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 : November 2014

Written by Steph Kendall

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

Lucky Subscriber

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

This is definitely the season to be jolly, so we've picked out a handful of the hundreds of Christmas events, parades and parties just around the corner. If you want to enjoy a uniquely Kiwi-style Santa Parade, check out the local paper for details – often they are held on the first Saturday of December, so don't wait too late.

November and December are two of the best months of the year in which to enjoy New Zealand's spectacular countryside, so slip, slap, slop and enjoy the very great outdoors!

Find out about:


Tree Decorating Fiesta - Mt Eden Christmas

Tree Decorating Fiesta - Mt Eden Christmas

Location: Mt Eden
Date: Saturday 6 December, 12 – 1pm

Decorate a baby Christmas tree, collect a prize then take your baby tree home.

The whole green will be covered with the knee high festive trees with plenty of materials for all to share or swap amongst each other for their own personalized touch in Mt. Eden. The community and festive spirit not only will raise awareness for the Maxine van der Velden Memorial Charitable Trust, but all donations for the Christmas Trees will raise funds for this scholarship offered to talented young people all over the Auckland region.

Read more about the Tree Decorating Fiesta.

Christmas at the Zoo, Auckland

Christmas at the Zoo, Auckland

Location: Auckland
Date: Saturday 6 December

The Penguins of Madagascar and carolling elves are only some of what will make this year's Christmas at the Zoo an extra special one. There will also be the hugely popular Singing Santa show where the guest of honour, Santa Claus, will once again arrive in style for his starring role. Along with the Christmas concert, there are special scheduled animal encounters and chances to win Penguins of Madagascar prizes!

Visit the website for more details.

Christmas Parade

Christmas Parade

Location: Gore
Date: 14 December 12:00pm – 1:00pm

There are Christmas Parades throughout the country. This one's at Gore on the South Island, where Santa Claus will be making his annual last minute visit for the Gore District Council's Christmas Parade. Traditionally over 40 floats from all sectors of the community join Santa on his tour of the Main Street. Afterwards, there is the Christmas in the Park concert, in the picturesque Gore Gardens, featuring local talent.

The Christmas Beach Party

The Christmas Beach Party

Location: Palmerston North
Date: 14 December

The Pascal Street Community Trust invites you to The Christmas Beach Party, Free for All. Join us for a totally free event! Surf rides, sausage sizzle, candy floss, ice creams, face painting, bouncy castles and much more.

Rhythm and Alps, Wanaka

Rhythm and Alps, Wanaka

Location: Wanaka
Date: 30-31 December

It won't be too long until summer is here and Rhythm and Alps will hit the Cardrona Valley once again with an exciting and diverse line up of international and local artists, sure to give festival goers an unforgettable New Year's experience. Last year the festival sold out, and with a capacity of only 10,000 tickets this year's festival is selling fast and is expected to sell out.

A full list of artists is available on the website.

Go See... Red Rocks Reserve

Red Rocks Reserve

The Red Rocks Reserve was created in 1972 and lies on the south coast between Owhiro Bay and Sinclair Head / Rimurapa within an hour's walk from Wellington's beaches. The so-called 'Red Rocks' is popular with Wellingtonians and there's much to take in on the way to the Seal Colony. A visitor centre tells the story of quarrying in the area and there is a popular diving spot in the nearby Taputergana Marine Reserve. If you are into climbing, there's also a big boulder called Fly Rock which is just a few hundred metres along the first beach which is used by local climbers.

The Red Rocks Reserve was created in 1972 and lies on the south coast between Owhiro Bay and Sinclair Head / Rimurapa within an hour's walk from Wellington's beaches. The so-called 'Red Rocks' is popular with Wellingtonians and there's much to take in on the way to the Seal Colony. A visitor centre tells the story of quarrying in the area and there is a popular diving spot in the nearby Taputergana Marine Reserve. If you are into climbing, there's also a big boulder called Fly Rock which is just a few hundred metres along the first beach which is used by local climbers.

Where to go: South coast between Owhiro Bay and Sinclair Head / Rimurapa
How to get there: From Wellington, to get to Owhiro Bay take a regular number 1 bus to Island Bay, then walk a few kilometres West to Owhiro Bay and the end of the road or drive the same route.
When to go: Any time of year (during May to October, you'll see plenty of single male seals)

Find out more about the Bays of the Wellington region.

10 Top Wildlife Parks & Zoos

The whole family will enjoy a visit to one of New Zealand's many animal parks, wildlife reserves and zoos. Many offer opportunities to get up close and personal to their animals, many of which are unique to New Zealand.

10 Top Wildlife Parks & Zoos

    North Island Wildlife Parks & Zoos

  1. Auckland Zoo, Auckland - Over 138 different species and over 875 animals are housed at Auckland Zoo, making it the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand. Auckland Zoo has lots to see and do, including special events, animal encounters and other fun attractions.
  2. Butterfly Creek, Auckland - Located just one minute from Auckland Airport, Butterfly Creek hosts Australasia's premier tropical butterfly house, giant crocodiles, alligators, aquaria, tarantula and many other bugs. There is also an interactive farmyard and a new Dinosaur Kingdom! Quality cafe, free playground, mostly under cover so a rainy day doesn't matter and a great location for kids' parties.
  3. Hamilton Zoo, Hamilton - Set amidst 25ha of lush surroundings, Hamilton Zoo is home to over 600 animals and boasts the largest walk-through aviary in Australasia. Visitors can enjoy the wonders of the living world in a wildlife sanctuary renowned for its generous habitats and approach to conservation.
  4. Lilliput Farm Fun and Animal Park - One especially for families with littlies to enjoy! This lovely safe, clean, learning environment encourages young and old minds alike to have big moments. There are 10 acres to wander through where children can hand feed 25 different species of quiet animals and birds; cuddle baby animals and talk with the cockatoos.
  5. National Aquarium of New Zealand, Napier - New Zealand's largest display of aquatic life and unique New Zealand wildlife, including sharks, stingrays, living coral, kiwi, tuatara and a huge range of fish species. A fun and educational place to visit for all the family. Open 9am-5pm 7 days (except Christmas Day).
  6. Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, Rotorua - Beautifully maintained wildlife park where you can experience the best of native New Zealand. Interact with New Zealand's wildlife, native birds, trout and farm animals. Freshwater spring and Treetops Walk. Lion feeding 2:30 pm every day. This is a privately owned family business, set amongst stunning native New Zealand bush.
  7. Pukaha Mount Bruce, Mt Bruce - New Zealand's National Wildlife Centre for captive breeding of our threatened wildlife, conservation education and forest restoration. Demonstrating that everyone can make a difference in restoring kiwi, kokako, kaka and other native wildlife once present in our forest and returning the dawn chorus for everyone to enjoy.
  8. South Island Wildlife Parks & Zoos

  9. Shamarra Alpaca Farm, Akaroa - Enjoy a scenic-drive to the western-side of Akaroa Harbour to Shamarra Alpaca Farm in Akaroa. This 35 hectare alpaca farm enjoys breath-taking views of the harbour and alpaca farmers, Frank and Anya, will treat you to an interesting, interactive introduction to these animals (renowned for their ultra-fine fleece). Light refreshments are included on the Akaroa farm tour.
  10. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Christchurch - This lovely wildlife park is a firm favourite with local families and its close encounters of the 'wildlife kind' are its trademark. You can meet New Zealand's Big 5: Kiwi, cheeky Kea, ancient Tuatara, Kaka (bush parrots) and the rare Takahe. Feed the eels, ride the donkeys and explore the trails. Café and children's parties available.
  11. Orana Wildlife Park, Christchurch - Willowbank's bigger near neighbour is New Zealand's only open range zoo. Here visitors can experience up close animal encounters: hand-feed giraffe, meet rhino 'face-to-face', watch tigers search for their food, stroll through native bird aviaries and travel through the lion reserve. An extensive native collection features kiwi, tuatara and a range of endangered birds and reptiles. Kids will enjoy the animal feeds (15 every day).

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

New Zealand fur seals, or kekeno, can dive deeper and longer than any other type of fur seal. They can dive more than 200m deep and hold their breath for up to 11 minutes. This helps them to reach their favourite foods such as hoki, squid, octopus, and conger eels, which tend to live very deep in the ocean. New Zealand fur seals range throughout New Zealand, and around western and southern Australia. The main colonies are found around the coast of the South Island and Stewart Island.

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Featured

 
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

Bluebridge Ferry

Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.