Tag-Archive for ◊ Auckland accommodation ◊

21 Aug 2010 This Christmas, Be Pampered at Chuan Spa – Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, Hong Kong

11 December 2006, Hong Kong —- This Christmas, Langham Place Hotel’s Chuan Spa launches an array of indulgence packages and festive offers, perfect as a pampering treat for yourself or a festive gift for your loved ones.

Christmas Indulgence Packages
Relax and refresh for the festive season with our special Christmas packages featuring holistic spa treatments complemented by all the festive trimmings, including a cheerful glass of champagne, a Thalgo gift set, and even a complimentary health club membership! The Packages start from HKD$1,300.

*See Appendix 1 for more details on the packages.

Christmas Gift Ideas
Purchase gift vouchers and receive a free spa treatment
Chuan Spa offers a variety of treatment and cash vouchers, perfect as gifts for all occasions.
In the month of December, you can enjoy a complimentary 30-minute Back and Shoulder Massage or a complimentary 30-minute Thalgo Express Facial upon purchase of Chuan Spa gift vouchers valued over HKD$1,200.

Glittering Thalgo Gift Boxes
This Christmas, Thalgo launches a collection of glittering gift boxes inspired by sparkling diamonds. Packed with skincare products with all the benefits of marine ingredients, this collection is an ideal gift to pamper your loved ones.

*See Appendix 2 for more details on the collection of gift boxes.
12 Days of Christmas at Chuan Spa
To celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, Chuan Spa will give you a nice little surprise every day from 25 December 2006 to 5 January 2007.

Date Promotion
1 25th December 06 A complimentary Thalgo gift set and a glass of champagne with any treatment over HKD$1,200
2 26th December 06 20% off all Chuan signature lifestyle retail items
3 27th December 06 25% off all Chuan Escape Packages at off-peak hours
4 28th December 06 30% off Thalgo Oceanic Enhancement Facial
5 29th December 06 1 month complimentary Chuan Spa Health Club membership with any treatment over HKD$1,200
6 30th December 06 All guests will enter a lucky draw to win a night stay at Chuan Residence with 1 hour 30 minutes of spa treatment time
7 31st December 06 All guests will enter a lucky draw to win a night stay at Chuan Residence with 1 hour 30 minutes of spa treatment time
8 1st January 07 30% off Tao Of Detox Package and a complimentary detox juice
9 2nd January 07 A complimentary hydrotherapy session with any 90 minutes signature massage
10 3rd January 07 Complimentary personal training session with any treatment over HKD$1,200
11 4th January 07 20% off Chuan Energy Package
12 5th January 07 A complimentary 30 minutes Back and Shoulder Massage or a Thalgo Express Facial with any treatment over HKS$1,200

Chuan Spa
Address: Level 41, Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, Hong Kong
555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, Hong Kong
Reservations: 3552 3510
Email: hkg.lph.info@chuanspa.com
Website: www.chuanspa.com

Chuan signature massage in VIP Suite Thalgo’s collection of glittering gift boxes

Appendix 1 – Christmas Indulgence Packages
Chuan Christmas Retreat HKD$1,500
? 2 hours 30 minutes of Chuan holistic treatments of your choice
? Upgrade to VIP Suite with 30 minutes private Jacuzzi time*
? A glass of champagne served with mince pie
? 1-month complimentary health club membership**
? Thalgo gift set
? Use of swimming pool, sauna, steam room, oriental hot tub and fitness studio
? 2-hour valet parking

Chuan Christmas Cracker HKD$1,300
? 1 hour Chuan Vitality Body Exfoliation
? 1 hour Chuan Signature Stone Massage
? A glass of champagne served with mince pie
? 1 month complimentary health club membership**
? Thalgo gift set
? Use of swimming pool, sauna, steam room, oriental hot tub and fitness studio
? 2-hour valet parking

*Subject to availability
**Terms and conditions apply

Additional 20% discount when booking Monday to Friday 10am – 5 pm.
Offer valid from 1 – 31 December 2006

Appendix 2 – Glittering Thalgo Gift Boxes

The Youthful Diamond Set $980 ( Normal price: $1,330)
- wrinkle control smoothing care
- wrinkle control smoothing concentrate
- Diamond Powder

The Exceptional Diamond Set $2,200 ( Normal price: $3,080)
- Exceptional Cream
- Exceptional Serum
- Diamond Powder

The Oriental Diamond Set $830 ( Normal Price: $1,210)
- Indoceane Sublime Cream
- Indoceane Luxurious Massage Oil
- Indoceane Herbal Tea
- Candle

The Water Diamond Set $ 980 ( Normal Price: $1,320)
- Energising Vitality Cream
- Absolute Rehydrating Serum
- Moisturising Eye Care
- Diamond Powder

Background Notes:
Langham has a legendary hotel heritage dating back to 1865 when the Langham Hotel in London originally opened as Europe’s first Grand Hotel. For 140 years, this flagship hotel has been at the forefront of sophisticated and gracious hospitality. Today, all Langham Hotels worldwide inherit the same philosophy that reflects elegance in design, innovation in hospitality, genuine service and captivation of the senses creating a truly unique hotel experience.

Langham Hotels International (LHI) features six properties with over 2,700 rooms in five gateway cities across the four continents, namely, London, Boston, Hong Kong (2), Melbourne and Auckland. In each city Langham Hotels is associated with the prestigious “The Leading Hotels of the World” group which represents some of the world’s finest luxury hotels.

LHI is wholly owned by Great Eagle Holdings Limited, a publicly listed company (HKSE: 41) which was founded in 1963 and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972.

For information of Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, Hong Kong, please visit:

For information on the The Langham Place Hotel, Hong Kong, please visit: hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com

About Langham
Langham has a legendary hotel heritage dating back to 1865 when the The Langham Hotel in London originally opened as Europe’s first Grand Hotel. For 140 years, this flagship hotel has been at the forefront of sophisticated and gracious hospitality. Today, all Langham Hotels worldwide inherit the same philosophy that reflects elegance, continuous innovation and genuine hospitality creating a truly unique hotel experience

About Langham Hotels International:Langham Hotels International (LHI) features six properties with over 2,700 rooms in five gateway cities across the four continents, namely, London, Boston, Hong Kong (2), Melbourne and Auckland. In each city Langham Hotels is associated with the prestigious “The Leading Hotels of the World” group which represents some of the world’s finest luxury hotels.

LHI is wholly owned by Great Eagle Holdings Limited a publicly listed company (HKSE: 41) which was founded in 1963 and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972.

02 Jul 2010 The Regions of New Zealand

Where is New Zealand, exactly? New Zealand is two islands in the Pacific, but it is not a Pacific Island.

All those islands we normally think of as “Pacific”: New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands, and Tahiti, lie between 15 and 23 degrees South.

They are north of the Tropic of Capricorn…

… New Zealand is south of it. By a long way.

New Zealand stretches from 35 to 47 degrees south, and covers 270 000 square kilometres. It is:

the size of Burkina Faso, Colorado, Equador, the UK, or the Western Sahara
twice the size of Bangladesh, Fujian Province (China) or Greece
four times the size of Sri Lanka
half the size of Madagascar, France or Kenya
and would fit comfortably into the Caspian or Baltic Seas…

Some geography…

For the sake of convenience, we can divide up the country into 2 degree bands of latitude. Down here, the numbers get bigger as we travel south. And it gets colder. Down here, birds fly NORTH for the winter…

The regions of New Zealand fall into these bands as follows:

34-36 Northland
36-38 Auckland, The Coromandel
38-40 Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Rotorua, Taupo, Eastland, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui-Manawatu, Taranaki
40-42 Wellington, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson
42-44 The West Coast, Canterbury, Christchurch
44-46 Mt Cook-MacKenzie, Wanaka, Queenstown, Otago, Dunedin, Fiordland
46-48 Southland, including Stewart Island

What else can you find at these latitudes?

Following the same bands of latitude around the Southern Hemisphere, the regions of New Zealand share their parallels with:

34-36 Buenos Aires, Adelaide and Canberra in Australia, and Cape Town in South Africa (in fact, Cape Town is NORTH of the northern-most point of New Zealand, and Sydney is the same…)
36-38 Auckland and the Coromandel lie in the same band as Melbourne
38-40 Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Taranaki cover large slices of Argentina and Chile
40-42 Wellington, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson – more Chile.
42-44 West Coast, Canterbury (Christchurch) are neighbours with Hobart
44-46 Otago, Southland (Dunedin) is the same as… Patagonia! (just look at the landscapes to see why…)
46-48 more Patagonia…

The Northern Hemisphere

While it’s not an accurate comparison, New Zealand is in the middle of the ocean with no part of it further than 130 kilometres (about 80 miles) from the coast, in the same bands of latitude in the Northern Hemisphere you will find (moving north):

34-36 Cyprus, Kabul, Tokyo, Los Angeles
36-38 Seoul, Tunis, Athens, San Francisco
38-40 Ankara, Beijing, Lisbon
40-42 Istanbul, Tashkent, Madrid, Rome, New York
42-44 Almaty, Vladivostok, Sofia, Toronto, Boston
44-46 Bordeaux, Milan, Belgrade, Bucharest, Ottowa
46-48 Geneva, Seattle

Now you know where you’re heading. All you need to do is get here…

About the Author

Stephen Hay invites you to explore the opportunities for luxury travel and accommodation in New Zealand.

The site, http://www.luxury-new-zealand.com/, brings together all luxury offerings in New Zealand. Private jet companies, charter yachts, luxury rental cars, luxury adventure holidays and 165 luxury lodges, resorts and boutique hotels for your enjoyment.

26 Jun 2010 New Places to Live and Retire Around the World

Places to Live in the World: Emerging Alternatives

From Canada to Europe, Africa to Asia, it’s time for a fresh look By Phillip Townsend

The advent of fast Internet communication and inexpensive air travel makes it easier to turn any far-flung paradise into a permanent home. Which places in the world have the most to offer? The perfect place to live or retire, of course depends on your idea of perfection.

I’m taking a different approach for this article. Instead of giving an overview of the better-known and increasingly-popular expatriate destinations around the world (Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc.), I’ve decided to introduce you to the below 7 locales you probably don’t know much about. All offer affordability and abundant recreational and cultural opportunities.

Nova ScotiaJust east of Maine, in the North Atlantic, Nova Scotia’s pristine coast is slowly becoming a sought-after affordable getaway. Only two hours from New York or Boston, it feels a world away. A pleasingly crowd-free province on Canada’s Atlantic Coast, little-known Nova Scotia could just be the perfect full- or part-time retreat. Halifax, the capital, has been luring tourists for years. Waterfront cafes, European architecture, and spectacular seafood keep them coming back. Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island boasts the some of the best scenery in the world, from the picturesque highlands to the picturesque Bras d’Or Lake (pronounced “bra door”), with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. In the winter months, the Gulf Stream keeps the climate milder than most northern U.S. states, with the area more rain showers than snow storms. Picture the American East Coast a century ago, and you get a feel for what Nova Scotia is like. Almost an island, it is best known for its stunning coastline, sleepy seaside towns and friendly people. The province’s natural beauty, cheap real estate and low cost of living make it well worth a look: oceanfront lots start at $10,000, three-bedroom homes on acreage from $50,000. A lobster dinner with a bottle of good local wine set you back no more than a twenty spot. Scenes of the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic were shot in Nova Scotia, and celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Billy Joel maintain summer homes here.

CaribbeanAlmost everyone has had dreams of living a laid-back, stress-free life on a tropical island. One by one, the Caribbean islands were discovered and eventually became sadly over-developed, terribly over-crowded, and ridiculously over-priced. Unfortunately, due to mass tourism, most places in the Caribbean have become little more than artificial, tropical Disneylands with luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts. But there is one place that still maintains its original charm and natural beauty. This place is quite inexpensive (by Caribbean standards) and is virtually unspoiled. Relatively undiscovered, here, you can still find ocean view lots for as little as $22,000 and have a small cottage built for prices starting at $25,000. To protect it from the fate of its Caribbean cousins, I won’t reveal the name of this special place just yet. You can find a link to more information at the end of this article.CubaThink Cuba, and vivid images come to mind: of men in Guayabera shirts and Panama hats, tropical breezes and cool drinks, steamy Latin rhythms and sultry women. It has always been an intriguing place, steeped in truth and in fiction by the novels of Ernest Hemingway. Because travel to Cuba is restricted by the U.S. government, relatively few Americans visit the island each year. While their counterparts from Europe, Canada and Latin America bask in the warm Cuban sun, most U.S. citizens can only hope to experience this “pearl” of the Caribbean after Castro is gone. Of those who do manage to get to Cuba via Mexico or Canada, few are disappointed. The largest Caribbean island (pop. 11 million), Cuba is also one of the most beautiful and unspoiled. There are miles of pristine, underdeveloped beaches, tropical forests teeming with wildlife and some of the best deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling the world has to offer. And there is Havana, not only the capital of Cuba, but also long the most important city in the Caribbean. With tourism once again thriving, Havana has regained much of its past allure. Famous old bars, restaurants and hotels are enjoying a proud comeback, and stunning new places are being built. As one taxi driver put it, “We have the best cigars, best rum, best music, and most beautiful women in the world. What more could anyone want?”

RomaniaBest known for Transylvania, the legendary home of Count Dracula, Romania is steeped in history, myth and folklore. Unlike other Eastern European countries with Slavic origins, Romania, whose name means ‘land of the Romans,’ absorbed much of the culture, religion, and language of the Roman Empire. Bordered by the Black Sea (which is being called “The Next Riviera”) and the Danube River, with the Transylvanian Alps and Carpathian Mountains nestled in the center of the country, Romania has long stretches of seacoast, mountains, forests, medieval villages and gothic castles galore, giving it all the makings of a fairy-tale setting. The capital Bucharest, a former communist citadel, has a growing number of discos, while restaurants at most major hotels double as nightclubs, there are several Parisian-style cafAs, and cheap wines and plum brandy flow freely everywhere. Due to its wide boulevards, sidewalk cafAs, and Triumphal Arch, Bucharest, was known as the “Paris of the Balkans” prior to World War II. Today the city’s 19th century neoclassical architecture and numerous tree-lined streets still maintain its charm. A sizable enclave of foreigners (Germans, Jews, Turks, Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, and Gypsies) live in Romania. French is the most widely-spoken second language and English is spoken by many of the younger generation. The real estate prices are some of the lowest in all Europe (the country’s economic woes spells opportunity for you).


Asia’s best-kept secret for expatriates, Malaysia has a vibrant mix of foreign and indigenous tribal cultures, creating a veritable melting pot of peoples, traditions and religions. A sizable enclave of foreigners (Brits, Americans, Australians, and Canadians) live full time or maintain holiday homes in Malaysia, and you’ll find that just about everybody speaks English, since its compulsory in local schools. Not only are three world-class playgrounds (Thailand, Bali, and the Philippines) all within a few hour’s travel from Malaysia, but miles of beaches and numerous coastal islands add to its tropical appeal. Despite being the capital of a developing nation, Kuala Lumpur is a modern cosmopolitan with clean streets and every modern convenience to found in New York or London. Compared with other major Asian cities (Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, for example), Kuala Lumpur is downright cheap. The cost of 2-bedroom rental apartments begins at around $225 per month and 3-bedroom houses start at $35,000. Naturally, comparable housing in expatriate communities or the luxurious homes that date from British colonial period can set you back considerably more.

New ZealandImagine an interesting land of breathtaking and contrasting scenery: craggy coastlines, golden beaches, lush forests, snow-capped mountains, bubbling volcanic pools, fish-filled rivers and glacier-fed lakes, all beneath a brilliant blue sky. New Zealand is accessible, spread over three relatively small islands with modern and efficient transport, quiet roads, plenty of flights and two stunningly scenic rail journeys. Other pluses are friendly, English-speaking people, virtually no crime, and a trio of rich cultural influences: adventurous Polynesian navigators (Maori), pioneering European settlers who followed a thousand years later, and modern Pacific Rim immigrants. The plant and animal life are unmatched, giving opportunities for close-up experiences with birdlife (including kiwis), seals, dolphins and whales. Enjoy the chance to explore two of the richest wine regions on the planet, taste wonderful cuisine, stroll on sandy beaches. Prefer urban living? Immerse yourself in the culture of the capital Wellington or the large cities of Auckland or Christchurch.

TanzaniaMany people tend to associate African countries with wars, famine and political unrest rather than the good life, but Zanzibar, Tanzania is an exception. Located only a short distance off the east coast of Africa, exotic Zanzibar has lured explorers, traders and colonists for centuries. The islands’ powdery white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters continue to attract European and Asian tourists. Outside of an unusual mix of black African and Arab cultures, you’ll find the islands teeming with tropical forests, remote villages and idyllic coastline. Despite flare-ups between residents of Zanzibar Island and the smaller island of Pemba (due to differing views on unification with the mainland), Zanzibar is usually quite stable. Cheap real estate (oceanfront or raw land with fruit trees), mouth-watering seafood, some of the world’s best scuba diving, and pure tropical bliss make it an attractive expatriate haven. A few wealthy Europeans and African aristocrats have already made Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania home. Why not join them?


For more information about living abroad, visit: www.nsliving.info

For travel articles and news from countries around the world, visit: www.worldcountries.info

About the Author

Phillip Townsend, an international reloacation consultant, is the author of Passport to Canada: The Complete Guide to Living and Retiring in Nova Scotia, and the special report The Caribbean’s Best Kept Secret. His website is www.nsliving.info

21 May 2010 Cruise Ships Are You Living On a Cruise Ship Part Time?

There has been a lot of buzz lately about living on a Cruise Ship full time as an alternative to living in a retirement home.

Ships, even Cruise Ships, are noisy for at least 2 reasons:

No matter how new the ship, no matter what new turbine engines the ship may have, the 24 hour engine noise may get to people.

There is always a kind of party atmosphere on a Cruise Ship, people eat and drink too much, nobody tells them when to go to bed, they don’t have to get up the next morning, so, parties make noise.

Although ship’s activities are very many these days, after a while you’ll get bored with them.
Cabins in general are very small, so after a while you’re going to miss your large living room on the mainland with its 75″ TV.

If you follow that action things become interesting.

The Monthly $18,000 route:

This Cruise Ship has designer apartments with original art.

Great if you can get it.

By small Luxury Cruise Ship

This same couple would spend a minimum of $4000 a month in an old folks home.

Now let me tell you what this $5000 for 2 people gets them:

Southampton ,Tenerife – Canary Islands St Vincent – Cape Verde Islands Fortaleza – Brazil Rio de Janeiro – Brazil Montevideo – Uruguay Buenos Aires – Argentina Puerto Madryn – Argentina Port Stanley – Falkland Islands Cruise around Cape Horn Ushuaia – Argentina Transit Beagle Channel Punta Arenas – Chile Chacabuco – Chile Puerto Montt – Chile Santiago – Chile Cruise by Easter Island Cruise by Pitcairn Island Papeete – Tahiti Bora Bora – Society Islands Pago Pago – American Samoa Lautoka – Fiji Islands Noumea – New Caledonia Brisbane – Australia Sydney – Australia Eden – Australia Philip Island – Australia Melbourne – Australia Hobart -Australia Transit Milford Sound Dunedin – New Zealand Christchurch – New Zealand Transit Marlborough Sound Wellington – New Zealand Auckland – New Zealand Nuku ‘Alofa – Tonga Apia – Western Samoa Christmas Island Honolulu – Oahu, Hawaii Kahalui – Maui, Hawaii Los Angeles – USA Acapulco – Mexico Huatulco – Mexico Transit Panama Canal Curacao – Dutch Antilles Margherita Island – Venezuela Barbados Ponta Delgada

This is on a very luxurious Cruise Ship that has only outside or balcony cabins.

In 2005 a trip around the world lasting 102 days by various freighting companies could be had for $11,750 per person.
That is $117 per person per day including food and all facilities. That is $7000 per couple per month.

So going on this 3 1/2 month World Cruise would cost them $7000 – $4000 = $3000 per month.

The double suites all consist of two rooms, a bedroom with twin beds and a living room.

Each cabin also has its own VCR and TV monitor and refrigerator.

There is also an indoor swimming pool.

This is cheaper yet.
There are lots of 7 day cruises for about $100 per day per passenger.
So you could conceivably take 7 day cruises continuously in the same area, say, the Caribbean, on the same ship, or on different ships until you get sick and tired of the area.

Logistics would be more difficult because you may need a place to stay every 7th night.

Effective in 2005 there is now a discount European Cruise Line operating in the Caribbean that charges $46 per person per night but you have to get your own food.

Still, can’t get any cheaper than this.

J Shipper is very interested in living on a Cruise Ship




12 May 2010 Vector Arena- Experience Boundless Fun and Entertainment

Integrated with plush amenities and traditional architecture, the much anticipated Vector Arena finally stands out as the prime venue for a variety of entertainment and sports events. The completion of the establishment bought some of the best performers to the city and was also the venue for many prestigious sports events ranging from netball to gymnastics. The arena is adorned by some of the best entertainment of great magnitude and these include rock concerts, classical performances, opera, ballet and family shows.

The initial event at the arena was the Rock Star Supernova concert and since its inauguration the Vector Arena has attracted giants in the entertainment as well as the sporting industry. As New Zealand’s largest multi purpose, indoor, all weather arena, the venue has opened new doors to entertainment in New Zealand and stands in par with other such world class establishments.

Ideally located in Auckland, the largest and most populated area in the country, the arena is fit to accommodate over 12,000 people in its outstanding performance space at the heart of the facility and it can also be transformed into a theatre or an inviting concert venue for smaller audiences.

The captivating architecture and artwork of this venue was inspired by Tohunga Titahi of Ngati Whatua, the indigenous people of New Zealand and owing to these traditional attributes and modern amenities the Vector Arena surpasses as distinct venue of traditional charm and ultra modern facilities. Within the premises is Bristo Arena which is great to enjoy a relaxing interlude with excellent cuisine and stunning views. The arena is conveniently located near a number of Auckland hotels, among which the Corpthorne Hotel Auckland HarbourCity claims to be one of the finest. With innumerable events taking place, the Vector arena in New Zealand is a splendid entertainment destination that should not be overlooked.

12 May 2010 New Zealand Bed and Breakfast

So, you are coming to New Zealand for your holiday and have no idea where to stay? Try a New Zealand Bed and Breakfast….. They make a good base to start from each day while you sight see on your New Zealand vacation. Where do you start? If you do not fancy starting in the city you could try Coromandel there are nature reserves, wild life and water sports on offer on this beautiful peninsular situated east of Auckland. On the return to your Auckland bed and breakfast you could choose to stay in the inner suburbs of Ponsonby and Parnell away from bright lights but close to transport for the city sights. An Auckland lodging may suit you better if you would like a longer term arrangement. You can not beat the city lights at night and Auckland hotels have a lot to offer the traveler.

Bed and Breakfast Wellington will allow you to stay in this wonderful city and sightsee at your leisure. Is there a better option for your holiday? I think not. Adventure awaits you in this exciting island paradise. Traveling from one bed and breakfast to another bed and breakfast and situated at convenient locations. Experience the hospitality of the locals. You can enjoy the local cuisine and travel where your heart takes you when you wake ready to tour this beautiful country.

Beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound is a very scenic setting for a Picton bed and breakfast what delightful scenery to wake to each day. Easily accessible with the Inter Island Ferries crossing Cook Strait to Wellington on the North Island departing several times daily.

Your New Zealand holidays could include many places to stay in this island nation. The Bay Of Islands has some beautiful scenery and you can choose from a wide range of New Zealand accommodation to suit your budget.

Queenstown, is a great place to include in your New Zealand holiday and for a more personal experience include a stay at a Queenstown bed and breakfast. This delightful area of the South Island has some beautiful ski resorts and an all season lake and is becoming a popular tourist destination for all travelers. Bed and Breakfast Queenstown would make your experience of this part of the world more memorable.

Blenheim bed and breakfast at Blenheim is another delightful experience you should include in your holiday. The New Zealand Bed and Breakfast that are on offer in this country are top class and ensure a wonderful relaxing holiday. You could take a tour from your Bed and Breakfast Christchurch and take the coast road to Blenheim.

A Bed and Breakfast Christchurch is usually set amid the best parts of this city renowned for its churches and gardens. In Christchurch you will find some beautiful historic churches to tantalize your interest in all things historical.

You will have a great holiday experience when you stay at one of the many New Zealand hotels that offer a warm welcome and a comfortable bed. When planning your next holiday and looking at accommodation options a bed and breakfast NZ is well worth your consideration. At a New Zealand bed and breakfast you can be assured of having a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.

29 Apr 2010 Teaching English in China

The First Teaching Job in China by Mark Dykstra

Its February 24th, 2003, in a 40 degree humid heat, i stepped off the train in Hangzhou City. I gasped for breath, as i dragged my western worldly belongings trying to maintain a fix on where my Teaching Manager was. Void of a teaching certificate, void of speaking any Chinese and having absolutely no teaching experience or confidence, to be able to stand up in front of 10 students, let alone what would become 2000 students at one time, i was at the mercy of the elements of Chinese society. Like a small spaceship in Saturns asteroid belt, i just let the millions of frantic chinese citizens meld around me and i was lost in the fray, however after a miracle of bearing i found my Chinese Manager, the man himself who was to trust my blaringly ignorant and drastic lack of qualifications, i was whisked into his run down Mazda Coup and taken to the nearest restaurant to feed on the latest of the day live prawns, swimming in Rice Wine, and bouncing about like gipsy moths, hardly able to grasp my chop sticks after my train lagged trip from Guangzhou, i navigated my teeth over the best place i would take my first bite of the struggling and squirming prawn. It was then i realised i was making my first crunching bite into the unknown of what Chinese life was all about.

We made our journey to Huzhou City where i would begin my first 6 months teaching assignment at the Huzhou Technical College where Hundreds of students waited patiently for me for my arrival. My pre booked and paid up 3 bedroom apartment was luxurious compared to my flat back home in Auckland and everything was clean and tidy with wide open spaces. I have never felt so dignified and honored to have such new and wonderful decor and fittings that represented China so well. A beautiful, large pane of smoked glass showed the elegant engrained potrait of a Dragon intertwined in a woods seperated the living room and large bedroom. My office itself had the floor area of a 2 bedroom house. Does China really have such fantastic, modern, and lavish western standards built into its current day architecture.? The answer i found was a resounding yes, and what i found as time moved on was this clash of culture with western traditions that China had so intricatly developed in house and apartment design.

I found my life style within China expand dramatically, and i was able to travel first class by air, and by train and to travel by taxi and buy the best food

27 Apr 2010 New Zealand Self Drive Holiday

A New Zealand self drive holiday, what a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country. Steeped in wonder and mystery this Land of the Long White Cloud will be much easier to explore with self drive car rental New Zealand. You could choose one of the many Auckland accommodation places to stay a few nights or you could leave on your self drive New Zealand holiday as soon as you land here. There are several brochures available at many of the tourist information booths you will see on your drive through this lovely country.

You can choose from a large range of quality, reliable, fuel efficient, cheap car hire deals. The vehicles are all well maintained and serviced after each rental to ensure reliability and satisfaction.

When planning your family’s next holiday, a local tour can also give you a much earned break from driving especially when you are in busy and unfamiliar areas. You can also purchase a New Zealand Travel Pass available at budget prices to get you around the many sights in our busy cities or you could also take one of the many travel tours that will give you a guided tour of our spectacular places of interest.

Driving around New Zealand will give you a holiday you will remember for long time especially if driving yourself around the country is your vacation of choice. You can organize and stop where your heart chooses on self drive tours to give you and your family the adventure of a lifetime.

Car rental is made easy with on-line bookings or you can make just one quick phone call for a car hire. It will be easy for you and your family to plan that special New Zealand vacation where you will find driving directions easy to follow and travel deals hard to beat.

Coach tours New Zealand can also be a part of your self drive holiday and they can help you to plan some great package holidays that are just right for you and your family.

New Zealand tours that are properly planned will provide you with holiday options that make you want to experience it all over again.

A visit to Queenstown is a must especially if you are the adventurous type. This city is recognised as the adrenaline capital of the world. Many tourists state that their stay in Queenstown was the highlight of their holiday in New Zealand.

A New Zealand self drive holiday gives you a much needed break from your everyday life especially if you select the right type of vehicle for your holiday.

23 Apr 2010 Buying a Property in New Zealand

An island nation always has a special charm in the hearts of people who don’t have the luxury of living at such a paradisiacal place. New Zealand is one such country that oozes resplendence at every step. With nearest neighbour Australia, New Zealand is not a part of Australian continent. In fact, the country belongs to the largely submerged continent of Zealandia, which stretches from the north of New Caledonia to the south of New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic islands. New Zealand is comprised of three main islands besides several other small islands that enrich the topography of the country with some breathtaking views and inspiring scenery.

New Zealand Highlights

New Zealand is blessed with some of the choicest nature’s bounties, with pristine golden beaches, snow-capped alpine mountains, crystal-clear river waters, glacier-fed lakes, and abundant adventure activities you can indulge in. This means the country is agog with tourists all the year round offering numerous opportunities to earn handsome rental income from apartments and other vacation properties alongside some of the most-visited spots in New Zealand.

The inviting kiwi weather is an added incentive to visit the country. The outdoors of the country is ideal to indulge in plenty of activities, like bungee jumping, scuba diving, zorbing, mountaineering, kayaking, surfing etc.

The natural attractions of the country are enough to lure holidaymakers, retirees, and expatriates who look for real estate investment opportunities in the country. In fact, in addition to the vacation property, second-homes are also extremely popular for the property investors due to New Zealand’s favourable living conditions, cost of living, and the rosy projections of the nation’s economy.

If you think that New Zealand is just about adventure sports, think again. For the country has a rich history and tradition of the native Maori people, as depicted through several museums and art galleries. New Zealand also has a rich treasure of flora and fauna wildly found in the National Parks and the Ocean.

The country is extremely well connected with the rest of the world through airways and seaways. The internal transport of the country depends on efficient air, road, rail, and sea routes for a variety of commuters.

New Zealand is every bit a modern country having plenty of education opportunities for lower and higher level of students. All the modern amenities, like nightclubs, discos, pubs, restaurants, cafes, theatres, cinemas etc. can be easily accessed through major kiwi cities.

The nation’s economy is also booming with Agriculture playing a major role in its upswing.

Overall, New Zealand offers one of the best places to invest in real estate. Moreover, the British investors would love the place inhabited by majority English-speaking friendly people.

Property Market in New Zealand

In recent times, New Zealand property prices have hit the roof with surging demand from the European investors, particularly the British real estate investors. This has resulted in a slowdown in the New Zealand property market. And this also means that property is now much more affordable for the budget investors. The growth is definitely on the wane and the prices are dropping, yet no one is discounting New Zealand’s property potential.

Though low, the prices are still on a higher plank. For instance, luxury apartments in the capital city, Wellington, are highly priced at £400K+, and over in Auckland, it’s even more. However, small accommodation is reasonably priced in major kiwi cities. For instance, you can make off-plan investment in apartments in Auckland for £60K+.

The Studio Apartments in cities, like Auckland, are a safe investment. They guarantee regular rental income through people who often flock the cities for better job prospects. And with the high expectations from the nation’s economy in the coming years, major pressure has to be borne by the housing industry to feed the demand for more accommodation.

The current period is favourable for any kind of property investment in New Zealand. An astute investor will exploit the prevailing lower prices of New Zealand property, and make a killing in times to come.

The kiwi legal system is identical with the British Common Law system. Resultantly, trading in property is largely hassle-free in New Zealand. Moreover, there is no stamp duty to pay on property purchased in New Zealand.

It seems that owning a property in New Zealand is cakewalk for those who possess the required finance. However, for those who have limited budget, there are lots of financial institutions in New Zealand that offer lower interest rates on mortgages in New Zealand.

The hottest locations for property investment on the North Island include Wellington, Tauranga, and Auckland. The South Island has Nelson, Queenstown, and Christchurch as jewels in the real estate crown.

The potential real estate investors in New Zealand would do well if they hire a specialist to deal with all the legalities and other formalities required for ownership of property in the country. After all, you don’t expect to be ripped off your hard-earned money just because of some negligence on your part.

21 Apr 2010 Into the Blue


 After 16 years of banking, running three companies, caring for two children and six horses, my husband and I decided the life we had created was not for us. Despite spending 17 years together and loving every minute of each other’s company, Marcus and I, like many others, felt like prisoners of stress. We would spend our free time studying various holistic modalities, yearning to find a way to cope with our continual stresses without having to give up our careers and lifestyles. Yet we couldn’t seem to fully eliminate it from our lives – that is of course, until one day a single event changed our lives and inspired us to embark on a journey that would allow us to break free from the British mould and seek optimum health and serenity.


The straw that finally broke the camel’s back occurred on a cold, wet Monday morning. I received a phone call informing me that a dear friend and business associate aged 41 had died of a heart attack. Our friend was a couple of years younger than me, a typical banker – hard working and always stressed. He died on a Sunday morning in bed with his seven-year-old son playing next to him.


After our friend’s death, my husband Marcus and I spent so much time reflecting on our lives and how we had allowed stress to dominate our lives. Finally, I asked Marcus, “If we were free to make the choice where would we live?” His answer was the South Pacific! After much debate, we decided to set about unravelling our life. The challenge of this was all encompassing. It took about a year and a half, lots of drama and lots of heartache to let go of the lives that we had built and create a new one from scratch.


By August 2005, finally free from our chattels, we were ready to begin our greatest adventure. Despite not having a clue of what we would do for the rest of our lives – when one has a burning desire, fool or fancy does not play a part in the decision-making process. No matter what, we knew we had to go. The general consensus about us giving up all we had worked so hard to create was that we were either brave or stupid. Nonetheless, with nine suitcases, two kids, ages 5 and 12, we set off into the blue.


We planned our route via the US as it was our children’s dream to see Disney World. However Los Angeles was shocking for them and we spent most of our time explaining to our children why people were begging on the streets and why people there were so obese.


Next was Western Samoa, a delightful place steeped in history. Despite there being no hint of western pleasures, the people were happy, had great self-respect and looked well and vital. We got to know their culture and revelled in their uncomplicated, yet fulfilled lives. It amazed us how effortless life could be when the ‘mighty contemporary world’ was left behind. We treasured our time in Western Samoa as it was our first taste of freedom from the confines of modern civilisation.


Our next stop was Tonga, an archipelago of 171 tropical dots on the horizon. Let’s just say that we definitely weren’t ready for this culture shock. The Tongan people are amazing and truly gorgeous, but they know little of the outside world and frankly, have no real interest in it. They live simple lives in a place completely isolated from the ‘trappings’ of western society.


After some time, however, we realised that we could not home-school our children. We had initially thought that we could handle educating our own kids, but as it turned out, we weren’t cut out to be teachers. We didn’t want to become selfish in our quest for peace and tranquillity so we had to make yet another big decision and find a new place to move where our kids could be educated.


As we considered our options, we felt completely alone and almost like our new home had become a mental prison. At that moment, it hit us that we were on the other end of the only world we really knew, on a deserted beach, with no home, no focus and no idea what we were going to do with the rest of our lives. Having researched New Zealand years earlier, we regrettably decided to leave our tropical paradise for fairly more westernised shores. It was a gloomy day saying goodbye to our Tongan friends and the trip from Va-vau to New Zealand was very sad. In a way, we felt we had failed and perhaps lacked the right ingredients to pursue and find our dream.


New Zealand was yet another shock. After being on a small tropical island, the crowds of people and the noise levels were unbearable. We sat in McDonald’s, to the children’s delight and to what felt like our surrender, and contemplated our future. Then we did what the typical traveller did in New Zealand – we hired a camper van. Despite it being called a six-berth mobile transporter, it was certainly not for six people. Marcus and I spent six weeks sleeping top to toe, his shoulders too wide for us to be at the same end. New Zealand was possibly the lowest point of our journey and perhaps even our lives. We were confused and emotionally exhausted as we drove from one end of the county to the other, crossing mountain passes, over rivers and through dales, marvelling at the incredible views – but still, without a clue to what we were really searching for.


One thing I should point out during this stage of our journey is that we all experienced weight gain – not just a couple of pounds, but some serious kilos. Our New Zealand diet had a “Super Size Me” effect so I’d put on 13 kilos in six weeks. Years earlier, when I had opted to bleach my hair blond after it had begun turning grey, I was informed of a belief that the act of shaving one’s head allowed spirituality to enter the body – almost like a type of purification. So to add insult to injury, we shaved our heads in a campsite bathroom. Let’s just say, I didn’t feel purified, instead, it only made me look uglier than I felt already.


New Zealand became torturous after having driven 6,000 kilometres in six weeks. I have powerful memories of sitting on a beach called “Cape of Foul Wind” and crying into another bag of fish and chips, wondering what would become of us. Finally, we decided on arrival in Queens Town, where we would do every dangerous sport or activity we could find. When you spend years living a stressful life, it can be impossible to relax and so we were looking for any way to release our minds and bodies from the toxins and stressed energy that had enslaved us.


We set about throwing ourselves out of planes, bungee jumping, white water rafting and canyon swinging. The reality of sitting at the open door of a plane 16,000 feet up with only a parachute on one’s back really does remind you to be glad to be alive. Each activity brought us closer to freedom, loosening the invisible ropes we had tied around ourselves. Nonetheless, we knew that New Zealand was not a place we could live as it was just too similar to the life we had left behind. On our way back to Auckland, once again, my husband and I found ourselves facing each other and asking, “So where to now my darling?”


It took a week to get to the city, but even during all that time, we couldn’t decide on the next step of our journey. Upon our arrival, Marcus remembered reading about a boat for sale in Phuket, Thailand. It wasn’t a place on our list, we had never considered living there, it seemed so incredibly foreign to us and we had almost no knowledge of Thai culture and lifestyle, however, on a cold rainy day in Auckland we set off to Thailand on yet another journey to see if we could find a new place to call home. Getting off the plane in Phuket was a moment of sheer joy. Our daughter turned to me and said, “I love the weather mummy – look it’s not raining!” From that point onwards, it just kept getting better.


We moved into a wonderful apartment and began to look around. It’s not difficult to fall in love with a place where people are so incredibly nice and are smiling all the time. We had previously heard people promote Thailand as the ‘Land of Smiles’ and we discovered that it actually was a true account of the nation. We visited the boat that Marcus had seen advertised, which was responsible for bringing us there, but we decided not to buy it after considering how unrealistic it would be to live in it with two children. We found a house to live in, instead, and a school for the children.


Marcus and I finally began to relax and as everything quickly began to slot into place, we finally felt ourselves breathing peacefully. During this time, however, I had a personal and massive mountain to climb; my weight had escalated, my skin looked old and grey and despite finally having a home, both Marcus and I were still exhausted. We knew we had to find a way to reverse the damage the last few months of instability had done to our mental and physical health.


The holistic skills we had picked up along the way were put to the test. We used self-hypnosis techniques to curb our eating habits, Thai herbs to cleanse our body of toxins, colon hydrotherapy, a designed diet plan to help us all regain the strength we had lost due to our terrible travelling diets and coconut oil, which is truly the most remarkable product for weight loss and cell regeneration. We also met an incredible third generation Thai herbalist, 85 years young, who inspired us to try Thai herbs with ‘magical effects’. By implicating all these techniques and herbs, it took us only five months to drastically change our appearances; my skin looked and felt years younger and 13 kilos fell away with ease.


All of this was accomplished with the help of many friends who volunteered their help with tasks such as grinding raw ingredients by hand. As people noticed the amazing transformations Marcus and I underwent, they started following in our footsteps, helping themselves and others regain their health and vitality. Without meaning to, we had somehow moulded a ‘purity’ program that served as an effective weight loss and anti-ageing tool, as well as a fantastic way to revitalize the mind, body and spirit.


After a year of research, trials and tribulations, we took this concept into production. We found an organic Thai farmer who had been producing Thai herbal preparations for twenty years and convinced him to grow our herbs in his farm. We also decided to introduce ourselves to the luxury hotel and spa market as we felt it could facilitate people’s purification journeys, supporting and pampering them during their experience, as well as provide them with a venue where they could get educated and motivated.


Finally, everything was falling into place and we found ourselves witnessing remarkable results in ourselves, our children and our program, which we appropriately called ‘Puriti’. We had found our calling, ‘our flow’, and it has kept on ‘flowing’. Puriti has progressed at a tremendous rate, driven by our passion and the world’s new “wellness” consciousness. With the success of our program, we realised to what extent the “educated wellness seekers” are yearning for real solutions and guidance to their personal wellbeing.


During the last three years, we have witnessed the wellness industry in Asia explode! As spas and wellness centres around the world look into purification as the route to their guests’ wellbeing, people are waking from their slumber to the reality that we have one life to live and that life is precious.


So now I ask you, can you imagine looking and feeling better than you did ten years ago? I can… because I do look and feel better! It may be a bumpy journey, but there is always a way – a route – to optimum health and vitality. Speaking from my personal experiences, you can always find a path that is in keeping with our soul’s purpose.


“Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end…” (unknown)


For more information on Puriti programs, log on to www.puriti.org.