Glaciers in New Zealand
Maori children
Northland, New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound
Routeburn Track
Boating in Taupo
Tongariro, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand

Free Travel Newsletter : May 2014

Written by Steph Kendall

Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.

Lucky Subscriber

Congratulations to Nicole Wall, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.

We've never been in any doubt that New Zealand rocks as one of the world's best and most popular travel destinations, so this month we are celebrating the very rock on which we have the privilege to stand. New Zealand's oldest rocks are over 500 million years old and we would love to share them with you – take a scenic trip, enjoy some easy or challenging rock climbing and remember, these rocks are some of the most photogenic you'll ever see, so make sure your camera is charged up and ready for action.

Find out about:


The Nude Rugby, Dunedin, 14th June

The Nude Rugby, Dunedin

The Nude Rugby is back for 2014 in the annual unofficial curtain raiser to the All Blacks Test Match in Dunedin. The Grab-A-Seat Nude Blacks will face off against an England Invitational side at 2pm on the 14th of January at the University Oval, Logan Park Drive, Dunedin.

Every year this event gets bigger and better with sideline competitions and other events surrounding the day to raise money for a chosen charity. Tell your family and friends and come and enjoy this hilarious pre-test event!

All Blacks V England – Dunedin, Forsyth Barr Stadium, 130 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin
Saturday 14 June 2014, 7:35pm – 9:15pm

Go Black or Union Jack for the Polar Plunge
St Clair Surf Life Saving Club, 1 Esplanade, Dunedin
Sunday 15 June 2014, 12:00pm

Hawke's Bay Mud Run, Hawke's Bay, 15th June

Hawke's Bay Mud Run

This is the 3rd year of the iconic Hawke's Bay owned and operated fundraising event featuring a sensational course with lots of variety and mud at Morton Lake, 300 Omapere Road, Crownthorpe, Hastings ( 9:30am – 1:00pm). Situated in a natural ampitheatre, the course contains everything from a lake, an island, stopbank, shingle mountains, vineyard track, mudslide, camo crawl, bugzapper, mudder bar creekbeds, gentle hillsides. The spectator viewing platforms are superb for those supporting.

See the website for more details and up to date information.

Beer Tasting Challenge, Wellington, 21st June

Beer Tasting Challenge, Wellington

Join us for our Craft Beer College exam tasting. The Craft Beer College "Exam" will begin with a beer to stimulate the brain. It will then include six beers presented blind and combined with a series of "exam" questions that will test participants' knowledge of craft beer. Those who "pass" will receive a Craft Beer College certificate. Shouldn't all exams be this fun? Sat 21 Jun 2014, 2:00pm–4:00pm, Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington. Restrictions: R18. Ticket Information: $38.00

View more information at www.craftbeercollege.co.nz

Monaco Mid-Winter Marathon, Nelson, 22nd June

Monaco Mid-Winter Marathon, Nelson

Start Monaco Domain (Point Road, Nelson) and follow the cycleway out to Rabbit Island, loop Rabbit Island and return total distance 42.2km.

Individuals or 2 person teams. All runners and walkers welcome. No entry fee but a donation to The Mental Health Foundation would be appreciated. Walkers start 8.00am. Runners start 9.00am (early start for runners available if required) Pre-registration will be available at The Shoe Clinic, Bridge St on Saturday 21st June from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Go along and give it a go.

Go See... Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles

You would be quite right in thinking that these Pinnacles are the stuff of Lord of the Rings location scouts' dreams. In Return of the King, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride to meet the Army of the Dead against the backdrop of these atmospheric 'badlands' Pinnacles.

In fact the "badlands erosion" of Putangirua Pinnacles has been attracting many visitors to the southern Wairarapa for a very long time - way before Peter Jackson was even born – as the Pinnacles offer one of the best examples in New Zealand of badlands erosion and earth pillar formation.

When the Aorangi Range was an island (7 to 9 million years ago), screes poured gravels onto the coast, much as they do today around Cape Palliser. The Putangirua Stream has exposed this ancient layer of gravels to the erosive forces of rain and floods. Where cemented silts or rocks within the gravel beds prove more resistant than the underlying sediments, spectacular individual pinnacles or "hoodoos" are formed. Recharge your cameras, this landscape is definitely worthy of its movie set fame.

Where to go: Aorangi Forest Park, Wairarapa
How to get there: Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve is 13 km along Cape Palliser Road from the Lake Ferry turn-off, approximately one hour's drive from Martinborough.
When to go: Any time of year

10 Top Rock Climbing Areas

There are some excellent online resources for climbing fanatics visiting New Zealand including: www.doc.govt.nz and www.climb.co.nz, as well as a number of club websites dedicated to climbs in their local region. We strongly recommend you 'google' the climbing areas before to pick up more tips and advice about where to go, when to go and what to expect.

10 Top Rock Climbing Areas
  1. Wharepapa, Waikato - Wharepapa is one of the best rock climbing areas in New Zealand and it's certainly popular among adventure tourists. Crags include: Bayleys Road, Bosch, Gower, Secret Valley, Sheridan Hills, Smith Rock and Waipapa.
  2. Whanganui Bay, Lake Taupo - Considered by many as the Mecca of North Island rock climbing, the "Bay" is located on shores of Lake Taupo. Access is through private land, so respect should be shown to the local families living there. Camping is allowed on the beach. Known for its beautiful lake cliff climbing but best for its straight sustained crack climbing.
  3. Wellington Park, Wellington - The Organ Pipes, an expanse of vertical dolerite buttresses high on Mount Wellington, are a nationally and internationally recognised rock climbing venue. With often complex route finding, sustained, steep climbing, alpine exposure and occasional loose rock, climbing here is a serious undertaking.
  4. Mount Taranaki/Egmont, Taranaki / Egmont National Park - Mount Taranaki/Egmont has long been one of New Zealand's most climbed mountains. For rock climbing opportunities consider these areas: Humphries Castle, Hongis Valley, Organ Pipes Valley, Warwick Castle lots of quality routes, short and long. Tahurangi Bluff, Bobs Bluff, Okahu Bluff and Minarapa Valley.
  5. Port Hills, Christchurch - Many of the excellent rock climbing opportunities in the Port Hills near Christchurch were lost due to the recent earthquakes. However, there are still some climbs available including: Cattlestop Crag, on DOC land: Lyttelton Rock, Crag X, Black Wall, Farm Park, Breeze Bay, Boulder Bay and on private land, Rapaki, Evans Pass, Albert Terrace Crag and Gibraltar Rock.
  6. Banks Peninsula, Canterbury - The Banks Peninsula extend east from Lyttelton and consists of the following climbing areas: Fantastic Factory, Crystal Clearlight, Mount Bradley, The Monument, Te Oka, Otepotu and Holmes Bay.
  7. Castle Hill, Canterbury - Described as one of New Zealand's finest rock climbing and bouldering locations, Castle Hill is one of the most accessible. Roughly an hour drive from Christchurch, Castle Hill features 5 areas with around 250 climbs and well over 1000 boulder problems. The climbing areas are: Wuthering Heights, Lime Quarry Scarp, Dark Castle, Quantum Field and Spittle Hill.
  8. Queenstown, Otago - The climbing is world-class in Queenstown and the surrounding area. World-class sport routes with some incredible scenery and easy access to long traditional wall frequently compared to Yosemite – Chinaman's Bluff, Remarkables and Wye Creek. A new addition is Queenstown Hill.
  9. Wanaka, Otago - Wanaka offers some of the best rock climbing in New Zealand. With more than 200 routes from grades 9 to 30 everyone (from beginners to experts) can enjoy the view. Most of Wanaka's best rock climbing is in the Matukituki Valley, between the Mount Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka. The scenery in this area is stunning with many of the climbs having Treble Cone Ski Area as a backdrop.
  10. Paynes Ford, Golden Bay - Paynes Ford Scenic Reserve is known for its impressive limestone bluffs and is one of New Zealand's popular rock-climbing areas. It takes its name from the original ford across the flood-prone Takaka River on the main road into Takaka. The Paynes Ford Tramline Track provides access to the climbing areas and excellent swimming holes in the Takaka River.

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.

New Zealand Fast Facts

Just as popular as the more southerly Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand's South Island, the Split Apple Rock is a geological rock formation in the Tasman Bay. Made of granite, it is – as the name suggests - in the shape of an apple which has been cut in two. The rock sits in shallow water at low tide and can be reached by wading. Apple rock is a natural occurrence although many mythological explanations have been offered for it. Who could resist 'stooging' for a picture on top of this one?!

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New Zealand Coach Tours

New Zealand Coach Tours

The largest range of escorted & small group tours

Boutique touring itineraries designed for you

Specialist NZ Tours

Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

New Zealand self-drive tours

NZ Self-Drive Tours

Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

Bluebridge Ferry

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Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.