October 2017

A new look for Weta Studio Tours, an encounter with a rare reptile in Franz Josef and a twilight tour of Zealandia – read on for the latest product updates.

Weta Workshop


Department of Conservation on the lookout for new Great Walk destinations

New Zealand is well known for its Great Walks taking hikers on spectacular jaunts through the countryside and now the Department of Conservation is calling for help selecting two more.
With the majority of the nine existing tracks being in the South Island, DoC are keen to develop more in the North Island. Read more


Non-stop Auckland – Ho Chi Minh City

Air New Zealand has announced it will continue to operate its seasonal non-stop service to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, following strong customer demand. For its 2018 season, the airline will operate two direct services a week between Auckland and Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesdays and Saturdays, using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

New aircraft for Singapore – Canberra route

Singapore Airlines is assessing new aircraft for its ‘Capital Express’ service out of Wellington, including using Boeing’s latest model stretched Dreamliner on the route. The airline’s New Zealand manager, Simon Turcotte, said as more new aircraft entered its fleet it was looking to replace its older 777s on the route.


Astro-photographic map of Northland on display

A new exhibition recently opened at Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi. “Heaven to Earth, Northland Under the Stars”, is an astro-photographic map of Northland through the eye of Kerikeri photographer Chris Pegman. Twenty five images will be on display, showcasing Northland at night. Heaven to Earth, Northland Under the Stars will be open to the public until 28 January 2018.


M Social opens this month

M Social Auckland is a new lifestyle hotel opening in October, with a prime position on Auckland’s waterfront. The opening marks the completed rebrand of the Copthorne Harbour City hotel into Millennium Hotels and Resorts’ M Social hotel. This is the second M Social opened worldwide, the first being Philippe Starck-designed M Social Singapore. Room rates at M Social Auckland will start from $249.00 per night, including breakfast and wifi.

Rainbow’s End – keeping NZ tourism green

Rainbow’s End has picked up the Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award.
The Auckland-based theme park was praised on its stringent reporting and notification procedures, emphasis on employee welfare and health and safety. The park has invested over $16m in new developments and infrastructure over the past six years.


New look Hilton Lake Taupo

Hilton Lake Taupo is undertaking a redesign of its conference and event facilities that are set to reopen in December 2017. The refurbishment and extension to the hotel’s heritage wing will see the Victorian design of the original building sit alongside new technology and contemporary furnishings. 


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa named one of top 25 museums in the world

TripAdvisor announced reviewers’ picks for the top museums as part of its annual Travelers’ Choice Awards recently. Te Papa is placed 19th on the list which includes The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and London’s V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum.

Weta Studio Tours gears up for summer

In preparation for the upcoming summer season, Weta Studio Tours has refreshed its flagship offering, the Weta Cave Workshop Tour, with exciting new artefacts from Academy Award-winning special effects studio, Weta Workshop. Additions to the Weta Cave Workshop Tour include visual installations, artwork, and an interactive section showcasing different departments of the manufacturing floor. 

New product: Zealandia Twilight Tours

Experience Zealandia as it transforms from daylight to twilight during this special guided experience. See birds returning to the sanctuary to settle into their nests and the changing sounds of birds from day to night. Encounter unique species such as wētā, takahe, tuatara and more. You may even experience the first sounds of the nocturnal birds, such as kiwi and ruru (morepork) as they wake. 
Tour duration: 2 hours
Tour start time varies, based on sunset time and will be confirmed when booking.


New product: Golden Bay Fly & Abel Tasman Cruise Experience (multi-day or day Tour ex Wellington or Nelson)

Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle and Golden Bay Air have teamed up to bring you this fantastic top of the south experience that gets your clients off the beaten track to explore both Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park.
Highlights include:
  • Scenic flight over the top of the South Island with stunning views enroute
  • Cruise and/or experience a day hike in the famous Abel Tasman National Park
  • Explore the natural beauty of Golden Bay
More info can be found here


New product: West Coast Wildlife Centre

The West Coast Wildlife in Franz Josef recently opened a Tuatara Encounter in Franz Josef.
The new $175,000 addition to the existing attraction brings together two of New Zealand’s most precious and rare endemic species: Rowi kiwi birds and tuatara. The tuatara is a nocturnal burrowing lizard-like reptile with a crest of soft spines along its back, now confined to sanctuaries and some offshore New Zealand islands.


Update from Go Orange – Milford Sound cruise

The Haven (Milford Sound vessel) is taking a break we have some updated changes to the temporary schedule.
  • We are switching back to our summer schedule: our morning cruise changes from 10:30am back to 9am as of 1 October.
  • Our 12:30pm cruise will be shifted to 1pm. Important: please note the 1pm cruise will only be 1 hr 40min and not 2 hrs. 
  • 3pm and 5:15pm should not be affected. We expect the Haven will be back in the Milford docks for these trips.
  • Another important change to note that all our food options will be replaced with picnic lunches. 


New accommodation

The Rees Lakeside Residences is near the shores of Lake Wakatipu and adjacent but separate from The Rees hotel building. The 164m, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom villas offer lake and mountain views, and are an ideal setting for families and groups looking for private accommodation with space. 

Rates update for Canyon Swing & Fox
From 1 October: 
  • The Canyon Fox will now cost $169
  • The Canyon Swing will continue at $229
  • The Fox & Swing Combo remains the same price of $299 - a $99 saving!
  • All spectators will cost $20
  • No pre-sale second Swings. Extra Swings will still be available for customers out at the Swing and still at the price of $45


Dig This Invercargill now open

New Zealand's first heavy equipment playground opened on 2 October. Guests have the opportunity to operate bulldozers, excavators, mini excavators and skid steers in a giant gravel pit. No experience or even a driver’s licence is necessary!