New Zealand? Not So Fast.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Q. We're planning to visit New Zealand in September, arriving at Christchurch on the South Island and departing a week later from Auckland, at the north end of the North Island. Any suggestions for quiet, scenic, inexpensive places to stay?
Ellen and Gabriel Roth, Chevy Chase
A. One word: Qualmark. That's the name of the rating program run by Tourism New Zealand, sort of a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for Kiwi lodging, and that's the logo you want to look for when checking out accommodations.
Independently vetted lodgings are listed at http:/
You may even want to look at booking a house by the sea or in the bush; it's possible to do that just for a night, says Angela Gore, public diplomacy officer with the Embassy of New Zealand. Look under "Holiday Homes" on the Qualmark site, or check out the listings on New Zealand on the Web ( http:/
Gore says good places to stop en route from Christchurch to Auckland would be Kaikoura, Blenheim, Wellington, Taupo and Rotorua. But wait! Is such an itinerary doable in a week? Not really, says Gore. "I really wouldn't recommend it. New Zealand is bigger than it looks on the map. And a lot of our roads are what you guys would call crummy. We don't have freeways or interstates." She recommends taking at least two weeks if you want to have a good look around. The Tourism New Zealand site, http:/
For a cruise leaving from Miami, we plan to fly into Fort Lauderdale because of lower airfares from Baltimore. How does a family with luggage get from the Fort Lauderdale airport to the Miami cruise terminal?
Marvin Dessler, Odenton
Fort Lauderdale is 28 miles north of the Port of Miami, about a 40-minute drive. The easiest thing would be to take a limo, but it's pricey: Fort Lauderdale Limousine Service (954-288-0646, http:/
Another option: Check with your cruise line, which most likely provides shuttle service to the port. Carnival, for example, charges $24 per person one way; Celebrity, $28. (The transfer is complimentary if you purchase your airline tickets and cruise through the cruise line, but it sounds like that doesn't apply in your case.)
Your best, and cheapest, bet is a regularly scheduled commercial shuttle. Fort Lauderdale Shuttle (754-246-1111, http:/
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