New Zealand Travel Blog

A blog of New Zealand Experiences, News and Inspiration.

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 19, 2017

    'The Americans Are Coming' says NBC.

    Here at New Zealand Vacations we promote and sell tours of New Zealand - mainly self drive. We usually stay away from politics and controversy. But we've decided that this video clip from the NBC Megyan Kelly program 'Sunday Night' should be seen - it's not political or controversial. It reports about a new phenomena being experienced in New Zealand - people from the US moving there to live. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 13, 2017

    New Zealand and The America's Cup

    By beating Swedish America's Cup entrant 'Artemis' 2 days ago in the final qualifying yacht race, New Zealand has again earned the right to challenge US holder 'Oracle' for 'The Auld Mug' the world's oldest sporting trophy. The final starts in Bermuda on Saturday and ends June 27. It's a first to seven series and will no doubt include intrigue, twists, politics and a great deal of mind games! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 11, 2017

    Tom Cruise on Mission Impossible in New Zealand

    If you'd like a self drive tour into one of the most remote parts of New Zealand, over the next few weeks you might consider Duffers Saddle in the South Island. You'll have company though! Tom Cruise. He's there making his sixth 'Mission: Impossible' movie. But the drive in won't be easy - it's winter, so the gravel road is often closed and it's cold; very cold, but breathtakingly beautiful. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 06, 2017

    Self Drive Tour Warning

    We encourage visitors to include Dunedin on their New Zealand self drive tour because of the extensive marine wildlife that lives on the nearby Otago Peninsula. Yellow-Eyed Penguins, seals, albatross, dolphins and sea lions are just some of the wildlife to be found here. But today, there are signs that all is not well in Dunedin and we'll share a newspaper report that explains the reason. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 05, 2017

    Food & Wine in New Zealand

    New Zealand is home to some of the best vineyards in the world. Wine producers in the Hawkes Bay, Central Otago and Marlborough regions are globally recognized for their excellence and originality, especially Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah. Equally, New Zealand is increasingly becoming well known for it's organic produce, cheese, fresh seafood and boutique craft beer. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 25, 2017

    Travel New Zealand & The Internet

    We are often asked about access to the internet while on a New Zealand self drive tour. The latest government figures, released in March 2017, show that more than one third of New Zealand is now connected to the internet using Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB). UFB is capable of peak speeds of more than 1000 megabits per second, much faster than the speeds available to most consumers in North America. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 17, 2017

    New Zealand Tour Experience

    This is a favorite 'off the beaten track' travel experience that we often recommend to our customers on a New Zealand self drive tour. It's called Erewhon Sheep Station, located in the South Island. Most of the farm work at Erewhon is undertaken by teams of magnificent working Clydesdale horses. It was also the majestic backdrop to the Peter Jackson 'Lord of The Rings' movie 'The Two Towers'. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 10, 2017

    New Zealand Travel Fair

    This week we are down in New Zealand as guests of Tourism New Zealand to attend their biggest annual tourism fair called TRENZ. It's an opportunity for New Zealand to refresh and update overseas travel agents about the existing and new vacation attractions that visitors can enjoy. We'll share some of the highlights with you by showing some of New Zealand great images that NZ operators showed us. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Apr 14, 2017

    Living and Working in New Zealand

    This post, titled "Living & Working in New Zealand" is an update on a story we first ran in January. It's about the growing interest in New Zealand as a tech center and place to live. We have added a link to a 'NY Times' article, published today, as a follow-up to the original story about employers in the capital city of Wellington flying applicants to NZ for job interviews, all free of charge! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Apr 10, 2017

    New Zealand Sightseeing Flight

    Sightseeing highlights of New Zealand include the incredible light displays created by the Southern Lights (the Aurora Australis) the southern hemisphere version of the better known Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Our video was taken from a charter flight that gave passengers an up-close look at the Aurora when they flew to the Antarctic Circle, to the south of NZ, for 'out of this world' views. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Mar 27, 2017

    New Zealand Trip Feedback

    Nothing makes us happier than a satisfied customer! Gary and his wife enjoyed a 20 day New Zealand self drive tour in March 2017. They started with a blank canvas about the itinerary they wanted to follow and we enjoyed working with them to create a vacation that allowed them to explore the best of the North & South Islands including their favorite Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movie locations. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Mar 19, 2017

    Accommodation New Zealand, A Hidden Gem.

    When suggesting accommodation possibilities for our self drive customers touring New Zealand, we like to surprise with the suggestion of a favorite hidden-gem. In this blog we feature an example of a charming B&B, located at Hokitika on the stunning South Island West Coast. It's called Awatuna Homestead and it's special holiday place because it brings together a unique combination of attractions. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Mar 19, 2017

    Cruise the Best of New Zealand

    One of the best full-day cruise experiences in New Zealand is the Abel Tasman National Park experience operated by Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures. In one day you'll experience the wildlife, golden sand beaches, lagoons and forests of this, the most popular and most beautiful National Park in the country. Your passionate and experienced crew bring the region to life to make the experience complete. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 19, 2017

    Weather in New Zealand

    New Zealand weather produces some interesting and sometimes beautiful cloud formations and we've found some images of these to share with you. For example, people living in the North Island town of Palmerston North saw this strange cloud formation when they looked out of their windows today. For those who are interested, we also have scientific explanations that explains how they are formed. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 16, 2017

    Movie Stars Travel to New Zealand

    In recent years, New Zealand has become a hot spot for movie-makers who make the trip to take advantage of the amazing scenery that they can use as backdrops. Filming is about to start on the latest of these, the new Disney film 'A Wrinkle in Time'. The movie's star Reese Witherspoon arrived last week for a pre-filming holiday, with Mindy Kaling & Oprah Winfrey. And they're having a ball !!! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 13, 2017

    New Zealand Art & Culture

    Visitors to Auckland between March 18 and July 16 have a special treat in store. The world renowned UK Tate Gallery has provided the exhibits for the Auckland Art Gallery’s 'The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate'. It include over 100 masterpieces by renowned artists, including Turner, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Bourgeois and many others. Many of these have never seen outside of Europe. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 09, 2017

    New Zealand Wildlife Tragedy - 417 Whales Stranded

    Last night, 417 pilot whales were stranded at the remote Farewell Spit (top of the South Island). Hundreds of volunteers are rushing there, trying to arrive in time for the 10:30 morning high tide when re-floating of the 140 survivors will be attempted. This is the second heart-breaking whale stranding in recent years at the Spit; in 2015, 200 whales were stranded in the same region. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 09, 2017

    Driving in New Zealand

    Driving times between places in New Zealand is one of the most misunderstood issues for overseas visitors. So we are taking this opportunity to repeat some of the advice from our FAQ section on this subject. This is not only about adapting to the challenges of driving on the left, but also about understanding that driving between places will take much longer than the same distance back home. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 31, 2017

    New Zealand Trip, An Adventure to Roy's Peak, Wanaka

    This is a story by a young American backpacker and her experience of walking to the summit of Roy's Peak near Wanaka. It's by Hannah Cornish writing for 'The Tribune' in Greeley, Colorado in January 2017. Her enthusiasm and the joys she experienced on her travels make enjoyable reading. Now back home, she writes "I miss the un-corrupted innocence of a place with so much untouched beauty" [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 25, 2017

    New Zealand Music Tours

    At some stage of their self drive tour of New Zealand, many visitors will have the opportunity to experience musical performances by the indigenous Māori​​ people. To give you a taste of what you might experience, we've selected two songs in the Māori​ language that have become favorites of visitors and locals alike. Both feature the beautiful voice of our great opera singer, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 23, 2017

    Flying in Australia

    Imagine looking out of your aircraft window at 30,000 ft, and seeing this! Two weeks ago, Ilya Katsman was flying from Perth to Adelaide in Australia, when he noticed a spectacular cloud formation, made up of rows and rows of perfectly aligned clouds."It was very strange to see, roughly about 20 lines, and it took about 10 minutes to fly over," Katsman told CNN. We explain how these clouds occur. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 22, 2017

    Working in New Zealand

    Have you ever thought about finding employment and living in New Zealand? If so, you'll be interested in this headline we saw today on the SFGate website, the sister website of the San Francisco Chronicle - "NEW ZEALAND AIMING TO RECRUIT 100 'BEST-TECH TALENTS' TO MOVE TO WELLINGTON" The offer even includes the opportunity to be flown to Wellington to attend a job interview at no charge. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 13, 2017

    New Zealand and The Environment

    Last July, the government announced an ambitious program to eliminate all invasive vertebrate predators — rats, brush tail possums, stoats and more from New Zealand, by the year 2050. Excerpts from an article, printed by the 'Scientific American' provide a fascinating analysis of how these predators became such a threat to the native wildlife and the plans New Zealand has to eradicate them. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 10, 2017

    New Zealand Wildlife - Orca Killer Whales at Akaroa

    A group of Orca (Killer Whales) were spotted by a lucky boat-load of passengers on a cruise in Akaroa Harbor yesterday. A Black Cat Cruises photographer described the encounter as "the best Orca sighting we've ever had" with the inquisitive whales swimming around their boat for 20 minutes. Many of our self drive itineraries include a visit to Akaroa and a 'swim with the dolphins' cruise option. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 07, 2017

    Accommodation Gem - Te Mahia Bay Resort

    Te Mahia Bay Resort is a small oasis, tucked away in the trees, right on the beach in the Kenepuru Sounds that we came across on our afternoon walk today. In addition to their standard rooms, owners Trevor Hook and his wife Jann have recently added two self-contained units on their property and in general, from what we saw, there was a lot to like about this resort. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 06, 2017

    A Holiday in The Marlborough Sounds

    The Interislander Ferry connects New Zealand's North & South Islands, carrying both passengers and vehicles. The journey across Cook Strait takes just over three and a half hours, most of it in the sheltered and beautiful waters of The Marlborough Sounds. We boarded at Wellington on a busy mid-summers morning and after grabbing a coffee in the ship's cafe, we settled down to enjoy the voyage. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 04, 2017

    Filming Lord of The Rings, The Pinnacles & Seal Colony

    Today we visited the place where the "Paths of The Dead" sequence in "The Lord of The Rings; The Return of The King" was filmed. The Putangirua Pinnacles are located right at the bottom of the North Island, a remote & quiet part of New Zealand that's not yet on the radar for international visitors. The scenery we enjoyed as well as The Pinnacles themselves, led us to agree that this will not last. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 30, 2016

    Hidden Gem - Akaroa

    The 50 mile drive from Christchurch to the old French settlement at Akaroa on Banks Peninsula presents some excellent photo opportunities. We are in Christchurch to celebrate the start of 2017 with our friends Stuart & Philippa, and a beautiful summers day encourages us to make a day-trip to the peninsula. We also delved into the fascinating history of Akaroa, some of which we found quite amusing! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 28, 2016

    Cruise Milford Sound

    On December 31 the mega cruise ship "Ovation of The Seas" made a visit to Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, one of the three UNESCO protected World Heritage Sites in New Zealand. The local population turned out in force to take a look, all 103 of them. That's not a typo, around 103 people permanently live in the Fiordland National Park, a rain-forested region of 4,600 square miles! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 27, 2016

    New Zealand Wildlife - The Miranda Shorebird Centre

    The Miranda Shorebird Centre is located alongside the waters of the Firth of Thames, just over an hour south of Auckland. On our visit we were captivated by the story of one bird in particular, the story of the Bar-tailed Godwit. Thousands of these beautiful birds arrive in New Zealand at the same time each year and the journey they undertake to get to New Zealand is nothing short of incredible. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 26, 2016

    New Zealand Trails - The Karangahake Gorge

    The Karangahake Gorge is located 2 hours south of Auckland, just beyond the small town of Paeora. Another hour away to the south, is another favorite New Zealand vacation destination, the village of Hobbiton. We stopped for an hour and selected one of the several trails that are available and totally enjoyed the experience. A nice break on the drive from Auckland to Hobbiton and then onto Rotorua. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 26, 2016

    Unique New Zealand Travel Experiences

    This was our second visit to 'The Tree Church" located at Ohaupo in the North Island's Waikato Region. 'The Tree Church' is located a little of the main road and set among attractive rolling farmlands. We'd visited the "Tree Church" once before but this time we discovered something new! The grounds were now being patrolled by a most unlikely looking security guard - we decided to find out more... [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 22, 2016

    Great Travel Experiences the North Island - 4

    This incredibly fascinating geothermal cauldron was the highlight of our North Island trip. It's just 25 minutes from Rotorua on the road to Lake Taupo, so if you're travelling from Rotorua to Napier on the East Coast or heading for the Tongariro Crossing, you can stop by for brief visit. And we suggest you do, to enjoy the geysers, the boiling mud, the springs and the sheer beauty of Waimangu. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 21, 2016

    Great Travel Experiences the North Island - 3

    Mt Taranaki is a magnet for photographers, with its almost perfect volcanic shape making it often compared to Mt Fuji in Japan. Which is probably why it was chosen as the location for the Tom Cruise movie 'Last of The Samuri' (2004). One of the best places to get photos of the mountain, standing against a backdrop of lake and forest is Lake Mungamahoe, just a small drive off the main road south. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 21, 2016

    Great Travel Experiences the North Island - 2

    Completed in 2014, this 10-mile walking and cycling walkway is one of the nicest coastal trails in New Zealand. After leaving the city beaches it follows the coastline for a while before veering inland, passing through bush-land and attractive rural landscapes. There are fantastic coastal and mountain views, including the perfectly shaped cone of Mt Taranaki clearly visible in the distance. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 21, 2016

    Great Travel Experiences the North Island - 1

    These are some highlights of a North Island visit we enjoyed in the first week of December 2016, starting with a visit to the charming city of New Plymouth. A special thrill was to discover the ultra-modern and spectacular glass faced Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre, located close to the heart of the city. Just one of many pleasant surprises we encountered on our New Plymouth visit. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 26, 2016

    Earthquake New Zealand - Kaikoura - Update

    Post-earthquake relief efforts are winding down in the South Island town of Kaikoura as the infrastructure rebuild gets underway. We are taking this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of the US Navy who played such an important role in bringing urgently needed help to the citizens of the town. A great example of having friends to call on when you need them. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 20, 2016

    Earthquake New Zealand - The Kaikoura Earthquake

    This is an update on the 7.5 earthquake that struck the top of New Zealand's South Island on November 14. The primary message to visitors is that New Zealand remains open for business with the main earthquake effects confined to the Kaikoura region. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 15, 2016

    Best Trave Experiences in the South Island - Day 6

    Today's plan is to get off the beaten track and travel north via the wonderful Catlins, visiting Curio Bay and two of New Zealand's finest waterfalls, The McLean Falls and The Purakanui Falls. After a late night of Kiwi spotting, is was quite a challenge to get back to the ferry terminal by 8:00 AM, returning us to Bluff, from where we would drive around the coast to our final stop at Dunedin. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 15, 2016

    Best Travel Experiences in the South Island - Day 5

    It's estimated that 68,000 Kiwi birds of all varieties are left in the whole of New Zealand, and of these 15,000 live on Stewart Island. Having spotted our Kiwi on Ulva Island, we wanted more, so we decided that we would still do the evening Kiwi-Spotting organized tour to the remote Patterson Inlet. This will be an adventure and also an opportunity to learn about this most secretive of birds. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 15, 2016

    Best Travel Experiences in the South Island - Day 4

    Stewart Island is one of the most beautiful, pristine, remote, peaceful and natural places in the world. The statistics speak for themselves; the total area of the island is 650 square miles. The total population is just 400 and most of them live in the main (and only) town of Oban. 80% of the island is indigenous forests, all of it protected as part of the Rakiura National Park. Adventures await! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 14, 2016

    Best Travel Experiences in the South Island - Day 3

    Today we continue south via the Southern Scenic Route, eventually arriving at New Zealand's 3rd largest island, Stewart Island. On the way we'll visit one of the new walking trails called Humpridge Track and then Riverton. As is often the case, after a night of reminiscing with old friends our departure was not quite as early as we have planned! There's lot's to look forward to today so off we go. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 14, 2016

    Best Travel Experiences in the South Island - Day 2

    This was an incredible day for us; everything we experienced was easily accessible and the mountain scenery was awe inspiring. Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is one of New Zealand's finest National Parks. About 40% consists of glaciers and there are 19 peaks more than 9000 ft high, including New Zealand's tallest Mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook. For us, without doubt the Hooker Trail was the highlight. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 09, 2016

    Best Travel Experiences in the South Island - Day 1

    Susan (my American wife) and I are visiting New Zealand and today we're are off on a short vacation around New Zealand's beautiful South Island. Today we'll visit the Rakaia Gorge, Mt John Observatory, Lake Pukaki, some Hobbit sites and Aoraki/Mt Cook. We're looking forward to sharing the highlights of the next few days with you including photos that Susan will be taking as we travel. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Oct 07, 2016

    New Zealand Hobbit Sites (& Birthdays)

    September 22 was Hobbit Day, the birthday of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two central characters in 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'. In the J.R.R Tolkien books both Bilbo and Frodo were said to be born on September 22, but of different years. Let's celebrate this birthday by looking at ten epic New Zealand landscapes where some of the greatest Hobbit and LoR scenes were filmed. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Oct 06, 2016

    Spectacular New Zealand Waterfalls

    New Zealand has literally hundreds of beautiful waterfalls, especially in the rain-forests of Fiordland National Park. This is a photo of Lake Browne the lake that overflows to create The Browne Falls in Doubtful Sound. The Browne Falls is unofficially the tallest waterfall in New Zealand, and one of the tallest in the world, but this description is controversial and we'll explain why. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 28, 2016

    Steve - the cat who thinks he's a lamb

    This video needs no introduction except to note the name of the place where it took place. Steve lives on a farm at Ngamatapouri (nah-mat-a-poori) in New Zealand's North Island, and as the voice-over points out, the town is situated on New Zealand's longest "No Exit" road. Just copy & paste this link to see Steve and his flock - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvXKQDFFCZo [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 21, 2016

    Wellington, "The coolest little capital in the world"

    My family lives in New Zealand's capital city of Wellington; that's why I noticed an interesting story in last week's Australian 'Huffington Post' that explored the transformation of Wellington into "the coolest little capital" - a story partly told through the eyes of local resident Lance Lones, a US scientist who had once worked at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UC San Diego. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 17, 2016

    Wallabies, Kangaroos in New Zealand

    It's not widely known, even by many New Zealanders, that a close relative of the Australian kangaroo, the smaller sized Tammar Wallaby and the Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby, are found in large numbers in both the North & South Island. But unfortunately, like most of the animals that have been introduced to New Zealand over the past 200 years, they have multiplied and in doing so, have become a pest. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 15, 2016

    Christchurch & Shipping Containers.

    As Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand continues its recovery from the devastating earthquake of 2011, this story stands out as an example of what a city and its people can do when faced with what seemed like overwhelming challenges. We've called our story "100% Inspired" because these are the words that best describe what took place here in 2011. We hope you're inspired as well. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 14, 2016

    Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

    This is the second in our series about cycle trails in New Zealand. Today we are taking a look at one of the great trails, the 'Alps 2 Ocean' starting in the highlands of the Aoraki/Mt Cook region in the South Island and slowly descending to the Pacific, finishing at the town of Oamaru. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 08, 2016

    John Britten Remembered.

    This week marks 20 years since one of New Zealand's greatest engineers, John Britten, passed away. John was a revolutionary motorcycle designer whose home-brewed machine won international plaudits with its stunning design and performance. What follows is a fascinating and moving tribute from journalist Roland Brown in yesterdays issue of the British newspaper The Telegraph. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 01, 2016

    Springtime New Zealand

    September the 1st and officially the first day of Spring in New Zealand. Christchurch celebrated by closing their airport for most of the morning because of fog, Auckland had their usual quota of traffic jams and the rest of the country enjoyed average temperatures in the high fifties. Our photo and image of the day is Lake Tekapo in the South Island [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 31, 2016

    "The Light Between Oceans" and New Zealand

    Opening Friday is the movie "The Light Between Oceans", named after the same-titled best selling novel. The book is set in Western Australia but the movie was filmed entirely in New Zealand. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 25, 2016

    Mountain-Bike & Cycle New Zealand

    Few countries in the world offer as much variety or as many cycling and mountain-bike challenges as New Zealand. From short one-day forest trails to the multi-day Otago Rail Trail, there's something for everyone, no matter how fit or experienced. So we've decided to dedicate the next few weeks to sharing some of these opportunities, starting with the fantastic 'Mountain to Sea' adventure cycle. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 24, 2016

    Wellington in Winter

    Please forgive this touch of self indulgence, but my daughter Annabel who lives in Wellington sent me this photo from her walk this morning, exploring the hills around the city and I've decided to share it with you. The start of a beautiful winters day in New Zealand's capital city. If you have a favorite New Zealand photo you'd like to share, send it in and we'll add it to our blog collection. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 20, 2016

    Air New Zealand Safety Video

    For some years, Air New Zealand have been setting the standards for innovative in-flight safety videos and they're still producing them. Past efforts have featured Hobbits, Sports Illustrated supermodels and offbeat stars like veteran comedian Betty White and exercise guru Richard Simmons. This is their newest hilarious offering. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 18, 2016

    Dusky Sound, Fiordland

    We've featured Fiordland before in our 'Image of The Day' but we think this photo deserves a second entry. It's a cruise ship in Dusky Sound, a fiord on the southwest corner of New Zealand - Fiordland National Park. There are few opportunities to access this isolated wilderness, to experience its beauty and wildlife, however one company offers limited opportunities to make a visit. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 17, 2016

    New Zealand Sheep

    This is the time of year when thousands of cute little lambs can be seen cavorting around New Zealand farms (see the video below). But first, an interesting statistic. Sheep numbers in New Zealand reached a peak in 1982 when there were 70 million sheep, 22 for every person in NZ. That's a lot of sheep! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 16, 2016

    A New Zealand Olympics Story

    New Zealand and American sports fans will be feeling great pride today, after they read this story from the Olympic games in Brazil. It's a story about the Olympic spirit, brilliantly demonstrated by a New Zealand and an American athlete, competing in their heat of the 5,000m track event. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 16, 2016

    New Zealand Airfares

    Jetstar, the low-cost arm of Australia's national airline QANTAS, recently expanded their presence within New Zealand and this has brought significant benefits to our customers. The reason is, that many cities in New Zealand were previously served by only one airline, Air New Zealand, and in the absence of any competition, airfares within New Zealand were expensive. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 11, 2016

    Whale Sighting Otago

    The Otago Peninsula is one of our favorite New Zealand wildlife regions, accessed via the South Island city of Dunedin. Here's a story from local news outlet "NewsHub" about what happened yesterday when a couple of Southern Right Whales turned up at the local surf beach St Clair. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 08, 2016

    "Pete's Dragon" and New Zealand Movie Locations

    This week sees the release of the much anticipated Disney remake "Pete's Dragon" starring Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard. Although the movie is set in Oregon, it was actually filmed entirely in New Zealand - in Rotorua's Redwood Forest, around Wellington, Queenstown and in the town of Tapanui in the South Island (population 770) which became ''Millhaven'' for the purpose of the film. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 04, 2016

    Dive & Snorkel New Zealand

    New Zealand has some great dive spots, with the Poor Knights Islands rated as the best in the country. The famous conservationist Jacques Cousteau said it was one of the top-10 dive sites in the world. The clear warm waters are protected as a marine reserve and with underwater visibility of up to 100 feet, the diver or snorkeler sees an incredibly rich tapestry of marine life. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 01, 2016

    The Catlins

    New Zealand Vacations has taken a lead in introducing a fascinating region called 'The Catlins' to North American visitors. It's a remote place at the bottom of the South Island. Wildlife abounds along the coastline; sea lions, dolphins, seals, whales, albatross, gannets and millions of petrels are found here, as are breeding populations of yellow eyed and little blue penguins. And there's more! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 30, 2016

    Hobbit Land For Sale

    One of New Zealand's most well known and beautiful farms and movie locations was put on the market last week, a magical place where many blockbuster movies have been filmed. Director Peter Jackson filmed scenes from 'The Lord of the Rings' here and it was the setting for Beorn's fortress in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' - so "where is it and how much?" you might ask. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 29, 2016

    Dunedin

    Last week the home-owners of Baldwin Street in Dunedin once again hosted the annual Jaffa race, in which 75,000 individually numbered Jaffas are released at the top of their street. Then it gets interesting ...So what exactly is a Jaffa? As you will see in our photo, it's a small round chocolate candy, contained within a thin orange crunchy shell and very popular with New Zealanders. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 28, 2016

    New Zealand Fashion

    It's probably fair to say that a small country like New Zealand makes only a modest impact in the world of international fashion. But Eva Longoria, Charlize Theron, Brooke Testoni, Carmen Hamilton and New Zealand's own Lorde are among some of the world's music and Hollywood elite who have been spotted wearing luxury accessories by New Zealand fashion house Deadly Ponies. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 14, 2016

    Eating Out in Auckland

    Auckland has a deserved international reputation as a great place for eating out. The city brings together a wonderful fusion of European, Asian and Pacific Island influences to create a distinctive New Zealand style. And enhanced even more when combined with local New Zealand wines of which Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the most well known. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 12, 2016

    James Cameron, Movie Director and Vegan

    Filming has started in New Zealand on Avatar2, the sequel to Avatar, the highest-grossing film in history. Director and NZ resident James Cameron took time out to make a video about his life Downunder, filmed against a backdrop of stunning New Zealand scenery. This was released yesterday and we thought you might like to take a look as he wanders the hills and valleys of New Zealand. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 09, 2016

    The Awaroa Inlet

    In 2015 one of the most beautiful coastal inlets in New Zealand, the Awaroa Inlet, became available for private purchase. Two ordinary New Zealanders, Duane Major and Adam Gard'ner said 'no way' - they decided that such a beautiful place should not be in private hands, so they hatched a plan! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 06, 2016

    New Zealand from Space

    If you're just starting to plan a New Zealand vacation, you might like to start with a long distance view! Look carefully and you will see the top of New Zealand's South Island and part of the North Island in this photograph. Taken in 2006 while the astronauts were doing maintenance on the International Space Station. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 02, 2016

    Fiordland, New Zealand

    This is the most photographed region in New Zealand, and with good reason. The second highest annual rainfall in the world has helped create lush rainforests and dramatic waterfalls that tumble into the deep fiords. There are two opportunities to visit the heart of Fiordland, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and making the right choice is not always easy. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 01, 2016

    United Airlines start flights to New Zealand - Today!

    Last week it was American Airlines, this week it's United Airlines inaugurating their direct flight to New Zealand, utilizing their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. At 9:45-pm flight UA915 will depart San Francisco, destination Auckland, and within 3 weeks we will have gone from one airline operating non-stop flights from the USA to New Zealand, to three! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 01, 2016

    The Auckland Museum

    We keep our customers busy exploring Auckland on their New Zealand vacation. But we always advise them that if time allows, they should check out the programs being run by the Auckland Museum, and if there's something interesting going on, to try and make a visit. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 29, 2016

    "Hunt for the Wilderpeople"

    Opening across the US this week is the New Zealand movie 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'. Here's what Los Angeles Times reviewer Kenneth Turan had to say about it “Every once in a while, a small, unheralded film comes along, so smart and funny, such a pleasure to experience, you can’t believe your luck. Wilderpeople is such a film.” [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 24, 2016

    The Whirinaki Forest

    Visitors from the US are discovering a beautiful forest called Whirinaki (fear-uh-knack-ee) situated in the North Island. This is one of the world's last accessible prehistoric rainforests and revered by the Maori people of New Zealand as a place of great spiritual importance. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 23, 2016

    America Airlines start flights to New Zealand - Today!

    This is a special day for American Airlines with flight AA83 departing LAX at 10:40 PM, inaugurating their new non-stop daily service to Auckland. Read our analysis of what this will mean for Americans planning a New Zealand vacation. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 22, 2016

    New Zealand & Antarctica

    Today's news of an aircraft being sent to the South Pole to rescue a seriously ill staff member at the American run Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, is a reminder of the special connection New Zealand has with Antarctica and the incredible challenges it presents to humans and the real life heroes who often risk all to rescue those in trouble. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 21, 2016

    Famous New Zealand Actor

    Our mystery New Zealand actor lives near Queenstown. He and his family own and run vineyards in this region and his wines are sold under the label 'Two Paddocks'. Of course we can't monitor our next rule, but anyone who goes to 'Google Search' is disqualified :) The photo was taken in 1977 and here's a clue - think dinosaurs running amok in a park. June 20, 2017 - we have added a video interview. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 19, 2016

    Gibbs Farm, Kaipara Harbor

    Massive sculptures by some of the worlds most renowned sculptors are scattered among the 1,000 acre Gibbs Farm. It faces the beautiful Kaipara Harbor, the largest tidal estuary in the Southern Hemisphere and against a backdrop of and rolling green pastures. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 17, 2016

    Mt Nicholas and the Von Valley

    Every now and then we see a New Zealand photo and we turn to each other and ask "Where's that?" The Von Valley is a good example. We came across this beautiful photograph quite by accident, and on further investigation it revealed an interesting story about an interesting character from New Zealand's past. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 16, 2016

    New Zealand Fruit Story

    A "ripe for picking" story about the theft of avocados in New Zealand, appeared in the Washington Post this morning. On the same day an Australian publication described the avocado thefts as "a major crime wave sweeping New Zealand" When you read the Washington Post story you'll probably smile like we did, and agree "Well not quite a mafia style crime wave" But it's an interesting story anyway. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 15, 2016

    Great Barrier Island

    In the course of our work we come across many wonderful photos of New Zealand but we can't always use them on our website. So we've decided to share them with you on a regular basis on our Blog, along with a short note of explanation. We hope you enjoy them. Today it's Great Barrier Island, not to be confused with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 15, 2016

    Night Skies New Zealand

    A June 11 story reports that 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans can no longer see the Milky Way because of light pollution. This photo of the Milky Way taken in the Wairarapa Region suggests New Zealand doesn't share this particular problem. In fact scientist say "in winter, when New Zealanders look up, they see right into the heart of the Milky Way" [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 11, 2016

    The Vineyards of Otago

    Sometimes a photo can say more than a thousand words. So the team at New Zealand Vacations have selected their favorite photos of the beautiful wine growing region called Central Otago, a region that features in most of our New Zealand Vacations itineraries. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 07, 2016

    Point Villas, Lake Taupo

    In this blog we feature the Point Villas at Lake Taupo, recently visited by our two of our favorite New Zealand travelers, the Bridge family from Wellington. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 03, 2016

    New Zealand from a Drone

    This video is the work of American Oren Schauble, shot from a drone around Queenstown and Auckland. As Oren himself says, he's "hardly scratched the surface" of the places he would like to film in New Zealand. We would love to see him feature the green rain-forests and fiords of Fiordland and the West Coast of the South Island in his next effort. But in the meantime this is a great introduction. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 03, 2016

    Waitomo Glowworm Caves in Pinterest Top 10

    We alway try to include a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in the itineraries we create for our customers and it comes as no surprise that Pinterest recently named The Caves in their Top 10 for the most pinned locations in 2016. A visit can be enjoyed on the same day as the Hobbiton movie site situated near the town of Matamata. A great combination after leaving Auckland. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 01, 2016

    Milford Sound

    Our intrepid travelers are back home in the US. Thank you from the team at New Zealand Vacations team for sharing your adventures and your beautiful photographs with us David & Rebekah - we'll leave the final comments to you. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 26, 2016

    Queenstown

    After a night in Wanaka, Rebekah and David move on to Queenstown. They decide to travel via The Crown Range, considered one of the great drives in New Zealand although not for the faint-hearted. Let's read what they say ... [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 25, 2016

    Family Travel New Zealand - Tongariro National Park

    Tongariro National Park gets lots of attention from visitors and on our website because of the famous Tongariro Crossing. But it's much more than "The Crossing". It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) and Tongariro. NZ Vacations director Jerry Bridge took his wife and their children for a short stay, basing themselves at Ohakune. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 24, 2016

    10 Reasons You Will fall in Love with New Zealand

    We like this article and we hope you do too. Written in her blog 'Half this World Away' by Megan Conway, May 4, 2016 and published in NZEdge.com [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 24, 2016

    Drive, West Coast to Wanaka

    This was the headline in one of the New Zealand newspapers this morning - "Group of 38 reach safety after being trapped by snow in Central Otago" - this was the area that Rebekah and David were heading to, so of course I was feeling concerned. I needn't have bothered, because as you will read here, once again nothing stood in their way and they had a great day. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 23, 2016

    Farewell Spit, South Island

    In February, one of our New Zealand Vacations team, Jerry Bridge, along with his wife Katie and their two young children decided to explore the narrow sliver of land that is found at the very top of the South Island - Farewell Spit, located in Golden Bay. Here's what they reported about what was obviously a great vacation experience. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 23, 2016

    US Vacationers Share Their New Zealand Photos

    Late last year we helped Santa Barbara resident Helena Hill and her husband Gary plan a New Zealand self-drive vacation. Helena has kindly allowed us to share some of the wonderful photos that they shot as they travelled by rental car around the North & South Islands. We hope you enjoy them and many thanks Helena. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 23, 2016

    West Coast South Island

    Despite the winter weather from May to October there are many advantages in traveling in New Zealand at this time of the year. That's why the team at New Zealand Vacations are enjoying following our adventurers around. The wet weather is obviously not going to stop them having a great time on their self-drive tour. Read what they have to say. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 21, 2016

    Abel Tasman National Park

    Abel Tasman National Park is the smallest National Park in New Zealand, but because of it's unique beauty, it is also the most popular. Read what Rebekah & David had to say about their stay. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 20, 2016

    Wellington, Capital City

    Our adventurers have now reached the nations capital of Wellington. This is a city noted for it's cafe culture, fine restaurants, the home of movie Director Peter Jackson and his Weta Workshop and the site of the modern and architecturally stunning 'Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa' [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 19, 2016

    The Whanganui River

    Today they leave the main road for a taste of "the road less travelled" the drive from Pipiriki to Wanganui ... read more [...] read more...