Free Travel Newsletter : August 2012
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Patricia Gregorio from Portugal, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
This month we're celebrating and counting all our lucky stars – in, above and all over New Zealand. That's six golden sporting stars (a salute to our gold medal-winning Olympians), a gold status for New Zealand natural star attractions, fantastic star-studded charity events, plus an invitation to sit under the amazing skies and stars of some of the best traveller destinations in the world!
- Stars Help Cure Kids – Red Nose Day, 24th August
- Star Gazers Getaway, Herbert, 14th - 17th September
- Auckland's Recreational Gold
- Get the Star Treatment
- Off the Beaten Track to... Southern Star Abbey
- Star-Gazing Gets Gold in New Zealand
- Southern Stars Grant-a-Wish
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Stars Help Cure Kids - Red Nose Day, 24th August
You may see some red noses on people, cars and trucks this August as you travel around New Zealand as the country gets on board with the Cure Kids! campaign to raise money for child health research.
- International superstars, Flight of the Conchords, have written and recorded a song especially for Red Nose Day and Cure Kids.
- Red Nose Day is backed by the All Blacks including three star players - Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Read and Luke Romano. Plus, the All Blacks team will feature in a series of skits as part of Red Nose Day Comedy for Cure Kids.
Tune in to watch the TV show or pick up a red nose to show your support by being just a little bit silly! Find out more about Red Nose Day.
More Fun Fundraising Events
- $10 Queenstown Challenge 3rd - 6th October
- Walk on the Wild Side 11th November
- Great Adventure Race (early 2013)
Star Gazers Getaway, Herbert 14 - 17th September
The "Star Gazers Getaway", or the Herbert Star Party as it is also known, is being held on the weekend of the 14th to the 17th of September at Camp Iona near Herbert in the South Island this year. The weekend gives stargazers from around the country and the world the opportunity to meet, hear speakers and view the heavens whilst enjoying a camp in beautiful countryside.
The campsite has toilets and showers, bunkrooms, auditorium and plenty of space for tents and caravans. The viewing area has excellent horizons in all directions and space for many telescopes. View more at Star Gazers Getaway.
Auckland's Recreational Gold
New Zealand secured six gold medals at the recent 2012 Olympic Games in shot put, rowing, canoeing and sailing. Several of the medal winners are based in Auckland, a perfect training ground for rowing, sailing and other water-based sports. You can enjoy training grounds similar to those of the Kiwi Olympians – without the early morning starts – throughout Auckland. In fact, Auckland offers over 800 parks and reserves for both locals and visitors in which to play, relax, picnic and if you really want... to train!
- Blockhouse Bay Beach Reserve, 69 to 79 Endeavour Street, Blockhouse Bay
Heritage sites with a lot of history (Maori/European). Seawall built about 80 years ago. Great place for a picnic.
- One Tree Hill Domain, 670 Manukau Road, Epsom
Ramble or run through the wide green spaces of One Tree Hill Domain and the neighbouring Cornwall Park, the largest area of parkland in Auckland City. The pastoral Cornwall Park, grazed by sheep and cattle, gives the impression of being in the country.
- Western Springs Park (Lakeside), 859 Great North Road, Western Springs
Western Springs is a wildlife sanctuary surrounding a natural spring-fed lake, one of Auckland's early water supplies. The park is surrounded by a cluster of major nearby attractions including the Auckland Zoo, Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), the Chamberlain Park Golf Course and the Western Springs stadium (very handy).
- Little Oneroa Reserve, Ocean View Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island This is just a small reserve, but it has lovely coastal views. Great for families as it is a very safe swimming location.
- Palm Beach Reserve, 53 Palm Road, Waiheke
Lovely coastal reserve, great for swimming and having fun.
The parks listed have BBQ, toilets and playground facilities, but it's easy to explore a host of options, simply view Auckland's parks and reserves.
Get the Star Treatment
Look out for the stars when you book or buy a tourism service in New Zealand. Qualmark stars indicate New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality and can help you identify quality places to stay, things to do and ways to get around throughout New Zealand.
- Qualmark 5 star - Exceptional. Among the best available in New Zealand.
- Qualmark 4 star / plus - Excellent. Consistently achieves high quality levels with a wide range of facilities and services.
- Qualmark 3 star / plus - Very good. Provides a range of facilities and services and achieves good to very good quality standards.
- Qualmark 2 star / plus - Good. Exceeds customers' minimum requirements with some additional facilities and services.
- Qualmark 1 star / plus - Acceptable. Meets customers' minimum requirements. Basic, clean, and comfortable accommodation.
Off the Beaten Track to... Southern Star Abbey
The Southern Star Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks and is located in a beautiful, remote rural area of New Zealand in Central Hawke's Bay. The monastery welcomes visitors to its services and to the peace of this sacred place. For those travellers who want a deeper experience of the life here, a guesthouse is available. Prior bookings are essential. Quiet, rest and privacy are the order of the day...(more)
Star-Gazing Gets Gold in New Zealand
In June 2012, more than 1,600 square miles of New Zealand's South Island was designated as the world's largest International Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of the best places for star-gazing in the world. The new reserve includes Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin.
"The new reserve is coming in at a 'Gold' level status," said the International Dark-Sky Association's executive director Bob Parks. "That means the skies there are almost totally free from light pollution. To put it simply, it is one of the best stargazing sites on Earth."
To qualify to be a reserve, areas need to be endowed with dark skies and virtually no light pollution. There are only four such reserves in the world.
Star-Gazing Sites in New Zealand
- Mount John University Observatory (MJUO) near Lake Tekapo - New Zealand's premier astronomical research observatory at 1,029 metres (3,376 ft) is atop Mount John at the northern end of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island and was established in 1965. There are 5 large telescopes in regular use. There is also a cafe offering wonderful day and night-time views, plus commercially operated night-tours.
- Stardome Observatory & Planetarium - Since 1967, Stardome Observatory & Planetarium has been one of the Auckland region's most popular and best-loved attractions.
- Whakatane Observatory – This not-for-profit observatory is open all year round to individuals, groups and schools on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Sessions include a talk on the universe and the opportunity to look at the stars through one of three telescopes.
View more about stargazing tours in New Zealand.
Southern Stars Grant-a-Wish
This charitable foundation gives New Zealand children with ongoing medical conditions, terminal illnesses and other life changing conditions the chance to have their wishes granted. These wishes could be anything from a ride in a car, a helicopter ride, a makeover to a swimming with dolphins experience.
View more about Grant A Wish.
New Zealand Fast Facts
Since 1902, the official flag of New Zealand has featured the Union Flag and four red stars with white borders. The stars represent the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross. The stars of the constellation shown on the flag are: Alpha Crucis (also known as Acrux), Beta Crucis (also known as Mimosa), Gamma Crucis (or Gacrux) and Delta Crucis. The faint fifth star, Epsilon Crucis is not represented on the New Zealand flag. Other national flags which feature the Southern Cross include: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Samoa.