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Best places to stop over before flying on to New Zealand

April 20th, 2017 by

Making the decision to visit New Zealand and taking the time to plan a trip there from the UK is not something that many travellers take lightly. With upwards of 20 hours being spent in the air, it seems obvious that you should take the time to stop over and make the most of your long-haul travel plans by making a stopover somewhere along the line and hit two (or more!) birds with one stone by seeing a few more countries along the way. Here are some of the best stopover ideas that you can use to inspire your future travel route planning when heading to New Zealand:

San Francisco

Arguably one of the most unique and cosmopolitan of all US cities, San Francisco is a hard stopover option to ignore when you’re exploring your options for travelling to New Zealand. If you’re happiest hitting up all the best bohemian cafes and boutiques, then San Fran is the place for you. The city is full of all the obvious urban jungle attractions, alongside some exciting alternatives that are best discovered when sought after in the spur of the moment! Alongside your usual travel documents, you should also apply for an ESTA visa card before booking your stopover in San Francisco, or else not be permitted to enter the country.

Fly here via Qantas and Virgin Atlantic (approx. 10 hours from London)

Bangkok

If you’re a culture vulture seeking history and the arts, then Bangkok is calling your name! Amidst the cacophony of traffic and tuk-tuks, there is another side to the city and that lies in its holy buildings and statues. Bangkok is certainly a top contender for anyone looking to spice up their travels and try taking on a place that is eclectic and charming in its own unique way.

Fly here via Emirates, Etihad (approx. 12 hours from London)

Bali

The wonderful thing about visiting Bali is that while you have the regular tourists hotspots like Kuta to explore, you can also step out onto a road less travelled and be met with isolated beaches and beautifully green rice paddy fields. Famous for its chilled out, spiritual vibes and fabulous spas, there is no better place to recover from your hours spent in the sky than by getting a massage or invigorating scrub treatment.

Fly here via Singapore Airlines (approx. 19 hours from London)

Singapore

Singapore is fast becoming a popular holiday destination in its own right and certainly deserves a look in if you’re after an exciting place to explore before arriving in New Zealand. While there is obviously lots of shopping and stunning hotels to stay in (for example, Marina Bay Sands) while spending time here, there is another side to this bustling city too. Singapore is also home to one for the largest and most impressive zoo which is guaranteed to have you mesmerised and left with a better understanding of some of the world’s most impressive and endangered creatures.

Fly here via Singapore Airlines (approx. 12 hours from London)

Top 5 European Restaurants In New Zealand

April 1st, 2017 by

New Zealand’s reputation when it comes to offering some of the world’s’ most delicious and innovative dishes is growing, with Kiwi chefs paving the way for emerging talents and creating dishes that make waves across the world. The following top European restaurants in New Zealand have earnt their popularity and critical acclaim by dedicating their time to producing spectacular foods and wines. From casual pubs to fine dining experiences, New Zealand certainly has a lot to offer an inquisitive foodie looking to make the most of their New Zealand adventure through eating and drinking their way through the menus!

1. Odette’s Eatery

Odette’s Eatery is described as being a very popular brunching spot found in a modern and open planned depot in the city. With indoor and outdoor dining, you will be able to find interesting brunch choices that are not only tasty, but highly Instagrammable.

2. Jack Tar

Jack Tar is well known for being a lively and vibrant gastropub that offers stunning views of Auckland harbour. This chilled out eatery has everything from vegan food options to craft beer and live music nights. While their main focus is food they are known for their fabulous wine and cocktail options too!

3. The Garden Shed

The Garden Shed is one of those places that offer a pretty décor (garden themed interior) alongside offering tasty and healthy meal options that are perfect if you are looking to same fresh produce. The atmosphere here is something that really adds to the tasty food and drink options and makes for a great special occasion meal.

4. The Sugar Club

The Sugar Club is certainly a dining option for those looking for the wow-factor as it is situated on the 53rd floor of the Sky Tower in Auckland. It’s breath-taking and creative dishes are somewhat pricey but you get what you pay for in this sumptuously decorated bar and restaurant.

5. Eight – The Langham Hotel

At Eight, you are greeted with a buffet with a difference. There are fresh sushi and sashimi selections and all of the seafood is fresh and of exceptional quality. Visitors are often taken aback by the sheer range and variety of seafood here. If you are looking for an indulgent seafood eatery of the highest standard then Eight at the Langham Hotel is hard to beat!

No matter where in New Zealand you are going to be traveling to, you can rest assured that there will always be some European style eateries for you to check out while you are there. And, if travelling to New Zealand to get your fix of European food sounds like a step too far, then why not visit one of the countries represented by the EHIC in Europe, where you can get your fill of local gastronomical delights without flying long-haul? The fantastic thing about our world is that you can find influences of all cultures and cuisines making their way overseas so that you can get your fix of the very best New Zealand dishes in Europe and vice versa!

Extreme Sports in New Zealand That You Can’t Find In Europe

March 28th, 2017 by

New Zealand and Queenstown in particular is well known as being one of the extreme sport capitals of the world. New Zealander’s take your average sport to the next level and are famous for being adventurous adrenaline seekers with a need for speed! Half a million people flock to this part of the world in the hope of bringing some thrills and kicks to their day. If you are looking for a way to live by the motto ‘do one thing every day that scares you’ then coming to New Zealand can be just what you are looking for!

If you are travelling through Europe and have a stop-over in anther European country then be sure to carry an EHIC with you. Alongside this, as extreme sports carry significant risks; be sure to add a travel insurance policy that covers you for the sport that you intend on doing whilst out there. If you want to know a little more about the types of sports that you could be participating in, check out our list of the best:

Jet Boating

For fun filled thrills that you can do as a group of mates, we would definitely recommend that you try jet boating while checking off things from your bucket list! The best place to feel the wind in your hair as you speed through the water on a jet-boat is on Lake Taupo’s Huka Falls where you will find spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Canyoning

One of the most wild and terrifyingly exhilarating extreme sports in New Zealand is canyoning. This activity can be found in some of the more remote areas of Auckland, Canterbury, Nelson and Coromandel.

Caving

If you aren’t afraid of the dark then you may well want to wander into the dark scary caves that can be found in abundance on the island here. Caving can involve anything from climbing, swimming, abseiling or ‘blackwater rafting’ though some of the most fascinating caves in the world!

Heli-Skiing

If you are really looking for a fresh perspective on the world, then why not try your hand at heli-skiing where you are flown to the top of the mountain and are then able to make your way back down from a great high on skis. It’s like a two-for-the-price-of-one experience!

Off Road Drives

Hit the road (or the land!) in an exciting off road drive along New Zealand’s vast network of back roads and tracks that are guaranteed to get your heart racing. If you really want to take this experience to the next level then you can also try racing though the sand dunes at Ninety Mile Beach in Northland.

Ice Climbing

While some people prefer to only see ice in their cocktails, there are parts of New Zealand that people flock to for ice climbing purposes. Climbing ice at the famous Fox Glacier is among one of the lesser known extreme sports you can participate in.

Family Fun in Queenstown

May 24th, 2013 by

Queenstown may be known as the top spot in New Zealand to get your adrenaline pumping, but it’s also a fantastic location for family trips, too. From picturesque parks to history-rich sights, this city is packed with activities designed to please grown-ups and children alike. While there are a myriad options to get around Queenstown, if you’re wanting to go at your own pace, consider checking out Queenstown car hire — perhaps the most convenient way to see it all.

 

For a run down on how to pack out your itinerary, take a look at the below suggestions to get you started.

 

For Adventurers

Looking to catch a few family-friendly thrills? Queenstown is the ideal place to do it. Venture out to Coronet Peak or Treble Cone for a little all-ages skiing and snowboarding, and then head to the Queenstown Ice Arena for the city’s top skating, hockey and curling. Prefer something slightly less snow-filled? Book a package with Queenstown Paintball, and you’ll be able to compete with other families in a gorgeous — and easily navigable — pine forest.

 

For Learning Lovers

Who says educational activities have to be boring? Queenstown is home to a variety of fun-filled zoos, parks and historical centres, and each attraction is perfect for the entire family. If your kids love animals, plan to spend a morning strolling through the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Not only will you get the chance to spot kiwis, parakeets and geckos, but you’ll also learn about wildlife rescue and local conservation efforts. Then, take a leisurely drive to the former gold-mining capital of Arrowtown for a peek at its historic buildings and settlements. You can even pan for gold in the Arrow River.

 

For Relaxation Seekers

No vacation is complete without a little rest and relaxation. If you need to take it easy after days of sightseeing, check out the Onsen Hot Pools. These private tubs are filled with crystal-clear alpine water, and you’ll be able to bask in Queenstown’s breathtaking landscape while you soak.

 

Of course, everyone unwinds differently. Want to let Dad sneak away for a few hours? Send him to Jack’s Point Golf Course. Surrounded by The Remarkables mountain range, this championship course is an amazing place to play a few rounds. Plus, the kids can browse the gift shop, have lunch in the restaurant or learn the ins and outs of the game.

 

For the Littlest Ones

Even your youngest children can join the fun in Queenstown. If you’re in the mood for a mellow activity, plan a day trip to the Walter Peak High Country Farm. You’ll take the vintage TSS Earnslaw steamship across beautiful Lake Wakatipu and get a guided tour of the farmyard and countryside. Little ones can feed the animals and meet a few friendly sheep dogs, and Mom and Dad will love the traditional teas and lakeside gardens.

 

Then, end your day with a short drive to the Remarkable Sweet Shop. This brightly coloured candy store is a dream come true for young children, and you’ll be able to sample creamy fudge, sugary lollies and delicious jellies. Just make sure to leave room in your Queenstown car hire for all the treats you’re bound to bring home.

Queenstown Airport in Top Ten Best Airport Approaches

December 6th, 2011 by

It’s official…the approach into Queenstown airport is one of the top 10 most stunning approaches in the world.
Queenstown Airport has come in seventh place and the only airport from the southern hemisphere to make the top 10.

Any one that has flown into the airport would agree as the approach takes you close to the craggy Remarkable Mountain Rang,e as well as over spectacular lakes, mountains and ski fields. If you are lucky enough to get a window seat you might be caught with you mouth open in amazement as you steer out the window at the beautiful scenery.


Of course none of this is news to Queenstown locals and the many tourists that visit Queenstown each year. It’s beautiful scenery is world-renowned and results like this just prove this.

Queenstown Airport is Australasia’s fastest growing Airport. It is located at Frankton in New Zealand’s South Island (Some might say the best island), it serves the resort town of Queenstown and sits in the picturesque Wakatipu Basin.

The Airport is serviced by Air New Zealand, Mt Cook Airline, Pacific Blue, Jetstar and Qantas with direct international flights to/from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It is one of New Zealand’s busiest helicopter and general aviation bases and is regularly visited by Corporate Jet’s and those lucky enough to be able to afford such a life style.
The full top ten

1. Barra (Scotland)
2. London City
3. Jackson Hole
4. Aruba
5. Male (Maldives)
6. St Barts
7. Queenstown (NZ)
8. Gibraltar
9. Narvik (Norway)
10. St Maarten.

Queenstown – 3rd Top Food and Wine Destination

October 16th, 2011 by

All the locals can tell you what is now becoming a world wide fact. Queenstown has great food and wine and the votes in the best food and wine destinations in the Pacific prove this with Queenstown winning 3rd for 2011. The restaurants around town offer such a wide variety and a price to suit any taste You can feast on all types of wild game, as well as all of that delicious beef and lamb that New Zealand is famous for.

Queenstown is very well known for it’s wines with many award winning wineries within the Wakatipu region. There are also a few locally brewed beers if your prefer the taste of hops to grapes.

The towns restaurants are busy every night as the tourist head back into the town after attending to what ever activities they had planned for the day creating a great atmosphere. Overall, eating in Queenstown is an experience you should look forward to if your a planning a visit to the region.

Queenstown Lake Cruises

August 28th, 2011 by

Queenstown Lake Crusies

Queenstown has a new option for cruises on Lake Wakatipu with Queenstown Lake Cruises.The boat is called the Queenstown Princess and departs from the Queenstown Waterfront. They take you over to Hidden Island around the bottom of Cecil Peak and then into Frankton Arm stopping at points of interest along the way and including two 360 degree turns for the ultimate panoramic photo. The ride is 1 and a half hours long and great value for money at $30 for an adult and $15 for a cruise. It also includes a free cup of coffee or tea and a muffin or biscuit.

Book your Queenstown Lake Cruise and enjoy a cruise amongst this beautiful scenery.

Cheap Queenstown Accommodation

July 30th, 2011 by

Queenstown is New Zealand’s premier resort destination. As it is located in such a beautiful area of New Zealand man different types of accommodation providers have popped up. There are many different types of accommodation to suit any budget available. If you are travelling on a budget and you are tired of searching for a bargain I have complied a list of accommodation providers that provide good accommodation for under $150 per night. This leaves you more money for activities and site seeing. Lets be honest, in a place like Queenstown your not going to be spending a lot of time in your room are you?


Bella Vista Motel

Bella Vista Motel Queenstown is a modern complex comprising 24 fully serviced studios situated in a quiet location close to the heart of Queenstown. Just a 3 minute walk to the town centre and Lake Wakatipu, close to shops, restaurants, cafes and wine bars.


Coronation Lodge

Enjoy the comforts of our centrally located Lodge, perfectly situated near the picturesque Queenstown gardens, only a 2 minute walk to the heart of Queenstown. Locally owned & operated they offer hospitality that is genuine & warm.
Opened in 2004, our 11 room lodge features natural wooden interior, which provides a warm & welcoming “home away from home” atmosphere from the moment you arrive. Rooms include the option of a super-king or two king-single beds, rollaway beds are available for groups of three (+$30 extra person charge applies).


Coronet Peak Hotel

The Coronet Peak Hotel is an 8-minute drive from downtown Queenstown and is a three and a half star accommodation with 75 guest rooms, all with private bathrooms. It is the closest accommodation to the Coronet Peak Ski Field, making it an ideal place for skiers to stay. Unwind from an action filled day at their spa or sauna, have a tasty dinner at their restaurant, Rafters, or enjoy a drink in front of a roaring fire at Rafters Bar. Looking for a family friendly area? Attached to the Coronet Peak Hotel is Strikebowl, a bowling center, game room, and bar for those looking to spend an evening in.


Heartland Hotel

Situated on Stanley Street, the Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown’s main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over lake Wakatipu to the mountains. They are just a couple of minutes’ walk from the heart of Queenstown where you can experience some of New Zealand’s best restaurants, cafes and shopping and access the myriad of activities on offer.


Kiwi Cabin 88

Kiwi Cabin 88 is a little holiday house in beautiful Queenstown. It is situated in a unique part of the Lakeview Holiday Park – part of New Zealand families holiday history. A historic corner of true kiwiana. Only 5 minutes walk to downtown Queenstown’s restaurants, bars, movies, gondolas, luge, mini golf and the lake with boat rides of all descriptions and a huge variety of shops. It has a sunny deck on which you can relax and enjoy the view of the glorious Remarkables mountains or just sit and there and read a good book in the sun. The cabin consists of a kitchen/living area, two small bedrooms and bathroom with separate toilet.


Remarkable View

This is a centrally located 2-bedroom unit with magnificent lake and mountain views. It is Fully equipped with Linen supplied. It also has a full kitchen so you can save money at eat back at the room

This is just a small selection of the range of cheap accommodation avaialable in Queenstown. Search the range of cheap accommodation and find yourself a bargin.

Queenstown Accommodation – Hilton Hotel

July 8th, 2011 by
Hilton Queenstown

Hilton Queenstown

The snow has finally arrived in Queenstown and the ski fields are buzzing with eager skiiers who have been waiting for the first good dumping of snow. Once people hear about the first snow fall accommodation and activities quickly book out. If you are planning on a ski holiday to Queenstown this year it is recommended that you book your accommodation as soon as possible. There are already a few accommodation providers in town that are booked out for the next 2 – 3 months.

Queenstown Accommodation has a new kid on the block. The luxurious Hilton has finally arrived and it looks gorgeous. It is nestled in one of Queenstowns most senic locations where the Wakatipu Lake flows into the Kawarau River. In fact this is such a good site this is where the founder of Queenstown decided to live.

This hotel is only 5 minutes from the Queenstown airport and is 15 minutes from the center of town. There is a water taxi that provides a regular service from the Hilton for a quick and unique way of getting into town.

The hotel has a noodle bar, a restaurant called Wakatipu Grill and a stylish wine bar and lounge. You can also keep fit and relax in style in their 25m indoor heated pool and eforea Spa.

Treat yourself and book your Queenstown accommodation at the Hilton Queenstown.

Queenstown Winter Fesitval

June 18th, 2011 by

The Queenstown Winter Festival is less then a week away. The town is getting excited as the biggest winter party in the Southern Hemisphere is about to get under way.

A new feature to the fesitval this year is the tempory ice skating rink being built over Horne Creek. This will be a great focal point for the fesitval and it will give you a chance to try you hand at a bit of ice skating. The skating rink will be open from 10am till 9pm and it will cost between $10 – $22.

After a record breaking warm May Queenstown is still waiting for the snow to fall but the good news is a cold southerly is going to come up the country on Sunday which will have a cooling effect on the Southern Lakes Region and possibly even some snow.  It should give the snow making machines to work their magic.

If it’s cold enough the machines can make enough snow to open the ski fields in three days on Coronet Peak. In fact the machines on Coronet Peak make 20 tons of snow a minute. Isn’t that amazing?