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Monthly Archives: October 2017

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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Hokitika - A Cool Little Town


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Have you ever found a destination and wanted to stay longer or booked an extra night to continue exploring and enjoy your time away? Let us introduce you to Hokitika. It's an absolute gem. A delightful West Coast town with plenty on offer to see and do.

Naturally, we'd recommend you base yourself at the Bella Vista Hokitika motel accommodation, situated only 5 minutes’ walk from the town centre shops and the beach – a superb location!  And with off-street parking, you can leave the car and walk or get out exploring on your bike.

The great thing about Hokitika is that it is so close to the NZ native bush, its steeped in history from the Gold Rush and has many attractions and activities that are free. It's a destination that won’t break the bank, will guarantee full days visiting attractions and activities and give you the chance to put your feet up at the end of the day and enjoy a sundowner.

Friends recently had 4 nights at their Hokitika accommodation (they originally booked 3 nights) and their hosts Dale and Claire at Bella Vista were fantastic offerings some great tips about the local area and attractions. Dining was also easy as the Bella Vista rooms all have kitchenettes and the supermarket is a 2-minute drive away.  A popular fish’n’chip shop, pizzeria, bakeries and other great restaurants are also only within a 5-minute walk.

Here are some of the attractions they managed to tick off the list and some they have marked for a return holiday in the future.

Sunset Point & Hokitika Beach

The West Coast gets some spectacular sunsets and what better place to view one than from Sunset Point at the entrance to the Hokitika Harbour.  While you watch the sky turn shades of pink and orange, the kids can scramble over the rocks, collect driftwood, scour the beach for Pounamu (NZ Jade) or hang out on the replica of the ‘Tambo’ shipwreck.
 

Hokitika drift-wood


Lake Kaniere

A beautiful lake located 30km southwest of Hokitika amongst lush native bush. Lake Kaniere is steeped in history and is a great place to explore by way of the many trails. From short walks like the Kahikatea Forest Walk, the trees here are known as ‘Giants of the Forest’ and are New Zealand’s tallest forest tree and have been around since the Jurassic period. Another trail delivers you to a magical place featuring Dorothy Falls or takes the longer historic Kaniere Water Race Walkway. Whichever way you head, take a picnic and easily amble away the day.

Hokitika Gorge

The Hokitika Gorge can be combined in a scenic loop with Lake Kaniere and Dorothy Falls. The bright turquoise waters make a vivid contrast to the surrounding bush and rocky outcrops of the Hokitika river and are well worth the visit. It’s an easy walk from the carpark into the forest to a viewing platform that looks down onto the stunning Hokitika Gorge. From here continue till the track emerges onto a swing bridge and more stunning views. Still, further, the track then continues to another viewing platform or down onto a small beach. It's magical.
 

Hokitika Gorge


Hokitika Heritage Trail & Township

The heritage trail is an 11km loop around the town that takes in interesting Goldrush sites, buildings, statues and views. There are information panels along the way that bring the history to life.

Hokitika is home to many artisans providing a wide range of arts and crafts. Pounamu (NZ Jadeor was otherwise known as Greenstone) and gold are sourced locally and feature in many of the works. Wander around town and visit these craft shops to watch the artists at work – discover the art of jade carving and glass blowing. Its interesting for all ages. You can even have a go at carving your own jade or bone piece.

Goldsborough

Just as the name suggests Goldsborough is known for its gold-mining history and scenic surrounds. You can get out searching for gold on some of the great little walks in the area. The 20-minute Tunnel Terrace Walk is a great option for kids as it starts and ends through old gold mining tailrace tunnels. The track meanders through a regenerating forest and through old gold workings.

Glow Worm Dell

You should never pass up an opportunity to see glow worms in the NZ bush. Our friends had a wonderful experience. While visiting a local family they were taken through a creek on their property that was dense with bush on both sides. As they waded down the creek at night, apparently they were completely absorbed in the magical fairylike lights of the glow worms whilst the stars twinkled through the canopy of the bush. Sounds amazing! 

Hokitika has an easily accessible Glow Worm Dell which is a must see, located just north of the town on the main road. A 50-metre track leads to a natural fern grotto by day and a magical world of glow worms by night. Take a torch and the coolest thing is that is free!!

Treetop Walk & Café

Located 15 minutes south of Hokitika, experience a walk amongst the canopy of the mature rimu forest on a 450 metre long elevated steel walkway, viewing tower and gently swaying cantilever. Spectacular views can be had of nearby Lake Mahininapua, the surrounding forest and the Southern Alps.

Hokitika promotes itself as a Cool Little Town. And we think quite rightly so.


7 Great Queenstown Walks with Bella Vista


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As the weather warms up and puts a spring in our step it’s time to pull out those walking shoes and venture into the great outdoors.  And what better place to visit than Queenstown!

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the longest lake in New Zealand, and surrounded by majestic mountains such as The Remarkables, Queenstown is renowned for its scenic beauty, adventure sports, wineries and amazing walks. The surrounding mountains insulate Queenstown from much of the weather that impacts New Zealand allowing for a dry and sunny climate. Although cold in the winter, there are very few days in the year when a walk of some sort is not possible. In fact, it’s a walkers paradise!

Of course, there are the ‘Great Walks’ that we have all heard of like The Routeburn Track and Milford Track, but there are many day walks around the Wakatipu basin that have spectacular views of Queenstown and the stunning scenery that surrounds this patch of paradise. For many of the best walks you don’t even need to go far from the town centre, making your Queenstown Bella Vista Motel Accommodation a perfect base to set out exploring from.

Being one of the closest motels to the CBD, our Queenstown motel is only 5 minutes’ walk from the start of many trails such as the lakefront, Queenstown Hill and Bobs Peak.

Here the team at the Bella Vista motel have shared some of their favourite walks and not all them require an uphill slog.

1. Queenstown Hill Loop

This moderate three-hour walk starts and finishes on Belfast Street, climbs up through pine forest to the ‘Basket of Dreams’, a favourite lookout spot. Continuing through tussock to the summit of Queenstown Hill for magnificent views over The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu, central Queenstown and surrounding mountains.

Lake Wakatipu

 

2. The Frankton Arm Walkway

The Frankton Arm walkway is a relatively wide flat trail that leads all the way to Frankton alongside the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu. From central Queenstown cross through the beautiful Queenstown Gardens to the start of the walk. There are numerous small beaches to stop at, lake-side houses and gardens that you pass. And a rewarding coffee break can be had at the historic Boatshed Café at the marina.

3.Queenstown Tiki Trail                                                    

Starting at the bottom of the Skyline Gondola the Tiki Trail is an iconic trail that winds its way through pine forest towards the lookout at the top. Once there you can relax, enjoy a coffee whilst taking in the magnificent view, or have an exhilarating luge ride before making your way back down, either by the trail or there is an option of journeying down in the Gondola!

4.Ben Lomond

A climb of Ben Lomond is not to be missed on any keen walker’s visit to Queenstown. The Tiki Trail, is just the warm up before continuing along the Ben Lomond walkway, heading for the summit, or saddle. At 800m you break out from the pines and walk amongst the alpine tussock and shrubs. Then it’s a steep uphill mission to Ben Lomond’s 1748m summit. Allow 5-8 hours to reach the summit and be prepared for snow above the treeline. On a clear day Mt Earnslaw and Mt Aspiring are visible and a brass plane table identifies the surrounding mountains. The tradition is to climb Ben Lomond before dawn on New Year’s Eve to witness the sunrise. Anyone up for it?

5. Lake Hayes Loop

Situated just 15 mins drive from Queenstown lies the beautiful Lake Hayes, a popular spot for picnics and swimming in the summer, the home to a population of Australasian crested grebe, and the setting for many a wedding. The 8km Lake Hayes loop track is popular with locals and the undulating path circles by its shores or above on a ridgeline with picturesque and stunning views. The best time to walk the track is in the morning when you have a chance to catch the calm reflections of the willow trees, mountains and lakefront houses on the water which is magical.

 

Lake Hayes

6. Twelve Mile Loop Track - Mt Creighton Scenic Reserve

Located just 11km from central Queenstown along the Glenorchy Road is this 2-4 hour loop walk that has a great mixture of interests from a beautiful stream, beech forest, historic goldmining, beautiful birdsong and extensive views. The track follows along the floor of an extensive sluiced gully and up to Sam Summers Hut, built by a prospector in the 1930s, crosses a deep gorge on a bridge before climbing to a ridge and descending through beech forest back to the carpark.

7. Kelvin Grove Walk – Kelvin Peninsula

Another popular locals’ trail, this well-formed easy 1-2hr walk is on the sunny side of the Frankton Arm and is the more attractive of the two Frankton Arm tracks. The track passes several beaches and attractive rocky shelves and is a great opportunity for a close-up view of some of the finest private homes in the Wakatipu. The Earnslaw slipway is a notable historic feature to look out for as you circle around the golf course at the tip of the peninsula.

Queenstown Gardens

At the Bella Vista Queenstown, you'll also enjoy the convenience of being located near to shops and restaurants during your stay and whilst central, the motel is also very quiet allowing you a good night's sleep after your invigorating walk in the mountain air.

Book now by phoning 0800 BELLA VISTA or visit our website to secure your Queenstown motel accommodation and start planning which walks you are inspired to explore.


Bella Vista Motels Supporting Your Community


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Bella Vista accommodation network takes its corporate responsibility seriously. We believe it is important to pay-forward and offset our business footprint by supporting New Zealand communities within which we operate. Every year a percentage of the Bella Vista motels head office funds are allocated to a worthy community cause, topping up on any activity an individual motel may have undertaken within its community.

In 2016, Bella Vista provided an array of bedding and pillows to the children of a low decile school in the Waitaki region. ‘A good night’s sleep’ is a mantra that Bella Vista follows so being able to extend that opportunity to some deserving children was certainly a worthy exercise.

Corporate Social Responsibility

This year, Bella Vista head office extended an invitation to the 27 motels throughout our New Zealand accommodation network asking for them to all pitch for a local cause that they were actively engaged with. After a robust selection process across the entries, it was determined that Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier would receive the donation.

The Bella Vista Franz Josef motel owner Adam Haugh is very involved with his communities activities and when earlier this year the Franz Josef Glacier Civil Defence team were kitting out a shipping container with supplies and equipment should a natural disaster occur - including everything from tarps, water, fluro paint and power cables, Adam hit upon an idea that once again worked in well with Bella Vista’s ‘Good Night’s Sleep’ promise.   

No other town faces natural hazard risks quite like Franz Josef Glacier. Not only does the township lie on the Alpine Fault line which snakes through New Zealand’s south island, but it is also prone to flooding from both heavy rainfall and also the ever-present risk of the Waiho River that runs adjacent to the town.

Adam proposed that Bella Vista motels could contribute towards the purchase of bedrolls that could be used to make locals and visitors more comfortable in the Community Hall when it is used for emergency accommodation. The need for bedrolls became apparent after the last Civil Defence event in Easter 2016 when visitors and locals had to be accommodated at the Community Hall.
 

Hokitika Guardian


During the height of the summer, Franz Josef holds a few thousand people along with the 350 locals. Anything that can be done to make a disruptive time more comfortable seemed like a great idea. Adam was pleased to present the bedrolls to the Civil Defence team at a training day in April.

Bella Vista was delighted to help with a great cause and, of course, we hope that the bedrolls see very little use!

Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier is a modern 18 unit motel situated right in the heart of the Franz Josef village and a highly rated Franz Josef accommodation choice. Despite the natural hazards alluded to in this article, Franz Josef Glacier is a fabulous place to visit, a very friendly small village with some great local activities such as the Glacier Hot Pools or the West Coast Wildlife Centre, interesting eateries including the Snake Bite Brewery and of course, the town is the perfect place to explore the glacier from which it takes its name. 
 

Bella Vista Hokitika