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Category Archives: Bella Vista Top 10

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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Ski Queenstown this Winter. 10 Local Tips


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We're rapidly approaching that time of year when you need to think about how your going to fill the long winter months. If you think you need some added excitement this season, you must consider a ski holiday in Queenstown.

With some of the very best skiing in New Zealand available at work class fields such as The Remarkables, Cardrona and Coronet Peak, there’s something to keep everyone happy from novices through to seasoned pros.

Queenstown accommodation can start to get a little crazy over the ski season, but there’s a room with your name on it at Bella Vista Motel Queenstown. This terrific motel has just been recognised by Trip Advisor as the number one motel in Queenstown, it’s central to town, modern, well priced, includes a ski drying room and storage, and offers studios, one, two and three bedroom unit options. So book in early and secure your pick of dates for the upcoming skiing season.

Whether it is on-piste runs or after dark, Queenstown provides endless opportunities for all – dining, entertainment, sights and some of the best scenery in New Zealand.
 

                     Remarkables Ski field


Below is everything you need to know about skiing in Queenstown, but first let’s do our quick fire tips.

Queenstown Skiing -10 Local Tips 
 

#1 – Best Ski Breakfast? Bespoke Kitchen. The best pancakes in town and then some!

#2 – Snuggle up by the Open Fire? We struggle to go past Queenstown’s iconic Eichardt's Bar and there's some Tapas on hand along with mulled wine.

#3 – Ultimate way to warm up? Onsen Hot Pools. Just ease those aches away.

#4 – Après Ski? The World Bar’s famous Tea Pot cocktails are a must.

#5 – Worked up an appetite? Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar up at the Skyline Gondola. A buffet, but not as you know it.

#6 – Top ski season tip? Try out the in-house ski fitting by Snopro. They’ll come to your Bella Vista accommodation and you’ll miss the mountain queues.

#7 – First Timer, what do you recommend? First timers are covered at each of the mountains, with package options including lessons, ski rental and lift passes, starting from $150.

#8 – Best Ski recommendation: Night skiing at Coronet Peak, Friday & Saturday and also now Wednesday's for the first time this season!

#9 – Help I need ski chains! Head down to Green Toad in Queenstown, they’ll sort you out.

#10 – Paper, Scissors, Rock - Which mountain to ski? Check out below the terrain and pick which is best for your level.

For those unfamiliar with the Queenstown ski-fields, here's the low-down:


The Remarkables

35 minutes from downtown Queenstown, this ski field offers something for all – from beginners and families through to expert skiers.

Mountain Stats:

·         3 terrain parks

·         385 hectares - 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% expert

·         1943M high 468M vertical drop

Getting there:

Getting to The Remarkables is a 35 minute drive from Queenstown. You can drive yourself and park in one of the many car parks available (you’ll need snow chains). Alternatively you can catch a ride on the Remarkables transport service, Snowline Express this offers return trips from the Queenstown Snow Centre – too easy!

Kids Options:

Taking your children to the mountains can sometimes be a challenging prospect, if you would prefer to explore the mountain without kids in tow, The Remarkables offers two fantastic kids clubs that will see your children progress with their skiing, make new friends and ensure they are fed and happy!

Mini Kea (4 – 5 year olds) includes lift pass, lesson, ski hire, lunch and a full-day program. Drop off starts at 9am and pick up at 4pm. You’ll collect tired, happy children that are ready for dinner and bed.

Kea Club (5 – 15 year olds) a full day group lesson program includes lift pass, lesson and ski or snowboard hire and lunch. Children can join group ski lessons from the age of five and group snowboard lessons from the age of eight. 

Equipment Hire: Everything you need for ski, snowboard or clothing hire (with the exception of gloves, hats and goggles for health reasons) is available on the mountain. Plus if you hire off the mountain you can store overnight for free.

There are also various other locations around town to rent your gear, including one that will visit you in the comfort of your accommodation, fit you and see you ready for the mountain while you sip on a wine!

Mountain Secret Tip: For all you backcountry lovers, the 1.5km Homeward Bound is about as good as it gets!
 

                          Queenstown Remarkables


Cardrona

A great mountain to explore and enjoy- only a 55 minute drive over the Crown Range.

Mountain Stats:

•    Base Area Elevation: 1670m

•    Highest Lifted Point: 1860m

•    Vertical Rise: 600m

•    345 hectares – 25% beginner, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced & 20% expert

Getting there:

Getting to Cardrona is a 60 min drive from Queenstown, if you choose to drive yourself, please remember the weather can be changeable and to always carry chains. There is a drop off zone at the top, then you can park in the lower carparks and catch a free shuttle back to base area.

Alternatively park 1km up Cardrona Mountain and catch the Pine Tree Shuttle Service, or take all the stress out of it and use the shuttle service from Queenstown.

Kids Options:

There is a range of children options at Cardrona. From Ski Kindy from 3months, through to Children’s lessons, the Cardrona Kids Adventure Programe, and Ride Tribe, which teaches over 10 year old intermediate skiers a range of snow disciplines, venturing both on & off piste.

Equipment Hire:

You can rent everything you need on the mountain; a great value of money option is renting a clothing and accessories bundle – as this gets you sorted. As per The Remarkables, there are many other rental places around town that can help.

Mountain Tip: If booking children into Ride Tribe get together with a few of their mates and book in early, then they’ll have their own private group. The kids will love it!
 

                            Cardrona


Coronet Peak

Only a 25-minute drive from downtown Queenstown, this mountain has it all. Plus the added benefit of night skiing Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Mountain Stats:

·         2 Terrain parks

·         1649M highest point, 481M vertical drop

·         280 hectares – 32% beginner, 41% intermediate, 27% advanced

Getting there:

Jump aboard the Snowline Express bus and catch a ride to the mountain – departs from Queenstown Snow Centre or drive yourself but remember to carry chains.

Kids Options:

Skiwiland is where it’s at for your kids - with options from 3 months – 15 years there’s something to suit everyone.  Mini Kids, Kiwi Kids and Skiwi Kids, lessons, entertainment and a heap of fun.

Equipment Hire:

Hire on the mountain or skip the queues and sort it all in town. See The Remarkables for further rental information.

Mountain Tip:

Check out the Night Skiing on offer Friday and Saturday evenings.  Coronet Peak is the only mountain in New Zealand that offers a night skiing option, and it’s a fabulous experience.

 

We’re lucky enough in New Zealand to have some of the best skiing right here in our own backyard. People travel from near and far to ski and board on our beautiful mountains. If you’ve never been skiing in Queenstown before, we challenge you to join us down here at Queenstown Bella Vista this winter and see what all the fuss is about. 


Bella Vista Queenstown - Our Top 10


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As part of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.

Our top 10 things to do and see in and around Queenstown

Queenstown is often described as the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s tourist destinations and it is certainly a spectacularly impressive location. Nestled on the shores of the immense Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the Southern Alps and The Remarkables, Queenstown is not only an amazing destination in its own right, but acts as a gateway to the many delights and must-see attractions around the region. Bella Vista Motel Queenstown is a great place to base yourself being only a couple minutes from the town centre, offering a great range of room options.

1. Walter Peak cruise on the TSS Earnslaw

Where else in the world can you undertake a lake cruise on a 100 year old steam boat? This marvellous trip is a credit to Real Journeys who allow you to step back in time with friends or family and enjoy a cruise across the lake, a BBQ lunch at the historic Walter Peak homestead and a shearing demonstration typical of many New Zealand farms. Enjoy an old-fashioned sing along around the on-board piano on your return journey.

2. The historic gold mining Arrowtown settlement

Enjoy a wander around the Lakes District Museum or the Chinese Goldminers settlement, gaining an insight as to how hard life once was for the thousands who participated in the gold rush of the 1860s. Or simply relax in the small village atmosphere, enjoy a walk by the river or visit one of the many excellent eateries for a bite and a drink.

                          Arrowtown


3. Shotover Jet

Queenstown has a reputation for thrill-seekers and the Shotover Jet ticks most of the boxes. Recently celebrating 50 years of operation, the iconic red jet boats have been powering through the Shotover River canyons at high speed giving every passenger a brilliant, fast and fun, white knuckle ride.

4. Amisfield Winery

If you’re looking to get a flavour of some of the impressive wines the region offers, head to Amisfield winery. Overlooking the idyllic Lake Hayes, you can sample some of Amisfield’s finest Pinot Noir or aromatic white wines. There is a sumptuous bistro onsite - the menu is sure to get your taste buds buzzing.

5. Hydro Attack!

A favourite of the Bella Vista Queenstown team, the latest and greatest adventure activity to join some illustrious forbearers is the Lake Wakatipu based Hydro Attack, “the ultimate blend of shark and machine”. Queenstown is the only place in the world to offer the experience of your life in this submersible watercraft that accelerates to 80kph in under 4 seconds and leaps from the lake up to 5.5 metres. Strap in and hold on!

                                   Hydro Attack Queenstown


6. Gondola and luge 

For a slightly more sedate experience, take a trip up the Queenstown gondola to the Skyline building perched atop Bob’s Peak. The view from the top is simply breath-taking as you survey a huge swath of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown town, all set against The Remarkables rising to over 2,300 metres as a back-drop. Look out for the identifiable terracotta roof which marks out Bella Vista Queenstown down below.  A range of refreshments are available at the top, as is the popular luge track where, apparently, one ride is never enough.

7. Kelvin Heights

Another option for a slightly easier pace is to take the water taxi from the town basin out to the Kawarau Falls and take a walk along the Kelvin Heights path. Nestled on the southern shores of the Frankton Arm, the walkway offers beautiful lakeside views and as you round the peninsula, some impressive public art displays.

8. Take a day trip to Glenorchy

Located roughly an hour north of Queenstown, this small town is popular for day-trippers who enjoy the journey there as much as the destination. An outdoor enthusiasts paradise, there is plenty of activities on offer including the chance to visit the surrounding region which was used as a base for many of the Lord of the Rings film locations. Continue further north to Paradise or around the head of lake to Kinloch which are both worth a visit. (Please make sure your vehicle is insured for gravel roads).

9. Eating out

There are so many great restaurants in Queenstown it is hard to pick a favourite but dinner at the lakeside Botswana Butchery is highly recommended and will not disappoint. 

10. Milford Sound - last but certainly not least!

The day trip to Milford Sound is a long outing but so breathtakingly worth it. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound is a must see. Enjoy the journey through the Fiordland National Park as well as the cruise on the fiord - which will take you out to the Tasman Sea. If you’re seeking a quick return home which doubles up as another spectacular sightseeing opportunity, catch a flight back to Queenstown airport which traverses the Southern Alps and then a transfer home to Queenstown Bella Vista. 

                                 Milford Sound


Bella Vista Whangarei - Our Top 10


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As part of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.   

Our Top 10 things to do and see in and around Whangarei

‚ÄčWhangarei Bella Vista is a terrific place to base yourself for business and leisure. With plenty to see and do in and around the city, a stay here also offers the perfect gateway for attractions and activities in northland, or the brilliant Tutukaka Coast.

1. Whangarei Falls 

At 26 metres high, this waterfall is a local landmark and a must see. It is like stepping back in time -  picturesque and tranquil.
 

                                   Whangarei Falls


2. AH Reed Memorial Park

Featuring a stunning canopy walkway, stroll amongst New Zealand's largest and most famous trees. Five hundred year old Kauri trees stand proud within this lovely pocket of ancient forest. Delightful.

3. Town Basin and Art Trail

This is the heart of Whangarei town. Enjoy a bite to eat, view visiting international yachts, a spot of shopping, or a riverside stroll. An ever changing landscape by tide and season, this is a great location.

4.  Whangarei Quarry Gardens and Café 

A 16 year ongoing community project, volunteers are creating a lush haven within a former quarry. Results to date are spectacular.  A sub tropical oasis.

5.  Kiwi North Whangarei Museum

A museum, kiwi house and heritage park. It is great for any age and just a short drive from Whangarei town centre. Passionate knowledgeable staff make it special.

6.  Tutukaka Coast

Rocky shores and gorgeous white sand beaches, beautiful coastal bush walks and the stunning Poor Knights Island Marine reserve. A must see and do.

                                    Tutukaka Coast

7.  Try the Marina Pizzeria

One of our favourites, located at the Tutukaka Marina. Enjoy the covered outdoor decks for a coffee and cake or pizza watching the boats go in and out. Casual and relaxed.

8.  Mt Manaia 

Impressive rock formations out at Whangarei Heads. Enjoy a vigorous walk and steady climb to the peak to enjoy much celebrated views. At 403 metres above sea level, it will take you approximately 1.5 hours to climb. 

9.  The Cove Café, Waipu

Half an hour south of Whangarei, this eatery is a wee gem. Located just across the road from the beach. Great food, service and location. It ticks all the boxes.

10.  Helena Bay Gallery and Café

Another brilliant destination. Set within beautiful subtropical gardens, the gallery specialises in Maori and Pacific art. Drive half an hour north from Whangarei and enjoy this contemporary gallery, gardens and café with panoramic views.
 

                                    Helena Bay Gallery and Cafe


South Island Top 10 Things To Do


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In the first of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.   

My Top 10 New Zealand Sites and Activities by Natalie Evans

Natalie is Director of Bella Vista Management and lives in Oamaru, in New Zealand's South Island.


  1. Blue cod and kumara chips from Coast, Kakanui North Otago - speaks for itself plus awesome view to boot.
     
  2. Picnic at Elephant rocks, Duntroon, North Otago - picturesque and provides a challenging climbing experience!
     
  3. Nosh Cafe on State Highway One, Waimate - their food display is a feast for the eyes.

                 
     
  4. Stroll from Friendly Bay around the harbour, Oamaru. Easy, picturesque and adjacent to the Steampunk playground which is a playground of old providing ages 6 plus with challenges. (Also not far from Bella Vista Oamaru!)
     
  5. Walk from St Kilda Beach to St Clair, Dunedin - coffee and cake, brunch or lunch at any one of the fabulous cafes and walk back along the seaside track and over the playing fields ending up at St Kilda playground - another must for those with families.
     
  6. Riverstone Cafe, just north of Oamaru. Home grown produce, terrific menu, gardens, castle, shops and playground. Just perfect.
     
  7. Bill Blair, Coppice Crafts Oamaru working from a red shed at the end of the harbour railway line at the Harbour Oamaru. Watch Bill in action making his crafts. Take home a very well built trug complete with copper nails to use to collect your fresh produce from your garden. 

                                              
     
  8. Turn right at Otematata and view Lake Benmore Dam. The largest earth dam in the Southern Hemisphere. Whilst there walk from the top of the dam on the circular walk where on a good day you will view Mt Cook in all its glory and the full length of Lake Benmore - a truly magnificent sight and and great walk.
     
  9. Visit The Vines Restaurant in Waimate. Friendly hosts and a view over Waimate. Stroll around Waimate for a town streetscape straight out of a bygone era.
     
  10. Finally, my recent find - Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson. A ride on the Marahau/Abel Tasman water taxis is a must. Make sure you land at Marahau so that you can experience riding on the boat trailers direct from the beach being pulled by tractors. Walk all or part of the Abel Tasman. It's a gem because you can walk it and return daily to civilisation via water taxi if that's your preference. Nature and clean sheets - bliss (check out Bella Vista Nelson for just that!).