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Reporting from New Zealand

Reporting from New Zealand!

Some of our sales consultants are lucky enough to have travelled to New Zealand this week to see what’s new, and to look at some exciting ideas for holidays to this magnificent part of the world. They are keeping in touch with us via our blog, so check back regularly to see what the team has been up to.

Day 9 - 10: Out and About in Queenstown

Our last full day in Queenstown took us on a 4x4 safari adventure. We spent the morning travelling to the top of the Remarkables Mountains, where we witnessed the locals preparing for the ski season which starts in a few weeks.

We also visited Arrowtown,once a gold-mining town, where still today people search for gold in the rivers. Here we went off-loading through the river in our jeeps - really exhilarating! We also travelled along one of the 10th scariest roads in the world! Not sure we'll be counting down to number one on any future trips!!

After a quick lunch stop in town we were then collected for our shotover jet boat ride. This is a thrilling 25-minute boat ride with speeds of up to 80 miles per hour as the driver navigates thriver just inches from the cliff-face! A fantastic experience and one that we would all try again.

After our trip we had time to speak with the driver - he told us that he was one of two drivers chosen for Prince William and Kate's jet boat ride. Unfortunately his name was not picked out the hat! However he did go on to say that the boat we went in was the very boat Wills and Kate went in just a month ago. After this thrilling experience we headed back to our hotel for a freshen up then it was out for dinner.

Tonight we had a dine around experience where we had our 3 course meal spread out between hotels. We ended the night with a nightcap back at our hotel.

Our final morning took us back up the Gondola to view the sights in daylight - completely different to the evening experience and well worth seeing. We also had a bit of fun and decided to take a ride on the luge - this is similar to a bobsleigh but without the snow!

Finally we headed to the Canyon Swing. This is the world's largest cliff jump! It looked truly terrifying as we stood and watched people launch themselves off a cliff, 109 metres high! As if the jump itself wasn't bad enough you were then pulled along the canyon at speed before being winched back up! Needless to say none of us were quite brave enough to participate.

Unfortunately our once in a lifetime trip was over much too soon and we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and then drove to the airport. We have all had an absolutely fabulous time in New Zealand and have so much more to tell you about this amazing country.

Meg, Tracey, Sharon, Claire and Irene

Reporting from New Zealand!

Day 8 : Queenstown

We travelled north thorough stunning snow-capped mountains and arrived at Lake Wakatipu, where Queenstown sits at the base of the aptly-named Remarkables Mountain range.

After checking in to the beautiful Heritage hotel, we settled into our rooms and were all very excited to see that they had washing machines - just what you need after a few days on the road!

This evening we made our way into town for a ride on the the steepest gondola in the southern hemisphere, some 450 vertical meters, to take in the stunning views and enjoy a lovely meal overlooking the twinkling lights of Queenstown.

Queenstown is renowned for its outdoor activities, including skiing, mountain biking, tramping (hiking to you and me), bungee jumping and an array of water-bases activities, one of which we are trying out today - jet boating up the Dart River.

After an early breakfast we were driven along the lake to Glenorchy and boarded our 4-wheel drive vehicle which would take us on a tour of some of the most famous film locations in the world. You can easily see why the scenery in this part of New Zealand has inspired film-makers over the years. We saw backdrops to the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Wolvereen - all providing fantastic photo opportunities.

Before our jet-boat ride we took a walk through some ancient beech forest - very calm and relaxing. We then donned our wet-weather coats and life jackets for our exhilarating ride up the river, where we were treated to a thrilling 80 kilometres an hour white knuckle ride - getting soaked is all part of the fun!

This evening we are looking forward to a more genteel trip around the lake - a cruise on a traditional steam-boat, the famous TSS Earnslaw.

Reporting from New Zealand!

Day 6 - 7: Te Anau and Milford Sound

Day six took us from Dunedin to Te Anau, which is the second biggest lake in the South Island. This took approximately four hours drive and we broke the journey up with a stop in the small town of Gore. There was a lovely selection of local cafes and we spent some time chatting with the locals - the kiwi way of life is very appealing!

In Te Anau we stayed in a very nice 4-star hotel,the Distinction, which was situated right on the lake front. We were lucky enough to have rooms overlooking the lake. The town of Te Anau, although small, was very charming with a nice selection of restaurants and shops. The main reason that people come to the town is that it provides the gateway to the magnificent fjords. There are plenty of activities on offer, including scenic flights by water plane, kayaking and fabulous walking trails.

After a meal at the Kingsgate Hotel we had another early night as we were heading to Milford Sound early the next day.

The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound was stunning and we passed amazing waterfalls, snow capped mountains and even drove through the clouds! The views as you sail through the Sounds are incredible and it's easy to see why it's one of the 'must-see' sights of New Zealand. We even got the opportunity to interact with the local wildlife including New Zealand's parrot, the Kea.

Next stop is Queenstown, where we are looking forward to three days of adrenalin-fuelled activities and fun!

Reporting from New Zealand!

Day 5: Lake Tekapo - Dunedin

Today we are heading to Dunedin. This is roughly a four-hour drive but due to the stunning scenery we had a few photo stops! On arrival into Dunedin we were all stunned at how big this city is - New Zealand's fourth largest city by population but by far the largest by areas. Dunedin has the words steepest street and New Zealand's smallest bar! However its biggest claim to fame is its wildlife.

We headed to the Otago Peninsula as we had an appointment with a Royal Albatross and a yellow eyed Penguin! The drive up the peninsula was again beautiful but a very winding road! We would definitely recommend the Albatross Centre as this houses the only mainland breeding colony. We were all extremely surprised at how informative and interesting this centre was. We continued on to Penguin Place, just a five-minute drive down the road. Here we were lucky enough to see the world's most endangered penguins. It was a beautiful evening with stunning views out to the sea. We saw the penguins strolling along the beach and on the hill side - we were also extremely lucky to see some seals.

We stayed at the Kingsgate hotel which is a good, basic 3-star in a central location. If you're looking for something more luxurious, then the Scenic Southern Cross is the ideal choice. Here we were treated to a lovely fillet steak. After dinner we decided to try out some Dunedin nightlife - not too late though as another early start tomorrow!

Reporting from New Zealand!

Day 4: Christchurch - Lake Tekapo

Before leaving Christchurch, we decided to do a spot of shopping at the West Field Shopping Centre, located just 10 minutes from our hotel. Meg and Tracey wanted to stock up on some local bargains and to pick up a few items of clothing for the cooler southern evenings as we headed south.

The drive to Lake Tekapo took us through breath-taking scenery and lots of wildlife. We stopped off at Lake Coleridge, perfect for a photo opportunity.

We then carried on our journey to Geraldine and played a game en route - how many sheep can you count?! After two million we gave up! We had a coffee break in Geraldine at a local farm shop, which was very welcoming. After Geraldine we headed straight on to Lake Tekapo - all in all this was a steady four-hour journey and Meg had no choice but to join in with the 80's singing!

On arrival into Lake Tekapo we were met with the most amazing views: snow-capped mountains and the stunning lake. Our hotel for the night was the Peppers Blue Water which had a lovely setting right on the lake. We were all fortunate to have Lake view rooms. Reporting from New Zealand!

We had another lovely meal to end the day and then an even earlier night, ready for our 7 a.m. alarm call and the start of our next road trip. Reporting from New Zealand!

Days 1 - 4: UK - Christchurch

We flew out with Air New Zealand and we were lucky enough to all get a Sky Couch. This is the next best thing to business class - 3 seats to yourself that convert into a bed. Very welcoming on a 30-hour flight! Excellent food, service and great in-flight entertainment. The staff were very attentive and very helpful.

Getting through customs was really smooth and quick – exactly what you want after travelling for a while!

We arrived at our hotel for the first night, the Chateau on the Park, a lovely 3*-star hotel very close to the centre of Christchurch. We were all quite overwhelmed at the amount of damage caused by the earthquake of 2011 but although 60% of the buildings in the central business district were wiped out, there have been huge positive strides towards getting things back to normal. We took a tram ride around town and visited the unique ‘pop-up’ shops, made out of shipping containers, and the extraordinary ‘Cardboard Cathedral”, recently visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Christchurch is the gateway to the spectacular scenery of the South Island and a fabulous city for a stopover.

All to bed early tonight after a fabulous meal and great hospitality from the lovely staff at Chateau on the Park.

See Our New Zealand Holidays

Travel Blog by Tracey Murray


Katharine Harrison

Phone: 01275 848097

Email: [email protected]

Visit: 2 The Precinct, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 6AH

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