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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!  


South Island Top 10 Things To Do

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In the first of a new regular series, the team at Bella Vista have decided to share ten of their favourite things, from local eateries to adventure activities. These updates will give you an idea of some great things to do right around New Zealand, both the top tourist attractions and few ideas which are a little more off the beaten track.   

My Top 10 New Zealand Sites and Activities by Natalie Evans

Natalie is Director of Bella Vista Management and lives in Oamaru, in New Zealand's South Island.

  1. Blue cod and kumara chips from Coast, Kakanui North Otago - speaks for itself plus awesome view to boot.
  2. Picnic at Elephant rocks, Duntroon, North Otago - picturesque and provides a challenging climbing experience!
  3. Nosh Cafe on State Highway One, Waimate - their food display is a feast for the eyes.

  4. Stroll from Friendly Bay around the harbour, Oamaru. Easy, picturesque and adjacent to the Steampunk playground which is a playground of old providing ages 6 plus with challenges. (Also not far from Bella Vista Oamaru!)
  5. Walk from St Kilda Beach to St Clair, Dunedin - coffee and cake, brunch or lunch at any one of the fabulous cafes and walk back along the seaside track and over the playing fields ending up at St Kilda playground - another must for those with families.
  6. Riverstone Cafe, just north of Oamaru. Home grown produce, terrific menu, gardens, castle, shops and playground. Just perfect.
  7. Bill Blair, Coppice Crafts Oamaru working from a red shed at the end of the harbour railway line at the Harbour Oamaru. Watch Bill in action making his crafts. Take home a very well built trug complete with copper nails to use to collect your fresh produce from your garden. 

  8. Turn right at Otematata and view Lake Benmore Dam. The largest earth dam in the Southern Hemisphere. Whilst there walk from the top of the dam on the circular walk where on a good day you will view Mt Cook in all its glory and the full length of Lake Benmore - a truly magnificent sight and great walk.
  9. Visit The Vines Restaurant in Waimate. Friendly hosts and a view over Waimate. Stroll around Waimate for a town streetscape straight out of a bygone era.
  10. Finally, my recent find - Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson. A ride on the Marahau/Abel Tasman water taxis is a must. Make sure you land at Marahau so that you can experience riding on the boat trailers direct from the beach being pulled by tractors. Walk all or part of the Abel Tasman. It's a gem because you can walk it and return daily to civilisation via water taxi if that's your preference. Nature and clean sheets - bliss (check out Bella Vista Nelson for just that!). 

  11. Where ever you choose to stay in the epic South Island Bella Vista have you covered from Invercargill motel accommodation to Nelson motels we have you covered. 

7 Great Reasons to Book at www.bellavista.co.nz

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Last spring Bella Vista launched a new website designed to ensure you, our valued customer, could experience a process that is simple and hassle-free as possible when booking your motel in New Zealand. We understood it was important to deliver comprehensive information about our NZ motels, helpful insights and tips about your destination of choice, whilst at the same time, enabling you to easily view pricing and availability before completing your booking with a minimum of fuss.

There are still further improvements to make but we’re delighted with the positive feedback we have received to date. By the way, we think the website is quite good looking as well, certainly better than most motels in New Zealand.

                                  bella vista website


Read on for seven great reasons why you should book here on our website.

1. Best Price Guarantee

This sounds good like a good deal and it really is! Yes, that is right, when booking direct we won’t be beaten on price.  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

2. Book Now, Pay Later

Another tempting option when you book direct. The Bella Vista accommodation network is happy to allow you to make your booking and only pay when you arrive at your motel. We will simply secure your booking by taking your credit card details at the time of booking.

3. Instant Confirmation

Book online and be confident that your booking is complete and your stay is secured.

4. Deal Direct

No middle men, no extra charges, no misinformation or misinterpretation. When you book direct you’re dealing with the people who will host you when you arrive at your accommodation and that provides great peace of mind.

5. Availability Advantages

Our website is the only place on the internet where you will find our complete range of availability at all times. You thought we were sold out? We always recommend checking here first.

6. Up to date Information

Bellavista.co.nz is the only place you can be confident that you are viewing up to date and the most comprehensive overview of each of Bella Vista motels 27 locations around New Zealand.

7. Enjoy Hassle Free Bookings!

Camping? 10 Reasons to Stay in a Motel!

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Camping in New Zealand is something of an institution. It is considered to be a holiday of choice for many kiwi's taking an extended break over Christmas and New Year and it is even talked of as a right-of-passage for kids during their summer holidays. Dreams of hot, sunny days socialising with camp-mates well into the evening, with the opportunity to get back to nature. It sounds great, but do the number of tiny cabins and motel units now appearing in traditional campsites mean the reality is somewhat different to camping idyll, and that most people would prefer not to be under canvas? 

With this in mind, we thought we’d offer a tongue-in-cheek, one-eyed review as to why camping perhaps isn’t so great!

1. Setting Up and Packing Away.

All you wanted was a couple of nights away camping, but after a long journey, erecting your tent in 30 degree heat was not only exhausting and at times frustrating, but you lost a lovely afternoon of your holiday. You then lost the same amount of time packing everything away before another long drive. Predictably, everything is wet because it rained overnight so you’re going to have to set the tent up again to dry it out once back home. Compare that to the enjoyable Bella Vista motel check-in, check-out experience where everything is taken care of.

2. Communal Bathrooms.

It is possibly worth reminding you that EVERY Bella Vista motel studio, no matter what the location includes an ensuite bathroom which is private to you and only you. At no time have we ever had any feedback stating that someone from the room next door has walked into the bathroom waiting to share the toilet, sink or shower! Well, that’s the basic premise when you camp and at times it can become quite trying – particularly if you are following someone whose cleanliness standards fall well below your own.

3. Me Time.

You arrive at a campsite and in a blink of an eye, you are thrust into a new social community. Whether you like it or not, you are required and sometimes expected to participate fully in your new neighbourhood. Before you know it you’re helping run the kids club or cooking another dozen sausages for the communal BBQ.  You’re camping, it goes with the territory! All you wanted to do was go on holiday, take a break from the world and read your book in peace? Tough luck!

4. The Weather.

Let’s not pretend every New Zealand summer is a cracker. Your childhood memories might tell you so and you put last year’s weather-bomb to the back of your mind when your planning your trip, but can there be anything more miserable than spending hour after hour under canvas with the rain pouring down? Do we need to state the obvious and remind you that cosy motel rooms rarely flood or get blown away in high winds! 

                              Camping in the rain

5. The Wildlife.

‘Get close to nature’ they said. That phrase may seem a little too real when you return back from an outing to find the campsite goat chewing through your tent’s fly-sheet. We’re happy to state categorically that no Bella Vista keeps a pet goat.  

6. Home Comforts?

Let’s face it, modern expectations of a holiday or mini-break are often based on the hope that we will be able to enjoy all our home comforts but simply in a different location. Bella Vista accommodation offers quality freshly made bedding, your room is serviced daily, you have a kitchenette to utilise at your leisure, ensuite bathrooms, electricity is freely available, and Free WiFi is guaranteed. The remote control in never far away either. When you’re camping it’s sleeping bags, blow-up mattresses and, if you’re lucky, the showers might not be coin operated. 

7. Noise.

Screaming kids in the middle of the night. Fireworks exploding just as you drifted off to sleep. Cars with unreasonably loud sound systems. Tractors. Boats. 4x4 Bikes. Parties. The dawn chorus. Neighbour’s conversations. The list of noisy interruptions to your campsite holiday bliss goes on. When you’re in a tent, you hear the lot and there is no escaping it. 

8. Location.

Now you may be thinking that the one thing a campsite often offers is direct beach access. Well yes, there is no Bella Vista accommodation right on the beachfront, but the motels in Napier, Nelson, Wellington, New Plymouth, Oamaru and Kaikoura are all within a short walk of the sea and some good beaches. 

9. Hot Showers.

Enough said.

10. Daylight.

Long summer days and late nights round the campfire. It sounds great, but remember daylight is just around the corner and tents are simply not designed to block out the early morning sunlight. If you are like a lot of people who enjoy catching up on sleep and having a lie-in when they are on holiday, our experience says it is difficult to do that without a good set of black-out curtains (included free at a Bella Vista near you).

Enjoy your holiday accommodation, whatever it might be! 

Giving back. How does your business participate?

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It’s that time of year when your mind turns to those less fortunate than yourself. The news of an unprecedented increase in care parcels provided by the Salvation Army and alike can be quite disheartening when most people are focused on Christmas work parties, travelling for summer holidays, planning to catch up with friends and family and possibly a large Christmas lunch. So, when thinking about giving back, we thought we’d write a few words on how Bella Vista Head Office looked at the challenges of participating in giving back as a New Zealand business.

Salvation Army Xmas Appeal Corporate Responsibility

Without doubt, each of the Bella Vista accommodation network's 27 NZ locations individually play a role in their community – from as far north as Whangarei, Invercargill in the south, Gisborne in the east and New Plymouth in the west.

Without wishing to create undue attention to their efforts, many of the Bella Vista motels regularly engage in supporting local projects, provide donations to charitable causes, undertake positive environmental initiatives, gift personal time, sponsor local sports teams and so on. Bella Vista motels are active members of their community. And so they should be, right?

Thinking through your business’ corporate responsibility and matching your desire to stand up and be counted can be a tough call for any small business; How much is enough? What can you spare? Can you justify your level of donation? Should your company’s profitability play a factor in the value you allocate to good causes? Who should you support and why? Or maybe you are just far too busy to look beyond the needs of your own business - and sometimes, that is a simple and necessary reality.

So many questions and there is no right or wrong. There is no template to follow beyond a gut feel for doing what you think is right for you and your business.

For any small business, there is a thin line between what you can afford to provide and ensuring you are not accused of making a token gesture, not giving enough or, within an environmental context, the dreaded accusation of ‘greenwash’. Your inner voice starts telling you that whilst supporting the local penguin colony is a great idea and delivers a fluffy feel-good factor, isn’t it time I bought new pillows for my customers and guarantee an even better night’s sleep?

Getting cold-calls from charity collecting organisations which, whilst no doubt are representing very worthy causes, makes those decisions even harder. A subsequent photo of thanks and sometimes even a certificate from the recipients of your donation definitely provides the warm and fuzzies! Sometimes it is almost impossible to say no. “A small donation would go a long way to help our group of deserving kids” you’re told. Of course, any business can absorb a small gesture but in our experience, when you give once to get these people off the phone and calm your conscience, you’re on the database and the frequency of those calls gradually increase. These phone calls can really play on your mind and emotion. If anything, those calls should be a reminder that you need to take control of what your business is doing in this space. It’s difficult isn’t it!

The tourism quality control organisation Qualmark, of which all Bella Vista motels are rated 4 star, provide some helpful guidelines as to what you can be doing. Consider both charity and environmental causes is one recommendation. Moreover, keeping your efforts and budget dedicated by streamlining your charities of choice enables you to confidently say no. “Thank you for the opportunity but we are focusing all our efforts toward our chosen charities.” The other piece of advice Bella Vista took on-board as a collective of small businesses was to try and ensure your efforts aligned to the industry and community you are operating within.

So whilst all the Bella Vista motels are active in their locality and region, we asked what can the Bella Vista head office team do?

Bella Vista promises “A better night’s sleep”. As part of this promise, Bella Vista head office based in Oamaru elected to contribute 1% percent of our turnover to a charitable cause every year. This year, we decided to focus our efforts on enabling local disadvantage children to get the best night’s sleep possible by gifting them a range of brand new bedding items.

A Xmas Gift

It made sense to work in with our hospitality suppliers which enabled us to stretch our budget further and take advantage of some generous wholesale prices. This year our chosen recipient was Kakanui School, a decile one school in North Otago who have been provided sets of brand new comfy quality wool duvets and plump pillows to distribute among some of their deserving pupil's.

A good night's sleep

Here's some great photos of the school pupils taken during last week’s visit including Cody, Damien and Luke with their wool duvets and pillows plus Maia and the boys choosing their next holiday destination with Bella Vista. Accompanying them are the Principal, Ann Roughan and Bella Vista representatives Natalie Evans and Julie Familton.


The response to our Facebook post regarding the donation was heart-warming and we hope we have found the right answer to our good intentions. Apparently, the lollies were also appreciated by all concerned!


Kakanui School

Happy Holidays to you all!