Free Travel Newsletter : May 2015
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Jeff Barrett, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning a "Kiwi Country New Zealand" DVD.
Mud, snow, surf and sulphur - there are just a few of the elements we've covered in this month's New Zealand highlights. From theatre to geothermal, to smooth jazz to wild surf – we're offering up a smorgasbord of tastes to give you the flavour of one of the best travel destinations in the world.
Read more about:
- Kiwi Moon, New Plymouth
- Wellington Jazz Festival, Wellington
- Loaded Tough Guy and Gal Challenge, Palmerston North
- Queenstown Winter Festival, Queenstown
- Go See... Craters of the Moon, Taupo
- 10 Top Surfing Destinations
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Kiwi Moon, New Plymouth
Location: Theatre Royal, New Plymouth
Date: 3 – 4 June
Perfect for 2 to 7 year olds' first taste of theatre - A little white kiwi thinks the Moon might be his mother because it is white and bright and round like him. Prepare to snuffle and shuffle through the forest floor, hula with the huhu grubs, watch out for the wekas, and calypso with the handsome kakapo- in this charming tale of one little white kiwi's quest to find his place in an often strange and sometimes dangerous world.
After delighting audiences in 2008, Kiwi Moon returns to the stage with a brand new production of Gavin Bishop's iconic New Zealand story, presented by Capital E National Theatre for Children. – Visit the website to find out more about the company and the production.
Wellington Jazz Festival, Wellington
Location: Various Venues, Wellington
Date: 3 – 7 June
Wellington Jazz Festival is now a yearly fixture, heating up the capital with a mid-winter culture hit, enhanced by great music, food, wines and craft beers. The Festival features major international headliners as well as top local musicians, with festivities spilling out onto the streets.
Visit the Wellington Jazz Festival website for more information.
Loaded Tough Guy and Gal Challenge, Palmerston North
Location: Linton Army Camp, Palmerston North
Date: 6 June
A rare opportunity for civilians to experience some of the New Zealand military facilities including the assault course in 6km and 12km event options (open to both male and female competitors who are 13 years of age and older). Challenge yourself on a course that includes swamp crossings, a spider's web net climb, barb wire crawl, beautiful native bush trails, plus a range of natural and man-made obstacles, mud and more mud.
Numbers are limited to 2000 competitors. Entries are now open. Check the website for more information. If you miss this event, there are more challenges available at later dates throughout the country.
Queenstown Winter Festival, Queenstown
Location: Various, Queenstown Region
Date: 19 – 28 June
The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates the start of winter like only Queenstown can. On Friday 19th June, the Opening Party and Fireworks kick starts the celebrations and is followed by ten days of street parties, music, comedy, family fun and madness up the mountain. With more than 75 events on the programme, there's something for all ages and more than half the events on the programme are free.
Queenstown has been celebrating for a long time. Way back in 1975, a bunch of locals decided that the start of winter was a great excuse to have a party. What started as a few lolly scrambles for the kids and mountain races for the adults, is now New Zealand's – and perhaps the southern hemisphere's - biggest celebration of winter.
Check out the Queenstown Winter Festival website for more details.
Go See... Craters of the Moon, Taupo
The Craters of the Moon north of Taupo in the North Island was created land began to get hot and emit steam in the 1950s. Craters of boiling mud emerged, along with other geothermal phenomena. The event was triggered by the lowering of underground water pressure by a nearby geothermal power station. Superheated water rose to the surface, escaping through any vent it could find.
You can explore the Craters of the Moon via wooden walkways which have been constructed to protect visitors from the heat of the soil. These are regularly moved as new vents emerge.
The tracks lead to several viewing platforms on the edge of large craters. From here the relentless power of the earth's fiery core becomes truly apparent. Clouds of slightly sulphurous steam swirl all around you. There's a primeval appeal to this geothermal mayhem, and you can't resist breathing deep and pushing your face forward for more of nature's free health spa therapy.
Where to go: Craters of the Moon, Taupo
How to get there: From Wairakei Drive (the old SH1 & 5), turn left into Karapiti Road and travel 1.7 km arriving at the carpark for Craters of the Moon Scenic Reserve.
When to go: Any time of year (closed on Christmas Day).
View more about the Taupo region.
10 Top Surfing Destinations
New Zealanders are well-known for their adventurous spirit and in some of the world's most beautiful locations, some of these innovative souls have devised breath-taking and thrilling rides that make unforgettable holiday memories.
- Muriwai, Auckland - Muriwai Beach in West Coast Auckland is an exposed beach break that has very consistent surf and works all around the year. Best around high tide when the tide is rising. When the surf is up, it can get quite busy in the water. Take care of rips and sharks. (view Muriwai Beach Surf cam)
- Piha, Auckland - Piha is one of the country's most famous surf beach, 40km from Auckland - a black, iron-sand beach with a reputation for awesome surf. When the swell is small, good surf can often be found up the Big Beach at North Piha, while wedgy peaks break on both sides of Lion Rock where currents can help with the paddle out. (view Piha beach surf cam)
- Manu Bay, Raglan - Raglan was made famous in the 1960s as the location for the surf flick, 'Endless Summer.' Manu Bay has waves that can rise from a metre to about three metres with some occasional barrel – it's a mellow place to wait for the surf to pick up with plenty of cafes serving great smoothies. (view Raglan beaches' surf cam)
- Waipu Cove, Northland - This is an exposed beach break that has reliable surf with relatively few other surfers around, even on good days. Best around mid-tide when the tide is rising. Lessons and gear are available from local Surfing NZ accredited surf school. (view Waipu Cove surf cam)
- Waikanae Beach, Gisborne - A nice soft beach break onto a sandy beach. The wave is fat and reasonably long and a great wave for beginners. It has quite consistent surf and can work at any time of the year. Take care of driftwood. You may bump into locals from the Surf Club from October – March. (view Gisborne surf cam)
- Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth - A quality beach break in a larger clean swell. The nearby river mouth produces regular clean banks that come to life to the delight of many regional surfers. Hence Fitzroy can be a little crowded, but with a selection of peaks that spreads the crowd. (view New Plymouth surf cam)
- Lyall Bay, Wellington - The bay is a popular surf beach, featuring a breakwater at the eastern end. It has also been the site of surf lifesaving championships, and is home to two surf lifesaving clubs. (The Lyall Bay Royal Rumble surfing competition will be held on the first Saturday or Sunday from 17 August onwards). (view Lyall Bay surf cam)
- Shipwreck Bay, Northland - Well known for excellent surf, with big long rides, this bay is sandy with a few rocks around the point. Be careful of rips. Want to take a break from the waves? Go for the blokarting, kayaking and 4WD beach tours along Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga.
- New Brighton Beach, Christchurch - Lessons are available and equipment to hire for any novice surfers or surfers with no gear in the backpack! Long stretches of sandy beach in a laidback and friendly Christchurch 'village' which still enjoys the kudos of the swinging, surfing sixties despite earthquake damage. (view Christchurch beaches' surf cam)
- Papatowai, Catlins - Papatowai is an exposed beach/river mouth in the Catlins in the south of the South Island, which holds some of New Zealand's biggest waves, where tow-in teams and experienced paddlers try to ride the long barrelling right or lethal, ledging left. Best around high tide. Rarely crowded here. Watch out for sharks/rips.
North Island Surfing Destinations
South Island Surfing Destinations
New Zealand Fast Facts
Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is the national association representing 73 Surf Life Saving clubs in New Zealand with approximately 15,000 members. The organisation's motto is 'In it for Life' referring to both the long relationship many members have with the organisation, as well as to the organisation's purpose of preventing drowning and injury, thereby saving lives. Surf Life Saving runs their annual fundraising appeal 'National Jandal Day' on 2 December.