Free Travel Newsletter : March 2013
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Betsie Van der Merwe, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
There's something for everybody this month including: magical balloon flights, endurance racing and comedy competitions. You'll also find inspiration for your New Zealand family holiday with our pick of attractions for kids of all ages and find out more about the beautiful, rural Rangitikei region of the North Island.
- Balloons Over Waikato, 3rd - 7th April, Hamilton
- Great Adventure Race to Cure Kids, 20th April, Auckland
- Queenstown Duck Calling, 26th April, Queenstown
- 10 Top Family Adventures
- Off the Beaten Track to... Rangitikei
- Get A New Zealand Education
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Balloons Over Waikato, 3rd - 7th April, Hamilton
Now in its 13th year, the Balloons Over Waikato event is a major iconic event for the general public in Hamilton and the Waikato region. The event runs over five days at Innes Common, Hamilton Lake and The University of Waikato. Every morning you will be able to see the amazing sight of the participating balloons ascending through the sunrise.
The highlight of the event is on Saturday night at Waikato University, the Nightglow. The evening's entertainment includes cheerleaders, live music, circus performance fire dancing and an air display from the Red Checkers. For the finale, balloons glow to orchestrated music finishing with the best fireworks display in town. Simply unmissable (and free).
Find out more at the Balloons Over Waikato website.
Great Adventure Race to Cure Kids, 20th April, Auckland
Run off your Easter eggs and help Kiwi kids with life-threatening illnesses at the same time in a challenging, multi-discipline event - the Great Adventure Race to Cure Kids.
For its 10th anniversary, the Great Adventure Race will be a spectacular course for teams of four, who will run, mountain bike and traverse waterways over 40 kilometres of rugged terrain in the Hunua Ranges. It includes unprecedented access to private properties. Your support team of four will help encourage and assist you along the way at strategic checkpoints.
The Great Adventure Race to Cure Kids is ideal for business teams, sporting groups and like-minded mates. Register now at www.curekids.org.nz.
Queenstown Duck Calling, 26th April, Queenstown
Queenstown is not just the Adventure Capital of New Zealand and the mecca for adrenalin junkies the world over, it's also home of the 2013 Duck Calling Championships. Open to both novice and experienced duck callers, this competition is totally not for serious sports bunnies - lots of prizes available, so pop into Pog Mahones Irish pub whilst you're in town.
10 Top Family Adventures
It's almost impossible to pick just 10 family adventures as New Zealand offers grown-ups and kids of all ages a veritable smorgasbord of activities to choose from. Nevertheless, we've picked out some favourites to whet your appetite and to inspire you with ideas for your trip:
- Bike riding - Designed as a family-friendly leisure activity, the 150 kilometres of the Otago Rail Trail passes through mountain ranges, hills and gorges, across the vast Maniototo Plain, through old gold mining towns and ends in Central Otago. (Children should be good riders not on training wheels)...(more)
- Biking, trucking and racing - Which little (or big) boy could resist the attractions of the Cardrona Adventure Park in Wanaka? Monster truck rides, quad bike, off-road racing and the world's biggest school bus (which the kids can drive themselves). Suitable for children 5+ years...(more)
- Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate - The Cadbury World tour in Dunedin is a chocolate-lover's dream - the enticing scent of jaffas, turkish delight or cocoa welcomes you in, an all-encompassing chocolate scent wafts around you and you can enjoy the taste of melted, still-warm chocolate...(more)
- Gold-panning - One of New Zealand's premier heritage attractions, the Shanty Town on the West Coast is a faithfully restored 1900s pioneer town, born out of the West Coast gold rushes of the 1860s. Ride the steam train through beautiful native bush to a gold claim and pan for gold!...(more)
- Hot springs - Enjoy the hot and cool waters of Hanmer Springs and its water playgrounds after a day of hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding, quad-biking or a visit to the Wai ariki Farm Park...(more)
- Kayaking - Kayaking the Abel Tasman National Park is simply a 'must do' - it's the perfect sea kayaking destination with perfectly formed beaches, islands, sheltered lagoons, sea caves, marine and birdlife. There are trips to suit everyone...(more)
- Maori cultural experience - Enjoy a visit to Rotorua, a sacred and spiritual place, and find out more about Maori culture, art forms, ancient rituals and traditions, experience thrilling song and dance and share a traditional hangi feast...(more)
- Skiing and snowboarding - Head to Roundhill in the heart of the South Island. It's particularly well-suited for all the family and enjoys breathtaking views of Aoraki Mt Cook, the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo. Massive beginners' area, two T-Bars and the world's longest and steepest rope tow...(more)
- Waitomo Caves - The limestone formations of Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand's most inspiring natural wonders and a must-see must-do destination. You can discover magical glowworms by boat, be mesmerised by ornate cave decorations and get your blood pumping as you experience a rafting and caving adventure...(more)
- Whale watching - The small seaside town of Kaikoura is well-known for its seafood festival and its marine life, in particular the giant sperm whales which are present year-round. You may also spot New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins, albatross, humpbacks, pilot whales, blue and southern right whales and the world's largest and smallest dolphins...(more)
Share Your Experience
If you and your family really enjoyed an activity together in New Zealand, why not let other NZTG readers know about it. Simply send details of your experience to the newsletter editor.
Off the Beaten Track to... Rangitikei
This month's 'off the beaten track' features a region rather than just one location. It is the Rangitikei region, home to the mighty Rangitikei River, a liquid pathway which can guide you through an area of natural beauty. Start your journey at Taihape located near the middle of the North Island of New Zealand on State Highway 1.
"Rangitikei, it roars, it whispers, it beckons - this river that defines North Island back country. Feel its power, experience the enchantment." ...(more)
Get a New Zealand Education
Did you know that you can combine the sightseeing trip of a lifetime with study too? There's much more available in New Zealand than just English language courses. New Zealand has a range of education centres and training schools for a wide range of interests including: aviation, cooking, health, language, education and tourism training.
You'll find that many 'lifestyle' education courses such as cookery, holistic healing, meditation, health and fitness are run in some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.
Check out some options on our Education and Training pages.
New Zealand Fast Facts
Some of New Zealand's most awe-inspiring landscapes can be reached by foot (or canoe) - New Zealand's Great Walks are premier hiking tracks that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery including native forests, lakes and rivers to rugged mountain peaks, deep gorges and vast valleys.
The nine Great Walks are:
- Lake Waikaremoana
- Tongariro Northern Circuit
- Whanganui Journey
- Abel Tasman Coast Track
- Heaphy Track
- Routeburn Track
- Kepler Track
- Milford Track
- Rakiura Track
Please note that numbers are limited on some walks and bookings must be made for hut accommodation. Bookings for the 2013/14 season opened on the 12th March 2013. Book early to avoid disappointment.