New Zealand 2011 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

Bushy69

Hard Yards
Aug 1, 2008
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Perth, WA
10th August to 26th August for myself and family.

I have a motorhome for the first 6 days doing some touring (6 birth)... I read that the trip to Mt Dobson is pretty mild... will a large Motorhome get up there?
 

BofSki

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Mar 8, 2009
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Hi Bushy, Firstly can I say that I hope you do get up to Dobson - I might even be there myself the first weekend - but only if Fox Peak is closed!
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Don't expect much in the way of services up there i.e. limited cafe, hire and ski school, but do expect a friendly uncrowded place more like a large club field. Particularly good for intermediates and beginners. And you can get private lessons for what you might pay for group ones on a bigger commercial field.

Now - access. What you need to realise is that their description of an easy access road is compared to other NZ ski-field access roads. I've had both 2 and 4/5 berth motor homes up there without any problems. These are both van based, latter with double rear wheels. Suspect your 6 birth may be light truck based.

One year I was there, this was running a shuttle service from Fairlie -

S4200026-1-1.jpg


So in theory you could get a 6 birth up there. (You probably can't see the rear chain tied on with rope
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)

A few words of caution -

- There is a narrow bridge at the start of the road which needs care in a large vehicle.
- There are a couple of steep hair-pin bends about 4/5 of the way up which require some skill in a large vehicle to keep momentum going, especially if snow on the road and using chains.
- You will need chains if snow on road (and you should carry anyway if going up), for a truck based motor home these are more likely to be old ladder style chains. i.e. PITA to fit.

There you go - sorry this is so long. If you have previous experience of larger vehicles with chains on the snow then you won't have problems. If this is the first time you have driven a larger vehicle on a gravel road, I would tend to caution against attempting Dobson even on a no-chains day.
 
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BofSki

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Mar 8, 2009
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Found a few photos of the road up to Dobson - unfortunately none above the snow line. Might be some help.

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Jafal

First Runs
Sep 3, 2010
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Well we jsut got back yesterday after a week in Queenstown, Friday was the 1st day, so went to CP to get our legs, and ran in to a huge crowd fighting over the Meadows Express and Coronet Express. These were about the only lifts operating anywhere around QT and Coronet Express was constantly stopping.... snow was fair, as still waiting on the big dump of powder to come. Started snowing arou8nd 2pm. But when it takes 45 minutes from joining the Meadows queue to joining again after a quick run down M1 you know your in for a long day... along with the worst food ever encountered for a lunch break on the mountain and nowhere to sit to eat it.
So saturday wake up to strong winds and heavy rain, reports are poor vis and strong winds up at CP, everywhere else closed, so decide for a day off. Sunday get up to CP early, again only mountain open, had some good runs on Coronet Express, Greengate only running intermitantly, Meadows not running half the day. food still crap.
Monday up a little later, but when we get there strong winds, poor vis, wife doesnt like this, so only a few runs. Think we will run the gauntlet of the food again, what a mistake, only place to sit is outside where you are getting blown away and snowed on, food is still crap, so decide to pack it in around 12:30 and head for the inviting food hall of Macdonalds .. yumm much better (?) On the way down about 7 or 8 drivers who think they can make it up the hill without chains, despite all of the warnings, have fallen into the ditch ... IDIOTS.
Tuesday .. everything shut due to extreme weather, oh well a bit of time ot walk around QT and have very nice lunch at Speights Ale House. Wednesday, great days skiing, with bursts of sunshine, still a little windy, but nice day, around 2pm weather started to close in again, and with Greengates shut it wasn't worth the wait around so headed back down.
thursday was leaving day, so no skiing, but after packing we headed to the Shotover Jet and that was an absolute blast, then out to the airport to come home.

Overall it was great to see the snow and the conditions on the Wednesday were great, but the pain in the ass of needing to drive up each day on crappy roads, needing to put chains on, even on a 4WD, and with only very short runs to ski, we would not be heading back anytime soon ... one thing it is a great advertisment for staying on the mountain. I know we have been spoilt by staying in Ski-In Ski-out accomodation in Australia, Japan and Canada, but with a family it realy is the least stressful way to go skiing.

Queenstown is a lovely part of the world, just think next time I go there it will be in summer and not to ski.
 

Kahanamoku

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Jafal said:
On the way down about 7 or 8 drivers who think they can make it up the hill without chains, despite all of the warnings, have fallen into the ditch ... IDIOTS.

Avis are hoping it wasn't one of theirs!
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Jafal

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Seeing a small red Suzuki SX4 make it nearly all of the way with no chain to the drop-off zone at CP before sliding into the ditch, and then everyone ignoring him because he was an idiot was quite funny really. Only to then have a Britz camper in front of me as I tried to drive down with his front wheels turned sideways slding down the hill, so he stopped before he hit something (Wise) except he stopepd in the middle of the road in front of me. Then a Ford Territory comes up past him, only to stop just beside me, with chains on the front and his back wheels spinning madly.

the rental companies need to do a much better job of letting peopel know what wheels on a 4WD to fit chains too.
 

skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
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Nope people need to think/ask for themselves

Clearly the Territory was only a rear wheel drive model but the moron driving it didn't think.....
 

socold

A Local
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Jafal said:
Seeing a small red Suzuki SX4 make it nearly all of the way with no chain to the drop-off zone at CP before sliding into the ditch, and then everyone ignoring him because he was an idiot was quite funny really. Only to then have a Britz camper in front of me as I tried to drive down with his front wheels turned sideways slding down the hill, so he stopped before he hit something (Wise) except he stopepd in the middle of the road in front of me. Then a Ford Territory comes up past him, only to stop just beside me, with chains on the front and his back wheels spinning madly.

the rental companies need to do a much better job of letting peopel know what wheels on a 4WD to fit chains too.

most of the rental territorys are only 2WD
 
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skiflat

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Not with Hertz, they are all AWD, as are all their 4WD's in Queenstown.

Go with a crap rental company, get a crap car
 
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socold

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i do remember years gone by both thrifty and budget had 2wd territorys

but as donza has said we went with nz rental car got a legacy for 1500 which the territory would have been 2200 over the same amount of time.
 

Jafal

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This was actually an AWD Territory ... just an idiot driver ... some made comments about the fact he was an Asia, however there were just as many non-asian running off the road.
 

Darksidepoints

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Apr 21, 2009
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I'm at Mt Ruapehu and now that we have over a metre of snow (and still falling) it's going to be ON. Everyone's been up there shovelling like crazy and we're expecting a lot of business for the school holidays, In case anyone was interested.
 

skiflat

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Donza said:
why anyone would hire a new ca from the BIG companies in nz is beyond me...

Service
Backup
FF Points
New Car
4WD's
Free upgrades

biggrin.gif
 
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skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
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Hertz for One Week $1008 NZD in a Ford Territory AWD or Toyota Kluger at full prices, with an Amex business credit card $ 897.35 NZD
Apex Rav4 $880
Omega Suby Forester $836

I'd rather pay the $50 Aussie more and get a large 4WD with Hertz
smile.gif
 
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Kahanamoku

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Found a nice shot of Crown Range Road on my Facebook to compare to the recent Mountainwatch image - Still deciding which scenario would be my favourite...
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One I took in 08
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Mountain Watch from July 13
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powderhog

A Local
Apr 15, 2005
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The Shire
Can anyone recommend the best option for picking up a pre-paid mobile broadband sim for when I arrive in NZ? I have a Netcomm Myzone I will use it in, so network should not be an issue.
 

johnski

Hard Yards
Jan 1, 1970
371
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Perth
3 weeks to go until my Temple Basin / Craigieburn Trip.

The photos of them digging out the tows at Craigieburn are crazy, no wonder it's taking them 4 days to open things after the storm....


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oreo

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Holy crap at the rime above. I have this photo from the tow at Roundhill on Wednesday. But pales in comparison to that!

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Darksidepoints

Hard Yards
Apr 21, 2009
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Telestrom said:
Holy Icy Encrusted Building Batman!

2011-07-15_15-57-09_jpg_626x626_q85.jpg

Giant Cafe - Mt Ruapehu.

And that's once we were able to get back up there!

I live with 2 very tired de-icers. One who clomps past my door in his boots at 4:15 am every morning.

Anyone for a relaxing chair ride?
icechair.jpg
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Telestrom said:
Holy Icy Encrusted Building Batman!

2011-07-15_15-57-09_jpg_626x626_q85.jpg

Giant Cafe - Mt Ruapehu.

Wow that's almost looking like the top ropeway station at Hakkoda.
 
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snowjunky

Hard Yards
Jun 29, 2008
487
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Woo Woo. Heading off next Tuesday for 2 weeks plundering TC.
Doubly excited as I am picking up my brand new Line Prophet 98's in Christchurch on the way.
Send it down Hughie
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sara777

A Local
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Apr 23, 2008
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Ok, final booking finished. 7-10/8 Queenstown, than stop over in Lake Ohau in their lodge to split the drive, and Methven for 3 days, where I am hoping for enough snow to do heliskiing. Just came back from skiing in here and can't wait to hop on my skis again!
smile.gif
They rang me from Qantas to check how long is my ski bag - anything over 180 cms is restricted apparently...
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Be surprised if that is an issue. They always get you to take them over to oversize baggage. Never seen anyone measure length. 180, 200 cm shouldn't really make a big diff. If you are packing some old school 220 DH boards, maybe??

btw. I am also flying QF next week and mine are actually within the 180 limit anyway.
 

sara777

A Local
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That guy from Qantas said that it was because the carrier from CHCH to QNST ( appears as NZ on my eTicket, but all booked under Qantas ) put these restrictions on, and that it's a fairly new thing...

BTW, Southern Lakes heliskiing - good experience anyone?
 

Heinz

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Sportal pic of the day. Chris Booth during the Worlfd heli challenge out of Wanaka.

Note this pic may change - not sure if they change the name on their daily pic.

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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Kahanamoku said:
sara777 said:
BTW, Southern Lakes heliskiing - good experience anyone?
I'll let you know after Thursday August 11
wink.gif
Got 8 runs booked in!

I assume you are around for a few days after that in case the weather prevents flying? Can never guarantee anything booking a single day.

Never skied with them, but they have been around a long time and know what they are doing, so they should be good. But can't say they are the best.

These guys have reviewed various Ops.
http://www.powderhounds.com/NewZealand/Heli-skiing.aspx
 
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sara777

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Heinz said:
Kahanamoku said:
sara777 said:
BTW, Southern Lakes heliskiing - good experience anyone?
I'll let you know after Thursday August 11
wink.gif
Got 8 runs booked in!

I assume you are around for a few days after that in case the weather prevents flying? Can never guarantee anything booking a single day.

Never skied with them, but they have been around a long time and know what they are doing, so they should be good. But can't say they are the best.

These guys have reviewed various Ops.
http://www.powderhounds.com/NewZealand/Heli-skiing.aspx

Exactly, no point pre - booking heli for me if I don't know what the weather / conditions are going to be like. Once I am there, I will make my enquiry, that's the plan. Staying 2 days close to Methven after Queenstown, so originally wanted to book heli there, but if the weather is right... My friends went with Mt. Hutt heli last year and were very happy..
Bit worrying about the weather guys? I was looking at gfs maps and it looked right to me from Sunday onwards, but I obviously have no idea since no one else can see it
frown.gif
 
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Kahanamoku

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We're there for 8 days... plenty of time to reschedule a No-Fly day....
Booked early-bird so we could get a 10% discount (and afford an extra run)
We're ONLY going for the Heli... the rest of the trip is Bonus Icing on the Cake...

They might not be the best, but they're certainly one of the cheapest!
 

nisstrust

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Hey Guys how does Mt Hutt on piste skiing compare to say Mt Buller on piste for variety and number of terrain, having not been to any NZ resorts before, its hard to guesstimate from trail maps.
 

K@os

A Local
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I went with Southern Lakes. We didnt get great conditions - bullet proof ice pretty much. We were somewhere near Remarks, cant remember the exact name of the ranges. Had 1 1/2 good runs and the rest was pretty challenging, so everyone pulled the pin at lunch.

Another group was taken out to their area near Wanaka and reported awesome powder on the ride home in the bus, which kinda made us feel pretty crappy
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Though conditions sucked balls on our day, you cant really control the weather. To their credit, after some negotiation they agreed to give us a substantial refund and we all walked away happy with the service. The guides and pilot were excellent and I was very confident in their abilities. I just wish we were taken somewhere else or were told conditions werent great, but quite often they havent been out in days so its hard for them to know what conditions will be like.
 
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sara777

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Thanks Kaos for your feedback. I understand what you are saying though you would think that experienced mountain guides would or could predict at least slightly what the conditions are like having access day to day report / years of experience with terrain and so on..
Hoping the the weather turns right for my week!
beer.gif
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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sara777 said:
Thanks Kaos for your feedback. I understand what you are saying though you would think that experienced mountain guides would or could predict at least slightly what the conditions are like having access day to day report / years of experience with terrain and so on..

The experienced guides will generally have a pretty good idea, but even they will occasionally be surprised one way or another. Sometimes areas even with almost the same aspect can have quite different conditions - it is never totally predictable. Even the best can get it wrong occasionally.

Then they are also limited by other factors - there may know there is some really good snow conditions on a particular area but the wind may be too gusty or there may be cloud hanging over the landing / pickup areas so the heli can't get in or the avi risk is too high etc. So they then either go somewhere that they know is ok if not exceptional or pack it in.
 
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sara777

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Thanks Heinz, I guess there are just too many factors in a heliskiing game.. I certainly hope the weather will change for better ( meaning snow
smile.gif
) next week and I'll score one good heli day...

The weather system is all over the place, but at last Metservice think, quote: " Saturday: Snow developing over Fiordland and Southern Alps, with some heavy falls. Sc rain or snow in areas further east. The Kaikoura Ranges should remain dry. Strong westerlies, gale in exposed places, tending southwest. FREEZING LEVEL: Lowering to 1400 metres in the north and 400 metres in the south.
Sunday: Periods of snow about the main divide and in the far south, a period of snow showers in most other places. Strong or gale southwesterlies. FREEZING LEVEL: 1200 metres in the north and 400 metres in the south. """'''''

Lets hope!
 
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gibbsy

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Aug 3, 2011
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Amen to that.... will be in the Canterbury fields from weds on and hope to get a heli day outta methven also... just gotta see how it happens I guess!
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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For the heli you don't always need fresh snow although it is always welcome. They can often be skiing untracked powder a week or even two after the last snow IF the weather has been stable with cold nights and little wind. Unfortunately in NZ wind is regularly a big factor and a couple of nights of gale force winds can really hammer the snow pack.
 

K@os

A Local
Aug 12, 2005
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Sara - dont be put off by Southern Lakes. The year I did heli with them Avi risk was EXTREME, so terrain was limited. 2009 - 3 Australian buried, 1 died. the week we were there someone died on the way down from Coronet Peak in an avi....one of the Southern Lakes guides was 1st onsite to help dig him out. The grouyp that went over to Wanaka said they set off several avis - most of them remotely thankfully.....so the risk was very real that year. The guide we were with was an older guy who has been doing the gig for al ong time and knows his stuff - you can be 100% confident in his abilities.

There was high winds the days before and the day we went out the sun didnt come out at all, leaving the area we were in very icey, with the exception one of the lower runs. I certainly dont blame the guides for getting it wrong.

All I can say is try to get in with the group that go to their area around Wanaka. Have faith that you will be looked after if you find yourself having an absolutely terrible day. Personally I think my experience was a good one due to the refund we received - there is never a 100% guarantee that you will get powder, no matter how the marketing guys sell it to you.
 

Kahanamoku

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Chalk and Cheese. There are no trees showing you where the runs are in NZ, one wrong turn and suddenly your nice casual green run turns into a black! Adds to the fun I say, every run an adventure!

nisstrust said:
Hey Guys how does Mt Hutt on piste skiing compare to say Mt Buller on piste for variety and number of terrain, having not been to any NZ resorts before, its hard to guesstimate from trail maps.
 
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