Tag-Archive for ◊ Flights to Auckland ◊

19 Jul 2010 Living with a disability

Life & Times of an MS Sufferer…..

These pages are dedicated to the following people, my father Rahiri Leslie 1911-1980, my father was an indirect casualty of the smoking lobby, succumbing to the effects of lung cancer at the age of 69. He died as a result of Emphysema effectively “drowning” in his own phlegm.

Maree Frances POMPEY 1944-1980, a dear sister-in-law taken early in life;

Peter Francis HUNTER 1948-1987 -lost at sea; overboard off the Fiordland coast. (West coast, South Island) Peter was actually a fisherman at the time of his death!

I have lost numerous friends and aquaintances through death from either accident or, since my return to Auckland, from succumbing to various afflictions, MS being one of them. A very good friend of mine, Rosemary Jane GIBSON 1964-1992, who suffered from MS and had done since she was 20. Her initial attack occurred in Sydney and it wasn’t long before she had to return to NZ where she lived at the Laura Fergusson Home until her death at age 28.

Vicki Madden was a brave little battler who completed a BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree at Auckland University and was a ball of energy right up to her death in 1987.

A little about me- The First 50-years (yikes! doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! 1952-1957 I was born in a tiny settlement called Paerata (pa/e/rata) on January 19th, 1952. Like most of my siblings, my birth was at home. My first “crib” was, as my mother recounts the story, a drawer (in a chest of drawers). Following my birth my mother, a hard working woman (one of my mothers forefathers was a JOHN BIDDLE, born in 1615 at Wotton-under-edge, Gloucestshire, England. (John was a founder of the English Unitarian Church) – John died in London on Sept. 22, 1662; mother of eleven other children (little Roberta died when she contracted influenza in 1944), went straight back to work. This was in addition to whatever else she was involved in. Paerata was a town centered on the local milk and butter factory. Paerata used to take its milk from the areas’ farmers (delivered by milk tanker daily) and either pasteurize it for local consumption and/or turn it into butter (I think caseine comes first?) My earliest recollections of life, or from what I can remember, came from when the family lived at Helvetia, a tiny settlement located on the fringes of Paerata. My first recollection is of a big house, probably the one we lived in, and a barbed wire fence. Oouch, you got it, I remember attempting to

negotiate

10 Jun 2010 Psa Lifts Some Strike Action Fuelled by Accidents at Work

As a result of progress in negotiations with the Department of Labour, staff who belong to the PSA, New Zealand’s Public Service Association, have lifted some of their strike action fuelled by accidents at work.

The PSA is New Zealand’s largest public sector union, increasingly concerned with resolving debates regarding tax-cuts, work safety, pay rise and other issues focused on the public’s requests.

“We made some progress during negotiations last week so we have lifted strike notices for this week and half of next week,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

More than 750 workers – including border security officers, health and safety inspectors, labour inspectors and industrial mediators – were due to begin a series of two-hour strikes this week. They are seeking an improved pay offer and want to scrap their current pay setting system because, among other reasons and concerns, it is reported as being perceived as ‘confusing, inconsistent and unfair.’

Notices for two-hour strikes remain in place for Friday June 12 and Monday June 16. New notices will be issued for two-hour strikes from Tuesday June 17 until Thursday June 19.

Border security staff monitor passengers arriving on international flights at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports. They have the power to refuse entry to passengers who are trying to enter New Zealand illegally.

Other staff involved in the dispute include: health and safety inspectors who enforce health and safety requirements at workplaces and investigate accidents at work; labour inspectors who ensure workers receive the conditions they’re entitled to; mediators who help employers and workers solve workplace problems and immigration officers.

Department of Labour staff involved in the dispute have begun low level industrial action. Yesterday, Monday June 2, they began a ban on overtime, doing unpaid work and attending department conferences and training.

“They’re taking this action for an improved pay offer and because their current pay setting system is confusing, inconsistent and unfair,” says Richard Wagstaff.

Department of Labour staff have also, in addition, rejected an offer of a 3% pay rise and are seeking a higher offer of an 4% increase instead. Furthermore, they also want their performance management system scrapped in order to be replaced with what they would judge as a different,  ‘fair and transparent’ system for setting their pay.

“They’ve lost faith in their performance management system because it’s unfair and doesn’t work,” continues Richard Wagstaff. “They’re being assessed and told they deserve a pay rise of a certain amount but then receive a lower increase.”

Under the current system the average starting salary for some jobs is more than the average salary paid to people who have been doing the job for several years. However while this is welcomed by newly starting employees, this comes as bad news to most employees who are not starting anew currently. Their complaint is that they ought to be rewarded for their employee loyalty and greater experience at the job which inevitably makes of them more desirable employees for the Department of Labour.

The PSA surveyed Department of Labour staff about the performance management system. Almost 200 responded. Asked if the system provides a fair, transparent and easily understood method of delivering increases to salary, 87% said ‘no’. Asked if the system had contributed to their productivity, and therefore aided the department in meeting its objectives, 80% said ‘no’.

The PSA is seeking the introduction of new salary system in which pay scales and the salary progression system are fair, transparent and included in the staff collective agreement. Negotiations are due to resume next early next week.

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.

22 Apr 2010 New Zealand Is A Dream Destination

There is no lovelier place to visit than New Zealand; it is a dream destination. New Zealand is filled with opportunities for vigorous outdoor activities or lazy relaxed snoozes on sandy deserted beaches. New Zealand is comprised of two large islands located in the South Pacific about 7,000 miles from Los Angeles. The best way to get there is to find which airlines fly to New Zealand. It is about a twelve hour non-stop flight from the West Coast of the United States to Auckland, New Zealand. Most flights take off for over night flights. Travelers can sleep through most of their travel time.

Once there, visitors can enjoy the Southern Alps on the South Island and skiing, or the beaches and surfing on the North Island. There are swift-flowing rivers that beckon fishermen and rafters alike. Stunning hiking trails with waterfalls, clear alpine lakes, and abundant greenery entice nature lovers from around the world. Volcanic mountains dot the North Island as well as tropical rainforests. For those seeking solitude with spectacular scenery, they can find it in New Zealand. The population is only four million; one of the least densely populated countries in the world. However, the cities of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch do offer all the modern amenities of any large city with plenty of activities and nightlife excitement.

One of New Zealand’s best attractions is the fact that its glorious summers of warm temperatures and dry humidity occur at opposite times of those in North America. If visitors are longing to escape the cold of winter, purchase air fares for New Zealand and enjoy summer all over again. One thing to consider, though, airfares to New Zealand are discounted, sometimes heavily, in the off season months of June, July, and August. The north island has a subtropical climate and the temperature is only about 10 degrees cooler during the winter, so it can be enjoyed year around. The South island is a little colder, especially in the mountains. However, this works out great for avid skiers. They can purchase cheap airfares to New Zealand and enjoy winter all over again in the Southern Alps.

Another attraction of New Zealand is its friendly people. With its high diversified population, New Zealanders, or Kiwis as they refer to themselves, are individualistic and are happy to welcome all who visit their country. Maoris are the natives to the land, and their arts and crafts are colorful reminders of their Polynesian Heritage. Visitors can also watch a game of Rugby, the national sport. Each game begins with Haka, a Maori Dance, which is meant to inspire fear in opponents. Also travelers should enjoy some of the local cuisine which focuses on lamb and fish.

Air fare to New Zealand can be found which is reasonably priced, so don’t let the fear of high priced air fares to New Zealand stop any one who wishes to enjoy the beauty of this remarkable country. New Zealand is a dream destination that will keep cameras busy and will create lasting memories. Check out airfares to New Zealand soon and enjoy a dream come true.

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.

 

29 Mar 2010 Italian Air Travel Booking Tips

The cost of flying within Italy is often comparable to the cost of train travel, although be sure to include 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.

Things to Think About when booking

When you book, look for nonstop flights and remember that “direct” flights stop at least once. Try to avoid connecting flights, which require a change of plane. Two airlines may operate a connecting flight jointly, so ask whether your airline operates 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.

18 Mar 2010 Visit Australia & Newzealand

If you are an eager, fairly adventurous traveler then Australia and New Zealand are probably destinations that have been swimming in some subdirectory of your travel ambitions.Down under has lots of appeal. It’s English speaking, exotic, remote, filled with crazy looking plants and animals. Many Australians combine the best character qualities from around the globe: hardiness, humor and cordiality. Aussies are justifiably famous for outgoing character, and New Zealanders follow suit in their slightly more reserved manner. The Australians are masters of a vast, isolated, largely desert continent and their outlook shows independence of spirit and loads of aptitude. When the vast interior of your country is an inhospitable outback, then your ring of vibrant coastal cities are treated like causes for celebration, and for visitors this feeling is infectious.Like America, the Australian national history is short (and rowdy). Perhaps for this reason the Australians, like many Americans, are a people ready to welcome strangers with an open hand and broad smile, no questions asked. They like to play around with their own lively disposition and vernacular (Australian slang dictionary). One afternoon down under amongst friendly, helpful, vigorous Australians is usually enough to charm any visitor.The Kiwis (New Zealanders) typically have a slightly more gentrified, English disposition than the maverick Australians. The New Zealand outlook perhaps reflects that they are the smaller cousin in the Australian-New Zealand sphere of influence, and that they have more to show and more to lose than the desert-baked, walkabout Australians. Unlike the arid vastness of Australia, the Kiwis enjoy two main islands of incredible lushness that combine much of the topographical grandeur of Europe with the stunning, tropical features of the south Pacific islands.The natural abundance of New Zealand can stop you cold: tropical beaches, rain forests, boiling hot springs, towering Alps and blocked, English-like farmland. From half a world away it is easy to generalize the differences between New Zealand and Australia, but they are essentially different transplanted peoples making their home in similar geographic area. Australia is the land of the kangaroo, a hardy, indigenous animal that can survive traveling over deserts using the most energy conservative locomotive method known to any species on earth. By contrast, New Zealand is the land of the sheep, reliant on lots of water and grass, and transplanted wholly from the mother country (in New Zealand sheep outnumber people). Australia seems resolved with itself and its indigenous aboriginal peoples, where New Zealand seems to be looking over its shoulder back at England (and modern New Zealand has a somewhat awkward relationship with its native Maori peoples).What finally made me visit Australia and New Zealand was the record summer heat in Europe during 2003. I had two precious weeks to use in August, but where would I go? Based on the news of heat-related deaths in Europe the southern hemisphere looked like a great solution (it is winter there when it is summer in the northern hemisphere).European ski enthusiasts have long known the trick of turning summer into winter by training in the ski slopes of Queenstown, New Zealand. Reversing the seasons is not a motive calculated into many recreational travel plans, but it should be. What you are looking for, after all, is the chance to get away, change the scenery, to see something new. There can be no more profound change than traveling to the other side of the earth while reversing your seasons. On top of this, you find a new world of plants and animals. School kids know about wallabies and echidnas, but those animals are just the headliners. Imagine a world where green and red parrots fly around in pairs and land in a tree above you. Imagine being awakened in the morning by a bird that sounds like a bell, or another that makes a complicated, resonant call like a concerto played on a whistle flute (birds down under page).In short, it’s completely different, yet comfortably similar to visit Australia and New Zealand.The people are different (but familiar).The food is different (but familiar). Local chefs train in Europe but insist on returning to open their own restaurants in their own home towns.A burgeoning wine industry provides a glorious, sassy collection for you to sample at a fraction of the price of these same labels offered by New York?s biggest liquor importers.

Flights :

There are many agents online you can choose from to get cheap flights to sydney

Australian travel choices:

What to see in Australia? This is a tough call because you might have a secret hankering to visit the outback or the more remote regions, whereas my focus was to skip through for a sense of Australia and then spend serious time in New Zealand.Sydney is pretty much a requirement on any list of Australia destinations. Many guide books will favor a list of Australian destinations including: Newcastle, Byron Bay, Fraser Island, world-class diving round the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, Marlborough and Hobart (in Tasmania). But this list is a ridiculous simplification. You have an entire continent to consider, a task only made slightly easier by the fact that most of the good stuff is clustered at the edges. A bonobo with a handful of darts and a map will have as good a chance as you of picking great stops in Australia unless you task yourself to read up. In the absence of a Michelin Green Guide, I find that a good overview resource is to read some of the “been there” reviews posted on epinions. Granted, this is not the most refined resource, because anybody can post just about anything, but most of the readers are conscientious and after reading a few you will see the same names start to pop up and soon you will see a pattern emerge. With the pattern established, take a look at some of the “best of” lists published by the commercial guides (Frommers has “best of” lists in a load of different catagories, hotels, restaurants, museums, beaches – here’s best Australian experiences with links to other lists at the left margin.)

New Zealand travel choices:

Good destinations in New Zealand can be a harder call than Australia because the good stuff isn’t as neatly collected at the coasts or near the cities.True, New Zealand cities have a remarkable spectrum of different personalities.Auckland has the feel of a clean, modern international shipping hub with bridges and waterways and ocean liners always in view.Wellington also has a maritime flavor, but it is terraced and secluded with a protected, regional feel.Christchurch is like a prim, flat, English shire town with a lazy, two-foot-deep river meandering through the center.Dunedin has a dyed-in the-wool Scottish influence while Queenstown is an extreme sport, party town full of action and youth.To approach a trip to New Zealand you first need to assimilate the different offerings of the north and south islands. In my view most guidebooks do a poor job of helping the traveler evaluate the relative travel value of the two islands. It’s as if there is such a surfeit of great things to do that the books are doing their best to pack it all in and lose their power to discriminate between choices.You can visit both islands, but plan on air transport if your trip is any shorter than three weeks, because the distances are considerable. It’s hard to counsel in favor of visiting just one island. The north island has plenty to see, and it has Auckland, the international departure point, but the southern island has the most vibrant scenic beauty (the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed on the southern island of New Zealand). If you want to visit the southern island alone you have to figure out your return flights to Newzealand, which almost certainly will require a change in Auckland, or a return to Australia before you can connect to a US flight.The north island is warmer throughout the year and is influenced more by beaches of all kinds rocky shores, black sand, white sand as well as geothermal hot springs.The south island is considerably cooler in temperature year round (Christchurch is sufficiently southern that it is where the US Antarctica programs stage their supply and transport connections with the rest of the world). The north and east coasts of the southern island of New Zealand also boast beautiful beaches, but the prominent geographic feature is the Alps that run in a spine up the mountains. (Queenstown, the sports capital of the southern island, is pictured at right.) Unlike the northern island, the southern island has glaciers and alpine vistas and numerous ski resorts. At the far, southwestern reaches of the northern island you have Fiordland, with Norwegian-class peaks rising like a wall out of the water to heights as much as a mile.