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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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Two Days in The Garden City - A Christchurch mini-break with Bella Vista


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Thinking of heading to Christchurch? Here's a rundown as to how to spend two days in the celebrated Garden City with Christchurch Bella Vista Motel & Apartments.

Upon arrival at Christchurch Airport, make sure you pick up a rental car to make the most of the region and the city.It takes about 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the central city.  Bella Vista Christchurch is on Bealey Avenue well placed to explore both the City and surrounds.  There are many attractions within walking distance and Bella Vista offers free on-site car parking.

In the evening you could check out events at the Isaac Theatre Royal and catch a touring musician, comedian or performer.  This heritage venue reopened in late 2014 and the rebuild of the interior stayed true to what it looked like prior to the infamous 2011 earthquake.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens comprise of 30 hectares and are an enjoyable way to spend some time amongst the native and exotic plants.  There are plenty of walks through the gardens which are bordered by the Avon River and Hagley Park.  Spring is a great time to take in the Daffodil Woodland in full bloom.  Also check out the Visitor Centre which opened in 2014 and is a visually interesting multipurpose space inspired by glasshouses.

Punting on the Avon is next up.  You can follow the river through the Botanic Gardens or through the City.  The 30 minute round trip on a locally made wooden punt comes with commentary from an Edwardian themed punter.  The Botanic Gardens route launches from the Antigua Boat Sheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace, which have been beside the Avon River since 1882.  The sheds, which are Category 1 historic buildings, survived a fire in 1907, as well as the 2010/11 earthquakes.  Inside you will find some old time memorabilia including a line-up of blazers that have been collected over time from local high schools.  This is also the place to hire a kayak, row boat, or Canadian canoe if you want to navigate the river yourself.
 

                      Punting on the Avon River

 

The afternoon may be a good time to drive out to the suburb of Woolston for some lunch and retail therapy.  The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road, is a boutique shopping and dining destination.  With a focus on recyclable and renewable materials, brickwork that was damaged in the February 22, 2011 earthquake has been restored as a façade on the rebuilt buildings.  There is an emphasis on local products here.  Try the award-winning Cassels & Sons craft beer at The Brewery.  If wine is more your thing, neighbouring Gustav’s Kitchen & Wine Bar has one of the largest wine lists in the Country. 

The Woolston area has a connection to the arts.  Kiwi reggae band Salmonella Dub recorded an album here; other musicians have used The Tannery for album launches.

Then head for the Port Hills and take a gondola (cable car) ride, 10 Bridle Path Road, to the top.  From almost 500 metres above sea level, you will see Canterbury laid out before your eyes.  Look out at the Southern Alps, Banks Peninsula, Lake Ellesmere, Lyttelton Harbour, Pegasus Bay, the Pacific Ocean and Kaikoura Peninsula.

For an evening meal make your way towards the area around Victoria and Madras streets and Worcester Boulevard  and within that area you will find plenty of dining and bar options for a night out.

After a good nights sleep at the Bella Vista ease into the day with a walk through The Commons, on the corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.  The vacant lot is a hub of transitional activity and home to the Downtown Farmers Market.

A car trip to New Brighton is interesting.  The New Brighton Pier is the biggest ocean pier in Australasia.  After that, the Southern Pegasus Bay track takes you along most of the shoreline in both directions and offers up many photograph opportunities.
 

                                            New Brighton Pier

 

The Beach Cafe, on the corner of Beach and Broadpark roads is a buzzing neighbourhood that is a great spot to refuel. 

Back in the CBD, the transitional work is worth a look.   The Transitional Cardboard Cathedral constructed on the site of the former St John’s Latimer Square Anglican Church and the ReStart Mall, made from shipping containers are two examples of the innovative ways Christchurch is moving forward.

Then take a look at the Christchurch Art Gallery in Worcester Boulevard where the city’s latest public artwork has been installed.  The 46 metre long work was created for the city by the prestigious British artist Martin Creed and tells one and all, in neon letters more than metre tall, that everything is going to be alright.

With 23 motel or apartment units, Bella Vista Christchurch is a four star Qualmark endorsed motel offering quality and convenience. We look forward to your stay!


Ashburton Aviation Museum


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The Ashburton Aviation Museum is well worth a visit during your stay at Bella Vista Ashburton and located at the Ashburton Airport. This is a great activity and is well worth the visit no matter the weather.

Ashburton has a strong aviation history, being a training base in World War 2. At that time, there were 50 Tiger Moths based there. The original tarmac and tie-down rings are still there to this day which helped to secure the planes from Mid Canterbury’s strong nor-west winds.

There are over 20 aircraft on display in the Two Museum Buildings and more in the work shop. These include Devon, Vampire FB5, Harvard, Porterfield, Airtruk, Benson Gyro Glider, Weihe Glider, Hughes Helicopter, Olympia, Flying Flea, Harrier GR3, Canberra B2 Bomber Cockpit. F8 - Meteor, Zlin, DC3, Vampire T11, Link Trainer, Slingsby T31, Bergfalke, Cropmaster, Tiger Moth. The museum is also home to the Southern DC3 Trusts Historic Airliner ZK AMY. The latest acquisition is a Thompson Refueller, one of only 9 on display worldwide.

       Ashburton Aviation Museum

The museum is open to the public every day everyday between 1pm and 3pm. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:30am to 3pm. Entry is $10 per adult, children are free.

Bella Vista Motel Ashburton’s recommendation is on a nice day, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after you explore the Museum. Pending the weather, you may be able to watch other planes take off and land and skydivers landing. A picnic table is there to enjoy, please ensure you take your rubbish away when you leave.

For more information about Mid Canterbury, Ashburton accommodation or additional recommendations on activities while in the area, please contact stay@bellavistaashburton.co.nz or 03 307 7505 today. Bella Vista is a four star quality Ashburton motel situated only five minutes from Ashburton town centre and five minutes from the aviation museum. 


Oamaru Victorian Heritage Festival


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Come and celebrate Victorian history with Bella Vista Motel Oamaru during the Victorian Heritage Festival which runs from 16th-20th November 2016. 

This year Oamaru is opening the door on the intriguing world of 'Medicine in the Victorian era'. The festival offers a host of events and there's plenty on offer to experience Oamaru's bygone age.  Here's our top 10 things to do:

 

  1. Dress up, have fun, look stylish as the Victorian's did. Visit the Victorian Wardrobe with a huge selection of garments for hire
     
  2. Penny Farthings, wheels, big and small. Watch the penny farthings as they speed around the precinct, and then there is the Tyne Street Grunter – let’s see how far they can climb up that rather big hill!

    Heritage festival Oamaru
     
  3. Kick your heels up and dance the night away – a formal ball, a barn dance or two, and an afternoon dance for those that don’t want to stay up late.
     
  4. Dine like you’ve never dined before - breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning tea, or afternoon tea in the gardens, or at Totara Estate with Thomas Brydone. The choices are endless.
     
  5. Entertainment every night, shows of all types – some a little risqué, some with a murder to solve, a twist or two, a couple of comedians, a hypnotist, music and more.
     
  6. Parade. Watch as the Grand Heritage Parade works its way up Thames Street and then back to the Victorian Precinct
     
  7. Tours by foot or by bus. Take a look at our history with one of our informative tour guides.
     
  8. A slice of our history. Listen to a lecture, visit a historic site or building, see the machinery of yesteryear at work.
     
  9. Take a stroll. Visit the Museum, Art Gallery, Library, the Public Gardens, and the shops – special displays for this year’s theme for you to view
     
  10. And just when you thought it was over try the Network Waitaki Victorian Fete. Yes finish the week with a day full of entertainment, music and stalls with something to tempt you all.

So come and join us for an enjoyable visit and choose to stay at Oamaru's most centrally located motel, Bella Vista

                                       ‚ÄčVictorian Heritage Festival flyer


Ballooning Canterbury with Bella Vista Ashburton


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Looking for a getaway that offers a change of pace, and a beautifully unique experience? 

Escape to a world of peace and tranquility and discover Mid Canterbury from new heights. Hot Air Ballooning is magical experience and a flight with Ballooning Canterbury offers panoramic views across the fertile Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps. 

No matter if this is your first time to Mid Canterbury or you frequent Bella Vista Ashburton for business - There is nothing else as exciting as floating while you are effortlessly over an ever changing Mid Canterbury landscape. It provides a completely different and beautiful perceptive, no matter the season.

Ballooning Canterbury is a family owned and operated business, just like our Bella Vista Ashburton. Ballooning Canterbury also operates three modern balloons with the latest technology and safety equipment, and can carry from 2-30 passengers at once and larger groups by arrangement.

Michelle and Paul from Bella Vista Ashburton can help arrange your ballooning adventure when you book your stay. Plus, with our friendly wake up calls and continental breakfast packages we will help ensure that you are up early and ready for an exciting day as your hot air balloon flight typically leaves around 6AM, depending on the season.

After your exciting day in the air, Bella Vista Ashburton can provide a delicious recommendation for lunch or dinner in Ashburton. You will be amazed by all the options in our town and the level of comfort offered by the best Ashburton accommodation provider. 

For more information about Mid Canterbury and additional recommendations on activities while in the area, please contact stay@bellavistaashburton.co.nz or 03 307 7505 and ask for Michelle today.

Mid Canterbury Ballooning


Bella Vista Motel Taupo - A Great Green Initiative


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"Soap suds make cash for trees" called out the Taupo Times headline on page 12 of the September 2 edition.

Murray and Laurelle Hodge from Bella Vista motel Taupo got some great press coverage last week when they found themselves enlightening the Taupo readership about a new and unique scheme they have introduced at their Taupo accommodation complex.

"We weren't seeking the attention we received" explained Laurelle, "but it is good to get the green message out all the same." "Why not show everyone that we're doing our bit for the environment and hopefully inspire them to think of ways they can contribute." she said.
 

Taupo Bella Vista's Green Initiative - How it Works.

The scheme is quite simple really and generates fundraising for a great local cause. Laurelle and Murray had noticed that guests were washing very few items using a significant amount of electricity, water and washing powder. To combat this inefficient use, the cost of a machine wash was upped from $1 to $3 per load. Still costing less than an average wash at a commercial retail laundry outlet, a charge of $3 got guest's to think twice about running small loads.

More importantly, rather than pocketing the increased revenue, Bella Vista Taupo will now be donating all the money they collect from laundry washes to Greening Taupo. Described as an 'organisation that provides an opportunity for Taupo residents and businesses to participate in a community conservation initiative' it seemed a perfect match. Keeping the donations local ensured a direct kick-back to the Taupo environment.  After all, it is Taupo and its pristine environment that brings the motels guest's to their doorstep.

Laurelle and Murray hope that more Taupo motels do the same. "If we could get even half a dozen more onboard with what we're doing that would be hugely positive"  To read the full article, see an image of the newspaper below.
 

Bella Vista Motel Taupo green intiative

This article first appeared in the Taupo Times on Friday, 2nd September 2016 and was written by Robert Steven. 


Visit Hokitika; A special West Coast town.


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Haere Mai Hokitika! Described as a ‘cool little town’, Hokitika serves a great place to stay, a gateway to the West Coast, and a pretty cool destination in its own right – not least as the celebrated host of the annual Wild Food Festival. Hokitika can also uniquely lay claim to both the Tasman Sea and Mt Cook as the scenic backdrop to its picturesque setting.

There is so much on offer in the town; Enjoy exploring the vibrant arts scene, delve into eclectic mix of independent stores, soak up the pioneer spirit at the Hokitika museum, seek out your very own personal Pounamu, or simply relax at some of the many fantastic eateries including Ocean View Restaurant and enjoy some true West Coast hospitality.

Hokitika Beach

Situated right on the beach, Hokitika is compact and easy to explore by foot. On fair weather days, be sure to take a late afternoon walk to the aptly named Sunset Point as you’re guaranteed a spectacular West Coast sundowners. 

Beyond the town itself, you have the option to take a daytrip to the Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier to the south, or Punakaiki Pancake Rocks to the north. Closer at hand, however, are a couple of scenic gems which are a little off the beaten track.

Hokitika Gorge is a must-do, an incredibly impressive natural formation set within lush native bush. Make sure you take time to stop at Lake Kaniere on the way. The calm tranquility of Lake Mahinapoua is also well worth a visit as is a loop drive that includes Goldsborough, an historic gold-mining town. For those wanting to get a little more adventurous, try the excellent West Coast Tree Top Walk or get up in the air with Wilderness Wings and take a scenic flight over the Southern Alsp and see Mount Cook up close.

Hokitika can be easily reached. Direct flights arrive frequently to Hokitika airport courtesy of Air New Zealand or jump in a car for a breathtakingly scenic three hour journey from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass.

If you are set for a visit, we would definitely recommend you find a copy of  Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize novel ‘The  Luminaries’. It’s a great way to introduce you to the old port town of Hokitika and what life was like in the mid-1860s gold-rush times. It’s an absorbing read full of interesting characters. Many of the locations described in the book can still be found as you wander around town.

And finally, before we forget, you’ll need some accommodation in Hokitika. Motel accommodation is possibly your best choice with Bella Vista Hokitika offering everything you need and only a stone’s throw from the town centre. If you do stay at Bella Vista Motel Hokitika you are in great company - Eleanor Catton stayed in Room 16 whilst promoting her book in March 2014.

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Fancy a free trip to Hokitika? Well here's an amazing opportunity. Visit the Bella Vista Facebook page Make sure you click LIKE  and leave a comment as to why you want to visit Hokitika and you’re in the draw to win a two night stay with some fabulous inclusions. Refer to www.bellavista.co.nz for full details. Competition closes 4pm, 2nd September 2016. Good Luck! 


Bella Vista's '27 Club'; An Exclusive Membership


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Founded in 1998, the Bella Vista Accommodation Network quickly spread across the country creating a comprehensive motel chain of 27 quality motels from Bella Vista Invercargill in the scenic south to Bella Vista Whangarei in the winter-less north.

Over the following 18 years, tens of thousands of guest nights and a good number of hearty breakfasts delivered, Bella Vista motels have welcomed visitors from right across New Zealand and the world. Whilst Bella Vista has been open for business, it has forged a strong reputation for convenience and quality becoming a preferred choice enabling tourists to visit New Zealand’s beautiful scenic locations, facilitating business travellers a convenient place to stay when criss-crossing the country for work and in all cases, a trusted overnight stop.

Whilst the Bella Vista story continues to unfold, a question was recently asked which stopped us dead in our tracks; “Has anyone stayed at all 27 Bella Vista motels?” A quick delve into our records was unable to offer any conclusive results. Even a poll amongst the Bella Vista team came up short. The record for the most Bella Vista motels stayed in by any one individual was 24. Only 24, that can’t be right!! As you can imagine, we’re now on the hunt for anyone who can claim to be part of what we imagine is a very exclusive group. Have you stayed at all 27 Bella Vista’s?

The geographic spread of the Bella Vista chain ensures that not only do most major New Zealand towns and cities feature properties, such as Bella Vista Christchurch or Bella Vista Dunedin, but so do popular tourist destinations such as Bella Vista Franz Josef and Bella Vista Queenstown. Do you travel for work and have decided to use our chain to cater for your accommodation? Perhaps you’ve decided to undertake a New Zealand road-trip similar to these itineraries and whilst touring, you have used our motel accommodation network? Possibly a mixture of both work and pleasure at different times?

What is certain is if you have stayed at every 27 or even just a small handful - whether it is Bella Vista Hamilton, Bella Vista Queenstown or Bella Vista Fox Glacier to name just three, you are going to experience a four star Qualmark endorsed level of comfort and be entertained by some of New Zealand’s very best hosts.

So tell us, how many Bella Vista motels have you stayed at? With 27 in the network it takes a certain type of loyalty and commitment to tick them all off.  

If you have stayed at all 27, we want to hear from you!

Bella Vista '27 Club'

 


Calling David Bowie fans!


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Come to Ashburton, stay at Bella Vista Ashburton and see ‘Ultimate’ which showcases one of the world’s greatest music legends, David Bowie. If you are a David Bowie fan, an incredible night awaits you on August 18, 2016. 

The legacy he left his New Zealand fans is a superb catalogue of music from a stellar 40+ year career and the memories of his many visits to these shores for concerts that have gone down in folklore as some of the biggest ever staged on Kiwi soil.

Ultimate Bowie

 

 

 

 

 

In an authentic celebration and salute to David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, Showcase Entertainment Group and Pacific Entertainment are pleased to present the UK's No. 1 David Bowie tribute show ULTIMATE BOWIE starring Ed Blaney as David Bowie to transport you across the 40 years of Bowie, from Spaceboy to Superstar.

Ed not only possesses Bowie's awe-inspiring vocal prowess but is also the definitive look-alike, commanding the stage and faithfully bringing alive the many sides of Bowie's chameleon personality with precise detail, supported by a seven-piece band.

Ed Blaney's ULTIMATE BOWIE delivers a stunning two-hour show of Bowie classics, from "Space Oddity" to "Let's Dance" to David's latest massive hit "Blackstar".

The Ashburton Trust Event Centre is located a convenient 1.7km away from Bella Vista Ashburton and this one night only showing of ‘Ultimate’ is already a popular hit and selling out fast! Tickets for this event can be purchased from ticketdirect.co.nz

Ashburton has a lot to offer visitors and we encourage you to explore more. For more information about upcoming events, activities and must do attractions in Ashburton please give Michelle, Paul and the team at Bella Vista Ashburton for more information. Bella Vista Ashburton still has a few rooms available for the ‘Ultimate’ performance, giving you the opportunity to plan a night or a well-deserved long weekend away from home. Contact stay@bellavistaashburton.co.nz or 03 307 7505 today for more information.


Fantastic Franz Josef


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Last week, Bella Vista Motels ran a facebook promotion giving our facebook fans a chance to win an amazing winter break to Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef New Zealand, is a small township set within the beautiful West Coast, South Island. Our competition included two nights of accommodation at Bella Vista, a meal at the popular SnakeBite Brewery, a guided walk up to Franz Josef Glacier from which the town takes its name, entry to the West Coast Wildlife Centre and a Private Pools Experience at the wonderful Glacier Hot Pools and Spa. Spending two nights would also allow time for a trip to other great sites such as Okarito Lagoon, Fox Glacier, the very special Lake Matheson and possibly even a helicopter sightseeing trip to view the peaks of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

We were overwhelmed by the number of responses we received and we thought we’d share the best reasons why everyone wants to visit Franz Josef. If you ever wondered why you should head there, don’t just take our word for it, take a read. You’ll be packing your bags straight away.
 

Franz Josef

Why Franz Josef?

 

“That picture of a lake is enough to make me want to visit. It would be like walking in a post card, looks that amazing.”

“I have not been and would so love to go with my hubby…it looks so beautiful!”

“I love Franz Josef, fascinating place full of the wonders of mother nature ..a photographers dream location”

“Franz Josef is a nice quiet place”

“I'd love to visit and take that helicopter ride”

"Franz Josef. I loved it all - the mountain walk, hot pools and yummy food I would love  to go again"

"I would love to visit. It looks so beautiful and I'm sure it would be a great place for adventures and making memories!"

"We love the West Coast and Fiordland regions"

"One of my favourite places in New Zealand and I would love to go back"

"It looks beautiful! Sometimes I wonder why we bother going overseas when there are such amazing places in NZ"

"I have never been and would love to visit we live in such a beautiful country but never get to explore!"

"Franz Josef is an incredible place…It's somewhere we always stop but haven't had any nights there and it would be magical"

"My best memory is having lunch at snakebite with my bestie in Franz Josef so would love her to be here again"

"Looks like such a beautiful place, I've never been but have been wanting to for a long time now. I would love to relax at the glacier hot pools and spa private pools"

"My husband has never been there would be great to be able to show him the wonderful sights. A great place to de stress"

"I have never been to this fabulous place. I would love to be there for a special retreat, sightseeing and soak up in hot spa."

 

Franz Josef Hot Pools

"Such a beautiful part of NZ....Would be lovely to go back and enjoy a couple of nights"

"I remember visiting Franz Josef Glacier when I was 10/11yrs and being amazed at the huge ice-rocks. Our family camped near there and we had to wear our socks and hat to bed to stay warm. It would be so cool to visit Franz Josef Glacier & see how it looks and feels. It would be awesome to share such a marvellous experience."

"Love the still morning reflections in Lake Matheson...."

"The first time we visited Franz Josef together was when his mum and sister travelled over from Canada. They were blown away by the beauty of the area."

To read more great comments about Franz Josef please visit the official Bella Vista facebook page. To book your trip to Franz Josef, head to the booking page. Rooms are available this month for as little as $85 for two people.


3 Great Places for a New Zealand Autumn Escape


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Autumn is a great time to travel New Zealand. The colder nights give way to crisp mornings leaving the famous New Zealand landscapes refreshed. At this time of year you’ll often witness a scattering of low hanging but atmospheric morning mist reaffirming why this beautiful country is called Aotearoa or “the land of the long white cloud”.  A sunny autumnal day can often be as good as any summer’s day with the added benefit that the maddening summer crowds have disappeared. Occasionally, you might even feel like you’ve got the entire country to yourself.

Here’s three ideas for your next Autumn break...

Explore Fiordland from Te Anau

Beautiful Lake Te Anau acts as the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and there is genuinely no better time to explore the brilliant wilderness of New Zealand’s southwest and the country’s largest national park. There are plenty of outstanding day excursions on offer including a visit to Te Anau glow worm caves with Real Journeys, lakeside walks or tramps, a journey to the famous Milford Sound and a cruise on the fiord, or perhaps even an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound. Each of these trips work equally as well in autumn as they do in summer and the lack of tourists makes them more personable and often more enjoyable. 

Of course your getaway will only be complete by basing yourself at Bella Vista Te Anau where you will enjoy the warm southern hospitality. Spend a long weekend or just a few days but we guarantee you’ll return home from your trip refreshed!

Lake Te Anau


Catch the first sunrise at Gisborne

Way out east and somewhere you always thought you’d like to visit? Well, what are you waiting for! Autumn is possibly one of the best times of year to go. Bella Vista Motel Gisborne would love to host you for a long weekend break, or even a couple of nights as you pass through on your road-trip around the East Cape.

Please be aware that if you don’t stop for more than two nights, you’re doing this great city a disservice. Famous for being the first city in the world to see the sun each morning, there’s a whole lot more to experience including great food and wine, some of NZ’s best surf beaches and a deep cultural connection to early Maori settlers. And don’t forget to add a breakfast to your stay at Bella Vista Gisborne which includes the “best freshly baked croissant in Gisborne”(!)

Gisborne sun rise


Find all year summer in Nelson

Another location for a perfect autumn getaway is Nelson. Tourism New Zealand sum up the town perfectly as, “One of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, Nelson is the perfect spot to base yourself while you spend some time exploring the Abel Tasman National Park.”

There are in fact three National Parks within a 90 minute drive of the Nelson Bella Vista motel so you’re absolutely spoilt for choice if you want to get out and about. The Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park are an easy drive from a stay at our Nelson accommodation, but the Abel Tasman National Park is probably the more well-known park with spectacular sandy beaches, and an excellent destination for day-trips including walks and boat excursions. 

If the great outdoors doesn’t entice you, then there is plenty to do in and around the city including a strong arts and culture scene, as well as sumptuous local culinary delights. Despite the theme of this blog promoting autumn escapes, our Nelson motel owners will remind you that ‘in Nelson, it’s summer all year round!’

Nelson Lakes National Park


Wherever you decide to go to get away this autumn, Bella Vista has got 27 excellent placed motels offering plenty to see and do!