February 2015

Read about a new Māori culture tour, scooters in Wellington, Christchurch’s restaurant tram back on track, new Christchurch hotels, and many more exciting updates.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

NATIONAL
 

Heritage and CityLife Hotels – free Wi-Fi
Heritage Hotel Management has introduced complimentary internet for hotel guests in its Heritage Hotels and CityLife Hotels.
 
The complimentary high speed Wi-Fi internet service will be available for guest use at Heritage Auckland, The Devon Hotel New Plymouth, Heritage Christchurch, Heritage Hanmer Springs, Heritage Queenstown, CityLife Auckland and CityLife Wellington. 
 
The complimentary internet covers up to 500 MB usage per day and is available in-room and in public areas of the hotel. 
 
Complimentary WiFi internet is also available within the Heritage Boutique Collection of properties, at varying levels of usage per day.
 
 

AUCKLAND
 

Stamford Plaza Auckland – room category changes
Stamford Plaza Auckland's Deluxe Room category will now be known as Executive Room, and their Junior / One Bedroom Suites will be known as Executive Suites.
 
The hotel has recently commenced an exciting multi-million dollar soft refurbishment of its accommodation rooms and these names changes are in line with the new look rooms that are being released into their inventory.
 
This change will not affect any current or future Deluxe or Junior Suite bookings.
 
 

WELLINGTON/PICTON
 

Bluebridge – new vessel for 2015
The Santa Regina will retire after 14 years carrying freight and passengers on Cook Strait to make way for their newest addition, the Stena Feronia.
 
The Stena Feronia is a 186m roll-on roll-off freight and passenger ferry that is currently sailing the Gothenburg (Sweden) to Kiel (Germany) route. 
 
The ship is significantly larger than the Santa Regina, with the potential to carry around 60 trucks, 150 cars and more than 500 passengers. The ship’s facilities include a movie lounge, cafeteria, café and bar, children’s play area, quiet lounge and separate driver’s cabins.
 
The yet to be renamed ship is expected to join the Cook Strait service in July, at which time the Santa Regina will be retired.
 
 

WELLINGTON


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa – new Māori Highlights Tour 
Take an in-depth journey and discover Te Papa’s taonga (Māori cultural treasures) and hear their stories for insights into Māori culture. From historic, artistic, and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand’s Māori culture unique.
 
The 60 minute tour departs daily at 11am from the level two Information Desk.
Price:   Adult: NZ$20 
Child: NZ$10 (5-15 years)
Rates valid until 30th June 2015
 
KiwiRail Scenic Journeys – new throughfare
The Northern Explorer's new throughfare provides opportunities for clients to travel either from Auckland or Wellington, stopover in National Park to enjoy what the region has to offer, then continue to Rotorua. You can also start the journey in Rotorua. 
 
KiwiRail Scenic Journeys has entered a partnership with Alpine Hot Bus who will provide return transfers from National Park to Rotorua. 
 
The Northern Explorer departs from Auckland on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and departs from Wellington on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Both services arrive into the National Park at 1.15pm.
 
Jetstar – Wellington to Melbourne direct route
Following the high demand of the new direct service between the Wellington and the Gold Coast, Jetstar has launched a new direct service from Wellington to Melbourne commencing in March 2015. Jetstar will operate four flights a week with the first Wellington-Melbourne service scheduled for 30 March 2015.
 
Rimutaka Cycle Trail – named hottest new travel experience
Lonely Planet has named Rimutaka Cycle Trail as one of the world’s hottest new travel experiences for 2015.
 
The 115km cycle trail can be ridden over 2-3 days, or as a day trip on the Rimutaka Rail Trail. Riders are treated to a variety of landscapes, including riverside pathways, a historic railway line, old railway tunnels, a boutique wine region and rugged coastal views.
 
Thrifty – scooters in Wellington
Thrifty has launched its latest fleet of scooters in Wellington, following their successful introduction in Picton over the Christmas holidays.
 
The EURO50, 49cc scooters are available until 6 April 2015 and will give visitors to the city another option for getting around. 
 
 

CHRISTCHURCH
 

Christchurch Tram – Restaurant Tram back on track
Christchurch’s restaurant tram has restarted its dinner service. The restaurant tram service runs from 7:00pm to 9:30pm departing from Cathedral Junction. Guests will enjoy a four course meal (NZ$95 per person, including a complimentary beverage on arrival) aboard the colonial style tram. They will hear a short commentary at the beginning of the journey and travel around the newly opened inner city tram loop, stopping at various locations to take in the sights.
 
Hotel Montreal – recently opened
Hotel Montreal has welcomed the first guests in their new luxury boutique hotel, offering 25 spacious rooms of 50-70 sqm and an exquisite three bedroom penthouse. With a unique Polo inspired theme throughout the entire hotel, there is a relaxed yet stylish environment and personable service, leaving each guest with a unique and memorable experience.
 
Passionate about Christchurch, owner Lilly Cooper has put a lot of care and thought into making sure the hotel fits well with its surroundings and will be an established property in Christchurch for many years to come. Large grass lawns at Hotel Montreal integrate seamlessly into the surrounding landscapes of Cramner Square and Hagley Park, making it the perfect location to stay in Christchurch.
 
Ramada Suites Tuam Street – opened January 2015
Christchurch’s latest accommodation, the Ramada Suites Tuam Street, has welcomed its first guests.
 
The hotel includes 44 rooms, including a mixture of studios, and one and two bedroom units. There are 26 car parks, an office and reception area, and 4 Penthouse residential apartments on level 5.
 
Ramada Suites Tuam Street is within walking distance to Re:START Mall,  Latimer Square and a variety of dining options. 
www.ramadachristchurch.co.nz/
 
Hanmer Springs Thrillseekers – new canoe product
Take a journey down a beautiful and challenging mountain river with Hanmer Springs Canoes. These safe, durable and fun inflatable vessels allow visitors to explore the unknown through the scenic Waiau River gorge in the stunning natural environment of Hanmer Springs, just 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch.
 
This full day, guided river excursion includes a picnic lunch and return jet boat transfers to the departure point along the river. Suitable for couples, families or groups, this is a real New Zealand experience not to be missed.
 
BreakFree on Cashel – opening April 2015
Mantra Group has announced it will manage the fully reconstructed 263 room hotel, formerly the All Seasons, located at 165 Cashel Street when it reopens in April 2015 as the BreakFree on Cashel Christchurch. 
 
The hotel is in close proximity to the revitalised Cashel Mall and in the vicinity of many new and exciting projects currently underway; the Justice Precinct; the Central Bus Interchange; the new sports stadium and the Convention Centre.
 
The remodelled hotel consists of a contemporary and funky interactive café/restaurant & bar; breakfast room, guest lounge; a conference room catering for up to 80 people and two boardroom style meeting spaces with capacity for 20 people; 24 hour reception; internet kiosk;  guest laundry and onsite parking.
www.breakfree.com.au/on-cashel/

 

QUEENSTOWN
 

Millbrook Resort – TripAdvisors Traveller’s Choice Award
Millbrook Resort has been recognised as the overall winner for a third consecutive year in the Top Hotel category of the 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice™ awards for Hotels. 
 
Ziptrek Ecotours – new Phoenix Zipline Journey
Multi-award winning eco-tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours is launching a new Mandarin hosted tour, harnessing the increasing popularity of ziplining amongst the Chinese speaking market.
 
The journey will be hosted entirely in Mandarin and incorporates four ziplines led by new Mandarin-speaking Ziptrek staff member Iris.
 
The Phoenix Zipline Journey departs every week day at 3pm.
 
 

WANAKA
 

Cardrona – extends winter season
Cardrona have extended their season by two weeks which gives the ski area the longest scheduled winter season in the South Island. 
 
Cardrona’s 2015 Opening Day will now be on June 13 and the final day of the season is scheduled for October 11. Dates are weather dependent and the first week of the season will see limited beginner’s terrain on offer with additional terrain opening as snowfall allows.
 
Cardrona have also invested approximately NZD$2 million towards improving the quality and number of groomed trails by purchasing 4 new Kassbohrer Pisten Bully Groomers and a state of the art ‘Snow Sat’ system.
 
They are also planning to widen a number of trails for guest convenience and undertake earthworks to improve terrain park facilities for the 2015 season.
 
 

FIORDLAND
 

Hollyford Track and Guided Walk NZ & Snowshoe NZ - update
On the 1st April 2015 Guided Walk NZ & Snowshoe NZ will be merged with the Hollyford Track. Guided Walks NZ have chosen their range of walks for their natural history, scenic beauty, remoteness and varied terrain. The company has a great reputation for providing friendly, informative and personalised guided walks for small groups.  Operating half, full day and overnight camping in the Mt Aspiring National Park, as well as walks from Mt Cook in the north down to the Kepler gates in the south.  
 
Fiordland Outdoors Company – new Epic Fiordland package
Experience Fiordland from every angle with an action-packed day of trout fishing, jet boating, hiking and a scenic helicopter flight. A collaboration between Trips & Tramps, Fish Jet and Te Anau Helicopter Services, your clients will fish and jet boat the mighty Waiau River, fly over Fiordland National Park and hike a section of the famous Kepler Track. All of these incredible locations are right on the doorstep of Te Anau. Enjoy the grand landscapes Fiordland is famous for by water, air and land, all in one unforgettable day.