Free Travel Newsletter : March 2014
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Eduardo Garcia, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
There are lots of 'egg-straordinary' events and activities happening in New Zealand during March and April including a giant egg hunt, ice-skating under the stars and the biggest Easter show in the country. We've also highlighted some of the most scenic locations in the world – truly – and found a delightful off the beaten track destination for you. Enjoy!
Find out about:
- The Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt, NZ Cities, 21st March – 22nd April
- Coca-Cola Easter Show, Auckland, 17th – 21st April
- Ice World, Wellington, 21st March – 5th May
- Go See... Aoraki Mount Cook
- 10 Top Lakes
- Off the Beaten Track to.... D'Urville Island
- New Zealand Fast Facts
The Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt, NZ Cities, 21st March – 22nd April
This Easter, Kiwis can take part in The Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt– the first event of its kind down under which showcases giant eggs designed by top New Zealand artists all in support of Starship.
New Zealand's leading artists and designers have turned giant eggs into unique masterpieces. 100 eggs are hidden throughout Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in historic, landmark and public spaces where you will be able to join the hunt and go into the draw to win the ultimate prize – a unique 340g 18ct Gold Whittaker's Slab, which has been made by Partridge Jewellers.
The Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt aims to raise funds for the Starship Foundation, a charity which supports the national children's hospital to provide world-leading care for almost 120,000 patient visits each year. Get started and download your map at www.thebigegghunt.co.nz
Coca-Cola Easter Show, Auckland, 17th – 21st April
Once again, it's time for New Zealand's largest family show held during the Easter break at the ASB Showgrounds, Auckland. And as always a massive line-up of entertainment, circus acts, rides and A&P Show including: Artworld, Farmworld, The Lego movie, Heritage and Homestead, kids' rides, all ages' rides, carnival rides, market place, street entertainment, strong man competition, water slide and Zirka Circus..
Entry to The Coca-Cola Easter Show is FREE. Carnival rides, circus and sideshow tickets can all be purchased on site. www.eastershow.co.nz
Ice World, Wellington, 21st March – 5th May
Due to popular demand Ice World NZ is proud to return the outdoor ice skating rink to the beautiful Queens Wharf waterfront. The rink has plenty of room for first timers and experienced skaters alike to skate their heart out. Skating outside, on top of 33,000 frozen litres of water next to the beautiful Wellington Harbour is an experience not to be missed.
Under the sails on Queens Wharf, the ice rink will be lit up with LED lights for some magical moments on ice. The rink is covered by sails, so is open whatever the weather. Find out more at www.iceworld.co.nz
Go See... Aoraki Mount Cook
New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook (3754 metres) is surrounded by 19 peaks over 3,000 metres high in the Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island.
According to Ngai Tahu legend, Aoraki and his brothers were the sons of Rakinui, the Sky Father. During a sea voyage, their canoe overturned and when the brothers climbed on top of their canoe, they were frozen into stone by the freezing south wind. The canoe became the South Island; Aoraki and his brothers, the peaks of the Southern Alps. The mountains' European name, Mt Cook was first bestowed on the peak in 1851 by a Captain Stokes who named it in honour of the English navigator and sailor, Captain James Cook.
Aoraki/Mount Cook is a popular destination for tourists as well as a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. It was scaled by world-famous kiwi mountaineer, Sir Edmund Hillary, but its first summit was in 1894 by New Zealanders Tom Fyfe, James Clarke and George Graham. They were spurred on to be the first to reach the summit amid reports that an Englishman was also going to attempt the climb. Aoraki/Mount Cook is also the starting point of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail to Oamaru.
Where to go: Aoraki / Mount Cook, Southern Alps, South Island
How to get there: State Highway 80, along the western shore of Lake Pukaki
When to go: Beautiful all year round
10 Top Lakes
There are nearly 4,000 lakes in New Zealand that have a surface area of more than one hectare. We've picked out some of the most beautiful and the biggest that we think are worth a visit. Many of these lakes are situated in popular tourist destinations and you will find a wealth of accommodation, activities and sightseeing in each area.
North Island Lakes
- Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake with a surface area of 600 square km and is also the largest freshwater lake in Oceana. Lake Taupo sits in a caldera of a volcano, Oruanui, which erupted 26,500 years ago. More than 1.2 million people visit the lake each year. The lake provides plenty of activities from skiing to fishing (brown and rainbow trout).
- Emerald Lakes
The Emerald Lakes are a part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a popular hike in New Zealand's Tongariro National Park. The lakes, which shine emerald, have been coloured by dissolved volcanic minerals. Among other things, this area also boasts lava flows, boiling hot springs and steam geysers.
- Lake Rotorua
This is the second largest lake in the North Island with a surface area of almost 80 square kms. But its size is deceptive as the average depth of this lake is only 10 metres. The lake was formed from the crater of a large volcano, though it's been a while since it last erupted (estimated 240,000 years ago). The city of Rotorua sits on the lake's southern shore.
- Lake Rotoiti
Rotoiti means 'the little lake' in Maori and was named by the Maori explorer Ihenga who thought it was much smaller than it really was as he could only see a small part of the lake when he discovered it. It is close to the northern shore of its larger neighbour, Lake Rotorua, and is connected to it through the Ohau Channel.
- Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo is a popular tourist destination and is possibly New Zealand's most famous lake. Its stunning turquoise colour comes from glacial sediment and its waters are fringed by the Southern Alps. On a clear day Aoraki/ Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain, can be seen in the distance. The Church of the Good Shepherd near Tekapo township offers a great view of the lake.
- Lake Wanaka
Situated next to Wanaka township, this tranquil lake is enjoyed for its fishing and gravel beaches. The lake is surrounded by mountains, an excellent mountain bike trail and is close to Mount Aspiring National Park.
- Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki is a smaller version of Lake Tekapo and boasts the same distinctive blue colour, created by glacial sediment. Aoraki/Mount Cook stands proudly in its background. Lake Pukaki is on the inland route between Christchurch and Queenstown.
- Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is situated next to the so-called Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown. The lake is covers 291 square kilometres in area and is 80 kilometres in length. It is the longest lake in New Zealand and one of the most picturesque surrounded by the Remarkables Mountain Ranges.
- Lake Matheson
Lake Matheson lies in the heart of the wild West Coast and it offers photographers a wonderful opportunity to take a photograph of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook in its reflection. The lake is 15 minutes' drive from Fox Glacier township.
- Lake Te Anau
The second largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Te Anau covers 344 square kilometres near Fiordland National Park (famous for Milford Sound).The lake is surrounded by the huge, snow-capped mountains of the Fiordland National Park, with some portions of rolling hill country.
South Island Lakes
Share Your Experience
If you have visited some wonderful New Zealand lakes during your stay, let other NZTG readers know about them. Send details of your experiences to the newsletter editor.
Off the Beaten Track to... D'Urville Island
Looking for the middle of somewhere that seems nowhere? Well, how about the middle of the Marlborough Sounds as an option? You can visit D'Urville Island, a small island lying near the northern coast of the South Island. Just 150 square kilometres in size and with just 50 permanent residents, a visit and stay at the resort here could well be a 'best kept secret' off-the-beaten track destination for you... (more)
New Zealand Fast Facts
Until Air New Zealand reinvented them, in-flight safety videos used to be something really boring to watch before the in-flight entertainment could start. When Air New Zealand launched its groundbreaking "Bare Essentials" safety video in June 2009 featuring cast members wearing nothing but body paint, everyone sat up and paid attention. The clip attracted a massive 7-million hits. Find out what all the fuss was about – fasten your seatbelts.