New Zealand Travel Blog

A blog of New Zealand Experiences, News, Humor and Inspiring Stories.

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 30, 2019

    Our Blog Index

    We've created so many blogs over the past few years that we decided to create this alphabetical index of all of the New Zealand vacation experiences featured. There are blogs about new experiences and accommodation options, photos that our customers have shared, some New Zealand humor and more. We hope you find the index useful and please feel free to add your comments to each of blogs you read. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Sep 30, 2019

    New Zealand Unofficial National Anthem

    A highlight of any New Zealand visit is the opportunity to see the Māori people sharing their culture through their music and dance. This video is one such example of their music, recorded in 2012 when a New Zealand group competed in a music contest in the USA. It took place outside of the actual competition venue, an impromptu and powerful example of what bringing people together can do. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 19, 2019

    What to Do In Dunedin

    Guinness World Records has decreed that Dunedin's Baldwin Street no longer has the title of the steepest street in the world. It's now held by a street called Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales. But disappointed Dunedin locals are pointing out that editor in chief Craig Glenday has admitted "Baldwin St is visually much more appealing, dare I say it, than Fford Pen Llech. It looks better & more convincing". [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 31, 2019

    Hobbiton; The Inside Story

    Years after the movies were released, interest in Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit remains incredibly high. Max Bonem is a New York writer and editor who "writes about food, travel, and everything in between". He's enjoyed some interesting times in New Zealand and in this excellent article he explains the background to the creation of the multi-award winning Hobbiton Shire Village. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 23, 2019

    New Zealand Prime Minister

    This is an article written by Carolyn Web, writing in the Australian newspaper "The Age". It's one of many similar stories published world-wide in the aftermath of the massacre in Christchurch. As I commented in a recent blog, our customers returning from their NZ vacation identify "the people" as a highlight of their visit and the people of New Zealand continue to embrace and welcome visitors. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 21, 2019

    New Zealand - the sexiest accent in the world.

    Because I write our blogs and because I'm a Kiwi, modesty has prevented me from posting this item earlier. Here's why. BigSeven Travel recently commissioned a survey to identify the "sexiest accent in the world". While surveys of this type shouldn't be taken too seriously, much to the surprise of BigSeven Travel (and probably more of a surprise to New Zealanders), the winner was - New Zealand. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Apr 17, 2019

    New Zealand Parrot on the Comeback Trail

    The kākāpō parrot has enjoyed its most successful breeding season on record. The kākāpō was thought extinct until a colony of just 17 were discovered on remote Stewart Island in 1977. Since then an intensive breeding programs has been in place and today there are 147 of the species alive. Now, a bumper breeding season has created great excitement. Also read our STOP PRESS at the end of this story. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Mar 15, 2019

    Mass Shooting in New Zealand.

    I'm not sure how appropriate it is to share on our travel website the emotions that New Zealanders are feeling today after the mass shooting in Christchurch. But as a New Zealander living in the US I feel a desire to share just what our small nation is going through. So I'll put my doubts about the appropriateness of this blog to one side and share some of the grief we are all feeling. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 19, 2019

    Solo Female Travelers Choose New Zealand as Safest Country

    New Zealand consistently rates in the Top 10 of the world's safest countries to visit. In this blog we examine how the female solo traveler can best enjoy New Zealand in a way that will have them feeling both secure and able to make the most of their visit. There are more single people in the U.S. than ever before and a growing number are opting to travel on their own. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 14, 2019

    New Zealand's Toughest Sporting Event, The 'Coast to Coast'

    This is about a legendary New Zealand sporting event called 'The Coast to Coast' held every February. The nicest thing about the Coast to Coast is that it's not just for athletic elites. Hundreds of amateurs also train hard for months to take on this ultimate challenge, usually as part of a team, and the scenes, two days later at the finish, are some of the most euphoric you will ever see. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 13, 2019

    Christchurch - After The Earthquake. Why visit? What is there to see?

    This is a personal blog, because I lived in Christchurch from 1973 to 1990. It's where I had my home and helped raise my beautiful family. Then on February 21, 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the city, killing 185 people and injuring thousands. The city I knew and loved disappeared forever. But over time I have fallen in love with Christchurch again, and here are some of the reasons why. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 09, 2019

    What Makes New Zealand So Special?

    Before they leave for New Zealand, we often ask our customers "What are you most looking forward to?" Most will say say "The scenery". When we ask them after their vacation "What did you enjoy the most?" most will reply "The scenery, and the people". Here's a video that includes Hollywood actress Bryce Dallas Howard and NBA star Steve Adams, talking about the scenery and, New Zealanders. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 21, 2019

    The most scenic drives in New Zealand: Queenstown to Glenorchy

    One of the nice surprises about driving around New Zealand, is the number of times you'll be driving from Point A to Point B when suddenly, almost out of nowhere, you enter a stretch of road that offers breathtaking scenery. Then there are roads that offer the same thing almost from beginning to end, and it's one of these that we are featuring in this blog, the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 17, 2018

    Why use a specialist Travel Advisor when planning a New Zealand vacation?

    We like this article by travel agent Peter Cobb. It explains why travel agents and particularly online destination specialists are enjoying such a resurgence in popularity with travelers. We've added some thoughts of our own at the end and we'd like to hear about your experiences when using a travel adviser or bricks & mortar travel agency to plan your travel, compared to trying to go it alone. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 03, 2018

    The Hokitika Gorge

    One of our favorite stopover recommendations is the Hokitika Gorge on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island. ​The main attraction here is the stunning blue glacial waters, created by rocks high in the mountains being ground into a fine powder by the movement of glaciers. The suspension of the resulting white powder in the blue water creates an intense and beautiful turquoise coloring. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 30, 2018

    We Visit Amazing New Accommodation Site

    In October our New Zealand Vacations staff member Jane and her husband Steve stayed at one of the new luxury PurePods located north of Christchurch. This is such a radical new concept we wanted to see for ourselves how it actually works so Jane volunteered to spend a night and to share her experience. She was thrilled with the experience and these are some of her observations. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 28, 2018

    Huge Whale Returns to Wellington Harbor.

    For a week in July, residents in the capital city of Wellington, were thrilled to see that a huge whale had taken up temporary residence in their harbor. Today, a whale has once again sighted, but this time there's a difference; now the whale has a calf in tow! Everyone is now anxiously waiting for confirmation from the Department of Conversation that it's the same whale that visited last month. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 17, 2018

    The Welcome Rock Trail

    It's no secret that New Zealand has become a popular destination for vacation visitors. This means that one of the most loved aspects of a New Zealand vacation, the isolation and tranquility of some tourist attractions can no longer be guaranteed. The good news is that the true New Zealand specialist can still guide you to amazing places that the social media "followers" have not yet discovered. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 16, 2018

    Amazing New Luxury Accommodation Concept.

    Every now and then, the launch of a new vacation product in New Zealand grabs our attention. This is one of them. It's a new luxury accommodation concept that would be a wonderful part of any New Zealand vacation package. If you want to return home with a special story to tell, read here about 'PurePod' and their unique selling point - realtors call it 'location, location, location' [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Aug 08, 2018

    Queenstown's Nevis Catapult - The Ultimate Thrill!

    In our last blog we wrote about the 2017 visit of Tom Cruise to Duffers Saddle near Queenstown where he filmed parts of his new Mission Impossible movie. Today, and close to Duffers Saddle, AJ Hackett, the company that introduced commercial bungy jumping to the world, revealed a new adventure experience that must be the ultimate in dare-devil experiences. If you're into adrenaline rushes, read on. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 19, 2018

    Dusky Sound Cruise, Fiordland

    Milford Sound is well known to visitors from North America, but the names of Doubtful Sound and further to the south, Dusky Sound, are not so well known. Dusky Sound is the most isolated, historic and pristine of them all and we rate the 7-day Dusky Sound expedition cruise as one of the finest New Zealand vacation experiences available. Access is limited so early bookings are needed. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 16, 2018

    7 child-friendly destinations in New Zealand

    New Zealand - The Land of Kiwis, is a great destination for a family vacation as it includes many fun filled activities for children to experience. The whole family will enjoy New Zealand’s breathtaking scenery and for those traveling by campervan, beachside camping grounds make an ideal base to relax and explore. In this blog we explore just some of the child-friendly attractions available. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 25, 2018

    Driving In New Zealand - Facts and Advice.

    This guide will teach you everything you need to know about travelling in New Zealand. New Zealand is a place of incredible scenic diversity and without doubt, touring by vehicle is the best way to enjoy everything on offer. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jun 14, 2018

    New Lord of The Rings TV Series - In New Zealand?

    Entertainment giant Amazon Studios recently announced they will spending $1 billion to produce a TV series called 'Lord of The Rings' making it the most expensive TV series ever made. One of the big questions being asked is "Will it be filmed in New Zealand and what role, if any will Peter Jackson have?" so we went looking for more information about the planned series and its likely release date. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • May 16, 2018

    Map of New Zealand: Not

    If you are looking at a map of the world, take a closer look. You should see New Zealand there on the map, but surprisingly, we often get left off. So a fun campaign that includes prime Minister Jacinda Adern has been created to get us back where we belong. We think it's a bit of a storm in a teacup, but we enjoyed the video featuring Rhys Darby (Flight of The Conchords) and we hope you do too. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 28, 2018

    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 the year 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 history of Akaroa, some of which we found quite amusing! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Feb 20, 2018

    Steve - the cat who thinks he's a lamb

    This is a story about a New Zealand cat who goes by the name of Steve. He lives on a farm near the remote town of Ngamatapouri (nah-mat-a-poori) in New Zealand's North Island. Ngamatapouri's main claim is its location on New Zealand's longest "No Exit" road. But as you will see in our video, strange things are happening in Ngamatapouri. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jan 23, 2018

    The American Invasion of New Zealand.

    Here at New Zealand Vacations we promote and sell tours of New Zealand - mainly self drive, and 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 • Dec 22, 2017

    New Zealand Wines

    In 2017, the United States became New Zealand's biggest export wine market in sales and volume. This breakthrough was led by the wines created in the Marlborough region, especially savignon blanc. But there's a lot more to New Zealand wines than Marlborough, as visitors from the US are discovering, especially the world class pinot noir being produced in Central Otago in the South Island. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 21, 2017

    Moa Bird Thought Extinct for 500 Years, Discovered in New Zealand

    This is a hilarious New Zealand adventure story, one that has become the stuff of legend, based on a true event. It's about the 1993 sighting of a Moa bird, long thought extinct, in the Southern Alps of the South Island. We have reported the facts as we know them, although not all of the claims made in our story can be verified. But don't let this detract from your enjoyment of this great tale. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Nov 13, 2017

    New Zealand Wildlife Rescue

    In February we blogged about attempts to rescue 417 Pilot Whales that had been found stranded at remote Farewell Spit in the South Island. Sadly, a similar story might be unfolding today, this time involving a stranded Orca Whale, stranded on a beach near the town of Blenheim. We'll follow the rescue effort, starting with this report from New Zealand's 'New Zealand Herald'. Update - SUCCESS! [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Jul 20, 2017

    Winter in New Zealand

    The New Zealand winter arrives in May and ends around October. So now it's the heart of winter. Some people don't understand my enthusiasm for New Zealand winter vacations, but some of the most beautiful sights I've experienced in New Zealand were in winter. Yes, it's cold. In the bottom half of the South Island it gets very cold, below freezing sometimes, but there are compensations aplenty! [...] 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 06, 2017

    Dangerous Animals New Zealand

    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

    Getting Online in New Zealand

    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's Most Remote Tour Experience - Erewhon aka Nowhere

    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 • 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

    Cruising The Bays of New Zealand's Most Popular National Park

    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

    Movies Made In New Zealand: 'A Wrinkle in Time'

    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 • Jan 31, 2017

    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 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

    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 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

    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

    The Tree Church - A Unique New Zealand Travel Experiences

    This was our second visit to 'The Tree Church' located at Ohaupo in the North Island's Waikato Region. It's located a little of the main road, hidden by trees 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 - so we decided to investigate. [...] read more...

  • Lindsay Barron

    Lindsay Barron • Dec 22, 2016

    The Geothermal Cauldron Called Waimangu Volcanic Valley - Day 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

    Picture Perfect Lake Mungamahoe - Day 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

    The Coastal Walkway at New Plymouth - Day 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

    New Plymouth, Just Waiting to be Discovered - Day 1 of our North Island Adventure

    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 15, 2016

    Curio Bay, The McLean Falls,The Florence Hill Lookout, the Purakanui Falls, The Lighthouse at Nugget Point. - 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

    Kiwi Spotting Stewart 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

    Ulva Island Where Finally We See a Kiwi in the Wild - 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

    The Great Southern Route from Queenstown to Invercargill - 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

    Aoraki Mt Cook and the Amazing Hooker Valley Trail - 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

    The Rakaia Gorge, Mt John Observatory, Lake Pukaki - Day 1 of our South Island Adventure

    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 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 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

    Movies Made in New Zealand. 'The Light Between Oceans'

    Opening Friday 'The Light Between Oceans' is named after the same-titled best selling novel, set in Western Australia but filmed entirely in New Zealand. It's the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who find and adopt a baby girl who washes up on their island inside a rowing boat. The filming location is Marlborough, a wine growing region popular with visitors enjoying a New Zealand vacation [...] 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 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 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

    Movies Made in New Zealand.:'Pete's Dragon'

    This week sees the release of the Disney remake of "Pete's Dragon" starring Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard. Although the story is set in Oregon, it was actually filmed entirely in New Zealand, including locations at 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


    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

    Movies Made in New Zealand. 'Avatar2'

    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

    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

    Movies Made in New Zealand. '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) accessible from Rotorua 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 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 world's 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, against a backdrop of hills 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...