Free Travel Newsletter : May 2012
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Debbie Laur from the USA, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
Taking our inspiration from the Queen's Birthday weekend (celebrated throughout the Commonwealth), this month we've highlighted some of New Zealand's most royal events and entertainment – perfectly suited for kings, queens and adventurous travellers! If you enjoy beauty, creativity, culture, fine living as well as touring, you'll find something to tempt you.
- Handmade 2012, 2nd - 3rd June, Wellington
- 2012 Rally New Zealand, Auckland, 21st – 24th June
- A Day at the Races
- Afternoon Tea – New Zealand Style
- Royal New Zealand Ballet
- Drive the Royal Tour
- Off the Beaten Track to... Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Handmade 2012, 2nd-3rd June, Wellington
Handmade is a wonderful festival celebrating beautiful and creative things. It is the place for people from New Zealand and around the world to learn the skills and crafts of previous generations using modern technology and style. The programme features 80 different activities including masterclasses, lectures, craft 'clinics' and workshops taught by passionate teachers which cater for rookies as well as experts.
- Art and furniture restoration
- Knitting, crocheting, wall art, embroidery, weaving, felting, smocking, lacemaking
- Cheesemaking, pastry making, cupcake decorating,
- Bookbinding, paper marbling, stencilling, Chinese paper cutting,
- Jewellery making, handcarved stamps and printing
- Wine tasting, beer appreciation
Visit the Handmade website for bookings and more programme information.
2012 Rally New Zealand, Auckland, 21st – 24th June
Watch the world's best rally drivers compete in Auckland at the 42nd Rally New Zealand event in June. This is a gravel road challenge for the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
For New Zealand rally fans, the event is the first opportunity to see their very own world rally champion Hayden Paddon in competition since his history-making Production World Rally Championship title win in 2011. Now the eight time world rally champion, Sebastién Loeb will also be welcomed back to Auckland as one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever known. (Loeb has won Rally New Zealand just twice previously).
A Day at the Races
There are 52 racecourses in New Zealand, from Ruakaka at Whangarei in the North Island to Ascot Park at Invercargill in the South Island. Each racecourse has its own unique atmosphere, ensuring there are venues to suit every type of racegoer. Big hats, heels and fancy dress are usually worn by the women for the big races, carnival days or racing festivals – otherwise dresscode is 'New Zealand casual'.
If you fancy a fun day out at the races, then check out the website of NZ Racing. It includes:
- A Beginner's Guide to NZ Racing
- New Zealand's Race Meetings and Racecourses
- News about New Zealand's Racing
Afternoon Tea – New Zealand Style
Keeping the Queen's Birthday Weekend in mind, why not indulge in a spot of afternoon tea – in a right royal fashion? Afternoon tea, made famous by the English Duchess of Bedford is a traditional, elegant and an increasingly fashionable way to enjoy a snack after lunch and before an evening dinner. (You may also see it referred to as 'tiffin'.) Often served at larger hotels, afternoon tea can be quite a grand occasion featuring tiered platters and cake stands laden with delicate slices and delicious scones, exquisitely made sandwiches, mouth-watering cakes and sweet treats. Full silver service, fine china and table linens complete the experience.
Royal New Zealand Ballet
The Royal New Zealand Ballet completes its run of Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition in South Island venues in early May. If you've missed the shows, then you may be able to see the RNZB in action with the upcoming production of Cinderella (August 2012).
You can find out more about the dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, their new artistic director Ethan Stiefel and upcoming performances on the website or on the hugely popular and riveting television series which documents The Secret Lives of Dancers.
The Royal Tour of New Zealand
The young Queen of England and her consort, Prince Philip first toured New Zealand in 1953/4 and visited 46 towns. With a lot less flag waving and ceremony, one of New Zealand's most famous 'political queens' - its Prime Minister in 2002, Helen Clark, also undertook a 'Royal Tour'. She spent five days in the company of Peter Greenberg, Chief Correspondent for the Travel Channel and showed Peter her view of New Zealand.
You can follow the same Royal Tour Driving Route taken by Helen Clark. It includes many highlights including:
- Waitomo Caves
- Hamilton Gardens
- Kuirau Park
- Mount Tarawera
- Lake Rotorua
- Aratiatia Rapids
- Craters of the Moon
- Lake Taupo
- Okere Falls Scenic Reserve
- Huka Falls
- Rainbow Mountain tracks
- Waipahihi Botanical Reserve
- Kaimanawa Forest Park
- Zealandia - The Karori Sanctuary Experience
- Wellington Botanic Garden
- Red Rocks Reserve
- Marlborough Sounds
- Kahurangi National Park
- Abel Tasman Coast Track
- Cape Foulwind Seal Colony
- Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes
- Westland Tai Poutini National Park
- Okarito Lagoon
- Lake Matheson
- West Coast Glaciers
- Mount Aspiring National Park
- Lakes Wanaka and Hawea
- The Crown Range
- Lake Wakatipu
- Lake Te Anau
- Milford Sound and Track
- Fiordland National Park
See the full itinerary and driving route of the Royal Tour. For information about any of the highlights mentioned above, simply search the NZTG website.
Off the Beaten Track to... Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve
The Marlborough Sounds at the north of the South Island are a sinuous network of drowned river valleys, forming one of New Zealand's most distinctive land and seascapes. The South Island's first marine reserve can be found here, the Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve which was established in 1993. A boat trip to the reserve is an inspired way to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Marlborough Sounds... (more)
New Zealand Fast Facts
New Zealanders have Queen Elizabeth II to thank for one of their public holidays as the nation officially celebrates her birthday with a 'day off work' on the first Monday of June. Despite few official celebrations and some opposition from Maori and national interest groups, the Queen's birthday is still marked in New Zealand as she is the ruling monarch of the Commonwealth. The idea was raised in 2009 to rename the weekend Hillary's Weekend after New Zealander Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mt Everest. The Queen's Birthday Weekend is, along with New Year, a traditional time for the release of the Queen's honours list.