Pohutakawa-lined beaches are synonymous with the Coromandel, and by late January the crowds are thinning out. This seaside town makes a great base to explore the region and is a stone’s throw from Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. Boat and snorkelling trips leave daily from Whitianga too.
New Zealand’s largest lake is a summer hotspot you’ll enjoy, whether it’s fishing, boating, soaking in hot pools, a round or two of golf, or hiking the Tongariro Crossing. Consider taking a boat tour to check out the Maori rock carvings too, either on a sailboat, steamboat or catamaran – oh, the options!
Aside from great food and wine, Wairarapa has a load to offer. The coastline of the Wairarapa is rugged and beautiful, the coastal village of Castlepoint enjoys a safe swimming beach, Pukaha Mount Bruce is home to the only white kiwi in captivity, and no trip is complete without a visit to the Tui Brewery.
That’s all from us for now. Enjoy the rest of the month ahead and here’s to an excellent 2018!
It’s on with the show in Auckland this winter. Why not treat yourself to a night out or a weekend away?
Dine at one of Metro magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants in Auckland, splurge at the city’s most stylish shopping districts, watch an All Blacks test match at Eden Park, or see the latest designer collections at New Zealand Fashion Week.
There’s plenty more on the events calendar too – catch a concert, discover the city’s buzzing arts scene or dress up for a night at the theatre.
Update your winter wardrobe with a shopping spree at one – or more – of Auckland’s best shopping precincts.
Britomart is home to the flagship stores of many of New Zealand’s top designers, including Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper and WORLD, as well as up-and-comers. Get delicious health and beauty goodies from the likes of Bobbi Brown, M.A.C. and Jo Malone, find the perfect shoes or check out the city farmers’ market on Saturdays.
Browse the boutiques in Auckland’s hippest suburb. Ponsonby’s stylish shops offer everything from the latest fashion and accessories to upmarket homeware and interiors. Refuel afterwards with a coffee, chilled wine or lunch at one of the great cafés and restaurants lining Ponsonby Road.
Parnell village’s shops offer a range of high-end fashion, exquisite jewellery, leather handbags and gorgeous gifts. With a number of galleries, Parnell is also a great place to choose a unique piece of art to take home with you.
With so many shops, Newmarket covers every style, every age and every budget. Designer boutiques carrying the latest season’s collections and affordable fashion favourites combine in Newmarket. As well as fashion, you’ll find footwear, interiors, furniture, beauty products and much more.
Jeremy Corbett’s top 5
Find out what Kiwi comedian Jeremy Corbett loves about the place he calls home, from climbing volcanoes and exploring the islands in the Hauraki Gulf to the city’s fantastic cafés, restaurants and bars.
What better way to spend a few hours than sipping on fine wine overlooking the vines? Boutique wineries and vineyards dot the beautiful landscapes of Auckland’s four wine regions, including Waiheke Island, New Zealand’s very own ‘island of wine’. Join a wine tour for group tastings or explore at your own pace and indulge in a long, lazy lunch.
When it comes to dining in Auckland, you’re spoilt for choice. If you’re having trouble deciding where to go, take a look at Metro magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants in Auckland.There’s something for everyone, from five-star eateries to cosy cafés. Spanish tapas or succulent seafood, fancy or casual, city centre or wine country – this Top 50’s got them all.
Ahh May. It’s one of those months: the days are shorter and the temperature is dropping, but not enough to ski – yet. We are past the glut of public holidays and have winter to look forward to.
It’s not all doom and gloom though! This month we have some sweet deals in the Coromandel (a brilliant spot to escape the winter blues), great ski packages in the South Island, and we celebrate the re-opening of another Christchurch hotel.
You’ve also got another fortnight to nab some sweet secret sale deals, and Queen’s Birthday is just a few weeks away.
Have a great weekend ahead!
Two Coromandel gems
We want to celebrate the onset of winter, and what better place to escape it. Coromandel has topped the Travelbug poll of Kiwi’s favourite getaway locations for the past two years.
Snow Excuse has some incredible deals this winter, from beginners packages to deals for the “hard core”. Packages include transport, airport shuttles, lift passes in Queenstown & Wanaka, and in most cases rental kit. Starting from $359 per person.
NZSki have paired up with accommodation providers to offer some sweet deals for all levels of budget. Starting from only $319 for two nights & two days skiing at Mt Hutt, or $540 for five nights accommodation & four days skiing in Queenstown.
Mt Hutt had a good dumping of snow last week so fingers crossed a good season beckons! The guys at Methven Travel have great rates for transport to and from Christchurch, but also return shuttles from Methven to Mt Hutt. Shuttles from $20 per day.
And that’s all for May. Have a great weekend ahead – keep warm and keep an eye in your inbox over the coming weeks for some sweet Queen’s Birthday deals.
Our HQ is in Wellington where spring has sprung with vigour. All around this wonderful country, daffodils and lambs are appearing and everything feels fresh. There’s no better time to get out and about, so in this issue we’re stoked to announce the addition of rental cars to Travelbug.
Now you can book all the major car brands including Hertz, Budget, Avis, Thrifty and many more on Travelbug with great deals. I’m so excited I’m going to book a car, I think I’ll need one at Montego Bay in Jamaica – from just $80 for a day!
Are you thinking about a wee road trip for the long weekend coming up? Here are three great options for a roadie:
1. If you’re heading out of Auckland why not try the glories of the Coromandel Peninsula? There are stacks of accommodation options, historical sites and hot water beaches – more than enough fun stuff to fill a long weekend.
2. If you live in the capital and you haven’t done a ‘Rapa roadie, you’re missing out. Get over the Rimutaka hill to Martinborough, Greytown or even Lake Ferry and enjoy the wonders of wine, great food and relaxation.
3. Live in Christchurch? Treat yourself to a drive through the Arthur’s Pass across to Kumara Junction. From there the glorious West Coast is all yours. Hokitika, Greymouth, Punakaiki and more!
Win a night at BreakFree The Waterfront, Queenstown
BreakFree The Waterfront offers uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu from every window. Is there a better way to unwind after a day in the Alps, than to retreat to the cosy comfort of your fully self-contained apartment and watch the world go by?
As I may have said already, we’ve now got rental cars on Travelbug. With rates from Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz and more worldwide, you’re sure to find a great deal.
To find the best deal, look out for a few key features and have a look at this Auckland airport search as an example. Read the reviews left by previous renters, look for the deals (3-day rates start to get really cheap) and watch for the inclusions. Some companies offer great added extras like free collision damage waiver, free cancellation and even free additional drivers.
So next time you need a car – anywhere around the world – book with Travelbug and save!
Focus on: holiday parks
They used to be called camping grounds, but now they’re so much more. Holiday parks are possibly the greatest place to spend a good old Kiwi summer holiday and there are 140 parks all around NZ to book on Travelbug.
We asked our friends at the Holiday Parks Association to name their top five reasons why holiday parks are great, and here’s what they said:
Great family choice – with open spaces, plenty to do and a range of accommodation, holiday parks are fun and family friendly. Many holiday parks provide facilities to keep children entertained and busy.
Not just tents – from tent and caravan sites, to fully equipped motel units, holiday parks provide accommodation options to meet any requirements.
Authentic Kiwi experience – a holiday park is much more than just a place to stay; it is an authentic New Zealand experience. Many families choose to return every year to the same holiday park where they enjoy a special relationship with other guests and the environment.
Meet new people, or old friends – holiday parks are a great place to meet new people, and enjoy the company of like-minded travellers from New Zealand and around the world.
Great locations – our holiday parks can be found in highly desirable locations on lakes, beaches and rivers throughout NZ. Many have their own unique sights and activities both inside the park gates and outside.
Helena and Craig Stratford from the Mercury Bay Holiday Park in Whitianga won the Holiday Association of New Zealand’s top prize this year, so I gave them a call and asked them what makes them so special.
"Obviously we are!" said Helena, and from talking with her for a while I’d have to agree. Helena reckons their guests get a warm welcome and feel comfortable and safe. "We’re a small park, so people don’t feel ‘lost’," she says.
The Stratfords left a life in Wellington for the Coromandel five years ago and ended up managing the park (not something they planned on) and have never looked back. Guests at their park tend to be relaxed, easy-going and enjoy socialising and it is the sort of park where people return year after year. This year they’ve got one couple returning for their 40th year!
If you’re keen on a camping trip in the gorgeous Coromandel, this park seems like a great choice. And what’s the hottest camping accessory this year? Craig reckons a beer fridge but Helena says LED tent lights with remotes are all the rage.
Spring is around the corner, and we have some super sharp deals on offer to celebrate. None better than 20% off two-night stays this spring at 24 YHA properties.
You still have a few days to make the most of our secret sale deals this month, including a 5-star Rotorua hotel from $93. And our friends at Thrillseekers Hanmer Springs are offering 10% off their tours if booked online.
We also have sweet deals around some of this year’s biggest concerts and festivals. Have a great week ahead!
Think YHA is just dorm rooms for international backpackers? Think again!
With over a quarter of all YHA rooms in the country having an ensuite, the YHA network offer a great alternative to motels and hotels with the benefit of sweet facilities like full kitchens, library exchanges and BBQ’s in some of the most scenic spots nationwide.
Travelbug is delighted to team up with YHA this spring to bring the best rates to Travelbug users. Simply book a two-night stay and save 20% off the rate at one of 24 properties. Just enter YHA20 in the discount code box when booking and save for all stays from 1 September – 20 October 2013.
Got your concert tickets? Then nab a sweet room deal!
There are some amazing concerts taking place over the next six months, whether you have ‘Bieber Fever’ (team Travelbug are a tad old for this one), are a huge fan of ‘The Boss’, or are super excited about the return of the Big Day Out to NZ. Getting the ticket is one thing, but getting an accommodation deal you can be smug about is another. Get in quick before the prices close to the venues rise big time in the weeks ahead.
Featured activity – Thrillseekers Adventures, Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs thermal pools are world renowned and Kiwis love them too, but the region is home to lots more than just relaxing mineral pools. Thrillseekers Adventures offer a dose of adrenaline with a bungy, jetboating, rafting, quad biking, shooting and paintball – the perfect way to mix things up with all that relaxing. Book any of their activities online and save a further 10%.
We are a friendly bunch it seems, with three NZ cities voted amongst the 20 friendliest cities according to Conde Nast Traveler. Queenstown even snuck into the top five! Kiwis also voted Mitre Peak in the Milford Sound as one of the top ten landmarks worldwide.
Te Papa made Lonely Planet’s list as one of the ten finest freebies throughout the globe. Go New Zealand!
Hollyford Track have teamed up with Trade Me Cool Auctions to offer the opportunity to bid on an exclusive departure on the world famous Hollyford Track for you and up to 15 of your friends! This includes accommodation, gourmet meals, helicopter, coach and jetboat transfers from Queenstown.
With a RRP value of over $28,000 this is an amazing opportunity. Available dates are 9 or 27 of November, or 1 or 13 December in 2013.
Thanks to the 8,000 Kiwis who entered our Travelbug survey last month. We had some interesting results through, which we’ve compiled in a handy wee blog post. Queenstown topped the poll for the favourite NZ spot to travel to over winter, with Coromandel coming in second.
Results show a 45% jump in the number of Kiwis who want internet included in accommodation room rates, versus last year’s survey.
Congrats to Donna S from the Hutt Valley who won the iPad mini!
Head to the Waikato during August and September, and make a weekend of it with great events such as All Blacks vs Argentina, Gallagher Great Race, Country Music Awards, Fringe Festival and Stan Walker.
Check out all the events on offer, plus accommodation, dining and activity deals at the official Hamilton Waikato Tourism site.
As the weather cools, the cultural calendar fires up in the Capital. Book your winter city break and visit three incredible exhibitions canvassing the best of pop art, impressionism and Kiwi creativity.
July also sees the best of world cinema at the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Royal New Zealand Ballet present The Vodafone Season of Swan Lake and the international rhythm sensation, STOMP perform.
Travelbug has joined forces with some of Wellington’s leading hotels, offering an exclusive deal – $20 off the best rate for any two-night stay in July at 19 participating hotels!
Just enter wellinjuly in the discount code box when booking and save $20 off the best rate! This sharp deal is for travel till 31 July and ends 7 July.
South Island ski fields cranking into a great start of the year and the rates look sharp. Like 5 nights with breakfast at the 5-star Hilton Queenstown, including a 60 minute massage at this hotel’s spa facility, and 3 days of skiing on Coronet Peak or the Remarkables from $919 per person!
Mount Hutt opened last week. Methven is only an hour from Christchurch and makes an ideal base for a ski holiday on the cheap. Like 2 nights & 2 days from $319 per person! Avoid rental car costs and book airport transfers with Methven Travel, or Snowman Shuttles from around Christchurch.
Already bagged a great deal in Queenstown care of Travelbug – cool! Then consider adding on a full ski package with Snow Excuse. Including ski/board & boot rental, ski passes and transport to and from the fields, plus in some cases lessons & airport transfers! 3 day deals from $499 per person.
4.5 stars and over 95% positive reviews. Save $20 on 2 night stays in July with the “wellinjuly” discount code.
Chill-out in the Capital of cool this winter
As the weather closes in, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Cosy up in Wellington this winter, where you’ll be served international exhibitions, world cinema, show-shopping theatre and hearty cuisine.
Been planning a trip around NZ in 2013? With so many sweet holiday spots on our doorstep we can’t say we blame you!
We have a super simple giveaway this week. Book any New Zealand travel for 2013 on Travelbug before midnight Sunday 30 June and you are in the draw to win the value of your booking back in Travelbug credit. Super easy! The winner will be notified by phone or email by 5pm, Tuesday 2 July. Get booking!
Pack the puffer and book yourself a night exploring our country’s natural heritage by torch-light in the magical Zealandia sanctuary valley. You might even spot a kiwi! Find out more and book now.
Putting chains on your car
Skiing for the first time this winter and driving to the fields? Chances are you will need snow chains in your car. Whether required or not it’s advisable to carry them, just in case conditions turn, you want to be able to get up or down the hill safely.
The better the conditions the more likely chains are needed. The mountain will put out signs indicating where and when you need to fit chains too – read the signs for recommendations.
Chains are easy to install, but there are a few tips that make this process super easy. Save time and check out this quick YouTube clip to ensure you aren’t “that guy” on the hill this year. Chains are rentable with hire cars and in most ski towns.
And that’s us for today. Congratulations to Amber L from Wanganui, who won a $2000 ski holiday to Queenstown through Travelbug earlier this month.
Stay tuned, as we may just have a super sharp 72-hour sale on offer within the next couple of days – will keep you posted.