I wouldn’t go as far as comparing the New Zealand fish’n’chip tradition to a religious experience, but there’s no denying the camaraderie of standing with other Kiwis and travellers waiting for our turn to squeeze out the ‘tommy sauce’ and eat this ‘delicacy’ straight of the paper. Oh the anticipation!
We Kiwis are fussy about our ‘fush’n’chups’ (brings out our cute accents). Every Kiwi knows the best place in town and The Haven fish’n’chip shop in Nelson is definitely up there with the best. It’s conveniently located on the Nelson Wharf, right next to the best and freshest fish supplier in town, Guytons. Choose your fish and how many scoops of chips you want then pay for it:
Michael chose to wile away his time by reading the shop’s women’s magazines dated as far back as 2006. I walked out on to the the pier to enjoy a surprising vibrant and busy Tuesday evening.
Here’s Michael with his precious parcel of fish’n’chips listening to his wife barking out instructions on how to get back to our accommodation as fast as possible.
Finally the parcel is opened and it’s high cholesterol contents revealed – beautiful white-fleshed fish in golden batter and chips, crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside. Another successful day for the travelling travel agents.
Nowadays, the Internet is a standard daily necessity for travellers on the road. We all want to share our stories, photos and emails with friends and the head office! Services are often cloud-based and being “online” is really important, especially for travellers on the road like us.
As ‘travelling travel agents’ we have all our business systems “on the cloud”. The cool part is that while hiking a track in a National Park, we should be able to work and share all that important content….theoretically. But network challenges can occur and the key issue for us is having good internet connection throughout New Zealand.
The main centres are generally fine and you have “ultra fast” speed. Some connection in the more remote parts of the country is very slow. So how do you prepare for this while travelling? What are your options with being successfully online as much as possible?
Wireless Internet Connection:
Using wireless internet connections in hotels, lodges and B&B’s, is now pretty much a given. And up to a certain ‘data cap’, there is usually no additional charge. However there are some hotels that still charge horrendous fees! Travellers should also be aware that the actual internet speed at each property can vary, depending on what connection, plan and line provider they have.
Using your smart phone’s data as a “hotspot” – this works ok as long as you are only downloading emails and browsing the occasional website. For more serious work (e.g. cloud-base applications and uploading pictures etc.) you need to be careful NOT to go over your data allowance, which often is 1.5 GB per month (this will depend on the plan you are on though!).
Spark (formerly known as Telecom) generally offer the best data network in New Zealand. If you are into serious work while on the road, get yourself a portable unit (cost about $100) and buy some data. But make sure you go onto a “data plan” of some sort. I first went on “prepaid” for NZ$20 and this used in only 1 hour! After a quick call to the Spark helpline, I went on to a 3GB data plan for NZ$49, which I can use inside 30 days. Please note: there are a number of options, so check these online before you travel.
Phone Wifi Points:
Phone Wifi-Points are generally placed with Spark retail shops or at the good old phone boxes along the road!
If you have a monthly NZ$49 PHONE-data-text plan, you also get a daily 1 GB of data allowance through those wifi points. This looks likes a pretty good option, if you want to upload lots of photos from your phone or iPad. Please note: you will log in and get a password each time you use it. This option looks ok to me, however the interesting part is that you cannot use this daily 1GB allowance as a “hotspot” with other devises like a laptop.
OK folks, so there are a few good options for travellers in New Zealand. You might have some other ideas or smart options that I’m not aware of so please feel free to share these with us!
This is the view that awaited us for the first 7 nights of our extended journey through beautiful New Zealand. I know it’s only 10kms from our home in Richmond but the Stepneyville hill area of Nelson has quite a history…and this restorative view…wow!
…here’s Michael with our precious laptops in our current outside office.
It’s the unexpected little treats that often give the biggest thrill. Every Wednesday and Sunday, a yacht race is held in the Nelson harbour and as the sun starts to move under it’s duvet, we have the best seats in the house to enjoy the spectacle.
Always something to see in this beautiful harbour.
…and tomorrow, I think it might be a ‘fish ‘n’ chip dinner right on the wharf….just for a closer view.
For me, travelling is all about discovering the “four corners” of the earth; the places and people. I remember my very first trip to Cork (Ireland), grabbing my bicycle (one gear only, no kidding) and peddling the rolling green hills. After thirty years, I still remember the freshness of an Irish rainfall, the kindness of the locals and the steep hills of the “Ring of Kerry”. Travel has been my passion ever since.
As a travel designer, this passion has been my work for the last 25+ years and has seen me travelling extensively around New Zealand. But (there’s always a “but”) despite our travels throughout the year, I’ve still spent too many hours in my office squinting at computer screens…
….so far away from the roads, hills and valleys of New Zealand I love so much…
…THERE HAS TO BE MORE!
Technology has allowed many of us to work with greater flexibility. I can now work “on the cloud”, ‘Cloud 9′ if I want. NOW is the time for Pam and I to get back on the road with our laptops, travel the countryside for the next year or so.
We often get asked by our customers “have you been there” or “have you done this yourself”. It’s such a great feeling to say “yes, I have and I can recommend it” (or not). Through social networks, our travel blogs and Facebook, our travellers will hear about the secret nooks and crannies we discover along the way.
There is so much more in New Zealand than the 4 main centres you always read about in the brochures. So get ready for us New Zealand, you awesome little beauty!!
Had a fantastic night’s sleep at The Chalet Queenstown, an accommodation I chose for it’s central location and highly personalised service.. just in case you’re asking. Before breakfast at 7am, I went for a stroll to experience central Queenstown during it’s “quiet time”. What a difference from the nightlife a few hours ago! I loved the relaxed atmosphere and walking along the lake it seemed that even the huge rainbow trout of Lake Wakatipu had slowed down.
Driving from Queenstown to Fox Glacier
After a generous breakfast at The Chalet – it was back on the road to Wanaka ( only an hour’s drive via Cromwell or 40 min through Cardrona). Still foggy, but slowly clearing up to yet another stunning Central Otago winters day! Wanaka is the ‘smaller sister’ of Queenstown – just as pretty – but with a calmer personality. Like Queenstown, Wanaka is located on a huge lake, very near to ski fields and brimming with great accommodation and tour options. After checking out an apartment complex for some of my guests, I popped over to my favourite Wanaka café, Ritual Espresso Cafe. It doesn’t have waterfront views, but it does have great coffee, tasty food and prompt service. Pam loves their gluten-free options. Must try Francesca’s Kitchen the next time!
I am now on my way to the West Coast of the South Island, (via Haast Pass) to visit Fox Glacier Village and Franz Josef village, where I’ll be staying tonight. It should take me approximately 4 hours. The weather has now totally cleared up and what a pleasure it is to travel those empty New Zealand scenic road in the off-season (May-September). The views along Lake Hawea, over “The Neck” to the northern parts of Lake Wanaka are just out of this world folks!
At Diana Falls there’s still some work on a major road slip from last year, but after that, my next stop is at “Ship Creek Walk”,about 10kms north of the tiny village of Haast. A stop at Ship Creek is highly recommended to stretch legs and check out the first beach when coming from the south (or the last going there). Interestingly, the majority of travellers on the West Coast of the South Island would travel from North to South. However, I felt there was much less traffic travelling from south to north. So if you’re planning a trip to the West Coast, that’s maybe something worth remembering.
Important update regarding Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers!!
It’s been 2 years since my last visit to Fox Glacier and it was a sobering sight to see those giant ice rivers retreating so much into their valleys. The rain and snowfall over the past 5 years has been well below average. Although the local Glacier guiding companies still offer glacier valley walks, the longer ice walks from the lower part of the glacier, are no longer available. However, ice walking tours are available with a short helicopter ride.
I walked a short way to both Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and was impressed with the good work DoC (Department of Conservation) has done with viewpoint and barriers. Here’s the positive news: to get the best out of your Glacier experience, I totally recommend joining a “Helihiking” guided walks (2 x short helicopter flights and about 2 hours guided walk) into the middle area of the glaciers (nailed boots, socks, crampons and walking stick are provided) OR a scenic helicopter flight landing in the upper part of the glaciers – called Neve.
There is so much else to discover and explore in the Fox and Franz Josef area, so I strongly recommend travellers spend at least 2 nights to see the full beauty of the land…like Lake Matheson…
… Gillespie Beach, Okarito Lagoon and numerous walks such as Alex Knob – nature experiences you’ll never forget.
Having now completed my main task for this quick “famil” I am hitting the road yet again, heading back via Reefton to Nelson. From Invercargill to Nelson I travelled a total of 1250 kms in 3 days – madness! Please don’t do this! Take your time to enjoy one of the most stunning scenic roads on planet earth and get ready for plenty of photo stops!