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Monthly Archives: May 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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Rotorua Winter Break


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Beat the wintertime blues this year and explore one of New Zealand’s best visitor locations, Rotorua, during the winter months! 

When the calendars move to June, July and August and the temperatures drop, Rotorua turns up the charm and offers something very unique to visitors. Gone is the chaos of the summer months, the activities and attractions are less crowded and you can spend your time taking it all in. The highlights of Rotorua are still as fantastic as ever, with the geothermal activity, tourist attractions, spas, relaxation and Maori culture ready and waiting to impress you.

If you’re thinking of travelling to Rotorua this winter, pack your merinos and warm jackets and book your Rotorua accommodation at Bella Vista Motel Rotorua. The motel location is ideal for a Rotorua getaway, close to town, great restaurants and all the activities you could wish for and it’s directly across from Kuirau Park – NZ’s only geothermal public park. Bella Vista rooms are all wonderfully heated and available in a range of room options and all guests enjoy FREE Wifi.

We’ve taken all the hard work out of planning your winter escape and put together some ideas for your Rotorua winter holiday.

 

A Geothermal Good Time

 

There’s something about a chill in the air that draws you towards the warmth of geothermal activity– Whether this be to take in the geothermal sights, a bubbling geyser or treating yourself to a relaxing mud spa treatment. There are not many places in the world where the geothermal activity is as good as this, so come and be awed by what nature has gifted upon the city of Rotorua. Check out a few of these options:

Wai-O-Tapu

A wonderland of geothermal activity thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is a comprehensive and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction where you’ll be amazed by the bubbling mud pools, geysers, sulphur pools and of course, the hero of the park, Lady Knox Geyser erupting at 10.15am each day.

Lady Know Geyser

Hells Gate

One of Rotorua’s most famous attractions, Hells Gate offers a geothermal overload. Boiling hot pools, erupting waters, 100+ degree temperatures, hot water lakes and even a hot waterfall. Appropriately named by Irish Playwright, George Bernard Shaw "Hellsgate" he truly believed he had arrived at the gates of hell when he first laid eyes on the area. You’ll see for yourself a wealth of geothermal delights and if time allows book into one of the mud bath or spa options and lets nature work its wonder with its health and healing properties.

Whakarewarewa

For over 200 years this living Maori Village has opened its arms and welcomed visitors to experience and view the phenomenal geothermal activity in the area. You’ll be in awe of the geysers, hot springs and mud pools all working in harmoniously with the village way of life. This is rightly one of Rotorua's most popular attractions and offers a unique combination of geothermal activity and a traditional Maori living.

Polynesian Spa

There's nothing quite like warming up on a cool winter’s day in a naturally heated hot pool. Polynesian Spa offers geothermal wellbeing benefits at their best! From bathing in their range of pools to treatments utilising the geothermal properties for health advantages - mud wraps, massages and facials are only a few of the options available. If a bit of pamper time is in order, you won’t go wrong here!

 

Rotorua Attractions

 

The winter months are the perfect time to visit Rotorua’s attractions. The experiences on offer are always top class; winter just has the added benefit of avoiding the busyness often associated with Rotorua’s peak season. There’s so much on offer in this tourist town: Zorb, Rotorua Luge, Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, Agroventures, Paradise Valley, we couldn’t possibly list everything, but wrap up warm and get out to try a few of these:

Warm up on a mountain bike

Rotorua is quickly developing quite a reputation for being one of the best mountain biking locations in the world, Red Bull Magazine recently named Rotorua in the top 8 Mountain Biking Destinations on Earth. The winter seasons bring in an array of beautiful colours and layers to the forest areas and there’s nothing like feeling the crisp air on your face as you're zooming along the tracks. From family friendly tracks through to expert trails and the New Zealand Cycle Trail – there’s something for everyone. PS if you don’t have a bike or the gear, it’s no problem as there are many places to assist with rentals.

Agrodome

Wintertime on the farm, you’ll experience the life of a NZ farmer with a visit to the world famous Agrodome. This working farm offers so much to those that visit, a baby animal nursery (about as cute as you’ll ever see), climb aboard an all-terrain vehicle for a farm tour where you’ll feed animals, explore fruit orchards and learn about the land, and not to miss are the sheep dogs and sheep in action at the legendary farm show. You’ll come away with a wealth of farming knowledge and the desire to get your very own Swandri and Red Band gumboots!

Skyline Rotorua – Gondola

The best view on a cool, winter’s day is undoubtedly from the top of Mt Ngongotaha. Take the leisurely gondola ride up and watch the sights of Rotorua and all its beauty stretch out in front of you.

Once at the top you have numerous options to explore, many opt for the thrilling luge ride back down (and do it again and again) other choices include zipline, Skyswing, mountain biking, star gazing (night) or one of the many walking tracks. If you are looking for dining, you’ll enjoy Stratosfare Restaurant or Market Kitchen and something newly added for the adults is the Volcanic Hills Winery and Tasting Room.

Tamaki Maori Village

An authentic Maori cultural experience that will surprise and delight everyone that attends. Tamaki offers an insight into the traditional ways of life, ceremonies, and of course the traditional dances, haka and waiata (songs). The night concludes with a belly warming hangi (meal from an earth oven). It’s a great way to get an insight into New Zealand’s Maori culture and heritage.

Tamaki Maori Village

Rotorua is a year round destination, however visiting this marvellous city over winter can introduce a completely different side. The fresh weather conditions only add to the experience, making you want to rug up and get out to explore. Plus when you’ve decided what you want to do you’ll find the staff are relaxed, the queues are nonexistent and you might be lucky enough to come across one or two ‘winter specials’ for the activities and attractions.

For us, Rotorua in winter is a winning combination, so make Bella Vista your first choice for Rotorua accommodation option, stay a couple of nights and see for yourself!


Ski Mount Hutt with Bella Vista Ashburton


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Mount Hutt is Canterbury’s very own “big mountain” offers ski and snowboard fans everything you need for an amazing ski holiday in the South Island. The ski field is only 55 minutes drive from Ashburton and there, Bella Vista Ashburton will cater for your every day winter needs.

Whether you are passing through or looking to ride the slopes, Michelle and Paul at Ashburton Bella Vista Motel warmly
welcome you. We have ample safe parking so you can leave your car, avoid parking issues on the mountain. Our superior 4 star smoke free accommodation includes a variety of studios and one bedroom units. You have a choice of king, queen or single beds with electric blankets for those cooler nights.

Wifi is available with a spacious work desk in every room. Units vary from just tea and toast making facilities to those with cooking facilities. We offer continental breakfasts and evening meal charge back facilities, dine in or dine out. You can certainly be assured of a warm welcome at reception where we will assist you in every way possible.

The town of Ashburton offers a perfect base to stay. If you need mountain transport, we can get you up and down the mountain each day safely at $35 per person return right from Bella Vista Ashburton’s front door. And remember, kids under 10 ski for free at Mount Hutt!

Ashburton offers great services and amenities including cinema, theatre, cafes, restaurants, shopping, the Art Gallery and much more. Not to far away from your Ashburton accommodation you’ll find the popular ice skating rink at Staveley, a gorgeous small village with its own little cafe and winter wonderland experience. The drive up to Lake Clearwater is also spectacular.

So dig out the winter woolies and come and learn to ride the slopes! There are some great ski pass deals at Mount
Hutt
 or if you fancy the day off from skiing, there is plenty to do for all the family in and around Mid-Canterbury region. The season runs from June to October so get in now to grab one of these great packages.

Mount Hutt ski field

 

MT HUTT EXCLUSIVE COUPLES DEAL - 2 Adults

Queen Standard Studio with microwave and kitchenette, 10% discount at Robbies Bar & Bistro, 2 free coffee vouchers at Robert Harris Café, buy one – get one free pool pass at the Aquatic Centre, free Wifi and laundry
facilities.

  • NZD$110.00 per night
     

MT HUTT EXCLUSIVE FAMILY DEAL – 2 Adults & 2 Kids

A one bedroom apartment with with a king bed and 2 singles, add a third single on request. Fully equipped kitchen, 10% discount at Robbies Bar & Bistro, 2 free coffee vouchers at Robert Harris Café, buy one – get one free pool pass at the Aquatic Centre, free Wifi and laundry facilities.

  • NZD$320.00 for a 2 night stay

  • NZD$170.00 for a 1 night stay


Conditions:
• A Mt Hutt ski pass must be shown to access the exclusive deals.
• The Mt Hutt bus service from the Bella Vista operates on weekends and New Zealand School holidays only
All bookings MUST be made direct with Bella Vista Ashburton.


West Coast Glaciers 101; Exploring Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers


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A few months back we featured a blog post on Glacier Country and what there was to do in this beautiful part of the world. The feedback took us by surprise and we had a number of people contact us asking for further information. As a result of this we’ve put together a special feature focusing on the various options for those wanting to get out and experience the glaciers first hand, take a read to find out more.

Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are two phenomenal natural attractions on the West Coast of New Zealand.  They are a sight to behold and their presence is awe inspiring to everyone that visits. Here in NZ we are privileged to have these glaciers easily accessible and in our own backyard. It’s a fact not many countries get to boast, so make the most of this and embark on a glacier adventure for your next holiday.   

First things first, book your Franz Josef accommodation or Fox Glacier accommodation at either of the Bella Vista glacier motels. Bella Vista Motel Franz Josef Glacier and Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier are both ideally located for glacier adventures, close to the glaciers and guiding companies, handy to the townships and Qualmark 4 star rated to guarantee a quality and comfortable standard of accommodation. Plus there’s plenty of safe parking and free WiFi so you can stay connected to the world.

Next you’ll need to decide on what kind of glacier experience you want to take part in:

Glacier Walks

Glacier walks are a fantastic option for those wanting to see and learn about the glaciers, but not get out onto the ice itself. Ideal for those with limited time in the area, or those that endure unfavorable weather conditions to partake in one of the helicopter options.

You can venture out on your own, following the Department of Conservation walkways and make your way to the glacier viewing areas. These are easy to moderate walks but do require good footwear and knowledge of the conditions.  Your best bet is to call into the DOC office or Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre first and get all the information you require.

Alternatively you can join a guided excursion; here you’ll learn the history, legends and how these glaciers have changed over time. Your group will follow the glacier path and get close to the terminal face for some fantastic views and photo opportunities.

Options include:

  • Franz Josef Glacier Guides - Glacier Valley Walk
  • Fox Glacier Guiding: Fox Trail: Terminal Face Walk
  • Also check out Glacier Valley Eco Tours

 

                             West Coast Glaciers with Bella Vista

 

Glacier Heli Hike:

The opportunity to participate in a glacier heli hike is one of those memory keepsakes and something we can’t recommend highly enough.  

The heli hike sees you boarding the helicopter where you’ll fly high above the glacier to get a real understanding of the sheer size and rugged nature of these beautiful formations. The experienced pilot will then complete an ice landing on the glacier, it’s here you’ll disembark and prepare for your guided glacier hike.

The hike will take you out to some of the most unspoiled scenery you’ll ever experience, climbing beneath towering ice peaks, experiencing blue ice, maneuvering through ice caves and crevices and so much more.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you get the chance (and good weather conditions) grab it with both hands.

Heli Hike options are available on both Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Fox Glacier also has a seasonal overnight option.

                                     Franz Josef Glacier Bella Vista

Heli Ice Climb

If you’re looking for something that next level challenging, then this is the option for you.  A day filled with excitement, exhilaration and an absolute sense of pride once you’ve conquered some extraordinary climbs and encounters.

Ice Climbing on either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier is as good as it gets, you’re in for an adrenaline overload and bucket loads of fun.  Believe us if you’re this way inclined, you’ll not be disappointed with a Glacier Ice Climb.

With the assistance of expert climbers, you’ll learn the skills and techniques you‘ll need to climb this spectacular terrain.  All equipment is provided and the climb will be tailored to your skill and level (no experience necessary). The helicopter transfer will take you to the upper parts of the glacier where ice walls and climbing are at their best. 

Using crampons, ice axes and other specialist equipment you’ll advance quickly, by the end of the day you’ll have vertical climbs, overhanging ice walls and pinnacle climbs under your belt.

The Glacier Lowdown

We’re undeniably huge fans of the West Coast glaciers and know that you will be too! Here’s a little more information that may help you with your adventures.

The safe and responsible way to get out onto the glaciers is by going through a local company with the knowledge, familiarity and the correct equipment. Unless you have exceptional mountaineering skills and local experience we recommend going through Fox Glacier Guiding, Franz Josef Glacier Guides or Glacier Valley Eco Tours.

It can get cold out on the glaciers so we suggest layering up and wearing 2- 4 warm upper body layers. Wool or polypro is ideal for the glacier conditions and layering means you can remove items when you warm up.

But what else do you take? You won’t want to take too much up on the ice, the essentials are: camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, water and a light snack.

Insider’s tip: If you want to beat the crowds get up early and after a big breakfast at your Bella Vista Motel join one of the first glacier tours (call to book this a day or two before).

There’s nothing like seeing Blue Ice for the first time, it’s purity and beauty really is something else! You have a very good chance of seeing some if you take part in one of the helicopter options.

At the end of the day you’ll feel a real sense of pride and achievement for getting out there on the glaciers, but you’ll also have worked up an appetite! Celebrate with a delicious meal at one of the fabulous cafes and restaurants dotted around both Franz and Fox – We’re huge fans of Snake Bite Brewery in Franz Josef Glacier and The White Pub Café and Restaurant in Fox Glacier.

We also know that you’re likely to be a little tired and achy, the best remedy we have for that is taking some time out to relax at the wonderful Glacier Hot Pools.

For a sneak peak, check out our video below. 

For Franz Josef Glacier Bella Vista, contact Adam on 03 752 0008 or use our contact form

For Fox Glacier Bella Vista, contact Bill & Jill or Sue on 03 751 0129 or use our contact form

Otherwise give us a call today on 0800 BELLA VISTA and we’ll get your room ready for you. And remember, it's always cheaper to book direct with Bella Vista's Best Price Guarantee.

 

 


Top 5 Day Trips from Queenstown


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Queenstown offers so much fun and excitement for everyone that visits; it’s also perfectly situated as the gateway to some of New Zealand’s best day trips, all within driving distance from this magical destination.

The best way to venture and explore beyond Queenstown, is to use your Queenstown accommodation as the base, pack your day bag and then get out and experience the spectacular sights and attractions on offer. Some of these trips are free or can be modified to make them as low cost as you need, and invariably some do cost money, but all are sure to offer a truly memorable day out.

So join us at Bella Vista Queenstown, we’re the perfect accommodation choice for your Queenstown day trips, central to town, great parking, modern, comfortable and well throw in some free WiFi just to make your stay even more relaxing.

The Queenstown Bella Vista team has spent many years travelling in and around the Queenstown region and have selected for you our top Queenstown day trips.  
 

Queenstown to Arrowtown Day Trip

Located only half an hour from of Queenstown, Arrowtown is a breath of fresh, alpine air. This charming gold mining town offers so much for day-trippers, its picturesque setting feels like it is straight off a postcard and the quaint and somewhat quirky village is a delight to explore.

Meander the streets lined with historic cottages, spend time checking out the Chinese settlement or try your hand at gold panning in the Arrow River. The cafes and restaurants deliver top class foods and local wines through to bakery items ideal to take on a picnic lunch. The nature walks and hikes around this part of the country are breathtaking and the perfect way to end an afternoon of exploring.

You’ll find the hours will fly by quickly, as it really is a magical day out.

 Bella Vista Arrowtown


Queenstown to Milford Sound Day Trip

Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park is one of those bucket list destinations, with its beauty being beyond anything most people have ever experienced. Basing yourself in Queenstown is ideal for a Milford Sound trip, with both fly and coach options available from Queenstown. Whichever your preference, land or air, getting there is part of the experience.  

You’ll find yourself mesmerized by the views, as this is some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. The journey will see you travelling through farmland, forests, with views of beautiful streams, rivers and valleys. It will feel like there’s a fabulous photo opportunity around every corner.

Once arrived and out on your Milford Sound Cruise, you’ll see nature at its absolute best.  This World Heritage Area is a sight to behold, carved from glaciers thousands of years ago, the majestic mountain peaks, fiords and waterfalls - some plunging 1000m, will leave you feeling awestruck by the magnitude of these surroundings.

It’s an absolute must do when staying in Queenstown.

 Milford Sound Day Trip


Queenstown to Glenorchy DayTrip

Located only a short distance from Queenstown (approx. 45 minutes), this road trip between Queenstown and Glenorchy is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.

The journey will see you following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with its spectacular mountain backdrop, and if you’re lucky enough to be travelling in spring or winter, the snow on the mountains makes this picture complete!  If time is on your side, try one of the many bush or lake walks that are in the area. Bob’s Cove or Lake Dispute are two popular options that showcase the very best the area has to offer.

Once arrived in the small town of Glenorchy, you’ll find you have landed in a nature and adventure lovers’ paradise. There is an abundance of things to do to suit all possible requirements. From walks and hiking around Glenorchy or up Mt Alfred through to the multi-day options of one of New Zealand's Great Walk's, the Routeburn Track. There’s also the adrenaline pumping Dart River Jet, Funyaks (an inflatable type canoe), horse trekking, shopping, wildlife and art galleries. You’ll understand when you get here why this place has been the famous scenic backdrop for many iconic films, such as Narnia, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Queenstown to Wanaka Day trip

Basing yourself in Queenstown means you can make the most of your location and include an enjoyable day out in Lake Wanaka. Travelling via the Crown Range, the highest main road in New Zealand, appreciate the views and scenery on offer and if you have enough time, stop at the iconic Cardrona Hotel for a morning coffe and a bite to eat.

Once arrived in the Lakeside township of Wanaka, there is much to see and do. The lake itself will be enticing you to relax with a picnic, walk, swim or one of the many other lake activities.  The cafes and restaurants dotted around town are fantastic and offer views, ambiance and local food and wines.

If you’re still looking for more, you’ll not be disappointed with the range of activities and attractions around town – adventure, natures, adrenaline, galleries, museums, plus lots more.

Queenstown to Central Otago Wine Tour

It would feel like a sin to be in such close proximity to some of the best wines in the world and not make a day trip out of it.

The diverse scenery alone makes this experience something else – with high country farmland, tussock clad hills and rivers, valleys and gorges. There is so much to see and do in ‘Central’. Those interested in wine are in their element, with Central Otago boasting some of the very best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.

Choose to explore on your own or join a guided tour from Queenstown to experience vineyard tours, tastings, restaurant options and cellar door shopping.

The many quality wineries in this region are mind boggling – Mt Difficulty, Black Ridge, Gibbston Valley, Amisfield and Chard Farm just to name a few. So make the most of this location while you are here.
  Queenstown Wine Tours

There are of course so many day trips from Queenstown we could mention in this blog – Doubtful Sound, Makarora Valley, Te Anau, Mount Cook the list goes on and on.  To find out further information on any of those we’ve mentioned chat to the team when you check into Bella Vista Queenstown, as they’re a wealth of local knowledge.

So remember – next time book in a couple of extra days in Queenstown and get out that little bit further!