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

16 Aug 2010 Finding Cheap Holiday Offers Through British Travel Agencies

If you are looking for UK holiday deals, you can rely on the British Travel Agencies to find you the right package deals that have everything you need to have an affordable trip and do some adventurous sightseeing. Most people like to save money and when traveling to the UK for a vacation, you want to find something that allows you to have money for doing some fun things once you arrive at your holiday destination. UK holiday deals can be found for many different locations. Some of the agencies that have affordable travels deals are British Airways, Thomas Cook and Virgin.

There are many different UK holiday deals and destinations including England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These areas have many attractions to make you trip enjoyable. The best UK holiday deals might take you to England where you would see the Auckland Castle or the Lancaster Castle. England also has a beautiful countryside and prehistoric sites. Ireland has museums, historic buildings and historic houses. If your UK holiday deals land you in Scotland or Wales, you will want to see the Castles and the old Roman sites. Any of the British Travel Agencies can arrange your accommodations and airfare.

Virgin and Thomas Cook always have UK holiday deals with a tour of the many different attractions and places to stay near the attractions. British Airways also has UK holiday deals that will make you want to travel to the UK every year. If you love beautiful gardens and want to see the changing of the guards, then planning a holiday destination to the UK what you need to do.

The UK holiday deals might include theme park tickets or other attraction tickets. If you find the perfect vacation travel package, you can and will save money. Once you find the best UK holiday deals, you can then plan your stay around the attractions. Do not forget about the nightlife in these fabulous destinations. You can celebrate with Irish whiskey or a fine wine of England. There are so many different things to do when you find the best UK holiday deals.

14 Aug 2010 Travel experiences: Hitchhiking in New Zealand

My experience as a native New Zealand hitchhiker:

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

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

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

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

Important points concerning hitchhiking in New Zealand:

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

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

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

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

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

Safety and hitchhiking

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.

11 Aug 2010 New Zealand Water Rafting

The vast majority of travellers who visit New Zealand come away with a memorable experience, and the vacationers who partake in water rafting are no exception. New Zealand is hailed as one of the most pristine and picturesque counties in the Pacific region, and this is clearly evident to those who go rafting through the country’s truly awe-inspireing rivers and byways.

Thousands of tourists travel to New Zealand to water raft each year. The New Zealand Rafting Association (NZRA) was established in 1996 in order to promote the sport of water rafting. The association is made up of tour guide operators and afficcionados who specialize in this thrilling sport. The code of conduct that the New Zealand Rafting Association follows is endorsed by the New Zealand government. Thanks to government support, the country is known as having one of the highest standards for safe water rafting activities. The association conducts training workshops and rescue operations as well.

Water Rafting in New Zealand: Where to go?

Even though New Zealand is a relatively small country with a population of roughly 4.1 million, the areas for water rafting are numerous. Adventuous vacationers have a choice of Rangitikei, Shotover, Upper Buller Mohaka, Motu, Gowan and several others. Tourists are rarely disappointed by the beauty of the landscape and the variety of rivers and byways. If you enjoy incredible natural scenery, New Zealand has a sparkling breathtaking environment. From the fjords and mountains in the south island, to the native forests and white sands of the north, New Zealand has diverse, pristine and beautiful natural surroundings.

In the north, you can experience the Karamea and Buller rivers while the west has the Waiho and Arnold rivers. Both rivers offer superb rafting trips.

The truly adventurous traveller can sign up with tour operators who provide guided tours of a total of eleven rivers. In just over two weeks, all eleven rivers can be travelled, some so remote that you feel there is no one else on the island besides you and your travelling companions. White water entusiasts have spoken of one place which the natives call “Chinese dogleg”. Other rafters experience blasting through a historical mining tunnel and then ending up in the rapids.

It is important to note that New Zealand has seven major regions: Auckland, Central Plateau, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Nelson/West Coast, Canterbury, Otago/Southland. These regions have water rafting facilities and they each have magnificent rivers and breathtaking panoramic views.

Water rafting in New Zealand is truly a sublime experience. The adventure sport turned national industry has become incredibly successful, mostly due to the amount of challenging and beautiful rivers and byways. Tim Alpe says that New Zealand is country known for its rapid and free flowing rivers, and the rapids come straight from the mountains. They snake their way through thick and lush forests and pour into the sea.

Be Safe: Watch that Raft and the River!

If you are not familiar with New Zealand’s rivers, it is strongly encouraged that you not venture out on your own. Even if advances in technology have led to improvements in raft design and construction, the amateur rafter should be accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Some people who are new to the sport are not aware that the flow of the river necessitates a certain kind of raft.. Rivers are graded from class 1 to class 5, and each class requires a different kind of rafting equipment.

When you engage the services of a rafting guide in New Zealand, you are assured that he or she possesses a high degree of expertise and knowledge about safe water rafting in that particualr country. They are familiar with rivers whose flows change from one moment to the next. They know about the international river grading system and what each grade means.

Since rafting is a year-round sport in New Zealand, vacationers have plenty of flexability. Rafting is common during spring, summer and fall. There are approxamitly 50 rafting operators that are spread out across New Zealand, so, if you find yourself in one rafting spot, you are bound to find another within a few miles.

If you are travelling with a group, you need to decide on a river that is appropriate for everyone. Decide how long you and your travelling companions want to go rafting. Some raft for only one day, others an enitre weekend, or even a week or two. Also, choose which level to persue. Are you looking for an adrenalin adventure or a moderate rafting trip so you can also take in the scenery. These are imortant coices to make. Depending on your preferences, your New Zealand guide can put a package together. Some operators will offer meal stops and will add in sightseeing on land.

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.

05 Aug 2010 Unforgettable Travel Experiences in New Zealand

The islands of New Zealand were the commencement inhabited by Polynesian maori. The British colony was established in the country in 1840. In 1907, New Zealand became independent. The rugged mountains and large coastal plains are the main geographical features of the country. According to the 2006 census, the population of New Zealand had 41.43.279 years. In December 2007 it was estimated that the country’s population is approximately 42.68.000.

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, where the population is counted for 1.69.000. However, Auckland is the largest city in the country. The English, which employed 98% of the population is the official language of New Zealand. Maori, used by 4.2% of New Zealanders was also given the status of a country’s official language. Religions, which are followed by inhabitants of New Zealand, are Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic.

The presence of high mountains, glaciers, tropical forests, fjords, geysers and beaches still unknown has resulted in the remarkable growth of the tourism industry in New Zealand. The country enjoys a huge step each year.

You can use the following links to get different variations map of New Zealand. You can also collect general information and travel on to New Zealand links given below. From history, geography, information economy, people, culture and flag of the New Zealand here you will get every bit of critical information on the country.

The tour of New Zealand offers you the wealth of things to enjoy for as New Zealand is a land blessed with glacial mountains, rivers fluids, ice mountains, lakes and many wonders normal. He ‘s a country where you can engage in many outdoor activities. Whether it is not marked walk (up), skiing, transport and bungee jumping by raft.

The tour of New Zealand are a lot to choose from. There are many categories of excursion such as command and in addition to 4-wheel drive excursions, adventure trips, excursions age category, the tour’s agricultural and farmland of New Zealand, Tour boat and navigation, the tour bus from New Zealand, camping and outdoor tour of New Zealand, cruises, day trips and overnight excursions and cultural, made to order and personal travel stung, Eco and nature travel, educational excursions, expedition crosses, film and theme travel, gay and lesbian travel, heritage and historical excursions, lord of the ring travel, motorcycle travel package tours and planners vacation trips photography and art, and private guiding service, tour of New Zealand sports and golf, surfing and personal Kitebarding Tours and geothermal and volcanic tour of New Zealand.

The bus tour of New Zealand travel by the beautiful landscape and an expert driver would also be there to tell you about places to be visited. The best thing about the bus tour of New Zealand is that you can have unforeseen cuts when we love.

The command of 4 wheels and also road trips are adventurous and take you by the landscape staggering. There are road trips to Edoras, Canterbury, Wanaka, Twizel, New Zealand, Queenstown, Christchurch, Glenorchy, Lake Coleridge, Canterbury; excursions apart adeventure of Taupo. are offered the caves of Waitomo, to the west coast, Christchurch, Blenheim, Methven, compartment islands, the new Zealnad away, Westport, South Island, Twizel, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Canterbury and to the island’s north.

03 Aug 2010 Travel destinations: North Island, New Zealand

New Zealand is the most inviting, fun, exiting and diverse country in which to take a vacation. To explore the opportunities for a visitor to both islands is such a vast topic, therefore I have narrowed my recommendations to the North Island. There are so many opportunities on offer from viewing the amazing scenery, to experiencing the geological formations of this volcanic island. The people of New Zealand and the Maori culture really make for a warm and friendly experience. Well known for its adventure and sporting opportunities, everyone from the novice to experience outside enthusiast will take home some unforgettable memories of time spent there. The following are recommendations from my 10 day driving tour of the North Island, made a few years ago.

Auckland.

Although Auckland is a warm and welcoming city, with so much to do, if you only have limited time I would recommend the following; drive up Mount Eden or One Tree hill, for an unusual view of the city, have breakfast up the sky tower, take a walk around the harbor and marvel and some of the huge sailing vessels. With slightly longer, try a trip to one of the islands located just across the water from the city; Great Barrier, Tiritiri Matangi, Kawau, Rangitoto, Motutapu and Waiheke islands offer something for everyone from bird watching, geological exploration of the volcanic islands to amazing beaches. Piha beach on the coast North West of Auckland about an hour’s drive is a fantastic wide expanse of almost black sand with rolling surf, a great location to spend a few hours. Try www.aucklandnz.com for as much information as you can handle on this location.

Bay of Islands

Approximately 230kilometers north of Auckland you will find the Bay of Islands. You could easily spend your whole holiday here, with diving, sailing trips, fishing, golf, and numerous cultural attractions on offer. No holiday here is complete without a sailing trip out around the bay to see the numerous islands and hear about their history. Options range from dolphin viewing aboard a catamaran skippered by one of New Zealand’s leading lady racers, to a more sedate trip following the old cargo route around the island on Fullers’ Cream trip. Located in Paihia is the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location where New Zealand’s founding document was signed. Cultural tours and shows are available to explain the relevance of this document in New Zealand’s history. Paihia is the busting tourist center of the islands, however it has

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.

02 Aug 2010 Taking a New Zealand Vacation

Everyone is looking for the perfect place to spend vacation time at. One of the most popular ideas for vacations is, of course, a place that is close to being paradise. Tropical palm trees, soft, warm winds, crystal clear blue water, white sands, and nightlife that is full of great food, great people, and the best entertainment on Earth. New Zealand is a fantastic place to spend a vacation.

New Zealand is made up of two large islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as many other very small islands. The country is famous for its geographic isolation, being about 1200 miles southeast of Australia. Since it is so isolated, New Zealand is home to some of the most extraordinary foreign wildlife and flora in the world. Travelers will find it interesting that until 2006, with the exception of a few species of bats, it was thought that New Zealand had no native life that was not marine life. In 2006, however, bones of a newly discovered native species had been found. Now, everything from exotic birds to tropical lizards and insects to land animals of all kinds can be found here. And, of course, the marine life that can be witnessed on a New Zealand vacation is second to none.

The South Island, being larger than the North Island, also is the more mountainous of the two. While at land level the climate is pleasant and warm, the mountain tops are covered with snow. The Maori people welcome visitors from all over the world all year round. English is the main language, followed by the Maori language of the native people. There is a heavy influence of English and British culture, and many famous movies and sporting events have been made here. The worlds largest Polynesian festival is held annually in Auckland, as are many other smaller festivals throughout the year. Agriculture has always been a main economic driving force in New Zealand, boasting some of the best dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables that can be found on the globe.

The perfect vacation spot for individuals, couples, families, and groups of friends is New Zealand. Where no two days are the same, and the cities, country, beaches and farms paint a perfect picture, the sports, activities, entertainment, dining, and rich culture with stay with vacationers for a lifetime to come.