Friday, May 7, 2010

Free Auckland Museum Tours for International Museum Day

International Museum Day, held every year since 1977 in mid-May, is an opportunity to celebrate the important role museums play in preserving our history, and encouraging an exploration of our future. On Sunday 16 May Auckland Museum marks International Museum Day with free guided tours of the galleries.

The family-friendly tours, by expert guides, are an opportunity to gain an inside knowledge of the collections of New Zealand’s oldest museum. The tours will explore the Maori Court and Maori weaponry, New Zealand art and design, Pacific treasures, birds of New Zealand, war memorial galleries and more. The 45-minutes tours leave every hour between 11am and 3.45pm.

Timetable: Tour Topic:

11am Birds of New Zealand
World War I
Pacific treasures
Visitor requests

12pm Pacific Treasures
World War II
Birds of New Zealand
Aircraft in Auckland Museum
Visitor requests

1pm Origins gallery
Maori Court
Pacific treasures
New Zealand art and design
Maori weapons

2pm Origins gallery
Birds of NZ
World War I
Aircraft in Auckland Museum
Pacific treasures

3pm Pacific treasures
World War
Maori natural history
New Zealand art and design

International Museum Day

International Museum Day has been celebrated all over the world since 1977. It is held each year in Mid-May. Each year, a theme is decided on by the Advisory Committee. The event provides the opportunity for museum professionals to meet and interact with museum visitors. The theme for this year is Museums for Social Harmony.

What: International Museum Day Tours
When: Sunday 16 May, 11am-3.45pm
Where: Auckland Museum

Bookmark and Share


Celebrate your Mother’s Day at Terrace Downs this weekend and enjoy a selection of three great gift options!
Lunch in the High Country - From $25.00 per person
For a family day out visit Terrace Downs on Mothers Day and enjoy some delicious local fare. Also check out our range of exciting on-site activity options.

Pamper Mum Package - $150.00 per person
Enjoy a two hour Thai Aromatic Massage followed by a delicious two course lunch in Tilley's Bar & Brasserie, and if your Mum can't be here on the day then send her a voucher to enjoy at her leisure.

Overnight Getaway - $199.00 per person
One nights accommodation in a deluxe one bedroom villa suite, in-room romance package of chocolates, truffles and sparkling wine together with a HARNN and THANN spa gift pack for you to enjoy in your double spa bath, plus a full cooked breakfast for two. This offer is based on 2 guests sharing and applies for the 6th, 7th and 8th of May.

Phone reception now to book on 03 318 6943 or email

Bookmark and Share

Etihad to open Manchester lounge

Etihad is to become the second Middle Eastern carrier to open a lounge within Manchester airport’s Terminal 1, joining rivals Emirates.

The new 318sqm Etihad facility is due to open “late this year”, and will feature “five-star dining facilities with a selection of international cuisine”, a business centre, relaxation area, family room, prayer room, and “luxurious bathroom and shower facilities”.

Bookmark and Share

EU liquids ban to end by 2013

The end is in sight for travellers wanting to carry liquids in their hand luggage, although it may take another two years before all EU airports are equipped with screening equipment.

As flagged on the forum yesterday, the European Union has set a deadline of April 29, 2013, by when all EU airports must have rolled out liquids screening equipment. After this date all liquids will be allowed in cabin baggage.

The new EU framework has also set a date of April 29, 2011, by when “duty-free liquids purchased at third country airports or on board third country airlines and carried in tamper evident bags will be allowed as cabin baggage and will be screened”. This is currently only the case for liquids coming from selected third countries such as the US, Canada, Singapore and Croatia.

A statement by the European Commission said that EU airports will be “closely monitored through unannounced Commission inspections” during the implementation of these new security measures.

For more information visit

Bookmark and Share


19 - 20 June: MATARIKI WEEKEND. Celebrate Matariki (the sighting of a star cluster that signifies the Maori New Year) under the clear skies at the Bay of Many Coves Resort. Guests will receive a Powhiri welcome, be entertained by kapa haka and enjoy a wonderful collision of local wine and food including a full degustation menu. Guests will be able to understand more about Matariki and explore local myths and legends of the Marlborough Sounds during the weekend.

2 - 4 July: PHOTOGRAPHY RETREAT. Recreational photographers will enjoy a retreat hosted by award winning photographer Simon Woolf at the Bay of Many Coves Resort. The photographic retreat is the first of its kind in New Zealand, providing photography tuition in an environment of unique landscapes, flora and fauna and cultural subjects. Excellent wine, food and accommodation will round the weekend out.

10 – 11 September: CRAGGY RANGE WINEMAKERS DINNER. Enjoy a luxury weekend at the Bay of Many Coves Resort highlighted with a special winemakers dinner. Executive Chef Jonno Rogers will host guests through a full degustation menu alongside the Craggy Range winemaker who will create perfect wine matches to complement the meal.

8 – 9 October: TATTINGER CHAMPAGNE AND FRENCH JAZZ. Viva la France, sip Tattinger Champagne, listen to French jazz and enjoy the luxurious surrounds. Guest will enjoy sampling and learning more about Tattinger Champagne, one of France’s renowned brands. Combine the Champagne experience with world class cuisine and the beautiful ambience will provide the perfect excuse for a luxurious weekend escape.

23 October: ALAN SCOTT LUNCHEON. What better way to welcome Spring than by enjoying a luncheon prepared by Executive Chef Jonno Rogers, sampling Alan Scott’s wine and listening to Alan’s fascinating wine making story. Guests will have the chance to win a luxurious Makoha Spa treatment as well as Alan Scott products.

Bookmark and Share

B&Bs advised against highly inflated tariffs during RWC 2011

@home NEW ZEALAND, the national bed & breakfast association, is concerned about reports of an Auckland bed & breakfast, close to Eden Park, that has allegedly quoted a tariff of $1600 per room during Rugby World Cup in 2011.

President Trevor Knight says the bed & breakfast in question is not an @home NEW ZEALAND member.

“However, as we could foresee this situation happening, we advised our members by general email on 20 April that apart from a slight adjustment to cover proposed increases in GST and other fixed charges, we felt their room rate should not be substantially different to what they would charge during a normal high season period. I and my board feel that to hike prices excessively during RWC 2011 could cause future damage to the tourism industry both for accommodation providers and for other services reliant on tourism,” Mr Knight says.

“I feel it is very short sighted to charge supporters accommodation costs that are highly inflated. The large profits made will be superseded by a loss of tourism business in the following years as visitors burdened with these prices return home and tell their friends what they paid to stay in a New Zealand bed and breakfast. We currently have a reputation in this country for supplying a great accommodation experience at a reasonable cost and it would be foolish to destroy this image for short term profit.”

Another concern is that there will be visitors travelling in our country who are not here specifically for RWC 2011 and they will be penalised by inflated prices because of the sports event taking place, Mr Knight says.

There is also a danger that if accommodation costs are extreme, providers of other services such as restaurants, cafes, taxis services etc. will raise their normal charges by an extortionate amount, and both visitors and New Zealanders will bear the cost of this, Mr Knight warns.

“RWC 2011 provides an opportunity for all involved with tourism to provide quality service and value for money so that supporters will return to their own countries and act as ambassadors promoting New Zealand. We can’t afford not do it right, “Right here, right now”.

Bookmark and Share

Abu Dhabi edges out Dubai for Middle East crown

At this year's regional World Travel Awards, Abu Dhabi has been recognised as the 'Middle East's Leading Destination' edging out rival and past winner Dubai for the honours.

In addition to leading destination, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority was also awarded the 'Middle East's Leading Tourist Board'.

The Emirate did well in other categories of this year's World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony, with its national airline Etihad Airways also taking out a raft of awards including the 'Middle East's Leading Airline', 'Middle East's Leading Airline Economy Class', and even 'Middle East's Leading Airline First Class'.

"The Middle East is a shining example to the international industry, even in the challenging times that this region and destinations worldwide have been experiencing in the past two years," said Graham E. Cooke, World Travel Awards Founder and President.
This is the first time a destination other than Dubai has been awarded the award for Leading Destination in the Middle East region, says the World Travel Award organisers.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 6, 2010

US singing sensation a coup for Queenstown’s Winter Festival

One of the world’s most sought after tenors, internationally acclaimed ‘singing policeman’ Daniel Rodriguez, will wow visitors to this year’s American Express Queenstown Winter Festival.

Billed as a Festival highlight, the US star will perform alongside expat Kiwi songbirds Marla & Marissa in a one-night only performance of pop, musical theatre and light opera.

‘From Pop to Pagliacci’ will be held at 6pm, Wednesday 30 June in the new American Express Ice Box, a silked and chandeliered downtown temporary venue hosting a number of the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival events.

Daniel Rodriguez shot to fame as the ‘singing policeman’ after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The New York City beat cop’s warm, rich tenor and stirring rendition of “God Bless America”, which he sang at memorial events following the disaster, struck a chord with a nation in mourning.

His performances led to an offer of formal training from Placido Domingo with whom he studied for a year and a half.

Since then, he has sung at the White House and throughout America and Europe, including at the 2002 Winter Olympics and appeared on international talk shows such as Oprah, Letterman and Larry King. He officially retired from the New York Police Department in June 2004 to pursue a full-time singing career. Mr Rodriguez has now recorded several albums, appeared in opera and in symphony concerts, and performs in support of numerous charities.

Mr Rodriguez also has a strong Kiwi connection. He is married to Marla, the daughter of renowned New Zealand opera singer Kathy Craig and identical twin sister of Marissa Dikkenberg. The two Dunedin-born sopranos began their music careers at the age of five and are now considered international artists in their own right.

Marla & Marissa have performed at the 9/11 Commemoration in New York, the 2003 America's Cup in Auckland, and were chosen by the New Zealand Government to sing at the Academy Award celebrations in Los Angeles when Peter Jackson won the Oscar for Lord of the Rings.

The pair combine unique harmonies perfectly in a range of musical theatre standards, opera classics, and popular hits from the likes of Elton John, Sting and John Lennon. They have just completed a 107-city tour across North America with Daniel Rodriguez to promote their album ‘Songbirds’.

American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Director Simon Green says it’s a real coup to present artists of this calibre and believes it brings world-class style and grace to the Festival calendar.

“We’re really excited about this event. To have someone as internationally acclaimed as Daniel perform at the Festival is quite remarkable because he’s one of the most in demand tenors in the world. Add Marla & Marissa to the mix and it will be a must-see event for music lovers of all ages.”

‘From Pop to Pagliacci’ tickets are $59 and can be purchased from TicketDirect online, by phone 0800 224 224 (03 450 9110), in person at the Queenstown Events Centre or Queenstown i-Site (corner of Shotover and Camp streets), or via the Festival website


Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Festival Menu Set to At Least Double

The inaugural Wellington On a Plate festival cooked up a recipe for success that has seen applications for the 2010 festival more than double.

Applications for this year’s festival – running from August 14-29 – closed on Friday, with 95 events submitted, 85 restaurants registering for the centrepiece event DINE Wellington and 35 businesses signing up for the new Burger Wellington competition. An extension of DINE, Burger Wellington will see participating restaurants serve burgers that reflect the style of their restaurant using regional ingredients. The best burger will be ruled by customer vote.

Wellington On a Plate was established by Grow Wellington and Positively Wellington Tourism last year to showcase the city’s food and beverage sector and develop culinary tourism in the capital. The 2009 festival featured 42 restaurants and 30 events – far in excess of forecasts of 12 and three respectively.

Festival co-director Sarah Meikle says this year’s applications will be considered against Wellington On a Plate’s vision to celebrate regional cuisine and put something special on the table.

“The quality of events that have been submitted is incredible. We don’t expect to have to turn many away – but it’s important we serve up a festival that showcases new and special experiences.”

Participating restaurants reported between 20-60% increases in lunchtime covers during DINE Wellington when compared with the same period in 2008, and a number of the festival’s 30 events sold out within days of the programme being released.

Applications are now being processed, with businesses due to be informed late next week if they will be on the menu. The Wellington On a Plate 2010 programme will be launched at the start of July. Keep an eye on for details or sign up to be in the KNOW at

Bookmark and Share

Mother's Day lunch at Q restaurant

A day of her life. A gesture of thanks.
Treat your mother to an indulgent feast at waterfront Q restaurant (Westin Lighter Quay) & let the day reflect your true feelings.
Enjoy a 2 course menu for just $45* or 3 courses for just $55.
Spoil your mum. Call 09 909 9038.

Bookmark and Share

Winter Festival tickets now on sale – hot festival, cool prices!

The countdown is on and tickets to all American Express Queenstown Winter Festival events are now officially on sale.

The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party is set to celebrate 36 years of winter fun from 25 June to 4 July with 10 days of totally outrageous and uniquely Queenstown events.

Out of the 60 scheduled events, 14 are ticketed and Festival Director Simon Green urges people to get in quick to avoid disappointment.

“Tickets to the ‘big four’ events - the Masquerade Ball, Jazz Night, Thriller in the Chiller and the Comedy Gala – have already been on sale for a month and the Ball and Gala are selling fast,” he says.

Favourites among the ticketed festival events are expected to be:

• High speed ice hockey action at the Queenstown Fun Centre as the Southern Stampede take on the Canterbury Red Devils on Saturday evening (26 June) and Sunday afternoon (27 June) and go up against the West Auckland Admirals on Saturday 3 July. Always a family favourite with plenty of thrills and spills. Seated: Adults $20 / child $15, Standing: Adult $15 / Child $10

• Festival hits a high note with the American Express Brunch at The Hills on Sunday 27 June. Enjoy a delicious brunch at The Hills Clubhouse to the sweet sounds of 2009 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Josef Spacek. Tickets are $69*.

• Another musical highlight will be the Michael Hill International Violin Competition Recital on Sunday 27 June at Memorial Hall. The audience will be treated to a stunning musical performance by violin superstar and 2009 winner of the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition, 23-year old Czech Josef Spacek, who is joined by legendary New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun. Tickets start at $10*.

• Millbrook and Brown is back by popular demand for the third year. Chef extraordinaire Al Brown is bringing his skills, experience and dry wit to this live demonstration on Monday 28 June in the beautiful surroundings of Millbrook Resort. Expect top kitchen secrets, delicious aromas, a four-course menu to taste, superbly matched with Gibbston Valley wines and an afternoon of pure enjoyment showcasing some of the finest local produce. Tickets are $129*.

• Grab a bunch of girlfriends for the Lindauer Ladies Fashion Afternoon on Monday 28 June at the American Express Ice Box and celebrate with 12 Queenstown women who have taken part in the 12 week Fitness and Fashion Challenge. There will be complimentary bubbles, fashion and gorgeous goodie bags. Tickets are $39*.

• The Russian Standard Big Chill is going to be a hot hot hot! Held in the American Express Ice Box on Friday 2 July, the party fuses the panache of Russian Standard cocktails with the beat of New Zealand’s best MCs. There’ll be cocktails on arrival followed by The Peacekeepers vs Sunshine Sound System featuring MC P Digsss (shapeshifter) DJ Sambora (shapeshifter) and Downtown Brown. There’s also an After Party at Subculture hosted by P Digsss. Tickets are $39*.

For more winter fun check out the complete festival event calendar online at

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New plume of volcanic ash shuts airports

Just as that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano finally faded from the headlines – a new plume of volcanic ash is heading towards Europe.

Ireland and Scotland seem to be most affected this time from ash produced by the continuing Eyjafjallajoekull volcanic eruption. Ireland’s Aviation Authority (IAA) announced that Irish airports will close again from Tuesday at 0600 (GMT/UTC – or 1600 AEST) as the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland moves back over the country. Ryanair said flights between north-west England and Dublin, Cork and Galway have also been cancelled.

The IAA based its decision to close its airspace on information from the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre (VAAC).

The no-fly zone will affect Dublin, Shannon Galway, Sligo, Ireland West (Knock), Donegal, Cork and Kerry. Flights from northwest England to Ireland have also been cancelled, the BBC reported, with 16 services from Manchester and Liverpool airport affected.

At the onset of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcanic eruption, the airspace closure and its flow-on effects were costing airlines over USD200 million a day.

Volcanic eruptions are capable of lasting far longer than headlines. The previous time Eyjafjallajokull erupted, it continued to spew ash into the atmosphere for over a year, from December 1821 to January 1823.

Scientists believe it is quite capable of repeating the performance this time. London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted Sigrun Hreinsdottir, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, as saying: “From what we’ve seen, it could erupt, pause for a few weeks, and then possibly erupt again. It could go on for months.”

Iceland’s president, Olafur Grimsson, has warned that Iceland’s “Angry Sister”, the much bigger volcano Katla, not far from Eyjafjallajokull, is also set to erupt – but scientists monitoring Katla do not believe that an eruption is imminent.

The three times in recorded history when Eyjafjallajokull has erupted, Katla has followed suit. In Icelandic folklore, Katla is one of the “Angry Sisters” along with its even-more active twin, Hekla. Katla has erupted 16 times since 930AD. Eyjafjallajokull doesn’t get much mention in Icelandic folklore, probably because it’s not considered big enough.

Icelanders, along with airlines around the planet, are hoping that Eyjafjallajokull goes back to sleep – and that mention of Katla fades back into the history books.

Written by: Peter Needham
Bookmark and Share

Air NZ Top...

The March 2010 Roy Morgan International Airline Satisfaction Survey shows Air New Zealand at the top of the pile for satisfaction among Australian air travellers, with 89.9 percent of Aussies who took a flight with our national carrier in the last 12 months being ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied, compared with 88.4 percent for Singapore Airlines and 87.9 percent for Emirates. By contrast, only 80.1 percent of Qantas customers on international flights were satisfied, placing it seventh on the list.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fly Lufthansa business class to Europe return from $6399.00

Departing from:Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth
Via:12 possible gateways
Return Business Airfares from: AU$ 6399*
To: More than 100 destinations in Europe

This offer is available for departures from 15 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 and for sale through or your travel agent.

* The fare example includes all taxes and surcharges and is based on routing Perth-Singapore-Munich-Singapore-Perth. Fare is subject to exchange rate fluctuations and availability. This great offer is available for sale through or your travel agent. Valid for travel period: 15 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

Bookmark and Share

Night Skiing at Coronet Peak

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, NZSki has created packages at both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables that are perfect for any group or conference outing.

Night Skiing at Coronet Peak is an amazing experience and is now even more attractive to groups with a package that includes a sumptuous BBQ dinner and Night Skiing. Groups from as few as 10 people to as many as, well as many as you like really…..can take advantage of the awesome facilities at the base building and the regular live music for an outstanding alpine social function.

For the young and the young at heart, particularly those who are less inclined to ski or board, why not head to the hills and try Tubing in the spectacular Remarkables Mountain Range? Nestled in the sunny bowls of The Remarkables ski area, the dedicated tubing park offers something for everybody. Your delegates can really let their hair down for a morning, followed by a BBQ lunch for as little as $60 per person.

Nicola Grigg, Conference & Incentive Manager at NZSki says the mountains are in close proximity to Queenstown and it’s easy for people to step out of the office or conference room and head into the mountains for a fantastic team building or social experience.

“It’s not just about skiing and snow boarding, there is so much more that NZSki can contribute to a group outing or conference.

“We really want people to know that our ski fields are accessible to everyone and that it’s easy and affordable to organise an amazing alpine function.

”We can organise transport and really make it stress free for any organiser no matter how large or small your group may be.”

Bookmark and Share