Tag-Archive for ◊ Cruise Ships ◊

09 Aug 2010 Getting to Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a favourite travel destination for both nature lovers and shopping enthusiasts. It is also a popular family destination due to the wholesome local culture and abundance of family-friendly attractions, not to mention the famous tantalising Wellington cuisine and the fascinating practices of the local indigenous people. There are a number of ways you can reach Wellington – by air, boat, car and train.

By Air – Wellington has one main airport – Wellington International Airport. It is located southeast of central Wellington. Although it is a relatively small airport, it is quite busy as it is commonly used as a transit point to places such as Auckland and Christchurch. The two main airline services at Wellington International Airport would be Air New Zealand and Qantas. Most visitors reach Wellington from the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane taking Qantas. You can also take Air New Zealand from the Australian city of Gold Coast. International flights arrive twice daily, and these are usually full, so be sure to book your flight in advance. Once you have reached the airport, you can take the regular airport bus, shuttle van or taxi to your eventual destination. These transport services are all available directly outside the terminal.

By Boat – If you are coming from Christchurch, you can take a bus or train to the New Zealand city of Picton where you can board a ferry to Wellington. These are regular ferries and are quite popular among tourists. There are also a substantial number of leisure cruise ships which stop at Wellington. Such cruises usually make a two or three day stop.

By Car – If you want to drive to Wellington, you can choose between two main highways: State Highway 1 or State Highway 2. While both roads are fairly easy to handle, the terrain can get quite tricky at times so be sure to watch your speed and drive carefully. You are highly recommended to avoid driving during winter as snowfall makes the journey dangerous and the road may be blocked at certain points.

By Train – Entering Wellington by train is also a viable option for if you are coming from Auckland, Palmerston North, Masterton, Johnsonville, Hutt Valley, Porirua or Paraparaumu. There are daily commuter services and occasionally, express services too. Train tickets are reasonably priced and taking the train also allows you to enjoy New Zealand’s beautiful terrain on the way to Wellington.

02 Aug 2010 Things To See On Your Holidays In Pitcairn Islands

Located in the southern Pacific Ocean, the Pitcairn islands is the last British overseas territory in the pacific. The islands remained uninhibited in the 15th century. Later, the Polynesians started settling down in the islands. History says that the mutineers of the Bounty and Tahitian companions are kidnapped from Tahiti and they set fire to the bounty. You can enjoy a moderate climate all the year round in the Pitcairn islands.

Holidaying in the Pitcairn islands, first include an air travel up to Mangareva in the Gambier Islands. There are no airstrips in the islands and you can begin your vacation in the Pitcairn islands with the help of the cruise ships. Apart from the commercial cruise ships, there are many private yachts carrying tourists to the Pitcairn islands.

The island has a very small population with about 50 permanent inhabitants who are the descendants of the mutineers and their Polynesian wives. As there are no ports or airports, the island remains unexplored. There are no safe anchorage and lodging place in the island and it requires permission from the administration in the Auckland. After getting the appropriate permission, you will be provided with lodging and other facilities. There are no hotels in the island and you can enjoy the stay in natural homes. The inhabitants of the island are very friendly and hospitable.

You need to spend a few days to get to know about the Pitcairners and explore the unexplored land. From the Pitcairn Island, you should sail to the Henderson Island if you want a special excursion. The Henderson Island is uninhibited and it is a world heritage site. If you are a water enthusiast, you will love this place, enjoying snorkelling and scuba diving. Bird watching is another popular tourist activity here and the island has numerous unique species of birds.

The major activity of the islanders is collecting honey and this honey is claimed to be disease free pure honey that cannot be tasted anywhere else in the world. Because of this reason, the tourists are not allowed to bring any bee related items to the Pitcairn islands. The details of the history and the bounty can be found in the beautiful museum at this place.

The island has a great source of income from philately. Holidaying to Pitcairn Island can be slightly expensive but you can enjoy a great visit to one of the tough world heritage sites.

The Islands are becoming more and more popular with holiday makers coming here on a family holiday and staying in self catering holiday home accommodation. Luxury villas with swimming pools and self catering holiday apartments are available to rent.

23 Mar 2010 Enjoy the Only Boutique Hotel in the Hilton Arsenal of Properties

I wanted to see the Hilton Auckland after their suite refurbishment, and it was well worth the visit. The popular Bow Suites, so named because they are shaped like the bow of a ship, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour, have had quite the face lift.

The interior, designed by Catherine Stormont of HBO&EMTD, is contemporary in feel, blending in with the overall design of the hotel which has been dubbed the “New Hilton” in its embrace of sleek lines and minimalist decor, interspersed with traditional Mauri artistic accents. There is a sense of being in the Presidential cabin of a luxury international cruise liner, and its proximity in the harbor, with cruise ships arriving and departing below your terrace, adds to that feeling.

Furnishings and fabrics are muted tones, “decked” out with Italian leather furniture. The Presidential suite has two plasma televisions, dining for four, a work desk and credenza, a chaise and side table over looking the wrap around deck, wrap around couch with chaise angle, an outdoor lounge area and eating area, huge bathroom with separate bath, rain shower, and toilet, floor to ceiling glass doors with water views from every single angle, electronic shades, and wispy white transparent curtains to mute the suns raise, but allow in the reflections of the sea.

The artists’ glass sculpture and vases that graced my room, included locals Simon Kaan, Graham Fletcher, and Heather Straka. Part of the upgrade included the concept that every space should have a touch of authenticity. Amenities have also been upgraded to the Crabtree & Evelyn “la Source” range, an improvement over past choices.

Hilton Auckland stands 300 meters from the city center adjacent to the Viaduct Harbor. It was officially opened by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, in June 2001 and is situated on the northeast corner of Princes Wharf. There are 160 deluxe rooms and six suites. Not a “small” hotel, but it does have the feel of a boutique hotel. In 2005 it was named the Top New Zealand CBD Hotel of the Year.

White Restaurant, and Bellini, the lobby lounge bar, have been created by Dan Kwan of Tribeca, the design firm based in Singapore. His intent was to provide an environment that would be a white canvas for Executive Chef Bernard Bernabe to paint his culinary palate, and to be a minimalist setting for the hues of blue and green of the bay reflecting through the floor to ceiling windows.

Bernard Bernabe, even the name is a mouthful, was born in the Philippines. His family immigrated to New Zealand when he was nine years old. Now, at the ripe age of 28, he was the driving force behind the award winning team when white was honored with the Restaurant of the Year award in 2004.

General Manager, John Ingram is a soft-spoken gentle man with a lot to say. He treated me to details about the local cultural community and life in Auckland, as well as his the importance for the global hospitality community to see this Hilton in its rightful light, a “new Hilton” as he called it. With 160 deluxe rooms and six suites, one can hardly call this a boutique hotel, yet I agree with him that it has that feel. Staff is very professional and ingratiating, food is superb, and the atmosphere modern and light.

My favorite feature of the hotel is a glass-fronted swimming pool that juts out in such a way that with goggles under water, you have the illusion of swimming out to sea.