March 2015

In this month’s update read about a breath-taking helicopter trip to Mount Tarawera, a new craft beer tour in Wellington, blowkarts in Christchurch, plus many more exciting updates.

Kayaking on Lake Mapourika, West Coast. Photo: Julian Aspe


Thrifty Car Rental – new mobile app
Thrifty Car Rental has a new mobile app that aims to make travelling New Zealand easier and safer.
A road safety video is included in the app as well as a platform that helps users plan their route, pointing out road warnings, petrol stations and toilets. 
The app is available on all iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded for free.



Rotorua Airport – departure tax
Rotorua Airport’s NZ$5 domestic and NZ$15 international departure levy tax has been absorbed into the airport’s landing fees effective immediately, meaning passengers no longer have to pay the tax directly before they depart.
Volcanic Air – update
Volcanic Air now has a concession to land on Mount Tarawera. As the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory Mount Tarawera is not only stunning and dramatic but it is also shrouded in rich culture and diverse history. The combination of stunning scenery and informed commentary, fuse to make the landing a unique and memorable experience. Volcanic Air also has an extension to their White Island concession. 
Polynesian Spa – new reflexology walk and cold plunge pool
Polynesian Spa has a new reflexology walk and cold plunge pool, offering guests even greater access to relaxation and recovery for increased energy levels and healthier immune systems.
Both wellness offerings originate from ancient healing practices, and incorporate changing temperatures and the use of the body’s pressure points to encourage health and healing. 
Polynesian Spa’s world leading natural mineral bathing pools are open from 8am to 11pm daily.


Taupo Tandem Skydiving – new fleet
Taupo Tandem Skydiving has great pleasure in announcing the arrival of their brand new fleet, including a new stretch Hummer, open top convertible limo and new plane, a Cessna Caravan. The Cessna Caravan is quieter than the existing PAC750XL aircraft, and its large windows offer incredible views over Lake Taupo.
Huka Lodge – new packages and website
Huka Lodge has introduced its latest collection of lifestyle packages to coincide with the launch of its new website. 
Many of the packages include bespoke gifts made by boutique New Zealand producers that have been selected to enhance the theme of each experience. 
The latest Huka Lodge packages include offerings such as a new Hunt in Style ‘boys’ weekend, a new Romance package for couples, and a fun Family Time package. 
With few exceptions, the packages are available throughout the year, subject to availability. Surcharges apply over the Christmas and New Year’s period. 


Accor Group – new Mercure hotel
The 73 room Abel Tasman Hotel in Wellington’s CBD will rebrand to Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman in March 2015.
Hammonds – new craft beer tour 
Explore microbreweries, drink great beer and eat sumptuous food on a four hour guided tour around Wellington. Hammonds have tracked down some of the capital’s best brews, which include a tutored tasting with the head brewer at one of the four stops. Guests visit a diverse range of converted buildings ranging from a disused service station to a sophisticated craft beer brewery. Tasty platters are included and of course all the craft beer too. Sit back, relax and taste, with the Capital Craft Beer Tour. Tours departs 1pm Friday afternoons.


Hanmer Springs – new day spa
A new day spa, which is yet to be named, is set to open in Hanmer Springs. The spa will be owned by Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa and situated in The Village Shopping Centre in Hanmer Springs. It will feature four treatment rooms and offer a range of spa treatments. It’s expected the new spa will open around November 2015.
Velocity Karts – new product
Velocity Karts has opened in Christchurch with two purpose built tracks for Blowkarts and Drift Karts. Full tuition is provided, tracks are open daily (weather permitting), the minimum age is 8 years, and bookings are essential.


Real Journeys – Walter Peak Land Restoration Project
Real Journeys is embarking on large scale restoration of its land at Walter Peak. Almost 90 hectares of wilding Douglas Fir will be removed by logging or spraying. Pockets of native bush including Mountain and Red Beech, Kowhai, Cabbage Trees, Rata and Pittosporum will be planted on the lakeside of the Von Hill Peninsula which will eventually include walking and bike trails.   
Shotover Jet and Highlands Motorsport Park – new product
Queenstown’s Shotover Jet and Highlands Motorsport Park (Cromwell) have launched a unique ‘Double Rush’ combo bringing together the best of both worlds. The thrill-seekers dream package includes a Shotover Jet trip incorporating a spin or three on their Big Reds, a 10-minute session on Highland’s hugely popular Go-Kart Track and an adrenalin-pumping ride in the  high-speed-Porsche, the famous Highlands Taxi on Highland’s international 4.5km track.
Millbrook Resort – expansion
Millbrook Resort is set to expand after acquiring 66 hectares of land adjacent to their western boundary. Millbrook has plans to significantly expand the resort and potentially see its current 27-hole layout develop to a full two-course layout.  


Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet – new business model
On the 1st July 2015 Whare Kea Lodge will change from a luxury Lodge to a Private Villa/ Luxury Holiday Home. 
From 1st July to 30th November 2015 the Lakeside Lodge will be available for NZ$12,500 + GST (tax).  From 1st December 2015 to 30th April 2016 the Lakeside Lodge will be available for NZ$15,500 + GST (tax). Rates include an onsite lodge host and full use of all lodge facilities for 5 nights. The lodge provides accommodation for up to 12 guests, with four deluxe bedrooms and two master suites, all with private ensuites, lake and mountain views, and sundecks leading to the extensive grounds.  
The Lodge will be closed for maintenance from April to June 2015.