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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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Mountain Bike Canterbury


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There are so many mountain biking options, for every level of confidence and expertise in Mid Canterbury, you can stay and play for days on our trails.

Hi, I’m Michelle, owner/ operator of the Bella Vista Ashburton along with my husband Paul and daughter Stella. I am an avid mountain biker and love nothing more than riding the local tracks with my family and friends.  

I’ve lived in this district most of my life and worked in the Outdoor Education sector for years and I just love being in the outdoors. I enjoy promoting a positive culture of mountain biking in the community and I’m happy to share my knowledge with you, to help you discover and explore the best places to go for a relaxed and easy ride with the family, and the more adventurous or adrenalin fuelled fun rides in Mid Canterbury.

A local gem and one of my favourites is right on my door step - The Ashburton River Trail loop and Skills Park, a really nice place following a single track, designed for fun for all the family and it’s e-bike friendly.  The Skills Park is an area developed by Mountain Bike Ashburton for riders to practice and improve their skills. We have pump tracks, jumps, rock gardens and wooden structures of varying difficulty including for kids!

 

Ashburton Skills Park

 

The 11.5 km  river track is mostly Grade 3, with easy or more difficult options around all the nice curves, berms, humps, sweeping dips, bridges, non threatening drop offs, wooden structures and rock gardens.  It  is a wonderful ride for beginners and is interesting for riders of all skills. The trail is well looked after by volunteers and sign posted to guide riders through the named sections in a clockwise direction, with turn around points in serval places to shorten the ride. You can find out more by visiting the Ashburton MTB website  or the mountain bike trail directory, Trailforks 

Other trails close by are Lake Hood and Hakatere Ride to the beach, both making for a very pleasant spin. Cross Country adventure can be found found in the spectacular high country at the Hakatere Conservation Park and an adrenaline rush at the Mt Hutt Bike Park, only a 45 min drive away.

 

Mountain Bike Canterbury

 

With your ride completed, return to Bella Vista Motel Ashburton to wash down your bikes, enjoy a comfortable nights sleep, all ready for the next exciting day. If you need some help with gear, check out my friends from Stocked Cycles for advice.

 I can't believe nobody has commented on this at all. This is a really fun spot with fun little jumps and the straight roller section was a blast to work on manuals through rollers. Pump track is super fun. Thank you for building this spot we had a blast.

Ashburton is a great place to base yourself as you enjoy all the local mountain biking adventures. Give me a call to book your next break away with the family - 03 3077505.  We look forward to hosting you.

 

 

Mountain Bike Ashburton


Top Places to Eat in Kaikoura


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Mention that you are staying in Kaikoura to friends and family and that you and are looking for local Kaikoura restaurant recommendations, they will invariably tell you to head up the coast for a beautiful 20 minute drive to enjoy freshly cooked seafood at the iconic Nin's Bin.

Nins Bin Kaikoura

 

Whilst this is great advice and Nin's Bin is an awesome stop, there are plenty of terrific restaurants in Kaikoura town centre that you can enjoy when staying at Bella Vista.  Our Kaikoura accommodation situated just above the town means any night out for dinner is just a mere stroll away.  Here are our favourites.

 

Pier Hotel

The Pier Hotel is one of Kaikoura’s most iconic places to eat, situated right on the coast looking out over the sea to the stunning panoramic views of the Kaikoura ranges.  Built in the 1800s the Pier Hotel is amazing summer or winter with the view well worth the visit but the food is also amazing in its own right!  Offering fresh seafood and of course the famous Kaikoura Crayfish(lobster) as well as other culinary delights, the menu offers something for everyone. The Pier Hotel is located 15min walk from the town and 20minutes walk from the Bella Vista Motel or a short 5 min drive.

 

Pier Hotel Kaikoura

 

Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

The famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ featured in Lonely Planet as the best place to get Crayfish(lobster). Situated on the beach before Point Kean Seal Colony this long-standing seaside BBQ also does great chowder, fish and whitebait fritters. Definitely a must do on a visit to Kaikoura the BBQ is a 30 minutes’ walk along the coast from town and 35 minutes from the Bellavista motel, well worth making the effort to walk as Point Kean Seal Colony is only 5 more minutes’ walk up the beach!

Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

 

Coopers Catch

Situated right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bellavista Motel Coopers Catch is the ultimate place to enjoy good old kiwi fish and chips, hard to miss with the guaranteed huge crowd of people outside Coopers Catch does seafood like no other, their moto is “We don’t make fast food, we make good food as fast as we can” is right on the money.  The best place in town to get seafood like no other.

Coopers Catch

Whaler

Another great place to eat right in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk from the Bella Vista motel.  The Whaler is famous for its steaks and ribs, with a huge fire roaring in the winter and the amazing views of the snow-capped Kaikoura ranges as a backdrop from the deck who could think of a better way to spend the afternoon or evening.

The Whaler Kaikoura

 

Groper Garage

Famous in town for its pizza and pasta the Groper garage was formally a fuel garage and is also in the middle of town, 5 minutes’ walk away from the Bella Motel.  Featuring two large roaring fires this is certainly well worth the visit for both its food and ambiance.

 

Groper Garage

 

If none of these options quite take your fancy, do get in touch and we're sure we'll find some other suitable eating options that you can enjoy in Kaikoura.  We look forward to hosting you.


10 Great Bike Rides in Wanaka


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Wanaka is becoming the must-visit destination for cyclists.  Whether you are a mountain bike rider or prefer a road bike, there are plenty of options to choose from.  The team at Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation will be happy to host you and lend you their advice during your stay.

 

Bike Wanaka

 

Here's Bella Vista's rundown of the top ten rides in the Wanaka region:

1. Hawea River Track (MTB)

Suitable for all ages and experience, this 12km riverside track is over easy country and links Lake Hawea township to Wanaka, via Albert Town. Plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee and a treat! 

 

2. Newcastle & Upper Clutha River Track Loop (MTB)

By combining the Newcastle and Upper Clutha River Track you get a great loop circuit of about 35km in length. With stunning views up and down the Clutha River, and plenty of places to stop for a beer or coffee, this is a good track for those looking for something a bit longer. Stop off at the Luggate Hotel, Hook or Pembroke Patisserie and Double Black Café for treats on the way!

 

3. Glendhu Bay Track & Bike Glendhu (MTB)

For spectacular lake and mountain views, it's hard to go past the 15km Glendhu Bay Track. The first section of the track is quite hilly with some short, steep sections and drops, intended for intermediate riders only. Be sure to watch out for and give way to pedestrians. 

Just up the road from Glendhu Bay is Bike Glendhu, Wanaka's newest mountain bike park. The park consists of 1,000 hectares over impeccable trails, designed for specifically for mountain biking. With peaks that drop from sky to water, alpine rocks, roots and remarkable views, it's a paradise for dirt lovers. 

 

4. Sticky Forest (MTB)

This fun network of single tracks makes the best of the pine forest located within the Wanaka township. There are over twenty tracks to choose from for intermediate to advanced riders. To get some practice nailing those jumps, head to Lismore Jump Park. 

 

5. Deans Bank & Hikuwai Loop (MTB)

The Hikuwai Loop is about a 9km circuit depending on where you start and finish the track. Deans Bank is an 11km fast, flowing single track loop for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers with some great banks and berms. 

 

6. Cardrona Valley (MTB & Road Bike)

In the summer months, you can head up to Cardrona Alpine Resort for downhill biking and mountain carting, while across the valley on the Pisa Range are a number of tracks and even huts to stay in overnight. For road bikers, the 90km return ride to the top of the Crown Range offers a great workout as well.

 

7. Treble Cone Return (Road Bike)

The rolling terrain of Mt Aspiring Road makes for great road riding, with several fast flats that are irresistible for testing your sprinting legs. 45km, 1-2 hours return.

 

8. Lake Hawea Circuit (Road Bike)

Generally, a flat or gently undulating ride, the 50km loop from Wanaka to Lake Hawea and back via Wanaka Airport is mostly on quiet, rural roads and includes great views of Lake Hawea. Maybe this is why it is a favourite with the locals.

 

9. The Neck (Road Bike)

This must be one of the most spectacular road bike rides in New Zealand and offers epic lake and mountain scenery. Turn around at The Neck for an 80km return ride from Wanaka, or continue to Makarora and even Haast Pass for even more spectacular scenery and views of Mt Aspiring National Park. Warning: The road does get hillier from The Neck onwards! 

 

10. Tarras & Ardgour Road Loop (Road Bike)

A fast, mostly flat ride through the Upper Clutha River valley and onwards to Tarras where you take a superb section of quiet, rural road and loop back around to Tarras. Luckily, there is a great coffee stop here to help keep you going on this 95km ride.

 

Bella Vista Wanaka accommodation is located right in the centre of town, just one block from Lake Wanaka.  If you are travelling with your bike do get in touch to ensure we can meet all your cycle focused needs.  We are looking forward to hosting you.


Summer in Lake Taupo


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Long summer days at Great Lake Taupo are abuzz with water-skiers, boats, kayaks, and swimmers. With warm and settled weather, make sure you get out of your Bella Vista Taupo accommodation and have endless fun on the lake!

The trout-filled lake is a world renowned fishing paradise. Charter a fishing boat and drop your line, we are sure you will catch some trout. Most of the charters are happy to clean your catch and even smoke the trout for you!  So not just a great day out and dinner to take home.

If you are looking for something even more relaxed and leisurely, jump on board one of the lake cruise operators.  You have the option to choose from a steamboat, catamaran, or even a sailing boat. All of them will take you across the lake to Mines Bay to view the famous Taupo Maori Rock Carving Ngatoroirangi was completed as recently as the late 1980s.  Towering 10 metres high from the water, the carving is an absolute must-see.

 

Sail Barbery

 

One of the most popular water activities on the lake is kayaking. The Mines Bay half-day tour will suit those with the energy to paddle and will offer the benefit of getting closer to the water and nature.  For families or for someone who wants a slightly less energetic paddle, join Canoe & Kayak on the Waikato River Float where you will gently coast along with the river current. 

 

Kayak Taupo

 

If you are after some water activities which offer a little more adrenaline such as jet ski, or boat with water ski and wake board these are also available for hire.  Or maybe you are wanting to try another popular option such as a stand up paddle board.  The best place to hire equipment is Lakefun by the habour.

 

LakeFun Taupo

If water activities are not your thing, pack up a picnic and head to one of the local popular spots such as Secombe Park or Wharewaka Point where you can relax by the lakefront and enjoy watching the day go by.

 

Whatever you end up doing during your stay in Taupo, we're certain that the Bella Vista accommodation Taupo will meet your every need.  Book now!

 

 


Free Things in Taupo


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Taupo, at the heart of the North Island has been a magnet for tourist for decades. The close proximity of many attractions makes exploring from your Taupo accommodation very easy.

Below are just a few of the many things you can enjoy doing for free while in Taupo.

 

Huka Falls

Most-visited natural attraction in NZ. Nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second gushing through a narrow gorge into the mighty Waikato River. There is a popular walking track along the river connecting to Spa Thermal Park near town.

Huka Falls

 

Spa Thermal Park

Wanting a free outdoor hot pool experience? The area has been recently upgraded, which includes toilet & changing room. There is even a pop-up café. Avoid the crowd by visiting in the morning.

Taupo Spa Thermal Park

 

The Great Lake Pathway

The walkway shore begins in the town centre and extend along the lake to 5 Miles Bay. It is perfectly suited for families & offers spectacular views across Lake Taupo to the snow-capped peaks of Central Plateau volcanoes. There is plenty of stop off points for breaks, coffee, ice-cream, swims & photo opportunities.  

Great Lake Pathway Taupo

 

Aratiatia Rapids

Watch the release of millions of litres of water from the Aratiatia Dam, which creates a spectacular flow of water through a narrow gorge. Best vantage point is just 10 minutes’ walk downstream on a well-marked track. Release daily at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm (and 4pm during summer).

Aratiatia Rapids

 

Taupo Graffiato

Check out over 80 murals painted around the Taupo town centre. These murals brings transformation, wonder and vibrancy to the urban lane ways and streets. Don’t forget to check out the painted helicopter located at THE HUB near Huka Falls.

Taupo Graffiato

 

Weekend Markets

There are 2 community markets in Taupo held on weekends. Abundance of art and craft stalls, fruit, vegetables, flowers, artisan baked goods, and hot meals are available. Both open from 9am – 1pm.

Farmers Market – Every Saturdays. Nukahau Shops, 3 minutes’ drive from town centre. Market Central – Every Sunday. Northcote Reserve along the lake front in town centre.

 

taupo farmers market

 

Bella Vista Taupo is located just a few blocks from both the town centre and Taupo lake front.  Situated on a quiet road it is easily accessible and well located.  Jason and Miyuki look forward to hosting you. 


Reasons to Book with Bella Vista


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The past few months have been quite a challenge for us all, but now is the time to look forward to summer and get some plans in place for a breakaway, holiday or just a change of scenery.

Bella Vista can cater for all your needs for just one night, an extended stay or multiple nights across different locations, so we thought it would be worth confirming those reasons as to why you should stay with Bella Vista Accommodation Nationwide.


Quality and Consistency

Bella Vista is the only New Zealand motel chain independently assessed by an external auditor. Qualmark represents New Zealand around the world and Bella Vista is proud to carry a 4 star Qualmark endorsement reflecting our commitment to quality and sustainability in every single one of our 27 locations.

 

Quarantine Free

For your piece of mind, we want to stress that Bella Vista is not offering quarantine services in any location, enabling you to enjoy your stay with absolute certainty. Since lockdown we have reviewed and improved our cleaning regimes across our motels meeting Ministry of Health guidelines. Bella Vista also does not cater for long-term temporary accommodation guests.

 

Added Extras 

What’s not to love about a few free things that really should be free! We’ll see you right every time you stay with free and unlimited WiFi, free onsite parking, complimentary tea and coffee and, of course, a free smile from your host. When you book direct, by joining Bella Vista Rewards you will also receive a (free) credit of $5 to offset against future stays along with bonus value vouchers.

 

Locally Owned and Operated

Right now, it’s all about Kiwi’s helping Kiwi’s! We have to keep the New Zealand economy moving and each of Bella Vista’s 27 locations nationwide are all locals employing members of that community in their business. It would be greatly appreciated if you, plus your friends and family, can remember this when looking to book accommodation. Make sure the Kiwi dollar stays in New Zealand and doesn’t head offshore.

 

Book Direct Discounts

Not only does a direct booking with Bella Vista keep every cent in New Zealand, it will often allow our business owners to offer you a small discount as there is no requirement to pay additional charges to website travel agents based overseas. Just call to book (which is also free) on 0800 235 528

Each one of our 27 business operators has really appreciated your support if you have managed to stay with us lately, and we are looking forward to you staying again. We guarantee convenience, consistency and quality all delivered in familiar designed, purpose built motels in central locations.



If you're a member of our Bella Vista Rewards scheme by way of thank you, we've added a $20 voucher to use if you are intending to stay between now and the end of October. A small token of our thanks as we know every little helps!  If you are not part of the Bella Vista Rewards scheme then please do sign up here.



We look forward to hosting you!

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New Manager at Bella Vista Hokitika


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Bella Vista Hokitika is proud to announce Ange Williams as the new business manager at Bella Vista Hokitika taking over from Dale & Claire Truscott who remain as owners of the business but have now ‘retired’ to Geraldine.

Ange has worked in the motel industry for 14 years – and of that, has spent almost 11 years of that at Bella Vista Hokitika, so she is a very familar face to our regular customers. She has been motel minding and wokring as a full time cleaning supervisor.

Ange is a born and bred West Coaster and lives and breathes West Coast Hospitality.. Married to Barry who is the On-Farm Asset Manager at Westland Milk Products, they have two children Daniel 16 & Kaycee 11.

They are a family who love sport. Daniel & Kaycee are very enthusiastic sports people and have kept them busy over the years organising and fundraising for various trips around the country and overseas involving rugby, netball & basketball.
 

Ange is super excited to be given the opportunity to manage Bella Vista Hokitika, keeping the standards hight and providing guests with a great stay.  She looks forward to hosting you.
 

Bella Vista Hokitika

For more information or to book Bella Vista Hokitika please click here.


Taupo - A Winter Wonderland in the heart of North Island


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If you are planning a short winter getaway, come to Great Lake Taupo and visit the Whakapapa Ski Area.

The Whakapapa ski area lies just over an hour's drive from Taupo. It is the winter playground not only for experienced skiers, but also for young families wanting to have some fun on the snow, without strapping onto a pair of skis or board.

Whakapapa situated on Mount Ruapehu, and is New Zealand's biggest ski area which has a great choice of trails offering intermediate and advanced options.  There is also the famed Happy Valley, a safe, sheltered and enjoyable place for the whole family to have fun on the snow. Happy Valley claims to be NZ's premier beginner facility home to a sledding slope, with a fleet of toboggans for hire that will have you sliding down the snow with a huge smile. It has a long, gentle slope, a chairlift and magic carpet, complete with cafe and rental facilities.

If hitting the snow is not your thing, how about riding the country's largest gondola?  The new Sky Waka gondola will take you from the ski area base to the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Situated at 2,020m above sea level, it is New Zealand’s highest restaurant. Here you will find great coffee, gourmet fare and incredible views out over the Central Plateau of New Zealand's North Island.
 

Skywaka Taupo Accommodation


After a full day of snow fun the chances are you will be feeling a little achy after a day up on the mountain.  The perfect antidote is to head back to Taupo and relax and unwind in one of the many hot pools in town.  You can spend your evening by taking a wander by the lake before dinner and watch the town come to life with fairy light-lined streets and cosy bars and restaurants with hearty winter food menus, mulled wine and crackling fires. There are so many eateries to choose from - but we will gladly help you make the right choice.

Taupo is a winter wonderland in the heart of North Island, full of options for those who want to experience New Zealand winter. With a range of off-mountain experiences too, Taupo is the perfect base to experience what Central Plateau has to offer.

Whether a couple of day’s getaway, or longer stay, Bella Vista Motel will be your first choice for Taupo accommodation. Even with the temperature outside near sub-zero, you can always come back to a warm and comfortable room.  Jason and Miyuki will be more than happy to host you and with a range of room's to suit everyone's needs, heat pumps to keep warm, free parking, free unlimited WiFi and a central location, they are waiting for your booking.  

Bella Vista looks forward to hosting you.

 

.

 


Reaching New Zealand Snow


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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.

New Plymouth

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.

Heli hiking west coast glaciers

Arthurs Pass

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

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.

 

Bella Vista Te Anau

 

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!

Ashburton

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. 

Hanmer Springs

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.

Oamaru

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.

Wanaka

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

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 Queenstown

 

Taupo

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.


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

Gisborne

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

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

Hokitika

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.

Queenstown

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.

 

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