Free Travel Newsletter : April 2012
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Iam Aparna, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "The Ultimate New Zealand DVD".
Although April is the start of the Autumn in New Zealand and the temperature is not quite as hot as the summer months, there is still every reason to enjoy the country's sand, sea and surf - without even getting your toes wet. Whilst some of the best beaches in the country aren't suitable for swimming, they offer superb surfing, fishing and walking opportunities. Enjoy some seaside solitude, grab your boots and your camera and head down to the mysterious, wild and dramatic coastlines of New Zealand. You can also look ahead to get a taste of just some of wonderful events awaiting winter visitors!
- Matariki – A Celebration of New Zealand, 22nd June
- Queenstown Winter Festival, 22nd June - 1st July
- Explore New Zealand by Road
- Nordic Walking in New Zealand
- Off the Beaten Track to... New Chums Beach
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Matariki - A Celebration of New Zealand, 22nd June
If you're in or near Hastings (North Island) during your holiday here, then head to Flaxmere Park to join a unique New Zealand celebration, Matariki. This is a wonderful evening event (5:00 pm - 8:30 pm) for all the family to enjoy and admission is free.
Thousands of people are expected at this 12th annual celebration of thanksgiving and welcome to the new year planting season. Join in and experience:
- The biggest winter event in Hastings
- International and local foods including steamed mussels, raw fish, hangi, pan-fried Māori potatoes and kanga pungarehu (a boiled corn sweet delicacy)
- Singers, dancers and performers
- Fireworks to music
Dress warmly, wear good walking shoes...and enjoy!
Queenstown Winter Festival, 22nd June - 1st July
If your travel plans are still on the drawing board, try to make time for the 38th Queenstown Winter Festival on New Zealand's South Island. This wonderfully exuberant winter festival lasts for 10 days and features plenty of celebration, entertainment, fun, winter sports and excitement. Events and attractions at this year's festival will include:
- Opening party and fireworks on Earnslaw Park
- A downtown ice rink
- New Zealand movie premiere of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
- Comedy from Flight of the Concords and satire from '7 Days Live'
- Auckland Airport Family Fun Day and Festival Parade
- Mountain Bikes on Snow, Frontrunner Golden Mile or More FM Birdman
There is a massive amounts of events and entertainment to choose from – see the Queenstown Winter Festival for more details. We recommend that you book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment!
Explore New Zealand by Road
For many visitors to New Zealand, the open road (of which there are many in New Zealand) beckons with not just a call, but a full-blooded yell. A self-drive experience is a wonderful way to see the country's natural highlights and to enjoy activities and adventures in your own time, at your own pace and under your 'own steam'.
Renting a car, mini-bus, campervan or motorbike is straightforward, the roads are well-maintained, the traffic is light, the scenery fantastic. Your only dilemma may be where to go in the time you have available. That's we can help with our driving route suggestions – simply find one that suits you and print out a hard copy to guide you along the road. Our suggested New Zealand driving routes include:
- Estimated travel times and distances (in kms and miles)
- Suggestions on what to see and do on the way
- From 3 to 25 days long
- One-way trips and return drives
- Routes leaving from cities and towns in both major islands (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Rotorua)
- Specialist interest self-drive routes including Lord of the Rings.
See more information about driving in New Zealand including road rules and licences.
Nordic Walking in New Zealand
There's walking... and then there's nordic walking (i.e. walking with poles). If you are a fan of this style of walking, there is plenty of ideal terrain for nordic walking in New Zealand.
Try these sandy terrains with poles (or without):
- Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula – Great for nordic walking followed by a dig in the sand to create your very own natural hot pool.
- Piha Beach, West Auckland – One of the country's best surfing beaches, but great for walking and exploring too.
- Karekare, West Auckland – Follow in Holly Hunter's steps along the beach immortalised in the Jane Campion film, 'The Piano'.
- Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson – With plenty of walking around the coastline on gravel tracks and beaches, this is wonderful terrain for nordic walkers.
- Ninety Mile Beach, Northland – Not ninety miles long despite the name, but a great walk along the sands plus plenty of opportunities to slide down huge sand dunes.
If you are new to nordic walking, it's worth noting that helps increase walkers' stability on slippery and uneven surfaces, as well as improving aerobic fitness and burning up more calories than walking without poles. See more on nordic walking in New Zealand.
Off the Beaten Track to... New Chums Beach
New Chums Beach is located in Wainuiototo Bay, north-west of Whangapoua Beach and about 15 kilometres north-east of Coromandel town on the North Island of New Zealand. It is one of the last undeveloped beaches in New Zealand and has been voted as one of the Top 20 Beaches in the World... however, not many people (including the locals) know about it, making it a haven for beach lovers seeking a deserted stretch of sandy paradise...(more)
New Zealand Fast Facts
On 25th March 2012, New Zealand changed two of its give way rules applying to all road users (the previous rules had been in effect for 35 years.) To help improve road safety, prevent accidents particularly in urban areas and help overseas drivers, New Zealand no longer has give way rules peculiar to itself and aligns itself with other countries such as the UK and USA.
- See What's New
- Take a Road Test Online