Free Travel Newsletter : December 2017
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Jennifer Lewis, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.
The skies aren't just lighting up with New Year fireworks, New Plymouth and Hastings also light up with beautiful, light-filled festivals suitable for all the family. And if you can't make it to these festivals, simply look up - over 4,000 square km of the South Island alone is recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve meaning it's 'one of the best stargazing sites on earth.'
Back on solid ground, you may also enjoy the celestial pleasures of wine, sport and sightseeing. We've had a look at all you can do in the wonderful region of Eastland this month - but remember, we've also done the ground work (so you don't have too) on Off the Beaten Track destinations, must-see Go See Places, the Top 10s of Things to Do (themed around specific interests) plus other regional destinations (What There Is to See and Do In...).
Read more about:
- TSB Festival of Lights
- The Little Big Markets
- Fiesta of Lights
- Pegasus Bay Vine Run
- The James Ground Effect Pony Express
- NZTG Recommendations for Travel Itineraries
- What There Is to See and Do In... Eastland
- New Zealand Fast Facts
TSB Festival of Lights
Location: Pukekura Park, Fillis Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki
Date: Pukekura Park, Fillis Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki
Each summer the TSB Festival of Lights transforms Pukekura Park, one of New Zealand's premier botanical gardens, into a magical illuminated night-time wonderland of multi-coloured lights gleaming amongst the trees, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year.
Be wowed by the live night-time entertainment from national and international performers, stunning lighting features, a fantastic mix of daytime activities for children and families, twilight movies in the park and pop-up performance features.
The Little Big Markets
Location: Coronation Park, Maunganui Road, Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty
Date: 6 January - 31 March
The Little Big Markets were launched in the summer of 2009 with a simple vision, which was to create a place that would bring communities together. A place where people could hang out and enjoy their surroundings, enjoy great music, good food and buy only the best products from a select range of artisans and producers.
Fiesta of Lights
Location: Hawke's Bay A & P Showgrounds, Kenilworth Rd, Hastings, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne
Date: 16 December - 7 January
Dazzling lights displays scattered along a tree-lined trail are surrounded by thousands of sparkling fairy lights. Started in 1998 this holiday event has grown in size and popularity and offers an interactive and fun experience for young and old. On New Year's Eve Sunday 31st December gates open at the earlier time of 8pm and entertainment includes a delightfully funny mime artist, hula hoop champion Grace Raven and Classic and popular hits band Pulse. There's a free obstacle course, giant slides, bouncies and a spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display for the kiddies at 9:50pm. Hot food and drinks on sale.
Pegasus Bay Vine Run
Location: Pegasus Bay Winery, 263 Stockgrove Road, Waipara, Hurunui
Date: Sunday 28 January, 10.00am - 4.00pm
Come and run through the Pegasus Bay vineyard then enjoy a picnic lunch on the winery lawns. The Pegasus Bay Vine Run has both 6km and 10km options, which can be either walked or run. This is a fantastic opportunity to get behind the scenes at Pegasus Bay and also help support a very worthy cause - the NZ Brain Research Institute.
The James Ground Effect Pony Express
Location: St James Conservation Area, Tophouse Rd, Hanmer Springs, Hurunui
Date: Saturday 20 January 2018
A 65km adventure race for those looking for the next level of true mountain-biking adventure. Forget what the other's claim, this is true NZ high country and iconic mountain landscapes! All within the stunning, epic New Zealand sub-alpine high country landscapes of St James Station behind Hanmer Springs.
NZTG Recommendations for Travel Itineraries
There is one destination you should go to before you finalise your travel itinerary and that's to our library of Traveller Newsletter back issues. We've catalogued travel advice and inspiration into easy-to-read and easy-to-find sections including:
- Off the Beaten Track - Over 60 destinations and experiences that take you away from the better-known tourist highways and byways - try to fit in as many as you can. Perfect for traveller with no time constraints (more)
- Top 10s - Whatever your interests, from trout fishing to snorkelling, from garden visits to eating, from scenic flights to golf, from toddler-friendly to eco-friendly - we've got suggestions for hundreds of the country's best experiences with over 40 Top 10s (more)
- Go See... - Nearly 40 handpicked places unlike any other place in the world. From Craters of the Moon to Stonehenge Aotearoa, from Cathedral Caves to Emerald Lakes, from the Pohutu Geyser to the Putangirua Pinnacles, from Nugget Point to Split Apple Rock. Find out why New Zealand is the 'Middle Earth' of the 20th century (more)
- Regional Checklists: If you're heading to a specific region in New Zealand, make sure you've included all there is to see and do before you move on. Here are our suggestions for:
- What There Is to See and Do In... Auckland
- What There Is to See and Do In... Northland
- What There Is to See and Do In... Fiordland
- What There Is to See and Do In... Wairarapa
- What There Is to See and Do In... Queenstown
- What There Is to See and Do In... Wairarapa
- What There Is to See and Do In... Rotorua
- What There Is to See and Do In... The Coromandel
- What There Is to See and Do In... Marlborough
- What There Is to See and Do In... Ruapehu
- What There Is to See and Do In... Wellington
- What There Is to See and Do In... Christchurch
What There Is to See and Do In... Eastland
Eastland on New Zealand's North Island reaches out to the Pacific Ocean and is the first mainland place in the world to see the sun each day. It is a wild, enchanting place full of ancient and mystical stories set in bush-fringed mountain lakes, beaches, farmland and vineyards. There are plenty of opportunities for camping, horse-riding, diving, fishing, hunting, swimming and surfing.
- Te Urewera National - This is the country's third largest national park and the largest untouched native forest in New Zealand. This is a wonderful area to explore through hiking and trekking.
- Gisborne - Indulge in gourmet dining and wine tasting. Here you'll discover the Southern Hemisphere's first commercially grown black truffles, the finest cheeses and world-renowned Chardonnay.
- Kaiti Beach - Followed in the wake of Captain Cook who surfed his ship Endeavour into Kaiti beach in 1769. Gisborne's white sand surf beaches attract surfers from all over the world.
- Te Poho O Rawiri Marae - Make an appointment to visit this beautiful marae. The interior of the whare rununga (meeting house) is almost completely covered in fine ancestor carvings and geometric tukutuku (woven panels).
- Whangara - Take a Whale Rider tour and visit the village where the movie was filmed.
- Eastwoodhill Arboretum - A visit here will delight any keen horticulturist as it has the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees and shrubs in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Mahia Beach - This delightful holiday village offers class Kiwi charms of great fishing, surfing and diving, as well as safe swimming beaches and a nine-hole golf course.
- Te Waha-o-Rerekohu - Get your camera ready to take a photo of the country's most ancient pohutukawa tree in the coastal settlement of Te Araroa.
- St Mary's Church - Close to Te Waha-o-Rerekohu, is another treasure, one of the most ornate Māori churches in New Zealand.
What Did You Do and See in Eastland?
If you enjoyed an activity during your stay in Eastland, why not let other NZTG readers know about it? You can share with the Instagram community or post on the New Zealand Tourism Guide Facebook page. We look forward to seeing your news and views.
Find out more about the Eastland region.
Share Your Experience
If you have had a particular experience during your stay in New Zealand unlike anything else, why not let us know. We've picked out a few to give you some ideas!
New Zealand Fast Facts
Not only is the Christmas weather hot and sunny in New Zealand, its traditions may vary to yours too. So, in a nutshell - New Zealand's 'Christmas tree' is the pohutukawa, a coastal tree with brilliant, bright blooms of red; Christmas dinner may be a hangi or a barbie; pavlova (meringue and fruit) is a popular dessert; Santa arrives by jet ski... "Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia" (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year).