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New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: andypie48
Date: December 06, 2018 12:50PM
Since so many of you are well traveled! We have five weeks in New Zealand, self-guided, in February and March, and we are in the 70 and over group. Should we take a side trip to New Caledonia, or is there too much to see in New Zealand? I have always been enchanted by the idea of New Caledonia, but we are older and I don't want to push things; there is always later.

The second question is about renting a car where we will drive on the left. I wouldn't want to try it in the British Isles, but New Zealand is not so built up. It would be the first time. I am fairly adaptable, but again 70 years old.

Thank you in advance for your kind comments.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2018 12:51PM by andypie48.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: billb
Date: December 06, 2018 01:49PM
I'm in the do-it-now-while-you-still-can camp. There may not be later .Know your limits and test them often.

I found driving on the left in the UK in a purpose-built vehicle much less disorienting than driving on the left in the USVI with a US imported car. In the UK we drove pretty much in the countryside starting and returning to Dover though.
If you can get into a rental car and figure out where all the controls are in this one in fairly short order, you'll probably do all right.

With so much to see and do in New Zealand I'd probably save New Caledonia for a side trip from Brisbane some day.

Although I've seen quite a bit of Australia I haven't been to even Tasmania, which many do when they get to Sidney. At the time we had to choose between more days in Sidney or more days in Singapore. We picked Singapore.



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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 06, 2018 01:49PM
Get the extra insurance for the rental. My wonderful mother had three accidents in Ireland. She forgot to get the extra insurance, and had to pay a pretty penny. OK, Euro.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 06, 2018 01:53PM
If it was me, I would!

Like you, I've been kinda fascinated by New Caledonia. (I used it as a setting for a near-future roleplaying game about 25 years ago, and back then, there was not much of an Internet to look things up on... I had to ORDER and ordnance survey map because there WERE no "tourist maps" I could find back then).

There IS a lot in New Zealand... but, you could be the only person you know to visit New Caledonia!



Paul F.
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Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

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Eureka, CA
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: December 06, 2018 02:10PM
Consider renting a car with an automatic transmission. Driving on the left AND trying to shift with an untrained right left hand is a challenge at best.


(Thanks Winston)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2018 08:15PM by DeusxMac.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: testcase
Date: December 06, 2018 02:30PM
"I'm in the do-it-now-while-you-still-can camp. There may not be later .Know your limits and test them often. "


Wise words!


Since I've retired, I've put ~ 90,000 miles on my RVs. Even with all those miles driven, I've barely scratched the surface of all there is to see, do and explore across America. I've known too many people who were going to travel "some day" and then, life throws them a curve ball (often poor health for them or, a family member that now needs care).
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: richorlin
Date: December 06, 2018 03:56PM
That's a LOT of driving. Everything is spread out and there's a lot of driving between major cities.
We were going to do a self-drive tour of NZ in Feb 2019 but after researching it, we first moved to an escorted coach tour. Then we decided we really didn't want to ride with 40 other odd people and have to wait for the slowest member, etc. Then we moved on to an independent coach tour where you get off, tour and wait for the next tour bus. With that you are limited to what you can see without a car.
We finally booked a 13-day Holland America cruise around NZ, then to Hobart & Melbourne Australia and ending up in Sydney. We get to see all the major cities on or near the coast and take whatever shore excursion we fancy.
The only thing I regret having to miss is the fantastic train ride from Franz Joseph glacier to Christchurch. Well, some other time.

Figuring out the cost, we'll probably spend about the same or maybe even less for the cruise and tours as we would have for the car rental, gas, hotels extras and dining - AND we won't have to unpack & pack every day.



richorlin

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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: December 06, 2018 05:10PM
NZ is totally great! IMHO, five weeks is just barelybenough, so I’d skip New Caledonia.

Yes drove it when I was 40 and didn’t have any problems. One thing that helped was buying and wearing a heavy clunky ring on my left hand to remind me to stay on the left.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: December 06, 2018 05:27PM
Quote
andypie48
The second question is about renting a car where we will drive on the left.

With a right-hand drive vehicle it's not so bad. Just keep in mind that right turns are the new left turns.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: Winston
Date: December 06, 2018 08:05PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Consider renting a car with an automatic transmission. Driving on the left AND trying to shift with an untrained right left hand is a challenge at best.

That seems more accurate.

I've only been to N Zed once, and spend the time on the south island. I'm sure you are aware of Milford Sound (or will be). It's worth it to take a charter plane tour of the sound.

New Zealand is a fairly small place. If I were planning a 5 week trip there I'd easily want to visit New Caledonia. But I'm also biased towards anyplace where they speak French.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: Frank
Date: December 06, 2018 10:08PM
My wife and I have traveled extensively in New Zealand. We've been hosted in six locations through Friendship Force exchanges, have rented cars and driven nearly everywhere, staying in B&B's, and have taken the Holland America cruises around NZ and also out to New Caledonia, Fiji, etc. The only issues I've had driving are 1) getting used to the traffic circles (which are very common) ... going 'round the opposite direction (clockwise )... and 2) pulling out onto an empty road from a parking area. Pulling out, without a reference of other cars, you tend to revert to driving on the right.
We've found the residents extremely friendly and the country beautiful. The extreme north is tropical with beautiful beaches along the Coromandel Coast, the beautiful Bay of Islands, and gorgeous forests. The South Island is very diverse. It feels odd seeing glaciers looking through tree ferns. Rotorua, Milford Sound, Queenstown are must sees but really, we found every area wonderful.
I'd save the trip to New Caledonia for another time. Of course living in Kauai makes for a tough comparison.
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Re: New Zealand/New Caledonia
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: December 07, 2018 05:56PM
Late note: there have been a bunch of 5.0+ earthquakes in New Caledonia the past few days.
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