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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!  

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3 Great Places for a New Zealand Autumn Escape


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Autumn is a great time to travel New Zealand. The colder nights give way to crisp mornings leaving the famous New Zealand landscapes refreshed. At this time of year you’ll often witness a scattering of low hanging but atmospheric morning mist reaffirming why this beautiful country is called Aotearoa or “the land of the long white cloud”.  A sunny autumnal day can often be as good as any summer’s day with the added benefit that the maddening summer crowds have disappeared. Occasionally, you might even feel like you’ve got the entire country to yourself.

Here’s three ideas for your next Autumn break...

Explore Fiordland from Te Anau

Beautiful Lake Te Anau acts as the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and there is genuinely no better time to explore the brilliant wilderness of New Zealand’s southwest and the country’s largest national park. There are plenty of outstanding day excursions on offer including a visit to Te Anau glow worm caves with Real Journeys, lakeside walks or tramps, a journey to the famous Milford Sound and a cruise on the fiord, or perhaps even an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound. Each of these trips work equally as well in autumn as they do in summer and the lack of tourists makes them more personable and often more enjoyable. 

Of course your getaway will only be complete by basing yourself at Bella Vista Te Anau where you will enjoy the warm southern hospitality. Spend a long weekend or just a few days but we guarantee you’ll return home from your trip refreshed!

Lake Te Anau


Catch the first sunrise at Gisborne

Way out east and somewhere you always thought you’d like to visit? Well, what are you waiting for! Autumn is possibly one of the best times of year to go. Bella Vista Motel Gisborne would love to host you for a long weekend break, or even a couple of nights as you pass through on your road-trip around the East Cape.

Please be aware that if you don’t stop for more than two nights, you’re doing this great city a disservice. Famous for being the first city in the world to see the sun each morning, there’s a whole lot more to experience including great food and wine, some of NZ’s best surf beaches and a deep cultural connection to early Maori settlers. And don’t forget to add a breakfast to your stay at Bella Vista Gisborne which includes the “best freshly baked croissant in Gisborne”(!)

Gisborne sun rise


Find all year summer in Nelson

Another location for a perfect autumn getaway is Nelson. Tourism New Zealand sum up the town perfectly as, “One of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, Nelson is the perfect spot to base yourself while you spend some time exploring the Abel Tasman National Park.”

There are in fact three National Parks within a 90 minute drive of the Nelson Bella Vista motel so you’re absolutely spoilt for choice if you want to get out and about. The Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park are an easy drive from a stay at our Nelson accommodation, but the Abel Tasman National Park is probably the more well-known park with spectacular sandy beaches, and an excellent destination for day-trips including walks and boat excursions. 

If the great outdoors doesn’t entice you, then there is plenty to do in and around the city including a strong arts and culture scene, as well as sumptuous local culinary delights. Despite the theme of this blog promoting autumn escapes, our Nelson motel owners will remind you that ‘in Nelson, it’s summer all year round!’

Nelson Lakes National Park


Wherever you decide to go to get away this autumn, Bella Vista has got 27 excellent placed motels offering plenty to see and do!


Bella Vista Queenstown - Our Top 10


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As part of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.

Our top 10 things to do and see in and around Queenstown

Queenstown is often described as the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s tourist destinations and it is certainly a spectacularly impressive location. Nestled on the shores of the immense Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the Southern Alps and The Remarkables, Queenstown is not only an amazing destination in its own right, but acts as a gateway to the many delights and must-see attractions around the region. Bella Vista Motel Queenstown is a great place to base yourself being only a couple minutes from the town centre, offering a great range of room options.

1. Walter Peak cruise on the TSS Earnslaw

Where else in the world can you undertake a lake cruise on a 100 year old steam boat? This marvellous trip is a credit to Real Journeys who allow you to step back in time with friends or family and enjoy a cruise across the lake, a BBQ lunch at the historic Walter Peak homestead and a shearing demonstration typical of many New Zealand farms. Enjoy an old-fashioned sing along around the on-board piano on your return journey.

2. The historic gold mining Arrowtown settlement

Enjoy a wander around the Lakes District Museum or the Chinese Goldminers settlement, gaining an insight as to how hard life once was for the thousands who participated in the gold rush of the 1860s. Or simply relax in the small village atmosphere, enjoy a walk by the river or visit one of the many excellent eateries for a bite and a drink.

                          Arrowtown


3. Shotover Jet

Queenstown has a reputation for thrill-seekers and the Shotover Jet ticks most of the boxes. Recently celebrating 50 years of operation, the iconic red jet boats have been powering through the Shotover River canyons at high speed giving every passenger a brilliant, fast and fun, white knuckle ride.

4. Amisfield Winery

If you’re looking to get a flavour of some of the impressive wines the region offers, head to Amisfield winery. Overlooking the idyllic Lake Hayes, you can sample some of Amisfield’s finest Pinot Noir or aromatic white wines. There is a sumptuous bistro onsite - the menu is sure to get your taste buds buzzing.

5. Hydro Attack!

A favourite of the Bella Vista Queenstown team, the latest and greatest adventure activity to join some illustrious forbearers is the Lake Wakatipu based Hydro Attack, “the ultimate blend of shark and machine”. Queenstown is the only place in the world to offer the experience of your life in this submersible watercraft that accelerates to 80kph in under 4 seconds and leaps from the lake up to 5.5 metres. Strap in and hold on!

                                   Hydro Attack Queenstown


6. Gondola and luge 

For a slightly more sedate experience, take a trip up the Queenstown gondola to the Skyline building perched atop Bob’s Peak. The view from the top is simply breath-taking as you survey a huge swath of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown town, all set against The Remarkables rising to over 2,300 metres as a back-drop. Look out for the identifiable terracotta roof which marks out Bella Vista Queenstown down below.  A range of refreshments are available at the top, as is the popular luge track where, apparently, one ride is never enough.

7. Kelvin Heights

Another option for a slightly easier pace is to take the water taxi from the town basin out to the Kawarau Falls and take a walk along the Kelvin Heights path. Nestled on the southern shores of the Frankton Arm, the walkway offers beautiful lakeside views and as you round the peninsula, some impressive public art displays.

8. Take a day trip to Glenorchy

Located roughly an hour north of Queenstown, this small town is popular for day-trippers who enjoy the journey there as much as the destination. An outdoor enthusiasts paradise, there is plenty of activities on offer including the chance to visit the surrounding region which was used as a base for many of the Lord of the Rings film locations. Continue further north to Paradise or around the head of lake to Kinloch which are both worth a visit. (Please make sure your vehicle is insured for gravel roads).

9. Eating out

There are so many great restaurants in Queenstown it is hard to pick a favourite but dinner at the lakeside Botswana Butchery is highly recommended and will not disappoint. 

10. Milford Sound - last but certainly not least!

The day trip to Milford Sound is a long outing but so breathtakingly worth it. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound is a must see. Enjoy the journey through the Fiordland National Park as well as the cruise on the fiord - which will take you out to the Tasman Sea. If you’re seeking a quick return home which doubles up as another spectacular sightseeing opportunity, catch a flight back to Queenstown airport which traverses the Southern Alps and then a transfer home to Queenstown Bella Vista. 

                                 Milford Sound


Bella Vista Whangarei - Our Top 10


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As part of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.   

Our Top 10 things to do and see in and around Whangarei

‚ÄčWhangarei Bella Vista is a terrific place to base yourself for business and leisure. With plenty to see and do in and around the city, a stay here also offers the perfect gateway for attractions and activities in Northland, or the brilliant Tutukaka Coast.

1. Whangarei Falls 

At 26 metres high, this waterfall is a local landmark and a must see. It is like stepping back in time -  picturesque and tranquil.
 

                                   Whangarei Falls


2. AH Reed Memorial Park

Featuring a stunning canopy walkway, stroll amongst New Zealand's largest and most famous trees. Five hundred year old Kauri trees stand proud within this lovely pocket of ancient forest. Delightful.

3. Town Basin and Art Trail

This is the heart of Whangarei town. Enjoy a bite to eat, view visiting international yachts, a spot of shopping, or a riverside stroll. An ever changing landscape by tide and season, this is a great location.

4.  Whangarei Quarry Gardens and Café 

A 16 year ongoing community project, volunteers are creating a lush haven within a former quarry. Results to date are spectacular.  A sub tropical oasis.

5.  Kiwi North Whangarei Museum

A museum, kiwi house and heritage park. It is great for any age and just a short drive from Whangarei town centre. Passionate knowledgeable staff make it special.

6.  Tutukaka Coast

Rocky shores and gorgeous white sand beaches, beautiful coastal bush walks and the stunning Poor Knights Island Marine reserve. A must see and do.

                                    Tutukaka Coast

7.  Try the Marina Pizzeria

One of our favourites, located at the Tutukaka Marina. Enjoy the covered outdoor decks for a coffee and cake or pizza watching the boats go in and out. Casual and relaxed.

8.  Mt Manaia 

Impressive rock formations out at Whangarei Heads. Enjoy a vigorous walk and steady climb to the peak to enjoy much celebrated views. At 403 metres above sea level, it will take you approximately 1.5 hours to climb. 

9.  The Cove Café, Waipu

Half an hour south of Whangarei, this eatery is a wee gem. Located just across the road from the beach. Great food, service and location. It ticks all the boxes.

10.  Helena Bay Gallery and Café

Another brilliant destination. Set within beautiful subtropical gardens, the gallery specialises in Maori and Pacific art. Drive half an hour north from Whangarei and enjoy this contemporary gallery, gardens and café with panoramic views.
 

                                    Helena Bay Gallery and Cafe