Category Archives: Bella Vista Fox Glacier
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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If you are searching for a holiday that includes snow, New Zealand is very definitely for you. Every winter and often into late spring, New Zealand can guarantee a whole swag of the white stuff in both the North and South Islands. And we’re not talking about measly quotas that leave you feeling short changed. We’re talking about infamous New Zealand snow dumps that can bring the chills right through every self-proclaimed beach lover.
Winter time southerly winds racing up from the Antarctic are cold enough to frighten even hardened rain into beautiful New Zealand snowflakes and once they fall, our stunning landscape is taken to a whole new level of awesomeness as New Zealand proudly shows off its seasonal white winter blanket. Blessed with major mountain ranges that reach above and beyond 2,500 metres tall, New Zealand naturally attracts snow to those highest peaks. In some cases, such as with Mount Cook at over 3,700 metres high, the snow tends to hang around all year.
Winter sports enthusiasts have long held New Zealand in high regard for its high quality ski-fields and the variety of its snow-covered mountain terrain, but it’s not just ski and snowboard aficionado’s that New Zealand snow attracts. It may be hard to believe but for many visitors travelling to New Zealand from distant tropical countries, the opportunity to touch snow for the very first time is a very exciting part of their journey.
So read on for our detailed guide to where you can find New Zealand snow.
Perhaps not the most obvious place to start, but New Plymouth sits adjacent to New Zealand’s largest stand-alone mountain, Mt Taranaki. During winter and often extending well into later seasons, the upper slopes of the mountain which reaches 2,518 metres will be snow clad. Taking a hike in Egmont National Park is a popular activity and a winter time walk to the snow line is quite easy to achieve with three main access roads allowing you to get you part-way up the mountain. We definitely wouldn’t recommend a summit hike during the winter season however! New Plymouth is a great city to visit and our down-town New Plymouth accommodation option can give you all the information you need for your time there.
West Coast Glaciers
Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are world famous for the nearby glaciers from which the settlements take their names. And naturally, a glacier experience is what most people visit these townships for. The best choice to get up and personal with those glaciers is a heli-hike and this includes touching down on the top of the glaciers and being able to actually walk amongst virgin snow. It really is quite an experience to not only take a scenic flight up and around Mount Cook, but then to land and tread on these massive snowfields at the top of the glaciers. It is quite a wondrous experience. Franz Josef Bella Vista and Fox Bella Vista can give you all the details you need to make this a really memorable visit.
If you intend to travel from Christchurch Bella Vista across to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Bella Vista has a great value Hokitika accommodation or Greymouth motel facilities available to book. But it’s the journey that crosses up and through the Southern Alps and through Arthurs Pass township itself that we are interested in, as this presents a strong chance of accessing some winter snow. With several good walks there is every chance of getting amongst the snow line and probably meeting some Kea’s, NZ’s very unique mountain parrot..
Te Anau itself will get snow to the ground a couple of times of year, but being on the edge of the Fiordland National Park means getting close to the snow line in winter isn’t too difficult. If you are undertaking one of the New Zealand’s Great Walks, Te Anau is a great base to use as a start or finish point and these walks will invariably enter the snow line. Perhaps the most accessible snow is on the road to Milford Sound. As the road climbs to a height of 925m where it enters the Homer Tunnel, there is always a good level of snow by the adjacent car-park to play in. It’s quite special watching tourists who have never seen snow before experiencing it for the first time. The team at Te Anau Bella Vista have a lot more detail on these options.
Of course New Zealand’s ski fields are an obvious place to head to access to snow even if you are not intending to ride skis or snowboards, as most have well-formed access roads to the snow line. Be sure to travel with snow-chains and if your car is only a two wheel drive, this may prevent you from getting as close to snow as you might like!
The team at Bella Vista Ashburton have a secret and it’s time to let you know. Ashburton is a great place to base yourself for skiing Mount Hutt whilst enjoying some great value Ashburton at the same time. Understandably, Mt Hutt accommodation prices increase quite considerably for the towns that are closer to Mt Hutt Ski Field, so being just under an hour’s drive from the mountain, it makes sense to try and take advantage of the cheaper rates staying in Ashburton accommodation offers. A weekend and school holiday ski shuttle from Ashburton takes care of the driving for you so you can relax and enjoy the snow.
Dotted around the South Island of New Zealand are lots of club ski-fields, including Hanmer Springs Ski Area. There is a chairlift, a tow rope and the club offer groomed trails with lots of space. A shuttle will take you to the ski field from Hanmer Springs and our team at Bella Vista will ensure you have an enjoyable stay at their quiet Hanmer Springs accommodation.
Not the most obvious base to use for snow adventures, but if you are using Bella Vista Oamaru accommodation as an overnight stop on your New Zealand journey, there are a couple of ski-fields which you may pass and are worth a try to get in touch with snow. An hour’s drive up the Waitaki Valley will bring you to the small township of Kurow where a small ski-field called Awakino is located. At the top of the valley and into the foothills of the Southern Alps is another relatively un-commercialised ski-field called Ohau. Located above the picturesque Lake Ohau this is a great area to enjoy the snow.
If you intend to continue your journey onward to either Wanaka or Queenstown, you will be required to cross the dramatic Lindis Pass which at a height of 971 metres is often covered by a layer of snow during winter. There is a car-park and look-out which will allow you to stop safely.
When it comes to ski holidays, the southern lakeside resort of Wanaka is an obvious choice to head to get amongst the snow. It boasts two fabulous local ski-fields in the technically excellent Treble Cone and the popular all round favourite Cardrona ski resort. With your Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation set in the heart of town you are never far from your ski transport, ski retail outlets, eateries and bars. After an enjoyable day on the slopes, you can quickly change and fall into any number of evening outlets safe in the knowledge that you are hardly a stone’s throw away from a good night’s sleep.
Queenstown needs no introduction as a place to head for winter snow and in particular skiing or snowboarding. Two major ski-fields - Coronet Peak and The Remarkables - lie within a 30 minute drive and if you drive over the Crown Range road, you’re only a short distance from another significant ski centre which hosts international competitions called Cardrona Skifield. Bella Vista Queenstown is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these winter sports with free parking, a drying room, and an easy five minute stroll into town to take advantage of Queenstown’s famed après ski hospitality. Even if you don't ski there are terrific facilities on offer and room for the kids to have a play. Queenstown will often experience between 1 or 2 major snow storms through the winter that will bring snow to ground level. They are often very memorable days as the surrounding countryside is blanketed white – as long as you can look beyond the inconvenience of snowbound cars and the potential of flight cancellations.
Ski fields are not the exclusive preserve of the South Island. The North Island also offers some impressive ski fields, the three main options being located on Mount Ruapehu which is within striking distance of the popular lakeside town of Taupo. Bella Vista has a highly rated motel located just a few blocks back from the lakefront and they are a very good Taupo accommodation option to consider as a ski base
If you are travelling in snow conditions, please ensure you have snow chains in your vehicle and above all, travel safe! Bella Vista New Zealand Accommodation Nationwide looks forward to hosting you.
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For any one heading on holiday or taking a journey a sunrise or sunset can be an iconic part of your experience. Some may argue that it is an essential element to any great trip and we can assure you that when travelling to New Zealand you will have a great time.
Watching dawn break and the sun follow shortly after is always memorable, particularly if you have got up early to see it. Finding the perfect spot in the evening to share and enjoy with friends and family as you watch the sun go down can also be very special. If you record the occasion with a photo there is no doubt it will take pride of place in both your photo album and memory. Recollections of spectacular colours dance together as sounds all blur into an occasion of happiness and wonderful memories.
Being an island nation and surrounded by oceans stretching to infinity both east and west, New Zealand is uniquely well-placed for this experience. The Pacific Ocean gives the days first light to New Zealand along the east coast whilst the Tasman Sea swallows the sun in the west at the end of the day. Being a relatively small nation, it is not difficult to traverse between coastlines and capture both the sun rising and setting across the sea in the same day. Not that we would necessarily advise that, however, because it would create an unnecessary rush between coasts.
Any well-planned itinerary should definitely allow time and so it may be that you choose a different option to capture the sunset or sunrise and that is to get amongst the mountains. With the spine of New Zealand carried by the Southern Alps in the South Island and the Volcanic Plateau in the centre of the North Island, there are lots of options here to obtain your perfect first light or sundowners experience.
With 27 locations through the country, Bella Vista has motels which are well-placed to help you achieve your ‘sun time’ goal. Have a read of the following suggestions and plan your travels accordingly.
The most obvious place to start is Gisborne, commonly known as the first city to see the rising sun – every day! Gisborne Bella Vista is well placed to access not only the heart of the city by car or by foot, but it is a great location to head a little bit further out of town and explore more of the East Cape. But where is the best place to see the sunrise we hear you ask? Wainui Beach often takes the headlines but one recommendation is to head further up to Makorori Beach, a lovely locals beach north on State Highway 35 with great views of the coast from the lookout. It is popular with surfers but also those wanting to see the start of the day. Sunsets aren’t too shabby here either as the light of the day disappears behind you creating a wonderful warm glow. If you want something closer to town, Kaiti Hill is a look-out point which you can reach by walking, biking or by car. With views out to sea and right across Gisborne, you’ll be well set to see the new dawn. Gisborne Bella Vista will be more than happy to help you with the local knowledge that you need, including heading further around the East Cape where there are some other terrific sunrise spots including East Cape lighthouse and Anaura Bay.
Wellington is another great North Island destination to watch the sunrise. An early start from the Wellington Bella Vista to head up Mount Victoria that stands closely behind your Wellington accommodation will bring brilliant rewards. As the sun eases up behind the hazy shadowy outlines of distant mountains, you’ll watch the city catch the light and come to life in the dawn sunlight. With views of the city, the harbour, planes and ferries arriving and leaving, you really get a sense of the day beginning. Mount Victoria can be a challenging walk but the team at your Bella Vista motel will know the best way to go and critically the best time to ensure you make the most of this peaceful time of day.
For terrific sunsets in the North Island it might sound too obvious but we would point you to New Plymouth, New Zealand’s most westerly city. With our Bella Vista accommodation set right in the heart of town, you have the most perfect location to enjoy the highlights of the region and you’re also not too far from a popular sunset spot. Back Beach overlooks Sugar Loaf Marine Park and is a short 10 minute drive from your New Plymouth accommodation. Taking in the sunset at this spot seems to be the highlight for many visitors and comes highly recommended. Take your time to end the day and enjoy a wander or just
Heading to the South Island, we’re going to take you straight to Bella Vista Hokitika accommodation, a motel set in the most delightful West Coast town that happens to be directly adjacent to the beach. Not only that, but Hokitika has a beach called Sunset Point which is a 3 minute drive from the hotel or a 15 minute walk. As the name suggests, it is a great place to watch the sunset and a quick look at Trip Advisor confirms this with a 5 out of 5 star rating.
“This is the place to watch the sunset each day as the sun kisses the ocean and disappears into the water. Plenty of photo opportunities with drift wood sign spelling out the towns name.”
Photos from previous travellers instantly draw you to want to visit the town so don’t delay. If you hadn’t heard of Hokitika previously be sure to add it to your itinerary and book for two nights, not just one. Our Hokitika motel has handy maps to guide you the right way and will also be able to tell you what time you need to be there by to enjoy the most of the sun descending into the sea.
Set in the heart of the mountains in the southern region of New Zealand, Queenstown may be completely landlocked but here you can view a wonderful sunset, sunrise and see the southern nights stars in between. For the early risers, a trip in the car up the public road to Coronet Peak will position you perfectly to watch the first light of the day cast itself across the Wakatipu basin. As the sun comes up in the distant west, you will see bands of light rising behind mountains and the reflections of early sunlight casting shadows which create wonderful effects on the valley floor far beneath you. It is a magical time of day and the beautiful views keep growing as the new daylight chases down the Remarkables and onto Lake Wakitipu. Queenstown Bella Vista will advise you on the best timings to head out and the which route to take to capture these views. The team at the centrally located Queenstown accommodation motel will also point you toward Queenstown lakefront in time for a perfect sundowners. The beach at Queenstown Bay can become very busy during the evening on a warm sunny day but it is very much worth finding a spot after purchasing some fish & chips and sit there as the sun sets behind Ben Lomond. Some would say this is the best show in town but wait, have you looked at the stars?
Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier
It might sound strange, but another perfect sunrise spot is actually on the West Coast near Fox Glacier and within a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier. Lake Matheson takes pride of place as the sun rises above the snow-capped mountains perfectly reflect in the still lake waters. It's a special spot and close to both Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier accommodation and Bella Vista Fox Glacier motel.
Dunedin, Mosgiel & Christchurch
Two other favourite spots we have in the South Island for sunsets are Dunedin’s St Clair beach and New Brighton Pier in Christchurch. Luckily both have Bella Vista’s nearby, Bella Vista offers a great Mosgiel accommodation option just 10 minutes’ drive from Dunedin or you can stay at the Dunedin Bella Vista itself. Bella Vista Christchurch apartments and motel is located on Bealey Avenue, a 15 minute drive from New Brighton. If you happen to be spending your last night in New Zealand before flying home from Christchurch Airport, take time to head to the pier in the late afternoon and enjoy a memorable end to your holiday.
We’d love to hear from you where you have enjoyed your most memorable New Zealand sunrise or sunset so feel free to leave your comments on the Bella Vista Facebook page or share your photo on Instagram with the tag #bellavistanz
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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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.
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.
- Visit www.bellavista.co.nz
- Call 0800 235 528
- Email [email protected]
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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.
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.
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
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.
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Who’s planning to get away this spring or summer? A weekend break or maybe that long awaited and talked about road trip around New Zealand! Our Bella Vista Motel accommodation will be the perfect match for your spring break or summer vacation. Check out these reasons why staying with Bella Vista is a great choice.
With over 27 locations nationwide Bella Vista has welcomed visitors from right across New Zealand and the world. Whilst Bella Vista has been open for business, we have established a strong reputation for convenience and quality becoming a preferred choice enabling tourists to visit New Zealand’s beautiful scenic locations and by offering a quality overnight stop along the way. Be reassured by the familiarity and consistency of our distinctive design and quality of service! Trust Bella Vista because you know what to expect - it's like a home away from home.
The geographic spread of the Bella Vista chain throughout New Zealand ensures that not only do most major towns and cities feature Bella Vista motels, such as Bella Vista Wellington, New Plymouth or Bella Vista Christchurch but so do popular tourist destinations such as Bella Vista Franz Josef and Bella Vista Queenstown. Even locations which you wouldn't necessarily consider first time as a destination offer a great overnight option such as Bella Vista Mosgiel, Palmerston North Bella Vista or Ashburton Bella Vista. All our motels are conveniently placed in central locations, close to local amenities, and with free car parking on-site for all guests making it easy to unpack for your stay and come and go as you please to explore the local attractions.
Each property has a choice of several room types to suit your needs or budget, from singles, couples and families. All rooms come equipped with kitchenette, ensuite bathrooms, television with a range of channels and free wifi. Most of our motels also have a BBQ area for you to crank that summer sausage sizzle and relax into the summer evenings with a well-deserved glass of wine.
Your friendly Kiwi hosts live on-site offering a safe and secure accommodation option and peace of mind. All Bella Vista motels also offer additional services like guest laundry, continental breakfast and luggage storage. A travel booking service is available and your hosts can offer local knowledge and tips to make your stay more enjoyable. Your hosts will happily book your onward journey to ensure you can stay at your preferred New Zealand accommodation option.
What is certain is if you have stayed at every 27 Bella Vista’s or even just a small handful - whether it is for accommodation in Hamilton, Napier accommodation or accommodation in Fox Glacier to name just three destinations, you are going to experience a four star Qualmark endorsed level of comfort and be entertained by some of New Zealand’s very best hosts.
Having flexibility with your accommodation reservation process can also make your travel planning for this summer a lot less stressful. A tempting option when booking on the Bella Vista website is the convenience of our Book Now, Pay Later offers, which allows you to make your booking and only pay when you arrive at your motel. Another good deal when booking direct is our Best Price Guarantee deal. Refer to our Best Price Guarantee page to find out more and how to take advantage of this offer only available at bellavista.co.nz.
At Bella Vista we understand how to meet our customers’ expectations every day, are proud to offer a high-quality standard of accommodation, facilities and service at competitive pricing and delighted to provide genuine kiwi hospitality at every one of our 27 motels nationwide.
So book now at www.bellavista.co.nz and get your spring and summer off to a cracking start.
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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 directly with Bella Vista's Best Price Guarantee.
Posted by Bella Vista on
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.
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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!
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