Free Travel Newsletter : January 2013
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Jo Harris, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
Laugh yourself silly; run, kayak or swim until you drop; or simply grab a bike - take the family for a ride or race down a mountain! We've picked just a few of the great events and activities for you to enjoy this New Zealand summertime... yeah, the livin' is easy!
- World Buskers Festival, 17th - 27th January, Christchurch
- Speight's Coast to Coast, 8th - 9th February, South Island
- 10 Top MTB Tracks
- Off the Beaten Track to... Tāwharanui Marine Reserve
- Romance in the Air
- Weather to Go
- New Zealand Fast Facts
World Buskers Festival, 17th - 27th January, Christchurch
Back again for its 20th year, this is one of Christchurch's most popular events with many free performances on the street providing laughs for all ages. The Buskers' Festival is the largest outdoor festival in New Zealand and one of the biggest and most successful street performance festivals in the world. It's an unmissable experience for anyone travelling to New Zealand and visiting Christchurch. It's laidback, it's funny and it's usually sunny!
This year's programme includes 39 street acts from nine countries in indoor and outdoor theatre style shows including the Comedy Club and Buskers Burlesque. There's a special pitch just for the kids in the Botanical Gardens, buskers over at the beach in Brighton and a very unique dance party (one of the hottest shows on the international festival circuit Hot Dub).
What's more, as Christchurch city is rebuilt following the earthquakes of 2011, the comedy is creeping into the city centre once again!
View the World Buskers Festival website for more details.
Speight's Coast to Coast, 8th - 9th February, South Island
Over 800 competitors will vie for places in the Speight's Coast to Coast challenge – considered to be the world's premier multi-sport event and the benchmark by which all other multi-sport events are judged, both in New Zealand and overseas.
The Speight's Coast to Coast crosses the South Island of New Zealand from Kumara Beach on the Tasman Sea to Sumner Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Over either one or two days (individuals or two person teams) cycle, run and kayak over 240 kilometres.
View more about the Coast to Coast challenge.
10 Top MTB Tracks
If you enjoy mountain biking, take a look at where some of the best tracks are in New Zealand. We've selected a wide variety of tracks for mountain bikers of all skill levels (beginners, advanced and family groups) on both the North and South islands. Many of the tracks mentioned are close to other tracks that you can also ride, push or climb.
If you'd like to recommend any mountain biking tracks to NZTG readers that can be published in future editions of our newsletter, please email your suggestions to the newsletter editor.
- Whakarewarewa Forest Network, Rotorua - 70 miles of purpose built mountain bike track for all users, from families to cross country to downhill. Trails weave their way through lush native ferns beneath soaring forest canopies. Riders are constantly afforded glimpses of Rotorua's beautiful lakes, geothermal activity and brooding Mt Tarawera (more).
- B'warethetroll, Whangarei - A popular flowing downhill in the Glenbervie MTB Park for advanced riders with some technical areas (more).
- Waikato River Trail, Arapuni - Part of the Waikato River Trails, the Arapuni section is 36 kilometres and includes lakeside, country road and forest trails. Highly picturesque, the trail tracks Lake Karapiro – a recommended stop off is at the Rhubarb Cafe in Arapuni Village (more).
- Makara Peak, Wellington - Wellington's network of purpose built mountain bike trails offers riding for all levels, from two-hour first timers through to full day adventures. 250 hectares of fun and action with spectacular views of the city and surrounds. Park entry free (more).
- Anaconda Track, Christchurch - A stunning downhill two-kilometre run with fantastic ocean views over Taylors Mistake on a well-formed down hill track with smooth flowing berms that let you corner at speed. Some great sections that twist and turn and require a decent amount of concentration (more).
- Crocodile Track, Christchurch - A two-kilometre track which starts at the beginning of the Kennedys Bush Track just beyond the Quarry Hill sub division. Crocodile is a great downhill ride as well, with bermed corners and plenty of grade reversal to pump through and enjoy. May be closed in the wet (more).
- Bottle Lake, Christchurch - Head to the beach for an excellent twisty single-track for families, beginners, intermediates and even advanced (just bump up the speed if it seems too easy) along forested tracks, sand and no hills. Rides from 30 minutes to two hours. A BMX track is also available (more).
- Devil's Tail, Nelson - This is a very technical track, suitable for experienced cross country riders and not for the feint-hearted. It has it all, steep sections, rooty sections, rocky sections, fast sections and a couple of jumps to boot...two kilometres of steep up makes things interesting and very challenging when wet (more).
- Deans Bank Track, Wanaka - A 11.5-kilometre directional loop track designed by Bike Wanaka and rated as an intermediate level biking track with views of the Clutha River and panoramic shots of the surrounding peaks (more).
- Queenstown Trail, Queenstown - The 100-kilometre Queenstown Trail incorporates the wine area of Gibbston valley, the historic gold-mining town of Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, Frankton and Queenstown. The trail is technically very easy and suitable for all ages and abilities however there are a few hill climbs and descents that will require walking (more).
Off the Beaten Track to... Tāwharanui Marine Reserve
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve is a protected area of land on the northern coast of the Tawharanui Peninsula in the Rodney District, 90 kilometres from Auckland City. It is a great spot for diving, snorkelling and swimming. Truly the best way to experience the reserve and its inhabitants is to jump right in... (more)
Romance in the Air
Don't forget Valentine's Day on the 14th of February. Even if you don't go in for heart-shaped candies and cutesy cards, it's a great excuse to treat yourself to any one of the 'romantic' treats below:
- Hot air ballooning - Float through the dawn with a glass of champagne in hand
- Scenic flights - Birds' eye views of mountains, rivers, volcanoes and lakes
- Winery tours - Enjoy a fine gourmet meal and New Zealand's best wines
- Hot pools and spas - Sink back and relax in a natural hot pool or spa
- Charter boat trips - Sail away on a luxury yacht for a taste of oceanic heaven.
Of course, they say the stomach is the way to a man's heart, so remember dining out is always a winner pretty much any day of the year...What's not to love?
Weather To Go
Want to know whether to plan for outdoor or indoor activities, wet and wild times or hot and sunny days? Then check out New Zealand Tourism Guide's weather map, four-day forecast and summary of expected high and low temperatures.
We've got all the major cities and towns covered from north to south, plus quick links to:
- Marine forecasts
- Mountain forecasts
- Rural weather
- Weather warnings
- Weather maps and charts
- Precipitation and rain radars
View NZTG's forecast and weather map.
New Zealand Fast Facts
A hongi is a traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand made by pressing one's nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person at a meeting. It serves a similar purpose as a formal handshake in western culture and is used at traditional meetings between Māori people and at ceremonies. Through this exchange, visitors are then considered 'one of the people of the land' and obliged to share the duties of the home people. In the hongi, the 'ha' (or breath of life), is exchanged and intermingled - the tradition of sharing the breath of life is considered to have come directly from the gods.