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Optimist McLean



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ANew Zealand: Travelling solo in New Zealand

Car rentals are pretty damned cheap, and I'd actually recommend staying in youth hostels (where's it's real easy to meet up with like-minded tourists, and even kiwis) so you get to split the petrol costs with someone, making it even cheaper and fun.  I especially... See More

ANew Zealand: Hanmer Springs or Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass​ is gorgeous, and has an interesting small-village vibe, BUT Hanmer Springs​ is a thermal wonderland!  If you are at all interested in hot springs, you should go.  There are heaps of accommodation options (the... See More

ANew Zealand: Local food

Kumara, a type of sweet potato, really good as "chips" (french fries), but very good in a hangi (earth oven), or just roasted in a typical NZ roast chicken/lamb/pork meal. Apparently out apples are the best in the world, but we ship them everywhere, so you've... See More

ANew Zealand: KiwiRail

Years ago that used to be the case - but now I'm pretty sure everything's just flat rate the same.  They sometimes do specials on off-peak times, but I haven't seen anything advertised for your time period. See More

ABest way to prevent ears blocking during descent?

I have to do a "Louis Armstrong" :D  That is, I close my mouth tight, pinch my nose closed, and try to force as much air into my mouth as possible, so my cheeks go out like Louis's.  This helps equalise the pressure through the Eustachian tubes on descent. ... See More

AAuckland: Great, reasonably priced restaurants in Auckland?

To be honest, there's a lot of good competition in the CBD, and as long as you're not visiting a "name" chef (who often have good specials anyway, as there are around 10 of them sprinkled through the CBD), you'll end up in a place of quality food at... See More

ANew Zealand: Best cities (and neighborhoods) for a small family for one month in NZ

Dunedin​ is a neighbourhood in itself, with an incredible farmers' market, amazing cafes and coffee, and very walk-able, very safe.  I imagine the cost of renting an apartment/home will be a lot cheaper than central Wellington or Auckland too. ... See More

ANew Zealand: First time visitor - 30th birthday

Wine tasting & adventures sounds a bit like Queenstown​, which will be gorgeous in May (end of autumn, so you may be able to catch some of the astoundingly vivid red/orange trees, especially around Arrowtown​), and the landscape/mountains... See More

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