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Bella Vista's Blog

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!  


Camping? 10 Reasons to Stay in a Motel!

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Camping in New Zealand is something of an institution. It is considered to be a holiday of choice for many kiwi's taking an extended break over Christmas and New Year and it is even talked of as a right-of-passage for kids during their summer holidays. Dreams of hot, sunny days socialising with camp-mates well into the evening, with the opportunity to get back to nature. It sounds great, but do the number of tiny cabins and motel units now appearing in traditional campsites mean the reality is somewhat different to camping idyll, and that most people would prefer not to be under canvas? 

With this in mind, we thought we’d offer a tongue-in-cheek, one-eyed review as to why camping perhaps isn’t so great!

1. Setting Up and Packing Away.

All you wanted was a couple of nights away camping, but after a long journey, erecting your tent in 30 degree heat was not only exhausting and at times frustrating, but you lost a lovely afternoon of your holiday. You then lost the same amount of time packing everything away before another long drive. Predictably, everything is wet because it rained overnight so you’re going to have to set the tent up again to dry it out once back home. Compare that to the enjoyable Bella Vista motel check-in, check-out experience where everything is taken care of.

2. Communal Bathrooms.

It is possibly worth reminding you that EVERY Bella Vista motel studio, no matter what the location includes an ensuite bathroom which is private to you and only you. At no time have we ever had any feedback stating that someone from the room next door has walked into the bathroom waiting to share the toilet, sink or shower! Well, that’s the basic premise when you camp and at times it can become quite trying – particularly if you are following someone whose cleanliness standards fall well below your own.

3. Me Time.

You arrive at a campsite and in a blink of an eye, you are thrust into a new social community. Whether you like it or not, you are required and sometimes expected to participate fully in your new neighbourhood. Before you know it you’re helping run the kids club or cooking another dozen sausages for the communal BBQ.  You’re camping, it goes with the territory! All you wanted to do was go on holiday, take a break from the world and read your book in peace? Tough luck!

4. The Weather.

Let’s not pretend every New Zealand summer is a cracker. Your childhood memories might tell you so and you put last year’s weather-bomb to the back of your mind when your planning your trip, but can there be anything more miserable than spending hour after hour under canvas with the rain pouring down? Do we need to state the obvious and remind you that cosy motel rooms rarely flood or get blown away in high winds! 

                              Camping in the rain

5. The Wildlife.

‘Get close to nature’ they said. That phrase may seem a little too real when you return back from an outing to find the campsite goat chewing through your tent’s fly-sheet. We’re happy to state categorically that no Bella Vista keeps a pet goat.  

6. Home Comforts?

Let’s face it, modern expectations of a holiday or mini-break are often based on the hope that we will be able to enjoy all our home comforts but simply in a different location. Bella Vista accommodation offers quality freshly made bedding, your room is serviced daily, you have a kitchenette to utilise at your leisure, ensuite bathrooms, electricity is freely available, and Free WiFi is guaranteed. The remote control in never far away either. When you’re camping it’s sleeping bags, blow-up mattresses and, if you’re lucky, the showers might not be coin operated. 

7. Noise.

Screaming kids in the middle of the night. Fireworks exploding just as you drifted off to sleep. Cars with unreasonably loud sound systems. Tractors. Boats. 4x4 Bikes. Parties. The dawn chorus. Neighbour’s conversations. The list of noisy interruptions to your campsite holiday bliss goes on. When you’re in a tent, you hear the lot and there is no escaping it. 

8. Location.

Now you may be thinking that the one thing a campsite often offers is direct beach access. Well yes, there is no Bella Vista accommodation right on the beachfront, but the motels in Napier, Nelson, Wellington, New Plymouth, Oamaru and Kaikoura are all within a short walk of the sea and some good beaches. 

9. Hot Showers.

Enough said.

10. Daylight.

Long summer days and late nights round the campfire. It sounds great, but remember daylight is just around the corner and tents are simply not designed to block out the early morning sunlight. If you are like a lot of people who enjoy catching up on sleep and having a lie-in when they are on holiday, our experience says it is difficult to do that without a good set of black-out curtains (included free at a Bella Vista near you).

Enjoy your holiday accommodation, whatever it might be! 

Giving back. How does your business participate?

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It’s that time of year when your mind turns to those less fortunate than yourself. The news of an unprecedented increase in care parcels provided by the Salvation Army and alike can be quite disheartening when most people are focused on Christmas work parties, travelling for summer holidays, planning to catch up with friends and family and possibly a large Christmas lunch. So, when thinking about giving back, we thought we’d write a few words on how Bella Vista Head Office looked at the challenges of participating in giving back as a New Zealand business.

Salvation Army Xmas Appeal Corporate Responsibility

Without doubt, each of the Bella Vista accommodation network's 27 NZ locations individually play a role in their community – from as far north as Whangarei, Invercargill in the south, Gisborne in the east and New Plymouth in the west.

Without wishing to create undue attention to their efforts, many of the Bella Vista motels regularly engage in supporting local projects, provide donations to charitable causes, undertake positive environmental initiatives, gift personal time, sponsor local sports teams and so on. Bella Vista motels are active members of their community. And so they should be, right?

Thinking through your business’ corporate responsibility and matching your desire to stand up and be counted can be a tough call for any small business; How much is enough? What can you spare? Can you justify your level of donation? Should your company’s profitability play a factor in the value you allocate to good causes? Who should you support and why? Or maybe you are just far too busy to look beyond the needs of your own business - and sometimes, that is a simple and necessary reality.

So many questions and there is no right or wrong. There is no template to follow beyond a gut feel for doing what you think is right for you and your business.

For any small business, there is a thin line between what you can afford to provide and ensuring you are not accused of making a token gesture, not giving enough or, within an environmental context, the dreaded accusation of ‘greenwash’. Your inner voice starts telling you that whilst supporting the local penguin colony is a great idea and delivers a fluffy feel-good factor, isn’t it time I bought new pillows for my customers and guarantee an even better night’s sleep?

Getting cold-calls from charity collecting organisations which, whilst no doubt are representing very worthy causes, makes those decisions even harder. A subsequent photo of thanks and sometimes even a certificate from the recipients of your donation definitely provides the warm and fuzzies! Sometimes it is almost impossible to say no. “A small donation would go a long way to help our group of deserving kids” you’re told. Of course, any business can absorb a small gesture but in our experience, when you give once to get these people off the phone and calm your conscience, you’re on the database and the frequency of those calls gradually increase. These phone calls can really play on your mind and emotion. If anything, those calls should be a reminder that you need to take control of what your business is doing in this space. It’s difficult isn’t it!

The tourism quality control organisation Qualmark, of which all Bella Vista motels are rated 4 star, provide some helpful guidelines as to what you can be doing. Consider both charity and environmental causes is one recommendation. Moreover, keeping your efforts and budget dedicated by streamlining your charities of choice enables you to confidently say no. “Thank you for the opportunity but we are focusing all our efforts toward our chosen charities.” The other piece of advice Bella Vista took on-board as a collective of small businesses was to try and ensure your efforts aligned to the industry and community you are operating within.

So whilst all the Bella Vista motels are active in their locality and region, we asked what can the Bella Vista head office team do?

Bella Vista promises “A better night’s sleep”. As part of this promise, Bella Vista head office based in Oamaru elected to contribute 1% percent of our turnover to a charitable cause every year. This year, we decided to focus our efforts on enabling local disadvantage children to get the best night’s sleep possible by gifting them a range of brand new bedding items.

A Xmas Gift

It made sense to work in with our hospitality suppliers which enabled us to stretch our budget further and take advantage of some generous wholesale prices. This year our chosen recipient was Kakanui School, a decile one school in North Otago who have been provided sets of brand new comfy quality wool duvets and plump pillows to distribute among some of their deserving pupil's.

A good night's sleep

Here's some great photos of the school pupils taken during last week’s visit including Cody, Damien and Luke with their wool duvets and pillows plus Maia and the boys choosing their next holiday destination with Bella Vista. Accompanying them are the Principal, Ann Roughan and Bella Vista representatives Natalie Evans and Julie Familton.


The response to our Facebook post regarding the donation was heart-warming and we hope we have found the right answer to our good intentions. Apparently, the lollies were also appreciated by all concerned!


Kakanui School

Happy Holidays to you all!