January 2015

Read about a new māori culture product, airport lounges in Auckland and Queenstown, the unveiling of an award-winning garden, a new Marlborough wine tour and much more.

St Clair Beach, Dunedin. Photo: David Wall

NATIONAL

 
Intercity
InterCity passengers are now able to enjoy free Wi-Fi on board. The service is being progressively rolled out over the summer period.
 
 

NORTHLAND

 
Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Hāngī and concert
Waitangi Treaty Grounds have expanded their product offering by adding an evening Hāngī & Concert. The evening begins at Whare Waka Café for an introduction by the host and unveiling of the hāngī, followed by a short scenic walk to the whare runanga (carved meeting house) where a high-energy concert is performed. The evening continues back at the fully licensed café for a sumptuous buffet of salads, breads, meats, kumara, pumpkin, potato, steamed greens, and stuffing, complete with steamed pudding and custard for desert. Hāngī & Concert is available on Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 5 – 7.30pm. Private group bookings are available.
 
 

AUCKLAND

 
Air New Zealand – new regional lounge opened
Air New Zealand has opened a new regional lounge at Auckland Domestic Airport.
It is located at the regional end of the terminal building near the airline’s valet parking drop-off point and offers customers travelling on regional services from Auckland, who are entitled to lounge access, a more streamlined journey through the airport.
 
Air New Zealand’s lounge redevelopment programme continues with the airline’s Sydney International Lounge due to be completed in the second quarter of 2015 and Auckland’s International Lounge currently scheduled to open mid-2015.
 
Explore Group – new fast ferry for Waiheke Island
Explore Group has launched a 26 metre fast ferry on the Auckland to Waiheke route, boosting capacity by 1,200 people a day. 
 
 

HAMILTON WAIKATO

 
Hamilton Gardens – new Tudor Garden
Hamilton Gardens will reveal its Tudor Garden on the 29th January 2015. The Garden will form part of Hamilton Gardens’ Fantasy Collection and reflects the fascination sixteenth century English aristocracy had with geometric patterns and symbolism with double meanings.
 
HobbitonTM Movie Set Tours – three evening tours per week
With the success of their evening dinner tours which began in 2014, HobbitonTM Movie Set has increased to three evening dinner tours per week. 
 
The Hobbit feast is truly an authentic banquet feast fit for a Hobbit and as you’d expect in Hobbiton, no one leaves hungry. Seeing the Shire lit up in the evening with the glowing lanterns and illuminated features is truly a magical experience. 
 
Tours are now operating on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
 
Zealong Tea Estate – Qualmark and Halal Certified
Zealong Tea Estate is now a Qualmark endorsed Visitor Activity. As well as the onsite café and restaurant, Zealong Tea Estate also boasts the Discover Tea Experience, a 1.5 - 2 hour tour where visitors learn about the fascinating story behind Zealong. The onsite Zealong restaurant is also Halal certified, with many halal options on the menu.
 
 

ROTORUA

 
Wet n Wild Rafting - update
Enjoy a rafting adventure for the whole family! The grade 2 Lower Rangitaiki offers 1.5 hours of enchanting introductory rafting suitable for first timers, families with young children and the mature adventurer, who wants to experience a relaxing river rafting journey in the great outdoors. 
 
OGO Rotorua launches DRYGO – new product
OGO Rotorua has created a new revolutionary downhill dry ride, for those who want to experience rolling downhill in a giant inflatable ball without getting wet. Guests can ride with up to three people inside, with no getting wet and no flipping upside down either. This Qualmark Visitor Activity endorsed product is great for those who visit in the winter months or for those who aren’t used to New Zealand’s cooler temperatures.
 
Click here to see how the DRYGO works. 
 
 

MARLBOROUGH

 
Explore Marlborough – new half day bike tour
This half day tour is perfect for visitors that are only in the region for a short period of time with the tour starting at 9.30am and finishing at 1pm. The fully guided tour includes pick-up and drop-off from accommodation, morning tea, a blind wine tasting and all bike equipment.
 
Brancott Estate – new Living Land Falcon Encounter
Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust and Brancott Estate recently opened their Falcon Valley experience - an aviary and walkway - on site at Brancott Estate. This is part of the Trust's rehabilitation and education programme for the New Zealand native falcon, which is a rarer bird than the kiwi.
 
The Living Land Falcon Encounter starts with the opportunity to see a rare falcon in a flying demonstration, followed by a tasting of Brancott Estate Living Land Series wines.
 
MV Tarquin – new website
Explore the Marlborough Sounds in style on board Marlborough Tour Company's fabulous new vessel, the MV Tarquin. Complete with a private chef and three ensuited private cabins, the Tarquin offers stylish surrounds with all the comforts of home. 
 
The Tarquin is available for half day or full day cruises, or for longer multi-night cruises. Visit their recently launched website for more information.
 
 

CHRISTCHURCH

 
InterCity Group – coach stop information
InterCity’s main stop in Christchurch has changed to 182 Armagh Street, outside the InterCity Travel Centre. This is the departure point for both InterCity and Great Sights. The Newmans service will continue to pick up from outside the Christchurch Museum.
 
 

QUEENSTOWN

 
Manaia Lounge – new airport lounge for Qantas and Jetstar passengers
Manaia Lounge has opened in Queenstown Airport. It is open to Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members travelling on a Qantas international flight and to customers flying business class. The lounge caters for up to 75 guests and is located on the first floor of the terminal building, with views out to the Remarkables mountain range. It is open daily from 7.30am to 4pm. 
 
A ‘pay in’ option is also available for passengers travelling on any airline, domestic or international. Access charges are NZ$40 for up to three hours and NZ$55 for three or more hours. Facilities include a business centre with free Wi-Fi, as well as TV and reading areas, dining areas and dedicated bathrooms. There is also a complimentary food and beverage service, featuring premium local wines.
 
Shotover Jet – high definition cameras
Shotover Jet has installed high definition cameras on its entire jet boat fleet, providing guests with improved footage of their experience.
 
 

DUNEDIN

 
Dunedin city – designated a UNESCO City of Literature
Dunedin has been given the highly prestigious title of UNESCO Creative City of Literature, the first and only city in New Zealand to be given the designation. Home to many of New Zealand’s most celebrated writers and poets, Dunedin has been cultivating its diverse and creative roots for centuries. Visit the i-SITE Visitors Centre for details of the self-guided 'Writers Walk'.