Tag-Archive for ◊ Auckland car rental ◊

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.

17 Aug 2010 Memoirs: Journey of a lifetime

Journey of a Lifetime

The toughest step had been taken, the decision; the decision to begin the journey. All kinds of rumbling emotions had flooded. On one end was the charm to explore the unseen but the other end was not so charming, leaving your loved ones behind. The joy to witness new wonders overpowered the distress, as I knew I am coming back.

The day was well awaited and it came as had been proposed.

My husband and I had the tickets to Singapore and then to Auckland and from there to Napier in our hands. Bid farewells and boarded the plane. It was like the rocket launch 10 9 8 7

November 14, 2007, we spent the night at “The Mirador” in Bombay; next day early morning was the flight to Singapore. November 16, 2007 we touched Auckland and the view was amazing. The flight landing on the runway of the largest and the busiest airport of New Zealand; right in front the clear deep waters of Tasman Sea. It seemed as if one could dive fathoms deep into it and still be visible.

From Auckland it was a short flight to Napier where the agent received us with a broad smile on his face and drove us to “Tennyson Motor Inn”.

Early morning November 17, 2007 we were supposed to report to the vessel.

My husband is a Merchant Navy Officer, he’s 3rd Engineer and employed with the largest container ship giants. According to the company policy I am allowed to accompany him and so had I.

Napier was quiet that day, we’d reached at around 4 in the evening, shops were all closed and it was really cold. People were mostly in their cozy homes enjoying tea/coffee. We kept our bags in the hotel, got fresh and decided to roam around outside. We went to a park, clicked a few snaps and then kept walking till we got to one of the loveliest beaches we’d ever seen Napier Pebble Beach. Water was crystal clear and the ambiance was calm and serene. It was all so dreamy and perfect; to all this there was an added touch we were newly married. As the darkness grew our steps moved towards the hotel and though we never felt we were tired; we were. Ears expecting the ring of the telephone and eyes just giving up. We didn’t have to wait for long as the bell rang and the familiar voices brightened up our spirits. Speaking to parents had always been a delight but this was simply great. When one is totally satisfied, he/she enters a different world altogether and that night I snuggled into the bed and slept like a baby.

Morning was lit with a light sunshine and my husband’s pleasing

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 Whats The Future Of Air Travel?

Air travel is great when it works, when it doesn’t, it’s a nightmare. It is safe for infants, even newborns and no matter where you’re going, it seems air travel is an essential part of your trip. One reason why there is such fast growth is that air travel was under-priced until higher fuel prices came along but yet demand for air travel is at its highest levels since 9/11. It is governed by International, European and Domestic legislation and even private corporate air travel is now accessible. Traveling by air is the fastest way to travel but it is still very tiresome but is frequently the most practical method of covering the large distances between sights around the world. A century after the very first flight, air travel is no longer a miracle, it’s something we all now take for granted. Commercial air travel is a comfortable, speedy and a safe means of transport like buses in the sky.

This pattern is not seen for all airlines in all regions. Aloha Airlines received the fewest complaints for any airlines recently. Different airlines have different policies but they all make them as safe and profitable as possible. When it comes to prices now a days, the best deals are offered by Aeroflot, Quantas Airlines, Japan Airlines and Southwest Airlines. More and more airlines are cutting out a lot of their business class air travel and sticking with just coach and first class flights because business travel is way down. Some airlines are better than others at providing a quality air travel experience but there are so many flights to chose from. That’s why the member airlines of the Air Transport Association have set forth their commitment to improving air travel and making it as safe as can be.

With the geography of aviation and airports, air travel is a fascinating subject since it involves the immediate movement of people around the globe. Canada’s new government announces increased security measures for airports and air travel. European airports are handling the second largest air travel market in the world and are talking positively about their future. Whether on a domestic or a multinational trip, airports really can save you money. All airports in the United States are certainly focused on optimizing safety because millions of people are moving through our airports every day of the week.

Be smart while you travel: Make sure you follow travel safety tips while you are on your trip.The Airport Authority always offers tips for travelers and you should always follow them for smooth traveling.

Air travel is still growing and the key to successful air travel is planning, preparation and communication because it is such big business and can easily become a nightmare.

Happy Traveling

Auckland Semper Jr loves and studies Traveling since 1993. He loves doing research to contribute to ezines,newsletters and websites.You are more than welcome to use his articles as long as a link to his website is provided that search engines can follow.For more information about Air Travel visit http://www.infoairtravel.com

29 Jun 2010 Go Global In Your Search For The Best Refinance Mortgage Interest Rate Online

These days, shopping around for the best refinance mortgage interest rate online is essential for anyone who is looking to get the most out of their investment in real estate, whether it is for investment purposes, loss attributing qualified companies, or even just moving up the social ladder. It’s not only possible, but it’s also more convenient and less stressful to hunt around for the best refinance mortgage interest rate online.

Do More without Leaving Home

Any piece of property, whether you live in it or simply own it and lease it out, is a huge deal. You invest so much of yourself into it financially, emotionally, and personally, and you tend to tie your sense of self worth and integrity to your properties. It’s now more important than ever to make sure you are getting the best deal on something which is so important to yourself and your families. In the old days, you had to go down dressed in your best suit to visit the intimidating bank manager who would tell you how much a parcel of land would cost you. These days, however, you can search for the best refinance mortgage interest rate online without even setting foot outside the door!

Seek the Best

With residential real estate fast becoming the investment vehicle of choice amongst practically the entire population of the developed world, the hunt for the best refinance mortgage interest rate online has become faster and more furious. Not surprisingly, the competition amongst lenders has increased as a result. A major marketing strategy being employed by a large number of players in the market now is to provide their application services online. Competition amongst borrowers is good for you, the buyer. So is convenience as efficiencies further push down best refinance mortgage interest rate online.

Think Global, Go Global

One of the huge advantages that the Internet has brought to the mortgage brokerage game is the access it gives everyday people to the best refinance mortgage interest rate online, not just in their home countries but anywhere around the world where investment and borrowing conditions are favorable and where they make it possible to conduct transnational mortgage refinancing deals. In the last six years in Auckland, New Zealand for example, the average house price has skyrocketed up to 200 percent in places. In an attempt to cool the housing market, the reserve bank first raised interest rates three times in two months and then more lately has been selling off large amounts of New Zealand currency. Mortgage interest rates are now far too high for New Zealand to afford to refinance but overseas investors have the advantage of being able to access some of the best refinance mortgage interest rate online, such as the National Australian Bank operating out of Japan, offering 1.5% as opposed to The New Zealand bank’s 10.69% fixed rate. If you’re an internationally minded investor, it may be a good time to look around for the best refinance mortgage interest rates online and take advantage of vulnerable markets around the globe.

Finding the best refinance mortgage interest rate might seem a daunting task. It’s as simple as baking pie, however, if you do it online.

26 Jun 2010 The benefits of living in New Zealand

New Zealand is a country of outstanding beauty, where the pace of life is slower; a country that affords one a feeling of freedom. Spectacular scenery, adventure and a sense of having been put back in time, makes it a delightful experience and it’s easy to see why people would like to make it their home.

About a third of the population of New Zealand live in Auckland, a large multi-cultural city in the North Island; the other two-thirds being scattered sparsely over the two islands.

Driving through the country you can find yourself on clear roads, passing other cars infrequently. You’ll be winding up mountain roads, looking down into deep valleys with trickling streams and succulent vegetation.

Anyone deciding to start a new life in New Zealand should think carefully about what it has to offer and whether it would be right for them. Cities are few and far between, so if you crave shops and nightlife you would need to live in one of the big cities, perhaps Auckland or Wellington, but, if this is all you are looking for, maybe New Zealand isn’t for you.

If, on the other hand, you love nature, walking, sports, isolated beaches, snow capped mountains, blue seas and spectacular water falls, then you would definitely enjoy a new life in this wonderful country. The only problem you would have would be choosing where to live. Of course, this will ultimately depend on your type of work or business, where it is situated and how far you wish to travel to get there.

If you have children, New Zealand is the perfect country for them to grow up in. Here they could choose from a multitude of sporting activities, kayaking, hiking, skiing, bungy jumping, white water rafting, swimming, surfing, fishing and camping, to name but a few. New Zealand is definitely a place for the young.

Walking is a great way of getting exercise and seeing some of the scenery that can’t be seen from the road. Walks can range from 20 minutes to a few days and are usually well signposted. Follow one of these trails and you can find yourself completely on your own, enjoying the solitude and freedom that is one of the great appeals of New Zealand.

Perhaps beaches are more your thing. If so, then you will not be disappointed. Blue water and soft sands can be found all around the country. Whether you want gently lapping waves or large surfing waves, you will find a beach to suit.

Fewer cities and fewer people add up to less crime, which is a big advantage to anyone considering moving to this country. The majority of towns are small, some just catering for basic needs, others with small shopping centres and you will find the New Zealand people friendly and welcoming.

If you are moving from the UK to New Zealand the low price of fuel will be a very welcome bonus. Some form of transport is obviously a necessity, apart from having to get to and from work, it is vital in a country that has so many leisure activities and such a vast array of national forests to explore.

The choice between islands would be another difficult decision. South Island offers, Picton and the Marlborough Sound, Christchurch, Haast Pass, Hanmer Springs, and unsurpassed views. The North Island offers, Auckland, The thermal area of Rotorua, the beautiful Bay of Islands, delightful beaches and a ruggedness that has a beauty all of it’s own.

New Zealand doesn’t just have National Parks, it is one big National Park just waiting to be explored.

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.

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 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

05 Apr 2010 My worst car

I have owned seventeen cars since 1974. Most were good, some were very good indeed and some were indifferent. The four that stand out as being bad were among the most expensive and were all bought on hire purchase. The worst of these was easily the newest and most expensive. In contrast, the two best cars I have ever owned, a 1972 Renault 12 and a 1984 Holden Commodore Estate (the much-maligned 4-cylinder version) each cost $200.

It was late in 1985 and I needed something to replace a Suzuki TS185 which had carried me most of the way to Auckland before suffering a holed piston about 550 kilometres from home. I really wanted another bike, and I had my heart set on a Honda CX500 (They hadn’t been hit by the currently fashionable revisionism yet), but I couldn’t get finance for it. However, a local used-car dealer was offering cars on a $500 deposit and up to three years to pay. It seemed too good to be true. It was.

After I’d rejected a 1976 Holden Kingswood because of visible rust in the tailgate, my choices narrowed until I found myself driving away in a 1981 Vauxhall Chevette Estate with no signs of rust(of course not – it was just four years old), an intact exhaust system and a clean tailpipe.

The price was $7000. That would have been the price if I’d paid cash. If I’d had that sort of cash I’d have bought a BMW R65, which I’d ridden a year or so earlier and liked. The actual price after three years was more than $11000.

Not much went wrong in the first year. The carburettor diaphragm ($4) failed, and the garage spent $100 of time diagnosing it. The wiper motor burnt out, the rear side windows came unglued from their hinges , most of the exhaust system needed to be replaced (which was common when petrol was leaded), and the steering rack had to be replaced. A fairly economical year then, with only about $700 in repairs. The car was close to new; surely I’d get a few years of trouble-free driving now.

The following year was expensive. First the cooling fan defied probability by unbolting itself, despite being held on with a lefthand-threaded bolt to prevent such an occurrence. The fan sliced into the radiator. When I fitted the replacement radiator, I found that the water pump was leaking. The non-repairable water pump. Two months later, the engine faded on Haywards Hill and developed a persistent slight misfire. Oil consumption increased a lot. It took me a few weeks of profanity-laced evenings to rebuild the engine and refit it while driving