Even more over-rated destinations

Following last week's cover story, Herald writers and Travel readers share more of their most over-rated travel destinations ...

If you have any romantic notions about the pyramids, a visit to Cairo should disavow you of them, one reader told nzherald.co.nz. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Wilhelm Joys Andersen
If you have any romantic notions about the pyramids, a visit to Cairo should disavow you of them, one reader told nzherald.co.nz. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Wilhelm Joys Andersen

Stonehenge

The most over-rated, boring tourist attraction I have ever visited would have to be Stonehenge. All the hype just to go and see a gathering of rocks (yes, I am sure they have lots of significance to some, and to them I apologise). The site had empty cans lying about and plastic bags blowing around - really just a big con in my book.

- Gail Filmer

Matamata

Tens of thousands of Lord of the Rings fans arrive each year, expecting to bear witness to some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery on the planet, only to realise that most of the backdrops in the movie were computer-generated. In fact, Matamata is just like the desolate wasteland of Mordor, only with a Robert Harris.

- Andrew Stevenson

Paris

Paris was a real let-down for me. The history and architecture was hands-down some of the best I've seen. However, the people were very rude and the footpaths were paved with cigarette butts. Just a really dirty city. It's a shame, because the monuments were stunning.

- Sally Milton

Cairo

Dirty, dishonest, aggressive, unclean, rotting dead horses, unsafe, garbage piles, crowded, 70s-tacky. Yes, it's the pyramids as you are constantly reminded, but if you have any romantic notions about them avoid the place or be disavowed of your romantic notions. We lived in Cairo for a few years, and unlike many other places we have lived overseas we found little to like or respect.

- Rambled, via nzherald.co.nz

Hamilton

Amazing no one mentioned Hamilton. Got stuck there over a long weekend after winning first prize in a raffle. Wish I'd won the second prize: a $20 McDonald's voucher.

- The Man in the Moon, via nzherald.co.nz

Ephesus, Turkey

It's meant to be one of the best preserved Roman cities, but in fact, Ephesus contains more Austrian concrete than original cut and placed stones (for some reason, the Austrians seemed to have taken the lead on its 'restoration' - don't ask me why). They could easily have done the same thing on a greed fields site in Las Vegas, at least you could gamble while you were there ...

- Wazza, via nzherald.co.nz

Ephesus in Turkey contains more Austrian concrete than original cut-and-placed stones, wrote nzherald.co.nz reader Wazza. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Son of Groucho
Ephesus in Turkey contains more Austrian concrete than original cut-and-placed stones, wrote nzherald.co.nz reader Wazza. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Son of Groucho

Auckland

Without a doubt: Auckland. I have yet to meet a tourist that thinks this big provisional town has anything decent to offer. I mean the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus goes to Eden Park for goodness' sake! I always tell tourists to avoid it if at all possible - either head North or South from it, you can't go wrong.

- Richard2012, via nzherald.co.nz

Venice

My wife and I visited 45 years ago and it was good. Visited recently and couldn't get out fast enough, leaving the hotel we had booked and paid for with no refund. If you like eating ludicrously overpriced average food beside a smelly sewer with 10,000 loud American tourists, then this is the place for you.

- John Speed

Herald writers' picks

Coral Coast, Fiji

Fiji is one of the hottest destinations for Kiwi travellers, but for me the Coral Coast was a massive let-down. The glorious blue skies darkened on day three of a seven-day holiday. I woke up on day four to torrential rain, which didn't let up until the shuttle bus pulled into Nadi airport for the return flight home. I know it's not technically the Coral Coast's fault that rain stopped play, but in a resort catering to the fly-and-flop brigade, there is pretty much nothing to do when the sun's not shining. Apart from drink cocktails - so I guess it wasn't all bad.

- Stephanie Holmes, Travel Deputy Editor

Vietnam

On our first night in Saigon, as we waded into traffic on the faith-based assumption that, if we walked at a steady pace vehicles would find their way around us, a passenger on the back of a passing scooter tried to steal my girlfriend's belt-bag. It was foolish of her to wear a belt-bag. They had not been in fashion since the 90s. We had two weeks left in Vietnam. I dreaded every minute. During that time my girlfriend had her bum pinched by a passing boy in a market; a group of children tried to steal my camera and, after I forcibly retrieved it, they swarmed around us like tiny, angry bees; my girlfriend started to fall in love with our hunky tour guide on an overnight train ride and gave him a cherished necklace, possibly in lieu of sex. Ha Long Bay was nice. Everything else sucked.

- Greg Bruce, Herald writer

Herald writer Greg Bruce wasn't a fan of his time in Vietnam. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Paul Arps
Herald writer Greg Bruce wasn't a fan of his time in Vietnam. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Paul Arps

Turkey

My brother said it was the best shave he'd ever had, which is a pretty good endorsement, but a cut-throat shave in Istanbul was actually my worst ever shaving experience. Maybe walking into the first place I saw instead of asking for a local's recommendation was a bad idea. It looked like the blade he was using was as old as the city itself, but once he began I had to go through with the whole thing. I imagine it's a similar experience to getting a tattoo. Afterwards I was left walking through the Grand Bazaar with countless knicks around my face and blood dripping down my neck. I stuck with my trusty travel beard for the rest of the trip.

- Cameron McMillan, Herald writer

Disneyland Tokyo

How about being super-excited for my very first Disneyland trip (as an adult)? My friend and I went to Disneyland in Tokyo. First error: thinking a 10am arrival was early to find all the tickets were already sold out for the day. We had to go to Disneysea instead. We went in and waited in line for our first ride not knowing that waiting times for rides would be over an hour long. Second error: leaving the line, after 30 minutes, to grab a Fast Pass only to find that the pass says to come back to that ride after 9pm that night. We ended up disoriented and tired after not managing to get on any rides besides the trains, gondolas and "submarine" that takes you to different areas of the park. We did get some Disney-themed iceblocks and my pal got a Disney-themed umbrella. Third error: she couldn't fit it in her suitcase or carry-on, so had to leave it in the hotel when we left.

- Liana Thaggard, Herald writer

- NZ Herald

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