Tag-Archive for ◊ Auckland flights ◊

13 Aug 2010 Bird facts: Blue duck

A native to New Zealand, the Blue Duck (in Latin Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos)

is endangered, on the IUCN endangered chart they are Vulnerable’. To identify the duck, it is mostly Grey in color with a chestnut brown breast; it’s beak is pinky white with two flaps of skin hanging down from the tip to help them scrape insect larvae off rocks. An average of fifty four centimeters long, the Blue Duck is a strong swimmer yet a weak flier. It’s streamlined head and large webbed feet help them to maneuver quickly in white water rivers.

Their numbers decreased significantly when mammals were introduced to areas of New Zealand and unlike many species in the country they cannot be moved to other areas due to their specific habitat; now they only nest in central areas on the North Island and western parts of the Southern Island. It is estimated that 640 pairs live in the north and 700 pairs in the south.

Blue Ducks build their homes in hollow trees and small caves, close to clean fast flowing rivers through forested areas of the islands; the presence of these ducks indicates the good health of the river. Their nests are built with twig, grass and down, due to the low height, Spring flooding is a high risk and makes their numbers vary widely each season.

Mating pairs nest in the same stretch of river every year, they do not migrate. Their nesting period is between August and October where an average of four to nine eggs can be laid. The female incubates the eggs for around thirty five days; during this time the male stands guard. The ducklings limited flight develops about seventy days after hatching.

For bird watchers the best time to spot the Blue Duck is early morning or late evening when they venture out on the river to feed, during the daytime they hide away from predators. The rockery section of the river, the more likely they are to nest.

The Maori name is Whio Whio which derives from the sound of the male’s call; the females contrasts like a rattle. There is restoration work being completed by the National Blue Duck Trust and Auckland Zoo to help reintroduce the Blue Duck to New Zealand.

07 Jun 2010 Destination guides: South Island, New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand.

South Island is the poor sibling of New Zealand. It’s economy is based on sheep and deer and like agricultural communities the world over, it suffers against its big brother to the north.

However, it is the New Zealand to enjoy.

Let me count the ways.

First, there are the Alps stretching down the spine of the island to the west. These mountains have climbing comparable to the Himalayas and they formed the basis for Sir Edmund Hilary’s capability to climb Everest. A cruise in a single-engine monoplane, taking off from a downward sloping grass runway and flying close in amongst these mountains almost to drop into the mountain huts, gives you a some small feeling of what it might be like to climb them. Your heart has difficulty in stopping its palpitating even an hour after you have landed.

Second, on the Western side of the Alps at Karamea in the Kahurangi National Park against the Tasman Sea you can experience a real rain forest with 380 inches of feet of rain a year. That’s right, not inches but feet. You can only reach this area via an unpaved tunnel under the Alps in which you appear to be descending all the time to hell yet you finally do emerge to rain, torrential rain. Don’t leave a window open here either to your room or your car because the native green Kea’s love fabric. These parrots will tear your car seats apart.

Yet, on the Western side of the Alps, the land rolls in green hills, home to thousands of sheep and talented sheep dogs. It is a fabulous contract in a single day’s driving.

In the center of South Island, Queenstown on its lake is a Swiss Alpine village complete with lake steamers, which could be at home on Lac Leman or on the Vierwaldstttersee at Zurich. It is an amazing town, which gives you access to North Island from its grass runways.

But before you go, visit the largest city in South Island, Christchurch in Canterbury region, named after Christ Church College in Cambridge, England. It has much to offer including a wonderful peninsula of green rolling hills clad in sheep. In town, the railway museum includes an antique steam engine that penetrates the outer wall and emerges from the second story of the restaurant.

Of course the money in New Zealand is in North Island, particularly on the yachting slips of Auckland. North Island has most of the Maori sites as well as the hot springs of Rotorua. Yet South Island is what you remember of New Zealand after you have visited the whole of the islands.

26 May 2010 Recruitment is About Being the Hunter, not the Hunted

Over the past years I have give dozens of seminars and speeches on the selection process. It doesn’t matter if I am in Invercargill, Auckland, Napier, Sydney, or Singapore, I always hear the same complaint: “Rob our area is different, there is a great shortage of talent here, we just can’t find good people”.

Yes, we do have record employment figures, but let me shake you up a bit – there is NO shortage of talented people in your area – the truth is that the most productive, motivated, successful, talented people already have jobs!!

Talented people don’t just land on your doorstep when you have a job. Your prime job as a manager is to create a PROACTIVE recruiting strategy that taps into the passive job candidate. If you want a team of truly talented people you can’t wait for people to come to you, you have to go ‘big game hunting’.

I have never seen great hiring decisions made by managers who are only attracting the desperate or the unemployed. You can bet your “bob & dollar” that the best candidates for you business are not amongst the ranks of the unemployed.

Developing a proactive recruitment strategy means developing a continuous hiring process. You will not find the best people launching into the recruitment mode when you have a vacancy. This strategy usually leads to hiring the best of a bad bunch. Hiring is a lot like dating – as desperation rises, standards slip!

A question I frequently ask in my hiring seminars is, “When you have a vacancy how do you start recruit?” In just about all cases the answer will be to put an advert in the newspaper.

Advertisements in the newspaper are estimated to attract the bottom 30% of performers in any job role. Think about it, who continuously trawls the employment pages of the press? Usually those who are getting the squeeze for better performance in their current position or those already pushed out.

There is an argument that press advertisements are good for targeting people new to an area, or those looking for a career change, but advertising in the press should only be a small part of your recruiting effort, not the total panacea. And make sure these adverts are worded to attract people looking for a challenge not a paycheck!

You will occasionally get a great person via the classifieds, but I guarantee to find that person will be like looking for a murder weapon in a rubbish tip! Usually classified ads bring in a combination of the frustrated, terminated, curious tyre kickers, confused and miss-aligned (to the job) applicants – people who are poor performers in their current position and now want to dump this poor work attitude on to you.

Let’s look at some other options. Recruiting from your own ranks rates the best – is that receptionist your next sales star! What about encouraging your current team to recommend people. Many companies pay “spotting fees”, but these are usually too small and the rewards too far out for people to bother. I’ve seen a $500 bonus (50% on hiring and 50% in 90 days) work really well.

Debriefing new hires when they start is an untapped source. Ask the new recruit if they have colleagues or know of others in their network that would be worthwhile approaching.

Businesses or industries where there is a degree of uncertainty are also ripe for the picking. Good talent gets restless when there is a change in the wind – new leaders, mergers, buyout etc. Targeting these businesses often reaps great rewards.

I like radio advertising, although it is expensive because you need frequency, it is great at reaching those talented people not “looking” for a job, but may be stimulated enough by your challenge to enquire or apply.

The Internet is another great source, not just for advertising, that’s not proactive recruiting! Use the Internet to search for resumes. A small fee to join one of the many popular job sites will give you access to hundreds of resumes.

One of my clients created some very inexpensive recruitment cards – these were the same as business cards – he called them Eagle Calling Cards. Whenever he was out and about and met someone who was an eagle (as opposed to a turkey!) he hand them a card and said, “We are always on the look-out for great customer service people like you, if you are ever thinking of leaving this position give me a call.” These cards were printed double sided, introduce the company and the exciting opportunities and benefits of working there.

Instant on site application forms are another good idea, especially for retailers – Take the proactive attitude of Overland Shoes. They have a fabulously designed postcard that is scattered throughout their stores. I love the call to action and eye-catching artwork that “speaks” to the target audience. It says, “Join Our Team! Fun, Rewarding, Dynamic, Energising, Motivating.”

Working your own network is also powerful. You know hundreds of people. Use direct mail, email, notices in your business communications, alerts on the FRONT page of your website, signs on company vehicles, in your premises and on community notice boards etc. I am sure your team could come up with many unique ways to “put the word out”.

We don’t have the space here to explore all the proactive recruiting options. Why not get your team together for a beer/wine and pizza brainstorm. Start writing up PROACTIVE ways to reach those passive candidates and stimulating them to apply through a creative (and honest) recruitment message. At one such client session a crazy idea turned into a winner – fly an aeroplane banner over holiday beaches on a summer weekend! Now that’s brainstorming.

Remember, if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting what you got!

20 May 2010 Travel Deals To Thailand

Thailand is for many people one of the favorite destinations. And the reasons are pretty much obvious. Even if tourism has really grown during the recent years, Thailand still offers some pretty much unspoiled territories, precious beaches and an amazing cultural shock that you will probably prefer to miss your plane back home rather than coming back to your everyday’s life.

Travel deals when it comes to flying there are many, as competence for Thailand is very high and in this case travel agencies are strongly fighting one with each other. This, in the end, lets us find some very good deals. The idea of the article is in a general way to encourage you to always look for this special offers, to never limit yourself to what you see on your first searches, but furthermore, and being aware that this is a limited time offer, I wanted to share with you for free one of my findings early this morning.

This offer is specially good for all Europeans, as departures are from London, and as I never get tired to say, you can reach London for 20 Euros the round trip with everything included with Ryanair. From there, with flights included and 14 nights in hotels in Thailand, you will get it for the price of 585 UK Pounds (813 Euros) I could kill myself for promoting offers like this for free, as I have no relationship with any travel agency at all, but certainly I am convinced that everybody should have the goal to help people, so here we are.

The way you can book in this case is not online, but online you will find the offer and a number in the UK that you can call to get more information. I haven’t tried, but I imagine that you will be able to make the booking by telephone.

Together with this offer, this guys have other interesting things specially related with traveling to Asia, but also many other offers to other regions, as flights to Auckland for 934 Euros, which is by far the best offer I have ever seen in the market from Europe to New Zealand. Also you can find 21 days campervan plus the flights to Auckland for just 1152 Euros. Again, is the best offer I have ever seen to get to the region. All this offers are generally valid until the 15th of June 2008, but if you wait for the beginning of January, the new offers for the summer and the first September discounted vacations will begin to appear.

They are also offering many possibilities to discover Africa, including some Safari packages, for relatively low prices. Africa is not my area of expertise, so I won’t promise they have the cheapest option, but the numbers look pretty good compared to what I have seen up till now.

In any case, just feel free to take a look at their page and you will find out which offer adapts best to your needs if you are planning to travel Asia, Africa or the South Pacific from Europe.

26 Apr 2010 Right Flight to Kiwi Land

Flights to New Zealand usually land in Auckland, the nation’s largest metropolis that is located on the North Island of the country. Auckland International Airport is quite arguably the country’s busiest airport. There are flights to New Zealand from most major airports all over Europe and the rest of the world. A flight from the United Kingdom can take from twenty two to twenty four hours to reach the Auckland International Airport in New Zealand.

A concrete plan of what you are going to do is of utmost importance. Once you’ve selected your purpose of visit you must apply for the appropriate visa. You need a working holiday visa if you are visiting for temporary business related purposes, a residency permit if you plan on settling there, a work permit if you intend to do visit and do business there on a relatively permanent basis, a visitor visa if you’re just passing through and so on.

Your visa must be valid for at least six months longer than you plan to stay to be on the safe side of the law.

People with visitors’ visas to New Zealand must have a return ticket, an onward flight or proof of funds to prove they can buy the same on reaching New Zealand. People with work permits and working holiday visas will be allowed entry on a one way flight only if they have proof of funds that will allow them to support themselves during the stay as well as buy an outward ticket. The outward ticket in addition must be to a country they are allowed entry into.

People from Visa Waiver countries (such as Argentina, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, France etc) may only enter the country when they have outward flight tickets or official confirmation that one is booked and paid for in their name.

Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand can enter the country with a one-way ticket only if have a valid passport or returning resident’s visa on their foreign passport for Australia or New Zealand. Entry into the country will be restricted if one does not comply with these rules.

Only after these conditions are verified is it safe to look at flight companies, peruse schedules and buy plane tickets. Unscrupulous travel agents may cunningly sell you a one-way ticket while knowing that you might not be allowed entry into the country on reaching the border. Be on the alert for any foul play while making all transactions. In case you do have a twelve-month working permit and intend to be in the country the entire duration flight schedules will not be available so much in advance and you will have to make careful and cautious arrangements.

The safest thing to do is do your own research regarding regulations (you can visit New Zealand’s immigration website), visit various travel agents, get quotations and compare them to find the perfect price for your budget. You can also visit online websites to search for the appropriate flight, book it and then pay for it with a credit card. A well-worded google search will aid your work to such an end.

Traveling to New Zealand without an onward ticket can be an expensive mistake, as you will not be allowed on the flight.

23 Apr 2010 Air Travel In Italy

The price of flying within Italy is often comparable to the cost of rail travel, although be sure to factor in the expense of getting to and from the airport. When flying out of Italian airports, always check with the airport or tourist agency about upcoming strikes, which are frequent in Italy and often affect air travel. The work stoppages, are called by trade unions over contractual disputes, and can also ground or delay flights to and from Italy operated by several European carriers, including British Airways and Air France.

Booking Your Flights
When you book, look for nonstop flights and remember that “direct” flights stop at least once. Try to avoid connecting flights, which require you to change plane. Two airlines may operate a connecting flight jointly, so ask whether your airline flies every segment of the trip. You may find that the carrier you prefer flies you only part of the way. Check web sites to find more booking tip, to check prices and to make online flight reservations.

When flying internationally, you must usually choose between a domestic carrier, the national flag carrier of the country you are visiting (Alitalia for Italy), and a foreign carrier from a third country. National flag carriers have the greatest number of non stops. Domestic carriers may have better connections to your hometown and serve a greater number of gateway cities. Third-party carriers may have a price advantage.

On international flights, Alitalia serves Rome, Milan, and Venice. The major international hubs in Italy are Milan and Rome, served by Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines flies into just Milan. US Airways serves only Rome.

Alitalia and British Airways have direct flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Milan and Rome. From Manchester, British Airways has daily flights to Milan and Rome. Smaller, no-frills airlines also provide service between Great Britain and Italy.

EasyJet connects Gatwick with Bologna. British Midland connects Heathrow and Milan. Ryanair, departing from London’s Stansted Airport, has daily flights to Milan, Rome, Pisa, and Venice. Meridiana has two or three direct flights each week between Gatwick and Olbia on Sardinia in summer, and daily flights to Rome and Florence throughout the year. From its hub in Brussels, Virgin Express files to Milan, Catania, and Rome.

Alitalia connects Canada and Italy. Air Canada flies to Munich for connections to Rome, Florence, and Milan via Lufthansa. Qantas flies from various cities in Australia via Bangkok, arriving in Rome. Alitalia and New Zealand Air fly from Auckland to Rome with a stop in London. Another option if you’re coming from Australia or New Zealand is Thai Airlines, landing in Rome via Bangkok.

When buying tickets for flights within Italy, on Alitalia and small carriers such as Meridiana and Air One shop around for the best deals. Tickets are frequently sold at discounted prices, so check the cost of flights, even one-way, as an alternative to train travel.

13 Apr 2010 South Pacific Trip – How To Get The Cheapest Flights

Speaking about this region makes me feel inspired. At same time, speaking about finding cheap flights to go there is completely another world, and probably if somebody asked me to find a cheap flight to the South Pacific, I would make them pay for that. That is due to the amount of hours I have spent doing research on the options to go there, only to realize that it really does not exist this deal we are all looking for.

On the other hand, it exists thousands of possibilities where you can get an astronomic fee to get there, when you could have reached the zone for a lot less. So, the first thing to set is: how much should you be paying to get there? Let’s be sincere. If you travel from Europe, everything that goes up from 1500 euros the round trip… let it be, this will not be your flight, I promise. From Asia and from America, you could probably find some deals for around 700 euros, that should be a price to look at. And from Africa, there are really thousands of options, but seriously i wouldn’t take anything for more than 1500 euros also.

The second step is to look at how many flights will you need to take. One golden rule applies nearly always. The higher the number of times you change from plane, the higher the cost involved, so try to keep it simple. After this, one thing has to be considered. Believe me or not, but I can promise to you that low cost has not arrived to this part of the world. It simply does not exist. Trying to be a bit more positive, I am going to mention a couple of things that can be useful. Always use the search engines for arilines to find names that cover the route you want, but never book through them. Instead, go to the mentioned airline, and scan it to the very end until you find this low fare. I promise it will always be cheaper.

In the end, the possibility to get cheap flights to the zone turns around two airlines. One of them is Zoom Airlines, and the other Oasis Hong Kong. The first one is possibly the first low cost airline that crosses the Atlantic that has ever existed. It means it allows you to go from London to New York for just 350 euros (about 450 dollars) the round trip, and it specially connects all European destinations with Canada, and we are looking specially at the flights to Vancouver, that is placed on the eastern coast of North America. From there, you could find good options to travel to the South Pacific, but do not expect any great deal. It is simply the best you can find. Also Alitalia has normally the cheapest flights to reach America.

If you are US resident, of course this would not make sense. Your first step will be to reach Los Angeles or San Francisco with a low cost carrier, and from there take the best option.

When looking at the other side, an airline that appeared just 1 year ago, Oasis Hong Kong, is bringing low fares to the route between Europe and Asia. From London to Hong Kong you can find it for 500 euros (725 dollars) which is pretty good compared to the competition. At the day of writing this article, this option is something that will probably close you in front of some airlines that will make you pay a lot to get to Australia or New Zealand from there. But, this is about to change, as Oasis Hong Kong is already developing to get specially a new route from Hong Kong to Sydney and Canberra, which will be a real hit to competition, specially to Cathay Pacific, as they will make the cost of this trip for the half of what this last ones actually offer. We will see.

Let me now tell you about the possibilities within South Pacific, studying specially Australia and New Zealand, top touristic destinations. Still there is no way to cross the sea between them for a reasonable price. A European trip of the same distance with Ryanair would be more than 10 times less the price those guys charge to cross. Still no solution to this problem. The good news is that within the countries themselves, it does exist some low cost companies that can make the national trips affordable. For instance, the Auckland – Christchurch can be made for 40 euros, about 80 kiwi dollars, or 60 US dollars. Still it is a terrible amount compared to the distance, but I will not complain.

Finally, a last deal found at the time of writing. The airline Qantas has very good options to travel from Europe to the area. Check their prices at their web-site, specially the Hot Deals section, and you will find some good discounts, reaching the 1300 euros barrier. They are also one of the favorites between America and South Pacific.

07 Apr 2010 Skyjump

 

Jumping off a 192 meter building has its own appeal, because it’s maximized thrill with a healthy dose of screaming and adrenaline added into the experience. SkyJump is not to be missed when you are in Auckland and you can visit Auckland’s famous Sky Tower anytime to watch others who are partaking the experience. Nothing compares to the thrill and excitement of jumping off a building when you know you’ll be safe afterwards.

 

The SkyJump activity is just like Base Jumping with a strong and steady rope attached. If you’ve pondered how stunt men escape unharmed after falling off a 100-story building, you now have your answer. The falling takes place at a very high speed, about 85 kmph and will take approximately 11 seconds of free falling. Intriguingly, the landing is always secure, safe and smooth, right on the plaza below. The SkyJump is approved by the OSH (Occupational Safety & Health) and upholds very strict safety standards. As a high-risk adventure activity, SkyJump starts from the 53rd level of the Sky Tower.

 

The SkyJump activity is so flexible that anyone can experience it. The minimum age is 10 years, but there’s no maximum age and the oldest jumper on record up to ow is an 86-year old lady. Anyone with prevalent bad health conditions is advised to avoid SkyJump. The maximum weight allowed is 120 kg, so just about anyone with a penchant for adventure can experience SkyJump. A special coverall-style flying suit and a full body harness are provided, but you need to wear suitable, close-fitting shoes. Sneakers would be ideal.

 

Unlike bungy jumping, the SkyJump is what can be called a “smooth sail.” There’s no hanging upside down or bouncing around, just a direct fall down the height of the tower. The Sky Tower in Auckland is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and now you have the opportunity to take a leap off it! Other than the SkyJump, you can also experience the SkyWalk, where you walk the 1.2 meter-wide ledge around the Sky Tower while attached to a beam located above.

 

The Sky Jump experience won’t take more than 30 minutes from registration to landing on the platform below. But, Auckland is a wonderful place to tour and visit various places with your friends and family, so why not stay at one of the stylish Auckland hotels for a few days? If you need luxury accommodations, check out the

Langham Hotel Auckland, one among the best Auckland luxury hotels.

 

26 Mar 2010 Cheap Flights to Australia

In general, the cost of airline tickets from the United States to Australia is not really cheap even if advertised that way. After all, it’s a long, long trip that takes anywhere from 14 to 20 hours each way even on non-stop flights. This being said, it is still possible to enjoy a substantial savings by shopping air carriers carefully and purchasing a ticket as far in advance as you can. This is easier by far if you do so online via the Internet where all the carriers and travel agents stand ready to provide you with both a quote and your reservation quickly with a credit card payment.

The price for a round-trip ticket from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles, California and visa versa, price quotations were obtained for a one way ticket on September 20th with a return 7 days later. Ticket prices for nonstop flights varied from $1,324.60 to $2,211.60 from Qantas; $1,701.60 to $2,336.60 on American and cost $1,619.60 for the single United flight given for that date set. Qantas showed other flights with one or two stops in Nadi and Auckland that were actually six dollars more than their lowest non-stop flights. American’s flights with a single connection stop in Auckland were priced the same as their lowest non-stop fare and a few dollars higher with a stop in San Francisco only. Air Canada also provided fare information showing that their non-stop flights with stops in either San Francisco or Vancouver varied between $1,733.60 and $2,031.50 for a round trip ticket. Finally, Air New Zealand offered a round trip fare with stops in Nadi, Auckland or Christchurch for $2,247.00 while Air Pacific came in with a one-stop price of $2,031.70 for a round trip fare. Extending the return trip time from 7 days to 30 days showed about a 20-30% reduction in these prices.

The prices mentioned above where obtained from one of the major online travel expeditors. And while there is a possibility that shopping still others may have produced a slightly lower fare, it seems unlikely when compared to fares directly from the airlines websites.

Air Travel to and from Australia and New Zealand to the U.S. has increased significantly during the past several years. This is particularly true in America’s summer months when

as more tourist vacationers consider those destinations prime. The real key to obtaining the cheapest-possible fare is to purchase well in advance of any planned trip.