Author Archives: Bella Vista
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!
Posted by Bella Vista on
Hot cross buns, Easter egg hunts, oodles of chocolate and catching up with friends and family are likely on everyone’s calendars this Easter. But how about making it extra special by combining all these things with an Easter getaway.
Our 4 top pick destinations in the North Island this year will have you hopping mad with excitement.
And remember once you are there ask around and see if there’s any local Easter Hunts, special music or other events happening over the weekend that you can join in on.
Take the hassle out of getting away by staying at our Bella Vista motels where you and the kids will enjoy a relaxed and enjoyable stay. Your Bella Vista hosts are friendly and will enjoy giving you some great local tips and there’s free parking so you can get out and explore by foot or bicycle.
Be the first to see the sunrise on Easter Sunday on the sun-kissed East Cape. Gisborne is well known for its wineries and beautiful beaches and makes for that perfect escape for the Easter break. Take the family for a surf lesson, find some time to hide some Easter treats and before they are totally exhausted from catching waves, send the kids to go hunting for eggs amongst the dunes or under driftwood. While they are occupied you can relax, listen to the waves crash and soak in the last days of warmth before the cooler months settle in.
A great place to go for a wander at this time of year is the Eastwoodhill Arboretum, its only 30mins out of Gisborne and a popular must-see attraction. It’s at its most magnificent in Autumn and the trees put on a spectacular show of colours from oranges to purples to bronzes and reds. You can take a guided tour or walking tour. There’s a Visitor Centre and Gift Store and Discovery Centre along with a playground with some of the biggest swings in the country. And if you begin to get a little peckish visit the Homestead Tea House that’s open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 3pm where you can get a warm cuppa with scones, jam and cream or delicious cake whilst listening out for the Kereru or Tui.
Besides the beaches, there are numerous walks both historic and nature based. Or check out the Morere Hot Springs. These natural mineral pools are one of New Zealand's off-the-beaten-track thermal bathing sites.
At the end of each day you’ll come back to the comfort of the Bella Vista motel. Your Gisborne accommodation is an easy walk to the town centre, shops and restaurants and the nearby beach.
Napier, the self-proclaimed Art Deco Capital of the World, is strikingly different from other towns in New Zealand. After the devastation of the 1931 earthquake Napier was rebuilt in the Spanish mission style architecture that we see today. Step back in time as you wander in and out of shops, browsing 1920’s style costumes and paraphernalia. Do a walking tour around the historic buildings and hear some stories of characters of that time.
Napier has a fantastic boardwalk that meanders around the coastline. It's loved by locals who make the most of the amazing sunshine! You can hire bikes and ride along to Westshore or amble along past the port to Ahuriri. Ice-cream stops are a must along the way, along with playgrounds, skateparks, restaurants, cafes and New Zealand’s National Aquarium. It’s a great way to while away a day. The Marine Parade is a bustle of activity over the weekends but whether you want to beat the family at mini-golf or laze in the sunken gardens for a picnic, there is something for everyone.
Your Napier accommodation is perfectly located on Hastings Street that runs parallel to Marine Parade with its majestic Norfolk Pine Trees. The Bella Vista motel is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants, the art deco buildings and of course the ocean-side walkway. They have plenty of parking so there’s no excuse to get out and explore by foot!
Taupo sits nestled on the edge of the mighty Lake Taupo looking across to the Tongariro National Park. It owes its beautiful scenery to the active volcanic zone that it lies within. Adrenaline and adventure-based activities are plentiful making it a fantastic location for the kids to let off steam and the adults to forget about their daily routines and get amongst it. Start with a thrilling Hukafalls Jet Boat ride along the Waikato river, past nature bush, sheer rock cliff faces, hot water streams and feel the power of the Huka Falls as you get up close to it. From here visit one of the regions top geothermal attractions like Craters of the Moon or wander the ‘Hidden Valley’ of Orakei Korako exploring the bubbling mud pools and gushing geysers along some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world.
Take a cruise or kayak out to see Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. These 14m high carvings took 4 years to complete and are only accessible by water. And finish off your weekend with a hot soak in hot pools at Debretts Hot Springs, the Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa or the AC Baths and Thermal Hot Pools.
You Taupo motel accommodation at the Bella Vista is situated on the fringe of the town centre and just a short stroll to go out for dinner, browse the shops or wander along the lakefront at sunset.
And last but not least of our Easter Getaway locations in the North Island, is Rotorua, a place of wealth for Maori history and culture amidst New Zealand’s most lively geothermal area. But let’s not forget that Rotorua is also home to many adventure activities including Rotorua Canopy Tours – an eco-adventure deep in to the forest including a zipline ride that will have the whole family squealing with delight - an experience not to forget!!
Take in a farm show at the Agrodome, see the sheepdogs in action and feed the animals. Kids and adults love the interaction with the cute and cuddly baby animals. At Rainbow Springs the interaction with nature continues as its home to the Kiwi Burrow and the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the world's largest kiwi hatchery! Once you’ve finished discovering about the birds and the bugs take a thrill ride on the “Big Splash”.
In the evening make sure that you visit one of the fantastic Maori Cultural Villages and shows and enjoy the return journey back to your Bella Vista Rotorua accommodation.
It's not too late to book now at www.bellavista.co.nz for the best rate and instant availability and secure your Easter break.
Posted by Bella Vista on
Easter is nearly upon us and we’d like to feature four fantastic destinations in the South Island where you can have some fun with the kids together with a relaxing, cozy, autumnal break for Mum and Dad. It’s just what the doctor ordered along with, of course, over indulging in some delicious chocolate treats along the way!
Why not make Easter extra special for the family this year and create an Easter hunt in one of these amazing locations. Or ask around and see if there’s any local Easter Hunts happening over the weekend that you can join in on. The kids will be delighted and will talk about it for years.
Take the hassle out of getting away by staying at our Bella Vista Motel accommodation where you and the kids will have a warm and comfortable stay. The hosts are friendly and on hand to offer some great local tips and there’s free parking so you can get out and explore by foot or bicycle.
Hanmer Springs is a great destination for an Easter getaway. Only 90 minutes from Christchurch and you are in the picturesque resort town. Your Bella Vista motel accommodation is easy to find on the way into the centre of town and within easy walking distance. Surrounded by mountains, Hanmer Springs has a laid-back vibe that will have you shaking off the “busyness of life” that encompasses most families these days. Activities abound with forest walks and bike trails, fishing and 4WD tours or take the kids on a family rafting trip – a must for the photo album! The owners, Julie and Steve will be happy to give you advice about the different walking trails in the area to find one that best suits or point you in the right direction for other activities. At the end of the day head to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa Complex where you can go crazy with the kids down the hydro slides or relax in a one of the many thermal pools. There’s a café on site for when the family get ravenous. Enjoy a pizza and beer al fresco style or an ice-cream to celebrate an Easter full of adventure and surprise. But hey who ever needed an excuse for an ice-cream though!
For your Hanmer Springs accommodation book direct with Bella Vista Hanmer for the best price.
Next up, let us recommend Wanaka. Nestled on the edge of Lake Wanaka this place has great appeal for an Easter getaway. Not only for its beautiful surroundings, its people, its walks or bike trails but also for its epicurean delights and activities to enthral both adults and kids alike. Take the family to Puzzling World – challenge your perception of reality in the allusion rooms or try your luck in the multi-tiered maze. Hours of fun and laughs to be had.
This year Wanaka will hold ‘Wheels at Wanaka’ over the Easter Saturday and Sunday. This is a great show for all that includes a Vintage Farm Fair, a Car, Motorcycle and Truck Show, and an Earthmoving Extravaganza. Entertainment galore!
Look out for the locally made chocolate and other treats that Wanaka offers, and if you are starting your Easter weekend on Thursday then check out exquisite local artisan products at The Wanaka Artisan Market from 3pm until 6.00pm right in town centre alongside Bullock Creek. The doughnuts are a favourite!
Your Bella Vista Wanaka motel accommodation is right in town and only 150 metres from the Lake. The perfect spot really!
Queenstown is another top pick for an Easter getaway this year. At this time of year, the trees are starting to turn those vibrant autumnal colours and what better place to see this than at one of the many vineyards whilst sipping on a Pinot Noir or wandering around neighbouring Arrowtown, a charming, historic goldmining town.
Take the kids for a ride on the TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship where they can watch the stokers add fuel to the fire or visit the engine room as the ‘lady of the lake’ gracefully cruises across to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you can all embark on a guided tour of the farm or indulge in a scrumptious BBQ buffet.
Queenstown is the adventure capital of NZ and full of activities to entice our young ones into the great outdoors. Travel up the gondola for an exciting luge ride or ziptrek whilst taking in the breathtaking views. Or take them for a bike ride along the Frankton arm before treating them to a finger-licking chocolatey treat from Patagonia while you watch the world go by on the Queenstown waterfront.
Our Bella Vista Queenstown accommodation is in the heart of Queenstown and only 5 minutes’ walk to the town centre. It’s a quiet location where you can put your feet up at the end of a busy day.
Our final destination in the South Island is Te Anau, gateway to the Fiords and home to the endangered Takahe birds. Bring the family on an Easter getaway here and create some wonderful memories to take home. Nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau with a spectacular backdrop of mountains and lush ‘virgin’ forest, the town is a serene place to wander and explore. Make sure you hop on a boat for a cruise across to the Western shore to visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. The fascinating limestone caverns are incredible to see before reaching the glowworm grotto of shimmering luminous lights – a magical experience to behold.
Breathtaking in any weather, Milford Sound is a must do day trip from Te Anau. With its sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls and the towering Mitre Peak, the best way to discover Milford Sound and all its grandeur is by a boat cruise. Listen to the kids squeal with delight as waterfall spray rains down on them and help them spot dolphins, penguins and fur seals as you cruise the fiord. Get a boat cruise that stops in at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory which offers views of rare black coral and other marine life.
Whatever you decide to do, the team at Bella Vista Queenstown look forward to hosting you!
Book now at www.bellavista.co.nz and secure your Easter break.
Posted by Bella Vista on
With summer just begun our minds start drifting thoughts of a summer getaway. A quintessential kiwi holiday. A chance to enjoy some lazy days in the sun, a trip to the beach, or just a complete change of scenery.
With 27 destinations nationwide Bella Vista motel accommodation network offers a great number of destinations to choose from. But popular destinations can quickly book up in the summer months and so we want to highlight 3 alternative destinations that you should consider for a fun-filled summer getaway.
The city of New Plymouth sits on the far west coast of the North Island, in one of the best surf regions of New Zealand, so we think this is an ideal spot for a summer holiday. Spend a day cruising Surf Highway 45 picking top spots to while away the day at the beach or book a surf lesson with a local expert for some great fun in the waves. New Plymouth is known for its coastal walkway that stretches 12.7km along the fabulous coastline. This is fantastic for walking at your own pace, or hire a bike and feel the sea breeze on your face as you glide along. There are amazing outdoor art displays along the way, like the iconic Wind Wand or take in the spectacular views of Mount Taranaki from the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge. You can while away time by investigating rock-pools or having a much-needed coffee stop!
There is so much to discover from art galleries to beautiful parks, beaches to restaurants, the subalpine forests and waterfalls of Egmont National Park to the home of seals, seabirds and other marine life at the Sugar Loaf Marine Park. From kayaking to surfing, walking or biking, relaxing on the beach or taking a tour of the area – there is enough to keep you as busy as you wish, interested, and most importantly to come away knowing you’ve had another brilliant summer getaway.
Did you know that Blenheim is only 30 minutes from Picton or 1.5 hours from Nelson and so it is an ideal spot for that summer getaway? Not only will you be close to Marlborough Sounds, Nelson City and neighbouring beaches and the Abel Tasman, but you will be based within the heart of one of New Zealand’s famous wine regions – Marlborough. The region boasts a rather pleasant sunny climate and therefore offers a wide range of outdoor leisure activities and a relaxed lifestyle on top of the flourishing wine industry. With over 50 vineyards near Blenheim you can have a great day out tasting and sampling food and wines. Make it even more fun and do it all on a bike tour!
The Marlborough Flyer is a great way to get a taste of Picton on a day out. The train operates some Super Sundays which enable you to travel by majestic steam train from a by-gone era to Picton from Blenheim Station and back. The 70-minute journey on the Marlborough Flyer to Picton will include the challenging decent into Picton on a 1-in-37 grade, the 4th steepest rail line in New Zealand. The journey allows for a couple of hours to explore Picton before the 50-60 minute ride back to Blenheim.
Don’t forget to check out filmmaker Peter Jackson’s collection of World War I aircraft at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. The aircraft are displayed in realistic dioramas created by Peter Jackson's Weta Digital. It’s pretty awesome and a must see whilst in Blenheim.
Invercargill sits at the bottom of the South Island surrounded by farmland but the gateway to some of New Zealand’s spectacular wilderness areas such as the Catlins, Stewart Island and Fiordland.
The city also boasts a number of exciting must see and dos. The Southland Museum and Art Gallery has live tuatara reptiles that you can see. Queens Park is a large 81-hectare Edwardian styled city park featuring flower displays, the Observatory, rose gardens, duck ponds, bird aviary and zoo, a children’s playground and sports facilities such as the Queen’s Park Golf Club. It’s a great place to explore. Take a picnic and while away an afternoon. To the southeast, Waituna Lagoon is home to abundant bird life and trout populations and has some easy walking trails. The Bill Richardson Transport World is a must-see museum for history and automotive lovers as it showcases the transportation history of NZ including vintage motors and old-fashioned petrol pumps.
Exploring outside the city offers several options: To the north you have the Southern Scenic Route, a magnificent drive through stunning scenery into the mountains and Queenstown. It’s a 2 hour 15 minute drive each way but makes for a great day out to explore the lakeside resort town. Time for a jetboat ride or cruise on the lake, a spa or an ice-cream on the lakefront, a gondola ride or a meander round the shops and a leisurely bite at one of the many cafés and restaurants.
Bluff, a quiet little town only 30 kilometres south of Invercargill is famous for its oysters and the Bluff Oyster Festival held each year. From here, take a 1 hour ferry ride to Stewart Island, where you can experience the wild beauty of bush and beach, a slower pace of life in an unspoilt slice of New Zealand. Take a guided walk, a village and bays tour or visit Ulva Island, a renowned bird sanctuary.
The Catlins coast offers some dramatic and wild scenery. The drive as far as Curio Bay takes about 1 hour 13 minutes but allow for a few stops along the way. Visit Waipapa Point’s Historic Lighthouse and the scene of New Zealand’s worst civilian shipwreck, the passenger steamer SS Tararua in 1881. It is located on a very scenic section of dunes and beach that make it certainly worthy of a visit and sealions and fur seals frequent the beach. Curio Bay is home to a 160 million year old fossilised forest and one of the major attractions of the Catlins. Walk among the stumps of the petrified forest at low tide, the remaining tree stumps and logs are exposed and clearly visible.
Bella Vista motels welcomes you to these destinations and our friendly hosts at Bella Vista Blenheim, Bella Vista New Plymouth and Bella Vista Invercargill would love to help you start planning your stay. They offer a range of accommodation to suit your needs, are close to town centres and have free parking along with unlimited free WiFi.
So book now and book direct at www.bellavista.co.nz and get your summer getaway locked in!
Posted by Bella Vista on
Planning your next adventure? Well now that you have locked in your accommodation at one of our 27 motels across New Zealand, your next step might be to hunt for a way to get out and about exploring our beautiful country!
Self-Driving holidays are one of the most popular ways to explore NZ, allowing you the freedom to choose where and when you go, and at your own pace. We know that planning a holiday can sometimes be a big task, so we wanted to make it that bit easier by teaming up with our friends at GO Rentals! The Kiwi owned and operated car rental company is our top pick when it comes to booking the perfect car for your Kiwi road trip.
Our partnership with the team gives us a chance to pass on some great savings to you, in the form of a great 10% discount off your hire! GO Rentals has been helping kiwis and travellers explore NZ since 1997 and are committed to providing their customers with the ultimate car rental experience. Their emphasis on service is one of the many reasons Bella Vista has chosen to partner with them. Their level of service was recognized by their recent win of the 2018 CanStar Blue Award for Most Satisfied Customers in the Car Hire Category, being the only car rental company to earn perfect five stars across every category.
In 2017, GO Rentals became the first Qualmark Gold certified car rental company in NZ and in 2018 received the certification for the second consecutive year. The Qualmark certification recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand and is a great endorsement for the team!
And don’t just travel NZ… experience it! Every customer who hires with GO Rentals receives a Free GO Play card. The GO Play discount program offers over 200 discounts to help you see and do more during your New Zealand holiday! From Bungy jumping to Wildlife encounters, find out what activities are discounted through their program by visiting their website - GO Play with GO Rentals
Needing inspiration for the best cities and towns to visit during your stay? GO Rentals has road trip itineraries and complete guides to help you make the most of your journey – just visit the GO Rentals website to learn about what our great country has to offer.
Itching to get going? To book using our exclusive Bella Vista 10% discount, click here to get started!
Posted by Bella Vista on
Queenstown was once a delightful endpoint to many a tourist’s journeys when travelling New Zealand from north to south. The lakeside resort revelled in its quiet popularity, many a tourist wondering how they hadn’t heard of this southern gem sooner.
Some say the town started to shout too loud about its relaxed lakeside living, abundant wineries, quite remarkable mountains, the collection of premier Queenstown ski resort’s right on the town’s doorstep or the incredible walks and activities at hand. In the digital age, a picture tells a thousand words and soon Queenstown’s secret was out. What do you think?
As word spread, so demand grew. And it grew a lot. Over 2 million passengers now arrive into Queenstown airport every year seeking to holiday in this wonderful paradise. Thankfully, Queenstown accommodation has also grown to meet the needs and proudly include’s Trip Advisors’ No.1 rated motel, Bella Vista Queenstown.
As Queenstown has developed into a destination where millions come each year to holiday, we thought we’d give you our run-down as to how you can fill your time and create an incredibly memorable 10 day holiday to the resort of Queenstown.
No trip to the South Island is complete without visiting New Zealand's most famous tourist destination, Piopiotahi or more commonly known as Milford Sound. A fiord in the southwest of the South Island and a 4 hour drive from Queenstown, its cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, the towering Mitre Peak spellbinds photographers, lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls plummet down its sheer sides. And when it rains its beauty is only magnified. The fiord also is home to fur seal colonies, penguins, and dolphins. This spectacular natural attraction can be reached on a day trip from Queenstown by coach or plane including a cruise on the fiord. If you can, why not coach in and plane back, that way you get to stop enroute at some of the scenic highlights along the way such as Mirror Lakes and admire the breathtaking beauty from the air. Rudyard Kipling had previously called Milford Sound the eighth Wonder of the World and I reckon that’s spot on. Milford Sound is a full day trip.
If you are heading to Milford Sound, adding a stop in Te Anau is well worth it. It’s a picturesque town nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island, and gateway to the Fiordland National Park. It’s the beginning point for two of NZ’s Great Walks – Milford Track and Kepler Track. Whilst visiting take a boat trip across the lake to do the glowworm grotto in Te Ana au Caves. If you decide to overnight in Te Anau, let Bella Vista Motel Te Anau host you. Only one block back from Te Anau lakefront, they'd love to host you. An overnight stop in Te Anau including a trip to Milford Sound would fill two days.
Queenstown & Gardens
Pick a day and spend it wandering around the township, browsing through shops and art galleries, riding the gondola, taking in the scenery and listening to the vibe. Check out the café scene, Bespoke is a firm favourite for lunch or a coffee shop with a cabinet full of delicious treats, and The Bathhouse on the lakefront is a good spot to watch the activity on the lake and while away an afternoon. Or take a stroll through the Queenstown Gardens ending in a nice Pinot Noir and tapas at The Bathhouse as the sun goes down. The botanical gardens were planted in 1867 and are now a tranquil place to wander amongst the exotic and native plants and trees. To do Queenstown and it's wonderful gardens justice and even a spot of shopping, you'd need to allocate a full day.
Walter Peak and TSS Earnslaw
Take a memorable trip on board the iconic TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship across to Walter Peak High Country Farm. You can just do a return cruise or add a farm tour and scrumptious barbeque lunch and make the most of your day. You won't want to rush this day out to take a full day.
Lake Hayes Walk
With an abundance of mountain scenery every which way you look in Queenstown, the walk around Lake Hayes captures the scene magically. The best time to do this is in the morning when the lake is still, and the mountains are reflected in the glassy waters. Just head towards Arrowtown from Queenstown and you will won’t miss it. The circular walk takes around 2 hours to complete with seats dotted around the track so that you can pause and reflect. Look out for a population of Australian crested grebe who have made the lake their home. Your walk around Lake Hayes will take half a day with no need to rush.
After a refreshing walk around the lake keeps heading to Arrowtown, a quaint, historic gold-mining town. Replenish your soul in one of the many little eateries and then hit the Arrowtown Museum and attached special exhibitions gallery that shows a changing display of art and history related exhibitions. Delve into the history of the Maori, the early European settlers and gold mining era and what life was like. Explore the recreated grog shanty, Victorian Schoolhouse and blacksmith's workshop. Once you have contemplated life for these miners stroll down to the Chinese Village where you will see remnants of their shops and huts. Brrr! It must have been cold in the winter. Today gold panning is still very much alive. Hire a gold pan and try your luck in the Arrow River - there's still plenty of gold there to be found. Take a full day in Arrowtown.
Central Otago is renowned worldwide for its luscious Pinot Noirs, so we recommend taking a wine tour out to the Gibbston Valley to sample a few. Gibbston Valley Winery also has a wine cave purpose built into the rock face and a cheesery that offer tastings for free. Other renowned wineries in the Gibbston Valley are Chard Farm, Mt Rosa, Brennan, Peregrine and Waitiri Creek Wines who offer craft beer tastings too. You're going to need a full day to do these wineries justice.
Location of the british television series “Top of the Lake” and home to many middle-earth scenes in the ‘Lord of the Rings Trilogy’, Glenorchy is an hour’s drive away around Lake Wakatipu, set on the edge of the Mt Aspiring National Park. It’s a small village, popular for trampers and gateway to the Routeburn Track and other spectacular walks. Jetboat rides and horse trekking are among some of the other activities available in Glenorchy. If you have time drive further out to Paradise but only if you're giving this a full day.
The quaint township of Wanaka with a spectacular backdrop of snow-capped mountains, sheep stations and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka are a haven for young and old at any time of the year. Whether for fishing, hiking, skiing, biking or a relaxing getaway you will be spoilt for choice in the many activities, funky bars, quirky cinemas, galleries, spas and seriously good coffee! If you wish to overnight in Wanaka Bella Vista offers a great choice, centrally located right in the middle of town and only a stone's throw from the lake. A trip to Wanaka is one full day, or two days if you stay.
Whether as a separate 1-2 night trip from Queenstown or a part of a roundtrip to Christchurch then Mt Cook is a must see. Its New Zealand’s highest mountain and a popular destination for tourists and climbers. One of the best day walks is the Hooker Valley Track, wind up the Hooker Valley over swing bridges, past alpine streams and glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mount Cook.
So there you have it. 10 days filled and you've barely scratched the surface. If you're thinking of heading to Queenstown get a booking because Bella Vista is waiting to host you.
Posted by Bella Vista on
Ever wondered why Lonely Planet named Oamaru “the coolest town in New Zealand”! Well pack up the kids and come and find out with a fantastic family weekend away.
Oamaru is the largest town in the Waitaki district and its only 1.5 hours drive North from Dunedin or 2 hours drive South from Ashburton. There’s a lot here to keep the family entertained offering everything from quirky fun family activities, steampunk curiosities, adventure, natural attractions, and wildlife right on its doorstep.
Start your journey by booking your Oamaru accommodation with Bella Vista motels. The Bella Vista Oamaru is the closest motel to the town centre, including cafes, restaurants, shops and the historic Victorian Precinct. The motel offers different room options including one bedroom family units with full kitchen facilities and bath - perfect for families of up to 3 children. The Bella Vista Oamaru also has safe off-street parking, so you can leave the car and explore on foot or bring bicycles or kids scooters – a great way to get around having an adventure at the same time.
Here are our top 10 things to do and see around Oamaru. Check them out and start planning your visit!
1. Steampunk Playground
No trip to Oamaru with kids is complete without visiting the Steampunk playground, located down on the Esplanade by the waterfront. It’s a fantastical playground with art and sculpture incorporated into the play equipment. Watch your children delight whilst on swings that have a giant penny farthing as part of the frame or whooping as they come down the twisting tube slide or flying fox, climbing on the armoured elephant hut or getting dizzy in the giant hamster wheel. There is also a newly constructed learners’ bike park there too. Both toilets and The Galley café are next to the playground, so you can grab a coffee to go, or a bite for lunch when hunger starts to reel the kids in.
2. Oamaru Victorian Precinct
Step back in time as you wander through the historic Victorian precinct, containing NZ’s largest and best-preserved Victorian architecture. Today they house a mix of fascinating vintage clothing shops, galleries, cafes, new and traditional crafts, a bakery, bookbinders, an old-fashioned lolly shop and a great ice-cream shop for a little indulgence.
For a bit of fun, get the whole family dressed up in Victorian clothing and have your picture taken!
On Sundays, the precinct is buzzing with the Oamaru farmers market. You can pick up some yummy treats for a picnic lunch in the gardens.
3. Oamaru Public Gardens
The Oamaru Public Gardens are among the oldest in the country and are well worth the visit. There are many features to interest anyone including a children’s playground, a wonderland garden, fountain, display house and fernery. Find yourselves an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch and where the kids can enjoy the space.
4. Whitestone City
Nestled in the heart of Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, Whitestone City offers a unique, fun and interactive heritage experience for all the family. Get a glimpse of what life was like in the early colonial days by strolling down the replica Victorian streetscape, check out the merchants of the day, a schoolroom complete with slates and schoolmistress, play old-fashioned games in the dimly lit saloon, and take a ride on a penny-farthing carousel.
5. Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is Oamaru’s largest tourist attraction. Back in the early 1990s, a colony of penguins moved into the disused rock quarry not far from the historic precinct. This prompted a group of volunteers to set up and help make the area a suitable breeding habitat and provide guided tours.
Come and see the penguins in their natural habitat! Tour the facility during the day learning more about the penguins, play and discover in the brand new children’s area, before heading outdoors to explore the penguins’ nesting environment. Come back for the night viewing and watch the penguins returning home from their day fishing. From a seated grandstand with a live commentary, you can see the Penguins make their way onto the beach, up to a stony ramp, and cross into the Colony.
6. Oamaru Steam Train
If you happen to be in Oamaru on a Sunday, then a must do is a trip on the steam train that runs between the small railway station in the historic precinct and a terminus at the harbour close to the little blue penguin colony on Sundays.
7. Steampunk HQ
From the moment you enter this crazy, quirky museum you are immersed in a futuristic version of 19th century Victorian England, a dark post-apocalyptic vision of an alternative future. A full-scale train engine sits proud at the entrance ready to spit fire and billow smoke. Inside you are met with an array of contraptions, sculptures and bizarre machinery from vintage dentist chairs to a flickering doomsday clock whilst accompanied by audio-visual installations. There are plenty of hands on exhibits to fascinate the kids and parents alike – have a go on the metagalactic pipe organ and checkout The Portal, a mirrored room of glowing lights. Stepping out into the yard you are met with a collection of old planes, trains and automobiles, in various states of steampunk conversion. The kid’s imaginations can go wild in here!
8. Moeraki Boulders
When staying in Oamaru, it is worth a visit to these famous large spherical “stones” that are scattered on a stretch of stunning Koekohe Beach near Moeraki just 30 minutes’ drive away on the Otago coast. These boulders are concretions, which have been exhumed from the mudstone enclosing them and concentrated on the beach by coastal erosion. Local M?ori legends explained the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe.
9. Oamaru Lookout
Head up to the lookout park and enjoy the spectacular views over this beautiful seaside town. If you are feeling adventurous there is a walkway. If’s it’s a fine day pack some morning tea or picnic lunch.
10. Totara Estate
A historic farm situated in beautiful North Otago countryside just south of Oamaru, Totara Estate played a significant role in New Zealand’s history. Birthplace of the frozen meat industry, it changed the course of farming in NZ forever. Open from September to May, the farm consists of men’s quarters, stables, granary, cookhouse and slaughterhouse. Displays recollect farm and domestic life on the estate during Victorian times. Hear stories of swaggers, farm hands, the Chinese cook and a cartoonist. The kids will love to feed the sheep, dress up in Victoria costumes or play old-fashioned games. Top this off with 'smoko' in the cookhouse of tea and scones , then browse through the gift shop.
We look forward to hosting you in Oamaru! Search now on the Bella Vista website.
Posted by Bella Vista on
With temperatures starting to cool and our mountains beginning to attract a beautiful dusting of snow, we realise that we're rapidly approaching the long winter months. But with winter always comes the much-anticipated ski season. So, if you think you would like some added excitement this winter, you must consider a ski holiday!
New Zealand has great skiing options available at world-class fields such as The Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt, Turoa, and Whakapapa, there’s something to keep everyone happy from novices through to seasoned pros.
With 27 locations in New Zealand, the Bella Vista accommodation network is well positioned to meet your ski holiday needs. Each of our properties is conveniently placed close to local amenities and attractions and includes free car parking and free wifi – great for when you want to download or send those awesome shots from your day on the mountain!
Here we have teamed up some great skiing destinations with your Bella Vista Motel accommodation to show you how easy it is to get out on the slopes this winter:
Queenstown provides endless opportunities for your ultimate skiing holiday. The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Cardrona ski fields will delight with both on and off-piste skiing by day. And by night the alpine resort buzzes with plenty of dining and entertainment options. All set in one of most picturesque places in the world!
Thirty-five minutes from downtown Queenstown, The Remarkables ski field offers something for all – from beginners and families through to expert skiers and snowboarders. There are numerous off-piste runs, varied trails, and terrain parks and dedicated freestyle areas, including the Southern Hemisphere's only Stash, a Burton signature terrain park. Plus, cafes & an on-mountain bar – a great spot to take in the magnificent view whilst sipping on a mulled wine or Corona!
If you have 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 allowing you to get out and explore the mountain!
Coronet Peak is only a 25-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown and this mountain has it all. Awe-inspiring views, expertly groomed runs, rollercoaster terrain and Skiwiland for kids from 3 months to 15 years. Plus, Coronet Peak has the added benefit of being the home of night skiing and lights up its slopes on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Coronet Peak is the only mountain in New Zealand that offers a night skiing option, and it’s a fabulous experience.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is a great mountain to explore and enjoy and only a 60-minute drive over the Crown Range from Queenstown and close to Wanaka. It’s New Zealand's most popular ski area, attracting all kinds of snow enthusiasts – from beginners and families to Olympic and X Games athletes who come here to train. Freestyle Snowboarding and skiing are well catered for with 2 half pipes and 4 terrain parks and with wide open trails Cardrona offers some of NZ's best and most reliable snow conditions.
There is a range of options for children at Cardrona. From Ski Kindy, through to the Cardrona Kids Adventure Program, and Ride Tribe, which teaches over 10-year-old intermediate skiers a range of snow disciplines, venturing both on & off piste.
You can drive to all the ski fields yourself, although snow chains are needed, use the drop zone at the top for your passengers, then you can park in the lower carparks and catch a free shuttle back to the base area. Or hop on the Remarkables Ski bus that departs from the Queenstown Snow Centre downtown.
You can rent everything you need on the mountain; a great value for money option is renting a clothing and accessories bundle – as this gets you sorted. Plus, if you hire off the mountain you can store overnight for free.
There are also many other rental places around town that can help fit you and see you ready for the mountain.
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, 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!
Wanaka is a winter paradise for all snowsports from fun family ski holidays to the exhilaration of the largest heliskiing terrain in the Southern Hemisphere. Three of New Zealand’s best skiing locations are less than an hour’s drive away – Cardrona, Treble Cone, and Snow Farm.
Treble Cone is the closest ski area to Wanaka and largest in the South Island. Its famous for its long-groomed uncrowded slopes and boasts the longest vertical rise in the Queenstown Southern Lakes District. Treble Cone’s off-piste is legendary and the views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring are second to none. Its steeper slopes make it an excellent option for more experienced skiers and boarders and there is a free beginner ski area for those who want to learn.
The Bella Vista Wanaka couldn’t be in a better location close to the ski shops, shuttle bus, the supermarket, restaurants and the bars for happy hour! With convenient parking and a ski drying and storage room its set up for all your ski holiday needs.
Christchurch & Ashburton
There are several ski fields within close proximity to Christchurch, the hub of the Canterbury region and the perfect base for anyone looking for snow-fuelled fun and adventure. From Porters Ski Area, a local favourite and popular with both families, advanced skiers, and boarders, to the most popular being Mt Hutt, just 90 minutes from Christchurch, it has been voted NZ's Best Ski Resort.
One of the largest and highest ski areas in the South Island Mt Hutt ski area boasts wide open terrain for all ski and snowboard ability levels plus kids 10 years and under ski for free! It also has a quick and easy on-mountain rental system and supervised kids’ programmes and Early Learning Centre for children age 3 months & up.
After your day up the mountain, you can depend on our Christchurch or Ashburton motel for a warm welcome and comfortable stay. Our rooms vary from studios and one to three bedroom units and apartments with cooking facilities and we offer continental breakfasts for those who want to hit the slopes earlier. If you still have the energy for some Après Ski our location is an easy walk to the city centre, restaurants, bars, and entertainment.
Our friendly team at the Bella Vista Christchurch can also point you in the direction of ski shops in Christchurch city who hire out ski gear and sell ski passes and if you don’t want to do the driving yourself they can help you book a door-to-door shuttle service.
Taupo is nestled on the shores of Lake Taupo and is the perfect retreat for a ski holiday. There’s a lot to do in this region and winter skiing is the first choice for many visitors. Ride the volcano in the heart of the North Island and experience NZ’s two largest ski areas - Whakapapa and Turoa – in nearby World Heritage Park of Tongariro.
Mt Ruapehu ski areas are home to the most awesome natural skiing and snowboarding terrain in New Zealand and Australasia. Offering huge snow filled basins, numerous groomed beginner areas, natural halfpipes, lift-accessed backcountry, steep chutes, drop-offs and secret powder stashes.
Don’t forget to take a breather in The Knoll Ridge Café in Whakapapa Ski Area! Its NZ’s highest café at 2020m above sea level and worth grabbing a pie, coffee or longer lunch to linger over the breathtaking views of the Pinnacles and valley below.
Bella Vista Taupo is situated on the fringe of the Lake Taupo town centre. This location means it is just a short stroll to the lakefront, cafes, restaurants and shopping district for all your après ski needs. The Taupo motel offers 1 Bedroom, Studio, and Twin, safe parking, complimentary wifi, and activity booking service.
And if you need to ease away those aches and pains from your day up the mountain our friendly hosts at your Taupo accommodation can point you in the direction to the thermal pools and spa complex where you can enjoy a dip in the therapeutic hot pools, a Maori Cultural experience or a spa treatment.
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 New Zealand before, we challenge you to join us at Bella Vista this winter and see what all the fuss is about.
Posted by Bella Vista on
Come to Queenstown in Autumn and live like a local! You won’t be disappointed, and you don’t need to spend a fortune in this resort town to have a good time.
We liken Queenstown in Autumn to a very sublime cocktail as it is blessed with the most beautiful and spectacular surroundings of mountains and lakes, mixed with those stunning autumnal colours of the South and stirred up with the town’s great vibe. It’s cool!
Have you been to Queenstown before and ticked off most of the attractions or do you like to immerse yourself in the local scene and mingle with the locals and experience a place as they do? This list of experiences from our hosts at our Bella Vista Queenstown accommodation will have you discovering Queenstown just like a local!
Arrowtown displays the red and gold splendour of Autumn like no other place in the South and this year kicks off its 34th Festival. A time when the community gets together in a fun-filled event of activities, food, and wine, crafts, children’s workshops, exhibitions, shows, and music. A highlight of the festival is the free street parade featuring fabulous floats and colourful characters. Visit the Arrowtown Bakery for some picnic treats and you are set.
Autumn in Queenstown is still a great time to get out and about and you’ll see lots of locals out on their bikes or walk the many trails. There are many options for hiring bikes and your hosts at the Bella Vista Queenstown can point you in the right direction depending on where you would like to explore. If walking is more your thing a popular trail is the Lake Hayes Loop Track or if the snow hasn’t arrived yet, drive up the Remarkables access road and walk up to the glacial waters of Lake Alta or the Lookout for fabulous views over the Wakatipu Basin.
Another of Queenstown’s popular free activities is Frisbee Golf. There are now 2 courses, one scattered through the beautiful Queenstown Gardens and another located by the Shotover River near Quail Rise. This is a great activity to get out and experience the beautiful outdoors and have some fun.
If you need that coffee hit each day or fancy a leisurely lunch, then check out these recommended places Bob’s Weigh or Bespoke in central Queenstown or out of town, try The Boatshed overlooking the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.
The local Saturday morning Remarkables Market, open till mid-April, located in the Red Barn down from Remarkables Park Shopping Centre has a great vibe. Pick up some fresh seasonal fruit or veges, pastries or other local delicacies along with art and crafts and while away some time listening to a local performer.
If the rivers are still low, taking a 4WD along one of the many local tracks and river crossings is always a fun day out and a favourite is to 4WD through Skippers Canyon.
If you are after that sweet treat then head on into the Remarkables Sweet Shop for some fudge tasting or the delectable Patagonia ice-cream parlour. So rewarding after a day out! Both of these great outlets are in downtown Queenstown and Arrowtown.
And when you slow down into the autumnal evenings, grab some Fish ‘n’ Chips from Erik's or a legendary burger from Fergburger and head down to the beach for a picnic dinner at Lake Wakatipu. Local’s tip: Ring Fergburger and pre-order if you don’t like waiting in queues. If the weather is starting to get the chilly head inside to one of the many outstanding restaurants – they may even have that cozy fire going!
Check out a Quiz Night and mingle at a local pub or head back to Arrowtown to catch a movie at the boutique cinema, bar and bookshop Dorothy Brown’s.
So, get your Autumn in Queenstown started. Firstly, book your Queenstown accommodation with Bella Vista Motels. You can do this at www.bellavista.co.nz and take advantage of the ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ option. The Bella Vista Queenstown is centrally located with free parking and WiFi and all room options have kitchenettes. The friendly team is there to help you experience Queenstown like a local.
Posted by Bella Vista on
With Easter, and the excuse to over indulge in delicious chocolate just around the corner, why not start thinking about where to head to next!
It’s our last long holiday before we start heading into the cooler months, so we’ve taken all the hard work out of it and uncovered your next exciting escape with Bella Vista! Here's a few ideas:
A great place to explore this Easter holiday is New Plymouth - one of New Zealand’s best surf regions with a spectacular coastline for a great beach getaway. Our New Plymouth motel is ideally situated just a few minutes’ stroll to the fabulous coastal walkway track. The track stretches 12.7km along the picturesque coastline offering amazing views, great beaches and outdoor art displays such as the iconic Wind Wand or the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.
Grab a coffee at one of the many cafes and while away some time exploring rock pools, or head out to Sugar Loaf Marine Park, home to seals, seabirds and other marine life. You can snorkel, dive, swim, kayak or take a tour. A top tip from our Bella Vista New Plymouth hosts is to make sure you also visit Giles Chocolatier to indulge in artisanal chocolate tastings or a decadent hot chocolate – I hear the Star Anise Hot Chocolate is yummy!
Whilst we are spoilt for choice on locations in our beautiful country, we concluded that it’s hard to go past our capital, Wellington. The vibrant feel to this city is obvious as soon as you head out for a stroll, with its sophistication, quirky corners and cosmopolitan mix of cafes, restaurants, bars. Wellington very rarely disappoints. You also have plenty of options to pick up an Easter treat. Take a tour at the Wellington Chocolate Factory who produce delicious organic artisan chocolates, or visit Butler’s Chocolate Café, specialist chocolatier and coffee chain, serving handmade sweets, pastries and sandwiches.
Our Bella Vista accommodation in Wellington is perfectly situated in Evans Bay, only a few minutes’ walk to restaurants and 5 minutes’ drive to beaches such as Oriental Bay. Our Wellington motel is a fantastic option as it provides a quieter location with a bit more space to relax. Wellington Airport, Wellington Waterfront, Te Papa Museum, the Ferry Terminal and Westpac Stadium are only minutes’ drive away.
The capital city ticks all the boxes!
Blenheim is the hub of the Marlborough region, gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, and our Blenheim motel accommodation is the perfect base for your Easter adventure in the Marlborough district. Marlborough's varied attractions include its wine industry, the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds, gourmet foods, adventure activities, museums and heritage centres, relaxing recreational opportunities and so much more. Enjoy the walks along the banks of the Taylor River or catch the Delta Queen paddle steamer for a journey on the river. Take a drive to the outskirts of Blenheim to Riverlands Cob Cottage, an early Marlborough dwelling furnished in the original pioneer style. Or for the more adventurous visit the Wither Hills Mountain Bike Park, a 40-hectare mountain bike park crisscrossed with tracks and offering visitors loads of fun for all levels of rider.
From the moment you arrive you'll enjoy the convenience that our Blenheim motel has to offer. The Bella Vista Blenheim is near to the town centre for shops, business, entertainment and other activities, and just minutes from the many well-known Marlborough vineyards. There are an enormous number of vineyards to explore in Blenheim, either on your own or as part of a tour: Saint Clair, Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay, Allan Scott, Spy Valley, Lawson’s Dry Hills, are only but a few. Our hosts at the Bella Vista Blenheim will happily offer local advice on any of these activities and help you make any reservations.
Queenstown always inspires when considering a holiday. Whether for the adventurous at heart, those seeking solace in the beauty of its surrounds, getting together with friends or family, its possibilities are endless.
Our Bella Vista Queenstown motel accommodation is in the heart of Queenstown and only 5 minutes’ walk to the town centre or the mesmerising lake where you have many options to get out on and explore including the TSS Earnslaw steamship, jet boating, cruising, fishing or a thrilling and ultimate ride in the Hydro Attack. Don’t forget kids and big kids alike can have fun freestyle trampolining at SITE, or visit Game Over, home to the Grand Prix Indoor karting track and laser tag. Right next door is the Remarkables Park Market on Saturdays, a great place to relax, taste the local delicacies and enjoy the vibe.
At this time of year, the trees are starting to turn those vibrant autumnal colours and what better place to see this than at one of the many vineyards whilst sipping on a Pinot Noir! Or get yourself a finger-licking chocolatey treat from Patagonia and watch the world go by on the Queenstown waterfront.
The attractions that are going to bring you to Queenstown really are endless the team at Bella Vista Queenstown look forward to hosting you!
So book now at www.bellavista.co.nz and secure your Easter break.
Posted by Bella Vista on
If you are travelling to New Zealand or are a resident Kiwi, there is a good chance you're already aware that New Zealand motels offer a great option for your overnight accommodation needs.
With 27 motels nationwide, Bella Vista is well placed to cater for anyone requiring a motel stay. They are affordable, comfortable and convenient plus in most instances, you will get a better feel for your locality. Whether you stay at Bella Vista Oamaru, Bella Vista Hamilton or Bella Vista Queenstown you will enjoy the hospitality of your Bella Vista host and be assured that each motel is Qualmark endorsed.
Unlike hotels, motels in New Zealand are not big complexes, will not have an on-site restaurant, swimming pool, lobby area, nor different staff for each department. But then you don't have to pay for these extras either! By comparison, Bella Vista Motels will have a welcoming reception area, a convenient carpark, some public spaces such as a garden or BBQ area and guest units within a secure courtyard.
As Bella Vista's are managed by the owners/operator, you will certainly enjoy Bella Vista's genuine kiwi hospitality; a laid back and down to earth style and attitude.
Up to this point, if you have now decided to make a reservation with Bella Vista Accommodation Nationwide, here are 10 light-hearted tips you really should know before you arrive at the motel
1. There's no slippers
Yep. So there it is. We thought we'd get this out of the way first. Bella Vista nor New Zealand motels in general offer complimentary slippers. We understand you're disappointed so do make sure you pack your own.
2. Bella Vista motels are two storeys tall and do not have an elevator
Requests cannot always be guaranteed, but if you'd prefer to be on the ground floor please make sure you book with the motel and place your request directly rather than via a booking websites.
3. Please don't dry your clothes on the heater
Be very careful as it will create a significant safety risk. Covering a heater can cause fire.
4. Leave your luggage in the car
On your arrival, relax and leave your belongings in your car. Save your time and energy so that you only have to carry your luggage once, from your car to your room, after you have checked in.
5. Bella Vista Motel reception is not open 24/7
Bella Vista owner operators live on-site and do go to bed at night. They need their rest to ensure they can be bright and look after you during the day. So if you are going to check-in later than the advertised office hours, please make sure you let your host know.
6. Check-out time is 10 o'clock
For Bella Vista and most motels in New Zealand, check-out time is 10am. You can request a late-check out from your host which may be available.
7. Drying Dishes
In New Zealand we dry the dishes with a tea towel after being washed and then put them back in the cupboard. Just a friendly request not to put wet dishes back in the cupboard!
8. Enjoy an electric blanket
Electric blankets are terrific inventions and it seems that many hotels don't even know they exist. They are particularly useful in winter. Simply turn it on at least an hour before go to bed to get your bed warm and then turn it off once you're in bed before you sleep.
9. Make your own breakfast
Every Bella Vista room features a kettle and toaster, complimentary tea, coffee and milk. So feel free to add some extras and put together a half-decent breakfast before you leave.
10. Be Aware of the T&C's
Terms and Conditions sound so tedious but they are there for a reason. So it is important that you understand them once you have completed your booking. Look specifically for cancellation and amendment policies so you can be sure your booking won't become problematic.
With these tips now safely stored, head to www.bellavista.co.nz and book your next stay.
- April 2019
- December 2018
- August 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- May 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- A Good Read!
- Events & Activities
- Bella Vista Top 10
- Bella Vista News
- Bella Vista Ashburton
- Bella Vista Blenheim
- Bella Vista Christchurch
- Bella Vista Dunedin
- Bella Vista Fox Glacier
- Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier
- Bella Vista Gisborne
- Bella Vista Greymouth
- Bella Vista Hamilton
- Bella Vista Hanmer Springs
- Bella Vista Hokitika
- Bella Vista Invercargill
- Bella Vista Kaikoura
- Bella Vista Mosgiel
- Bella Vista Napier
- Bella Vista Nelson
- Bella Vista New Plymouth
- Bella Vista Oamaru
- Bella Vista Palmerston North
- Bella Vista Queenstown
- Bella Vista Rotorua
- Bella Vista Taupo
- Bella Vista Te Anau
- Bella Vista Wanaka
- Bella Vista Wellington
- Bella Vista Westport
- Bella Vista Whangarei