Free Travel Newsletter : July 2012
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Phil Gare from Australia, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
Talk about a mixed bag this month. There are some wild, whacky and wonderful festivals and events happening in the North and South islands throughout August – from skydiving to ice-climbing, contemporary and (twisted) classical dance to the national pie-eating contest! The 2012 snow and ski season is also well underway with operators from Australia and in New Zealand laying on extra flights for fans of the white stuff. Taking a short snow break or long ski holiday in New Zealand just gets easier and easier. It's definitely time to wrap up, get out, join in and enjoy.
- Good Vibes 2012, Motueka (Nelson) 13th - 19th August
- Footnote Forte Series 2012, Wellington 15th - 21st August
- Rotorua Wearable Creationz, Rotorua, 16th - 18th August
- Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival, 16th - 19th August
- The Pie Men National Pie Eating Champs, 17th August
- New Zealand Cycle Trail: From Sky to Sea
- Off the Beaten Track to... Aorangi Forest Park
- Backpacking in New Zealand
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Good Vibes 2012, Motueka (Nelson) 13th - 19th August
Good Vibes is New Zealand's largest annual skydiving event. Now in its 11th year it is expected to be even bigger than ever hosting more than 100 visiting sports skydivers. These crazy kids launch themselves from multiple aircraft and create formations in many different disciplines of skydiving. You'll see flat formations, vertical formations, wingsuit and canopy formations.
A Family Day is planned for Saturday 18th, with a bouncy castle, face painting, food stalls, competitions, music, performances, fireworks and lots more. The event has free entry and is held at Skydive Abel Tasman at Motueka Airport.
If you feel inspired by the sights in the sky at Good Vibes, find out more about:
You'll find skydiving opportunities on both North and South Islands in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, Hastings, Christchurch, Nelson, Queenstown and Wanaka.
Footnote Forte Series 2012, Wellington, 15th - 21st August
Footnote Dance presents a captivating new season with a great line-up of new thoughts and curious choreographies. Michael Parmenter in 'Absence' is delving deeper into his passion for tango, Lyne Pringle is looking at New Zealand as a 'Beautiful Prison', Kristian Larsen and Sam Hamilton explore 'A Common Language' and company dancer Lucy Marinkovich presents her first work 'Vile Bodies' with ideas derived from pop culture.
Dances will be performed at The Boatshed and Museum Hotel in the waterfront precinct. Find out more about the dance company and their work.
Les Ballets Eloelle
Dancing to a very different tune is Les Ballets Eloelle touring New Zealand during July and August. This company of male ballerinas will entertain and astound you with brilliant choreography and humour in their show, 'Men in Tutus' – designed for young and old alike. These dancers have over fifty 'classical' ballets in their repertoire and include an array of the best international professional male ballet dancers from thirteen nations.
Find out more about tickets and tour dates.
Rotorua Wearable Creationz, Rotorua, 16th - 18th August
The Wearable Creations show in Rotorua is a charitable, wearable arts-style fashion show which features the artistic talents of designers from throughout the Rotorua region, who showcase their creations on stage in a range of categories. The event is now in its ninth year and has become a spectacular world-class event with dramatic lighting and sound. Hosted by a New Zealand celebrity, dancers and musicians complete the entertainment feast.
Find out more at the Wearable Creations website.
Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival, Queenstown, 16th - 19th August
The inaugural Remarkables Ice and Mixed Festival brings together the top winter alpine climbers in New Zealand as a means of advancing and promoting modern mixed climbing. This includes showcasing new and existing route potential on the most accessible multi-pitch winter training area in the country, sharing local knowledge and forming new climbing partnerships.
All festival attendees will receive the latest guide for the Remarkables. This will have over 30 unclimbed routes and detailed information on more than 150 possible summer and winter climbs. Registration is $50. More details on the Ice and Mixed Festival website.
Festival highlights include:
- Slide shows and movies from NZ's latest mixed climbing crags
- Lessons from New Zealand's most experienced climbers on the West faces of the Telecom Tower, Double Cone and South Face of Single Cone, Lake Alta, Border Crag and Grand Coulior and Wye Creek (limited places available).
- Awards dinner, festival party, fundraising auction plus a feature talk from Guy Cotter, one of New Zealand's top expedition climbers and mountain guides.
- Final day of social climbing with all festival participants encouraged to climb the Grand Traverse of the Remarkables. (Unroped climbing not advised).
The Pie Men National Pie Eating Champs, Hamilton, 17th August
It's free to enter and open to anyone over 18. This competition celebrates the Kiwi meat pie and is a great opportunity to have a laugh, fill your face and win bragging rights to being New Zealand's fastest (single) pie eater. The winner also receives a year's supply of free pies from The Pie Men.
Randomly selected entrants will compete in timed heats before facing off in a final round to determine New Zealand's next champion pie eater. Would-be pie eaters can register online or at the store, The Pie Men, 57 Mahana Road, Hamilton. Spectators are welcome to watch the pastry fly! The fun starts at 6pm.
New Zealand Cycle Trail: From Sky to Sea
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is one of eight trails currently under construction as part of the NZ Cycle Trail project. Arguably, this trail will be the finest of all – a 300 kilometre ride through some of the most majestic scenery in South Island.
This trail starts at Tasman Point below the Hermitage (a iconic hotel in Mt Cook village), and when finished will run along Lake Pukaki, onto Twizel, through canal roads to Lake Ohau and Lake Ohau Lodge, onto Omarama, Otematata, Kurow and Duntroon before joining the historic Tokarahi Branch rail line until it reaches Oamaru and the Pacific Ocean. This is Mackenzie Country – a magnificent part of the South Island featuring soaring mountains, sweeping ranges, high-country stock stations, rural pasture land, alpine river trails, canals, lakes and tussock land.
The trail should be finished in November 2012, so there is plenty of time to jump on your bike for pre-trail training. Hills are included.
There are seven Great Rides already open and ready to ride including: the Otago Central Rail Trail, Hauraki Rail Trail, Motu Trails, Waikato River Trails, Mountains to Sea, Dun Mountain and St James Cycle Trail.
View more about the NZ Cycle Trail project.
Off the Beaten Track to... Aorangi Forest Park
Fans of the Lord of the Rings will enjoy a visit to Aorangi Forest Park (also popular with hunters and hikers) as they can view the real-life location of the Dimholt Road featured in The Return of the King. The backdrop for Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli riding along to meet the Army of the Dead is the eerie and awe-inspiring Putangirua Pinnacles, one of the best examples in New Zealand of badlands erosion and earth pillar formation...(more)
Backpacking in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world for backpackers on a budget as it offers a massive choice of accommodation, transport, backpacking supplies, food and activities - all geared up to providing travellers with the very best experience of this beautiful country:
- Where to Go - Both islands make great destinations but if time allows, go on a tiki tour (e.g. take the scenic route) of both. If you're an adrenalin seeker with limited time, aim for the South Island – home of the Adventure Capital of the World (Queenstown).
- What To Do – Where to start? These are just some of the activities and sights no self-respecting backpacker would miss: hiking, bungy jumping, glacier hiking, white water rafting, tandem skydiving, camping under the stars, a Great Walk, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua geo-thermal region, Ninety-Mile Beach, Queenstown, Abel Tasman National Park, Moeraki Bolders, Aoraki Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo... see more.
- Work / NZ Experience – Find a job or consider wWoofing - live with organic farmers and their families for a hands-on experience of organic practices. You will need a work visa even for volunteer work.
- Accommodation – Independently owned and YHA affiliated hostels are a great starting point and are easy to find in areas of great natural beauty and tourist hotspots (book early to secure a spot). Individuals, groups and families are also well catered for in hostels and backpackers. Freedom camping is allowed, but campers are encouraged to use established campgrounds (great value) or DOC huts and campsites (basic/rustic).
- Transport – Buy a second-hand (or twenty-second hand) campervan from other backpackers leaving the country. However, be careful as vans are well-travelled (buy one with a new WOF). Hiring a campervan (especially with mates) can be a better option. You can also use local and national buses, backpacker transport and shuttle operators. Hitchhiking should only be done with great care (e.g. not at night, hitch with a friend, find a safe place to stand, stay put if you have any doubts about the ride.)
- Communication – Accommodation providers and coffee shops generally offer free Internet, but on the road your best bet is usually the local library. Buy a SIM card or invest in a calling card for cheap international phone calls.
- Food – Self-catering is the cheapest option, but takeaway fish and chips is cheap, quick and filling - Asian restaurants and food courts offer great value meals.
The NZTG website is full of travel information for backpackers in New Zealand.
Be inspired, start planning, make it happen.
New Zealand Fast Facts
A WOF should not be confused with wWOOF, although both can be found in New Zealand. A WOF is a Warrant of Fitness and is a document certifying a vehicle's road worthiness – for a limited period of time. Most vehicles older than 6 years need to be tested for a WOF every six months. WOF stickers have to be displayed in the windscreen and include the date of when the test was passed and when it should be renewed. (Backpackers should watch out for missing or torn WOFs!)