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15 July 2014

Our national flag

 
 
For the most accurate weather condition reports for the Land of the Long White Cloud check out our national meteorological service website - Metservice.
 
They provide up to 10 day forecasts for suburban areas, which include the temperature, expected rainfall and wind speed; Marine & Surf, Mountain & Parks, and Rural reports; tide times; sunrise and sunset times; and much more.
 
There are also a few ways to get this on your mobile devices (free or a small fee).
 
 
As for what to wear, in general you could probably wear shorts / a skirt and a short sleeved t-shirt or short dress during the day in December, January and into February.  At night and on somewhat windy or overcast days you will want a cardigan or jacket as well.
Remember to pack your swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen as our sun is harsh.
 
March through September you will want to have long trousers/ jeans/ heavy skirts, and layer your tops - perhaps a merino tank top under a long-sleeved top with a short-sleeved t-shirt over that and a jumper or jacket.  Hats, scarves and gloves are also really useful in June, July & August.  Over the winter months you will need some sort of wet weather gear or a long winter coat - umbrellas aren't always so practical especially in places like Wellington where it can get very windy.
 
October and November can swing either way and are probably the most changeable months.
 
New Zealand houses are under-insulated as a general rule, so you may find yourself wearing extra layers inside; sitting as close as possible to heaters or fires in winter; or in bed with an electric blanket or hot water bottle.
 
In case you hadn't thought about your exact route & travel plans, and when you will arrive, the north of the North Island will always be a little warmer than the south of the South Island throughout the year.
 
 
If you do land and find yourself in desperate need of apparel there are a couple of inexpensive general (family) clothing stores you could try:
 

The Warehouse

Kmart

 

We also have many charity shops (op shops) that sell second hand clothing.  Most towns will have at least one store, if not more.   Look out for names like Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, or simply 'op shop'.  

The way I see it, if something doesn't cost you a lot you don't feel so guilty about leaving it behind if space in your suitcase/backpack is tight.

29 April 2014

Grabone: A tractor ride then quite a hike to see the gannets

 

Getting away may be about doing nothing, or for others doing something or a lot.  Here is a list of websites to help you get your outdoor gear together for the road, and for the later group - to find a deal or two for activities at your destination.

 

The concept of discount, voucher and coupon websites is still relatively new to New Zealand, and while we have our share of loyalty programmes direct discounts to the general public certainly isn't as widespread as it is in larger populaces. 

Having said that you can still get a deal or two if you are willing to wait, be flexible and decisive.  Who doesn't like to stretch their funds a little further ‽

 

Most of the websites below require some sort of sign-up, whether that is to get their email notifications or eventually purchase their products/services.  Some though will allow a guest user; but if you are keen on a bargain and know what you are looking for, signing up to several for a finite period of time, could be worth your while.  [It may not be so easy to net a deal exactly when you want it on the road.]

 

Outdoor & Leisure equipment only

Kiwi Deals

 

Outdoor, Leisure &/or Sport equipment as a separate category

Product Saver

The Deal - Sport category

 

Outdoor, Leisure &/or Sport equipment not specifically classified 

Book Me

Grabone

Groupon

Daily Do

Deal a Day

Crazy Sales

1-day (They do have an Outdoors, and a Sports & Fitness category you can sign up for notifications in.)

secret sale

The Warehouse Red Alert

 

Outdoor & Sports Activities

Backpacker deals

Treat me

 

Location-specific

Rotorua One Day Deal

Stay Eat Play Rotorua area

 

Flights

Grab a Seat

 

Membership cards

There are a few travel/accommodation membership (ie you pay to get them) discount cards that are available and recognised in New Zealand:

YHA card

BBH card

STA Card (student, teacher or under 31 years)

 

 

Do you have a favourite one we've overlooked?  Let us know and we'll aim to add it.

10 April 2014

While having internet connectivity on board your mobile home would seem like the ultimate freedom option, there are a few alternatives especially if you are only checking emails, making bookings and updating your social media accounts.

Internet cafes, library networks, buses and commercial retailers (ie McDonalds) may provide free or paid access to the internet through their server/ modem via wi-fi.

I'm not a fan of these options as I have concerns about security on public access terminals.  

However how they work is that you buy an allocated number of minutes or amount of data, log in to the providers webpage to enter the access code, and it's all go.  

Some providers are nation-wide so any pre-paid unused minutes/data, after you have logged off, can be elsewhere on your travels. 

 

For free or free-to-customer access, try the Aotearoa People's Network member public libraries (not all got to join before the scheme closed), McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King, i-Site Visitor Information Centres, Warehouse Stationery or your favourite cafe or restaurant.  Auckland have their own service to the public.  You can even get it while crossing the Cook Strait on the Bluebridge Ferry!

 

For paid access, try internet cafes, libraries, camping grounds and wi-fi hotspots.
 
Spark (previously Telecom) have recently rolled out a network of wi-fi hotspots points attached to their public telephone boxes throughout New Zealand.  Originally the service was trialled at no cost to all subscribers but technically this now only applies to their customers, with the public paying $9.95 for 30 days (1GB download per day).
 

 

These are less likely than internet cafes to have security issues although not being in the know about what measures they have taken there is no guarantee.  [It would be helpful to find out how they prevent cross transmission between devices, how tamper-proof their cable is, and what if any association they have with the GCSB!]

 

A small note to visitors to New Zealand.  We don't have free internet everywhere and you will probably find our internet speeds are slower than what you are accustomed to.  It seems every guest we have says this, so you may want to allow a little extra time to get your cyber-surfing done.
 
 
There is no comprehensive list of free and paid internet access points through our country, although Campermate has started with the free or free-to-customer listing.  Perhaps you can pay it forward and add a few places yourself to make it easier for the next person.

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