passion for life.

I could live in this country, it has everything I need.

The Trans-Alpine train journey is one of the top five in the world.  Its goes from Christchurch to Greymouth, across the centre of the South Island, and I always put clients at the Wilderness Lodge in Arthur’s Pass for a couple of days.

New Zealand is an easy country to drive around with two lane roads, little traffic, and a wonderful maritime climate.  No one lives more than 75 miles from the ocean with a population of 3.5 million people, with only 500,000 living in the South Island.

The Kiwis as the New Zealanders are called, are passionate about Rugby.  It is a national obsession.  After watching the All Blacks play at Eden Park, I could see they are like machines, a hard game played by brave people.  I had tears in my eyes when they did the Haka, a Maori war dance, before they start the game.

Best place in the world for hiking with many guided treks,  flowers, wildlife,  and above all, spectacular scenery and friendly people.  The Maori culture is felt on both islands, with long names you can't pronounce.  In fact, the Maori name for New Zealand is Land of the Long White Cloud.    The air is the purest in the world.  When I hike in the Alps I always say to myself – this is where the Angels live.

I remember the first time I went to church in Dunedin.  This was the only pew I ever sat in which had a place at the end to stand your brolly (umbrella), which made me chuckle.  It’s a city like no other.  It has the steepest street in the world, the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere, best wildlife viewing, and has a energetic fun atmosphere.

The city is framed by a magnificent harbor, sits on the doorstep of the Otago Peninsula and has a laid back population.   It is described as the finest example of eco-tourism in the world.   You can see seals, rare penguins, albatross, sea lions and much more all in their natural environment.

I once spent a week there, looking at 27 different properties, only put three on my preferred list,  and every time I go, I manage to find something new to report on in my articles for the three travel magazines and two newspapers I write a column for.

The most photographed place in town is the railway station.  Also worth a visit is Olverston House, a wonderful home full of antiques which was left to the city.   The  highlights are the University of Otago, Larnach Castle, Otago Settlers Museum, the Botanical and Chinese gardens, The Taieri George Railway,  and Cadbury’s chocolate factory.  Speight’s Brewery is also a popular tour.    I also like the Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens which is a few miles out of town.  

A great trip is the Monarch Wildlife Cruise,  which is an hour’s trip out of the harbor to see up to 20 species of bird and marine life.  I can sit for hours in a blind at the Royal Albatross Centre watching the birds on their nests.

Great restaurants, shopping, and quality goods.    Definitely put a few nights stay in Dunedin on your New Zealand itinerary.

 

Maureen Jones

Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street. Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Doug Smith, LASD Trustee August 03, 2012 at 03:33 PM
We visited Dunedin several years ago, and it still stands out as a highlight of our trip. The Speights Brewery tour is not to be missed. Aside from offering tasty samples, you'll enjoy knowledgeable tour GUIs who actually work in the brewery and can explain the process. The brewery itself is one of a very small number of gravity-fed breweries, making it fairly unique in the world of mass-produced beverages. The other "can't miss" is the penguin preserve. This sweeping nature preserve has trenches dug into the sand dunes. Once you get past the feeling that you're on the set of a WWII movie, you realize that the trenches allow you to get exceptionally close to the penguins without startling them. It is absolutely magical to look into the nests and watch the chicks. One final thought- if considering a trip to NZ, we highly recommend travel by motor home. There are many outfits that rent a small motorhome, and the entire island is set up to accommodate them. I've never rented a motorhome before or since, but it is a fantastic way to see NZ.
Maureen Jones August 09, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with our readers. I agree with you, this is an ideal country to drive yourself around and yes, a motor home is a wonderful experience. I call it "posh" camping. However, many clients dont want the stress of driving, even though there is little traffic on the South Island roads. In this case, I usually recommend taking the Trans-Alpine Train, one of the top five most scenic routes in the world. The motor coach tours are excellent, you can save up to 40% by taking one, rather than putting the itinerary together yourself. everything depends on the budget. I can handle impossibilities, but miracles take me a little longer. Happy travels.

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