Free Travel Newsletter : September 2013
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Amy McKinnon, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
You'll find plenty of signs that spring is in the air over the next few weeks - there are festivals and flowers bursting out literally all over the place. Also, we've plenty of suggestions for you as the weather warms up for some wet, watery fun and over the coming months, we'll be featuring some very special places to 'Go See'.
Find out about:
- Dunedin Horticultural Society's Grand Spring Show, 28th - 29th September
- Auckland Heritage Festival, 28th September – 13th October
- Go See... New Zealand's Cardboard Cathedral
- 10 Top Water Sports
- Off the Beaten Track to... Nelson Creek
- Meet... Qualmark 'Enviro Gold' Operators, Wairaurahiri Jet
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Dunedin Horticultural Society's Grand Spring Show, 28 – 29th September
The Dunedin Horticultural Society's Grand Spring Show is staged for the 162nd time and features all the beautiful flowers of New Zealand's spring season. Amongst those on display will be magnificent examples of spring flowers including daffodils, floral art, bonsai and the always popular fruit and vegetables. There will be a well-stocked plant sales table and the grocery hamper raffles.
- Where and When? Come along and enjoy the colours and aromas of spring at the Forbury Park Raceway, Victoria Rd, St Kilda, Dunedin. Saturday 2:00 - 5:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.
Auckland Heritage Festival, 28th September – 13th October
Auckland Council's annual two-week festival celebrates local heritage with over 200 events and activities that will appeal to young and old alike. You can take part in a heritage tour, ride a Clydesdale horse-drawn cart to the sound of 1920s jazz, hear the myths and legends of Maui as you sail on the Waitematā Harbour and much more.
- Kick off Auckland Heritage Festival at the historic Shed 10's Public Open Weekend on 28th and 29th September.
- Visit the Auckland Heritage Festival website for the full programme of events across the region.
Go See... New Zealand's Cardboard Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral was extensively damaged during an earthquake in February 2011. Unable to be used in its current state, an extraordinary place of worship has been created – a cathedral built mostly from cardboard. The new cardboard cathedral was officially opened in August 2013 with a dedication service.
Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban designed the cardboard cathedral which includes a triangular A-frame design, thick cardboard tubes and stained glass windows. The building is meant to be waterproof although some cardboard tubing did become soggy following heavy rain and was replaced. The cathedral seats 700 people and is built to last half a century.
The cathedral dean invites people to view the cathedral and come in for quiet contemplation. You may not see anywhere quite like this again – do visit.
Where to go: 234 Hereford Street, Christchurch, South Island
View more online about the Cardboard Cathedral.
10 Top Water Sports
You are never far from the water in New Zealand with over 15,000 kilometres of coastline and 425,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, not to mention 3,820 lakes to explore and enjoy. As you travel around the country, you will also never be far from one of the many water sports and activities available. All of these activities are easily accessible and many water-based tours are offered by fantastic New Zealand guides who really know their stuff. We have included one of the most popular destinations for each – mostly in the North Island although these ten top activities are available throughout the country. As ever, we are keen to hear about the locations you’ve enjoyed most on your travels:
- Diving - Tutukaka, the ‘Paradise Coast’ has 26 beaches, a sub-tropical climate and is home to the international icon and marine reserve, the Poor Knights Islands. Wetsuits are a must for exploring the drop offs, walls, caves, arches, tunnels and Rikoriko Cave, the largest sea cave in the world and reputed to have hidden a marauding Japanese submarine in WW2.
- Fishing - The Hawkes Bay region has some of the North Island's best headwater fisheries and access to a variety of lowland angling. Opportunity is plentiful for ‘hot’ or ‘secret’ spots. Fishing headwaters of rivers such as the Mohaka and Ngaruroro provides great fishing, scenery and wildlife for all the family wanting to experience what the New Zealand backcountry has to offer.
- Kayaking – Probably the best-loved (and sunniest) spot for sea kayaking is the Abel Tasman National Park near Nelson on the South Island. A beautiful location for guided or independent kayaking where it is not unusual for seals to hop on board for a ride too.
- Kite surfing – It’s up in Nelson and the Tasman region again for kite surfing although you can find great kite surfing elsewhere too. But in Nelson, you can grab some lessons with friendly locals and enjoy some great watering (and wine) holes too.
- Sailing – Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’ for very good reasons and its two harbours are just the start. Chosen to host the America’s Cup in 2003, you can helm or crew one of the grand prix racers - the sheer size and mast height of these boats offers an exhilarating experience. Or you can sit back and enjoy a sailing trip that explores the area’s colourful coastlines, beautiful lakes or winding rivers.
- Snorkelling – A very popular activity in New Zealand despite the lack of tropical reefs and warm waters. Many snorkelling sites are just off-shore offering easy and free access. We suggest Goat Island, 92 kilometres from Auckland (near Leigh). Considered one of the country’s best best dive and snorkel sites, Goat Island is known as the Coastal Aquarium. Entrance is free and the shallow waters offer safe snorkelling for all the family.
- Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding – Stand up paddle surfing (or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he'e nalu) is an emerging global sport and enjoyed by celebs such as Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria, as well as surfies and water-sports lovers throughout New Zealand. Give it a go at Tatapouri Bay, Gisborne – boards, paddles and wet-suits are available for hire.
- Surfing – Lying to the west of Hamilton (North Island), is Raglan - the surfing mecca. Many surfers believe that The Point (Manu Bay) has the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world. It’s possible to catch a wave and cruise for up to 2 kilometres if you have the skill to do it. Ocean Beach is also a great place for less full-on surfing, swimming, body boarding or a surf lesson.
- White water rafting – Get wet in a wilder way with a white water rafting experience. New Zealand has an enviable reputation for safety and attracts highly experienced guides to its rivers. In Rotorua (North Island), you can raft ‘mild’ or ‘wild’ on rivers graded 2 to 5, on trips from 45 minutes to 4 days.
- Windsurfing – What better place to head for windsurfing than the windiest place in New Zealand, Wellington. Regular northerlies means more time on the water and Wellington has a thriving community of wind addicted sailors. A great sport suited for 6 years and upwards, it’s less about strength and more about technique. Take a lesson before you head off on your own – hire gear available.
Share Your Experience
If you enjoyed some great New Zealand water sport locations during your stay, let other NZTG readers know about it. Send details of your experience to the newsletter editor.
Off the Beaten Track to... Nelson Creek
Nelson Creek is just 25 kilometres from Greymouth on South Island's West Coast and was first established as a gold mining creek in 1895. At the height of the gold rush over 1,200 miners were at the creek searching for gold, which was abundant in the area. You can follow in their footsteps, try your luck by fossicking for gold surrounded by the wild, beauty of the West Coast bush country. There are many short walks in the area and good camping spots. A real step back in time... (more)
Meet... Qualmark 'Enviro Gold' Operators, Wairaurahiri Jet
Wairaurahiri Jet owners Johan Groters and Joyce Kolk are not just talking the ‘environmental talk’, but they’re walking it too. And they have just received a Qualmark Enviro Award Gold to prove it. The West-Southland company is believed to be the only jet-boat operation in New Zealand to have achieved the Qualmark Enviro Award Gold rating - Tourism New Zealand’s official quality assurance mark.
To date, Wairaurahiri Jet have knocked off about 400 stoats and 300 rats along the Wairaurahiri River and on the south coast. Long-time regular visitors to the Teal Bay Hut, on Lake Hauroko, have commented on the re-emergence of birdsong in the area. Wairaurahiri Jet said most overseas visitors were “blown away” when they visited the Wairaurahiri experience.
Find Out More
- The Wairaurahiri River includes 34 kilometres of rugged rock-strewn, grade-three rapids that drop 183 kilometres to sea level.
- The Wairaurahiri Jet experience offers 90 kilometres of jet boating into the heart of Fiordland National Park and back; travel across Lake Hauroko and down to the rugged southern coast via the wild Wairaurahiri River.
- All day adventure includes personal guided nature walks and BBQ lunch.
- View the website for more details.
New Zealand Fast Facts
New Zealand's claim to the Ross Dependency, a region of Antarctica was formalised in 1923, although since the Antarctic Treaty (1961) came into force, most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.
Located on Ross Island, is Scott Base – New Zealand's permanent base in Antarctica since 1959. The Base provides services and accommodation for numerous research groups. It is located 10 metres above sea level, 1,500 kilometres from the South Pole and some 3,932 kilometres from Christchurch, New Zealand.
- Learn more about life at Scott Base without leaving New Zealand at the International Antarctic Centre - an interactive, fun and exciting experience of Antarctic in Christchurch.