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Monthly Archives: January 2021

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!  


Journey to Edoras

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Sir Ian McKellen helped blur the distinction between a fantasy land and New Zealand’s very real rugged landscapes. “Middle Earth is a real place and it is New Zealand ,” he would say:

This stunning location in Mid Canterbury is the backdrop for Edoras, the capital of Rohan and New Zealand is home so come and see it for yourself! You will feel the stress unwind as you make your way into the hills and simply let the vista blow your mind away.


Hakatere National Park


Take a one and a half hour drive from your Ashburton accommodation, take a picnic, climb Mount Sunday, a low, rounded hill shaped by a glacier, and you have arrived.  This was the site of Edoras in the Lord of the Rings movies.  Feel the awesome power of the landscape, and imagine how the fantasy unfolded in front of these amazing vistas. We can’t recommend it enough.

The road to Mount Sunday is well signposted from Mount Somers on State Highway 72. This road takes you directly to the small settlement of Lake Camp and Lake Clearwater and then further onto Mount Sunday. The last section is a well maintained gravel road and be aware you will lose cell phone coverage just after Mount Somers.  Perhaps that's not a bad thing . Make sure your car is filled with gas and you have supplies with you for the day as there are no shops of service stations from from Mount Somers onwards.

If you are travelling up this way in summer, you might also want to consider taking a dip in Lake Camp on the way or upon your return from your tramp. The lake has a roped off area and beach for swimmers and is a perfect spot for your picnic. In the winter these lakes can freeze right over and the locals go ice skating.  Whatever the season, you will be stopping every 10 minutes to take another photo.

Once you have arrived at the Mount Sunday car park, it is a short walk on the well formed Mount Sunday track, but still a good pair of shoes is our advice. You’ll eventually cross a walking bridge as your ascent begins. It is a short sharp climb but is easily manageable for most people. Once at the top the views are awesome and you will get a wonderful Bella Vista (beautiful view) of the surrounding snow caped mountains and the tussock valley floor.

Upon your return back toward the Ashburton Lakes, there is another hidden gem you will be glad you discover.  Look for the Hakatere Heron Road and follow it to the The Hakatere Conservation Park.  This is a beautiful part of New Zealand and we encourage everyone to come and explore. It’s more of the beaten track, but the scenery is every bit impressive.

There is so much more to see  including a historic building at Hakatere corner, several picturesque lakes and heaps of mountain views. There are many walks and mountain bike tracks to explore and if you love fishing, a brown trout or rainbow is yours to take from many of the lakes.

Are you excited to visit our backyard? Book Bella Vista accommodation Ashburton as you enjoy this very local Middle Earth adventure. Michelle is more than happy to give you a map and send you on your merry way with all the advice you need.

Bella Vista Motel Ashburton looks forward to hosting you and showing you our local Lord of the Rings country.


Edoras Lord of the Rings





Walking in Whangarei

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Do you love walking or need to take some daily exercise when you are traveling, whether it is for work or pleasure? We have great walks just a few minutes from Bella Vista Whangarei that are very enjoyable.  Please note that some walks may require a higher level of fitness.


Hatea Loop Track

The Hatea Loop walk is 4.2km and takes in all the sites of the Whangarei Town Basin including the Whangarei Art Museum, and the Hundertwasser Art Centre.  Called Huarahi o the Whai (Pathway of Opportunity), along the way you can read the heritage panels and view the sculptures along the trail. Travel over the Te Matau Pohe (Bascule Bridge) and enjoy this picturesque setting. Once finished enjoy a nice cup of coffee along the water front viewing all the yachts.  The walk can accommodate wheelchairs and is perfect for small children.


Whangarei Town Basin


Hatea River Walk to Whangarei Falls

Follow the Hatea River through the highlights of Whangarei city including the Town Basin, Mair Park, the AH Reed Kauri Park, and Whangarei Falls. There’s a mix of pleasant bush walks and urban landscapes to enjoy on this 6km walk.

You can’t visit the Northland region of New Zealand without seeing a kauri forest! Kauri are the largest trees in New Zealand and can only be naturally found in the north of the North Island. The AH Reed Kauri Park gets you up-close to the forest giants on a tree-top boardwalk taking only 25 minutes to complete. The AH Reed Kauri Park connects to the Hatea River Walk and Whangarei Falls making for a longer walk of two and-a-half hours.


Whangarei Falls

Mt Mania Walk 

Fancy something more challenging? Walking up Mt Mania could be the challenge you are looking for.  Located in the Whangarei Heads area, the walk is a short 45 minute drive from BV Whangarei.  The total walking distance to the top is 3.5km and the round trip will take two hours climbing to 420 metres above sea level.

From the carpark, the track climbs steeply through native forest to the summit with breathtaking 360 views of the Whangarei Harbour. 


Bream Head – Te Whara Track

For a real hike in the Whangarei area, make sure you hit the Te Whara Track at the Bream Head Reserve. This six hour one-way hike goes through protected kiwi habitat to deliver some sensational views at the end of the Whangarei Heads. There are also shorter walks in the reserve like the 3-hour return Peach Cove Track which links with the Te Whara Track and provides an overnight option at the Peach Cove Hut.


Whangarei Heads View


Whangerie is a marvelous destination and there is plenty of attractions and activities on offer including these walks enabling you to enjoy using Bella Vista as an ideal option as your preferred Whangarie accommodation choice. 

Sharon and Jo look forward to hosting you.