STA Travel Partnership Manager, and big New Zealand travel enthusiast, Neil Hassall knows a lot about New Zealand, here he is to tell us why he believes South Island city Christchurch is taking giant leaps to become New Zealand’s most exciting city to visit.
As a previous guest of New Zealand and a fan of all things ‘Kiwiana’ (I was lucky enough to live there for two years), I’m always keen to return and see how things have changed in the cities I used to know and love.
One such place where this is truer than most is Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island. Due to two recent large earthquakes in the last three years that devastated the central area, the city is experiencing somewhat of a rebirth, with its determined residents and businesses working hard to rebuild the city for themselves and to welcome tourists back.
Although much of the city is still to be rebuilt (although much of downtown’s tourist accommodation has now reopened), the city’s renaissance is in full swing, as duly noted by the likes of Lonely Planet (who voted it as one of their Top 10 cities to visit last year) and the New York Times (who ranked it No 2 in their 52 must visit places for 2014).
Here are some of the reasons (some of which may surprise you) as to why I believe Christchurch should be on your travel hit-list, either as a trip in its own right, or as part of a round the world itinerary.
Bangkok is probably the world biggest, most bustling traveller hub. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the craziness so our CRM Excutive Carmen steps forward to create this handy city guide to help you make the most of your stay. Here’s our shakedown of Bangkok.
The first thing you should know is that Bangkok is a mega-city of multiple personalities. With over 6 million people living there, you can pretty much find anything at anytime of day or night; the city is peppered with corner shops called 7Eleven.
It’s got a fearsome party reputation – Hangover II was filmed here – and that’s no exaggeration, there’s everything from Ping Pong shows, down somewhat suspicious side streets (don’t google it), to super plush sky bars. The city is a natural hub for all travellers/explorers landing in Southeast Asia as it’s connected to, well, just about everywhere. So if you are looking to start your trip here, it’s a great place for meeting like minded people, going in your direction.
Markets pop up like umbrellas in the rain, all over the city throughout the week, so the shopping is great – especially if you like to haggle. Of course, as Thailand’s capital city, so there is also a wealth of historic, religious and modern cultural sites to see. So let’s get down to it, here’s what to do in Bangkok and how to do it…
Visit Bangkok's famous Floating Markets.
As soon as a blog post about New Zealand needs writing, I always seem to be the first at STA Travel Towers to stick my hand up. (I definitely don’t throw myself at our editor Lisa’s feet and beg, “Pick me! Pick me!” Honest.).
Why do I love writing about New Zealand? Well, because I love New Zealand. I’m lucky enough to have been twice in the last year: once to the South Island in June when it was covered in snow – white, serene and magical; and again to the North Island in February when the sun was out, the stunning landscapes were lush and green, and the skies were blue with long wispy clouds (it’s not called the Land of the Long White Cloud for nothing). Two very different experiences, but both equally amazing.
New Zealand: what's not to like?
Obviously, I’m not alone in my love for New Zealand. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to on the subject – be it friends, colleagues or you, our lovely customers – has fallen head over heels in love with this out-of-the-way country that has a population of just 4 million people.
Just what is it about New Zealand? What’s all the fuss about, eh? Well, I’m going to tell you. With the help of our Twitter community, here are 49 reasons why this wonderful country rocks our world.
How great is Easter? I mean, what’s not to like? It’s a four day holiday, you eat loads of chocolate and it’s the only time in the year where it’s socially acceptable to crack open the egg puns.
Yes, eggs are the real heroes of Easter, not just because of their religious symbolism, but because they make some of the best meals. We felt it was only appropriate that we bring you an egg-stra special blog this Easter, with 10 delicious meals that you can make with eggs, that won’t blow your travel budget.
Omlette, the old eggy favourite.
This week, our CRM executive Carmen Bergne takes the reigns to spill all she knows about New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown…
Home to the world’s first ever bungee jump at Kawarau Bridge, I think it’s safe to say that Queenstown is, well, the queen (excuse the pun) of adventure sports!
Located at the bottom of the South Island, this town is within reaching distance of an extensive range of natural landmarks and diverse landscapes.
It also happens have a string of restaurants, bars and clubs along the shoreline of an extraordinarily beautiful lake which doesn’t hurt when it comes to deciding to stay there.
Whether you’re looking for a 24/7 party, getting as many thrills as you can or taking in vast swathes of natural beauty, Queenstown has it all. So let’s give you the scoop on where to see and be seen during your visit.
Kawarau Bridge Bungy.