Picture of the Week:
This week’s picture of the week is of a beautiful New Zealand sunset taken by one of our lovely interns. With the weather slowly getting warmer everyone is starting to look forward to long, hot days at the beach. Some of New Zealands best and most famous beaches include Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel- here you can dig a hole in the sand which will fill with naturally hot water!), Piha beach west of Auckland with its amazing surf, Mission Bay in Auckland, Ocean Beach in Mount Maunganui, and of course Ninety Mile beach at the northernmost point of New Zealand.
16th & 17th February 2013.
The Annual Devonport Food and Wine Festival will be held on the 16th and 17th of February this year. It will run from 11.00am-6.00pm on Saturday and 11.00am and 6.00pm on Sunday.
Tickets are available for pre purchase now through iTicket. Tickets cost $32 for Saturday and $30 for Sunday (there is also a booking fee).
Devonport is a beautiful village of natural beauty by the sea and is located just a 10 minute ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD. Devonport is the 4th most visited destination in Auckland and is definitely a must do for any traveller.
This is an amazing festival of food, wine and music with many New Zealand artists including Annabel Fay, Jamie McDell, Avalance City and Titanuim all coming to perform. Some of New Zealand’s best wines will be available as well as a huge selection of food including Fatima’s, Paella, Pizza, Crepes, Fritz’s Wieners, Escargot, Whitebair and Kohu Road Ice Cream! Yum 🙂
Check out the Devonport Food and Wine Festival website for more information on buying tickets. Make sure you get in quick because they sell out fast!
I hope everyone had a great long weekend! This week the Waiheke Walking Festival is starting. It is spread over 9 days and there will be 40 free guided walks available. Waiheke Island is just a short ferry ride away from Auckland City (around 40 minutes) and is a beautiful location for walking. There are stunning beaches, great scenery and plenty of good places to eat including several vineyard restaurants. New to the festival this year are three walks on Rotohara, an area of private land that is unavailable other than during the festival.
When: Walks will be held on the following days, with more sessions available on the Waiheke Walking Festival website.
Saturday 27th October, 10.00am
Sunday 28th October, 10.00am
Monday 29th October, 10.00am,
Tuesday 30th October, 10.00am
All walks are free and booking is essential.
I’ve just gotten back from a 5 day trip around the North Island with Stray and it was AMAZING. Stray is a hop on hop off bus service for travel around New Zealand. They offer unique and down to earth stops throughout the country, providing one of the best ways of seeing what New Zealand has to offer.
Day 1: A group of 18 of us- mainly travel agents and others in the industry- set off in the orange Stray bus headed for our first stop at Raglan. On our way to Raglan we played speed dating on the bus where we got to know everyone a bit better. Our first stop was at the supermarket to pick up some snacks then we continued our journey to Raglan (about 2 hours from Auckland). When we arrived we had a look around the town center and got some lunch, then continued on the place we would be staying for the night- Karioi Lodge http://www.karioilodge.co.nz/. This is located in a beautiful spot in the bush with an amazing view of the beach. Then we went up to the common room area to learn a bit about surfing and how to stand up on the board. After a bit of practice we made our way down to the beach. At the beach we suited ourselves up with wetsuits and braved the waves. Everyone had so much fun and quite a few of us managed to get up on the boards. After surfing we made our way back up to the lodge, played some pool and relaxed a little and then had some dinner- traditional homemade Kiwi burgers followed by freshly baked cookies. Nighttime activities included star gazing, glow worm spotting and seeing an awesome fire dancer.
Day 2: Today we made our way to Waitomo caves for a day exploring the limestone caves. The “Haggis Honking Holes” challenge begun with an abseil deep into the caves where we spent time rock climbing, squeezing through gaps and abseiling down waterfalls. Whilst in the cave we saw and learnt about glow worms and the limestone formations. After our adventures in Waitomo we headed to a Marae for a culture stop where we were immersed in the Maori culture for the evening.
Day 3: After some breakfast we departed the Marae and headed to a Stray secret spot just outside of Rotorua where we went for a swim in a geothermal river. After our swim we made our way to Taupo where we stopped for lunch. After lunch we made our way to Tongariro National park where we would be staying for the night in The Park travellers’ lodge http://www.the-park.co.nz/. Soon after we’d sorted out our rooms we headed off to Tongariro to do part of the Tongariro crossing walk. We spent about 3 hours walking and saw some incredible waterfalls and scenery. We had dinner at the restaurant in The Park, we were all so hungry after our walk! After dinner evening activities included a soak in the spa pool, and drinks at the local bar.
Day 4: Today we departed National Park and headed 52kms off the main road into true New Zealand farm country at Blue Duck Lodge, where we would be staying for the night. When we were arrived we were greeted by the owners of the farm and told a bit about its history. After lunch we went on an adventure on 4x4s through the mud and rain to explore the farm. This was a true adventure and a lot of fun!! In the evening we went up to the lodge café for goat curry and then back to where we were staying for drinks.
Day 5: Today we departed Blue Duck lodge and made our way back to Auckland after 5 incredible days of fun, exploration, meeting new people, challenges and experiencing some of the best that New Zealand has to offer. Thanks so much to Stray for this amazing experience.
I recommend Stray to all who are wanting to explore New Zealand, it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and be taken to some of the most unique places around the country. Definitely one of the best things I’ve done. If you are interested in getting a Stray pass, contact us at the INTERNeX New Zealand offices and we can help you out and get you a good deal.
This weekend Auckland is celebrating Diwali festival- The Indian festival of lights. This will be a beautiful showcase of Indian culture with everything from food, dance, traditional clothing, street performances. There will be authentic Indian food stalls featuring the best of India’s cuisine including samosas, curry and roti.
Along with the food stalls there will also be 50 other stalls selling crafts, sweets and other items. There will also be mehndi artists who can paint your hands with intricate henna designs.
One of the showcase festival events is the Bollywood competition. All performances will be held in the Aotea Square.
Indian Community groups will lead a traditional procession from Britomart up to Aotea Square at the following times: 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm.
Why not try out Cricket- India’s most loved sport. Games will be running daily from 12noon up until dusk on the Aotea Square Grass terrace.
Other exciting things include the Diwali Festival speaker series where several speakers will share their personal experiences of their times in India.
Entry is free.
When: 13th/14th October 2012.
Where: Aoeta Square, Auckland CBD.
Here’s one for the Lord of the Rings fans.
Located near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand is the Hobbiton Movie set from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The Alexander Farm is the home of the Hobbiton Movie Set. It was discovered by Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema in September 1998 whilst doing an aerial search for suitable film sets for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The farm was perfect and closely resembled The Shire as written by author J. R. R. Tolkien.
There are several tours available at the Hobbiton movie set, for more information check out the Hobbiton website. There’s even a farm stay option!
Getting there: Matamata is about two hours drive south of Auckland on State Highway 27. The turnoff is just south of the Bombay Hills. Why not hire a car and head down there!
We have a special deal from our friends at Stray, book with us now and receive an extra 5% off! This deal is available until the end of the month.
Stray is a hop on hop off bus network that travels all around New Zealand. Its a great way to meet new people and see the best of what New Zealand has to offer.
With the weather getting warmer every day as we head towards summer, I thought it was an appropriate time to make a post about the places where you can get the best views of Auckland.
First is of course the Sky Tower which stands at 328m tall, complete with 3 observation decks where you can get a 360 degree view of Auckland. While you’re there if you’re feeling daring you could try the SkyWalk around the outside of the sky tower or even the SkyJump- a jump off the SkyTower.
Another iconic Auckland location where you can get a great view of the city is Cornwall park. Cornwall park is especially beautiful in spring time as the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom. There is a ‘Sakura Matsuri’ celebration being held by the New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland at Cornwall Park. This will be held on Sunday 14th October from 10am-3pm, beside the lower main carpark, and will celebrate Japanese culture and the beautiful pink cherry blossom trees. Cornwall park is one of the biggest volcanoes in Auckland and has a lot of cultural significance. It is home to the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell who was the founding father of Auckland.
Why not make a trip out to North Head, an area of Auckland famous for its military history. North head is a WW2 military site located in Cheltenham on the North Shore of Auckland. There are great views over the Auckland Harbour as well as tunnels that were used during the war time. There are some great historic walks to do, which are located a short walk from Devonport village. Getting to Devonport is as easy as catching the ferry from the waterfront in the CBD.