Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stunning New Lighting Illuminates an Auckland Icon

Auckland War Memorial Museum is amongst New Zealand’s most iconic and instantly recognisable buildings. As it celebrates 80 years in The Domain, new exterior lighting is set to connect the Museum with the vibrant city that surrounds it. The lighting is launched at 10pm on Friday, 30 October.

“We are illuminating the building, not only to honour its architectural magnificence, but to signify the importance of the Museum’s connection with the city. This iconic building should be seen from all vantage points throughout our city, and we are proud to illuminate it in an economically friendly and beautiful new way,” says Museum Director Dr Vanda Vitali. “We want to mark the building’s 80th year and honour the War Memorial aspect of the Museum in a truly innovative manner.”

For the illumination project, the Museum, along with Auckland City’s heritage authority, approved an all-LED environmental design that sets the historic location aglow like a jewel in the night. With roughly 400 LED fixtures, the entire structure is elegantly illuminated on top of Pukekawa in The Domain. The Museum worked with Lightemotion, an international lighting design firm, to complete the all-new LED light design for the exterior of the building.

The project has been developed with environmental sustainability in mind, and uses the latest-generation low-energy LED lights. Consuming between 50 and 74 watts per unit, the power required to run the lights equates to just one percent of the Museum’s total yearly electricity usage. In addition, Auckland Museum is partnering with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to reduce power consumption across the building as part of this project.

“Unlike most other city icons, the Museum has never had a specific exterior lighting design that adequately highlights its rich architectural design and form. As a fitting celebration of the 80th anniversary since the building was opened, new exterior lighting has been installed. The lighting design has been thoroughly considered to sensitively enhance the richly modelled architectural detailing that could otherwise be lost in a less thoughtful design,” says Peter Reed, director at heritage and conservation architecture firm Salmon Reed Architects.

“Celebrating this achievement by the installation of the lighting is an appropriate form of recognition. The new lighting will give the Museum a new sense of identity, underpin its prominence in the city’s 'lightscape' and deliver to Auckland a new experience of a much loved Museum.”

The Museum’s exterior lighting evolves throughout the course of the evening to three time-specific modes:

7pm-12am: Classical Mode
This mode uses a golden hue, which climbs the building in a warm, amber tone.

12am-3am: Moonlit Mode
This mode uses white light to reflect a moonlit sky.   

3am-7am: Sleep Mode
This lighting mode uses a soft blue shade to reflect morning slumber.

“We believe our building is so important to the people of Auckland because it’s the emotional and cultural hub, not just of our city, but our identity, our memories and our imagination as well,” says Dr Vitali. “With the world’s focus increasingly on Auckland, and with the approach of the Rugby World Cup, the Museum’s new lighting celebrates our heritage and show us looking forward. This is an exciting time for the city.”

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Historic building celebrates ten-year flood anniversary with special package

One of New Zealand’s most iconic hotels has launched an exclusive package for visitors seeking a luxury getaway amidst Queenstown’s stunning scenery and world-class attractions.

Ten years ago, the historic building that now houses Eichardt’s Private Hotel on the Queenstown lakefront was devastated by a ‘100-year flood’ that resulted in a complete top to toe renovation and refurbishment.

A decade later, the unique property is celebrating a glorious spring and early summer – without the floods -- by offering a very special ‘four nights for the price of three’ package available for stays until 10 December*.

The package is available to guests staying in both the main hotel building, originally constructed in 1872, and in the nearby Eichardt’s Lakefront Cottage that opened in October last year.

The hotel features five opulent suites while the cottage provides boutique self-catering luxury for families and groups while retaining full access to all five star hotel facilities and services offered at the hotel, literally just a few paces away.

To celebrate the new season, Eichardt’s head chef Michael Barker has created a delicious menu of fresh new flavours accompanied by a hand-picked selection of the finest wines, available daily in the warm and welcoming House Bar.

Eichardt’s absolute lakefront location, period character and contemporary elegance make it the perfect base to enjoy Queenstown’s attractions.

General Manager Victoria Shaw said the trend towards holidays ‘at home’ in New Zealand meant there had never been a better time for visitors to enjoy a short break in one of the world’s most highly-regarded resort towns.

“Queenstown is a pristine alpine destination with plenty to discover all year round, and with winter over for another year there’s a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere in town. The gardens are blooming with colour and the longer evenings give guests ample time to soak up everything Queenstown has to offer – from magnificent views and open spaces to exclusive shopping, fine cuisine and activities galore,” she said.

* Prices from $388 plus GST per person per night based on twin share. Conditions apply. Valid for stays until 10 December, 2009.

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September Arrivals Show Positive Signs for Summer

Early signs of recovery are being seen for the New Zealand tourism industry, with a growth in September arrivals figures.

Statistics New Zealand figures released today showed that total arrivals for September increased 9.3 per cent on the same month last year; an additional 14,700 international visitors.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said the figures signalled a recovery in arrivals after the impact of the economic downturn and Influenza A (H1N1), which hit arrivals from Asia particularly hard earlier in the year.

“Today’s figures show our top five markets are all showing significant improvement on last month, which is great news for the industry heading into the crucial summer season,” Mr Hickton said.

“The US and China are recovering, Japan and the UK appear to have stabilised and Australia is still showing strong growth with holiday arrivals up 25 per cent in September; so Australia continues to be the foundation for our recovery,” Mr Hickton added.

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Are you looking for a Christmas gift with a difference?
Something new and different? Something unforgettable? Something which doesn’t need to be assembled? And something which is easy to wrap?
Antarctica Sightseeing Flights has just what you’re looking for – a one day flightseeing experience from Australia to the world’s last great wilderness area, Antarctica.
There are just two opportunities in the new year – an Airbus A380 flight from Sydney on Sunday, 24 January, and a Boeing 747-400 flight from Melbourne to Antarctica on Sunday, 14 February – Valentine’s Day.
“Let’s face it, finding the perfect gift is not always easy said Phil Asker, Managing Director of Antarctica Sightseeing Flights.
“A sightseeing flight to Antarctica is a very different gift idea, and one which will make a great conversation point for a long while afterwards,” he said.
Prices to travel aboard the Antarctica flights range from AUD $999 for Economy Centre seats to AUD $6299 for First Class. There are eight seating classes available on the Airbus A380 flights and seven on the Boeing 747.
All aircraft are chartered from and operated by Qantas on behalf of Antarctica Sightseeing Flights.
Bookings can only be made by visiting or, within Australia, by calling 1800 633 449. Detailed information, including images from past flights, is available on the website.
Flight schedules are as follows: Sunday, 24 January: Depart Sydney 8.00am, return 8.30pm Sunday,14 February: Depart Melbourne 8.30am, return 8.00pm

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New Zealand launches Giant Rugby Ball in Tokyo

New Zealand Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key formally opened the Kiwi's giant Rugby Ball Venue in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The unique structure will be open between 28 October and 3 November next to the iconic Tokyo Tower in central Tokyo, a high-profile site which draws around 3.2 million people annually and around 10,000 a day.

"The Rugby World Cup is a huge opportunity for New Zealand tourism and I am confident that many people who take the opportunity to experience this small taste of New Zealand in Tokyo will be inspired to experience the real thing in New Zealand in 2011," Mr Key said.

During the seven days the Ball is open, it will play host to a series of public and private events aimed at promoting New Zealand as a work/play destination.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said the Ball had already proved its worth in Paris and London, gaining huge exposure for New Zealand as the next host of the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

The giant rugby ball experienced success during its last two outings in Paris and London with 32,500 people entering the Ball to experience its tailor-made audio visual display promoting New Zealand.

"The Ball has been a wonderful vehicle for promoting New Zealand so far and it remains an important element in New Zealand's build up to the Rugby World Cup," Mr Hickton said.
"Arrivals from Japan have been declining for a while and we need high-profile public relations events like this to get noticed in what is a valuable and prized market in New Zealand's tourism mix," he added.

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Air NZ announces new codeshare with South African Airways

Codesharing with South African Airways on its Perth to Johannesburg services, Air New Zealand will now be able to offer daily one-stop services to South Africa from Auckland.

South African Airlines operates a daily service between Perth and Johannesburg in an Airbus A340-600 aircraft.

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Air Pacific to fly direct to Hong Kong from December

Air Pacific has announced the launch date for its inaugural non-stop services from Nadi to Hong Kong.

Air Pacific's twice weekly services will be flown in a two-class Boeing 767 from the 3rd of December this year.

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New Zealand A Winner for British travellers

New Zealand has turned in a winning performance in the UK, being voted favourite long-haul country by readers of the Guardian, the Observer and

At the annual Reader’s Travel Awards announced recently, New Zealand beat Cambodia, Chile, Vietnam and Japan to take the top spot. Air New Zealand was named second-favourite long-haul carrier after Singapore Airlines.

Andy Pietrasik, Travel Editor for, said the fact that more readers this year voted for New Zealand showed that there were still many travellers seeking to get as far away as possible from the bad news at home.

“New Zealand also scored more highly than last year in winning this category, showing that the New Zealand experience has lost none of its appeal during the recession. This will stand it in very good stead as the travel environment improves,” he added.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said it was important that New Zealand continued to be recognised by travellers in what was currently a difficult market.

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SJD, Sam Hunt and David Kilgour Perform at a Very Different LATE at the Museum

Singer-guitarist David Kilgour of influential rock group The Clean and New Zealand’s best-loved poet Sam Hunt perform together at a very different LATE at the Museum. Auckland Museum’s LATE 03: Voyage of the Ancestors explores human’s remarkable migration to New Zealand, so it’s apt the event welcomes a unique opportunity to explore the museum to discover SJD and top musicians in the galleries.

Following on from their recent sold-out shows, David and Sam bring their exceptional performance to the museum’s Grand Foyer on Thursday 5 November. Upstairs, one of New Zealand’s most popular indie-bands, SJD, take to the Treasures and Tales gallery.

Unconventional violinist Elena will unleash her melding of Maori and European musical traditions on the Auckland 1866 gallery, followed by world-renowned jazz oboist Russell Walder in Oceans.

The panel discussion in the Maori Court, explores the human journey to New Zealand, one of the most remarkable migrations ever. The panel features Auckland University Professor of Archaeology Geoffrey Irwin, whose research focuses on the colonisation of the Pacific; Matahi Brightwell, who has been instrumental in the revival of traditional methods in navigating the Pacific; and Jock Phillips, General Editor of Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.

The LATE will provide an opportunity to see Auckland Museum’s brand new exterior lighting, which is being installed to celebrate the building’s 80 years in the Domain.
LATE 03: Voyage of the Ancestors
When: Thursday, 5 November
Where: Auckland Museum
Cost: $15 (plus booking fee)
Time: 6.30pm-11pm

Tickets: Available on the door, by phoning 09 306 7048 or online at

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United Airlines holiday sale fare

· Fly Economy Class Sydney to Los Angeles return from $1610 plus taxes of $319*
· Fly Economy Class Sydney to San Francisco return from $1610 plus taxes of $319*
· Fly Economy Class Sydney to New York return from $1750 plus taxes of $319*

· Fly Economy Class Melbourne to Los Angeles return from $1610 plus taxes of $302*
· Fly Economy class Melbourne to San Francisco return from $1610 plus taxes of $342*
· Fly Economy Class Melbourne to New York return from $1750 plus taxes of $308*
This offer is available for ticketing until 30 October 2009 and for departures from 10 December 2009 to 16 January 2010.
* Taxes subject to change until time of booking.

Conditions: Ticketing must be completed 72 hours after reservation when purchasing from your local AFTA travel agent, or, at time of booking via or by 30 October 2009; whichever comes first.

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Intercontinental’s Bora Bora resort voted “Favourite Spa in South Pacific Islands”

SpaFinder Readers have voted the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spas as the “favourite spa in the South Pacific islands” in its seventh annual awards to honor the very best spas in the world.

Well over 70,000 spas worldwide were reviewed with the Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort sweeping the field in the South Pacific category.

Intercontinental’s Deep Ocean Spa on Bora Bora is the first Thalasso spa in the world to use the benefits of deep-sea water and minerals extracted from the Pacific Ocean at a depth of more than 914 meters for all its signature treatments.

Designed by Algotherem, deverloper of spas and Thalassotherapy centres around the world, the Deep Ocean Spa sets a new world standard for marine treatment and therapy centres. The 1,226 square metre spa complex houses 14 treatment rooms for deep sea water hydrotheraphy, beauty treatments and gentle energy therapy.

A highlight is the spa’s glass-floored overwater Spa Suites where individual guests or couples can admire maritime flora and fauna during treatment sessions. There are also areas for relaxation with breaktaking views of the ocean, steam baths and showers to revitalize the senses, outdoor Jacuzzis, a gym, a tea lunge and a boutique.

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Wild On Waiheke


Xmas Party Packages!
Wild on Waiheke is offering some fantastic packages this summer. Starting from $79 pp for activities, return ferry, on-island transfers plus a wine & beer tasting!

Barefoot, Bowls and BBQ
Looking for a fun and relaxing BBQ lunch or dinner after your activities at Wild on Waiheke? The Surfdale Bowling club is a great venue with fully licensed bar facilities and food catering to suit any budget. Their Barefoot bowls and BBQ package is popular, starting at $30 pp and includes BBQ, bowling (the experts show you how) and shoes are optional!!

Charlie Farleys
Waiheke's world famous bar and restaurant. A fun and relaxed place right on Waiheke's best beach - only a few minutes drive from Wild on Waiheke.

Freeflow Archery & Laser Claybird shooting
Enjoy exclusive use of Wild on Waiheke's venue for two hours including archery & laser claybird shooting activities and access to Taste Waiheke (wine & beer tastings) for $1500. Perfect for larger groups
(35 people or more). Some conditions apply.

Waiheke Fun Tours
We have teamed up with Robbies Fun Bus and two award winning vineyards to offer a choice of Waiheke fun tours this summer for groups of 35 people+. Tours include return ferry tickets, all transfers on Daisy the famous red London Double decker bus, wine tastings at least two vineyards, beer tasting at Wild on Waiheke and lunch (beach cafe or vineyard). Prices start from $94 pp (inclusive).

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Stay at Paihia Beach Resort, play at acclaimed New Zealand Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

A new exclusive golf package has been launched as a partnership between the award winning New Zealand resort, Paihia Beach Resort & Spa and Kauri Cliffs Golf Course both located in Northland. Stay two nights at Paihia Beach Resort and play a round of championship level golf at the acclaimed David Harman designed, par 72 championship - Kauri Cliffs.

Ranked 18th in the world by GOLF Magazine’s (USA) World Top 100, this package includes a magnificant day of golf inclusive green fees and use of an electronic golf cart. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs which plunge to the sea. The golf complex also includes a world-class practice range, putting and chipping greens.

Paihia Beach Resort & Spa, located just a few mintues walk from Paihia township and absolute waterfront location, underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment in 2008. The package includes as well as a day of supreme golfing - full breakfast each morning and a ‘Five Course Tasting Menu’ with New Zealand wine matches at their award winning onsite restaurant Pure Tastes each evening. Complimentary with this package is a half hour massage, per person in the resort spa, La Spa Naturale.

Rates start from just NZ$1150 per person per two night stay, based on twin share (New Zealand residents) and NZ$1325 per person per two night stay based on twin share (international players)*.
For more information or graphics contact Karine Thomas on +64 9 307 3633 or email

For more information on this exclusive new golf package – contact Paihia Beach Resort & Spa on 0800 870 111 (free phone within New Zealand) or +64 9 4020 111.

Full package inclusions:
- Two nights at Paihia Beach Resort in an ocean view Superior Suite
- Green fees at Kauri Cliff Golf Course, once per stay
- Use of an electric golf cart at Kauri Cliffs Golf Course
- Full gourmet breakfast each morning at Paihia Beach Resort
- Five course Tasting Menu with Wine Matches, each evening at Pure Tastes
- A complimentary half hour massage, per person once per stay at La Spa Naturale


- *Kauri Cliffs Golf Course states different green fees for domestic and international players
- Golf clubs are an additional cost and are available on request.
- Tee times are subject to availability – need to advise preferred Tee times at time of booking.

Terms and Conditions:

- Valid until the 31 March 2010
- Subject to availability
- NZ$140.00 surcharge (per room per night) does apply for bookings: 20/12/09 – 15/01/10

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Latest Additions of Villa Luxury from Navigate Oceania

Release Private Retreat in Wanaka, New Zealand & Maui Palms in Fiji are the latest additions to Navigate Oceania's collection of private villas, luxury lodges and resorts in New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Joining Navigates Private Villa Collection is Release Private Retreat, commanding panoramic views of Lake Wanaka, Treble Cone ski resort and the rugged peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park in New Zealand. It is an innovative masterpiece of eco-friendly architectural design. Ideal for friends and families with three ensuite guestrooms, spacious and art filled living areas and outdoor Jacuzzi. The 24/7 concierge service sports a range of absolute adrenalin filled activities exclusive to Release guests on snow, water or air. Rates start from NZ$1250 per night (sleeps 6).

Your choice of an exclusive beachfront villa cluster for 16 ideal for weddings or celebrations, or as a boutique resort ideal of couples - Fijis newest boutique resort is Maui Palms. Offering five absolute beachfront villas/bures located on the Coral Coast of mainland Fiji just over an hour by road from Nadi international airport. Dining is a highlight at Maui Palms with awarded owner/host Andre Badia preparing the freshest farmers market sourced indigenous and tropical specialties (Ask about his local farmer's market tours for guests and cooking lessons). A full concierge service for activities, including some real surprises. More of an exclusive lodge than a resort, rates start from the Resort rate of AUD$495 per couple per night or fully exclusive rate AUD$2675 for up to 16 guests.

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March Hare Cycling Opens


Fancy a leisurely afternoon pedaling amongst the Northern Wairarapa vineyards, through olive groves and across paddocks?

Well thanks to March Hare Cycling, a brand new cycling experience based at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and located only 1 ½ hours from Wellington, visitors can hire bicycles and explore the Northern Wairarapa – one of New Zealand’s up and coming wine regions.

Owner of March Hare Cycling, Gretchen Bunny, says the self guided cycling tour has been specially designed to give visitors an insiders look around the scenic area located five minutes north of Masterton as well as the chance to sample fresh local produce, a variety of wines and olive oils.

“This type of wine tourism experience is new to the Northern Wairarapa and I’ve spent long hours on the bike developing the best route so visitors can experience first hand the unique characteristics that make up this increasingly popular wine-growing area,” she says. “Not only will people get to meet an eclectic group of local personalities but they will also be able to enjoy a delicious picnic of locally sourced produce and have exclusive access to trail routes across farmland and in between vineyards.”

Gretchen established her business in October this year after spending almost 15 years working outside of the region and overseas. But her passion for the Northern Wairarapa was so great she decided to return home and share her passion with others.

“Six months ago I was made redundant from a job I loved and was contemplating moving back to the or to Australia,” she recalls. “However I was really excited by a number of developments happening in the Wairarapa and realized this is where I want to be. I also realized there was a great opportunity for me to provide a new tourism experience here.”

Starting within the leafy groves of Loop Line Olives visitors can cycle cross country on quality and comfortable bikes meandering through the vineyards and nearby olive groves. With an easy to follow map and a well marked route visitors enjoy a picnic of locally sourced produce and have exclusive access to cycle across some of the region’s most scenic farmland and through vineyards.

March Hare Cycling is focused on making the day as easy and relaxed as possible and is easily accessible.

“For Wellingtonians the train is a great option,” says Gretchen. “Not only is it incredibly scenic but it means you can enjoy tasting the wines without worrying about the drive back. Plus we’re able to collect you from the Masterton Railway Station, deliver you to March Hare Headquarters then drop you off again in time for your train home.”

The cost is $65 per person and includes bike and helmet hire, a delicious picnic, a route map and exclusive access across private land.

March Hare Cycling is now taking bookings for summer and also offers vouchers – the perfect gift to give someone needing to unwind during the festive season. There is a maximum of 20 persons and booking are essential for catering purposes.

A curious blend of old and new

Turkey combines simplicity and sophistication

Diversity is the word for this dazzling destination where the ruins of ancient civilisations mix with vibrant nightlife, cosmopolitan shopping and modern marinas. 
And now holidaymakers looking for the ultimate Turkish experience can discover towns untouched by tourism and beautiful bays still only accessible by boat as part of a Sunsail sailing flotilla.
Flotillas are the ultimate in social sailing, where you sail your own boat under the watchful guidance of a Lead Crew - including a qualified skipper, a hostess and an engineer – along with about 10 other boats.
All holidaymakers have to do is relax and discover this amazing country including experiencing delicious, exotic cuisine, meeting friendly locals and uncovering hidden treasures in an Aladdin’s cave of bazaars selling spices, silver trinkets and carpets.
“Flotilla holidays appeal to all ages and we find that once people have experienced them, they come back again and again,” said Sunsail Yacht Charter’s marketing manager Kim Lehmann.
“Our cruising area encompasses some of the most stunning sailing grounds that southern Turkey has to offer. Blessed by sunshine and good winds, you’re almost guaranteed great sailing on moderate seas.
“There is always plenty of free time to explore on your own and then meet your fellow sailors and lead crew at agreed destinations for barbecues, cocktail parties and picnics. And on family flotillas there is an activities coordinator especially for the kids.” 
Sunsail Yacht Charters invented the flotilla sailing holiday in 1974 and continues to lead the way with these fun-filled social sailing adventures around the world.
Turkey is less expensive than most Mediterranean destinations and few others possess such a wealth of culture, history and intrigue.
Special offer: For a limited time only, receive a free ‘Nibbles & Drinks’ package* for your first night on board, when you book any Turkish flotilla for the 2010 sailing season (best times May to October).  In addition, holidaymakers who book six months in advance can take advantage of Sunsail’s special five per cent Advance Booking Discount.
* Applies to new bookings only.

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More than half of NZ to change traditional summer holiday plans

Jasons Travel Media recently asked Kiwis what they’re planning to do for the Christmas and summer holidays, just around the corner in less than three months time.  A staggering 60% of respondents are changing their plans from the norm this summer – opting to spend their time somewhere other than where they have gone for summer holidays in the past.  When asked, there were a plethora of reasons for the break from traditional plans including ‘better deals on accommodation elsewhere’, ‘decided to go somewhere close’ and ‘money is a bit tight this year’.

Over a third of respondents have already sorted their Christmas and summer holiday plans, with 35% aiming to get sorted within the next month.  Over 60% of people booked their accommodation when they made holiday plans, with 40% of respondents using third party websites and directories such as to book accommodation.  Not surprisingly, price is the biggest factor for over 70% when choosing accommodation, with location, amenities and hot deals also contributing to the decision making process.

Around 27% of Kiwis are opting not to take a Christmas or summer holiday this year.  Of those who are taking holidays over the summer, 68% will be travelling within New Zealand while 11% will head to Australia or the Pacific.

Top spots for holidays this summer include Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and perhaps surprisingly – Auckland!  The survey also revealed a whopping 38% of respondents missed out on their accommodation of choice in the past due to leaving their bookings too late.  Says CEO of Jasons Travel Media, Matthew Mayne, “With summer just around the corner we advise Kiwis to book their summer holidays as soon as they can to avoid disappointment. Travellers can feel confident about booking online with Jasons Travel Media, where there are no fees, commissions or hidden costs when you book.”

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Marina Bay Sands Unveils Six Celebrity Chef Restaurants

Six internationally recognized, award-winning celebrity chefs are lined
up to create culinary magic at Marina Bay Sands with their first restaurants in Singapore, elevating the
Republic’s dining scene to the global stage.
These world-renowned chefs represent the Who’s Who in the culinary world today – Mario Batali (New
York), Daniel Boulud (New York), Wolfgang Puck (Los Angeles), Santi Santamaria (Barcelona), Guy
Savoy (Paris) and Tetsuya Wakuda (Sydney).
The celebrated chefs will draw inspiration from the kitchens of their own restaurants in Spain, France,
Australia and the United States, while creating menus that incorporate regional products and local
produce. Nestled on the mezzanine level of the casino, the restaurants of chefs Santi Santamaria, Guy
Savoy and Tetsuya Wakuda will offer a refined, sophisticated dining experience based upon their
individual culinary styles that have been honed for years.
Culinary giants Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck will launch their hugely successful,
highly regarded signature restaurants that will single-handedly elevate Singapore’s culinary scene
overnight. These restaurants are situated near Marina Bay Sands Theatres.
“Singapore will become the culinary epicenter of Asia. The quality of these six chefs will make Marina
Bay Sands a dining experience that is beyond comparison,” said Mr. Thomas Arasi, CEO and President
of Marina Bay Sands.
Each of the six chefs is personally involved in the concepts, menus, and interior design of the six
different restaurants. Each chef will bring to Singapore experienced members from his own restaurant
and will develop a new generation of local chefs as they work alongside the industry’s best.
“The quality of the these renowned chefs, coupled with their artistry and international standing, will put
Singapore on the world gourmet map as we celebrate glorious food and great wine in one of the most
spectacular settings at Marina Bay Sands,” said Mr. Arasi.
In addition to the six celebrity chef restaurants which are finalizing details of their operations here,
Marina Bay Sands will run several other signature restaurants that will be unveiled in the coming months.
When completed, Marina Bay Sands will feature large and flexible convention and exhibition facilities,
approximately 2,500 luxury hotel rooms, the breathtaking rooftop Sands SkyPark, a museum, Las Vegasstyle
gaming, the Paiza Club for premium players, theatres, entertainment, an outdoor event plaza, and
unparalleled shopping and dining.
What the chefs say:
“We hope to bring our unique take on both traditional and modern Italian culture, lifestyle and cooking
to the heart of the most important city in Asia and we look forward to learning much from the locals
about their fascinating culture and food. This is, without a doubt, the most exciting project I have ever
been involved with and I look forward to many years of collaboration.” – Chef Mario Batali
“I've had the privilege of traveling to Singapore and enjoyed some incredible meals by local chefs. It’s a
superb city where I discovered a culture with a love of food from every corner of the world. Singapore is
a wonderful place for me to create a restaurant in partnership with Las Vegas Sands and the
international community of chefs they are bringing together. The Marina Bay Sands will be a great
addition to a place that is already a dining destination.” – Chef Daniel Boulud
“It’s an honor to open my first restaurant in Singapore, in the city’s most memorable and iconic
location. We are eager to create an unforgettable dining experience with the launch of CUT, our first
overseas version of the American steakhouse. With its modern menu, we’re offering something new and
exciting to local residents and visitors.” – Chef Wolfgang Puck
“Through poetry, human beings express the most profound reasoning of our beings. To experience the
world, we need to travel with our minds open, free from baggage. As chefs, we ask ourselves if there’s
such a thing as culinary poetry. We hope that together, we can find it. I want to delight the senses and
awaken emotional memories with a cuisine of wisdom.”
– Chef Santi Santamaria
“Cuisine is the art of instantaneously turning produce suffused with history into happiness.”
– Chef Guy Savoy
“I am delighted to be opening at Marina Bay Sands, to bring the flavour of my Sydney restaurant to
Singapore’s vibrant and international community.”
- Chef Tetsuya Wakuda
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Cathay Pacific's 2010 Earlybird Fares Start from $2099

Cathay Pacific Airways is offering Earlybird fares for 2010 to more than 100 destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe, which start from $2099 for return economy class travel, plus applicable Government/Airport taxes/charges.

The Earlybird fares are available for travel from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Rome - for departures from January 1 to June 30 and from September 1 to November 30, 2010.  Special add-on airfares are available from other domestic New Zealand airports.

Cathay Pacific is also offering a wide variety of stopover options via its European gateways. For instance, a passenger travelling on a return fare to Venice can travel via London in one direction and Rome on the return sector, thereby enjoying three destinations in Europe.

Passengers may also stop over in Hong Kong, Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne for no additional airfare. Or for an additional $176 plus tax, passengers can include one of 38 different destinations across Asia/China from Singapore or Bali in the south to Beijing or Sapporo in the north on their ticket.

For an extra $200 (plus taxes), passengers can now choose to travel through Nadi, Fiji (in one direction), thanks to the introduction of Cathay Pacific’s new twice weekly codeshare service with Air Pacific, which launches on December 3, 2009.

Travellers who are planning to travel overseas next year and who are reluctant to purchase Earlybird fares in the hope that fares come down even further, can rest assured that they will receive the best price offer, with the reintroduction of Cathay Pacific’s popular Earlybird Airfare Guarantee. The Earlybird Airfare Guarantee offers passengers a refund of any fare difference should Cathay Pacific’s fares drop below the Earlybird price.

Making the deal even sweeter, passengers purchasing Cathay Pacific Earlybird fares will be able to experience a new standard of Economy Class with all Cathay Pacific longhaul aircraft now refurbished with the airline’s innovative, new Economy Class seats.  Cathay Pacific was awarded the Airline of the Year 2009 award by Skytrax, the world’s largest passenger survey.

Cathay Pacific’s Earlybird fares are available for sales through to 15 December.  The fares do not include Government and airport taxes which vary widely according to the routing of the ticket and stopovers taken. The taxes on a simple itinerary to Rome will be approximately $78 whereas to London will be approximately $200.
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Tourism expenditure encouraging

New figures released which show tourism expenditure increased by 1.1% to $21.7 billion in the year ended March 2009 are encouraging news for the industry and New Zealand, says Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar.

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA): 2009, published by Statistics New Zealand, shows that the overall increase in expenditure was driven by Kiwi holidaymakers spending more at home, with domestic expenditure in the year ending March 09 up 2.6% to $12.4 billion on the previous year.

“The domestic market was stronger than many had been expecting, given that New Zealand was in recession, and highlights its importance to the industry in terms of diversifying risk.”

International visitor expenditure fell by 0.9% ($87 million) in the year ending March 09 to $9.3 billion. “The relatively small size of that decrease shows the resilience of the tourism industry in what has been one of its toughest trading environments in decades, with many of our major international markets suffering dramatically from the world economic downturn,” says Mr Cossar. 

He adds the impact of the global recession was softened by the excellent growth in arrivals out of Australia, New Zealand’s largest international visitor market.

The TSA also reinforces that tourism is one of New Zealand’s most important industries, accounting for 16.4% of exports, and directly employing 4.9% of full-time equivalent employees, an increase of 0.4% from the previous year.

Mr Cossar cautions however, that while some tourism operators are performing very well, others are still struggling from a big decrease in demand.

“This is an immensely diverse industry, in terms of both the size and types of operators. While overall these expenditure figures are good news, it is certainly still a very challenging time for many.

“The trend towards much shorter booking times makes it difficult to forecast summer performance with any degree of accuracy. The high New Zealand dollar is probably the biggest short term factor affecting the industry, with the potential to impact negatively on people’s decision to travel here, and to restrict spending for those who do come.”

However, he says this may be balanced out by a high Australian dollar, and continuing strong growth out of that market, 40% of inbound arrivals and growing.

Touch of Spice Spring News

Spring Special – Queenstown
Stay 5 nights and only pay for 4 PLUS enjoy a delectable Trust the Chef lunch for 2 at the award winning Amisfield Winery on the Touch of Spice team!

Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a Spring break! Why not stay in one for our exclusive private villas in the stunning Alpine resort of Queenstown, or enjoy a city break in our fabulous city centre apartment in Christchurch. If you fancy really getting away from it all and enjoying some early summer weather, our private island retreat – Cooks Cove on Roberton Island – offers the perfect weekend escape!

Private Villa Collection - New Property
This brand new, architecturally designed 3 bedroom house plus study located in Aspen Grove, Queenstown, has magnificent, uninterrupted lake and mountain views. This stunning property boasts a pool, spa, sauna and gym as well as state of the art entertainment technology, outside fire and bbq. From just NZ$1250.00 per night (low season) for up to 6 guests.

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B52s to rock lobster the Hunter Valley.

Music fans can catch legendary new wave party band the B52s live in the Hunter Valley and add a little luxury to the Love Shack experience on an exclusive weekend package from Peppers Guest House.

The whacky, fun and highly infectious dance beats of the US outfit will reverberate through the vineyards on Saturday November 21, 2009, when the Bimgadgen Estate winery rocks with such classics as Rock Lobster, Love Shack and Roam.

Nearby Peppers Guest House joins the chorus with deals from $650* per person including two nights accommodation, full country breakfast each morning, two A Reserve tickets to see the B52s, coach transfers to the concert venue and dinner for two in Chez Pok Restaurant on the Friday evening.

Nestled in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine country and surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards, Peppers Guest House is one of the region’s best loved retreats.

Comprising 48 elegantly furnished guest rooms in a contemporary classic style; the retreat revels in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere matched with a reputation for exceptional fine wines and food experiences.

On site facilities include the award-winning Chez Pok restaurant, endota retreat spa, tennis court and indoor pool & spa.

Peppers manages a collection of premium retreats, resorts and hotels in beautiful locations throughout Australia and New Zealand, including NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, NT, TAS, North and South Island.

For bookings or further information phone (02) 4993 8999, email or visit

* Conditions apply, subject to change and availability.
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Holiday Inn to Land in Auckland

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport is scheduled to land on Saturday 31 October when the Centra Auckland Airport Hotel transforms and reveals its new colours.

“It’s out with the old and ‘inn’ with the new,” says Matt Rippin, Holiday Inn Auckland Airport General Manager, who is a new addition to the hotel himself.  “On Saturday the hotel officially becomes the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport, and also the first Holiday Inn in the country to feature the new refreshed branding.
“The rebrand has been a long time coming and suitably caps off a multi-million dollar refurbishment of the property including accommodation rooms, restaurant, bar, lobby, business centre, ballroom and conference rooms.  We are very proud to offer our guests a totally refurbished hotel complemented with the new look branding and its service and feel.  The hotel is an iconic airport landmark that has transformed with the times to the fantastic product it is today,” he says.

The refreshed brand brings with it stylish new design touches, crisp white linens and a selection of soft and firm pillows in every room. Holiday Inn promises more than a warm bed, a clean room and a friendly smile, it also offers guests a comfortable hotel where they can sit back and relax.  “From the hotel signs to the genuine service; from lobbies to linen, you’ll see and feel the difference the moment you check in,” Rippin says.

The Holiday Inn Auckland Airport rebrand is part of a global relaunch for Holiday Inn and the hotel is one of 3,296 Holiday Inn hotels around the world that will feature the refreshed branding.
Globally Holiday Inn has close to 420,000 guest rooms and more than 1,100 additional new hotels planned, the sheer magnitude of the Holiday Inn relaunch is unmatched in hospitality history.

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport’s relaunch is part of a worldwide effort by Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts to create a new identity and establish new brand hallmarks that will deliver a more consistent quality and contemporary image for the brand.

Among the new Holiday Inn brand features now visible at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport are a redesigned logo, improved signage and new outdoor lighting, landscaping and design.  The welcome experience at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport has also been enhanced with a redesigned lobby, de-cluttered reception desk and all-new signature scents and sounds. 

A newly launched “Stay Real” service commitment ensures that guests receive excellent service during their stay.  “Our guests told us they wanted service that recognises them as individuals and hotel staff who understand their real needs while they’re at the hotel.  Our “Stay Real” service training enables our people to always do this to our guests every single time they stay with us,” says Rippin.

He adds that it’s business as usual for the hotel leading up to and after the rebrand, with the same phone and email addresses.
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Vibe Hotels & Chocolatier Max Brenner Offer an Indulgent Break

The “Max Brenner Chocolate Indulgence @ Vibe” package includes overnight accommodation in a stylish Vibe room, full buffet breakfast for two and a Max Brenner BODY gift pack created exclusively for Vibe Hotels.  The gift pack includes caramelised pecans rolled in rich praline and fine cocoa powder, an embroidered face towel and Ivory Coast Cocoa Butter Bubble Bath – a decadent chocolate experience with prices starting from just AUD$175 a night.

Max Brenner is an innovative celebrity chocolatier and creater of the Chocolate Bar concept, a temple for chocolate lovers to indulge all their senses.

New to the market is the Max Brenner BODY range which is dedicated to making you look and feel deliciously beautiful, offering beauty lovers with a weakness for chocolate a whole new indulging chocolate experience. Created from pure cocoa butter and rare confectionery ingredients, Max Brenner’s decadent Spa Collection nourishes and enriches the skin whilst helping to improve its elasticity and serving as a source of antioxidants.

Vibe Hotels are the fresh alternative to traditional hotels, reflecting a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Located in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and on the Gold Coast, every aspect of Vibe Hotels has been designed to mirror a great lifestyle – the rooms are stylish, the food in the Curve Cafés and Bars is delicious and the locations provide easy access to the best that each city has to offer.

Indulge your chocolate fantasy at:
Vibe Hotel Gold Coast from AUD$179.  Overlooking a picturesque sweep of the Nerang River on one side and the sparkling ocean on the other, Vibe Hotel Gold Coast adds all things stylish and chic to Surfers Paradise. 

Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne from AUD$199.   Built in 1929, this art-deco hotel is sure to impress. Located opposite Southern Cross Station and just a short walk from the Telstra Dome, guests will enjoy the convenience of having Melbourne at their fingertips. 

Vibe Hotel Rushcutters, Sydney from AUD$189.  Overlooking Rushcutters Bay Park and the Cruising Yacht Club (CYC) Marina, Vibe Hotel Rushcutters is close to Sydney’s most stylish shopping and nightlife precincts; Double Bay, Paddington and Woollahra.

Vibe Hotel North Sydney from AUD$199.  Located on Alfred Street opposite Milsons Point Railway Station, guests can enjoy stunning views of Lavender Bay or Sydney Harbour or simply take a stroll over the Harbour Bridge!

Vibe Hotel Sydney from AUD$189. Situated just minutes from Oxford Street, Sydney’s CBD and the theatre district, guests are perfectly positioned to explore some of Sydney’s most vibrant bars, restaurants and cafes.

Vibe Hotel Carlton, Melbourne from AUD$179.  With a "new millennium" feel mixed with a sixties retro flavour, Vibe Hotel Carlton is close to Lygon and Brunswick Streets where the city’s famous café culture was born. 

Vibe Hotel Darwin from AUD$175. Situated on the Darwin Waterfront in Darwin’s hottest new precinct, Vibe Hotel Darwin offers guests some of the best views in town, with great restaurants and shopping on your doorstep.

*Prices vary per hotel, packages are subject to availability and exclude peak periods and are valid until 31 March 2010.  One gift pack per stay.
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First Hard Rock Hotel in Malaysia

Inspired by rock ‘n’ roll music and sensibility, the Hard Rock Hotel Penang is now open for business.

Located at the famous Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Hard Rock Hotel Penang breaks the mould of conventional beach resorts, bringing the connotation to a whole new level.  The iconic Hard Rock logo created with chandelier-like lightings hover over the entrance of the vibrant lobby, accompanied by the right spin of music.  This contemporary design is enhanced with a check-in counter that features a reception bar concept. 

For the diehard music fans, they must not miss to check out on more than 500 pieces of unparalleled rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection from both local and international artists adorning the walls of the Hard Rock Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe Penang.  These collections are also showcased through the ‘E-wall’ comprising of 8 screens located at the lobby. 

“Hard Rock Hotel Penang will be one of the most sought after vacations in Penang.   We define modern and stylish beach resorts with all the unexpected attributes for each of our guest to experience a lifestyle that is over the top.  Our differentiator is the amplifier and it rocks,” says John Primmer, Hard Rock Hotel Penang General Manager.

The 6-storey hotel boasts 250 ‘tricked out’ rooms and suites, mostly with absolute beach frontage.  The modern exterior structure is completed with tastefully furnished bedrooms such as sensual guest bathrooms, Sleep Like a Rock ® (branded bedding) and modern in-room amenities.  Technology is also a significant feature at the hotel.  All rooms feature new technology and are fully equipped with DVD/CD players, 32 inches LCD TVs, iPod docking stations, complimentary Wi-Fi and wired connectivity and interactive TVs.

A wide selection of facilities is available including the Rock Spa and Body Rock with state-of-art gym equipment, while family with children and teens can visit the Lil’ Rock Kids Club and Teens Club.  For the party goers, be styled like a star at the Stylista Coiffure to get ready for the night ahead.  Not to be missed, the magnificent 26,000 sq ft free-form swimming pool – the largest swimming pool in Penang with build-in underwater speakers.  In addition to that, hard core Hard Rock fans are now able to increase their collection with the three Rock Shops located in the hotel, selling Hard Rock Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe merchandise.

Hard Rock Hotel Penang features five Food & Beverage outlets, including the famous Hard Rock Cafe.  The Hard Rock Cafe Penang will be the new place to jam from day till night in the Penang.  This world famous cafe serves authentic American cuisine made famous by Hard Rock Cafe’s across the globe.  Not forgetting the essence of Hard Rock Cafe – the music, the heart and soul of Hard Rock.  Turn it up a notch up by night with live band performances in the cafe every night.  

Other outlets include the Starz Diner, an all-day dining restaurant featuring Asian and International Cuisine and the Pizzeria by the poolside.  The Pizzeria is the perfect location for a lazy holiday meal, offering a great choice of pizzas and pasta dishes with spectacular views out across the sea. To enjoy a chill out session, relax sub-emerged in the pool at The Shack (pool bar) or enjoy live band performances at the Lobby Lounge.   

At Hard Rock Hotel Penang, the guests are guaranteed nothing but a Rock ‘N’ Roll experience.  The hotel’s in-the-know Concierge team and Rock Agents are all set to rock, serving each and every guest under the Hard Rock mantra “Love All.  Serve All”.   Visit Hard Rock Hotel Penang and experience a new way of life.

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Renew Your Body and Soul

Revive and renew your body and mind at Club Med Lindeman Island in November.

This annual event is great reviver leading into the Christmas/New Year break with fitness classes, mind/body sessions and health and nutrition seminars - and book before the end of October to save 40%.

“What a perfect way to recharge on one of Australia’s beautiful Whitsunday Islands in the tropical warmth before the hectic holiday period sets in,” says Kaarin Gaukrodger, Club Med Marketing Manager New Zealand.

“Of course Lindeman Island has fantastic Kids Club facilities so you can take the children along as well and not disrupt your relaxation and rejuvenation programme.”

Lindeman Island is set in a stunning location in the Whitsunday Islands surrounded by a 690 hectare World Heritage National Park.  There’s a wide variety of sports on offer, including archery, fitness, tennis, trapeze and a 9-hole golf course.

Club Med Lindeman Island’s Body & Soul week in on 14-21 November 2009. 4 night all-inclusive packages start at:
$1,879 per adult
$1,571 per child

This offer is valid for sales until 31 October and for travel up to 30 November 2009.  See your travel agent for full conditions.
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