Free Travel Newsletter : November 2015
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Jess Edelen, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.
We're thinking ahead to Christmas with some suggestions on where to go for the BEST twinkly lights, dancing and scenery (sorry, we can't promise snow, but we can promise stunning). Plus something for the kids and special recommendations for senior travellers, those grey nomads and silver surfers who can find so much to do throughout New Zealand!
Read more about:
- Christmas at the Races
- Santa's at the Zoo
- TSB Bank Festival of Lights
- Rhythm and Alps Festival
- Go See... Aoraki Mount Cook, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
- 10 Top NZ Experiences for Senior Travellers
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Christmas at the Races
Location: Various throughout New Zealand
Date: 27 November - 22 December
Looking for a day out for colleagues, friends or family? Why not try a day out at the races and get dressed up for a fun, friendly and fashionable Christmas celebration. There are over 47 events nationwide with each Christmas at the Races event promising a thrilling day of racing action, fresh festive food, fantastic hospitality, live music – and the chance to dress up and toast the season. Whatever your group's size, budget and taste, you'll find a package to suit.
View the Christmas at the Races website for more information.
Santa's at the Zoo
Location: Auckland Zoo
Auckland Zoo is home to 138 different species, over 875 animals and on certain days in December, one jolly man wearing red! You can visit Santa in his grotto at the WildZone area of Auckland Zoo and have your photo taken with him.
Lots of Christmas gift inspiration in the gift shop and then there's the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand to see and find out about.
For grotto opening dates and times, please visit the Auckland Zoo website.
TSB Bank Festival of Lights
Date: 13 December – 31 January
Pukekura Park, one of New Zealand's premier botanical gardens, will be transformed into a beautiful illuminated night-time wonderland with multi-coloured lights gleaming amongst the trees.
The festival attracts over 10,000 visitors and includes popular performance features, lighting features, (over 1,000 lights installed) a fantastic mix of daytime activities for children and families, twilight movies in the park and live night-time entertainment from a range of local and national performers.
For more information visit the TSB Bank Festival of Lights website.
Rhythm and Alps Festival
Location: Cardrona Valley
Date: 30 - 31 December
This 2-day music festival caters for up to 5,000 campers who enjoy a great musical line up as well as the stunning scenery of the Cardrona Valley with the site located between the famous Cardrona Ski resort and the high rolling terrain of the Pisa Plateau.
The festival runs at the same time as Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne - a rite of passage for 30,000 local and international fans who travel to experience the first sunrise of the year at New Zealand's biggest music festival.
More information and tickets can be found on the Rhythm and Alps website.
Go See... Aoraki Mount Cook, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3724m (12,218 ft), having earlier been measured at 3754m. In the past many believed the Māori name for Mt Cook Aorangi meant 'the cloud-piercer', but Aorangi was a person - (Aorangi in the Ngāi Tahu dialect is Aoraki). According to tradition, when the canoe in which he and his brothers were voyaging in the south-west Pacific was wrecked, he scrambled to the highest point of the canoe's upturned hull.
Aoraki Mount Cook lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers, notably Edmund Hillary in his early climbing years. The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre located in Mount Cook village is a tribute to him, his work and the local region.
Aoraki Mount Cook is located in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, which covers approximately 70,000 hectares and is home to 18 other peaks over 3,000 metres high. The park is also part of Te Wahipounamu-South Westland World Heritage Area-in recognition of its outstanding natural value.
- Where to go: From Twizel a sealed road leads right into the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Aoraki Mount Cook Village lies at the end of the road, just below the terminals of the Hooker and Mueller Glaciers.
- How to get there: All year round
View more about the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park region.
10 Top NZ Experiences for Senior Travellers
Most, if not all, of New Zealand's popular tourist destinations and experiences are age-friendly and suit all ages. However, we've picked out a few special experiences that we believe senior travellers travelling on a cruise/tour package or independently would really enjoy. (We've left out adrenalin-charged activities such as bungy jumping, but of course age is no barrier. The oldest recorded bungy jumper was 96 years old at the time of her jump).
- Bay of Islands - With 144 islands and bays, the Bay of Islands maritime park is one of New Zealand's best and there are a plenty of day or night-time cruises to choose from to explore this beautiful coastline, including the famous 'Hole in the Rock' cruise... more about Bay of Islands cruises.
- Botanical Gardens & Te Papa, - Recommendations for senior travellers visiting Wellington simply have to include plenty of time for: Te Papa, New Zealand's bold, innovative national museum set on Wellington's waterfront. Visitors can get a unique and authentic experience of New Zealand's treasures, stories and people; and the Botanical Gardens – 61 acres, planted in 1868 with native bush, tropical greenhouse and seasonal beds – a fun way to reach the gardens is by using the cable car... more about Wellington.
- High Tea in Auckland - Take a break from exploring Queen Street and take tea like a Duchess. There is a great choice of establishments serving high tea including the Sofitel, Stamford Plaza, The Langham Hotel, Hotel DeBrett and Cotter House (bookings required in advance).
- Mitai Māori Village, Rotorua - You will be welcomed by family members who guide you to your table for an introduction to Māori customs and traditions, rituals, beliefs, protocol and language. You'll see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe, enjoy an authentic hangi meal, watch a cultural performance and take a bush walk to see glowworms in their natural habitat... more about Mitai Māori Village.
- Blenheim Winery Tour - Any wine lover would enjoy a wine tasting tour in Blenheim, although wineries throughout New Zealand enjoy a fine international reputation. In Blenheim, you can sample internationally acclaimed wines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot... more about wine tours in Blenheim.
- Historic Steamship Cruise, Queenstown - A cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw is one of the best ways to experience Queenstown's famed scenic beauty. See Queenstown's spectacular alpine scenery, visit the ship's engine room and see its giant steam engines at work, view the collection of historical photos in our mini-museum, check out the bridge or join a sing-along with the pianist... more about the Earnslaw Cruise.
- Larnach Castle, Dunedin - A 'Must Visit'-New Zealand's only castle set on the spectacular Otago Peninsula. The castle features magnificent architecture, superb craftsmanship, and a unique collection of antiques. Learn about the tragic and sometimes scandalous story of William Larnach. Enjoy tea or lunch in the beautiful ballroom. Explore the 'Garden of International significance'... more about Larnach Castle.
- Milford Sound - Milford Sound is a fiord located in the beautiful Fiordland region of New Zealand, just under a four hour drive from Queenstown, and about four and three quarter hours from Wanaka. Once described as the 'eighth wonder of the world' by Rudyard Kipling, a Milford Sound cruise is an experience you will always cherish... more about Milford Sound tours and cruises.
- TranzAlpine Train Journey - Climb aboard one of the world's most famous train journeys, between Christchurch and Greymouth. Cross the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps, descend through native beech forest to Greymouth – and explore mighty glaciers, wild rivers and famous Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks... more about the TranzAlpine.
- Wanaka Aviation Museum - An easy and interesting way to spend an hour or two if you're near Wanaka. Warbirds & Wheels museum has incredible displays of the warbird planes, beautiful classic cars and lots of very well written information on each display. There is a cafe and a shop on site and also an art gallery... more about Warbirds and Wheels.
Seniors' Travel Highlights on the North Island
Seniors' Travel Highlights on the South Island
Share Your Experience
If you've come across a little-known nook of spring flowers, why not let other NZTG readers know about it - send details of your adventure to the newsletter editor.
New Zealand Fast Facts
New Zealand is the world's eighth largest milk producer, with about 2.2% of world production, with Fonterra being the largest processor of milk. Dairy farming is part of a long and proud agricultural tradition in New Zealand beginning in 1814 when the first cows were brought to New Zealand. The first dairy co-operative was established in 1871.