Jakbar From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 442 posts, RR: 22 Posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2999 times:
My wife and I are planning a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand next March. I'm posting this thread to get answers to three questions:
1) I plan to do one full day (but no more) of spotting in each of New Zealand and Australia. What are the two best airports for someone who has never been to that part of the world? I have, among other lenses, the 80-400VR, if that informs your advice.
2) How are coach and business class on Qantas? United? Air New Zealand?
3) I would really appreciate it if any people from either Australia or New Zealand could give me some advice on what kinds of things I should consider doing while there. I think we'd probably spend 5 days in New Zealand, and the remaining 8 days in Australia. My wife is a LOTR fanatic, and would really like to do one of those tours where you can go see some of the out-of-the-way filming locations in NZ. But other than that, the only knowledge we have of that part of the world is what we've read in books, and that only gets you so far. We are definitely outdoors people, and we want to avoid the big cities as much as possible (since we live in NYC, and see a big city every day!). We'd like to see the Great Barrier Reef for sure. This is a big trip for us, so any help/suggestions/ideas would be most appreciated. Send me an e-mail if you'd rather exchange correspondence that way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CO777 From South Africa, joined Apr 2000, 261 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2942 times:
Hi Josh, I was in Auckland last year and it has a lot of good spots to shoot.The International Terminal has a indoor observation deck.It faces south.But down there the sun is behind you.Also east of the airport theres a viewing area with parking on both sides of the road.Its at its best when they land on rwy23.You can get landing shots all day there.When they use rwy5 I was at the deck.I was there 2 months before I bought my D100.
Hope this helps Jason Whitebird
QantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2916 times:
1) Definitely spot at Kingsford Smith when you're in Australia; check out this website for spotting locations, etc. As far as New Zealand goes, I've never been to the North Island, so I don't really have the authority to suggest Auckland over Wellington or vice versa (those are the obvious contenders in terms of spotting). Auckland would probably make the most sense, as it's the larger of the two airports and you'd most likely be flying in there yourself.
2) Fly Qantas. Period.
3) It all depends how much you want to get around with the time you have. For Australia, I'd definitely say see Sydney (the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge,Taronga Zoo, ferry to Manly, excellent restaurants, etc.), even if it's for one or two days only, the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Centre if you can get over there (Uluru/Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta/The Olgas, King's Canyon, etc.), the Kimberleys and the Cairns area (again, if you have the time or want to fly more), Melbourne, and maybe Canberra. As I said, it all really depends on how much you plan to get around and fly.
As for New Zealand, I can only really talk about the South Island (which is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to get away from big cities). My absolute favourite place down there is Wanaka - not just for the skiing, which is just about over now - and you might want check it out. It's a small town on the banks of Lake Wanaka which I just find very calming and beautiful. There are some excellent restaurants down there as well, so you may want to have a look. As far as South Island attractions go, I'd suggest: Milford Sound (either by car, which can be a bit trecherous at times, or by sightseeing plane - very spectacular!), the Glaciers (Fox - the slightly less touristy and nicer one - and Franz Josef, both of which you can take helicopters over/onto), Punakaiki ("Pancake Rocks") and the blowholes, Christchurch, Nelson, the "TranzCostal" train from Christchurch to Picton, etc...
Any other questions, feel free to ask, and have a wonderful trip!
Qantas077 From Australia, joined Jan 2004, 5871 posts, RR: 38
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2889 times:
Sydney is your best bet whilst in Oz, you'll need a hire car, if Sam or Glenn are in town then i'm sure you won't have any troubles, also i will be in Sydney in march enroute to China, if your around the same time i'll head out and spot too, lot's to do and see there!
I am taking Qantas to LA in about 10 weeks, i'll have a detailed report on that ultralonghaul, but personally, if your coming all the way from JFK then i'd say go Qantas.
http://www.sydney.com.au/ this site has lots of info and things to do in Sydney also.
any dates planned?
have fun in Oz
a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes, while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
Kereru From New Zealand, joined Jun 2003, 873 posts, RR: 44
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2886 times:
Pleased to hear your coming down under and in our early Autumn(Fall). You will have a lot to see in a short time even for New Zealand (1000miles long). LOTR was filmed in many parts of the North and South Islands so you may need to select one part and that could be Matamata where the Hobbits village and tours are I think. Wellington is where the studios and digital effects are based (now working on King Kong) 400+miles from Auckland and about 8 hours drive by car. You could travel to Matamata and then on through the lower North Island where the movie "The Last Samarai" Tom Cruise and then to Wellington. Matamata is not far from Rotorua our thermal wonderland region and you could visit that as well as Taupo where the largest volcano in the world is located and now filled with water and forms Lake Taupo.
I will send you a separate email with more details of NZ rather than put it here.
2 There is another one in the air new zealand domestic terminal. This one is open air but is surrounded by plastic sheeting which when I was there was rather dirty and scratched, not the best for pictures.
3 The best one is the outside one. It is about a two minute drive from the airport. The good thing about it is that the sun is always behind you all day, so you can stay all day and there is a good variety of traffic ranging from air newzealand beech 1900Ds to more exotic airlines like lan chile.
About the trip, I went to New Zealand on April (sorry for not going to Australia ) and I recommend you to go to the South Island, I spent one week there. We went to Christchurch, Tea Anau, Mildford Sound, Doubful Sound, Fox Glacier, Kaikoura...On the North island I went to Rotorua and Auckland.
I really enjoyed the country and the people and I hope to come back again soon!!
For internal flight I recommend you to fly with Qantas (200EUR) as it is cheaper than ANZ (600EUR) (at least when I went)
Q330 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1460 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2834 times:
Ryan h already sort of mentioned this, but if you come to YSSY (which you should), do not miss the Airside Tarmac Tours! They take you airside at YSSY on a huge loop around the airport and you get very close to the aircraft. It's a great experience!
Jakbar From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 442 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2788 times:
Thanks for some great advice, guys! My wife is in charge of the New Zealand planning, and I have no idea what she's up to, but for Australia I think we've got some ideas nailed down. We're gonna start in Sydney, spend a few days there, and then fly to Cairns. We definitely plan to go diving at the Barrier Reef. From there, I'm not sure whether we're gonna go to Darwin (to visit Kakadu Park) or to Alice Springs (to see Ayers Rock, etc.). Any advice on whether, for our first time, we should check out Darwin or Alice Springs? We've been to Monument Valley in Utah, so Ayers Rock may not be as breathtaking to us as it might to others, but I'll keep an open mind.
As for spotting in Australia, I am definitely spending a day at SYD. I'm also going to spend some time on the top of the mountain overlooking Cairns...the pictures from there are just awesome!
Our tentative plan is to visit NZ/Australia in late March and early April 2005. Australia will be the second half of the trip, so I'll be looking to meet up with some fellow spotters in SYD in early April. As the date gets closer, I'll provide a more firm date. I am SO looking forward to this trip!