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.
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.
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.
For as long as I can remember, hiring a campervan and driving it round Australia has been on my travel wishlist. I’m not alone: last year, thousands of STA Travellers used a campervan to explore Oz. There’s a definite novelty factor about driving your entire house around, making beautiful National Parks your home for the night and living a basic kind of life for a while. On top of that, campervans are also a really practical and often budget friendly way to get around, especially if there’s a group of you to share costs.
Luckily for me, when I met my now husband a few years back, it turned out that an Australia road trip was pretty high on his bucket list too. So when set about planning our wedding, we decided enough was enough. We blagged a couple of months off work and set about booking a somewhat unconventional honeymoon that would see us driving up the east coast of Australia in a campervan on an epic drive from Sydney to Cairns. In 3 weeks.
Let me stress that Sydney to Cairns is really quite a long way. Over 2,400 kilometers if you go in a straight line (we clocked up over 4,000km in ours). But of course, when it comes to road trips, it’s all about the journey as much as it is the destination. We stayed at some simply incredibly spots on our trip, and as we spoke to other travellers we met along the way, were pretty gutted we couldn’t stay longer and drive that campervan all over Australia.
Sydney is one of the best cities in the world. Fact.
There’s a lot to do, all set in pretty stunning surroundings. People living in and around Sydney, in Australia in general in fact, enjoy a largely ‘outdoorsey’ life style and that’s visible across every inch of Sydney.
Here’s a short city guide to Sydney, what is without a doubt one of the world best, most exciting, most liveable cities. If you’re going, lucky you, enjoy every second, if you’re not going, this is your chance to remedy that quick sharp…
View from the Harbour Bridge.