New Zealand

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  • The dessert was Boysenberry ice cream it's a national dish .
    Was it the pronunciation that confused you ?

  • Well I haven't been to Auckland but I have spent quite a lot of time in Wellington and Christchurch, and whilst a little better than Dunedin I still wouldn't say the food is up to the same par as the UK, especially for the price. And regarding the deli stuff, it's expensive or just completely unobtainable ('never heard of it' being the common response).

    A proper European deli-cafe has just opened in Dunedin which is actually leagues ahead of any other food I've had in NZ. Just good ingredients and traditional recipes, not the Americanised 'all appetite and no taste' kind of food I've had elsewhere. It's been absolutely packed, queues out the door, every day since it opened three months ago.

    Agreed on red meat being cheaper and better quality than in the UK though. However the sausages are awful, which is a shame because I love sausages.

    I've always avoided the pizza place in Te Anau, I think I know where you mean. The pie shop by the roundabout is bloody good though - in fact probably some of the best pies I've ever eaten.

    Not sure how much rent is where you are, but here I can rent a good modernised/insulated 2-bed house in the suburbs, garage, sea-view, for $250 (or a little over a hundred quid) a week. It's at least half as cheap as Birmingham, which is the cheapest place I've lived in the UK.

    This is all swings-and-roundabouts stuff though. In general it's a great place to live, and I think that's mainly because of the people who are humorous and down-to-earth. However we're not ready to break the family ties especially with kids on the horizon, so we're not staying permanently.

  • Yes, she simply described it as "beery ice cream". We understood in the ind, and it was delicious. The flight in a tiny plane from Milford Sound to Te Anau was the best bit of the trup for me, wing-tups skimming past snowy peaks, turning over hidden lakes to see giant waterfalls etc etc

  • Beery/berry reminds me of my first performance review where I was told that my projects 'really go over budget'. Well, I thought I was about to get the sack.

  • ...and of the occasion when I went on a ride that included a chap in a lion of Flanders jersey who introduced himself as "Id". I assumed this was an internet forum name, so I asked him what his real name was, and he said "Id, like I sid".

  • Pen always makes me laugh.

    I work with a kiwi designer who said once - do you have a pin?

    I said what the fuck? No!

    A pin! A pin! They said, it's in your hind!

    Pen evidently.

  • I will be in NZ for all of March.

    I will probably do some sort of 5 day bike tour with my wife, but was looking at the option of hiring some roadie type bike in Christchurch and Auckland when we stay w/family there. I can't see anywhere where I could hire something like a tarmac, so any help would be appreciated.

    Also, is there some good riding out of Auckland and Christchurch? I realise there is probably some better riding out of the main cities but thats where the cycle touring comes in.

  • I wouldn't know about Auckland but there is nice road riding around Christchurch, mainly south towards Akaroa - google it, you'll find some routes (Long Bay rings a bell... ). Just stay off the main roads though, drivers are pretty hopeless, and then there's these huge trucks that just dwarf anything you'll see in Europe...

    There's also nice riding around Twizel/Mt. Cook/Lake Tekapo, on main roads but they're actually very broad and very quiet (like, three or four cars an hour). There's also a touring route called Alps 2 Ocean, from Mt. Cook to Oamaru, if you have a few days - it's really beautiful.

    However I wouldn't bother so much with the road bike - there's much better road biking in Europe, but something that's pretty unique to NZ is the thousands of KMs of incredibly remote and beautiful 4WD tracks in the Southern Alps - often with huts (sheds) to sleep in. So I'd hire a hardtail and go exploring. You simply don't get this sort of remoteness in Europe so it's an experience not to be missed.

    N.B. there's no public transport in this part of the world, so you will need to hire/borrow a car.

    E.G. a couple of months back I rode up and down the Ahuriri Valley and last year I rode up and down the Dobson Valley.

    Both are close to Christchurch, for New Zealand that is... only a four hour drive away. There's a load more 2-3-4 day routes further South, and also on the West Coast, but they're a bit too far from Christchurch. If you're into mountain-biking proper then Wanaka and Queenstown are great (and great for road too), again only 4 hours away. And happy to show you around if you make it down to Dunedin.

  • Ok, do you have links to the routes?

    the Ahuriri Valley and the Dobson Valley.

    This sounds good, hire hardTales drive out and then do a three day trip.

  • I was born in and grew up in Auckland, and while I can't give you any advice about Christchurch, I know Auckland and it's surrounds well if you want any suggestions of cycle routes, depending on what you want to do.

    What area of Auckland do your family live in?
    I'll give you riding suggestions accordingly.

    I'll second what other peeps here say about the dismal public transport system.

    It's a bit of effort to hire a decent road bike in Auckland that Europe, but try Mt Eden Cycles: http://mtedencycles.co.nz/bike-hire

    $60NZD/day so roughly £30/day.
    BYO shoes and pedals.

  • I live in Chch and whilst I can't vouch for the company, they seem to have what you need

    http://www.naturalhigh.co.nz/biking/perf­ormance-road-bike-rentals/

    http://www.naturalhigh.co.nz/biking/tour­ing-bike-rentals/

    Road rides out to Akaroa through Tai Tapu are popular and on the weekend there are quite a few groups on the road.
    There are two ways to get there:

    1. through the city and Haswell>Tai Tapu>Little River...mostly flat until you get out of Little River then about a lot of climbing and fast descents
    2. over Dyers Pass, which is a wicked climb off of Colombo Street...loads more hills, but much more scenic, takes you through Gebbies Pass and meets up with the Christchurch-Akaroa Road

    http://www.lerace.co.nz/files/3814/4939/­0053/LR16_Map.pdf

    http://blackcat.co.nz/blog/entry/christc­hurch-to-akaroa-a-great-day-out-on-the-b­ike

    route 1 is way easier, but if you are keen on scenery take the Dyers/Gebbies Pass option, but do be wary of the cars...most NZ drivers are reasonably good, but there are some turds in the gene pool

  • NZ drivers are reasonably good, but there are some turds in the gene pool

    The general feedback I get from visitors to NZ is "kiwis are lovely and helpful, until you put them in a car" which I'd tend to agree with.

  • What area of Auckland do your family live in?
    I'll give you riding suggestions accordingly.

    Mount Albert. I reckon I will do 3 x 100 k loops.

    Mount eden Cyles seems exactly what I wanted. Cheers.

    I believe @FixedCheese has been happy with the tarmac they gave him.

  • Thanks all

    It's looking like 2 100k loops in Auckland @maxx_paua on north of the city and one south.

    one riff on Glenorchy Queenstown Glenorchy or the other way around. Just one road there, so route is obvious.

    I may squeeze in the cc route @campervangogh

  • Have fun on the QTown > Glenorchy ride, it's really beautiful and being a dead end it's pretty quiet too. QTown's a strange place as I'm sure you'll discover.

    If you're driving from Chch to QTown check out the bakery in Fairlie.

    Or here's a good one, if you're after something more adventurous, and if it's not too late - go to QTown, get the Earnslaw across the lake to the station (farm), then you can ride on the gravel road out to Mavora Lakes and back (there's a hut/plenty of camping spots if you want to stay the night). It's a well-maintained road so 28c tyres will do it.

  • Really want to head out there for a trip. How best to start planning?

  • Book the flight.

  • I did the Tour Aotearoa earlier in the year and it was the best time I've had on two wheels ( I'm a kiwi living in Syd who main riding style could be described as endubro) I'll be signing up 2018

  • Having landed back in the UK after 3.5 years in NZ, observations:
    Pros of the UK:

    • I can buy four or five delicious continental cheeses for the same price as a housebrick of NZ's "Tasty".
    • When I go out to a restaurant they serve food that I want to eat, at a reasonable price.
    • My house is waterproof and keeps us warm. I don't need to put on a puffy jacket to go into the kitchen.
    • My friends and family are dispersed around the country, but because there are motorways, I can actually go and see them without having to book time off of work.
    • I got three decent job offers in a week, my partner the same.
    • There are hobbies and activities that don't involve physical discomfort or danger.

    Cons of the UK:

    • It feels very busy, even in a supposedly quiet town, even at the quietest time of day.
    • Hot pies are not ubiquitous.
    • It's really flat, even the "Peak" District. Scotland and Wales appear normal.
    • Consumerism is the norm.
    • Sadly it's true that British people, on the whole, are really quite negative.
    • There are a lot of homeless people, or people on the edge of society. It's bad place to be poor.

    We've spent a lot of time in Scotland, which feels a lot like NZ in a lot of ways, and have decided to move there.

  • As someone looking to move to NZ at some point in the future, that's a great list for perspective - thanks!

  • @lae can you give the Pros of NZ?! Intrigued - it's a country I've travelled but never lived in for a fixed period.

    How easy is it to find employment?

  • @lae - are you me? cos thats exactly what i did/thought except i was there for almost 7 years.

    also PRO of living here

    • so many cultures and many many cheap flights to europe for even more culture and variety.
    • proper organic range from supermarket


  • It's hard to find a job. It took me a month to get a crappy gig as a graphic designer and then six months to find work as a design engineer. Nobody responds to CVs, you just have to talk to people. Wages aren't great, but then again, it's incredibly cheap to live in Dunedin.

    There are loads of pros to NZ, although this is purely from the perspective of living in Dunedin:

    • Completely unpretentious, nobody cares what car you drive or what brands you wear
    • Ordinary working folk can buy a 3-bed house in their 20s
    • Good weather, coming from the UK
    • No traffic jams, ever
    • You know your neighbours
    • In fact, you know everyone - I suppose this is what a community feels like
    • Ordinary people can help effect change in their community
    • Everybody leaves work at 5pm
    • Otago is incredibly safe, I remember hearing on the radio that it has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world
    • You can go on real adventures to truly wild places
    • Stunningly beautiful on a daily basis, even just riding to work
    • The roads are really wide and there are no potholes
    • You can buy some cheap land, build a holiday cabin on it, and the government won't stop you
    • People have a can-do attitude

    Some or none of these may apply in other places in NZ. Some of them apply in some places in the UK.

    Can people stop replying to this thread? It is making me want to go back.

  • just as balance, a lot of the cons and pros of lae's experience (imo) are quite specific to being in Dunedin, which is the arse end of a country at the arse end of the world :)
    Dunedin vs Auckland is like London vs Newcastle.

    eg. house prices are insanely expensive in auckland
    restaurants are good
    shitloads of traffic
    decent jobs

    crap houses and cheese is 100% correct though

  • Auckland dose have a bike gang though so its not all bad.

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New Zealand

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