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Category Archives: Bella Vista Franz Josef 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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New Zealand's Best Hot Pools


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When these cold temperatures head our way there is nothing quite like soaking our bodies in a heaven sent hot pool. Easing away all our aches and pains and taking some time out to relax from our busy lives.

We’ve searched high and low to put together our pick of the top ten hot pools in New Zealand using the best recommendations of our Bella Vista moteliers. For all you need to know of the best places to soak, where to stay and how to get there – take a read below!
 

Kerosene Creek – Rotorua/Taupo

We’re going to let you in on a bit of a secret with this one, located on the road between Rotorua and Taupo is a very special place – Kerosene Creek.  To get there head south from Rotorua, about 0.5km past the Murupara turnoff is Old Waiotapu Rd, it’s approximately 2.2km down this road.

Waiting for you when you arrive is an unbelievable hot springs experience, a basic corrugated iron shed has been built to accommodate bathers changing and once you’re all sorted you’ll jump into a natural hot pool in a surreal bush setting. It doesn't get much better than this, so relax and take in the raw back country beauty of this little gem.

When heading to Kerosene Creek, take your pick of either our Taupo accommodation or Rotorua motel accommodation. Or perhaps make a weekend out of it book into both! Check out Bella Vista Motel Taupo and Rotorua Bella Vista for some fantastic deals.

Kerosene Creek


Polynesian Spa – Rotorua

Treat yourself to some luxury and indulgence at Polynesian Spa.  Two natural springs feed into the 28 hot mineral pools at Polynesian Spa. Allow the thermal properties of this water to work its wonder on your skin, aching muscles and body.

This is also the place to go for a spot of pampering, with the Polynesian Spa offering a comprehensive spa therapy menu including geothermal mud wraps, massages, facials. Take some time to unwind and let Polynesian Spa work its magic.

Book into Bella Vista Motel Rotorua when you’re thinking of visiting the Polynesian Spa, its central location sees you only 7 minutes from the spa complex.
 

AC Baths – Taupo

This one is ideal for the whole family, in fact, AC Baths are almost a rite of passage for kiwi kids young and old. AC Baths offers an awesome all-weather, family-friendly pool complex. There are hours of fun to be had with a large outdoor pool, two toddler areas, two 25-metre lane pools, an indoor learn to swim pool, two hydroslides, a Tarzan swing, four private thermal mineral pools, a sauna and a delicious café. All of the pools in the complex are thermally heated using natural hot water. It’s a wonderful day out for all, so put this one on the to-do list for sure.

The perfect place to book your Taupo motel is Bella Vista Taupo, it’s an easy 4 minute drive to the AC baths and wonderfully central to Taupo activities and dining.
 

Te Aroha Mineral Springs – Te Aroha

The waters of Te Aroha have played a famous role in health and healing for over 100 years. The mineral spring flowing from beneath Mt Te Aroha provides the source to these magical hot springs, and this relatively unknown hot pools complex offers a quieter, more intimate soak. The mineral salts in the natural spring water are therapeutic, and for bathing, you have the choice of porcelain claw-foot baths or one of the many traditional wooden tubs. If you have a special occasion check out the romance packages, massages and beauty therapy treatments are available here.

Staying at Bella Vista Hamilton allows you to make a day trip out of a visit to Te Aroha Mineral Springs, pack a picnic and be there in less than an hours driving. Bella Vista Motel Hamilton offers a superb choice, positioned slightly out of the CBD in a quiet neighbourhood.
 

Glacier Hot Pools – Franz Josef Glacier

If you’re looking for something that’s next level memorable, you’ll need to visit the Glacier Hot Pools in Franz Josef Glacier. This has to be one of the most unique hot pool experiences you can get, set in a rainforest on New Zealand’s West Coast these pools are a haven of tranquillity. Three pools weave their way through the lush forest where nature has set the temperature between 36 – 40 degrees centigrade.  Buy a single entry or a day long pass depending on your mood and head along to discover Te Puna Mahaki – The pool of calmness, Te Puna Makoha – The pool of tranquillity and Te Puna Marino – The pool of serenity, all named by the local Maori tribe.

Bella Vista offers two great options in this part of the world - the wonderful Franz Josef accommodation just a short stroll from the hot pools and Fox Glacier accommodation if you want to be based further south.  Try either Bella Vista Franz Josef or Bella Vista Fox Glacier and book your home away from home.
 

Glacier Hot Pools


Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa

People come from near and far to relax in this beautiful setting. Take some time to appreciate the views around you, as every which way you turn it’s postcard like mountains or native forest. Hanmer is the epitome of relaxation and these pools go a long way to contribute to this.  There’s something for everyone here with private pools, rock pools, sulphur pools, kids pools, hydroslides, you name it!! The natural beauty of this location allows you to escape from reality and enjoy the healing waters of these pools.

When you’re on the lookout for Hanmer Springs accommodation, book into the Qualmark 4 star rated Bella Vista Motel Hanmer Springs for an exceptional stay - it's as good as any Hanmer Springs hotels!


Morere Hot Springs – Gisborne

Soaking in the heated ancient seawaters of Morere Hot Springs is something pretty magical. Set amongst 364 hectares of lush rainforest, the hot springs are piped to a series of private and public pools for all to enjoy. Therapeutic, medicinal and unforgettable, make sure you BYO BBQ food to make a day of it and don’t forget to try out the spectacular rainforest walks in the area when you need a break from the water.

When looking Gisborne motels, our recommendation is the friendly and welcoming Bella Vista Motel Gisborne - a very highly rated Gisborne accommodation option.


Onsen Hot pools – Queenstown

Queenstown has exceeded itself yet again with an out of this world hot pools facility in a breathtaking location, with views out over the Shotover River Canyon. You’ll find true relaxation calling, as you take a break from the hustle bustle of exploring and partaking in Queenstown adventures, or perhaps it’s an evening trip to the pools after a day skiing on the Queenstown mountains. The cedar hot tubs at Onsen each comfortably seat four people, and once you’re in you’ll not want to get out ever again! Don’t forget to book in advance for this one to ensure you don’t miss out.

There are many Queenstown accommodation options; if you’re looking for one that’s central to town and highly ranked on Trip Advisor, Bella Vista Queenstown is for you.

Onsen Hot Pools


Ngawha Springs Hot Pools – Kaikohe

Another well-kept secret that only a few are privy to is the tranquil Ngawha Springs in the Northland region. Located in an area rich in culture, kind locals and peaceful surroundings, the hot springs in this area are top notches. Slightly acidic and rich in ammonia, bicarbonate, boron and mercury (which is not typical of other springs in New Zealand) every one of the 15 pools is sourced by an individual spring, dictating its own temperature (some hot, some cold). The pools also vary in colour and clarity, determined by the mineral composition and individual underground source. When one of the pools is called ‘The Doctor’ you get a real understanding of the health and well-being properties available here.

If you book in and stay at Bella Vista Whangarei you can be changed and sit in one of the Ngawha Springs Hot Pools in just over an hour.


Maruia Hot Springs – Lewis Pass

As far as boutique hot pools are concerned, this one’s got it in the bag. Utilising the 100% pure geothermal spring water of the area and generating all of their own hydro-power, the mind and body will slip away into utter relaxation. Maruia offers views of the surrounding Southern Alps and an eco-wellness experience like no other. With 19 Wellness Stations situated across both the indoor and outdoor areas to enjoy, for a complete ‘wellness journey’ allow at least 2.5 hours.

Take your pick of Bella Vista accommodation options for a visit to Mauia Hot Springs – Bella Vista Nelson, Bella Vista Christchurch, Bella Vista Hanmer Springs or Bella Vista Greymouth are all within driving distance.

Maruia Hot Pools


For further information about hot springs and thermal pools refer to a terrific website called NZ Hot Pools which we found. It offers smart facts about every hot pool and thermal spring in the country. Or check out our latest video update below.
 


West Coast Glaciers 101; Exploring Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers


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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

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.

Options include:

  • Franz Josef Glacier Guides - Glacier Valley Walk
  • Fox Glacier Guiding: Fox Trail: Terminal Face Walk
  • Also check out Glacier Valley Eco Tours

 

                             West Coast Glaciers with Bella Vista

 

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.

                                     Franz Josef Glacier Bella Vista

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. 

For Franz Josef Glacier Bella Vista, contact Adam on 03 752 0008 or use our contact form

For Fox Glacier Bella Vista, contact Bill & Jill or Sue on 03 751 0129 or use our contact form

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.

 

 


New Zealand Glaciers - Up Close and Personal


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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.


Fox Glacier

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.

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Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier is currently running a terrific Easter package. Head to the Bella Vista deals page for more information.

 


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'

 


Fantastic Franz Josef


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Last week, Bella Vista Motels ran a facebook promotion giving our facebook fans a chance to win an amazing winter break to Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef New Zealand, is a small township set within the beautiful West Coast, South Island. Our competition included two nights of accommodation at Bella Vista, a meal at the popular SnakeBite Brewery, a guided walk up to Franz Josef Glacier from which the town takes its name, entry to the West Coast Wildlife Centre and a Private Pools Experience at the wonderful Glacier Hot Pools and Spa. Spending two nights would also allow time for a trip to other great sites such as Okarito Lagoon, Fox Glacier, the very special Lake Matheson and possibly even a helicopter sightseeing trip to view the peaks of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

We were overwhelmed by the number of responses we received and we thought we’d share the best reasons why everyone wants to visit Franz Josef. If you ever wondered why you should head there, don’t just take our word for it, take a read. You’ll be packing your bags straight away.
 

Franz Josef

Why Franz Josef?

 

“That picture of a lake is enough to make me want to visit. It would be like walking in a post card, looks that amazing.”

“I have not been and would so love to go with my hubby…it looks so beautiful!”

“I love Franz Josef, fascinating place full of the wonders of mother nature ..a photographers dream location”

“Franz Josef is a nice quiet place”

“I'd love to visit and take that helicopter ride”

"Franz Josef. I loved it all - the mountain walk, hot pools and yummy food I would love  to go again"

"I would love to visit. It looks so beautiful and I'm sure it would be a great place for adventures and making memories!"

"We love the West Coast and Fiordland regions"

"One of my favourite places in New Zealand and I would love to go back"

"It looks beautiful! Sometimes I wonder why we bother going overseas when there are such amazing places in NZ"

"I have never been and would love to visit we live in such a beautiful country but never get to explore!"

"Franz Josef is an incredible place…It's somewhere we always stop but haven't had any nights there and it would be magical"

"My best memory is having lunch at snakebite with my bestie in Franz Josef so would love her to be here again"

"Looks like such a beautiful place, I've never been but have been wanting to for a long time now. I would love to relax at the glacier hot pools and spa private pools"

"My husband has never been there would be great to be able to show him the wonderful sights. A great place to de stress"

"I have never been to this fabulous place. I would love to be there for a special retreat, sightseeing and soak up in hot spa."

 

Franz Josef Hot Pools

"Such a beautiful part of NZ....Would be lovely to go back and enjoy a couple of nights"

"I remember visiting Franz Josef Glacier when I was 10/11yrs and being amazed at the huge ice-rocks. Our family camped near there and we had to wear our socks and hat to bed to stay warm. It would be so cool to visit Franz Josef Glacier & see how it looks and feels. It would be awesome to share such a marvellous experience."

"Love the still morning reflections in Lake Matheson...."

"The first time we visited Franz Josef together was when his mum and sister travelled over from Canada. They were blown away by the beauty of the area."

To read more great comments about Franz Josef please visit the official Bella Vista facebook page. To book your trip to Franz Josef, head to the booking page. Rooms are available this month for as little as $85 for two people.