Taupo – great for a quick winter family holiday

Do you ever have those moments where you realise you’re turning into your parents? When I was a lad, I remember holidays where we visited museums and learned things. As I took my kids around the National Trout Centre outside Taupo a couple of weeks ago it struck me that I was forcing the same sort of holiday on my kids: I am officially turning into my Dad. Here is a short summary of what I made my kids do on our recent break when I was heading there for a slow plod around the half marathon course.


We arrived at midday on a chilly but fine Saturday after an unsuccessful attempt to transplant the kids from their beds and into the car still asleep for a quiet car trip north. The iPad provided us with a welcome respite to questions, fights and general discontent from the two in the back. (I can highly recommend Read more…

Travelbug and BookIt first to accept China Union Pay online in NZ

New Zealand tourism operators can now be better prepared for the growing number of Chinese tourists as Trade Me’s booking engine, BookIt, on Thursday becomes the first local online booking engine to accept payment via China Union Pay cards.

China Union Pay is the leading card scheme in China, with more than 3.1 billion cards in circulation. Nine out of every ten credit cards issued in China is Union Pay branded.

Union Pay

Read more…

Cricket, dodgy decisions and fake travel reviews

There are two things that confuse me at the moment: why the Indian cricket team still don’t allow the decision review system (DRS) and why sites like Trip Advisor still allow unverified reviews. Both are examples of not using systems that exist to make things better for everyone. An unusual subject link, but bear with me.

Twelve months out from the 2015 Cricket World Cup, and with India touring New Zealand at the moment, I recently watched the highlights of NZ’s glorious victory over Australia at Eden Park at the 1992 World Cup. As I watched, I was taken aback at some of the poor decisions the players had to put up with. The most glaring examples were a dodgy LBW decision and a run out that I’m sure would these days be adjudged “not out” by the third umpire. here you see Dean Jones just making his ground before Ian Smith smashed the stumps:

Out or not? Hard to say with no third umpire...

Out or not? Hard to say with no third umpire…


Read more…

Travelbug Awards 2014 – and the winners are….

It’s that time again, time to announce the winners of the Travelbug Awards for another year. If you’re new to the world of Travelbug, it’s worth me taking some time to tell you why they matter. If you’re not new, then please feel free to skip down the page to the media release that details the winners. Spoiler alert – SKYCITY Auckland won the premium award. Read more…

Queenstown and internet top the wishlist for Kiwis

Hi Travelbuggers,

We’ve just finished tallying the results of the Travelbug and Holiday Houses survey that we conducted in July that over 8,000 travel-mad Kiwis completed. The results are in and once again Queenstown tops the list as the most preferred next destination, but more on that later.


The more interesting result is the growing demand for cheap internet at paid accommodation with Kiwis demanding low-cost connectivity more than ever. The survey results show a 45% jump in the number of Kiwis who want internet included in accommodation room rates versus last year’s survey, and 59% state that internet is at least somewhat important in choosing where to stay.


Read more…

Ski steals, food fests and win an iPad mini!

Deals of the week   |   Secret Sale   |   My Shortlist


Image header



Rightio, we are in the thick of winter now and the ski fields are off to a roaring trade – Mt Hutt and Treble Cone both have 3+ metre bases! We have some sweet all-inclusive ski packages on offer this month.

And if the cold isn't your thing, there are some half price hotel deals going in Australia currently. We've listed five of our favourite foodie events in and around Aotearoa over winter and spring. But wait, there's still more – you could win an iPad Mini simply by telling us a bit about your travel patterns.


This week's sweet deals





Australia sale – up to 50% off. Book by 28 July!


Sydney from $192

Fancy 30% off at this super central Sydney 4.5-star aparthotel? Valid for weekday travel. Amenities include outdoor pool, spa & fitness facilities. Book by 28 July. Valid for travel until 17 October.


Noosa from $154

Stay three nights in a one or two bedroom deluxe apartment in Noosa and save up to 50% throughout the week and 28% in the weekends! Book by 28 July. Valid for travel until 17 October.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast from $173

Stay three nights in the 'GC' and save 40% at this 4.5-star aparthotel. Enjoy sweet facilities like an indoor & outdoor pool, spa tub, gym and sauna. Book by 28 July. Valid for travel until 17 October.

Find more Sydney deals





Secret sale deals – book by 31 July

Queenstown 4.5-star from $113

This Queenstown 4.5-star hotel is a steal at $113 for select nights in July, and $131 throughout the ski season. Free parking is included too.

Auckland 4.5-star from $119

An inner-city 4.5-star hotel for $119, with 95%+ positive reviews and just a short stroll to the waterfront. Valid for bookings till 31 August.

Wellington 4.5-star from $125

This Wellington 4.5-star hotel is a great base for work or play. Rates from $125 on the weekend and $132 during the week. Valid for bookings till 31 August.

Rotorua 4.5-star motel from $99

This 4.5-star Rotorua motel offers free parking, continental breakfast and a duo spa bath, all for under $100 – sweet! Valid for bookings till 31 August.





Fill in our Travel survey and be in to win

You could win an iPad Mini (16GB, Wi-Fi only) by completing our July travel survey and helping us learn more about how Kiwis book travel.

It should take just a few minutes, so fill it out and be in to win.

Complete the survey and enter the draw

Fill in the survey and be in to win




Five awesome foodie festivals

Eat your way around New Zealand over the next few months! Here are a handful of our favourite foodie events on offer:

Visa Wellington On a Plate – 9-25 Aug
Street Eats – 10 Aug, Auckland
Kaikoura SeaFest – 5 Oct, Kaikoura
Akaroa French Fest – 11-13 Oct, Akaroa
Summer FAWC – 1-10 Nov, Hawke's Bay

Visa Wellington On a Plate - 9-25 Aug



Ski packages in the south

Queenstown long weekend

Queenstown long weekend

Package includes three nights with breakfast at the 4.5-star Kawarau Hotel (the closest hotel to the Remarkables), two 2-day NZSuperpasses valid for skiing and riding at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. From $489 pp.

Methven bargain break

Methven bargain break

Package includes two nights accommodation in a double ensuite room at Breckenridge Lodge and 2 x adult 2-day NZSuperpasses valid for skiing and riding at Mt Hutt. Valid till 4 October.

Snow Excuse packages

Snow Excuse packages

Already got digs? Snow Excuse have the slopes covered, from 3-day beginner ski packages with lessons, gear and transfers, to 7-day ski passes to all the slopes in the Southern Lakes.

Sweet August Queenstown hotel deals




Quick travel reads

Planning (or dreaming) about travelling to Europe? Make sure you are clued up before you leave home. Here are a handful of light reads that will go nicely with a cup of tea…

London tube etiquette
World's leading beer festivals
London's foodie hotspots
Tips for travelling around Spain
20 of the best European holiday bargains

London tube etiquette



Love the snow?

A number of ski areas around NZ have teamed up to make it easier to hit the slopes. With all the great snow around, there's never been a better time to get out there for the first time, or to give it another go! 

Check out the site, lovethesnow.co.nz and go into a draw to win an awesome weekend for four to Queenstown and Wanaka that includes almost everything! Competition ends 2 August.

Check out lovethesnow.co.nz

Image lovethesnow





That's all from us – stay tuned for some super, exclusive deals over the coming weeks.

Cheers from the team at Travelbug!

Twitter Facebook

New Zealand Destinations

International Destinations





Bay of Plenty






Lake Taupo


New Plymouth

Hawke”s Bay




Palmerston North







West Coast



Hanmer Springs




Lake Wanaka





Hong Kong




Fiji (Nadi)





Gold Coast










New York


San Francisco

Los Angeles



Las Vegas


© 2013 Trade Me Ltd   |   Contact us

Travelbug Awards 2013 – here are your winners!

It’s that time again, time to announce the winners of this year’s Travelbug Awards! This is the third time we’ve given out these awards and we’re always stoked to be able to recognise excellent performance by accommodation operators. The the winners were selected based on the number of bookings made at each property, the quality of guest feedback, and the overall quality of their Travelbug listing and this year we had to make the criteria even tougher to make sure we only awarded the very best.

As you’ll know, we have the widest range of bookable accommodation in New Zealand and all properties – from holiday parks and backpackers to luxury lodges – are automatically eligible for the awards. There are five categories in the Travelbug Awards:

awards group Read more…

Las Vegas part two – a hotel geek’s paradise

During my stay in Vegas I both loved and hated the Cosmopolitan hotel: it was hell and it was heaven. But more on that later.

I stayed in 5 hotels in my 8-night trip and that means I’ve now stayed in 8 Vegas hotels. Yes, I’m a hotel geek and and I love the whole hotel experience. When I enter a room I look in every cupboard, every drawer, scrutinise the toiletries (oh, they’re white-labelling L’Occitane…) and the shoe shine mitts and sometimes I have even found myself pacing the room to check the dimensions. I make no apologies for this affliction. Las Vegas, for such a hotel geek, is paradise, with over 350 hotels and 150,000 rooms. I chose to stay in more places than I needed to just so I could see the inside of more rooms at more hotels. Read more…

Las Vegas Part one – a week in the dessert

There are times in your life when you need to forget about the consequences and let yourself go. A couple of months ago, I headed to Las Vegas and did just that, and loosened the waistband of my pants a little while I was at it.

Vegas has changed a lot over the years and its latest self-reinvention is as a foodie’s paradise, a gourmet oasis in the middle of the barren deserts that surround this odd town. While I did enjoy some very tasty food, what seemed to take me most were the sweet treats, so this first post from my time in Vegas is about the five sugary episodes that stood out most to me.  In no particular order: Read more…

Travelbug milestones and a sneak peak

In two weeks Travelbug will celebrate its 5th birthday (yay!) and it seemed a good time to look at some of the recent milestones and give you a wee look at some of the stuff that is going on behind the scenes here at Travelbug HQ.

Since we launched on our new booking engine, we’ve already helped travellers book 100,000 nights at NZ properties. That’s your average motel filled over 6,000 times or filled every night for 18 years!

One of the things we value at Trade Me is innovation and finding new ways of doing things. Here in Travelbug land we’ve added some innovative channels over the years so here are the biggies.  Read more…