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!
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Bella Vista Hokitika is proud to announce Ange Williams as the new business manager at Bella Vista Hokitika taking over from Dale & Claire Truscott who remain as owners of the business but have now ‘retired’ to Geraldine.
Ange has worked in the motel industry for 14 years – and of that, has spent almost 11 years of that at Bella Vista Hokitika, so she is a very familar face to our regular customers. She has been motel minding and wokring as a full time cleaning supervisor.
Ange is a born and bred West Coaster and lives and breathes West Coast Hospitality.. Married to Barry who is the On-Farm Asset Manager at Westland Milk Products, they have two children Daniel 16 & Kaycee 11.
They are a family who love sport. Daniel & Kaycee are very enthusiastic sports people and have kept them busy over the years organising and fundraising for various trips around the country and overseas involving rugby, netball & basketball.
Ange is super excited to be given the opportunity to manage Bella Vista Hokitika, keeping the standards hight and providing guests with a great stay. She looks forward to hosting you.
For more information or to book Bella Vista Hokitika please click here.
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If you are planning a short winter getaway, come to Great Lake Taupo and visit the Whakapapa Ski Area.
The Whakapapa ski area lies just over an hour's drive from Taupo. It is the winter playground not only for experienced skiers, but also for young families wanting to have some fun on the snow, without strapping onto a pair of skis or board.
Whakapapa situated on Mount Ruapehu, and is New Zealand's biggest ski area which has a great choice of trails offering intermediate and advanced options. There is also the famed Happy Valley, a safe, sheltered and enjoyable place for the whole family to have fun on the snow. Happy Valley claims to be NZ's premier beginner facility home to a sledding slope, with a fleet of toboggans for hire that will have you sliding down the snow with a huge smile. It has a long, gentle slope, a chairlift and magic carpet, complete with cafe and rental facilities.
If hitting the snow is not your thing, how about riding the country's largest gondola? The new Sky Waka gondola will take you from the ski area base to the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Situated at 2,020m above sea level, it is New Zealand’s highest restaurant. Here you will find great coffee, gourmet fare and incredible views out over the Central Plateau of New Zealand's North Island.
After a full day of snow fun the chances are you will be feeling a little achy after a day up on the mountain. The perfect antidote is to head back to Taupo and relax and unwind in one of the many hot pools in town. You can spend your evening by taking a wander by the lake before dinner and watch the town come to life with fairy light-lined streets and cosy bars and restaurants with hearty winter food menus, mulled wine and crackling fires. There are so many eateries to choose from - but we will gladly help you make the right choice.
Taupo is a winter wonderland in the heart of North Island, full of options for those who want to experience New Zealand winter. With a range of off-mountain experiences too, Taupo is the perfect base to experience what Central Plateau has to offer.
Whether a couple of day’s getaway, or longer stay, Bella Vista Motel will be your first choice for Taupo accommodation. Even with the temperature outside near sub-zero, you can always come back to a warm and comfortable room. Jason and Miyuki will be more than happy to host you and with a range of room's to suit everyone's needs, heat pumps to keep warm, free parking, free unlimited WiFi and a central location, they are waiting for your booking.
Bella Vista looks forward to hosting you.
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If you are searching for a holiday that includes snow, New Zealand is very definitely for you. Every winter and often into late spring, New Zealand can guarantee a whole swag of the white stuff in both the North and South Islands. And we’re not talking about measly quotas that leave you feeling short changed. We’re talking about infamous New Zealand snow dumps that can bring the chills right through every self-proclaimed beach lover.
Winter time southerly winds racing up from the Antarctic are cold enough to frighten even hardened rain into beautiful New Zealand snowflakes and once they fall, our stunning landscape is taken to a whole new level of awesomeness as New Zealand proudly shows off its seasonal white winter blanket. Blessed with major mountain ranges that reach above and beyond 2,500 metres tall, New Zealand naturally attracts snow to those highest peaks. In some cases, such as with Mount Cook at over 3,700 metres high, the snow tends to hang around all year.
Winter sports enthusiasts have long held New Zealand in high regard for its high quality ski-fields and the variety of its snow-covered mountain terrain, but it’s not just ski and snowboard aficionado’s that New Zealand snow attracts. It may be hard to believe but for many visitors travelling to New Zealand from distant tropical countries, the opportunity to touch snow for the very first time is a very exciting part of their journey.
So read on for our detailed guide to where you can find New Zealand snow.
Perhaps not the most obvious place to start, but New Plymouth sits adjacent to New Zealand’s largest stand-alone mountain, Mt Taranaki. During winter and often extending well into later seasons, the upper slopes of the mountain which reaches 2,518 metres will be snow clad. Taking a hike in Egmont National Park is a popular activity and a winter time walk to the snow line is quite easy to achieve with three main access roads allowing you to get you part-way up the mountain. We definitely wouldn’t recommend a summit hike during the winter season however! New Plymouth is a great city to visit and our down-town New Plymouth accommodation option can give you all the information you need for your time there.
West Coast Glaciers
Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are world famous for the nearby glaciers from which the settlements take their names. And naturally, a glacier experience is what most people visit these townships for. The best choice to get up and personal with those glaciers is a heli-hike and this includes touching down on the top of the glaciers and being able to actually walk amongst virgin snow. It really is quite an experience to not only take a scenic flight up and around Mount Cook, but then to land and tread on these massive snowfields at the top of the glaciers. It is quite a wondrous experience. Franz Josef Bella Vista and Fox Bella Vista can give you all the details you need to make this a really memorable visit.
If you intend to travel from Christchurch Bella Vista across to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Bella Vista has a great value Hokitika accommodation or Greymouth motel facilities available to book. But it’s the journey that crosses up and through the Southern Alps and through Arthurs Pass township itself that we are interested in, as this presents a strong chance of accessing some winter snow. With several good walks there is every chance of getting amongst the snow line and probably meeting some Kea’s, NZ’s very unique mountain parrot..
Te Anau itself will get snow to the ground a couple of times of year, but being on the edge of the Fiordland National Park means getting close to the snow line in winter isn’t too difficult. If you are undertaking one of the New Zealand’s Great Walks, Te Anau is a great base to use as a start or finish point and these walks will invariably enter the snow line. Perhaps the most accessible snow is on the road to Milford Sound. As the road climbs to a height of 925m where it enters the Homer Tunnel, there is always a good level of snow by the adjacent car-park to play in. It’s quite special watching tourists who have never seen snow before experiencing it for the first time. The team at Te Anau Bella Vista have a lot more detail on these options.
Of course New Zealand’s ski fields are an obvious place to head to access to snow even if you are not intending to ride skis or snowboards, as most have well-formed access roads to the snow line. Be sure to travel with snow-chains and if your car is only a two wheel drive, this may prevent you from getting as close to snow as you might like!
The team at Bella Vista Ashburton have a secret and it’s time to let you know. Ashburton is a great place to base yourself for skiing Mount Hutt whilst enjoying some great value Ashburton at the same time. Understandably, Mt Hutt accommodation prices increase quite considerably for the towns that are closer to Mt Hutt Ski Field, so being just under an hour’s drive from the mountain, it makes sense to try and take advantage of the cheaper rates staying in Ashburton accommodation offers. A weekend and school holiday ski shuttle from Ashburton takes care of the driving for you so you can relax and enjoy the snow.
Dotted around the South Island of New Zealand are lots of club ski-fields, including Hanmer Springs Ski Area. There is a chairlift, a tow rope and the club offer groomed trails with lots of space. A shuttle will take you to the ski field from Hanmer Springs and our team at Bella Vista will ensure you have an enjoyable stay at their quiet Hanmer Springs accommodation.
Not the most obvious base to use for snow adventures, but if you are using Bella Vista Oamaru accommodation as an overnight stop on your New Zealand journey, there are a couple of ski-fields which you may pass and are worth a try to get in touch with snow. An hour’s drive up the Waitaki Valley will bring you to the small township of Kurow where a small ski-field called Awakino is located. At the top of the valley and into the foothills of the Southern Alps is another relatively un-commercialised ski-field called Ohau. Located above the picturesque Lake Ohau this is a great area to enjoy the snow.
If you intend to continue your journey onward to either Wanaka or Queenstown, you will be required to cross the dramatic Lindis Pass which at a height of 971 metres is often covered by a layer of snow during winter. There is a car-park and look-out which will allow you to stop safely.
When it comes to ski holidays, the southern lakeside resort of Wanaka is an obvious choice to head to get amongst the snow. It boasts two fabulous local ski-fields in the technically excellent Treble Cone and the popular all round favourite Cardrona ski resort. With your Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation set in the heart of town you are never far from your ski transport, ski retail outlets, eateries and bars. After an enjoyable day on the slopes, you can quickly change and fall into any number of evening outlets safe in the knowledge that you are hardly a stone’s throw away from a good night’s sleep.
Queenstown needs no introduction as a place to head for winter snow and in particular skiing or snowboarding. Two major ski-fields - Coronet Peak and The Remarkables - lie within a 30 minute drive and if you drive over the Crown Range road, you’re only a short distance from another significant ski centre which hosts international competitions called Cardrona Skifield. Bella Vista Queenstown is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these winter sports with free parking, a drying room, and an easy five minute stroll into town to take advantage of Queenstown’s famed après ski hospitality. Even if you don't ski there are terrific facilities on offer and room for the kids to have a play. Queenstown will often experience between 1 or 2 major snow storms through the winter that will bring snow to ground level. They are often very memorable days as the surrounding countryside is blanketed white – as long as you can look beyond the inconvenience of snowbound cars and the potential of flight cancellations.
Ski fields are not the exclusive preserve of the South Island. The North Island also offers some impressive ski fields, the three main options being located on Mount Ruapehu which is within striking distance of the popular lakeside town of Taupo. Bella Vista has a highly rated motel located just a few blocks back from the lakefront and they are a very good Taupo accommodation option to consider as a ski base
If you are travelling in snow conditions, please ensure you have snow chains in your vehicle and above all, travel safe! Bella Vista New Zealand Accommodation Nationwide looks forward to hosting you.
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For any one heading on holiday or taking a journey a sunrise or sunset can be an iconic part of your experience. Some may argue that it is an essential element to any great trip and we can assure you that when travelling to New Zealand you will have a great time.
Watching dawn break and the sun follow shortly after is always memorable, particularly if you have got up early to see it. Finding the perfect spot in the evening to share and enjoy with friends and family as you watch the sun go down can also be very special. If you record the occasion with a photo there is no doubt it will take pride of place in both your photo album and memory. Recollections of spectacular colours dance together as sounds all blur into an occasion of happiness and wonderful memories.
Being an island nation and surrounded by oceans stretching to infinity both east and west, New Zealand is uniquely well-placed for this experience. The Pacific Ocean gives the days first light to New Zealand along the east coast whilst the Tasman Sea swallows the sun in the west at the end of the day. Being a relatively small nation, it is not difficult to traverse between coastlines and capture both the sun rising and setting across the sea in the same day. Not that we would necessarily advise that, however, because it would create an unnecessary rush between coasts.
Any well-planned itinerary should definitely allow time and so it may be that you choose a different option to capture the sunset or sunrise and that is to get amongst the mountains. With the spine of New Zealand carried by the Southern Alps in the South Island and the Volcanic Plateau in the centre of the North Island, there are lots of options here to obtain your perfect first light or sundowners experience.
With 27 locations through the country, Bella Vista has motels which are well-placed to help you achieve your ‘sun time’ goal. Have a read of the following suggestions and plan your travels accordingly.
The most obvious place to start is Gisborne, commonly known as the first city to see the rising sun – every day! Gisborne Bella Vista is well placed to access not only the heart of the city by car or by foot, but it is a great location to head a little bit further out of town and explore more of the East Cape. But where is the best place to see the sunrise we hear you ask? Wainui Beach often takes the headlines but one recommendation is to head further up to Makorori Beach, a lovely locals beach north on State Highway 35 with great views of the coast from the lookout. It is popular with surfers but also those wanting to see the start of the day. Sunsets aren’t too shabby here either as the light of the day disappears behind you creating a wonderful warm glow. If you want something closer to town, Kaiti Hill is a look-out point which you can reach by walking, biking or by car. With views out to sea and right across Gisborne, you’ll be well set to see the new dawn. Gisborne Bella Vista will be more than happy to help you with the local knowledge that you need, including heading further around the East Cape where there are some other terrific sunrise spots including East Cape lighthouse and Anaura Bay.
Wellington is another great North Island destination to watch the sunrise. An early start from the Wellington Bella Vista to head up Mount Victoria that stands closely behind your Wellington accommodation will bring brilliant rewards. As the sun eases up behind the hazy shadowy outlines of distant mountains, you’ll watch the city catch the light and come to life in the dawn sunlight. With views of the city, the harbour, planes and ferries arriving and leaving, you really get a sense of the day beginning. Mount Victoria can be a challenging walk but the team at your Bella Vista motel will know the best way to go and critically the best time to ensure you make the most of this peaceful time of day.
For terrific sunsets in the North Island it might sound too obvious but we would point you to New Plymouth, New Zealand’s most westerly city. With our Bella Vista accommodation set right in the heart of town, you have the most perfect location to enjoy the highlights of the region and you’re also not too far from a popular sunset spot. Back Beach overlooks Sugar Loaf Marine Park and is a short 10 minute drive from your New Plymouth accommodation. Taking in the sunset at this spot seems to be the highlight for many visitors and comes highly recommended. Take your time to end the day and enjoy a wander or just
Heading to the South Island, we’re going to take you straight to Bella Vista Hokitika accommodation, a motel set in the most delightful West Coast town that happens to be directly adjacent to the beach. Not only that, but Hokitika has a beach called Sunset Point which is a 3 minute drive from the hotel or a 15 minute walk. As the name suggests, it is a great place to watch the sunset and a quick look at Trip Advisor confirms this with a 5 out of 5 star rating.
“This is the place to watch the sunset each day as the sun kisses the ocean and disappears into the water. Plenty of photo opportunities with drift wood sign spelling out the towns name.”
Photos from previous travellers instantly draw you to want to visit the town so don’t delay. If you hadn’t heard of Hokitika previously be sure to add it to your itinerary and book for two nights, not just one. Our Hokitika motel has handy maps to guide you the right way and will also be able to tell you what time you need to be there by to enjoy the most of the sun descending into the sea.
Set in the heart of the mountains in the southern region of New Zealand, Queenstown may be completely landlocked but here you can view a wonderful sunset, sunrise and see the southern nights stars in between. For the early risers, a trip in the car up the public road to Coronet Peak will position you perfectly to watch the first light of the day cast itself across the Wakatipu basin. As the sun comes up in the distant west, you will see bands of light rising behind mountains and the reflections of early sunlight casting shadows which create wonderful effects on the valley floor far beneath you. It is a magical time of day and the beautiful views keep growing as the new daylight chases down the Remarkables and onto Lake Wakitipu. Queenstown Bella Vista will advise you on the best timings to head out and the which route to take to capture these views. The team at the centrally located Queenstown accommodation motel will also point you toward Queenstown lakefront in time for a perfect sundowners. The beach at Queenstown Bay can become very busy during the evening on a warm sunny day but it is very much worth finding a spot after purchasing some fish & chips and sit there as the sun sets behind Ben Lomond. Some would say this is the best show in town but wait, have you looked at the stars?
Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier
It might sound strange, but another perfect sunrise spot is actually on the West Coast near Fox Glacier and within a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier. Lake Matheson takes pride of place as the sun rises above the snow-capped mountains perfectly reflect in the still lake waters. It's a special spot and close to both Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier accommodation and Bella Vista Fox Glacier motel.
Dunedin, Mosgiel & Christchurch
Two other favourite spots we have in the South Island for sunsets are Dunedin’s St Clair beach and New Brighton Pier in Christchurch. Luckily both have Bella Vista’s nearby, Bella Vista offers a great Mosgiel accommodation option just 10 minutes’ drive from Dunedin or you can stay at the Dunedin Bella Vista itself. Bella Vista Christchurch apartments and motel is located on Bealey Avenue, a 15 minute drive from New Brighton. If you happen to be spending your last night in New Zealand before flying home from Christchurch Airport, take time to head to the pier in the late afternoon and enjoy a memorable end to your holiday.
We’d love to hear from you where you have enjoyed your most memorable New Zealand sunrise or sunset so feel free to leave your comments on the Bella Vista Facebook page or share your photo on Instagram with the tag #bellavistanz
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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