Free Travel Newsletter : May 2016
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Jesse Williams, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.
June the first month of winter in New Zealand is just around the corner and the country will as ever welcome its visitors (and locals) who want to get out into the snow to enjoy snow and ski sports. June brings colder weather to much of the country and on North Island, more rain. Pack warm clothing and if you're heading to Auckland, pack for wet weather!
Visitors to the South Island! Expect clear, crisp days with wonderful blue skies – it's a perfect time of year for visiting the West Coast glaciers and finishing off the day with an Otago Pinot Noir (or boutique wine, craft beer or a babycino!).
Read more about:
- Mercury Bay Music Festival 2016
- New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival 2016
- GABS Beer & Food Fest 2016
- Queenstown Winter Festival
- Go See... Taumata
- 10 Top for Toddlers
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Mercury Bay Music Festival 2016
Location: Whitianga, Coromandel
Date: 3 – 5 June (Queen's Birthday Weekend)
Celebrate and support Kiwi, international and local musical talent at the inaugural Mercury Bay Music Festival. This is a family-friendly event with a line up of jazz, big band, blues, folk, world, J-Pop and acoustic musicians. There are also workshops available over the weekend for aspiring musicians of all ages and abilities and opportunities for budding performers to get involved through busking, jamming and open-mic sessions.
For more information, visit www.mercurybaymusicfestival.co.nz
New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival 2016
Location: Imperial Building, Fort Lane, Auckland
Date: Sunday 12 June
The 4th annual New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival is being held in one of Auckland's most sophisticated wining and dining establishments, the Imperial Building in Fort Lane.
The best boutique vineyards from around New Zealand will be showcasing over 200 wines, creating one of the most unique cellar door experiences in this country's wine history.
Event attendees will be able to explore wines from different regions, enjoy fantastic food and wine pairings, great live music and participate in blind tasting seminars.
For more information, please visit www.boutiquewine.co.nz
GABS Beer & Food Fest 2016
Location: ASB Showgrounds, Epsom, Auckland
Date: Saturday 18 June
This craft beer and food festival has been judged one of the best beer festivals in the world and it's hopping its way to Auckland shores in June 2016. GABS 2016, otherwise known as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, will showcase the best craft brewers from New Zealand and around the world.
Started in 2012 by Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone, owners of the multi-award winning Local Taphouse beer bars in Melbourne and Sydney, GABS is an annual event run in both cities attracting 23,000 people. The event has previously featured a number of local Kiwi brewers, who now have the opportunity to showcase their craft at a premier event on home ground.
GABS celebrates the diversity of craft beer and features hundreds of beers, brewery stands, outstanding food vendors, cooking demonstrations, educational seminars, fun activities and great entertainment. What makes GABS unique, however, are the dozens of exclusive 'Festival Beers' brewed specifically for the event.
For more information, please visit gabsfestival.com
Queenstown Winter Festival
Date: 24 June – 3 July
The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates the start of winter like only Queenstown can, with street parties, music, comedy, family fun and madness up the mountain.
On Friday 24th June, an Opening Party and Fireworks kick starts the celebrations and is follow by ten days of fun, jam-packed with more than 70 events. From family events to DJs and nightlife - there's something on the programme for everyone.
Queenstowners have always loved winter but it was made official when the very first Queenstown Winter Festival took place in 1975. A group of locals decided that the start of winter was a great excuse to have a party. They organised races on the mountains, with lollies for the little people and beers for the bigger people. With a concert or two and a town-wide ball thrown in, Winter Festival was a great success. News of the fun spread quickly and the next year people came from further afield to join the festivities. Since then the Festival has evolved into New Zealand's - and perhaps the southern hemisphere's - biggest celebration of winter! The event attracts more than 45,000 visitors, all celebrating the arrival of winter in true Queenstown style!
For more information, please visit www.winterfestival.co.nz
Go See... Taumata
It won't take you long to climb up this hill – it's only 305 metres high. And it probably won't take you long to realise that it's not particularly famous for the view. However, what will take you a long time is remembering its 'long' name, what it means and how to spell it. And so you can drop this hill's name into conversation, you should at least go see it!
Taumata is the abbreviated name for the Maori named hill, Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. At 85 letters long, it has the longest place name in any English-speaking country and the second-longest place name in the world. The name means, 'The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.'
- Where to go: Porangahau, Waipukurau, Hawke's Bay
- When to go: All year round
Find out more about the Hawke's Bay region.
10 Top for Toddlers
Travelling with a young family, especially for the first time and potentially with a long-haul flight to get through, can seem daunting. The good news for parents is that New Zealand is an extremely family-friendly destination. Not only are most accommodations happy to provide cots, highchairs and roll-out beds, but there are some fantastic experiences for the whole family which the very littlest members will enjoy without getting too tired. We've picked some of our favourites which we think would get the big thumbs up and gummy grins from toddlers on the go.
- Agrodome, Rotorua - Toddlers from all over the globe have come to the Agrodome to see a world-famous farm show bringing their grown-ups with them. This show stars a cast of talented animals… and the visitors who come to see them. A farm tour enables visitors to explore a real working farm, hand-feed loads of friendly animals, and sample delicious kiwifruit juice and honey. A big hit is the Nursery, with baby animals available for cuddles and photos all year round.
- Butterfly Creek, Auckland - Don't let rain stop play! Head for Butterfly Creek where about half the complex is undercover. It has a unique collection of animals, insects, critters, a mini train, cafe, playground, interactive farmyard and Dinosaur Kingdom - a world of life like dinosaurs, fossils and replicas.
- Glenbrook Vintage Railway, Auckland - If your toddler is still in love with Thomas the Tank Engine, then he or she will love a visit to this volunteer-run railyway. Check out the website for the special events throughout the year which feature Thomas the Tank Engine and friends and a model Lego railway. Rides available all year round – an easy morning for the whole family to enjoy.
- Huka Prawn Park, Taupo - How about a visit to the home of Shawn the Prawn? Visit the prawn nursery (hatchery), get your feet wet in the enormous foot bath, play on the playground, enjoy exploring the outskirts of the park which include a little obstacle course and a scavenger hunt for prawns hiding in the tree, plus fish for a prawn! Great experience for toddlers and for parents who enjoy a great feed of prawns!
- Mission Bay, Auckland - If it's sand and a view you want for an afternoon, then you'll be spoilt for choice in New Zealand! One of the most popular beaches with visitors starting their travels in Auckland is Mission Bay. The playground on Selwyn Reserve has fantastic views of the beach, fountain and restaurant and Mission Bay's beach is safe to swim year-round.
- Discovery Centre, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch - One of many great places for kids in Christchurch. Toddlers (with a bit of help of course) can have their photos taken on the horse in the Christchurch Street, feel the wind on their faces on an interactive Ski-doo ride in the Antarctic Gallery, dig for fossils and learn all about the natural world. Toddlers (under 3s) get into the Discovery Centre on the third floor for free.
- International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch - Great for kids of all ages, but particularly toddler-friendly with icy slippery dips and a snow cave to explore. The penguin enclosure is always a great hit and there is a penguin-themed cubby room especially for toddlers with cuddly toy penguins to play with and books to read.
- NZ Alpine and Agriculture Encounter, Methven - Kids can enjoy playing on a digger simulator, riding in the driver's seat of an enormous combine harvester, looking at the lit-up innards of dairy cow to discover how milk is made, exploring a snow cave and playing with trucks and diggers in the sand-table. Lots to discover and what toddler doesn't love a digger?
- Wanaka's Transport & Toy Museum - Lots to explore including toys, models, cars, trucks, aircraft and motorbike. A great place to stock up on toys as the on-site toy shop stocks a huge selection of collectable toys from cars to dolls, to games and gifts from the world's best brands. A nearby picnic and playground area features swings and play equipment, as well as pedal tractors and trucks for the kids.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Christchurch - This is a wildlife park and nature reserve in Christchurch, New Zealand, which children love to explore. The paths through the reserve are easy to follow, although care with toddlers and younger children must be taken over the ponds. Donkey rides are often available and there are opportunities to get close to farm and native animals. Extremely popular with local families.
For Toddlers (and their Grown-Ups) on the North Island
For Toddlers (and their Grown-Ups) on the South Island
Share Your Experience
New Zealand Fast Facts
Many New Zealanders celebrate the Queen's Birthday (the Queen in question being the British Queen Elizabeth II) on the first Monday of June each year, as New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen of the United Kingdom being the head of state.
Many people have the day off on the Queen's birthday, which is also the official opening of the ski season. The Queen's Honours list is released around the time of the Queen's birthday public holiday. This list has hundreds of recipients, who are honoured and recognized for public service, from services to television to services to prisoner welfare.