Friday, June 25, 2010

Travel Bug Bites New Zealanders

MasterCard Survey
New Zealanders’ keep overseas travel on their radar as confidence remains strong

New Zealanders’ are looking to pack their bags and head abroad for a holiday at some point in the next six months, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities.

Around 40% of New Zealand respondents are looking to spend on overseas travel in the next six months, up from 35% in the previous six months, and the third highest in the Asia/Pacific region behind Hong Kong (56%) and Singapore (48%).

Stuart McKinlay, country manager New Zealand, MasterCard Worldwide says “Personal overseas travel is an integral part of life for many New Zealanders and this is backed up by the survey’s findings.

“Travel is seen to be the strongest incentive to save (45%) and the third most popular purchasing priority for New Zealanders (40%) in the coming six months – both significantly higher than the Asia/Pacific average.”

The latest survey was conducted from 15 March to 12 April 2010 and involved 10,503 consumers from 24 markets[1]. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

Australia still ranks as the number one travel destination among 65% of respondents, though down from 73% in the previous survey. The United Kingdom is second with 23% of respondents (up from 18%) and United States of America in third with 17% (up from 12%).

As the recently released MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence findings indicate, New Zealanders’ are approaching the next six months with a positive frame of mind.

“New Zealanders have confidence in their employment and their regular income in the coming six months and this faith in the strengthening economy appears to be giving rise to more respondents looking to increase their discretionary spending, with travel proving popular,” says Mr. McKinlay.

In terms of domestic tourism, Kiwis can expect to see more visitors from Australia in the coming six months with the top three travel destinations amongst Australians’ including the United States (25%), New Zealand (21%) and Hong Kong (19%).

Key findings from the survey include:
- Many in Hong Kong (50% of consumers surveyed), New Zealand (45%) and the Philippines (43%) are saving to take a holiday abroad.
- Among the Asia/Pacific markets, Hong Kong (56%), Singapore (48%) and New Zealand (40%) boast the highest number of respondents looking to spend on travelling abroad in the next six months.
- Top five destinations for Asia/Pacific travellers: Japan (as indicated by 24% of respondents who plan to spend on travel in the next six months), Australia (20%), China (20%), Hong Kong (17%) and the United States (17%).
- International personal air travel is deemed as very important or important to 58% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific who plan to spend on travel in the next six months.
Twitter: @mastercardnews.

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Soak in the Spectacular Sights of South East Asia with Adventure World

South East Asia is undeniably one of the most spectacular and exotic destinations on the planet. Steeped in culture, rich in history and with an abundance of diverse natural beauty on offer, it’s easy to see why the region currently ranks as one of the most popular and exciting places in the world to visit.

For Kiwis ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through South East Asia, Adventure World has just released their top selling South East Asia holiday packages. Coinciding with a number of airlines currently offering incredible airfares to the region, there’s never been a better time to book the trip of a lifetime to these magnificent lands.

* Angkor Express *
3 Days / 2 Nights, from $302pp*
Departing from Siem Reap - the home of the magnificent awe-inspiring temples of Angkor – this three-day, two-night tour promises to provide travellers with a unique taste of Angkor’s incredibly rich archaeological history. Visit the mesmerising Angkor Temples including the most famous and remarkable of them all - Angkor Wat; take a trip to the untouched realm of Ta Prohm – the kingdom of the trees; delight at the 200 smiling faces on Anchor Thom’s Bayon Temple; and observe traditional lake living on the Tonle Sap.Offering the most convenient way to visit the splendid ruins of the lost cities of Angkor, this tour takes in all the major highlights.
* Terms & Conditions: Prices are in New Zealand Dollars, per person/share twin, valid for travel in 2010. International airfares are not included.

* Classic Cambodia *
4 Days / 3 Nights, from $726pp twin share*
Explore the breathtaking temples of Angkor, and soak up the colonial charm of Cambodia’s French-built capital, Phnom Penh, on this comprehensive four-day group tour. Departing from Phnom Penh, this is the perfect tour for those who want to get a taste of the marvels of this ancient land.
* Terms & Conditions: Prices are in New Zealand Dollars, per person/share twin, valid for travel in 2010. Peak season supplements may apply over Christmas, New Year and Festival periods. International airfares are not included.

* Highlights of Vietnam *
8 Days / 7 Nights, from $1232pp twin share*
Friendly locals and a wealth of different sights and experiences await on this Highlights of Vietnam tour. Soak up the imperial charm of Hue; wander the quaint, tidy streets of the World Heritage town of Hoi An; and journey through 36 bustling streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter aboard a cyclo. From the colonial buildings of downtown Saigon, to life in the lush Mekong Delta, this 8-day coach tour departs from Ho Chi Minh City, and offers travellers a perfect sample of this rapidly changing country.
* Terms & Conditions: Prices are in New Zealand Dollars, per person/share twin, valid for travel in 2010. Peak season supplements may apply over Christmas, New Year and Festival periods. International airfares are not included.

* Vietnam & Cambodia Discovery *
13 Days / 12 Nights, from $2590pp twin share*
Sail the shimmering emerald waters of Halong Bay aboard a traditional junk; uncover the grandeur of the old imperial capital of Hue; learn about Vietnam’s battle history at the Cu Chi tunnels, and visit the awe-inspiring Angkor Temples – one of the ancient wonders of the world - on this comprehensive 13-day, 12-night adventure of Vietnam and Cambodia. This private coach tour provides travellers with a fantastic introduction to a region that is a varied in culture, landscape and historic sights.
* Terms & Conditions: Prices are in New Zealand Dollars, per person/share twin, valid for travel in 2010. Peak season supplements may apply over Christmas, New Year and Festival periods. International airfares are not included.

For more information or to book any of the above packages, please contact Adventure World on 0800 899 111 or visit for more exciting Adventure World offers.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Escape the winter blues

Fly Garuda Indonesia to Dubai starting from $1,276* return including taxes

Garuda Indonesia is now flying to Dubai and to celebrate the new daily service the airline is offering competitively priced specials.

“Flying with Garuda Indonesia, customers will experience the quality expected from an international four star carrier with state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems, an in-flight menu designed by the award winning chef William Wongso and a showcasing of warm Indonesian hospitality reflected in the service, on-board decor and staff uniforms.”

Effective immediately, the sale fare offer includes:
Return Economy Class
Ex Sydney to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $1,419* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Melbourne to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $1,400* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Perth to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $1,276* per person inclusive of all taxes

Return Executive Class
Ex Sydney to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $ 4,861* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Melbourne to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $4,842* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Perth to Dubai via Denpasar or Jakarta for $ 4,547* per person inclusive of all taxes

Making international travel even more convenient, unlimited free stopovers are permitted each direction in Denpasar and Jakarta; subject to flight routing.

Garuda Indonesia on 1300 365 331

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The 2010 Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (MMSC 2010) will be celebrated throughout Malaysia from 24 July until 16 September 2010.

Enjoy great bargains on various merchandise from home-grown products, exclusive designer goods, exotic local handicrafts, funky fashion-wear, the latest gadgets and tempting dining experiences to fabulous holiday packages. Making your shopping experience even more worthwhile is the fact that many of the retail goods are tax exempted or duty free.

The sale carnival focuses on fashion this time around with lots of fun, fashion–related events including fashion showcases and colourful pocket shows that are scheduled to take place around Klang Valley. Look out too for entertaining affairs in the shopping hub of Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur!

The thrill of the carnival is expected to continue through numerous other mall events designed to entertain and enliven the shopping spirit. In addition, the Best Window Display Contest awards will once again be given out to malls and retailers who best dress up their premises to match the selected theme.

The fun spills over from the big shopping centres onto the roads where street markets and bazaars are popular. In Kuala Lumpur, make a trip to Petaling Street or the local China Town, Little India at Brickfields, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Masjid India. On top of picking up some superb buys, you will also experience Malaysian street shopping at its best!

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Fancy escaping the winter for a decadent break in one of the world’s most vibrant cities?

Take advantage of The Peninsula Hong Kong’s Suite Life package, available until 30 September 2010, where guests booking one of the hotel’s sumptuous suites can enjoy a complimentary second night’s stay. Rates start from HK$5,900* per night for a Superior Harbour View Suite.

As well as experiencing the hotel’s legendary service and facilities, guests staying in suites at The Peninsula can explore Hong Kong in one of two MINI Cooper S Clubman vehicles, on hand as a complimentary amenity to take suite guests on fun shopping or sightseeing trips.

The MINIs have been customised for the hotel, with a tailor-made rooftop box to accommodate the rewards of a Hong Kong shopping spree, a mini-fridge, and an iPhone. The vehicles are in the signature Peninsula Green which also adorns the hotel’s fourteen Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantoms and 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II.

*Rate is subject to a 10 per cent service charge.


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It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights…

…it’s time to get things started for the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival tomorrow night (Friday 25 June).

Revellers keen to start early can get into the Festival spirit by helping “light the lights” at the new ‘Parade of Lights’ at 6pm tonight. After congregating at the top of the Mall, Mayor Clive Geddes will flick the switch and the crowd will walk down to Earnslaw Park with thousands of lights illuminating as they go. The parade finishes in Earnslaw Park where the crowd will get their first chance to see the new floating stage fully lit up for the first time.

Then at 6pm tomorrow night (25 June) the 36th annual Winter Festival gets underway in style at the free American Express Opening Party. Thousands of locals and visitors will come together on the shores of Lake Wakatipu to kick off 10 days of winter fun with a spectacular fireworks display, live music, mulled wine, and plenty of laughs.

Wakatipu High School’s ‘Rock Formation’ will get the party started with a sizzling performance, followed by the much anticipated Pipeworkz, a Celtic, Maori and Pacific Island blend of musicians based in Invercargill who perform everything from Braveheart to Split Enz.

At 7pm, Prime Minister Hon Mr. John Key will officially declare the festival open and the skies will light up with a stunning fireworks display timed to an outer space theme which Festival Director Simon Green promises will be “a real crowd pleaser”.

The official opening party wraps up with local favourites The Lynch Mob performing the best of Pink Floyd until 8.30pm.

Those in the mood for glitz, glamour and plenty of dancing can get glammed up, don a mask and celebrate winter Queenstown-style at the Moulin Rouge-themed Lindauer Masquerade Ball on Saturday 26 June.

The new Mountain Scene Thriller in the Chiller on Sunday 27 June at Queenstown Events Centre looks set to be a knockout with Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the world’s best boxers of all time, making a special appearance.

There are plenty of free events downtown during the first weekend of the festival including the colourful Oaks Hotels & Resorts Festival Parade and Family Fun Day (Saturday 26 June) and the crazy MoreFm Day on the Bay featuring the infamous MoreFm Birdman, Jetsprints, Splash for Dash and H&J’s Undy 500 (Sunday 27 June).

A four-night comedy extravaganza kicks off on Monday 28 June at the Memorial Hall with local and national comedians coming together for the new Canadian Club Comedy Gala, a hilarious standup show and live stage performance of the cult TV3 show “7 Days”. The laughs continue on Tuesday and Wednesday (29 and 30 June) with Canadian Club Late Night Laughs at the new American Express Ice Box, a silked and chandeliered downtown temporary venue.

Downtown Queenstown will be buzzing on Tuesday 30 June as thousands of people take to the streets for the Air New Zealand Holidays Mardi Gras. There’ll be food stalls, mulled wine, and a fantastic live music lineup from 5.30pm featuring The Cartel, the Ukulele Orchestra, London-based I Am Giant, and Kiwi rock legends Dragon who take the stage at 8.30pm.

Queenstown locals will be out in force to cheer on their favourite ‘Queen’ on Wednesday 30 June. The fiercely competitive and totally hilarious Q92 MoreFM Drag Race is an invitation-only high speed steeplechase race around Earnslaw Park where normally reserved local gentlemen let their hair down and flaunt their feminine side. The drag race starts at 2.00pm and is followed by the Dodgeball championship finals at 5pm.

Later that evening one of the world’s most sought after tenors, internationally acclaimed ‘singing policeman’ Daniel Rodriguez, will wow crowds at the American Express Ice Box. The US star will perform alongside expat Kiwi songbirds Marla & Marissa in a one-night only performance of pop, musical theatre and light opera titled ‘Pop to Pagliacci’.

Expect big thrills and skills at the Air New Zealand Holidays Invitational Rail Jam which brings the best of freestyle skiing and snowboarding to downtown Queenstown on Friday night (2 July). A star-studded lineup of 35 Kiwi skiers and snowboarders, including Nick Hyne and Jossi and Byron Wells, will pull out their best tricks for this spectacular showdown at Earnslaw Park.

There are plenty of magical events for the little ones like the Cookie Time Teddy Bears’ Picnic on Sunday 4 July which features an afternoon of stories, fun and a special visit from Cookie Muncher, and the MoreFM Wild about Water Pool Party on Friday 2 July. Both will be held at the Queenstown Events Centre.

Festival hits a high note on Saturday 3 July as Sola Rosa, Eru Dangerspiel, LA Mitchell, Coast and Vanessa Kelly take to the stage for the hugely popular Lindauer Jazz Night, held in the spectacular setting of the Skyline’s mountain-top complex.

There’s plenty of on-mountain action throughout the week at Coronet Peak with the Tararua Skin to the Summit, the Speights Dog Derby, Budget Rent-A-Car Mountain Bikes on Snow, and the grabaseat Mountain Mayhem Day. The fun and games wrap up at the Jim Beam Closing Party celebrations on Sunday 4 July with Night Skiing kicking off at 4pm and Kiwi band dDub slope-side at 5pm.

The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival runs from 25 June to 4 July 2010. For more information or for a programme please phone 0800 FESTIVAL (03 441 2453) or visit the Festival website

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Choose Your Ultimate Kiwi Collection Hotel and Win a Stay Worth USD $10,000!

Imagine if you were given the opportunity to pick any of the world's top hotels and resorts to stay in for one week. Would you choose a cool city hotel, a remote island hideaway or a romantic retreat?

Kiwi Collection has announced the ultimate hotel sweepstakes to celebratet he launch of its new website. As the premier curator of the world's most exceptional hotels, Kiwi Collection wants people to care where they stay.Participants will be tempted each week to win a luxury hotel getaway – each valued at USD $10,000.

Dates and themes are as follows:
June 21 - June 27: Beach Holiday
June 28 - July 4: Romantic Retreat
July 5 - July 11: Culinary Getaway
July 12 - July 18: Cosmopolitan Adventure
July 19 - July 25: Spa Escape
July 26 - Aug 1: Island Hideaway

The competition is simple - visitors to the site need to find their favorite hotel and explain why they love it. The most creative answer will be chosen and announced at the end of each week. Those participants who share the contest with friends and family will greatly increase their odds of winning their ultimate hotel escape by gaining additional voting ballots.

The direct link for the sweepstakes can be found at

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Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum Opens in Long Beach

The breathtaking art of the South Pacific is as close as Long Beach, at the new Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PieAM), which opened June 12 in Long Beach, near the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA). Like entering an island village, the museum features a traditionally peaked building and lush sculpture garden with native South Pacific plants. A mural (by Long Beach native Art Mortimer) recreates a traditional Men's House from the Island of Yap on the building's exterior; while inside sculptures, textiles, paintings, wooden tools, jewelry and carvings from across the Pacific showcase the arts of the Marshall, Samoa, Guam, Fiji and Tongan islands. Nationalities represented include Micronesian, Hawaiian, Ni-Vanuatu, Maori, Polynesian, Melanesian, Palauan, and the I-Kiribati. Permanent and rotating exhibits as well as continually commissioned new works will be enhanced with traditional dance performances, interactive cultural demonstrations and learning programs. PieAM was created by the late Dr. Robert Gumbiner, who died in January 2009, and includes his personal collection of Pacific Island ethnic art. PieAM also is available for small-sized meetings and banquets.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Snow blankets Queenstown

Visitors and locals in Queenstown were delighted to wake up to the resort blanketed in a fresh layer of snow this morning - the result of a Southerly blast whipping its way up the South Island.

Hardy skiers and snowboarders were quickly fitting chains to get to the slopes as the weather cleared and sun peeked through revealing 15 centimetres of fresh powder at each Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

VIP Dinner with Sugar Ray Leonard

Enjoy an intimate charity dinner, with only 50 VIP guests, who’ll experience a live keynote speech and rub shoulders with Sugar Ray Leonard, at a charming country estate.

One of the world’s most charismatic and uplifting public speakers, Sugar Ray Leonard is an Olympic Gold Medal winner and five time boxing world champion.

Your priceless Sugar Ray Leonard experience includes:

- You will be seated at one of only 4 tables amongst 50 special guests
- Sugar Ray Leonard will spend approximately 1 hour seated at your table
- You will enjoy a 4 course gourmet dinner at the 5 Star Brooklands Country Estate
- Sugar Ray Leonard will entertain and inspire you with his keynote remarks
- You can put your own questions to Sugar Ray Leonard at an intimate Q&A session
- Fine wines and beers will be included for the duration of the evening
- Guests will meet at 6pm to unwind over pre-dinner cocktails

The net proceeds of this special evening will benefit Leah Crawford’s “Fighting for Our Youth” initiative, sponsored by Gallagher Group, which aims to establish Kelly Sports after school programmes in the north Waikato region.

Event: VIP Dinner with Sugar Ray Leonard
When: Monday 28 June 2010
Where: Brooklands Country Estate, Waingaro Rd, Ngaruawahia, Waikato.
Pricing: $1,000 ($888.89+GST) per seat
Organiser: Leah Crawford, Ph: 07 824 5047, email:

Please act quickly if you wish to secure one of only 15 remaining seats which are priced at $1,000 each ($888.89+GST).

Bookings must be directed to Leah Crawford at: 07 824 5047 or

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An exciting season is ahead for Cardrona Alpine Resort as the ski area gears up for opening day on Friday (June 25). Cardrona, near Queenstown, New Zealand, has put the finishing touches on phase 1 of its Valley View expansion.

A busy summer for the ski area has seen the Valley View Quad installed on the lower part of the mountain as well as a 40-metre tunnel for skiers and riders that will provide a unique access route across the ski area.

Cardrona Sales and Marketing Manager Nadia Ellis says the addition of the Valley View Quad means Cardrona now has the largest number of chairlifts in the South Island.

“At this stage we are relying on mother nature to provide enough snow to open the new lift as snowmaking won’t be installed until next year,” she says.

“Because Valley View is located at lower elevations we can’t be exactly sure when skiers and riders will get to enjoy this new facility for the first time. However, it’s fantastic to see this first phase complete as part of our ongoing plans to create more terrain for skiers and riders.”

Cardrona decided to run the lift in 2010, subject to snow/weather, to better evaluate snowfall and terrain aspects before installing an extensive snowmaking system in 2011. The Valley View Chairlift will be officially opened next season.

Opening day is shaping up to be a cracker with fantastic early snowfall and cold temperatures giving the mountain an upper base of 55cm.

Cardrona will open on Friday (June 25) with first lift at 9.00am.

For further information, snow reports and web cams, visit

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