Tag-Archive for ◊ Auckland airport ◊

26 Aug 2010 How to Hire a Motorhomes in New Zealand

How To Hire a Motorhome in New Zealand

Tips On Planning Your Next Wonderful New Zealand Motorhome Trip

Hiring a Campervan/Motorhome (I’ll refer to them as vans from now on) is the best way to see the stunning scenery of New Zealand. You can travel independently, at your own pace, in whichever direction takes your fancy.

By following a few simple guidelines, the experience can be both rewarding and affordable.

Getting Started = Try to plan as far ahead as possible to get the best selection of van sizes, layouts and prices. This is especially important over the December/January period when everything is totally booked. Planning six months ahead is usually ideal.

When to go= Anytime is great, although winter weather is variable and temperatures can get to below Zero with snow and icy conditions. On the plus side, there are some spectacular snowy scenes on a crisp, sunny winter day. The vans are also half the price that they are in the summer and some excellent specials are usually offered. December/January is the busiest time of year, with the Kiwis on holiday as well. The roads, attractions and campsites are filled to breaking point. February/March is the best time to come, as the weather is settled, the vans are slightly cheaper and the Kiwi kids have gone back to school. Spring and Autumn can also be nice, with the changing foliage colours.

How long do you need? =Try and spend at least two weeks in the South Island and one week in the North. Everyone returns saying they wish they had booked for longer. You can either start your trip in Auckland and drop off in Christchurch or vice versa. Book the ferry to cross between Islands. If you’re on a limited time frame, just stick to one island.

Booking direct or using an agent= It depends whether you enjoy spending your spare time on the internet, sifting through mountains of info, or sending your details to an agent, who can do the shopping around to get the best deal for you.

Some other tips= Kiwis drive on the left and most vans come with manual transmission, so make sure you have some sort of travel insurance. You may need to leave a bond on your cedit card on pick up, so check this out before you get to the rental agency. You need a valid driver’s license. Check with your agency to determine whether your current dirver’s license will work or you need to get an international one.

There are a few areas where you can free camp if you have a toilet on board, but these are slowly disappearing as some travelers ruin it for others, leaving litter, etc. Motorcamps and Campgrounds are the safer alternative. They cost around NZD 30.00 per night for the van and two people, have great facilities and are very, very social. Happy Camping.

19 Aug 2010 Home From Home In A Caravan

We’re Planning The Trip Of A Lifetime. The Children Have Never Travelled Anywhere Outside Of Europe And We’re About To Take Them On A Trip To The Other Side Of The World For Two Months In New Zealand.

We know this is going to be a one off but we really want to get a feel for the place. We don’t want to be stuck to a rigid timetable running from one place to another to make sure we get in all the tourist attractions. We want to be able to go off the beaten track for some of the outdoor leisure activities.

To do this we decided to use a caravan. Still at the planning stages, we were unsure whether to go for a new or used caravan but after research on the internet we found a new caravan company local to the airport and car hire company.

So, we’ve arrived in Auckland after a 24 hour flight, exhausted. After picking up our car we soon see the sign for new caravans and head for the site. The staff in the caravan sales department are very helpful and have our caravan ready for us immediately. We’ve decided to opt for a new one as we are going to be spending a long time in it and want the extra facilities that come with such a large caravan.

After a few days rest on a local camp site, we make our way to Hot Water Beach on the Coramandel Penninsula. Parking virtually on the beach we head off with our spades to enjoy the first of our outdoor leisure activities. We have spent an afternoon digging holes on the beach and bathing in the hot water fed directly from the volcano springs. As lovely as this is, we realise the small luxury of having our own shower when we are able to clean up and sleep exactly where we are.

Waking up this close to the ocean the next morning is just sheer luxury. We have a leisurely breakfast and head across to Rotorua. With this whole town built on a flat topped volcano, I’m quite glad we have the means of driving off with our home should the unthinkable happen!

We spend a happy few weeks travelling South with our caravan, stopping at roadsides, campsites and beaches – wherever takes our fancy. We get to travel off the tourist route, to see waterfalls and the most amazing natural sights that we wouldn’t have seen had we been based in a hotel. A few days in Napier gives us the chance for scuba diving. One of the main outdoor leisure activities we are here for and once again, an on hand shower to warm us up is a godsend.

Three weeks in and we’re running short on supplies so we head to a new and used caravans site and stock up. Driving a couple of miles further down the road we reach Castle Point. This is a beautiful sport with a rocky coastline and great reputation for snorkelling and diving.

Parking up, I am able to hop in the caravan and make a much needed cup of tea. This is when I hear my son shouting for me and a feeling of panic washes over me. I rush out to see that he is safe but he had been jumping about in the rocks and was now stood atop one just staring down. I picked my way across to see what he was shouting about when an almighty roar bellows out.

It’s a mother sea lion with her cub asking us to move away! Backing away slowly we realise the rocks are full of sea lions. Most are quite happy for us to have a look at them as long as we don’t get too close. The next day we are able to move a little further down the coast away from them and go snorkelling. Now it’s their turn to be inquisitive and, much happier in their own environment, they swim with us for a look.

After a week in Wellington, we begin to make our way up the island. Stopping at little villages off the beaten track we get to mix with plenty of the most sociable locals. Laying on a beach of black volcanic sand one afternoon we are joined by a couple of natives who chat to us like we have known them for years! I think if we had stayed in a hotel we would only have met foreign tourists so I am very glad we decided to use the caravan.

After another 3 weeks of relaxed touring with stops for white water rafting, waterfall jumping and seeing all the sights, we have made it as far North as we can possible go to 90 mile beach. This is where we spend the last few days of our trip sand boarding down the biggest sand dunes you have ever seen. But at the back of our minds we realise it’s time to start winding down to go home.

Despite all the excitement, we have been a little homesick at times. However, I have also become attached to this ‘home’ too. Before our flight home, we make arrangements to have our beloved caravan shipped back home. It takes six weeks but there’s no great rush. We are able to then site our caravan on a UK caravan site and have regular breaks with fond memories.

14 Aug 2010 Travel experiences: Hitchhiking in New Zealand

My experience as a native New Zealand hitchhiker:

Although New Zealand would probably be about the safest country you could hitchhike in, this is a practise I would no longer recommend. I can however tell you of my experience and let you decide for yourself.

As a child in the 1970′s and even up until the 1990′s I would have recommended my home country of New Zealand as the most beautiful and safe land in the world. Violent crimes were extremely rare and you could go a year without hearing of a murder in this country.

So hitchhiking was not something that was considered risky to do and was a viable method of getting from point A to point B. As a poor University student in the early 1990s I practised a little hitchhiking. It was a completely positive experience as people were friendly and helpful. Hitchhiking with trucks was a great option as they could often take you a good long distance. And just to help out in return I would assist with any unloading of goods at stops on the way or buy the weary driver a coffee.

Hitchhiking was a great way to meet people from all walks of life and they always had a good yarn, or story to tell.

Important points concerning hitchhiking in New Zealand:

1) Traffic drives on the left side of the road. This is most important to remember when crossing any roads. I can attest this can be easy to forget for as a kiwi girl in the United States I had to constantly remind myself traffic was the other way around!

2) Waiting on the side of the road can often be a lengthy process as traffic is not as dense in many areas of the country. If you keep to main roads however, you should not have to wait longer than 15 to 20 minutes.

2) There are only motorways (highways) around major cities such as Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. It is both illegal for you to hitchhike on these highways and illegal for motorists to stop on highways.

3) As a tourist hitchhiker you will often find New Zealander’s or Kiwi’s going the extra mile and giving you a tour of the town you have arrived in or inviting you to stay overnight or for a party. In most instances I would say this is legitimate and safe.

4) New Zealander’s are on the whole a friendly bunch of people and very down to earth. We love helping others and this includes helping visitors to our land see our beautiful nation. But you will still need to keep yourself safe which leads us to the next section.

Safety and hitchhiking

25 Jul 2010 John Warwicker – Co-Founder of Tomato Design Company

Design company Tomato
( http://www.tomato.co.uk ) was founded in 1991 in London by John Warwicker, Steve Baker, Dirk Van Dooren, Karl Hyde, Richard Smith, Simon Taylor and Graham Wood. In 1994, Michael Horsham and Jason Kedgely joined.

tomato specializes in: Architectural Design, Consultancy, Drawing, Education, Electronic Interactive Media, Film & Commercial Direction, Graphic Design, Fashion, Motion Graphics, Music & Sound, Strategy, Branding & Identity, Photography, Publishing, Title Sequences, Typography, Writing.

In 1997, tomato interactive was formed with Tom Roope, Anthony Rogers and Joel Baumann. Tota Hasagawa joined in 2001 when tomato and tomato interactive became one and the same.

Baumann has since become Professor of Interactive Media and Communication at Kassel University in Germany and is still a member of tomato. Roope is a lecturer of Interactive Media Studies at the Royal College of Art in London.

Currently, tomato has studios in London, New York, Tokyo and Melbourne.

Laura Schwamb interviewed one of tomato’s founders, John Warwicker. Aside from his involvement with tomato, John Warwicker’s book “The Floating World,” is expected to be published by the end of 2006. He also works with the band “Underworld,” with tomato co-founders Karl Hyde and Richard Smith. Since 1989 Hyde and Smith have been “Underworld” and have released 7 albums to world-wide critical acclaim and had their music featured in several movies, the most notable being the film“Trainspotting,” for which tomato created the title sequence. tomato creates all the band’s sleeves and videos. Released in 2000 ‘Everything, Everything’, Underworld Live was released on CD, Vinyl and DVD. The DVD was at the time one of the most technologically sophisticated DVD’s released and went on to achieve Gold in its own right on the Japanese Music Charts. Apart from the accolades and awards Underworld in 2004 was voted the most influential Dance/Techno band in Japan in the last 20 years.

Some of tomato’s clients include:
ABC (Australia), Adidas, AOL, Bacardi, BBC, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Scotland, BMW, Casio, Chanel, Clinique, CNN, Coca-Cola, Daidaiya, Dell, Downsview Park (City of New York), DoCoMo, MTV, Nescafé, Nike, Nikon, Nokia, , Playstation, Porsche, Quest, Rado Rado, Reebok, Renault, Royal Mail, Sapporo City University, ScottFree, Seiko, Time Warner and many more.

Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and your current situation.

John: I was born in London in 1955. I could have gone to either Oxford or Cambridge University to study math or philosophy but I chose art school at Camberwell in South London because I wanted to find out how I could describe through experiences and thoughts—art gave me a greater possibility to play with language. (The real reason was that the girls were prettier at art school!)

I finished my B.A. and then got my Masters Degree in “Electronic Interactive Media,” at Birmingham Polytechnic. Being the end of the 70’s, I had to write my own course. I spent the 1980’s mainly working for the record industry, but by the early 90’s, I had a portfolio of jobs that others (clients) liked, but I did not.

At this time other friends of mine were going through a similar crisis or needed to be re-energized or re-focused, so I got them together in the same room—not all of them knew each other…and the conversation has continued under the guise of ‘tomato.’

I’m still part of tomato, in contact with the studio in London each day via phone and e-mail.

Over the years, I’ve traveled a lot (About 40 counties), sometimes for work, sometimes to give lectures or hold workshops; received a few prizes (The most cherished of which is that I became the first foreign member of the Tokyo type directors club); joined a band (in the early 80’s as a video DJ) and left but still kept in contact with the members.

In the early 90’s that band became ‘underworld’ and the members are founding members of tomato, too. And since then I’ve been a ‘member’ of the band again. I’ve written some articles, I’ve done a countless amount of press, written a book (out this year?) and contributed to the 5 books that tomato has had published and I’ve been a consultant to the British government on the ‘creative industries.’
I’ve basically drifted for 25 years—mainly in the company of people who I really like, love, and respect.

I guess it has been a struggle. One struggle is getting paid enough money to keep myself and my family going. I was married for 15 years before this marriage, and have two lovely children, Poppy and Angus, from that marriage, on one hand and on the other hand is my “art.”

So, do I think I’ve succeeded or accomplished anything? Besides the personal things like my children and my marriage with Naomi—all of whom I adore and tomato itself, I think the answer is ‘no.’ Actually, I know the answer is no.

Q: What message do you try and teach your students?

John: I often ask students “Who are you?, Who do you want to be? And how do you want to get there?” and like them, I would still have problems answering that. And every now and again one has to take a minute to seriously ask those questions. It’s important because one can get so easily diverted and submerged by the ‘commercial’ world. Now, if someone is happy about that, then great. This is not a qualitative judgment, just a recognition that I can sweep you away from who you are.

Also, I think education has a lot to answer for. A lot of art education around the world fails in its basic requirement to help and support everyone. The ironic thing (and the most difficult one to be objective about) is that neither tomato nor I would have worked on the projects that we have for the ‘a’ list of global clients if we believed that there was such a thing as the ‘industry.’

We are asked to work on projects because we are not part of the ‘industry’ (although the industry might think we are). Life is too interesting to be constrained by method. It’s too reductive. Both tomato and I take as much care over a humble black and white a flyer as we do designing a building or directing a television commercial for Nike or Chanel.

This is not trying to disown the commercial projects that I—or tomato—have done. As long as one learns something (which is often the case) than it’s valuable. But this learning has to be focused towards an aim. And in this multiple-media, post-modernist world of distractions we all live in, the focus and the aim is not only very hard to define, but also very hard to keep hold of.

All through my commercial ‘life’ I’ve pushed on with my own personal work, which has in part acted as R&D for the commercial.

And I hope my book, which was started, in some ways, when I was studying for my M.A. –has benefited from taking such a long, enforced time.

Also, I hoped that moving to Australia would provide the break in the commercial habit and need, but so far that hasn’t been the case. In fact, quite the opposite. On one hand, I’ve been very lucky because I’ve had lots of work, all of which have been interesting and challenging, and this has been needed because moving one’s family is always far more expensive than one can imagine. But on the other hand, I’ve had less time to myself, or more accurately for myself. So, this question has caught me at a time of irresolution, but that’s nothing new!

Q: When creating, what do you feel is the most important aspect? Planning, designing or implementing?

John: When it comes to creating, the most important thing is to keep the spirit of what you are trying to achieve fresh throughout this process. I often think of this ‘spirit’ in musical terms, of a note or a series of notes…and that the process is akin to hearing something, writing it down, getting it played and recorded.

Q: Tell us about your favorite project. What was it?

John: Despite what I said earlier, I’m proud of many of the commercial jobs that tomato and I have undertaken. In some ways tomato itself is my favorite project. I guess the answer to your question is my book “The Floating World” because even though it isn’t everything I would want, it has gone some way to laying down a foundation that I can now build upon. “The Floating World” is 400 pages of thoughts, drawings and photographs. It’s a journey recorded and journeys reflected upon.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration? Any must-have magazines?

John: Everyone and everywhere is the truthful answer. There’s no method to it. Sometimes, one can look at a book or magazine containing the most wonderful work with ‘dead eyes’ and then, for no apparent reason, something might ‘catch’ my eye while I’m walking down the street and ideas just explode. There was a wonderful African band called Osibisa that had some popularity in England in the early 70’s. One of their first tracks had the wonderful lyric of ‘…criss-cross rhythms exploding with happiness.’ That’s what I experience when something ‘clicks’ inside of me. But as to its trigger, it’s wonderfully unpredictable.

Out of the hundreds that I come across, these magazines are my “must have” ones are: Idea (Japan), Eye (UK), and Creative Review (UK)

Q: You handle many projects on a daily basis. Can you give us a sense of how many, what kind, and how you keep track of so many?

John: The best way to answer this is for me to list exactly what I’ve been doing this week:

1. Creative direction and rebranding for the rejuvenation of the Hotel Windsor, including the design of 150 different items. Writing the interior design brief and supervising the choice of architects and interior designers.

2. Submission of a proposal for an interactive film for Chanel in Paris (with tomato).

3. Submission for a proposal for a Hewlett-Packard television commercial for Asia.

4. Designing an identity for a large property development company here in Melbourne.

5. Designing a website for an English-speaking culture guide to Paris.

6. Working with Rick and Karl of ‘Underworld’ on a multitude of projects. New Book, Online Publications, 12″ ‘House’ Bag, 12″ Sleeves for Remixes…

7. My own work/experiments.

8. Research.

9. Preparing for a workshop and my keynote talk at the big design conference, AGIdeas, here in Melbourne next week.

How do I keep track of them? Mainly in my head rather than noting them down!

Q: Do you often have to go the extra mile? If so, how often? Give us your most extended example.

John: I suppose my book, ‘The Floating World’ is my most extreme example. Without knowing it, I’ve been ‘writing’ it all my life. It started when I was researching material for my Masters degree at the end of the 70’s and then took 25 years to slowly accumulate and get to a critical mass that seemed like it had formed into ‘one thing.’

In 2002 I started ‘designing’ the book, pulling all the disparate thoughts, writing and visual material together. I must have designed the whole book (400 pages) 4 or 5 times before I was satisfied with it.

And then the task of finding a publisher began. The first tomato book was published by Thames and Hudson so I took “The Floating World” to the editor that I knew. He really liked the book, but said it was too ‘difficult’ for them to publish. The sales team wouldn’t understand it and wouldn’t know how to market it.

Then through friends I approached another publisher who was very keen to publish it, but unfortunately, after a promising start, the company folded. Michael at tomato suggested that I see a mutual friend and writer, Liz Farrelly, who had several contacts in the publishing world. She was very enthusiastic about the book and sent me on my way to see a publisher called Michael Mack.

Michael immediately said ‘yes.’ However, this was not the end of the saga. At the start of last year I was visiting my parents-in-law in Melbourne with my family. The plan was X-Mas and January in Melbourne, then back to London then off to Germany to supervise the printing.

Well… my mother-in-law suffered a slight stroke 3 days before we were supposed to return to London, then the next day my wife pulled a ligament in her knee and had to have surgery. So, I had to stay on and look after them all and I missed my print ‘slot.’ A year later, I’m still waiting but it looks like the book will go to press this June.

Add to influences: Lawrence Weiner, James Burke, Sol Le Witt, Carl Andre.

Q: What has been your highest pressure situation to date?

John: It is, and always will be, the first mark on the paper or screen.

Q: When you’re designing a project, do you keep the personal out of it and make all your decisions based on solid research, trends, and related information?

John: I find it so important to not take things personally and keep design as a business, so I’m curious to hear how other designers feel about this and if it works either way.

I couldn’t care less about research, trends, and so on. when they are ‘quantified’ for the industry. partly because by the time the ‘industry’ has caught onto something, it’s long gone and mutated into something else.

And for those who are reading this who do believe in the ‘industry’… I have been a consultant to a global ad agency and I was offered the job of creative director of JWT in New York (Which I turned down because they wouldn’t embrace the flux of the 21st century). I know how misplaced this method of quantification can be.

Q: Considering the importance of keeping current, how do you keep up? What are the current trends in packaging, color, design, architecture …

John: I don’t worry about ‘keeping up.’ I just feed myself with things that I do not know about. There’s always a problem with ‘keeping up’ and current trends—by the time you know about them they’ve been done.

As you know, I have thousands of books and thousands of magazines and I’m always interested in what’s happening, but a titan painting is just as contemporary as a website. It always depends on one’s approach.

Q: Tell us how you start a typical day from when you first wake to when you finally get home.

John: Up at 8:30am (Unless our little boy Noah has jumped on me in his boundless enthusiasm earlier!)E-mails, phone calls, and work throughout the day and also meetings. I stop around 2-3am on average, 7 days a week. This is, in part, caused by the fact I’m here in Australia and London/Europe doesn’t start their day until 6pm my time.

Q: Do you travel much? How much? Where? Tell us all about your favorite work/travel experience.

John: Over the last 10 years, I’ve traveled internationally constantly- to give talks, to work etc. probably 5-10 times a year. Antwerp, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Stockholm, Tampere (Finland), Tokyo, Sapporo, Sao Paolo, Rio, New York, Sicily, Rhode Island School of Design, Los Angeles, Sydney, Auckland, Iceland, Montreal, Cape Town, Milan, Istanbul, Castellon (Spain) being some of the places I’ve visited. I never tire of New York, Tokyo, or Paris.

But the ‘best trip’ was probably the week or so Naomi and I spent on Stromboli, the volcanic island just off the coast of Sicily. Neither of us are passive travelers—we tend to do work (drawings, photographs, writing) whenever we’re on holiday anyway. But Stromboli is just an active volcano, black beaches, good food and the Mediterranean. Wonderful.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of your job? Photo shoots, travel, meetings, presentations…?

John: Learning. Finding something new no matter in what context.

Q: Who or what has been your biggest design influence—and why?

John: The true answer is everyone I meet and everything I see or hear. Obviously, everyone in tomato, and my friends. But there are other people (often dead) that I look to. And by the way, I don’t think about ‘design’ in influences. It’s all about someone or something that influences ones approach, and thinking, as well as craft.
I suppose my first influence was my grandfather. He was the catalyst for my young imagination. He was a mathematician and was also interested in art and philosophy. Through his notebooks, I became entranced in mark-making and typography.

At 6 years old, there’s no way of understanding his equations but he tried to explain them anyway. The idea that a letter or symbol could mean something else was alchemic. This started my interest in typography and his notebooks in combination with a chance discovery of the work of Katsushita Hokusai in a book on Asian Art ignited my lifelong immersion in and interest about art and ideas.

My wonderment about Hokusai was initially juvenile; I was 6 after all! I read that he had made 30,000 woodcuts during his long life as well as a prodigious number of paintings, drawings and books. This sort of fact always fascinates small boys (Even though they might now be over 50!)

And what was (and still is) of equal importance was that his articulate, life-full images were of the world around him and not the posed artifice of all those brown European paintings of the 17th-early 19th century elsewhere in my grandfather’s books.

In addition, there were visits to the museums in London, such as the British museum and the more idiosyncratic ones such as the Horniman’s museum near to where my parents lived. London and Southern England are themselves rich ‘museums’ of art and ideas. Everywhere I traveled, everywhere where my parents or grandparents took me, was rich with artifacts and stories— evidence of the long journey. All of which acted as signposts for my imagination.

This is how I’ve assimilated this list of ‘influence’ not as a ‘copy book’ but as a personally assembled lexicon of ‘ways of doing, ways of being’.

Q: How is working at tomato working for you in Melbourne?

John: I don’t know! I really haven’t had time to say ‘Hello, here we are.” I’ve been too busy. This might change after I give the talk to 2,000 people at a conference next week.

Q: And last, what were you doing right before you decided to answer these questions? And if there was a CD or a radio on, what were you listening to?

John: I was trying to get to sleep but we foolishly have been allowing Noah into our bed at night and tonight he was on full rotation so rather than suffering more hours of being battered. I gave up and at 3.30am started this questionnaire! I was listening to Treatise by Cornelius Cardew.

21 Jul 2010 US manhunt for man after his wife was murdered and his child abandoned

Last Saturday morning at 8 am a little Asian girl was found wandering around alone at Southern Cross Railway Station in Melbourne. Video surveillance footage revealed that she had been left there by a man who had brought her into the station, wheeling a suitcase. The little girl, who was correctly assessed as being about 3 years of age, was calm but unwilling or unable to give any information about herself or who had left her there. Nicknamed “Pumpkin” because of the fact that she was wearing clothing with the New Zealand children’s fashion label, “Pumpkin Patch” on it, the tot was put into foster care while efforts were made to find her parents.

Eventually it was discovered that the person who had left her there was her own father, Nai Xin Xue, aged 54, a quite well-known Chinese magazine publisher from New Zealand. He had then taken a flight to Los Angeles. He is now being urgently sought in the United States by Interpol, who have a warrant for his arrest.

Not surprisingly, the welfare of the child’s mother – Anan Liu (aged 27) was immediately a matter of grave concern. It transpired that her body was found in the boot (trunk) of her car which had been parked out the front of the family’s Auckland home. In fact she had not been seen for nine days and would have been in the car boot for at least a week. Neighbours told of hearing a violent argument between the couple the day before she disappeared. Mr Xue was known for violence and, according to a friend, he had spoken on previous occasions of his intention to kill his wife, but his friends had talked him out of it.

New Zealand police have been severely criticized for taking what seems an inordinate amount of time to find the body in the boot of the car. For two days they were coming and going from the home – along with journalists – and no doubt there were plenty of other people hanging around out of morbid curiosity and genuine concern too. Who knows how many different people’s finger prints would be all over the car? This in itself will surely make forensic testing more difficult than it might have been. Even when they finally took the car away, it was another 16 hours before they opened the boot and found the body. Excuses have been made about legal protocol that was involved in getting the locked boot open. It certainly makes one wonder about the powers and efficiency of the law enforcement authorities when it takes so long to complete a routine investigative matter in such a

14 Jul 2010 Renting A Motor Home To Travel New Zealand

Whether you crave a holiday full of outdoor adventure or a relaxing vacation sampling gourmet cuisine and award winning wines, New Zealand has something for everyone. And, there is no better way to explore this highly diverse country than to rent a New Zealand motor home. With many tourist destinations within a few hours of each other and a well-maintained network of roads and highways, renting a motor home or camper van in New Zealand provides travelers the freedom and flexibility to experience all of the sites and attractions while enjoying all of the comforts of a home on wheels.

With many companies specialising in renting motor homes in New Zealand, it’s helpful to compare prices and availability on the internet. Rates tend to be higher during the summer months of December through February, and the best deals are to be had from May through September. Reputable rental companies will offer comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance, and 24-hour customer service. Other features that are also frequently offered when renting a camper van in New Zealand include itinerary planning, kitchen utensils, linens, unlimited mileage, ferry booking assistance, airport pickup, and luggage storage.

Camp ground facilities throughout New Zealand are generally very well maintained and in convenient, and often times, scenic locations. Along with BBQs, kitchen facilities, restrooms and showers, most campgrounds have laundry rooms and playgrounds. It’s always a good idea to reserve space at a campground prior to arrival, especially during the peak season of summer. Although most New Zealand motor homes and camper vans have a shower and toilet on board, it is illegal to discharge this waste into anything other than an approved dump station. Keep New Zealand clean and green. Should you dump the waste elsewhere it will end up in out pristine waterways. The main pick up and drop off cities for a New Zealand motor home or a New Zealand camper van are Auckland and Christchurch, although some companies have an office in Wellington, Picton or Queenstown. One way hires have a minimum hire period. It is also legal to park motor homes in New Zealand on national park land as long as there is not a “Parking Prohibited” sign posted.

Most first time visitors of New Zealand visit both the North and South islands to experience the vastly different landscapes. Camper vans and motor homes can be conveniently driven onto the Interislander ferry for the three hour journey between the islands. Most rental companies will gladly book reservations for the ferry and provide you with all of the information that you will need prior to setting sail.

When touring the stunning beauty of the South Island, it’s especially important to be aware of the weather. Snow frequently falls in the winter months, and chains are required on some roads. The speed limit on New Zealand open roads is 100 km or about 62 miles per hour. To have a safe motoring holiday, it’s essential to stay within the speed limit and to obey all of the traffic signs. Many of the roads, while well paved and signed, are somewhat narrow and often slick from rain or ice. Photo radar is used throughout the country to enforce the speed limits, and there are strict laws forbidding drinking and driving.

New Zealand is an amazing country with plenty to offer every traveler, and motor homes and camper vans allow the convenience, comfort, and flexibility to make the most of your holiday. Without wasting time checking into hotels or unpacking and packing up cars and suitcases, you can spend your time enjoying the sites and relaxing in your home on wheels. Happy Motoring!

29 May 2010 Mapping the Land of the Kiwi folk

New Zealand isn’t in the news very much because it is a very peaceful place with rarely any political, religious or social upheaval. People are often surprised to learn therefore that it comprises a large expanse of land almost one hundred and three thousand seven hundred and thirty eight square meters of area. It comprises of two main islands, The North Island and The South Island .The South Island is the largest body of land of New Zealand. In addition to these a number of smaller islands such as The Great Barrier Island, Chatham Islands and the Stewart Island or Rakiura Island as well as island nations that are in free association with it (the Cook island and Niue) They are located in the South Pacific Ocean and are completely independent and autonomous except for the fact that their residents are considered citizens of the country of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s’ territorial claim on the frozen continent Antarctica is known as The Ross Dependancy.

New Zealand is part of a mostly submerged continent called Zealandia (which is almost ninety five percent underwater).The Norfolk Rise, Challenger Plateau, Campbell Plateau is some of the regions of the continent of Zealandia.

Most of the initial geographical knowledge about New Zealand was acquired by Captain James Cook in his sea faring voyage to map New Zealand. It consists of fifty seven districts with sixteen cities and twelve non unitary areas. It is a little larger than The United Kingdom and a little smaller than Japan. It has recently been used as a location for filming many Hollywood (all three Lord of the Rinds movies and the Last Samurai) as well as Bollywood films.

It is located adjacent to Australia in the South Western Hemisphere of the earth and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and separated from Australia by the Tasman Sea. A sparsely populated country it has a population density of fifteen people per square kilometer of area which is less than the number of sheep per square kilometer of area!

The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington. It is the second largest urban area in Oceania, in the region of Wellington on the North Island and at the centre of the country.

Auckland is the largest metropolis of New Zealand. It is situated on the North Island of the nation and is the most populated urban area as it is the biggest. It is the city with the largest number of people of Polynesian descent. It is home to the busiest air port in the country The Auckland International Airport. Flights from all over the world make port at this air port.

New Zealand has a vast reserve of marine resources and under the law of the sea has is seventh in this respect.

New Zealand houses many natural wonders such as numerous hot springs, geysers, active and dormant volcanoes (A number of which are in Auckland), volcano cones, snowcapped mountains, fjords etc. The hill of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu on the North Island has the largest recorded place name in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Record!

25 May 2010 Testimonies: Traveling with a disability

My husband has a bad disability – me! Over the years I have got him trained. If I want to do something – I do it. In-laws questioned how I would cope getting in and out of a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle. I replied that I’d have to do an awful lot of walking if I didn’t!

My preparations were to:

[a] visit my homeopath and get drops for liquid leakage; I took them faithfully every three days. I also increased my intake of cayenne capsules for high blood pressure from 2 a day to 2 three times a day.

[b] visit my bank and get a Visa Debit card each on our joint bank account.

[c] update passports so they had 6 months left after the date we returned – they have tricky little catches these days!

[d] pay the deposits on our camper-van, travel plans and camping sites for specific dates.

[e] replace old suitcases.

[f] and at a later date, complete travel payments.

Selecting clothes for January and February was fairly easy. Where we live in Australia is extremely hot and dry. We needed summer, autumn and winter clothes (just in case) because of the areas we planned to visit over both islands of New Zealand.

I walk badly and use a stick, so the first thing the airport wanted to do was put me in a wheelchair. Fortunately I didn’t agree to one straight away, or we would have missed out on our planned Duty Free shopping. After we’d Duty Free-ed and I saw how much further we had to walk – I was more than willing to accept a wheelchair!

Airports are made long to tire you out so you sleep the whole flight through and never worry the hostesses. I could not believe how far I rode before we got into the plane. Unaccompanied children and wheelchair occupants are loaded first. My husband galloped along in the rear only just keeping up with my fast moving escort – such speed down the long sloping Adelaide Airport ramps was downright scary! Especially as I didn’t control the brakes!

We requested a wheelchair to meet us at Auckland. What a lot of fun that was. The beautiful Maori girl that had to push my weight around was a gem. She told me it was her privilege to escort me in a wheel chair through the airport and customs. We may have been last off the plane, but she had snatched and empty trolley and identified our luggage and had it loaded before my husband could get to the items.

Them we were whizzed through special doors and into the Customs area to lines where there were no queues and those who got off first were only just seeing the Customs Agents.

28 Apr 2010 How are people in your part of the world coping with the increasing cost of oil?

As oil and petrol hit all time highs seemingly weekly, many New Zealanders are turning to alternative forms of transport to curb their fuel bill.

New Zealand is an island nation with limited refining capabilities, meaning we must import much of our fuel, which leaves the country at the mercy of international price fluctuations. Combine that with high government taxes and levies, and it’s recipe for financial pain.

However, once fuel topped the $2 per litre barrier, many New Zealanders began to re-evaluate their fuel usage. No longer do people drive the car down the road to the shops, choosing to walk, or plan the most efficient route to do all their errands in one trip. Some who live in outer suburbs of cities have even begun to car pool.

Travelling from Auckland’s city centre to the airport, a journey which would normally take a couple of hours on a gridlocked motorway, can now be done in 40 minutes as high petrol prices have eased congestion.

Others have taken more radical actions, leaving their car at home and braving the cold New Zealand winter on bicycles. While evidence for the number of people doing this is still anecdotal, many are noticing far more cyclists on the road. Many of the cyclists note that, in addition to saving money on fuel, they are also saving money on gym subscriptions as their daily commute doubles as a workout.

With a population of just 4 million, smaller than many cities, New Zealand does not have a well developed public transport system, relying largely on buses rather than rail or ferries. Despite these shortcomings, the number of people riding the bus to work has spiked to levels not seen before, requiring some cities to add additional capacity.

But it’s not just the cost of private transportation that is causing concern for New Zealanders, as we almost import a great deal of food and goods, these prices have also been pushed up by rising oil prices. This has lead to a rise in the use of farmers’ markets, as well as an increasing trade in goods which have been produced within 100km of where they are sold.

As an island nation, holidays usually involve air travel, generally to Australia, but with the airlines putting their prices up as their fuel costs sky rocket, many are now forgoing an international holiday and choosing to spend their vacation time at one of the many attractions in their own country.

The New Zealand Government has also come under fire as citizens and businesses feel the pinch, but so far they are refusing to lower fuel taxes. New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is 12.5 percent, and this applies to petrol. But as the price of petrol has gone up, the Government’s GST take has also increased and lobbyists are attempting the make petrol and diesel exempt from GST.

Unfortunately for many New Zealanders, the only thing that they can do about rising oil prices is grin and bear it. Being sparsely populated means that the distances some travel make it impractical for them to car pool or ride a bike, and public transport is somewhat limited. For this group of people the only relief can be a drop in the price of oil, something which could be some way off.

While larger nations may believe they are struggling with the soaring price of oil, it is the smaller and more remote nations which feel the pinch first. While New Zealand’s price for petrol is a lower than some European nations, it is the additional cost of transportation which drives inflation up and causes the New Zealand economy to slow.

23 Apr 2010 Airline Tickets By Auckland

Airline tickets are the #1 searched for ticket item online and polls show 30% of all airline tickets are electronic tickets.They are offered for sale by all major carries, airline ticket counters, travel agents and web pages. The tickets are similar to negotiable documents and are personal and cannot be transferred to another person. Discount airline tickets are readily available on the internet and are subject to the individual airline’s Terms and Conditions. Online airline tickets are deeply discounted because the airlines sell about 7-100 seats on each flight to contracted online vendors.

The Internet is really your best choice to find cheap airfare to anywhere in the world and is a way to find cheap plane tickets quickly and easily.

Most airline web sites will note what day deals are posted but great deals are harder to find these days, and you’ve got to go beyond the obvious. You can always get the latest airline ticket deals from all the top travel providers online but use your flexibility with your exact flight times to take advantage of any available deals.

Reservations are always subject to availability at the time of booking and reservations professionals are usually committed to helping you plan and schedule any vacation accommodations. Travel planning and reservations well in advance is always advised but reservations are only completed by purchasing the tickets. There is no single travel reservations site where you can always find low prices, cheap airline tickets, discount hotels, or discount rental cars but with billions being spent every year, on-line reservations really do work.

Consolidator Airline Tickets are discounted airfares that are sold by most major Airline Companies to help fill seats and are generally the best discounted airline tickets available. The prices of airline tickets are constantly going up and down with most tickets being completely nonrefundable. Remember that round-trip airline tickets are often less expensive than one-way fares and cheap airline tickets are available at peak times, but you generally have to book far in advance. Budget airline tickets are great and in general, these deeply discounted airline tickets are released early Wednesday morning for travel during upcoming weekends.Now go online and save you some money!

Happy Traveling