by Tobias Sauer
Fancy a gay active holiday in New Zealand? Here you will find tips, tricks and relevant information. Get inspired by the documentary ‘New Zealand: holiday in front of a great backdrop‘.
New Zealand tourism
New Zealand Tourism provides you with a wide range of information and inspiration if you plan a holiday in the antipodes. There is no special information for gays but useful informatoin for active holidaymakers.
The Spartacus app informs about bars, cafés, clubs, restaurants, cinemas, saunas, shops, places to cruise and gay clubs and groups in Auckland, Queenstown and the rest of New Zealand.
How to get there
Air New Zealand
No matter what the adverts say: The flight to New Zealand takes a long time – with stops and changing planes in London and Los Angeles, travelling time is about 30 hours or more depending on your individual schedule. Air New Zealand offers a comfortable seat pitch in economy class and on some flights you can even make three adjacent seats to a “couch” where two adults can sleep quite comfortably. The so-called “Skycouch” needs to be booked in advance.
Best time to travel
In the southern hemisphere the seasons are inverted to ours. The temperatures are comparable to those in Europe although in New Zealand it is never very hot or very cold due to its island position. Those who come at the beginning of spring in New Zealand, i.e. in October will find it less busy but the outdoors adorned in lush green.
Where to stay
On Waiheke, off the coast of Auckland, the Boatshed (corner of Tawa and Huia Street), located on a small hill, not only provides a great view of the small sea bay. The kitchen of the luxurious Bed & Breakfast serves a menu exclusively for guests that is changed every day. Owner and manager Jonathan can also report on queer Life in New Zealand.
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
The 970 Lonely Bay Lodge (970 Purangi Road, Whitianga, Coromandel) is close to the bay that gave it its name where you can fully relax in peace and quiet. But also the luxurious apartments of the lodge do a good job as they offer a lot of space and a great views, some of the being maisonettes. The breakfast is freshly prepared and real treat.
Te Pune Wai
Richard and James have lovingly renovated their old villa in Nelson little by little in recent years, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Talking about everything under the sun with the two hosts of the guest house Te Pune Wai (24 Richardson Street, Nelson) in the evening or at breakfast is really fun. The veranda also offers a great view of the Bay of Nelson.
Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco
The small cottages of the Grand Mercure Nelson (6 Point Road, Monaco) with their weathered bricks and the beautiful wooden beams look as if they have been there for centuries. They were built recently, though, using old elements and materials . The result is a combination of flair and modern room layout.
Olivers Central Otago
The Olivers (34 Sunderland Street, Clyde) in Clyde is housed in an old merchant shop from the time of the gold rush about a hundred and fifty years ago. In the former shop there is now a first-class restaurant the old stables host the guest rooms. As it is a listed building it was carefully renovated under the strict view of the Monument Protection Authority.
The Oyster Inn
Jonathan and Andrew once fell in love with the island of Waiheke during a holiday. First-class mussels are harvested there but a seafood-worthy restaurant was missing at that time. To fix it the two took initiative and two opened their own, The Oyster Inn (124 Oceanview Road, Oneroa, Waiheke). There are also three guest rooms available for rent in an annexe building.
At Eichardt’s (2 Marina Parade, Queenstown), that also offers accommodation, it’s really fun spend the evening with friends and try everything on the menu. Great tapas, mostly made with local ingredients are served for sharing. If you are vegetarian and bypass the wonderfully tender lamb cheeks, you will also find a wide selection of meat-free dishes.
Mercury Bay Estate
Simon and his wife Valentina have been managing the vineyard Mercury Bay Estate (761A Purangi Road, Coromandel) for one year. It is located near the bay where the famous navigator Captain Cook once anchored to observe the transit of mercury before the sun. In these days you can enjoy a very fruity but not too sweet rosé there.
Armando and his husband Bob have been living near the small town of Cromwell in the center of the South Island for over seven years. While Bob has established a herb farm, Armando treats the residents of Cromwell and their guests with Italian delicacies in his restaurant (71 Melmore Terrace, Cromwell).
If you want to get some background information about the local ecosystem after three spectacular rope slides over the forest, the Eco Zipline (Trig Hill Road, Waiheke) is the place to come to. The guides explain the peculiarities of the fern forests as well as about edible plants and reveal the secret of why the Maori were not satisfied with the New Zealand palm trees.
Cathedral Cove Kayaking
The ride by Kayak (88 Hahei Beach Road, Hahei) to Cathedral Cove is really fun, not least because the beaches below the steep coastline are barely reachable on foot. The adventure begins when you take the boat a few hundred metres into the sea to approach some islands. With a bit of luck you can also just sail in the wind.
Wilson’s Abel Tasman
The Abel Tasman National Park is comparatively easy to reach as the town of Nelson is on its doorstep. However, it is hardly crowded and offers opportunities for kayaking, hiking or a mix of both, some taking more than one day. If you travel with Wilsons (265 High Street, Motueka) in a small group you are accompanied by a professional guide and you stay in very comfortable lodges where a kitchen team prepares tasty menus in the evening.
Bike it Now
Lisa, Fletch and Duncan rent bikes to tourists in the small gold digger town of Clyde with their shop Bike it Now (23 Holloway Street, Clyde) and also give tips for one-or several-day cycling tours. Some follow disused railway lines or along the river Clutha. A part of the way can also be covered by boat, Clutha river cruises transports cyclists and bicycles.
Big Gay Out
Bigger and more popular than Pride is the BigGayOut festival, which is held in Auckland in the New Zealand summer. Several shows provide awareness and reconnaissance about HIV and AIDS and money is being collected for various charities.
Queenstown Gay Ski Week
The Queenstown Gay Ski Week is probably the largest gay-and-lesbian skiing week in the southern hemisphere and one of the most popular in the world. If you are still too warm in the European late summer you should book a flight to New Zealand from the 2nd to the 9th September 2017.
The Lonely Planet travel guide to New Zealand informs comprehensively about sights and activities. In addition to some general information for gays, it also offers a small guide to events and bars.
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