Free Travel Newsletter : October 2013
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Bev Hodges, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
The hiking season is in full-swing – perfect temperatures, well-marked tracks and some of the best hikes and scenery in the world (we stand by that). And after marvelling at some of nature's wonders, you can marvel at our man-made wonders too – check out our Stonehenge, our footie team, our fireworks and one of our best-loved traditions, the A&P show.
Find out about:
- Fireworks Spectacular, Palmerston North, 5th November
- Canterbury A&P Show, Christchurch, 13th – 15th November
- All Whites Football, Wellington, 20th November
- Go See... Stonehenge Aotearoa
- 10 Top Hiking Tracks
- Off the Beaten Track to.... Okains Bay
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Fireworks Spectacular, Palmerston North, 5th November
Palmerston North will go off with a bang on Guy Fawkes Night! Look to the skies above Anzac Park, Cliff Road, Fitzherbert, Palmerston North at 9pm for a Kairanga Lions Firework Spectacular. You can plan your event around ours - whether it is a party in your backyard or you are travelling to find your best vantage spot. It is going to be spectacular.
If you do venture out, please remember to wrap up warmly, take care, and obey all traffic laws.
Canterbury A&P Show, Christchurch, 13th – 15th November
Country comes to town for New Zealand's largest A&P Show, the legendary Canterbury A&P Show. See the very best of rural life with three full days of livestock and equestrian judging, plenty of entertainment and attractions, indoor and outdoor exhibits, excellent food and wine, plus the Machinery Parade is back again – a favourite with boys of all ages. This show is a spectacular mix of colour, excitement and competition – a true celebration of everything great in New Zealand and one not to be missed.
- Visit the Canterbury A&P website for the full programme of events.
All Whites Football, Wellington, 20th November
Be part of the crowd of 35,000 All Whites to cheer the boys to glory or simply take a look at the national team in action. Wellington has been selected as the venue for the home leg of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Intercontinental Playoff match.
- Visit the NZ Football website for more info.
Go See... New Zealand's Stonehenge
For millennia people have gazed in awe at Stonehenge and other great stone circles, often totally unaware of how these structures were used. A full-scale working adaptation of Stonehenge has been built in New Zealand, allowing visitors to experience the wonders of stone circles for themselves.
Situated in the Wairarapa countryside, a short distance from Wellington, Stonehenge Aotearoa is a window into the past where the visitor can rediscover the knowledge of their ancestors. It incorporates ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Indus Valley astronomy, Polynesian navigation, and Celtic and Maori starlore.
Built on the same scale as Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in England, Stonehenge Aotearoa is not a replica. It is a complete and working structure designed and built for its precise location in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. In this awe-inspiring place, people young and old can explore the mysteries of the past and learn how early cultures, including New Zealand Maori, used the Sun, Moon and stars for life and survival.
51 Ahiaruhe Road, Carterton District, Wairarapa, North Island
View more online about Stonehenge Aotearoa.
Top 10 Hikes
In a country envied throughout the world for the quality of its hiking tracks, it is always going to be tough to pick just ten – though not as tough as it is walking some of them! (In New Zealand, hiking is usually called 'tramping', and hikers "trampers"). We have included a few of the finest 'Great Walks' alongside some particular favourites (mostly in the South Island). If you haven't got time in your itinerary to complete these hikes, consider walking for just one day in the same region – you will still see some spectacular scenery. (View more about each track to find out about accommodation, catering, pack cartage, transport and guides.)
- Banks Peninsula Track, Canterbury, South Island (2 or 4 days) - The Banks Peninsula Track opened in 1989 as the first privately managed track in New Zealand. Its 35km wends through pasture and forest including: a spectacular volcanic coastline, native bush, waterfalls and sandy beaches with two crossings of the crater rim high above Akaroa Harbour. View more on The Banks Peninsula Track.
- The Heaphy Track, Nelson/Tasman/West Coast, South Island (4 to 6 days) - The Heaphy Track passes through diverse landscapes from beautiful beech forest to expansive tussock grasslands, to lush forests, nikau palms and roaring seas. It is the longest of the 9 Great Walks at 78.4 km. The track is well-formed and well-marked, and all rivers and major streams are bridged. View more about The Heaphy Track.
- Hump Ridge Track, Fiordland National Park, South Island (3 days) - A privately-managed 3 day loop walk that takes hikers along the south coast of New Zealand, up to the sub-alpine zone of the Hump Ridge and over historic viaducts in the heart of native forest. Two backcountry lodges offer hot showers and comfortable beds. View more about The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track. (The South Coast Track is a DOC operated track which joins the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track.)
- The Kaikoura Coast Track, Ngaroma, South Island (3 days) - One of New Zealand's finest private walks with beautiful views over the Pacific Ocean and Seaward Kaikoura Mountains. Small groups only with luggage transport, farm cottages, hot showers and meals available. Great for children. View more about the Kaikoura Coast Track.
- The Kepler Track, Fiordland, South Island (3 to 4 days) - Described as "an adventure above the clouds", the Kepler is a 60km loop track charting the gentle, beech-forested shores of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri to tussocky alpine tops and Mt Luxmore. It offers marvellous panoramic views of the Kepler Mountains and lakes, rivers and hanging valleys. An excellent track with a bit of a physical challenge that is not too hard to get to and has excellent facilities. View more about The Kepler Track.
- The Milford Track, Fiordland, South Island (4 days) - Once referred to as "finest walk in the world", we simply couldn't leave this one off the list. This 53.5km walk enables you to experience the natural wonders of the Fiordland National park including ice-carved valleys, mountain passes, rivers, forests and cascading waterfalls. This is a truly great, Great Walk. (Get your bookings in early!) View more about The Milford Track.
- The Rees-Dart Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, South Island (4 to 5 days) - Near its popular (and busier) neighbour, The Routeburn, this track is slightly more demanding with an average of 6 – 8 hours walking each day. It follows the Rees River and the Dart River showcasing spectacular mountain scenery, forest and alpine vegetation, rivers and the Dart Glacier. View more about The Rees-Dart Track.
- The Rakiura Track, Stewart Island (3 days) - A short flight from Invercargill or by ferry from Bluff, Stewart Island/Rakiura is home to New Zealand's most southerly national park, Rakiura National Park, and the Rakiura Track. The track is suitable for anyone with moderate fitness and is a good introduction to the island. We advise getting the plane if you suffer from seasickness and taking your time to enjoy the coastline – fresh (well-cooked) mussels can make a great dinner. View more about The Rakiura Track.
- Tongariro Northern Circuit (3 to 4 days) Tongarirro Crossing (1 day), Tongarirro National Park, North Island - The circuit is 43.1 km of great hiking around active volcanoes Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. You'll see active volcanic craters, brilliant blue lakes, steaming geothermal areas and glacial valleys in this Dual World Heritage Area. In summer, the circuit is suitable for people with moderate fitness.
The one-day Tongariro Alpine Crossing track (the first day of the Circuit) is world famous, an amazing adventure across active volcanoes, with spectacular and unique volcanic terrain. See cold mountain springs, old lava flows, active volcanic craters and thermal steam vents, not to mention the brilliant emerald and blue lakes - and beautiful native forest to finish. A truly great option if your time is limited.
- Travers-Sabine Circuit, Nelson Lakes, South Island (4 to 7 days) - A personal favourite (Ed), this is a medium to hard hike traversing 80 km of river valleys and Travers Saddle, an alpine pass in Nelson Lakes National Park. It reaches deep into the heart of the mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park. Tranquil beech forests, fields of waving tussocks, 2000 metre-high mountains and clear rushing streams are highlights of the journey. A good standard of fitness is recommended (if only to carry your food) and good equipment. View more about the Travers-Sabine Circuit.
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... Okains Bay
Explore the Banks Peninsula on the South Island of New Zealand from a safe, family friendly camping spot - the small settlement, bay and beach of Okains Bay. Although popular, it's off the well-beaten track towards Akaroa and at any time of the year offers a quiet, peaceful retreat not far from local attractions and activities. The campsite at Okains Bay has a beach front setting and offers safe and picturesque boating and paddling. Perfect for kids of all ages... (more)
New Zealand Fast Facts
"The land is the property of a great family, some of whom are living, a few of whom are dead, most of whom are yet to come".
If you are out in the New Zealand countryside, please respect our environment and follow the code:
- Protect plants and animals
- Remove rubbish
- Bury toilet waste
- Keep streams and lakes clean
- Take care with fires
- Camp carefully
- Keep to the track
- Consider others
- Respect our cultural heritage
- Enjoy your visit
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps