Free Travel Newsletter : August 2014
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Neil Fradkin, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.
There is still time to enjoy the crisp days and clear nights of New Zealand's winter and what better way to do it than in Queenstown surrounded by the mountain peaks of the aptly-named Remarkables, or at Franz Josef glacier, or at one of the country's national parks! We've also highlighted one of the first festivals of the upcoming spring, the Daffodil Festival in Carterton – we recommend arriving there by steam for a truly memorable family day out.
Find out about:
- Gay Ski Week, Queenstown
- Carterton Daffodil Festival, Carterton
- The Original Gypsy Fair, Rotorua
- 2014 World of WearableArt Awards Show, Wellington
- Go See... Franz Josef Glacier
- 10 Top National Parks
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Gay Ski Week, Queenstown
Date: 30 August - 6 September
Gay Ski Weeks are held all around the world and are enjoyed by many people. If you have never been to Gay Ski Week in Queenstown, then come along and join in the fun with a bit of glitter and the odd feather boa or two.
Queenstown accommodates snow as well as non-snow lovers. This can include every day on the mountains or trips to wineries, zip wire adventure, jet boating, bungy jumping or anything else you can think of. The program this year includes:
- Opening Party, Bingay and Anika Moa
- Gibbston Valley 'Life is a Cabaret'
- SKYCITY Queenstown's Karaoke!
- Family Bar & Nightclub Presents 'B' Word
- Belvedere Presents Oh, what a circus!
- Plus, the 'try something new day': snow shoeing, Highlands Motorsport Park via helicopter and Ziptrek's winter Moa Twilight tour.
View more information about events and ticketing www.gayskiweekqt.com.
Carterton Daffodil Festival, Carterton
Date: 14 September
Located in the heart of the Wairarapa, Carterton's popular Daffodil Festival offers an abundance of activities ranging from the famous daffodil picking at Middlerun and the village markets located along High and Holloway Street.
Art lovers dreams come true with the Big Wai Art Sale, where over 4000 amazing masterpieces created by local artists are displayed and available for purchase in the Events Centre. Arrive and depart via or experience a trip on the popular Daffodil Express Steam Train. Spoil your taste buds in the Wai-Artisan Tasting Area, wonder round the immaculate grounds of the elegant Carrington House and new for 2014, observe the unique skills showcased at Gladstone Farriers Competition as well as loads more family fun.
View more about this fun-packed family day out at www.cartertondc.co.nz/daffodil_carnival.
The Original Gypsy Fair, Rotorua
Date: 20-21 September
The first fair of the 2014-2015 summer season of The Original Gypsy Fair is in Rotorua. This popular famous fair comes to town once a year and features thirty Gypsy families in interesting house-trucks and buses. Wooden crafts, tarot reading, palm reading, leather, crystals, herbal products, Havana coffee, funky clothes, silver jewellery, food, candyfloss, glass blowing, merry go round, hip accessories, tattooing and piercing, hand painted craft, fork art, face painting and more. Plenty of entertainment plus live music all day.
View more at www.gypsyfair.co.nz.
2014 World of WearableArt Awards Show, Wellington
Date: 25 September – 12 October
This year, be part of the thrill and magic that is WOW®. Dame Suzie Moncrieff's beautiful imagination is ince again at work for the 2014 WOW® Awards Show season. The World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) mission is to take art off the wall and out of static display and to adorn the body in wildly wonderful ways.
The WOW® Awards Show is New Zealand's largest arts event, a theatrical two-hour show held annually to an audience of nearly 50,000 per season. It began as a promotion for a rural art gallery in Nelson, when local sculptor Dame Suzie Moncrieff had the vision to take art off the wall and exhibit on the human form.
Find out more about the show and ticketing at www.worldofwearableart.com.
Go See... Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier (Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere) offers visitors the opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment, in a temperate environment within easy driving and walking distance from a main highway.
In the last ice age the Franz Josef glacier extended in a huge ice-sheet to beyond the present coastline. Although the glacier has retreated considerably, echoes of its frozen past are still apparent in the present landscape. The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of three to be this close to the coastline.
Sentinel Rock offers impressive views of the glacier, the glacier valley, the Waiho River and dramatic examples of colonising plants. To view the massive snowfields of the upper neve you can take a flight in a helicopter or ski plane. Sentinel Rock and the other rock outcrops nearby are hard schist bedrock which have withstood the massive scraping by the ice as the glacier passed by and over.
Where to go: Westland Tai Poutini National Park, 5km from Franz Josef town
How to get there: By road (car or coach)
When to go: Any time of year
Find out more about New Zealand's glaciers.
10 Top National Parks
Every one of New Zealand's national parks showcases the natural beauty and heritage that our country is lucky enough to enjoy and to share with its visitors. There is more than 30,000 square kilometres featuring mountains, forests, lakes, beaches, valleys, rivers and volcanoes to explore. There are also hundreds of parks, reserves and conservation areas to visit and enjoy. We have picked out just ten to whet your appetite for adventure:
- Te Urewera - Remote, rugged, immense, Te Urewera National Park was established in 1954 and is famous for its lakes and forests.You can experience the lake shore up close by hiking the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.
- Tongariro - Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It has dual World Heritage status which recognises the park's Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its volcanic features. Home to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
- Egmont - Established as a national park in 1900, Egmont National Park covers 33,534 hectares and is the home of the volcano, Taranaki (or Mt Egmont as it is also known). It is one of the best parks from which to view New Zealand's rural heartland.
- Abel Tasman - Established in 1942, Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest national park and renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and the Abel Tasman Coast Track.
- Kahurangi - This park includes the Heaphy Track, the longest of the country's Great Walks. Its name means 'treasured possession', an apt description of this untracked wilderness which also offers opportunities for visitors to explore wild rivers, high plateaux and alpine herb fields and coastal forests.
- Nelson Lakes - Nelson Lakes National Park (established in 1956) is situated in the north of New Zealand's South Island. It protects 102,000 hectares of the northern most Southern Alps. The park offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams and lakes both big and small.
- Fiordland - One of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere - any visit to the South Island should definitely include part of this park. Consider walking the Kepler, Milford or Routeburn tracks, each of these Great Walks highlights different aspects of this spectacular park.
- Paparoa - Established in 1987 on the South Island's wild and rugged West Coast, Paparoa National Park is perhaps most famous for the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Dolomite Point, near the settlement of Punakaiki.
- Aoraki/Mount Cook - This is New Zealand's great alpine park with the highest mountains and the largest glaciers. Popular with hikers and mountain climbers and home to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
- Rakiura National Park - The 14th New Zealand national park on Rakiura/Stewart Island was opened in 2002. You can explore pristine beaches, sheltered inlets, coastal forest, see seals, penguins, kiwi, weka and many other birds. Popular also for its Great Walk, the 29km long Rakiura Track.
North Island National Parks
South Island National Parks
View more details of guided whitewater rafting trips in New Zealand.
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
While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in New Zealand still flow almost to sea level. The temperate climate at this low altitude means these glaciers are among the most convenient to visit in the world and they flow around ten times faster than most valley glaciers.