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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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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, 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 a 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 offering 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’s 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 take 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 against 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 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 otherwise known as Greenstone) and gold is 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 goldmining 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 with 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 thorugh 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 accesible 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 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 www.bellavista.co.nz to secure your  Queenstown 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 worth 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 bed rolls 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


Spring and Summer Holidays. Bella Vista is your perfect match


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Who’s planning to get away this spring or summer?  A weekend break or maybe that long awaited and talked about road trip around New Zealand!  Our Bella Vista Motel accommodation will be the perfect match for your spring break or summer vacation. Check out these reasons why staying with Bella Vista is a great choice.

With over 27 locations nationwide Bella Vista has welcomed visitors from right across New Zealand and the world. Whilst Bella Vista has been open for business, we have established a strong reputation for convenience and quality becoming a preferred choice enabling tourists to visit New Zealand’s beautiful scenic locations and by offering a quality overnight stop along the way. Be reassured by the familiarity and consistency of our distinctive design and quality of service! Trust Bella Vista because you know what to expect - it's like a home away from home.

The geographic spread of the Bella Vista chain throughout New Zealand ensures that not only do most major towns and cities feature Bella Vista motels, such as Bella Vista Wellington, New Plymouth or Bella Vista Christchurch, but so do popular tourist destinations such as Bella Vista Franz Josef and Bella Vista Queenstown. Even locations which you wouldn't necesarrily consider first time as a destination offer a great overnight option such as Bella Vista Mosgiel, Palmerston North Bella Vista or Ashburton Bella Vista.  All our motels are conveniently placed in central locations, close to local amenities, and with free car parking on-site for all guests making it easy to unpack for your stay and come and go as you please to explore the local attractions.

Each property has a choice of several room types to suit your needs or budget, from singles, couples and families.  All rooms come equipped with kitchenette, ensuite bathrooms, television with a range of channels and free wifi.  Most of our motels also have a BBQ area for you to crank that summer sausage sizzle and relax into the summer evenings with a well deserved glass of wine. 

Relax with Bella Vista


Your friendly Kiwi hosts live on-site offering a safe and secure accommodation option and peace of mind. All Bella Vista motels also offer additional services like guest laundry, continental breakfast and luggage storage. A travel booking service is available and your hosts can offer local knowledge and tips to make your stay more enjoyable. Your hosts will happily book your onward journey to ensure you can stay at your preferred New Zealand accommodation option. 

What is certain is if you have stayed at every 27 Bella Vista’s or even just a small handful - whether it is for accommodation in Hamilton,  Napier accommodation or accommodation in Fox Glacier to name just three destinations, 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.

Having flexibility with your accommodation reservation process can also make your travel planning for this summer a lot less stressful.   A tempting option when booking on the Bella Vista website is the convenience of our Book Now, Pay Later offer, which allows you to make your booking and only pay when you arrive at your motel.  Another good deal when booking direct is our Best Price Guarantee deal.  Refer to our Best Price Guarantee page to find out more and how to take advantage of this offer only available at bellavista.co.nz.
 

Bella Vista Accommodation

At Bella Vista we understand how to meet our customers’ expectations every day, are proud to offer a high quality standard of accommodation, facilities and service at competitive pricing and delighted to provide genuine kiwi hospitality at every one of our 27 motels nationwide. 

So book now at www.bellavista.co.nz and get your spring and summer off to a cracking start.


Spring Jollies with Bella Vista


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Spring has arrived and there is a buzz in the air. From the twittering of the birds to longer daylight hours it's a terrific time of year.  And it’s always exciting when the daffodils come into flower to brighten up our days!

Spring is a time of rejuvenation, to brush off those winter cobwebs and excite the senses with the sounds and sights that springtime offers. It’s also a great time to get away before the crowds of the high summer season.  With 27 locations, the Bella Vista accommodation network are all conveniently placed close to local amenities and attractions, have rooms to suit couples and families, and include free car parking and free wifi. 

So, pack your suitcase and discover and experience some of these destinations that are perfect for your spring break.

Spring Skiing in Wanaka

Wanaka in spring is wonderful, from the sparkling lake to the glistening snow there is so much on offer to explore. With longer days and more settled weather, you can also enjoy it at a more relaxed pace as spring is generally a quieter time.   

Spring skiing is Wanaka’s best-kept secret.  The slopes are quieter, the lift queues shorter and you may even get to ski in a t-shirt!  Check out Cardrona Ski Field as it also extends its last chair till 5pm. Combine this with the many biking or walking trails, 4x4 farm adventures, scenic flights, indoor rock climbing, activities on the lake, jet boating on beautiful rivers, picnics at fantastic parks, whiling away your time drinking coffee or eating ice-cream along the llakefrontor by indulging in a rejuvenating spa treatment at the luxurious Sanctuary Day Spa.

Bella Vista Wanaka is located just 150 metres from the lakefront and is a great Wanaka accommodation option just a one-minute walk to shops, restaurants, galleries and wine bars - you couldn't ask for a better location and your hosts will gladly offer local advice and help you organise any of the many attractions.

Cardrona Lake Wanaka


The nesting of the Gannets in Napier

The Hawkes Bay is an area that embraces spring with its many blooms and delightful spring festivals. Our Bella Vista motel in Napier, is in a central CBD location, opposite the RSA Napier, four minutes' walk from town and only a matter of metres away is Marine Parade which fronts onto a sweeping stretch of the Pacific Ocean. From your Bella Vista accommodation, you can stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the playgrounds, aquarium, hot pools, coffee stops and a great little ice cream shop.  The Marine Parade is a show of colour in spring with many blooming spring flowers bringing the promenade to life during this time of year. The Marina Parade Garden, the Sound Shell flower beds and Sunken Garden all add a rich array of colour that are lovely to walk around and delight in. 

Spring in New Zealand is also ‘waterfall season’ - a time to get out and explore our local waterfalls at their peak.  Shine Falls, located about an hour’s drive from Napier, are stunning; up with the best in NZ and are a great day out.  Pack a picnic lunch as it’s a 35 – 40 minute walk in to the falls across farmland and bush. Bring your togs and towel if the weather is favourable.

Of course, Hawkes Bay is also famed for its many vineyards and with its warmer climate many hours can be spent in the wineries wine tasting and dining on the regions fresh produce.  But another attraction not to be missed in spring is a trip out to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony - the world's largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place.  The season opens in spring with the birds returning from their winter escape to build their nests ready for the arrival of their chicks during December and January.  Trips can be taken by 4WD adventure tour, helicopter safari, tractor and trailer along the beach or you can check out the tide times and do the 10km hike yourself.  It’s a chance to get within a few feet of the colony at top of the Cape’s sheer and barren cliffs.

Talk to your friendly hosts at your Bella Vista Motel Napier and they will provide you with some great tips to ensure you enjoy your day out.

Gennet Safaris Napier


Hamilton in Bloom

Within 2 hours drive of Auckland is the city of Hamilton, renowned for its gardens, cafes, Maori culture, walks, nightlife and sporting events.  It’s located on the banks of the mighty Waikato River and the Bella Vista Hamilton is a great base to explore springtime Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.  There are several walking tracks and cycle trails to explore or try one of the many activities on the river from fishing to boat cruises or kayaking.  Just remember to pack a raincoat in case of the odd spring shower!

Spring is always a wonderful time to visit gardens and Hamilton Gardens is among the best in the world with an abundance of colour, birdlife and butterflies. You will be guided on a journey of discovery as you explore over 20 themed gardens from the Italian Renaissance Garden to the grandeur of the Indian Char Bagh (‘four quartered’) Garden.

If you are a Tolkien fan then a visit to the Hobbiton Film Set is glorious in spring with its lush pastures of the Shire and the enchanting bluebells and Middle-earth gardens which are in full flower.  Only 45 minutes away if you want to self-drive or you can book a tour package including return trip from you Bella Vista Hamilton accommodation.

10 minutes north of Hamilton is the Zealong Tea Estate is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and home to the world’s purest tea. A guided tour is a fantastic option if you want to experience tea picking, tasting, a tea ceremony or their famous signature high tea.

Waterfalls are scattered throughout the region, from the spectacular 55m high Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan to the Wairere Falls, the highest waterfall in the North Island, near Matamata.  These hidden gems are well worth the visit in spring. 

As far as accommodation in Hamilton or Hamilton motels specifically, Bella Vista will meet your every need. The motel offers a great selection of rooms set within a secure courtyard with ample car-parking and free WiFi. Li and Rowena will offer you a warm Waikato welcome and be happy to host you.

Hamilton Gardens

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


Travelling to Stewart Island from Invercargill


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Stewart Island or Rakiura is New Zealand's third Island and is absolutely unique. With only 381 inhabitants it is a quiet and tranquil place where native New Zealand wildlife can be found in abundance. The island is predominantly given over to the Rakiura National Park covering about 85% of the island, which limits human incursion to the small settlement of Oban.
 

Stewart Island


For the majority of travellers, Invercargill is the main gateway to Stewart Island and Bella Vista Invercargill provides a great stopover option before and or after the amazing experience you will encounter across Foveaux Strait

Many travellers choose Bella Vista as their preferred Invercargill accommodation option before heading south. Not only is Bella Vista the closest Invercargill motel to the town centre but its central location is ideal for a short transfer to Invercargill airport (10 minutes) for a 20 minute flight to Stewart Island or as a departure point for the 20 minute drive to Bluff where travellers can then catch the Foveaux Express, a custom-made catamaran which takes an hour to cross the notorious Foveaux Strait.

From hunting to tramping to fishing to relaxing, Stewart Island is like going back in time. From the moment you set foot on the island, you’ll get the sense of a different way of life. Even the 6 hole golf course is located in a breath-taking setting on the Ringaringa cliffs.

Enjoy watching the changing skies of Rakiura, boasting world-class sunsets and sunrises, the magical sight of the Aurora Australis, or the twinkling stars across a clear night sky. It is something very special and the team at Invercargill Bella Vista can personally testify to that.

Stewart Island Half-Moon Bay
 

Conservation, birds and other wildlife are second to none on the Island. Of particular note, Ulva Island, a small island sanctuary is a dedicated bird reserve set within Paterson Inlet within Oban Harbour is a must visit. Stewart Island is also unique in that viewing the Kiwi in its natural habitat is an amazing experience.

For those of you who are the trampers, Stewart Island is home to New Zealand's southernmost Great Walk - the 3-day Rakiura Track which is only one of many and varied walks and tramps available.

Bella Vista Invercargill has provided hospitality for many tourists on their return to Invercargill. A great shower and comfy bed to help relax the body after some fairly arduous tramping or exploring and ensure Bella Vista is the preferred overnight accommodation in Invercargill for Stewart Island.

Whether it is your first visit or 10th visit to Stewart Island you will never tire of this beautiful part of the world and we here at Bella Vista Invercargill are lucky enough to hear of some of those tales on return stays.
 

Bella Vista Invercargill Motel


For more information on our 4-star quality, Southland Invercargill accommodation and trips to Stewart Island contact us on 03 217 9799. We look forward to hearing from you and hosting you.


Earlybird Booking Inspiration


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Do you like going away for the odd long weekend for a change of scenery or have you been considering making plans for the summer?  Don’t wait - now is the time to get motivated and lock in the great prices offered by Bella Vista Motels.

Bella Vista makes it so easy!  Make your reservation directly on the Bella Vista Motels website and only pay on arrival. By booking early you guarantee your room at the best price for destinations that can often get expensive if you try and book at the height of summer.

Bella Vista Motels have comfortable and convenient New Zealand accommodation options for you. Get inspired by the following destinations and book your getaway now for your next long weekend or summer holiday. Then while away your time and enjoy counting down the weeks with peace of mind that your summer plans have been taken care of.
 

Whangarei

What better place to stay and immerse yourself in the north’s laid-back lifestyle! Pack your jandal’s because with over 100 beaches in the area it’s the perfect spot to relax, build sand castles and dig your toes into the warm sand. There is a myriad of attractions to explore such as spectacular diving at the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, beautiful walks and exotic plants at the Whangarei Quarry Gardens or getting up close and personal with Kiwi’s at Kiwi North, Kiwi House and Museum.  Staying at the Bella Vista Whangarei accommodation means you are the closest motel and within walking distance to the CBD to amble away some time exploring the Basin Marina with its shops, cafes and galleries.

Whangarei Town Basin
 

Taupo

Taupo is situated in the centre of the North Island and nestled on the shores of the beautiful Lake Taupo, Australasia’s biggest freshwater lake. Surrounded by volcanic mountains and lush forests it’s an adventure and nature lover’s paradise. Explore the local geothermal phenomena such as bubbling mud pools at the Craters of the Moon, feel the power and fury of the mighty Huka Falls, hike through the Tongariro National Park, get out on the lake for a spot of trout fishing or discover the many cycle trails. 

Just 10 mins walk from the centre of town and the lake’s edge in a quiet location is our Taupo accommodation option providing a great base for visitors. A local tip is to take a soak in your own hot pool along the Lake Terrace – just ask the friendly Bella Vista Taupo motel staff to point you in the right direction!

Lake Taupo New Zealand

Gisborne

On the east coast of the North Island lies Gisborne “the first city in the world to see the sun”. Forested and hilly inland with beautiful sandy beaches along the coast the region has a reputation for great surfing, fishing, a strong Maori culture and many boutique wineries.

The Bella Vista Gisborne is conveniently located close to the CBD for shopping, restaurants and entertainment and your hosts Marise and Frik have provided us with their top pick to help while away your stay:  “You must take the drive from our Gisborne motel to the historic East Cape Lighthouse on New Zealand’s most easterly point for stunning views.  But don’t forget to stop at Te Araroa and see New Zealand's oldest and largest pohutukawa tree - it's around 600 years old.”
 

Nelson

One of the sunniest spots in New Zealand, Nelson is renowned for its beautiful surroundings.  Situated close to the famous Tahananui Beach and 10 minutes’ drive from the central city, Nelson Bella Vista is the perfect place to relax and unwind, stroll on the beach and explore the region.   

Your hosts Bruce and Nadine are happy to point you in the right direction with their top recommendations being a look through the World of Wearable Arts Museum, a visit to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, and touring the local vineyards to discover the region's intensely flavoured Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as vibrant Pinot Noir. This is a great destination and an excellent Nelson accommodation choice.
 

Abel Tasman National Park


Hanmer Springs

Need a quiet getaway destination to relax and unwind or craving adventure away from the noise and rush of city life? Then make the picturesque alpine village of Hanmer Springs your next weekend away or holiday spot.

Only 1.5 hours from Christchurch, Hanmer Springs is nestled amongst the mountains and forests of the Southern Alps.  This small spa town is famous for its Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, the best place to indulge and soothe, float along the lazy river or have some fun on the water slides.  Your Hanmer accommodation is an easy 10-minute walk to the pools and a great base for many activities from walking or biking the many trails to jet boating, kayaking and quad biking.
 

Dunedin

Dunedin is a vibrant and energetic city with a rich Scottish and Maori heritage.  From its well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture to its dramatic landscape and abundant wildlife topped with great shopping, restaurants and a buzzing nightlife this is a city full of character and you’ll come away with some memorable holiday experiences. The Bella Vista Dunedin is located near to the city centre with ample parking making it a perfect base for your adventures. Your hosts Robyn and Garry have provided some must do’s when visiting: Visit Larnach Castle (photo below), New Zealand’s only castle, that has been carefully restored to its Victorian grandeur; visit Orokonui EcoSanctuary 20km north of Dunedin and hear the wonderful birdsong, home to 17 native bird species; take a glimpse into the life of an early 1900s family with a visit to Olveston Historic Home; or depart from the historic Dunedin Railway Station for a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway.

Larnach Castle


Whatever your destination of choice, Bella Vista has 27 quality locations around the country happy to host you, your friends and family. Book now for the best deal at www.bellavista.co.nz


The Best Wineries in Queenstown


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When most of us plan to visit Queenstown we conjure up images of a resort town surrounded by spectacular snow-capped mountains and stunning crystal clear lakes that is renowned for its adrenaline pumping adventure activities.  But there is also another element to Queenstown that offers a much more relaxed style of tourism – wine.

Talking with the Queenstown Bella Vista Motel we got to know a little more on how rapidly the wine industry has expanded in this region.  From just 11 wineries in 1996 to 75 wineries by 2004, the focus has been on producing quality wines rather than bulk wines. And now Central Otago boasts 200 wineries within 40 minutes from the centre of town, best known for their Pinot Noirs but also white wine varieties as well.

At 45 degrees south of the equator, Central Otago is the southernmost wine region in the world. The cool continental climate, the unique soil conditions and climate conditions all combine to allow talented local winemakers to produce some exceptional award-winning wines.

Wine Tours Queenstown

There are many ways for you to explore this wine region and the friendly staff at your Bella Vista accommodation are more than happy to help you organise transport either by self-drive or a local wine tour company.  If you are feeling a little indulgent why not be personally chauffeur driven around at your own pace taking in the amazing scenery as you go.

The hardest choice will be deciding on which wineries you want to visit!  Gibbston Valley or ‘Valley of the Vines’ is the perfect location to start, only 25 minutes from Queenstown it’s one the most picturesque wine growing areas in New Zealand. Stand amongst the vines, sip on a Pinot Noir and marvel at the stunning backdrop of craggy schist mountains and the rocky Kawarau River gorge. Here is a little snippet on a few to get you started.

Chard Farm

Chard Farm has a spectacular location situated on a terrace above the Kawarau Gorge River and reached by a precipitous road. Specialising in Pinot Noir its Cellar Door is open 7 days a week for tastings.

The Gibbston Valley Winery

One of the area’s founding wineries Gibbston Valley Winery is renowned worldwide for handcrafting premium wines. Its home to the country’s largest wine cave, a tasting room, gourmet restaurant and bike centre. Daily wine tasting and cave tours are on offer where you can visit ‘Home Block’ the regions oldest vineyard.  With a variety of wine tasting options available from Varietals to Pinot Noirs its every wine lover’s paradise.

A great pairing to your wine experience is a stop at the Gibbston Valley cheesery next door offering complimentary tastings on their handcrafted European style cheeses.

Gibbston Valley Winery

Peregrine Wines

Peregrine Winery, set out like the sweep of a falcon’s wing in flight, welcomes visitors for tastings and cellar door sales daily focusing on Pinot Noir and also an array of aromatic white wines including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Methode Traditionelle.

Mt Rosa Winery

Located in the heart of Gibbston Valley the Mt Rosa tasting room is in the old woolshed. They produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Rose and of course their famous Mulled Wine.

Mount Rosa

Brennan Wines

The tasting room at Brennan Wines sits in the centre of the family vineyards surrounded by vines and the mountain scenery.  It was converted from the old vineyard shed and has a rustic kiwi charm. The winery is open daily for tastings including examples of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rose, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, and Tempranillos.or match the perfect wine with one of their tasting platters.

Book your Queenstown accommodation at Bella Vista Queenstown and you are at the gateway to the Central Otago wine region. We look forward to hosting you.


Bella Vista Rotorua Weekend Winners!


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Rotorua Bella Vista recently ran a Facebook competition to win a free weekend in Rotorua as guests of Bella Vista Motel. This included two nights accommodation in a Superior Studio complete with full complimentary continental breakfasts.

Tom Parkin, the winner generously gifted the prize to his daughter Dani and her husband Gordon. The winners had a fabulous time and hit the ground running immediately upon check-in. Here's an account of their amazing Rotorua weekend.

Rotorua Winners

From their Bella Vista Rotorua accommodation it was time to start; first on the list was a peaceful and scenic cruise along the shores of Lake Rotorua aboard the Lakeland Queen. They relaxed into the spectacular scenery of Ohinemutu, Mokoia Island and the summit of Mount Tarawera while the chefs prepared them a meal, so they dining in luxury with a delicious lunch.

It was then time to amp things up a bit and off they went to the Famous Redwood forest where they had a complimentary entrance into the Redwood Treewalk. The Redwoods Treewalk is a 553-m walkway that consists of a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 majestic 115-year-old Redwood trees. The bridge sections gradually incline from 6-m in height to a stunning 12-m at its peak. Rain or shine, The Redwood Treewalk is a must do activity. From there it was back to Bella Vista Motel.

Time was pressing as they returned to Bella Vista to freshen up before they were collected and whisked away to be hosted by the fabulous Mitai Maori Village. They were met with a warm and personalized meet and greet from one of the beautiful Maori Maidens dressed in the traditional attire.

Mitai maori village

During the evening they experienced warriors in traditional dress paddling an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream. They were entertained with captivating songs, dances, and games in a rich powerful entertaining cultural concert, complete with the spine-tingling “Haka” Maori war dance. Then they got to view the uplifting of the hangi from the earth cooked oven (Hangi Pit). The authentic hangi dinner includes a hot selection of succulent New Zealand meats and poultry, delicious vegetables and fresh salads, topped off with tempting dessert buffet style. At the close of the evening, they were delivered home to Bella Vista Motel for a deep and peaceful sleep.

The next morning after a good sleep and a full complimentary continental breakfast at Bella Vista Motel Rotorua, it was off to Te Puia for The Day Tour Experience. This kicked off with Te Puias’ famous Haka/ cultural performance and then they came face to face with the Pōhutu Geyser, jumping mud-pools, and live kiwi birds. They got to watch master carvers and weavers at work, and hear the guides share stories passed down from their ancestors. 
 

Lady Knox Geyser

Now it was time for a late lunch compliments of Lovely India Restaurant where they got to try a selection of traditional Indian food from the menu. How to describe this restaurant? Well, we'd recommend you go there and be treated to delicious Indian fare from the entrees/ starters and work your way through the menu options. They cater to the traditional vegetarian through to meat and seafood eaters. 

After lunch, Dani and Gordon enjoyed some free time to themselves for the afternoon to explore Rotorua a little more.

That evening it was time to be welcomed by CBK (Craft Beer & Kitchen) renown as a cosy neighbourhood retreat. CBK brings the best of New Zealand craft beers, ciders, and culinary delights because when you enter CBK, it’s all about you. Home to 60 Craft Beers & stonegrill. Their menu features the best cuts on a 400°C volcanic hot stone, juicy burgers, sensational smoked dishes, amazing steaks, and sensational small plates. Dani and Gordon will remember CBK as a lively and unpretentious sanctuary, where the service is brilliant, the food as exceptional and the craft beer was just for you.

On their last morning and following another complimentary continental breakfast from Bella Vista Motel it was time for the last of their activities…. Polynesian Spa for an early morning relaxing dip in the geothermal therapeutic mineral water pools. There are 28 different hot pools that come from two different natural springs: The Priest Spring is named after Father Mahoney, a Catholic Priest who was ‘cured’ of his crippling arthritis from bathing in the waters in 1878. The slightly acidic water from the Priest Spring relieves tired muscles, aches, and pains. The Rachel Spring is a source of alkaline water, which features the antiseptic action of sodium silicate nourishing the skin. It was historically said that those who bathe in the waters of the Rachel Spring are blessed with ageless beauty.

Polynesian Spa

Finally, it was back to Bella Vista Motel for a pre-arranged late checkout and then as they left Rotorua one last treat. Skyline Rotorua Gondola is the most spectacular way to take in the 180-degree views of Lake Rotorua, the city, and surrounding district. And no visit would be complete without a ride down one of Skyline’s luge tracks.  With three different track options and over 5kms of a track to ride, once is certainly never enough! Riders have full control, over the 3 wheel, gravity-based luge cart.

As this was the guest's last complimentary activity, we can all say, visit completed! There is never enough time to touch, taste, see, hear and do when it comes to Rotorua. Our guests had a full on weekend and barely scratched the surface.

Bella Vista Motel was happy to have hosted our first competition winners and we would like to thank all of the above-mentioned businesses and activity operators who contributed to making this a success. 

Come and stay and play with Bella Vista Rotorua - we'd love to host you.

Bella Vista Motel Rotorua


The Top Things To Do in Te Anau


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You’ll need to pinch yourself, Te Anau is the epitome of natural perfection. The gateway to Fiordland and a nature lovers paradise, with National Parks, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and world famous walks all on your doorstep. Te Anau is the perfect launching pad for further exploration and a destination in it's right.

For those with the desire to stay somewhere off the typical Queenstown tourist trail, Te Anau is a magical choice, with beauty and splendour everywhere you look. Overnighting in Te Anau also has the added benefit of cutting down travel times, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are the well-known heroes of the area and what the majority of visitors will come to experience.  Although these destinations can be done as a day trip from Queenstown, it does make for a very long day. Choosing to stay in Te Anau allows a few more hours in the day to explore and enjoy everything on offer.

The picturesque Te Anau township is located on the south-eastern shores of the South Island’s largest lake (344 sq km), Lake Te Anau.  In Maori legend, the name Te Anau means: Te: the,  Ana: cave, and au: swirling. The name came from the story there were caves located on the lake’s shore filled with numerous glow worms and an underground torrent that ran through the cave. The story was true so read on for more on this story and what else you can do in and around Te Anau.

Te Anau GlowWorm Caves

Rediscovered in 1948 by a local man called Lawson Burrows, the Te Anau Glow Worm caves are an icon of Te Anau tourism both locally and internationally. They are a must do experience if you are staying in the town.  A combination of caverns and water holes, the caves have been carved out from the limestone rock and now host a wonderful colony of glow worm's which can be experienced by punt in perfect darkness. To reach the caves you will need to take a 20-minute boat journey from Te Anau town centre. Tours to the glow worm caves operate at least twice daily from Te Anau wharf.

Milford Sound

The Milford Road is a 2.5-hour drive from Te Anau and is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand, with phenomenal sights and short walks dotted along the way. You’ll pass valleys, waterfalls, peaks and onto Homer Tunnel, which has been carved from solid granite. The tunnel signals the steep descent to Milford Sound. This drive can be done as a self-drive or by choosing one of the many coach options that depart from Te Anau daily. Those opting to drive yourself need to know a few things before departing: Te Anau is the last petrol stop before Milford Sound, so make sure the car is full as you’ll need to travel two hours each way, there is no mobile phone coverage between Te Anau and Milford and you’ll need to drive with chains in the winter months.

The drive, however, is only the beginning. When you arrive and are out on a cruise on the fiord you’ll be completely blown away.  To attempt to describe the beauty of Milford Sound will never do it justice. Noted by Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World, rain or shine this place is out of this world.
 

Milford Sound

The most famous of all the fiords in Fiordland National Park, the forest covered mountain peaks, ancient rock formations, sheer cliffs, deep waters, cascading waterfalls and of course the picture-perfect Mitre Peak, are simply stunning.

The Milford Sound cruises on offer vary in their quality and inclusions, so do some research and pick the one that’s best for you or ask at Bella Vista Te Anau’s desk for help when booking.
 

Doubtful Sound

You become acutely aware of the remoteness of Doubtful Sound as soon as you arrive.  To reach Doubtful Sound from Te Anau you take a short drive to Manapouri where you’ll jump aboard a boat to travel across Lake Manapouri, from there a coach will meet you to travel NZ’s most expensive road (over Wilmot Pass) and onto Doubtful Sound.

Doubtful Sound is approximately ten times larger than Milford Sound and the deepest of all the fiords. It offers quite a different experience to the better known Milford and is celebrated for its wilderness, wildlife, stillness and mystery. Visitors to Doubtful Sound are often overcome by a sense of quietness, the ‘place of silence’. When the boat engines are turned off for a period of time this magnified ten-fold.

Doubtful Sound has three distinct arms to it, through your journey you’ll experience mountain peaks, deep coves, plunging waterfalls, wildlife and native flora and fauna.
 

Doubtful Sound


Great Walks

Three of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks are situated close to Te Anau. Two of the Great Walks start at Lake Te Anau plus there are plenty of local Te Anau walks. 

Great Walks

Milford Track

The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s best-known walks and hikers come from around the world to walk its paths. The 53.5 km track starts at Glade Wharf (at the tip of Lake Te Anau), where you walk to the finishing point of Sandfly Point in Milford Sound. This track can only be walked in one direction and will take 4 days to complete; each night is spent at a pre-booked hut. You’ll trek through magnificent scenery - mountains, forest, wetlands, waterfalls, and wonderful bird and animal life. The Milford Track is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that is highly recommended.

Kepler Track

This 60km loop track can be walked in both directions, it starts/finishes at the Kepler Track car park at the southern end of Lake Te Anau.  It will take between 3 – 4 days to complete and requires advanced bookings for campsite and hut accommodation. The Kepler Track will introduce you to stunning Fiordland scenery: the fiords, Lake Manapouri and the Murchison Mountains, plus much more, It’s a highlight for everyone that walks it.

Routeburn Track

This 32km track (one way) will see you walk over valleys, travel through mountain ranges and take in some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery. There are two starting and finishing points and the track can be walked in either direction, one track end is at the Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy and 68 km from Queenstown). The other is at The Divide (on the Milford Road, 85 km from Te Anau), or you have the ability to make this a circuit by linking up with the Greenstone and Caples Tracks. Most walkers will take 3 days/2 nights for this walk and there are huts and campsites enroute.

Accommodation in Te Anau

Staying at the Bella Vista Te Anau motel puts you in close proximity to these amazing locations, walks and attractions. We are the closest Te Anau accommodation option the township and literally, a stone's throw from the Te Anau lakefront. Owners Ray & E-min are passionate and knowledgeable about the Fiordland area and are happy to talk you through the various cruise, walking and tour options and help find the right fit for you.



Te Anau accommodation

Getting to Te Anau

For those Kiwis that have never travelled to this part of New Zealand, we recommend you take the step and book a few nights in Te Anau. Only this way will you get a real appreciation for the outstanding beauty our country offers.  For those overseas travellers, Te Anau and the Fiordland National Park region is a must-do inclusion for your New Zealand itinerary.

We hope the Te Anau weather turns it on for you so if you know when you want to travel, call the Bella Vista motel today and we’ll help you take care of the rest!