Free Travel Newsletter : June 2012
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Joanne P from Christchurch, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
Winter activities in New Zealand just couldn't be more varied as our brief look at 'birding' shows. For anyone feeling the chill, there's 'mid-Winter' Christmas – a great opportunity to cook up a traditional roast bird meal and enjoy eggnog and mulled wine. For those who prefer to 'bring their own' to the table, there's the wild duck hunting season. There are also some oddball birds out there raising laughs in Queenstown and Hamilton and simply those who enjoy watching birdlife in their natural habitats.
- MoreFM Birdman, Queenstown, 23rd June
- Gamebird Food Festival, Napier and Nationwide, 1st Jun – 8th July
- Mid Winter Christmas in New Zealand, 25th June
- International Mardi Gras, 1st July, Queenstown
- The Magic Chicken, 2nd July, Hamilton
- Off the Beaten Track to... Tiritiri Matangi Island
- Birdwatching in New Zealand
- New Zealand Fast Facts
MoreFM Birdman, Queenstown, 23rd June
At 1 pm head down to the wharf in Queenstown to see an event unlike any other... Join the crowds watching as hilariously-dressed thrill seekers launch themselves off Queenstown Wharf into the freezing cold waters of Lake Wakatipu – all in the name of fun!
This event is one of Queenstown's favourites – in bygone years, superheroes have taken a soaking, there has been a re-enactment of Bin Laden's capture and a cardboard replica of TSS Earnslaw has even gone under! Great family fun and free.
Gamebird Food Festival, Nationwide, 1st June – 8th July
Although not to everybody's taste, the wild duck shooting season in New Zealand (5th May to 31st July) is popular with local and visiting hunters. The Gamebird Food Festival which is celebrated in restaurants throughout New Zealand gives successful hunters the opportunity to have a top chef prepare their game bird harvest.
In its seventh year, the Gamebird Food Festival promotes the value of game birds as a natural and desirable food. When prepared well, game birds are a delicious, healthy food that is totally free range and organic. The festival encourages hunters to:
- Get together with a group of hunting mates
- Treat long suffering 'duck widows' to a special night out
- Or introduce non-hunters to the gourmet delights of game bird dishes.
To get involved, simply call a participating festival eatery, book your table and drop your game birds into the chef at least 24 hours before you dine. Some of the delicious dishes that you could enjoy include:
- Wild Duck with Brussels Sprout, Pine Nut Puree and Pinot Noir Cherries
- Bacon and Bay Leaf Roasted Quail
- BBQ Duck with Ginger Salsa
- Braised Duck with Calvados and Apples
- Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce
View more information at www.gamebirdfoodfestival.co.nz.
Read more about hunting and fishing in New Zealand.
Mid Winter Christmas in New Zealand, 25th June
Although mid-Winter Christmas is not an official festival in New Zealand, it's a fun (and tasty) way to warm up. Here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate:
- Go sledging (or enjoy your local snow sports)
- Visit the Mid-Winter Carnival in Dunedin (25th June)
- Enjoy Rotorua's Mid-Winter Festival (16th June - 15th July)
- Make some Christmas treats – mulled wine, tasted marshmallows and roasted nuts, eggnog, roast turkey with all the trimmings
Buy some wintry-themed gifts to remember your trip to New Zealand (merino wool, possum fur and sheepskin clothing and footwear)
International Mardi Gras, Queenstown, 1st July
If you missed most of Queenstown's Winter Festival, then enjoy the finale at least – this free event in Earnslaw Park (between 4 and 9 pm) is a spectacular of music, dance and entertainment. There's fun on the stage and on Beach Street including South American salsa, Brazilian music and dance from Grupo Junina, Rockformation, Babysitters Circus, dDub, Ainu (World Music Experience), The Beat Girls and the New Zealand talent kicks off with Queenstown's Ukulele Orchestra at 4 pm. The stunning Auckland Airport Lantern Parade starts from 6 pm and there are over 20 al fresco food stalls to choose from...(more)
The Magic Chicken, Hamilton, 2nd July
If you need a few belly laughs, spend the morning at the Clarence Street Theatre in Hamilton. The Magic Chicken stars Toot & Collins, two half-baked chefs running an old bistro into the ground.
It looks like another quiet day in the Seussian kitchen, until the arrival of an unexpected feathery visitor. This clucky young lady soon has the besotted Toot wrapped around her wing tip, but a customer with rather malicious taste buds soon stirs the situation up into a casserole of confusion... the orders are coming thick and fast, but can the dumb waiters stop the caper from turning to custard?
The Magic Chicken mixes magic, mime, puppetry, slapstick, soup, breakdancing and live music together in a big theatrical cauldron to produce a potion sure to knock the socks off both kids and adults alike.
The show starts at 10 am, family tickets for 4 cost $48. Call freephone 0800 842 538 for tickets and bookings information.
Off the Beaten Track to... Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi Island (30 kilometres north east of Auckland) is a conservation dream that came true. Thirty-five years ago the 220-hectare island was a big green paddock. The farming lease had expired, the island had been returned to the people as a recreation reserve, but natural regeneration faltered. Nowadays, Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most important and exciting conservation projects. Nowhere else can you walk amongst rare bird species including the flightless takahe...(more)
Birdwatching in New Zealand
New Zealand's isolation means that we have unique birdlife that bird-lovers and ornithologists will thoroughly enjoy learning about. There are many opportunities to see New Zealand's birds in their natural environment, join an organised tour to visit New Zealand bird sanctuaries or get a private tour tailored to your own interests.
Some of the bird species found in New Zealand include:
- The Kiwi - New Zealand's icon is a flightless, nocturnal bird. Now an endangered species, you will only see the kiwi at protected New Zealand bird sanctuaries and zoos.
- The Royal Albatross - Dunedin is lucky enough to house the only royal albatross colony in the world.
- The Kea - Especially well known for its inquisitive and naughty nature, this parrot living in the mountains of the South Island is a mischevious character.
- The Takahe - Once thought to be extinct, the takahe is another flightless bird found in New Zealand.
- The Yellow Eyed Penguin (Hoiho) - One of the rarest species of penguin, only found on the south-east coast of the South Island, and Stewart Island.
- The Tui - Common throughout New Zealand's forestry, this is an impressive singing bird, with a distinctive white tuft of feathers on its throat.
Other prized birds of New Zealand include: Blue Eyed Penguin, Kakapo, Kaka, Kereru, Kakariki, Hihi, Kokako, Bellbird, Fantail, Blackbird, Morepork, Saddleback.
Find out more about bird watching and bird sanctuaries in New Zealand.
New Zealand Fast Facts
Not to be confused with the Tūī beer made by a bunch of birds - allegedly the beer is brewed by buxom young ladies in Mangatainoka (see for yourself on a brewery tour!) - Tūī birds (the feathered variety) are unique to New Zealand and belong to the honeyeater family of birds. This means they feed mainly on nectar from kōwhai, puriri, rewarewa, kahikatea, pohutukawa, rātā and flax. Tūī birds are aggressive chasing other birds away from their food sources and clever, mimicking other bird calls (such as the bellbird) and singing loudly during the courting season. Draw your own parallels between Tūī birds, Tūī beer and Tūī-drinking blokes!