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Monthly Archives: February 2017

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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New Zealand Glaciers - Up Close and Personal


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We are lucky enough in New Zealand to have some pretty amazing places to visit, one absolute highlight is located on the West Coast of the South Island, and is aptly named ‘Glacier Country’.

The undeniable heroes of this region are Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, commonly referred to as the most accessible rivers of ice in the world.
 

Franz Josef Glacier

At 10 km long, beginning at an elevation of about 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) at the tops of the Southern Alps, and descends into rainforest close to sea level.  This glacier offers the rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacier in a temperate (moderate) environment, located within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.


Fox Glacier

The Fox Glacier is 12km long and travels down the Fox Valley from the peaks of the Southern Alps through temperate rainforest, turning a corner before terminating 250 metres above sea level. Fox Glacier is the longer and the faster moving of the two famous West Coast glaciers.


The great news is exploring these glaciers can be done easily and in a number of different ways.  From guided walks through to glacier heli hikes and ice climbs. Depending on your choice, you have the ability to do what very few people get to do, reaching the terminal face, climbing through crevices and exploring ice caves. A glacier encounter is a highlight for all of those lucky enough to experience it, and one we can’t recommend highly enough.

There has been a lot of talk over recent times of climate change and how this will have a direct effect on glaciers worldwide. Therefore there is no better time to get out there and see for yourself a very spectacular part of our country.

Aside from the glaciers, Glacier Country is home to a raft of activities and sights. Lake Matheson (the mirror lake), kayaking, boat cruises, a kiwi incubation unit, Glacier Hot pools, plus lots more – so ensure you allow enough time to soak up all you can.

If you haven’t been yet, get down to Glacier Country and tick it off your bucket list.  Bella Vista Motels have two fabulous properties for people looking for Franz Josef accommodation or Fox Glacier accommodation options.
 

                          


Bella Vista Motel Franz Josef Glacier

Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village, offers quality, warm and comfortable accommodation with the shops, restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. Adam and his team will look after you and help with any questions or assistance you need for getting out to the glaciers.


Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier

Centrally located in the quiet main street of Fox Glacier Village. Enjoy all the amenities in close proximity plus the onsite spa and BBQ facilities are much appreciated after a day exploring the glaciers. Bill and Jill are extremely helpful and provide a warm and welcoming environment for all their guests.

With the West Coast of New Zealand having so many gems, we couldn’t fit everything we wanted into one blog post. Check back in in the coming months for information on the other areas you can explore with Bella Vista Motels.

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Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier is currently running a terrific Easter package. Head to the Bella Vista deals page for more information.

 

 


A Weekend in Wellington. The Ultimate Destination.


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While discussing recently with a friend the joy that is the weekend escape – what it does for the soul, relationships/friendships and not to mention our appreciation of NZ - we started throwing around destinations for ‘our ultimate weekend get away’.  Whilst we are spoilt for choice on locations in our beautiful country, we came to the conclusion that it’s hard to go past the best little capital, Wellington.

Whether it’s for the arts, restaurant culture, The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa or one of the many events that Wellington hosts, the capital city ticks all the boxes!

Wellington is easy to explore by vehicle or foot, set around the picturesque Wellington Waterfront, all you need for a great stay is within close proximity.  The vibrant feel to this city is obvious as soon as you head out for a stroll, with its sophistication, quirky corners and cosmopolitan mix of cafes, restaurants, bars. Wellington very rarely disappoints.

                         Wellington Weekend

 

Wellington offers something for everyone; with so many highlights the weekend is often not long enough.  Here’s a list of what we thought were some of the must sees!
 

First Timers:

  • The Beehive & Parliament Buildings – NZ’s Parliament buildings.
  • Te Papa – Museum of New Zealand.
  • Wellington Cable Car – A fun trip onboard a cable car running between Lambton Quay (the main shopping street) and Kelburn.
  • Wellington Waterfront – The heart of Wellington City. Beautiful to stroll and watch the world go by.
  • Weta Studios – Your tour of filmmaking in Wellington over the last 20 years. From Middle-earth and beyond – check out their talent!
  • Old St Paul’s – A gorgeous wooden cathedral built in 1865 – a holy and welcoming building in the heart of Wellington City.


Looking for something a bit different:

  • Wrights Hill Fortress – A surreal network of underground tunnels, operation rooms and three gun emplacements.
  • Old Bank Arcade Animated Musical Clock – Housed in a historic shopping center (that used to be an old bank headquarters) the centerpiece is an animated mechanical musical clock that opens each hour to reveal scenes of Wellington harbor’s past and present.
  • Wellington Writers Walk - combining a walk along Wellington’s waterfront with thought provoking quotations from some of New Zealand’s best-known writers.

 

Nature Lovers:

  • Zelandia Sanctuary – The world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, 6 of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. 
  • Walk to Red Rocks (Seal Colony) - An easy half day coastal walk to Red Rocks and a fur seal colony on the south side of Wellington.
  • Kapiti Island Nature Tours – A bird sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most accessible nature reserves. A truly unique visitor accessed by approved tour operators only.

 

Accommodation in Wellington:

Finding Wellington accommodation can sometimes be a challenging prospect, with many accommodation styles and levels available. While many people opt to stay in the hustle and bustle of the central city, choosing a Wellington motel is a fantastic option as it provides a quieter location with a bit more space to relax.

The Bella Vista Wellington is a great spot for your next Wellington escape, in beautiful Evans Bay only minutes by car to everything you need: Wellington Airport, Wellington Waterfront, Te Papa, Ferry Terminal and Westpac Stadium. Plus it has ample safe parking, avoiding those parking issues of Wellington central city.

 

Give us a call at Bella Vista Motel Wellington and Richard and Christine will be happy to discuss your Wellington accommodation needs.


Destination Hamilton. A popular choice!


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With a handy location of only 1 hr 35 minutes from downtown Auckland, and a short 80 minutes from Auckland Airport and Rotorua, it’s obvious to see why a growing number of visitors are adding Hamilton as a stopover to their journey, or spending a weekend away.

Hamilton is not just a convenient stopover, it can more than hold it’s own with the big boys when it comes to things to see and do.  It’s a city rich in history, with the heart and soul being the mighty Waikato River flowing through the central city.

For those with a little more time on their hands, Hamilton will not disappoint. With an abundance of museums, recreational parks and sports grounds, there’s always something going on.  Team this up with the friendly Hamiltonians and you’re well on your way to a great stay.

During a recent visit we got talking to a couple of locals – they gave us the run down on some great places to visit if you have a bit of time to explore:

  • Hamilton Gardens: With a multitude of awards under its belt, Hamilton Gardens offers something pretty special. A conceptual garden Hamilton Gardens explores the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. The gardens are internationally recognised for their unique concept and is the Waikato’s most visited tourist destination. From Indian Char Bagh, Italian Renaissance, Modernist to Tudor – there are over 20 gardens to view and you’ll be mesmerized by what you see.

          Hamilton Gardens
 

  • Waikato River Explorer: When in Hamilton the river is not to be missed! Enjoy a relaxing scenic boat cruise with spectacular views of Hamilton City. A river cruise allows you to sit back and take in the wonderful natural attraction that flows through the Waikato region.  Whether it is a wine tasting trip, lunch at a country cafe or just Hamilton from a different perspective, this is a fabulous choice.

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         Waikato River Explorer

  • Hamilton Zoo: Fun for all ages, Hamilton Zoo is home to over 600 native and exotic animals and set amidst 25 hectares of lush surroundings. Take a stroll around New Zealand’s largest walk-in aviary dedicated to native birds and plants - it truly is something special.  While you’re there visit giraffes, zebras, chimpanzees, red pandas, lemurs and Sumatran tigers.
                                                   Hamilton Zoo
  • Zealong Tea: New Zealand's only tea plantation provides a variety of activities, including guided tours, a teahouse, and visitor centre. Located only 10 minutes north of Hamilton, it’s a great option for tea and non-drinkers alike. Don’t forget to try their signature high tea!
     
  • Finally, some options for those who want to venture further afield. The surrounding area of Hamilton and the wider Waikato region offers some pretty special places: Hobbiton, Raglan Beach, Waitomo Caves and Lake Karipiro, to name a few. These are all easily accessible and will surely add something extra special to your stay.

When it comes to finding your Hamilton accommodation, Bella Vista Motel Hamilton is your ideal choice. Its central location is only minutes by foot to the city centre, Waikato Stadium and Claudelands Events Centre and it offers ample secure onsite parking.  With 18 superior self contained units there’s one with your name on it. New operators Li & Rowena look forward to seeing you and will ensure you have a wonderful stay!