Category Archives: A Good Read!
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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Mount Hutt is Canterbury’s very own “big mountain” offers ski and snowboard fans everything you need for an amazing ski holiday in the South Island. The ski field is only 55 minutes drive from Ashburton and there, Bella Vista Ashburton will cater for your every day winter needs.
Whether you are passing through or looking to ride the slopes, Michelle and Paul at Ashburton Bella Vista Motel warmly
welcome you. We have ample safe parking so you can leave your car, avoid parking issues on the mountain. Our superior 4 star smoke free accommodation includes a variety of studios and one bedroom units. You have a choice of king, queen or single beds with electric blankets for those cooler nights.
Wifi is available with a spacious work desk in every room. Units vary from just tea and toast making facilities to those with cooking facilities. We offer continental breakfasts and evening meal charge back facilities, dine in or dine out. You can certainly be assured of a warm welcome at reception where we will assist you in every way possible.
The town of Ashburton offers a perfect base to stay. If you need mountain transport, we can get you up and down the mountain each day safely at $35 per person return right from Bella Vista Ashburton’s front door. And remember, kids under 10 ski for free at Mount Hutt!
Ashburton offers great services and amenities including cinema, theatre, cafes, restaurants, shopping, the Art Gallery and much more. Not to far away from your Ashburton accommodation you’ll find the popular ice skating rink at Staveley, a gorgeous small village with its own little cafe and winter wonderland experience. The drive up to Lake Clearwater is also spectacular.
So dig out the winter woolies and come and learn to ride the slopes! There are some great ski pass deals at Mount
Hutt or if you fancy the day off from skiing, there is plenty to do for all the family in and around Mid-Canterbury region. The season runs from June to October so get in now to grab one of these great packages.
MT HUTT EXCLUSIVE COUPLES DEAL - 2 Adults
Queen Standard Studio with microwave and kitchenette, 10% discount at Robbies Bar & Bistro, 2 free coffee vouchers at Robert Harris Café, buy one – get one free pool pass at the Aquatic Centre, free Wifi and laundry
- NZD$110.00 per night
MT HUTT EXCLUSIVE FAMILY DEAL – 2 Adults & 2 Kids
A one bedroom apartment with with a king bed and 2 singles, add a third single on request. Fully equipped kitchen, 10% discount at Robbies Bar & Bistro, 2 free coffee vouchers at Robert Harris Café, buy one – get one free pool pass at the Aquatic Centre, free Wifi and laundry facilities.
NZD$320.00 for a 2 night stay
NZD$170.00 for a 1 night stay
• A Mt Hutt ski pass must be shown to access the exclusive deals.
• The Mt Hutt bus service from the Bella Vista operates on weekends and New Zealand School holidays only
• All bookings MUST be made direct with Bella Vista Ashburton.
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A few months back we featured a blog post on Glacier Country and what there was to do in this beautiful part of the world. The feedback took us by surprise and we had a number of people contact us asking for further information. As a result of this we’ve put together a special feature focusing on the various options for those wanting to get out and experience the glaciers first hand, take a read to find out more.
Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are two phenomenal natural attractions on the West Coast of New Zealand. They are a sight to behold and their presence is awe inspiring to everyone that visits. Here in NZ we are privileged to have these glaciers easily accessible and in our own backyard. It’s a fact not many countries get to boast, so make the most of this and embark on a glacier adventure for your next holiday.
First things first, book your Franz Josef accommodation or Fox Glacier accommodation at either of the Bella Vista glacier motels. Bella Vista Motel Franz Josef Glacier and Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier are both ideally located for glacier adventures, close to the glaciers and guiding companies, handy to the townships and Qualmark 4 star rated to guarantee a quality and comfortable standard of accommodation. Plus there’s plenty of safe parking and free WiFi so you can stay connected to the world.
Next you’ll need to decide on what kind of glacier experience you want to take part in:
Glacier walks are a fantastic option for those wanting to see and learn about the glaciers, but not get out onto the ice itself. Ideal for those with limited time in the area, or those that endure unfavorable weather conditions to partake in one of the helicopter options.
You can venture out on your own, following the Department of Conservation walkways and make your way to the glacier viewing areas. These are easy to moderate walks but do require good footwear and knowledge of the conditions. Your best bet is to call into the DOC office or Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre first and get all the information you require.
Alternatively you can join a guided excursion; here you’ll learn the history, legends and how these glaciers have changed over time. Your group will follow the glacier path and get close to the terminal face for some fantastic views and photo opportunities.
- Franz Josef Glacier Guides - Glacier Valley Walk
- Fox Glacier Guiding: Fox Trail: Terminal Face Walk
- Also check out Glacier Valley Eco Tours
Glacier Heli Hike:
The opportunity to participate in a glacier heli hike is one of those memory keepsakes and something we can’t recommend highly enough.
The heli hike sees you boarding the helicopter where you’ll fly high above the glacier to get a real understanding of the sheer size and rugged nature of these beautiful formations. The experienced pilot will then complete an ice landing on the glacier, it’s here you’ll disembark and prepare for your guided glacier hike.
The hike will take you out to some of the most unspoiled scenery you’ll ever experience, climbing beneath towering ice peaks, experiencing blue ice, maneuvering through ice caves and crevices and so much more.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you get the chance (and good weather conditions) grab it with both hands.
Heli Hike options are available on both Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Fox Glacier also has a seasonal overnight option.
Heli Ice Climb
If you’re looking for something that next level challenging, then this is the option for you. A day filled with excitement, exhilaration and an absolute sense of pride once you’ve conquered some extraordinary climbs and encounters.
Ice Climbing on either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier is as good as it gets, you’re in for an adrenaline overload and bucket loads of fun. Believe us if you’re this way inclined, you’ll not be disappointed with a Glacier Ice Climb.
With the assistance of expert climbers, you’ll learn the skills and techniques you‘ll need to climb this spectacular terrain. All equipment is provided and the climb will be tailored to your skill and level (no experience necessary). The helicopter transfer will take you to the upper parts of the glacier where ice walls and climbing are at their best.
Using crampons, ice axes and other specialist equipment you’ll advance quickly, by the end of the day you’ll have vertical climbs, overhanging ice walls and pinnacle climbs under your belt.
The Glacier Lowdown
We’re undeniably huge fans of the West Coast glaciers and know that you will be too! Here’s a little more information that may help you with your adventures.
The safe and responsible way to get out onto the glaciers is by going through a local company with the knowledge, familiarity and the correct equipment. Unless you have exceptional mountaineering skills and local experience we recommend going through Fox Glacier Guiding, Franz Josef Glacier Guides or Glacier Valley Eco Tours.
It can get cold out on the glaciers so we suggest layering up and wearing 2- 4 warm upper body layers. Wool or polypro is ideal for the glacier conditions and layering means you can remove items when you warm up.
But what else do you take? You won’t want to take too much up on the ice, the essentials are: camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, water and a light snack.
Insider’s tip: If you want to beat the crowds get up early and after a big breakfast at your Bella Vista Motel join one of the first glacier tours (call to book this a day or two before).
There’s nothing like seeing Blue Ice for the first time, it’s purity and beauty really is something else! You have a very good chance of seeing some if you take part in one of the helicopter options.
At the end of the day you’ll feel a real sense of pride and achievement for getting out there on the glaciers, but you’ll also have worked up an appetite! Celebrate with a delicious meal at one of the fabulous cafes and restaurants dotted around both Franz and Fox – We’re huge fans of Snake Bite Brewery in Franz Josef Glacier and The White Pub Café and Restaurant in Fox Glacier.
We also know that you’re likely to be a little tired and achy, the best remedy we have for that is taking some time out to relax at the wonderful Glacier Hot Pools.
For a sneak peak, check out our video below.
Otherwise give us a call today on 0800 BELLA VISTA and we’ll get your room ready for you. And remember, it's always cheaper to book direct with Bella Vista's Best Price Guarantee.
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Queenstown offers so much fun and excitement for everyone that visits; it’s also perfectly situated as the gateway to some of New Zealand’s best day trips, all within driving distance from this magical destination.
The best way to venture and explore beyond Queenstown, is to use your Queenstown accommodation as the base, pack your day bag and then get out and experience the spectacular sights and attractions on offer. Some of these trips are free or can be modified to make them as low cost as you need, and invariably some do cost money, but all are sure to offer a truly memorable day out.
So join us at Bella Vista Queenstown, we’re the perfect accommodation choice for your Queenstown day trips, central to town, great parking, modern, comfortable and well throw in some free WiFi just to make your stay even more relaxing.
The Queenstown Bella Vista team has spent many years travelling in and around the Queenstown region and have selected for you our top Queenstown day trips.
Queenstown to Arrowtown Day Trip
Located only half an hour from of Queenstown, Arrowtown is a breath of fresh, alpine air. This charming gold mining town offers so much for day-trippers, its picturesque setting feels like it is straight off a postcard and the quaint and somewhat quirky village is a delight to explore.
Meander the streets lined with historic cottages, spend time checking out the Chinese settlement or try your hand at gold panning in the Arrow River. The cafes and restaurants deliver top class foods and local wines through to bakery items ideal to take on a picnic lunch. The nature walks and hikes around this part of the country are breathtaking and the perfect way to end an afternoon of exploring.
You’ll find the hours will fly by quickly, as it really is a magical day out.
Queenstown to Milford Sound Day Trip
Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park is one of those bucket list destinations, with its beauty being beyond anything most people have ever experienced. Basing yourself in Queenstown is ideal for a Milford Sound trip, with both fly and coach options available from Queenstown. Whichever your preference, land or air, getting there is part of the experience.
You’ll find yourself mesmerized by the views, as this is some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. The journey will see you travelling through farmland, forests, with views of beautiful streams, rivers and valleys. It will feel like there’s a fabulous photo opportunity around every corner.
Once arrived and out on your Milford Sound Cruise, you’ll see nature at its absolute best. This World Heritage Area is a sight to behold, carved from glaciers thousands of years ago, the majestic mountain peaks, fiords and waterfalls - some plunging 1000m, will leave you feeling awestruck by the magnitude of these surroundings.
It’s an absolute must do when staying in Queenstown.
Queenstown to Glenorchy DayTrip
Located only a short distance from Queenstown (approx. 45 minutes), this road trip between Queenstown and Glenorchy is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.
The journey will see you following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with its spectacular mountain backdrop, and if you’re lucky enough to be travelling in spring or winter, the snow on the mountains makes this picture complete! If time is on your side, try one of the many bush or lake walks that are in the area. Bob’s Cove or Lake Dispute are two popular options that showcase the very best the area has to offer.
Once arrived in the small town of Glenorchy, you’ll find you have landed in a nature and adventure lovers’ paradise. There is an abundance of things to do to suit all possible requirements. From walks and hiking around Glenorchy or up Mt Alfred through to the multi-day options of one of New Zealand's Great Walk's, the Routeburn Track. There’s also the adrenaline pumping Dart River Jet, Funyaks (an inflatable type canoe), horse trekking, shopping, wildlife and art galleries. You’ll understand when you get here why this place has been the famous scenic backdrop for many iconic films, such as Narnia, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Queenstown to Wanaka Day trip
Basing yourself in Queenstown means you can make the most of your location and include an enjoyable day out in Lake Wanaka. Travelling via the Crown Range, the highest main road in New Zealand, appreciate the views and scenery on offer and if you have enough time, stop at the iconic Cardrona Hotel for a morning coffe and a bite to eat.
Once arrived in the Lakeside township of Wanaka, there is much to see and do. The lake itself will be enticing you to relax with a picnic, walk, swim or one of the many other lake activities. The cafes and restaurants dotted around town are fantastic and offer views, ambiance and local food and wines.
If you’re still looking for more, you’ll not be disappointed with the range of activities and attractions around town – adventure, natures, adrenaline, galleries, museums, plus lots more.
Queenstown to Central Otago Wine Tour
It would feel like a sin to be in such close proximity to some of the best wines in the world and not make a day trip out of it.
The diverse scenery alone makes this experience something else – with high country farmland, tussock clad hills and rivers, valleys and gorges. There is so much to see and do in ‘Central’. Those interested in wine are in their element, with Central Otago boasting some of the very best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.
Choose to explore on your own or join a guided tour from Queenstown to experience vineyard tours, tastings, restaurant options and cellar door shopping.
The many quality wineries in this region are mind boggling – Mt Difficulty, Black Ridge, Gibbston Valley, Amisfield and Chard Farm just to name a few. So make the most of this location while you are here.
There are of course so many day trips from Queenstown we could mention in this blog – Doubtful Sound, Makarora Valley, Te Anau, Mount Cook the list goes on and on. To find out further information on any of those we’ve mentioned chat to the team when you check into Bella Vista Queenstown, as they’re a wealth of local knowledge.
So remember – next time book in a couple of extra days in Queenstown and get out that little bit further!
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When the majority of us think of Christchurch our minds are automatically drawn to the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. So much has happened since then, Christchurch is well and truly back and ready to share its story with the world. We’ve put together the perfect 48-hour tour to help you get the most out of the Garden City.
Christchurch is a fascinating, vibrant and as we know resilient city, it’s a place that you could and should spend many days exploring, but if you’re only here for a couple of days, try and tick off as many of these as you can.
9.30 a.m. Brunch
Start the day off at a leisurely pace with the best coffee in town. We suggest The Caffeine Laboratory. The food selection at The here is top notch, and you’ll be hard pressed to choose only one item off their brunch menu. Once your meal has been delivered to the table you’ll understand our recommendation, as the food is beautifully presented and seriously delivers on taste.
11.00 a.m. Reflect on the Quake
For many New Zealanders visiting Christchurch is bitter sweet, there’s a genuine sense of sadness and loss for what was, but also true admiration and hope both for the city and it’s locals. We’ve selected a few options for those that want to learn and understand more about the earthquakes.
Quake City – Here you will discover all there is to know about the Christchurch earthquakes; the destruction caused, stories of bravery and locals working together, you’ll view images of the wreckage, see up close many iconic objects that have been salvaged and learn about the plans for the city’s future. Re:Start Mall, 99 Cashel Street, daily 10am – 5pm.
Christchurch Rebuild Tour – This 90 minute bus tour will highlight the damage caused by the earthquakes, talk of the transitional projects that were required and learn of the plans for the future. It’s a good way to get your bearings and see for yourself the areas that were worst hit. Daily departure, outside Canterbury Museum, 11.30am.
185 Chairs – Earthquake Remembrance Art Installation. While still on the hunt for a permanent location, 185 Chairs is a public artwork and memorial to the 185 victims of the Christchurch earthquake. It’s a moving place to visit and really puts into perspective the sadness of the lives that were lost. St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church site, corner of Cashel and Madras Streets.
2.00 p.m. Head to the Botanic Gardens
We've allocated 90 minutes to stroll along to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and appreciate this true oasis in the middle of the city. It's not long enough but hey, you're on a timeframe! Here you’ll view the well-planned collection of different gardens, exotic plants, trees, and indoor varieties. You’ll no doubt want to spend a while checking out the gardens, but once you’ve had your fix, make your way to Cambridge Terrace for a river punting experience.
3.30 p.m. Punting on the Avon
It’s about as Christchurch as it gets! You’ll sit back and relax in the hand crafted flat bottom boats, as your Edwardian dressed punter in full attire (stripes, blazer and boater hat) points out the landmarks and highlights of the city. This is such a fabulous option any time of the year, with blankets, umbrellas and even hot water bottles available if needed.
7.00 p.m. Christchurch Tramway Restaurant
You’ll no doubt have worked up quite an appetite by now, so tonight enjoy a unique and completely ‘Christchurch’ way to dine. The Tramway Restaurant sees you seated in a colonial style dining tram, where you’re served up the very best in local cuisine and wines, plus experience an after dark sightseeing tour. It’s a must do on a visit to Christchurch, but remember to book in early to make sure you don’t miss out.
10.00 a.m. Christchurch Gondola
Have a light breakfast before you leave your Christchurch motel and then make your way out of the city to the Christchurch Gondola. The ride up is enjoyable and sees you ascend Mt Cavendish in the Port Hills, once you reach the top the uninterrupted 360-degree views over the city, port, Southern Alps, and beyond are spectacular.
There’s plenty to keep you busy at the top, the Time Tunnel ride will teach you about the history of the region, a café for your morning coffee, and perhaps take the opportunity to explore the Mountain Bike or walking trails. If you don’t have your own transport the Gondola Shuttle operates daily from the Canterbury Museum.
1.00 p.m. International Antarctic Centre
Now’s time for something a bit different and we think pretty special! And this city is the only place you can do it - unless of course you’re planning a trip to Antarctica. The International Antarctic Centre is a fun and interactive experience that will make you feel like you’re really there. View Little Blue Penguins, experience an actual Antarctic storm (appropriate clothing provided), and learn facts and stories about what life’s like in Antarctica, plus no Antarctic experience is complete without a Hagglund ride.
4.00 p.m. Hagley Park
By now you’ll probably need a bit of a break from playing tourist. Head over to Hagley Park to breathe in some fresh air and appreciate this wide-open space in the middle of the city. Hagley Park has been part of Christchurch lives since the 1850's, gifted to the city for the enjoyment of the residents. The beautifully maintained park offers so much for all - a lake, tennis courts, sports fields, walking and running tracks and picnic spots, plus much more. From there make your way back to Bella Vista Christchurch to freshen up before dinner.
7.30 p.m. Café Valentino
Sadly your time in Christchurch is coming to an end, and perhaps the most fitting place to finish up is at the Christchurch institution, Café Valentino. This buzzing restaurant hotspot serves up mouth-watering dishes, pizza, pasta and a Torte di miele to die for. It’s the ultimate in Italian food and is all packaged up in a fun atmosphere with food prepared to perfection. Mama Mia!
If you’ve only got 48 hours in this city location is key, so book yourself into Bella Vista Motel & Apartments Christchurch, and enjoy the close proximity to town, dining and all the attractions.
Bella Vista Christchurch offers some fantastic accommodation options including studios, one, two and three bedroom units – so there’s something to suit everyone at this brilliant Christchurch motel. Graeme and Janice are always happy to share their local knowledge and assist with any questions or booking requests you may have. Call them on 03 377 3363 for some first-hand advice.
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Queenstown stands heads and shoulders above most visitors destination of choice when visiting New Zealand. It holds a special allure for most Kiwi’s as well.
Whether you are travelling for an extended summer break, a special weekend away, visiting or participating in one of the many annual sporting events such as the New Zealand Golf Open or the Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon, or booking a winter ski holiday, Queenstown has undoubtedly become the New Zealand destination of choice.
Sitting serenely on the shores of the mighty Lake Wakatipu, what was once a small sheep farming settlement has grown from gold rush town to tourism mecca.
Quietly overlooked by the eponymous Remarkable mountain range, Queenstown continues to draw visitors from all over the world. It’s on most traveller's ‘bucket list’, so if you haven’t visited yet, what are you waiting for?
Bella Vista Accommodation Network is very proud to be able to offer a modern and incredibly well-appointed Queenstown accommodation choice. Featuring 24 motel units, Bella Vista Queenstown will deliver to your every need whatever the season and however long your stay. Take note that this destination requires more than a one night stay.
With the choice of studio’s, one bedroom and two bedroom units, Bella Vista Motel Queenstown has the options you are looking for just on the edge of town without having to pay the high cost you might find at some Queenstown hotels. Free WiFi and onsite free car-parking during your stay are a great bonus for hassle-free travel.
Only a short stroll from the Bella Vista itself you can be entertained time and again by many of attractions in the cosmopolitan town centre. Five downtown ‘Must Do’s; include;
· Riding the gondola to Skyline to take in the view from Bob’s Peak.
· Take a cruise on the lady of the lake the TSS Earnslaw steamship across to Walter Peak for lunch.
· Still on the water, book in for a real thrill and experience the awesome Shotover Jet ride.
· We recommend you ensure you take some time out and enjoy a drink, a bite to eat or maybe an ice-cream whilst enjoying the fabulous views at one of Queenstown’s celebrated eateries.
· And last but certainly not least, who could forget to recommend the very famous Fergburger. A locals tip from your Bella Vista host will ensure you can miss the queue.
A little further from town, depending on the season, you can hit the mountain bike trails or the ski resorts. Picturesque Arrowtown is only a short 10 minute drive away and there is endless cellar door choices to be made within the nearby Gibbston Valley, famous for the Central Otago Pinot wine.
The attractions that are going to bring you to Queenstown really are endless and forgive us if we blow our own trumpet but the Bella Vista accommodation is pretty good too! And don’t just take our word for it. Some recent Trip Advisor ratings rank our Queenstown motel very, very highly.
Currently positioned at #10 of all Queenstown Hotels and therefore #1 of all Queenstown Motels, don’t mind us if we congratulate the Bella Vista Queenstown team and give them a well deserved pat on the back. With comments such as “Great Place, Great People, Great Location” and when ranked above certain big-name hotel chains, it’s no wonder Bella Vista Queenstown wants to engage in a little bit of self promotion!
Now is the time to tick this destination off your must-do list so get booking – the team at Bella Vista Queenstown look forward to hosting you!
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It’s Wanaka for us any day of the year. Wanaka is a four seasons kind of place with a shift in focus - equally as spectacular - every season. It’s a popular place to visit and is on every tourists ‘Must See’ list.
So whether it be summer sailing on the lake or hitting the slopes during winter that takes your fancy, take a read below of our tried and tested guide to Wanaka - it’s natural beauty, attractions, activities, dining and nightlife.
At 45 km in length and 193 Square Km, Lake Wanaka is visual perfection; surrounded by the mountains, quaint Lake Wanaka Township and sheep stations. These crystal clear waters and surrounds are a haven for young and old. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to getting the most out of the lake, with kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, sailing, mountain biking, hiking, you name it. The friendly team at the Wanaka iSite knows all there is to do on the lake and where to go, so make this one of your first stops!
Hikes & Walks
It’s as if Wanaka was created with walking in mind – with tracks to cater to all fitness levels and abilities, from short strolls around the lake, dog friendly walks, wheelchair access trails, all the way through to serious hiking. Popular half-day walking highlights include – Mt Iron Track and Roys Peak Track.
Nearby Mt Aspiring National Park is a World Heritage Area that attracts hikers from around the world. The gritty remoteness of this area combined with the mountains, valleys, rivers and scenery will make sure it will be a hike you’ll never forget. Varying levels of hiking tracks and lengths are available, with the well-known ones being - Gillespie Pass Circuit, the Wilkin Valley, Aspiring Hut, Rob Roy Track, Liverpool Bivy and Cascade Saddle.
Wanaka is also part of the length of New Zealand walking route AKA Te Araroa (The Long Pathway) that travels from Cape Reinga to Bluff – make Wanaka an overnight stopover.
Come winter, Wanaka is the ideal base for skiers and boarders. From beginners through to seasoned skiers and heli-skiers, take your pick of Cardrona, Treble Cone or Snow Farm, or try all three. It’s arguably the best skiing in New Zealand and sees people coming back year after year for more. The ski season finds Wanaka pumping both on and off the slopes.
Family Friendly Activities
Cinema Paradiso – It’s about as quirky as it gets with a selection of comfy couches, various seating options and even an old Morris Minor! Grab your spot and treat of choice – the homemade cookies and ice cream are hard to ignore. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the latest movie in style!
Puzzling World- Making the weird and wonderful seem perfectly normal, that’s what it’s all about! Fulfill your inner child (or take your own) with rooms of illusions, crazy houses and one heck of a maze; enjoy this whacky trip into wonderland.
Wanaka Lavender Farm - A walk through these fragrant purple fields is like nothing else. After taking your time strolling around the farm, try a cup of lavender tea, some lavender ice cream or check out the health benefits from the many products produced on the farm.
Wanaka’s a small town packed with world-class dining options.
Restaurants – The restaurant selection and quality is quite frankly staggering. Some of our Bella Vista head office favourites are: Big Fig, Luggate Hotel, Mazunga and The Spice Room. But heck, they’re all great!! With cuisine and dining styles galore there’s no shortage on choice here.
Cafes – Wanaka takes its coffee and café culture very seriously and because of this you’ll find it hard to go wrong. Try Fedeli, Double Black and Alchemy for your caffeine fix.
Bars & Nightlife. Lake views, open fires, atmosphere and dancing – tick every box you need? You’ll no doubt hear about the places to go when you’re down here, but depending on your mood checkout: Wineglass Café, Trout Bar or Gin & Raspberry.
Wanaka accommodation can book out fast, especially over the ski season and height of summer. So start thinking about when you would like to head our way and call Tom & Melissa who will help you sort everything you need.
Bella Vista Motel Wanaka is the perfect home away from home. Its central location sees you only 150m from Lake Wanaka and a minute’s walk to town. It is Qualmark 4 star endorsed, with free wifi and plenty of parking, which means you can relax and enjoy your stay. Give us a call today - we'd love to host you.
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Gisborne’s got us hook, line and crayfish pot! To say that we enjoy visiting Gizzy (affectionately named by the locals) is an understatement - we love it! It’s one of those places that is off the main tourist radar and that’s what makes it that little bit special.
This infatuation started not because of Gisborne’s famous Rhythm and Vines music festival - don’t get us wrong we still love dancing along there, but because of its staunch, unfailing sense of self. It is a town that is bursting with pride about its history, its people and what it offers visitors to the region… and proud it should be.
Visitors choose to come to Gisborne - it’s not really a place you’d pass by otherwise. It’s an enjoyable 6-hour drive from Auckland, 3 hours from Napier or 7 from Wellington. There are also daily direct flights out of Auckland and Wellington if a drive like that is not your thing.
But what to do when you arrive? Aside from the kaimoana (seafood) that is out of this world, there’s so much to see and do in Gisborne you could easily stay up to a week. From surfing to wine tasting, Stingray feeding to Maori culture - why not try out a couple of these wonderful options next time you visit?
Hands down one of the best places in NZ to learn to surf, with a number of surf schools to choose from you’ll be hanging 10 with the best of them in no time. Lessons are available anywhere from 1 lesson through to week long options, so pick the level you want to get to and go for it! Two of the popular schools in Gisborne are: WOW Surf School and Surfing With Frank.
Yes you read correctly, a 60m long natural rock slide. Pack your wetsuit, tyre inner or boogie board and prepare to have some serious fun. Rere Rockslide is located about 50km out of Gisborne so make a day trip out of it, there’s also a great swimming hole and picnic area here. PS don’t mistake Rere Falls for the rockslide and attempt to slide over these! Rere Falls is situated a short distance away and quite impressive in its own right.
A once in a lifetime experience to snorkel with and feed Stingrays. These graceful and gentle sea creatures are often misunderstood and feared, but joining in with a Dive Tatapouri adventure will change your perception forever. Your time on the reef may also see you getting up close with Yellowtail Kingfish, Trevally, Kahawai, Crayfish, Octopus or Conger eel.
Gisborne Wine Centre
Find out all you need to know about the local wine scene at Gisborne’s most comprehensive wine seller and tasting room. Once you’ve decided on your favourite drop relax with a glass of it paired with some delicious food overlooking the harbour. If you’d prefer to get out to the wineries themselves there are a number that are well worth a visit, Ashwood Estate, Bushmere Estate, Hihi Wines, Milton Vineyards and Winery just to name a few.
A great place to visit and gain an understanding of the local history and culture. The museum provides a fantastic collection of Maori artifacts, sculptures, carvings and also an insight into Gisborne and the way it used to be through a series of old photos. The hosts are friendly and inviting and love to share their knowledge.
East Cape Lighthouse
Now this is something pretty amazing. Get up early and be one of the first people in the world to see the new day in. The lighthouse is located on a walking track at the top of Otiki Hill. We may have neglected to mention that it’s 700 steps to get there, but the views more than make up for that at the end. After the sunrise check out some of the gorgeous beaches on the way back to town.
Rhythm and Vines
It would be remiss of us not to mention the super popular Rhythm and Vines annual music festival. Jam-packed full of both international and NZ artists, it’s a crazy old time at Waiohika Estate – and the people come to party. Plan your visit in for late December for this one and book into Bella Vista Gisborne early as we book out well in advance!
Not that we’re biased but the best place to stay when seeking out Gisborne accommodation is Bella Vista Motel Gisborne. The fact that it was recently awarded the 2017 Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award for 14th Top Bargain Motel speaks for itself although we prefer to think of it in terms of value, not bargain.
Located right in the heart of it, close to town, the airport and everywhere you need to be. Owners Frik & Marise are experts in pointing people in the right direction and providing the very best stay you can have.
So step off the beaten track and see the new day in at Gisborne - we hope you'll love it too.
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What’s not to love about Nelson? Longer sunshine hours, lower than average rainfall, friendly vibe and laid-back locals. Nelson is one of the true gems of the South Island and should not to be missed!
Annually Nelson sees big numbers come through the region - in excess of 1.4 million guest nights in 2016. Although these numbers are staggering, Nelson does it with grace and ease. Always managing to keep its unique charm at the forefront.
It’s a magnificent place to visit all year round with its appeal reaching far and wide. The art scene is one of the best in New Zealand, with many artists: painters, sculptors, potters and artisans calling Nelson home. While nature lovers and adventurist's have options aplenty, from Seal colonies, bird sanctuaries and of course, Nelson’s trump card, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.
We’ve decided to take all the hard work out of planning a trip to Nelson for you. Researching high and low, scouring Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, you name it to find for you the best of the best (well Bella Vista's guide anyway). So here goes:
World of Wearable Arts & Classic Cars Museum. A collection showcasing everything brilliant in wearable arts, including award winning garments from the high profile World of Wearable Arts competition, alongside a prized collection of classic cars. Male, female, young and old – everyone loves this place.
Best Short Walk:
The Centre of New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s most popular walks; taking you literally to the Centre of New Zealand! Its location on Botanical Hill is a 20 – 60 minute walk depending on your fitness level. It’s well worth the exercise though as the views of the Nelson area and beyond are stunning.
Tahunanui Beach. A beautiful beach and great place to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. If you’re partial to a spot of swimming, beach walking, paddle boarding or wind surfing, then this one’s for you. And guess what, Bella Vista Nelson is but a short stroll from the beachfront!
Queen’s Gardens. Dating back to 1892 and registered as a New Zealand historic place, Queen’s Gardens are a place of true beauty and tranquility in the heart of Nelson City. Listed as a Classical Victorian Ornamental Park, take your time and enjoy the park’s sculptures, the Cupid Fountain, the Water Wheel, the Boer War memorial, plus much more.
Nelson Market. This iconic market is open Saturdays from 8am–1pm and located in Montgomery Square. Nelson Market showcase's everything special about this region including: local food & produce, gifts, arts & crafts and talented artisans. Message to those first timers- don’t fill up on breakfast prior to visiting, as the food on offer is top class (and so is the coffee).
Best Art Stop:
This was a hard one to pick, with over 300 living artists based in the Nelson area but we've gone with Hoglund Art Glassblowing Studio where world renowned glass artists Ola and Marie Hoglund open their doors and welcome visitors to their glassblowing studio and gallery. You’ll be the epitome of restraint if you manage to leave without your very own glass platter, paperweight, jewellery or vase.
And here's some of the best bits which are slightly further afield, but absolutely not to be missed:
Best Outdoor Adventure:
Abel Tasman National Park. The Abel Tasman will wow you around every corner, native tree and rock, it’s a popular destination for those exploring both by foot and by kayak. The coastal wildlife, pristine beaches and native bush, flora & fauna provide so many photo opportunities, you’ll want to make sure you’ve allowed a good amount of time here! Nelson is the perfect base for exploring the Abel Tasman; in fact the majority of people will add on a day either side.
Best ‘Wild Card’ Location:
Farewell Spit & Puponga Farm Park. The northern most point of the South Island is just begging to be explored. This off the beaten track experience is famous for its bird sanctuary (with over 90 bird species recorded), historic lighthouse, pa sites, the seals and rock formations.
Looking for Nelson accommodation options? Bella Vista Motel Nelson ticks all the boxes, plus more. Its location is a stroll away from the beautiful Tahuna Beach and an easy drive into town, restaurants and activities. Your friendly hosts Bruce and Nadine will treat you like long lost friends and they will go out of their way to help you with your Nelson exploring. The modern, purpose built Nelson Bella Vista has everything you need, meaning you can truly relax and breath in that good old Nelson fresh air.
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This was certainly a hard task to undertake...Seek out some fabulous spots for lunching in Napier and the Hawke’s Bay Region. We certainly didn’t need to be asked twice!
Before the boss could blink; bags were packed, wine maps were downloaded and we were heading to one of the most beautiful places on earth – The Bay.
Being the oldest and second largest wine region in New Zealand you know you’re in for a quality wine experience when visiting Hawke’s Bay. For lovers of Merlot Cabernet blends, Syrah and Chardonnay, you’ll struggle to find many better, and those more partial to the other varietals there is certainly an abundance on offer. But alas, this task was to share some of our top lunch spots - so it’s not all swirl and spit I promise!
Whilst we were spoilt for choice, with 72 wineries in the region, as the title states we identified five that really stood out to us. We were looking for: beautiful presentation, quality local and fresh produce & foods, gorgeous taste combinations, and fabulous locations. Here’s what we came up with:
We had to start with the winner of the Hospitality Awards Hawke's Bay 2016 Outstanding Winery Restaurant, Mission Estate. Located in the Taradale hills, the views over Napier city and beyond will blow your mind. The building, its location and the overall feel are pretty hard to beat and so was the food.
Eating lunch on the outdoor dining terrace was one of the highlights of our trip with the waiting staff all trained to provide the best wine match option for each dish on the menu, it really is a winery sent from heaven.
Needing to be wowed? Then Elephant Hill is just the winery to do it. With a setting amongst the vines on the Te Awanga coast, the views of the Pacific Ocean and the Kidnapper Cliffs will quite simply take your breath away. Think fine dining with a truly inspired menu, Elephant Hill will not disappoint if you are looking for something really special.
Lunch was casual, relaxed and eaten out on the courtyard under a canopy of grapes. The menu, as promised was light, fresh and delicious, using locally sourced food and produce. Black Barn stole our hearts, so much so we really didn’t want to leave. There’s something here for everyone including those stopping for coffee or nibbling from the small bites menu.
With a nod towards Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, lunch at Te Awa is all about the experience. Sharing dishes (allowing you just the right amount of many delicious options) is the perfect way to enjoy a long Sunday lunch with friends and family, with small plates, large plates, garden plates and charcuterie boards on offer. Te Awa was a memorable occasion and seated outdoors it is a great option if dining with kids.
The fact each dish from entrée through to dessert came with a suggested wine match, we knew we’d found the right place. Making the most of their kitchen garden and potager, the food was fresh, honest and tasted divine. I can confidently suggest the fish was the best I’ve ever eaten.
The ideal spot for accommodation while checking out the Hawke’s Bay wineries is in Napier. With the restaurants, cafes, shopping, and art deco right on your doorstep. It makes it all so easy.
Bella Vista Motel Napier is a great Napier accommodation option, conveniently located on Hastings Street, which runs parallel to Marine Parade. They have plenty of safe parking, so you can leave your car and cycle or wine taxi around the vineyards. It’s time to get out there and experience all that the Hawke’s Bay wineries have to offer – we did and we loved it! Thanks Bella Vista Napier for hosting us.
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We are lucky enough in New Zealand to have some pretty amazing places to visit, one absolute highlight is located on the West Coast of the South Island, and is aptly named ‘Glacier Country’.
The undeniable heroes of this region are Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, commonly referred to as the most accessible rivers of ice in the world.
Franz Josef Glacier
At 10 km long, beginning at an elevation of about 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) at the tops of the Southern Alps, and descends into rainforest close to sea level. This glacier offers the rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacier in a temperate (moderate) environment, located within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.
The Fox Glacier is 12km long and travels down the Fox Valley from the peaks of the Southern Alps through temperate rainforest, turning a corner before terminating 250 metres above sea level. Fox Glacier is the longer and the faster moving of the two famous West Coast glaciers.
The great news is exploring these glaciers can be done easily and in a number of different ways. From guided walks through to glacier heli hikes and ice climbs. Depending on your choice, you have the ability to do what very few people get to do, reaching the terminal face, climbing through crevices and exploring ice caves. A glacier encounter is a highlight for all of those lucky enough to experience it, and one we can’t recommend highly enough.
There has been a lot of talk over recent times of climate change and how this will have a direct effect on glaciers worldwide. Therefore there is no better time to get out there and see for yourself a very spectacular part of our country.
Aside from the glaciers, Glacier Country is home to a raft of activities and sights. Lake Matheson (the mirror lake), kayaking, boat cruises, a kiwi incubation unit, Glacier Hot pools, plus lots more – so ensure you allow enough time to soak up all you can.
If you haven’t been yet, get down to Glacier Country and tick it off your bucket list. Bella Vista Motels have two fabulous properties for people looking for Franz Josef accommodation or Fox Glacier accommodation options.
Bella Vista Motel Franz Josef Glacier
Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village, offers quality, warm and comfortable accommodation with the shops, restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. Adam and his team will look after you and help with any questions or assistance you need for getting out to the glaciers.
Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier
Centrally located in the quiet main street of Fox Glacier Village. Enjoy all the amenities in close proximity plus the onsite spa and BBQ facilities are much appreciated after a day exploring the glaciers. Bill and Jill are extremely helpful and provide a warm and welcoming environment for all their guests.
With the West Coast of New Zealand having so many gems, we couldn’t fit everything we wanted into one blog post. Check back in in the coming months for information on the other areas you can explore with Bella Vista Motels.
Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier is currently running a terrific Easter package. Head to the Bella Vista deals page for more information.