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!
Need a little pick-me-up while waiting for some warmer weather to kick in? Check out our top six holiday destinations, perfect for a lazy getaway over Labour weekend.
And, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning your summer holiday. If you’re keen on something affordable, great for groups and near the beach, one of our holiday parks might be just what you’re looking for.
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.
With the year now in full swing, it’s easy to let time slip by and forget to plan for important events. Easter is two weeks away, ANZAC Day isn’t far behind and the school holidays are just around the corner too. There are plenty of reasons to get out and about and enjoy all of the things this amazing little country has to offer!
Read on to find out how to win this month’s giveaway, what events you’ll want to put in your diary, and get inspired for your next trip away.
The Sea Spray Suites are ideally situated in subtropical Northland. Being handy to family-friendly restaurants, cafes and the ferry terminal, you’re right in the hub of Northland with access to a spectacular array of adventures throughout the beautiful Bay of Islands.
The Leisure Inn’s central location is perfect for checking out all the local attractions. Stunning natural scenery and geothermal wonders make Rotorua the ultimate destination. After a day’s exploring, you can relax in their heated swimming pool and spa!
Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is the perfect place to escape everyday life and relax in the old world charm of a village atmosphere. With views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park, it’s located just a short drive from the heart of Nelson.
For those looking to get out of town and in touch with nature, Swiss-Belresort Coronet Peak is located near hiking and biking trails. It’s only 1km from the Shotover River Jet area which offers a range of adventurous activities for the whole family.
Know someone who needs a holiday?
You can help by giving them a Travelbug Gift Voucher. These vouchers are the perfect way to help make someone’s travel dreams a reality, and with Easter, ANZAC Day and school holidays all coming up, there couldn’t be a better time.
All you have to do is choose how much you want to spend, write a personalised note and we’ll take care of the rest.
Featured activity: Beachcomber Cruises, Marlborough
If you’re heading down to Marlborough any time soon, take the opportunity to check out Beachcomber Cruises for a guaranteed fun day out. They offer a range of different cruises through the stunning Marlborough Sounds and Queen Charlotte Sounds. You can combine it with a walk along one of the best tracks in the world, or simply soak up the atmosphere with their "Lunch ‘N’ Cruise" option. What’s more, they cruise 364 days of the year!
Hard to believe it’s the middle of December already, but we’re just 14 sleeps from Christmas and for many of you a relaxing summer break.
This month we’re thrilled to launch gift vouchers, and we’ve got fun travel stories, great summer events and more. Plus, we’ve got a sweet giveaway, so put away that wrapping paper, grab an eggnog and have a read.
But if you haven’t booked your summer accommodation, you better get cracking. It’s looking like the busiest summer season NZ has seen in a while!
Always stuck for the perfect gift for your loved ones? Well, be stuck no longer: Travelbug gift vouchers are here!Whether you’re looking for a small stocking filler or something a bit bigger, why don’t you give the gift of travel this year? You’ll be the toast of the family.
They’re really easy to buy, just head to the gift voucher page, fill in the details and you’re done!
Win a night at Park Regis Auckland + A Whale & Dolphin Safari + Airbus tickets
Our biggest city has so much to offer this summer, and we’re offering one lucky person the chance to explore the City of Sails this coming January with a prize valued at $600.To be in with a chance to win a night for two at Park Regis Auckland plus a Whale and Dolphin Safari plus return tickets on the Airbus Express, you just need to tell us the name of their breakfast restaurant.
Airbus Express is Auckland’s 24 hour airport to city bus service with a direct service to/from the city stopping near most major city hotels and hostels. Airbus terminates at the Downtown Ferry Terminal next to Britomart for easy onward travel by bus, train or ferry.Tickets are available from Airbus ticket kiosks (located at Auckland Airport), i-Sites (Auckland Intl. Airport & Princes Wharf), from the bus driver (Cash only) or online at www.airbus.co.nz.
Book before 31 December and get 15% off two or more adult fares – just use the discount code TRADEME14 when you book.
Featured activity – EcoZip Adventures, Waiheke Island
If you’re looking for something different to do this summer, you should definitely try Waiheke’s coolest activity: EcoZip Adventures. With glorious views over vineyards, the Hauraki Gulf and 800-year-old native forest, this trip will not disappoint.
We headed there as a team recently and had a blast. With a wonderful mix of Kiwi hospitality, adrenalin-pumping action and native forest walk, this is an activity with something for everyone. Highly recommended!
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.
The snow has been falling and the ski fields are open so there are happy ski operators all around the country. This month's newsletter is wall-to-wall winter with a photo comp, great places to stay for a romantic winter getaway and more.
Plus, back by popular demand is a 'Find Trevor' competition. So grab a hot chocolate, settle in and enjoy!
Winter photo competition – win a $500 voucher!
Send in your New Zealand winter snaps and the best will go in the draw to win a $200 Travelbug voucher. Make sure they are nice, crisp and interesting, and you could win enough for a wonderful night away anywhere in NZ.
Here's a winner from a previous compettion. Think you can do better? Send in your winning snap today.
Email us your photo to go in the draw. The draw will take place on Friday 1 August and the winner will be advised by email.
VR Hotels are driven by giving people the freedom to create their own personal VR. Guest rooms are stylish and comfortable, VR people are friendly and upbeat and VR pricing represents great value for money.
Like the song says, "baby it's cold outside". Are you looking for a spot to take your beloved this winter? Try one of these places around New Zealand which all have fireplaces and cosy spots to enjoy a sneaky cuddle to help warm up your winter.
The mighty Wellington Phoenix will be taking on Premier League sides West Ham and Newcastle, and Sydney's Newcastle United. It's the first time two Premier League sides have played here in this sort of event, so be part of the action.
There are a few rooms left in each city, so secure your room before it's too late.