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Category Archives: Bella Vista Dunedin

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!  


Dine out Dunedin: best places to eat and drink 

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Yes, Dunedin is home to the humble cheese roll, a lip-smacking delicacy that oozes melted pleasure. But look beyond this city’s Scottish heritage and university town façade and you’ll discover stylish cafes, wine bars and hole-in-the-wall eateries, curated by expert chefs and beer brewers. Check out our ‘best restaurants in Dunedin’ guide for creative cuisine and cool surrounds, all served up with genuine Southern hospitality.  


Best Dunedin Italian restaurant  

For ambience, an aperol spritz and Italian comfort food, you can’t go past the Esplanade at St Clair. Enjoy waterfront dining or a hearty brunch, as the waves crash on the shore and sea spray whips the sky. Inside this bright and cosy space, you’ll enjoy wood-fired pizzas and speciality dishes like braised lamb pappardelle or pork and fennel sausage conchiglie. It’s pasta but not as you know it! After eating your fill, roll out into the bracing fresh air and take a stroll along beautiful St Clair Beach, one of the best sea-side walks in Dunedin. This is just a 14-minute drive from our motel in Dunedin. 


Best Dunedin craft beer and food  

While the legendary Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival takes place each December, you can enjoy a beer tasting with bites at Emerson’s Brewery Restaurant, all year round. While some might question whether a brewer could excel at both food and beer, Emerson’s have nailed it. With four different takes on fries including poutine, you’ll be hard pressed to choose from the delicious tapas-style menu. Imagine tender lamb loin chops dipped in baba ghanoush or pork belly bites served with lentil dahl, poppadom, and lemon raita. The cosy dining hall also showcases founder Richard Emerson’s impressive collection of railway memorabilia and provides ‘behind the scenes’ views of this working brewery. Making this one of the more character-filled places to eat in Dunedin. 


Best Dunedin student café? 

As a university town, the Good Earth faces stiff competition for the student dollar. But this café’s convenient location to campus, combined with its impressive selection of?organic breads, baked goods and daily specials made from scratch, reels the students in. The light-filled historic building and shady courtyard provide the perfect spot for a relaxing catch up over coffee, beside cafe windowsills laden with homemade chutneys and jams. You’ll feel right at home in this airy setting,  munching on one of their brown butter chocolate cookies. 


Best Dunedin fine dining 

Overlooking St Clair beach, is upstart bistro Titi which is receiving rave reviews for its excellent food, friendly service and carefully curated list of local wines. With a ‘Trust the Chef’ three or five course dégustation menu, choose a main then let their award-winning Chef choose the next two options. This is an opportunity to challenge yourself, but rest assured the food is superb and beautifully presented. What could emerge from the kitchen is the freshest tempura or a duck croquette or a dessert of yuzu cheesecake with white chocolate. Part of the fun is trying to guess what will come next, making this one of the best restaurants in Dunedin to experience nouveau cuisine! 


Mingle with the locals  

Discover the local growers, cheese makers and food purveyors at the Saturday Otago Farmer’s Market. Taste your way around the stalls and food trucks, while enjoying the stunning renaissance-style architecture of the nearby Dunedin Railway Station. It's only five minutes drive from our motel accommodation in Dunedin


Best Dunedin lunch on the go  

Two suggestions here. Pop into Beam Me Up for handcrafted, New York style bagels ranging from jalapeno cheese to blueberry and the standard sesame seed. Stuffed bagels include the Boba Feta, whipped feta, oregano, chives, lemon, garlic and cream cheese or the Vulcan, hot smoked Stewart Island salmon cream cheese with lemon and dill. All lip smacking flavours sure to excite the tastebuds. Pair with any of their barista coffees to complete the experience. This is only 6 minutes from the Dunedin motel

Another popular lunch spot is the Side On bakery on Moray Place. This fully operational bakery produces exquisite sourdough loaves and a range of sweet treats from cardamom buns and almond croissants to cheesecake. If eating in, the halloumi with fried cauliflower, cream cheese, pumpkin seeds, pickles and curry vinaigrette on toast, is one of their enduring bestsellers.  

Ask the Bella Vista team for restaurant recommendations to suit your tastes, because as locals, they know the best food spots, cheap eats and things to do in Dunedin.

Wild about Dunedin: 6 must-do experiences

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As the New Zealand city closest to Antarctica, Dunedin combines natural beauty with cosmopolitan chic. With its volcanic origins, rugged coastline and abundant wildlife, the Otago Peninsular is New Zealand’s answer to the Galapagos Islands, but with great Dunedin food and coffee! There’s plenty of epic things to do in Dunedin so here’s a nature lover’s guide to the area’s best attractions. 


Best wildlife spotting 

Dunedin is a habitat for rare wildlife. On the Otago Peninsula, you can spot little blue or yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals, sea lions and The Royal Albatross Centre, home to the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross in the world. Take a guided tour and explore hidden underground tunnels underneath the albatross colony, to view these magnificent birds up close. A separate observatory provides a nursery for parents raising their young albatross chicks. On a breezy day, watch the adult albatross take to the skies with their huge 3-metre wingspan. This is only 45 45-minute drive from the Dunedin motel accommodation. 

A visit to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, 20 kilometres north of our Dunedin motel, will reveal more native wildlife within its huge predator-free enclosure. Tuatara lizards, Otago Skinks and seventeen species of native birds, including the rarest Haast tokoeka kiwi, thrive at Orokonui. The Ecosanctuary has created a crèche where up to fourteen baby kiwi are nurtured, until they can defend themselves in South Westland from their stoat predators.  


For garden lovers 

One of the best walks in Dunedin is through the delightful Dunedin Botanic Gardens, with its Edwardian Winter Garden and glorious Rhododendron Dell. Stroll the hillside paths and breathe in the scents of camellia and the striking Cedars of Lebanon. This is only 7-minutes walk from our Dunedin motel accommodation.


Best natural history experience 

A 9-minute walk from our Dunedin motels is a fantastic rainy-day activity is The Otago Museum, Dunedin which showcases nature, culture, and science from New Zealand and around the world. For the kids, there’s a three-story slide, a bike-riding skeleton, a Moa diorama and an indoor Tropical Forest where you can walk amongst a thousand rain forest butterflies, which flit around and often land on your hand. Because the Museum is a magnet for local schools, the exhibits are interesting and interactive. There’s even an animal attic, a Victorian-inspired zoological gallery, with nearly 3,000 historical specimens, including lions which escaped from a traveling circus!  


Most dramatic landscape  

If you love rugged coastline, sealions, unusual rock forms and sliding down golden sand dunes, then head to Sandfly Bay, one of the Dunedin beaches you don’t want to miss. Don’t fret about sandflies, as the name Sandfly Bay refers to the sand which scoots across the beach in strong winds.  

Grab a delicious lunch from Marbecks Foodstore at the Wall Street Mall, before the 20-minute drive to the track head. A grazing platter of cheeses, condiments, premium salami and a baguette, will provide the perfect picnic to refuel after a short hike to the bay. 

On arrival, follow the track to Sandfly Bay over farmland, while pausing at the optimally located viewing platforms, which frame stunning coastal views, including the aptly named Lion Rock, a small knoll beyond the breakers. 


Best secret beach and creepy castle 

Once the private domain of the influential Cargill family, discover mysterious Tunnel Beach, Dunedin on the spectacular Otago coastline with its wind-battered arches, sandstone cliffs and headlands. Follow the steep path from the carpark before it disappears into an arched tunnel, hand forged by the 1870’s owner of Cargill Castle. As you descend the steps to this secluded beach, where the Cargill daughters once sunbathed, swam and searched for fossils, you’ll understand why the Tunnel Beach Track is regarded as one of the best things to do in Dunedin. Tunnel Beach is a short car ride from our Dunedin motels.

While Cargill’s Castle is now in ruins, it’s still visible from the street, where it continues to command outstanding views of the ocean and Dunedin’s southern coastline. 

Whatever your interests, whether it’s bird watching or hiking, the Bella Vista team can provide suggestions on the best walks in Dunedin and the Otago region’s bountiful natural attractions.  

Essential guide to Dunedin

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From surf beaches, to hip cafes, hidden street art and charming wildlife, the southern city of Dunedin, boasts plenty of beautiful attractions for its compact size. Even so, you could miss the top spots, so here’s an essential guide to the best things to do in Dunedin, whether you’re staying a night or a week at our Dunedin motels.


Best street art  

Wander down hidden city lanes and around street corners and discover a 30-strong collection of stunning painted walls by New Zealand and international artists. Pick up an Art Trail map from the local Dunedin i-Site Visitor Centre and take this self-guided 90-minute walk. Along the way, explore the city’s interesting southern fringe with its character architecture, boutiques and the historic Dunedin Railway Station, once New Zealand’s grandest and busiest station. This is now the departure point for the spectacular Taieri Gorge Railway journey, regarded as the world’s best slow train trip. This is only 5 minutes drive from our Dunedin motels


Best Dunedin beaches  

Ask any local this question, and they’ll point you in the direction of St Clair Beach, a perfect spot to visit on a sunny day and one of the best sea-side walks in Dunedin. Stroll along the dunes bordering the beach, watch surfers catch a wave or hang out at one of the cafes or bars on the popular Esplanade. Continue walking to the less populated St Kilda Beach, where you might spot playful sea lions frolicking in the sand. If keen on swimming, Brighton Beach is your best bet, just 20 minutes from our Dunedin motel accommodation.  


Most epic Dunedin views 

Take a 14 minute drive up from our motel accommodation in Dunedin to Mount Cargill, one of the highest lookout points over the city. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the city, harbour and Otago Peninsula. There’s a couple of short walking tracks including the Organ Pipes from the summit, surely one of the most unusual walks in Dunedin. The 30-minute track steps up fallen columns of rock towards a level platform, providing views of the Organ Pipes or basalt columns caused by the volcanic formation of the Otago Peninsula millions of years ago. Drive through charming Port Chalmers and pop into the Union Co Café for a locally roasted espresso and fresh baked goods from smoked fish pies to chocolate chunk cookies. There might be no better beef rendang pie in all of Aotearoa, New Zealand! 


Steepest street treat 

Close to our motel in Dunedin and nearby the Dunedin Botanic Garden sits Baldwin Street, officially the steepest street in the world, unless you believe the Welsh who vigorously dispute the claim. Once upon a time, Baldwin Street hosted the annual Jaffa and trolley races. Where one chocolate-centred sweet or crazy trolley driver took out line honours as the fastest down hiller in the land. Plodding your way up suburban Baldwin Street is one of the essential things to do in Dunedin, alongside plenty of puffing visitors determined to make it to the top.  


Best brunch, burgers or brews  

A stroll through the city’s Warehouse District will reveal plenty of great cafes like Heritage Coffee or the Vogel Street Kitchen and the mouth-watering Mama’s Donuts. The burgers at Good Good attract locals from all over Dunedin. Drop into the Duke of Wellington if you relish imported British beers or treat yourself to a tour and craft beer tasting at either Emerson's, a local Dunedin institution or the legendary Speights Brewery. One of the best restaurants in Dunedin in terms of bang for bucks is Plato. Classic New Zealand dining in a waterfront character building with sea views of the Otago Harbour. Savour freshly caught salmon or their signature fish pie, and experience genuine southern hospitality.  


Best time travel  

For an interesting history lesson, check out the Toit? Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin to learn about New Zealand’s oldest city. This immersive experience showcases the first people history of founding M?ori and the arrival of Otago settlers from Scotland. Best of all this is a free Dunedin activity with a focus on student learning, so perfectly pitched for families. A visit to the one and only Larnach Castle Dunedin on the Otago Peninsular, will take you back in time to when landed gentry, like politician William Larnach ruled New Zealand. Now privately owned, this Victorian-era castle took sixteen years to build, bankrupting William and costing him his life. Some fear it’s haunted! Today the castle boasts a 3,000 square foot ballroom, which hosts regular high teas, and a pretty tower, providing stunning views of the Peninsula. 

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty of fun things to do in Dunedin. Contact the Bella Vista Motel team for maps, tour bookings or information on any Dunedin attractions. We’re only too happy to help. 

Sunrise and Sunset. The Best in New Zealand with Bella Vista

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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. 


Sunrise in New Zealand with Bella Vista


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.

New Plymouth

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.   


Hokitika Sunset

  “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 which route to take to capture these views.  The team at the centrally located Queenstown motel accommodation will also point you toward the Queenstown lakefront in time for 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 accommodation 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.


Sunrise on the Lindis Pass

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

Top 10 Motel Tips. Know Before you Go!

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If you are travelling to New Zealand or are a resident Kiwi, there is a good chance you're already aware that New Zealand motels offer a great option for your overnight accommodation needs.

With 27 motels nationwide, Bella Vista is well placed to cater for anyone requiring a motel stay. They are affordable, comfortable and convenient plus in most instances, you will get a better feel for your locality. Whether you stay at Bella Vista Oamaru, Bella Vista Hamilton or Bella Vista Queenstown you will enjoy the hospitality of your Bella Vista host and be assured that each motel is Qualmark endorsed.

Unlike hotels, motels in New Zealand are not big complexes, will not have an on-site restaurant, swimming pool, lobby area, nor different staff for each department. But then you don't have to pay for these extras either! By comparison, Bella Vista Motels will have a welcoming reception area, a convenient carpark, some public spaces such as a garden or BBQ area and guest units within a secure courtyard. 

As Bella Vista's are managed by the owners/operator, you will certainly enjoy Bella Vista's genuine kiwi hospitality; a laid back and down to earth style and attitude.

Up to this point, if you have now decided to make a reservation with Bella Vista Accommodation Nationwide, here are 10 light-hearted tips you really should know before you arrive at the motel

1. There's no slippers

Yep. So there it is. We thought we'd get this out of the way first. Bella Vista nor New Zealand motels in general offer complimentary slippers. We understand you're disappointed so do make sure you pack your own.

2. Bella Vista motels are two storeys tall and do not have an elevator

Requests cannot always be guaranteed, but if you'd prefer to be on the ground floor please make sure you book with the motel and place your request directly rather than via a booking websites.

Bella Vista Motel

3. Please don't dry your clothes on the heater

Be very careful as it will create a significant safety risk. Covering a heater can cause fire.

4. Leave your luggage in the car

On your arrival, relax and leave your belongings in your car. Save your time and energy so that you only have to carry your luggage once, from your car to your room, after you have checked in.

5. Bella Vista Motel reception is not open 24/7

Bella Vista owner operators live on-site and do go to bed at night. They need their rest to ensure they can be bright and look after you during the day. So if you are going to check-in later than the advertised office hours, please make sure you let your host know.

6. Check-out time is 10 o'clock

For Bella Vista and most motels in New Zealand, check-out time is 10am. You can request a late-check out from your host which may be available.

7. Drying Dishes

In New Zealand we dry the dishes with a tea towel after being washed and then put them back in the cupboard. Just a friendly request not to put wet dishes back in the cupboard!


Bella Vista Motel Cupboard

8. Enjoy an electric blanket

Electric blankets are terrific inventions and it seems that many hotels don't even know they exist. They are particularly useful in winter. Simply turn it on at least an hour before go to bed to get your bed warm and then turn it off once you're in bed before you sleep.

9. Make your own breakfast

Every Bella Vista room features a kettle and toaster, complimentary tea, coffee and milk. So feel free to add some extras and put together a half-decent breakfast before you leave.


Bella Vista Continental Breakfast

10.  Be Aware of the T&C's

Terms and Conditions sound so tedious but they are there for a reason. So it is important that you understand them once you have completed your booking. Look specifically for cancellation and amendment policies so you can be sure your booking won't become problematic. 

With these tips now safely stored, head to www.bellavista.co.nz and book your next stay.

10 Reasons to Book Direct with Bella Vista

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Today, Wednesday 7th February is global #bookdirect day. It’s the one day in the calendar year where the hospitality industry including the 27 nationwide Bella Vista Motels would like to remind our valuable customers that you can Book Direct with Bella Vista New Zealand and that you don’t have to book via an Online Travel Agent.

But why Book Direct we hear you cry. Well here’s a few reasons:

1. The Best Price.

Don’t always believe what you read and hear! You will always get a better price booking with your host. It costs them less to receive your booking over the phone, on the Bella Vista website or by email as they don’t have to pay agent commission  - so ignore those annoying adverts and visit www.bellavista.co.nz or dial our Freephone reservation number 0800 235 528. Quite often you might even receive a special offer.

Book Direct with Bella Vista

2. Flexibility.

Enjoy the most favourable booking conditions with no hassle of having to work through a faceless intermediary. Phone your host and they are going to be more than happy to assist every single time. Surely that has to be better than contacting an offshore call centre and finding out no one really wants to help you amend your booking.

3.  Local Knowledge.

Whilst making your reservation, your host will answer all your questions about your stay without hesitation and no doubt offer some friendly advice at the same time. Take your time to pick their brains to make the most of your visit.

4.  Secure your favourite room.

By booking direct and talking to your host, you can request your preferred room. Whether it’s a garden view, an upstairs or downstairs studio, make your request and fingers crossed the room is available.  This simply isn’t possible to do with an online travel agent.

5. Help is at hand!

Have you ever had a booking with an online travel agent go wrong? Let’s just say the booking engine has a failed and you have booked a room that you think is available when in actual fact it isn’t. It’s not your fault. It’s not the motel or hotels fault but you’re the one left to pick up the pieces. If you want to avoid this disastrous scenario, book direct every time.

6. Book Now, Pay Later.

Secure your booking and pay when you arrive. That’s always going help with the holiday cash-flow

7. Earn Bella Vista Rewards.

Only customers who Book Direct are entitled to collect Bella Vista Rewards. If you Book Direct you will earn 5 points every time you stay which can be saved and then cashed in against a future stay. So booking direct is not only cheaper but we give you something back – how good is that!*  *available at participating Bella Vista's only


8. Support the New Zealand economy!

Every time you book via one of these monolithic online travel agents, your money is leaving the country and only a small portion gets returned to your host when you stay. It may be you don’t care whether the government is able to capture it’s GST slice,  but why should other countries profit either.

9. Put a smile on your hosts faces.

There is nothing your host will like more than a booking that has come directly to them. You making them happy will in turn increase the likelihood of them making your stay even better!

10. Free Continental Breakfast.

If you Book Direct on the Bella Vista website today, Wednesday 7th February, we’re going to give you a free breakfast when you stay. Just as a little way of saying thanks.

Bella Vista Continental Breakfast

So whether it’s Bella Vista Queenstown you’re heading to, Bella Vista Hamilton, Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier or Bella Vista Christchurch here are your Book Direct options:

  • ­   Visit www.bellavista.co.nz
  • ­   Call 0800 235 528
  • ­   Email [email protected]

#bookdirect   #trustbellavista

When Quality Counts

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In the modern digital age, every person travelling with a smartphone, iPad or other device has the opportunity to both read and post reviews and ratings on their overnight experience.

Whether they choose to leave their thoughts and opinions on Trip Advisor, Google, or a booking agent’s website, this very public feedback has guaranteed that New Zealand accommodation standards must remain high and guest expectations are met every time.

The evolution of user-centric feedback is an overwhelmingly positive development for the travel and tourism industry and ensures the general public can be fully informed about their purchasing decision by peers rather than by some clever marketing words or sales pitch. It’s the way things should be.

Customer Reviews

The digital feedback revolution is something that the Bella Vista Accommodation network fully supports. All positive feedback allows our terrific motel operators to take comfort that they are delivering a great experience. Of course, no motelier wants to receive a poor review but when that does occasionally occur, more often than not, it’s an easy fix and we are able to improve our offer.

One critical point that the customer seems to miss when using peer-to-peer reviews, however, is that these ratings are really only scratching the surface and are simply a superficial overview. Important questions that all New Zealand motels should be able to answer often get left unasked. Those question should include:

  • How robust are your health and safety policies and practices?
  • What does your businesses environmental footprint look like?
  • Do you engage and give back to your local community ?
  • Do you have an emergency plan to ensure I can rely on you in the unlikely event of a natural disaster?
  • What do your cleaning schedules and systems look like and do they meet not just international standards by my standards?

This is where Quality really comes into the equation of deciding where you want to stay. In Bella Vista’s opinion, only accommodation operators who have been audited by a recognisable external and independent organisation can really promote their accommodation business with any kind of credible quality or star rating.

Qualmark a mark of quality

Bella Vista works closely with Qualmark, New Zealand’s official quality assurance
organisation who provide a trusted guide to quality travel experiences in New Zealand.  Qualmark's business advisors visit Bella Vista motels at least once a year ensuring we
are checked against best- practise operating standards and the optimum customer
experience delivery.

There is a huge amount of evidence that business planning, good management and
solid processes as audited by Qualmark result in a better product. Furthermore, research
shows that an identifiable mark of quality is an important deciding factor when customer’s
etermine where they book. Certainly, any motel promoting itself as ‘self-rated’ does not
provide the necessary credibility any guest to New Zealand deserves.

From 4 Star rated Bella Vista Queenstown in the south to 4.5 Star rated Bella Vista Whangarei in the north, Bella Vista takes pride in the fact that we are the only motel chain in New Zealand that is Qualmark endorsed across each of our 27 comfortable and convenient locations.

Bella Vista Motels


Earlybird Booking Inspiration

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

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

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


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

Whangarei Town Basin


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

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

Lake Taupo New Zealand


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

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


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

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

Abel Tasman National Park

Hanmer Springs

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

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


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

Larnach Castle

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

Bella Vista's '27 Club'; An Exclusive Membership

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Founded in 1998, the Bella Vista Accommodation Network quickly spread across the country creating a comprehensive motel chain of 27 quality motels from Bella Vista Invercargill in the scenic south to Bella Vista Whangarei in the winter-less north.

Over the following 18 years, tens of thousands of guest nights and a good number of hearty breakfasts delivered, Bella Vista motels have welcomed visitors from right across New Zealand and the world. Whilst Bella Vista has been open for business, it has forged a strong reputation for convenience and quality becoming a preferred choice enabling tourists to visit New Zealand’s beautiful scenic locations, facilitating business travellers a convenient place to stay when criss-crossing the country for work and in all cases, a trusted overnight stop.

Whilst the Bella Vista story continues to unfold, a question was recently asked which stopped us dead in our tracks; “Has anyone stayed at all 27 Bella Vista motels?” A quick delve into our records was unable to offer any conclusive results. Even a poll amongst the Bella Vista team came up short. The record for the most Bella Vista motels stayed in by any one individual was 24. Only 24, that can’t be right!! As you can imagine, we’re now on the hunt for anyone who can claim to be part of what we imagine is a very exclusive group. Have you stayed at all 27 Bella Vista’s?

The geographic spread of the Bella Vista chain ensures that not only do most major New Zealand towns and cities feature properties, such as Bella Vista Christchurch or Bella Vista Dunedin, but so do popular tourist destinations such as Bella Vista Franz Josef and Bella Vista Queenstown. Do you travel for work and have decided to use our chain to cater for your accommodation? Perhaps you’ve decided to undertake a New Zealand road-trip similar to these itineraries and whilst touring, you have used our motel accommodation network? Possibly a mixture of both work and pleasure at different times?

What is certain is if you have stayed at every 27 or even just a small handful - whether it is Bella Vista Hamilton, Bella Vista Queenstown or Bella Vista Fox Glacier to name just three, you are going to experience a four star Qualmark endorsed level of comfort and be entertained by some of New Zealand’s very best hosts.

So tell us, how many Bella Vista motels have you stayed at? With 27 in the network it takes a certain type of loyalty and commitment to tick them all off.  

If you have stayed at all 27, we want to hear from you!

Bella Vista '27 Club'


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 our Oamaru motel accommodation!)
  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. Stop on by on your way out of town from our Oamaru motels
  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.