Free Travel Newsletter : February 2013
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
Congratulations to Brendan Glanfield of Christchurch, this month's lucky Free Travel Newsletter subscriber, winning "Kiwi Country New Zealand DVD".
Enjoy some simply irresistible events and experiences this month including: a lantern-lit Chinese feast in central Christchurch, firework finales at the fun-packed Easter Show in Auckland, honeymoon-style holidays in the South Pacific, a unique off the beaten track destination and breathtakingly beautiful scenic flights.
- Chinese New Year, 2nd - 3rd March, Christchurch
- Easter Show, 28th March - 1st April, Auckland
- 10 Top Scenic Flights
- Off the Beaten Track to... Curio Bay
- Anyone Can Honeymoon in the Pacific Islands
- New Zealand Fast Facts
Chinese New Year, 2nd - 3rd March, Christchurch
It's free admission for all the family in Christchurch's North Hagley Park as brand new beginnings are celebrated in the Year of the Snake at the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival. Pack a picnic or buy some delicious Asian food to enjoy on the grass in Hagley Park's Carlton Corner amidst hundreds of beautiful lanterns, especially imported from China. There's also non-stop entertainment including the Omnipotent Youth Society rock b, and from Beijing, a classical music group from Chengdu plus acrobats from Shanghai. (Starts at 5:00 pm).
What's more, as Christchurch city is rebuilt following the earthquakes of 2011, the comedy is creeping into the city centre once again!
Easter Show, 28th March - 1st April, Auckland
Auckland's Coca-Cola Easter Show for 2013 has a huge lineup of new acts, attractions and a carnival arena. One of the show's highlights, Hollywood Horrors, features scenes from 13 of Hollywood's most famous horror movies. New rides include a huge Ghost Train and a giant Euro Slide. You can also enjoy Zirka Circus, live shows from the WotWots and the Canadian Bush Whackers (back by popular demand).
There's music with the Cultural Stage running throughout the event including performances by JGeeks, Phenomenon and the Brazillian Divas, Titanium, Massad, Jupiter Project and Dane Rumble. Each night is finished off with fireworks at 9:00 pm.
Plus all the animals are there, with flocks, herds, gaggles and broods of all manner of farm animals in New Zealand's biggest indoor A&P show. This year's Easter Show has something for everyone to enjoy.
View more about Auckland's Coca-Cola Easter Show.
10 Top Scenic Flights
One of the most breathtaking and memorable ways to enjoy (and photograph) some of the world's most beautiful scenery is by air – fixed wing, float plane, hot air balloon or helicopter. Scenic flights are great experiences making wonderful gifts, memorable surprises and sky-high romantic occasions. Out of the many scenic flights available in New Zealand, we've picked out some favourites on the North and South Islands for your next kiwi aerial adventure:
- Fly over the many crater lakes, volcanic and geothermal landscape of the Rotorua region and Bay of Plenty. Land on the volcanic White Island (more).
- Tauranga offers more than your average scenic flight - one that's adrenalin-charged action. Choose from joy rides, aerobatic flight, formation, formation aerobatics or simulated air combat (more).
- Auckland 30 minute flights combining nostalgia with scenery – take your seat in a DC-3, 'Fly Dakota'. Operates Sundays (more).
- View the highly dramatic landscape of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu from en high – the best way to see spectacular lakes such as the Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama Lakes (more).
- It took millions of years to create the majestic Milford Sound - enjoy your bird's eye view of its towering mountains, glaciers and fiords (more).
- View New Zealand's highest peaks (Mt Cook) and longest glaciers as well as the famous 'turquoise' waters of Lake Tekapo (more).
- Take a helicopter trip to the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and enjoy a hike over the ice. Walks amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and seracs are guided (more).
- Combine picnicking and wine-tasting with a helicopter tour of the Queenstown or Canterbury regions of the South Island (more).
- Experience the magic of hot air ballooning at day break over the Canterbury Plains. Champagne breakfasts or even balloon weddings are available (more).
- Add some whale watching to your scenic flight experience as you enjoy watching the ocean and the mountains of Kaikoura (more).
Share Your Experience
If you really enjoyed a scenic flight in New Zealand, let other NZTG readers know about it. Simply send details of your experience to the newsletter editor.
Off the Beaten Track to... Curio Bay
Head south, as far south as you can on New Zealand's South Island and start exploring the South Catlins region. As you travel the Southern Scenic Route, you'll come across Curio Bay – a place full of unique wildlife and natural attractions including a petrified forest, Yellow-Eyed penguin colony, Hector's dolphins and Southern Right whales. It's a wonderful place to camp and you may even have sea lions keeping you company... (more).
Anyone Can Honeymoon in the Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands embody many people's ideal laidback holiday or honeymoon with their balmy tropical climates, welcoming and friendly locals, clear warm waters and pure white sands.
Visiting the islands is a wonderful way to relax, unwind and recover from your travels or working life. Better still the islands are only a few hours away from New Zealand. For visitors from the northern hemisphere who may only head 'down under' once in their lifetime, if time and budget allow, we'd certainly recommend a trip to New Zealand with a Pacific Islands break added on. How does a long weekend in Rarotonga sound?
You can find out more about the Cook Islands, Fiji, Norfolk Island, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii and Vanuatu in our Pacific Islands Guide.
From the comfort of your armchair, you can then create the Pacific Islands holiday of your dreams - book accommodation, activities and tours including weddings, fishing, diving, snorkelling and much more online.
New Zealand Fast Facts
The Cook Islands lie north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and Fiji. There are 15 major islands in the Cook Islands, which are divided into two groups of coral atolls: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands.
The ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands are particularly strong. Back in 1900, the New Zealand Parliament approved the annexation of the islands to New Zealand. From 1901, the boundaries of New Zealand were extended to include the Cook Islands.
Between 1901 and 1965, the Cook Islands were administered by New Zealand as a dependent territory. (The Cook Islands became self-governing in free association with New Zealand in 1965.) Nearly 60,000 Cook Islanders live in New Zealand. 65% of the remaining population (roughly 11,000 Cook Islanders) live in Rarotonga.