Glaciers in New Zealand
Maori children
Northland, New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound
Routeburn Track
Boating in Taupo
Tongariro, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand

Free Travel Newsletter : July 2015

Written by Steph Kendall

Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.

Lucky Subscriber

Congratulations to Suzy Bowden, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.

This month we've picked a very disparate selection of events and activities to highlight including heritage villages, steam railways, contemporary festivals celebrating lighting artistry and facial hair (yes, that's really happening), and the lowdown on where to go for some of the country's best fly fishing.

Read more about:


The Passchendaele Express

The Passchendaele Express

Location: Paekakariki Railway Station, Paekakariki
Date: 15 August (8.35am – 5.30pm)

Travel with Steam Incorporated North from Wellington up the NIMT to friendly Feilding for an easy day out while enjoying a full day of nostalgic rail travel.

The train will be hauled by our "new" steam locomotive Ab608 "Passchendaele" and we will be using our fleet of heritage carriages, many with open end balconies.

The restoration of WWI Memorial locomotive Ab608 "Passchendaele" was completed last year. The project took many years and costed over half a million dollars. Ab608 was built in 1915, the first of the successful and prolific Ab class, and in 1925 named "Passchendaele" in memory of all of the railwaymen that fell in the Great War.

Passenger stops will be Paekakariki, Paraparaumu, Waikanae, Otaki and Levin.

There will be a stopover of over two hours at Feilding giving you time to explore the town, enjoy lunch. Or check out some traction engines.

View more information at the journey and other trips.

Lux Light Festival

Lux Light Festival

Location: Wellington Waterfront, Wellington
Date: 28 August, 6.30pm – 11pm

Wellington Lux is a free public light festival that turns Wellington's waterfront and laneways into a captivating celebration of light, art, technology and design. Lux showcases a fantastical array of international light sculptures that wind their way through the city as well as artist talks, pop up installations, and fun free activities.

View more about Lux Light festival.

2nd NZ Beard & Moustache Competition

2nd NZ Beard & Moustache Competition

Location: Kings Arms, France Street, Auckland
Date: 28 August, 6.30pm – 11pm

After last year's success, Fellowship of the Beard NZ brings back the Beard & Moustache Competition in 2015. We are calling all New Zealand beard and moustache growers to join us. Get ready for a hairy night where you can find the craziest facial hair from all over the country.

Categories for this year's competition are: Best Beard, Best Moustache and Crowd Favourite. This year, ladies can compete in the 'Whiskerinas' category (best fake beards or moustaches). There will be live music, entertainment and raffle prizes. Entry is $5 per person. Proceeds will go to Child Cancer Foundation and a raffle ticket will be given upon entry.

Find out more about the Beardie community in Auckland.

Ferrymead Heritage Park

Ferrymead Heritage Park

Location: Ferrymead, Christchurch City
Date: Every day, except Christmas Day

Ferrymead Heritage Park features an Edwardian township complete with heritage buildings, picture theatre, school house, church, tea rooms, printers shop, jail, general store, post office, railway station and much more. There are a fascinating array of museum and heritage collections. A tram runs daily and a steam train runs on public holidays, school holidays, 1st Sunday of each month and on Event Days. When operating, unlimited tram and train rides are included in the entrance price.

View more about Ferrymead Heritage Park.

Go See... Mine Bay Rock Carvings, Taupo

Mine Bay Rock Carvings, Taupo

Whilst you're visiting Taupo, a must-go see destination are the impressive Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. They are over 10 metres high and can only be reached by kayak or boat. Although they look ancient, the carvings were created in the 1970s as a gift to Taupo by master carver, Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Jono Randell.

Having completed his training with Maori elders, Whakataka-Brightwell came to Lake Taupo – his mother's land – to mark the occasion with a significant carving. He found the cliffs at Mine Bay and decided to carve a likeness of Ngatoroirangi, a visionary Maori navigator who guided the Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to the Taupo area over a thousand years ago. In recognition of the cross-cultural nature of New Zealand, Whakataka-Brightwell also carved two smaller figures of Celtic design, which depict the south wind and a mermaid. It took four summers to complete with the help of assistants including Randell.

The carving has become an important cultural attraction and is a clear demonstration that traditional Maori knowledge and skill are being passed down to younger generations.

  • Where to go: Mine Bay, Lake Taupo
  • How to get there: By boat or kayak from Taupo Boat Harbour
  • When to go: Any time of year (take appropriate/comfortable clothing and footwear for the season, swimwear, towel, sunscreen, windproof/warm jacket, sunglasses, hat and camera)

View more about the Taupo region.

10 Top Trout Fishing Destinations

10 Top Trout Fishing Destinations

There are hundreds of trout fishing rivers and streams in New Zealand for keen anglers to choose from – we've picked up some of the rivers popularly picked out by fly fishing professionals as their favourites.

    North Island Trout Fishing

  1. Kai Iwi Lakes, Northland - The three lakes in the Kai Iwi Lakes - Waikare, Taharoa and Kai Iwi are regarded as the jewel in the crown of Northland trout fishing. The rainbow trout in the lakes are impressive and can be favourably compared to those of the Rotorua Lakes and Lake Taupo. The most popular method of angling from the shore is either fly fishing or spin fishing.
  2. Ngongotaha River, Rotorua - Flowing into Lake Rotorua, the Ngongotaha has a year-round population of both brown and rainbow trout. In April and May when the runs are coming up from the lake, it will be at its absolute autumnal best.
  3. Tongariro River, Lake Taupo - Tongariro River has long been known for the spawning runs that enter it from Lake Taupo from April to November. However, summer fishing is ripe for both resident trout and fat lake fish that come into the river to stuff themselves on cicadas.
  4. Tukituki River, Hawke's Bay - One of the region's top trout fishing locations with good numbers of rainbow trout and brown trout. The river has lots of easy access points, from which there is a good chance of catching trout (most are accessible with 2WD vehicles).
  5. South Island Trout Fishing

  6. Ahuriri River, Central Otago - Possibly one of the most loved trout rivers in the world, from where it enters Lake Benmore to above Ben Avon Station where it starts climbing into the Southern Alps, there is enough variety for a month of fishing.
  7. Eglinton River, Fiordland - The river from Lake Gunn to Lake Te Anau offers brown and rainbow trout fishing and it would take several days to fish this stretch. Most of the river flows through a very large meadow surrounded by the highly picturesque Fiordland National Park.
  8. Haast River, West Coast - Fishing the mysterious river estuaries that enter the Tasman Sea on the West Coast of the South Island has been catching on with locals and visitors alike and the mouth of the Haast River would be as good as any. The estuary browns can be 10 inches or 10+ pounds and are available year round. But early in the season, when there are still some whitebait (smelt-like fish) around, is the best time to cast your streamers and watch for the swirls of feeding fish and feel the wonderful grab on a tight, swinging line.
  9. Mataura River, Southland - From Garston to Gore, the Mataura River is probably the most popular river in Southland. With a gentle gradient, interesting tributaries, good hatches and an impressive fish density, it's been patronised by generations of anglers from New Zealand and overseas.
  10. Motueka River, Nelson - With a high density of good-sized brown trout, reliable hatches, and easy wading and walking, the Motueka River is a South Island favourite. A good river for beginners or those new to fly fishing.
  11. Rai River, Nelson - With over 200 fish per km above the falls, the easily accessible Rai River is well populated with both brown and rainbow trout. It is often called a 'purist's river' and offers beautiful scenery for a perfect early season start.

Share Your Experience

Found a great trout fishing destination in New Zealand that you think other anglers would enjoy? Why not let other NZTG readers know about it - send details of your adventure to the newsletter editor.

New Zealand Fast Facts

A traditional Maori welcome is called a Pohiri, or Powhiri and consists of numerous stages including prayer, challenge, call, welcome dance, speeches, chant, koha (gift), hongi (traditional form of greeting) and kai (food). The hongi consists of a gentle pressing of nose and forehead – not a 'rubbing' of noses as popularly reported.

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New Zealand Coach Tours

New Zealand Coach Tours

The largest range of escorted & small group tours

Boutique touring itineraries designed for you

Specialist NZ Tours

Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

New Zealand self-drive tours

NZ Self-Drive Tours

Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

Bluebridge Ferry

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Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.