We are now halfway through January, the end of the school holidays is nearing, and we still have some pretty sharp accommodation deals on offer. There are also some excellent family-friendly activity deals throughout the country, and a special family giveaway for one of Christchurch’s leading activities.
The Auckland and Wellington anniversary holidays are upon us, so we’ve profiled some popular getaway destinations to make the most of the long weekends.
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.
Welcome Aboard have just unveiled their latest activity. The Triple Pass includes three iconic Christchurch attractions: the Christchurch tram, Christchurch gondola and punting. A Triple Pass ticket allows unlimited hop-on hop-off travel on the tram for one day, a return gondola trip, and a 30 minute punt ride.
Travelbug has a family pass worth $130 up for grabs. Just email and tell us the name of the river that Welcome Aboard punt on, and you’ll go in the draw to win! Enter by 26 January.
Southern Discoveries run some amazing specials for kids over the school holidays, including kids travelling free on a selection of Milford Sound cruises! If taking the kids to one of NZ’s most iconic attractions is on the cards, then book and travel by 6 February to get the specials.
Fancy some cheap thrills? If bungy, rafting, quad biking or jet boating are your thing, then Hanmer Springs may need to be on your travel plans. Book online to enjoy any of these activities and save 10% by booking a week in advance with Thrillseekers.
Think you know Auckland? Well for the month of January, premium coach tour operator GrayLine are offering 20% off Auckland city tours! Choose from tours taking in Kelly Tarltons or the Sky Tower, or indulge in a bit of wine tasting on Waiheke with GrayLine.
A long weekend is finally upon us, and summer is just around the corner – sweet!
Now is the perfect time to plan that summer holiday break, or nab a last minute long weekend deal. Whether it's a camping ground in the far North, or a motel in the deep South, we have you covered. In fact Travelbug has the greatest range of New Zealand accommodation bookable on one website.
This month we unveil some cool functionality designed to make bookings even easier. Plus, we showcase a handful of New Zealand's award winning tourism activities. And if you are after a secret hotel deal for the whole family, you are in luck!
Premier tourism operator Southern Discoveries are launching daily Scenic Cruises. These will go from Queenstown, across Lake Wakatipu, to Mt. Nic (Mt. Nicholas Station High Country Station) on their new, luxurious catamaran 'Spirit of Queenstown' on 1 November.
Experiences on offer at Mt. Nic will include high country walking, 4WD Musterer's Safari into the back country and a unique woolshed experience. Adults from $55.
Stewart Island, abundant with bird and marine life, is a must do for wildlife enthusiasts. Ulva Goodwillie owns Ulva's Guided Walks; she is a direct descendant of the first Maori people of the island. In fact she is named after Ulva Island where the walks take place! Ulva's Guided Walks include half day walks, and full day experiences that include kiwi spotting in the wild. Rates start from $125 per adult.
Sail Barbary run tours to the iconic Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo. And, to our knowledge, are home to the only floating cinema on New Zealand's waters. Rumour has it that Errol Flynn won the Barbary in a card game in the 1930s! Rock carving cruises start at $35 per person, with BBQ dinner cruises from $55 and movie cruises (from 1 December onward) at $65.
Congrats to our recent competition winners, Adrienne from Christchurch, who won a fantastic summer break in Hawke's Bay and Chris from Dunedin, who won a night at the newly opened Heritage Christchurch.
That's all for this month. Stay tuned though for some amazing competitions and deals next month. We are feeling extra generous in the lead up to Christmas! Have an awesome long weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This Dunedin Central City 3-star hotel offers free parking and a $20 discount on dinner at the restaurant from just $85.
Save 20% on accommodation in the Coromandel
We've teamed up with the great guys at Destination Coromandel 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.
We have ten properties on Travelbug offering a 20% discount for stays of two nights or more until 31 August. From lodges and resorts to holiday parks across the Coromandel, we have you covered. Just enter "CORO" in the discount code box when booking these properties.
What a way to warm up over winter! Choose from dorm, cabin or villa style accommodation at the TOP 10 Holiday Park. (And don't forget your spade.)
Win a road trip in the Coromandel
Who doesn't like a roadie? Our friends at Destination Coromandel have a winter road trip to give away. Simply pick your favourite road trip of the six on offer and you are in to win! Whether fishing, a boys weekend, a romantic getaway or a family trip appeals – the Coromandel has everything you could want.
Now's as good a time as any to visit. Less people, great deals and a temperate climate make it the perfect time to escape.
Rendezvous Christchurch reopens – win a night away
A warm welcome awaits you at the reopened Rendezvous Christchurch, located just moments away from historic New Regent Street which also recently opened. Book their Rediscover Christchurch deal and you will save 10% off their best available rate. Even better, you could win a night including breakfast and a bottle of wine!
To enter, let us know how much you would be charged at Rendezvous Christchurch for the internet. Find out here!
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.
We are pretty lucky here at Travelbug to work in an exciting industry. Each month our aim is to unearth an activity to showcase something that is a little out of the ordinary.
The West Coast and mining go hand in hand. But for most of us non-coasters, the industry is unknown to us. The Denniston Experience launched last year, a 2-hour tour that takes visitors into an original 1880's coal mine where visitors are allocated a role to play – 1880 styles. The experience includes a guided tour into an original 1880's coal mine, plus a train journey to the ghost town of Denniston.
If pioneering history is of interest, then this tour 25 minutes north of Westport will hold a lot of appeal.
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.