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aug 26 2014

New Zealand + Tahiti = A Unique South Pacific Getaway!

Mountains or beach? Adventure or relaxation? How many times have you had that travel-planning conversation? Especially if you're thinking of a far-flung fling to the other side of the planet, you want to be sure you book a vacation that's right for you.

How about New Zealand and Tahiti? That's right. We've noticed lately that it's possible to combine two incredible South Pacific destinations in one trip. You can set up a travel itinerary that includes rugged, scenic, and adventurous New Zealand, plus beautiful, relaxing, tropical Tahiti (with its luxurious overwater bungalows, turquoise lagoons, and superb snorkeling).

mar 04 2014

The Hobbit’s Ultimate Guide to New Zealand

Every Lord of the Rings fan should pay a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand.

Every Lord of the Rings fan should pay a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand.

(Courtesy jkramb/myBudgetTravel)

This article was written by Kyle Ellison on behalf of Viator.com.

These are some of the staggering statistics behind the logistics of filming the latest in The Hobbit trilogy. Though much of the movies were shot in a Wellington studio, nine weeks were spent in the New Zealand countryside filming in surroundings that excite the imagination. From the rolling green hills of Matamata to the soaring peaks of the Southern Alps, the scenery of New Zealand is so phenomenally enchanting that it's almost too perfect to be real.

nov 02 2012

Air New Zealand Gets Fans in the Mood for the New Hobbit Movie

Tolkien fans are counting the days until the new Hobbit movie opens December 14. But you can fly Air New Zealand and get a sneak-peek. Sort of.

This week the airline debuted a Hobbit-themed safety video that was made in conjunction with WETA Workshop, the special effects company behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the new Hobbit film (keep an eye out for Peter Jackson, Gollum, and other actors from the films). It makes sense, of course, since the movies were filmed and produced in New Zealand and they go hand-in-hand with the country's gorgeous landscapes.

may 18 2012

Is There a Good Place to Honeymoon—With the Kids?

A family brings their young child on vacation (Courtesy caitlinbwdn/myBudgetTravel)

We recently received a message on our Facebook page from a reader named Kim, asking for advice on where she and her husband-to-be should go on a dream honeymoon. We’ve gotten questions like this before, but this one had an extra twist—they’re planning to bring along their 11–month–old along for the ride.

feb 23 2011

Heading to New Zealand? What you should know

Christchurch earthquake (Courtesy Bernzfotos/Flickr)

If you're gearing up for a trip to New Zealand, reports about a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the country's second largest city of Christchurch on Tuesday may have you concerned about whether now is the best time to go.

Here are some facts to consider:

Indeed, a state of national emergency has been declared in Christchurch and some 75 people are considered dead, according to news reports. However, the state of emergency does not have any direct impact on other areas of New Zealand, according to Tourism New Zealand.

jul 15 2010

Reader report: Booking New Zealand hotels with Wotif and NeedItNow

Touching the South Pacific (Courtesy Iolaire McFadden)

One of our most loyal commenters on the blog is Iolaire McFadden. In late May, he and his wife Susan flew to Auckland, nabbing a $399 round trip flight to Auckland out of LAX. Iolaire has kindly shared some tips with us about planning the trip:

Normally our lead time on good deals is about six months, so this was extremely last minute for us, booking only a couple of weeks in advance.We found that hotels in NZ are relatively expensive versus our recent trips to Portugal and Argentina. These days we usually find smaller, business-type hotels or limited service hotels on Booking.com. For that reason I started looking for a Priceline equivalent in NZ. On some random FlyerTalk post I found mention of Wotif and one other site.

may 13 2010

Unbelieveable fare sale to New Zealand: $399 RT

Imagine a round-trip ticket to New Zealand from $399 per person plus taxes and fees of up to $85. Now stop imagining and start clicking. You have less than 48 hours from the time this blog post publishing time (on Thursday at 3 p.m.) to buy the tickets. You have to fly out from either L.A. or San Francisco between May 21 and May 30. You have to return sometime between May 28 and June 6.

feb 01 2010

Introducing the "Skycouch"

(Courtesy Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand has introduced a new couch-style seating arrangement, with cushions that flip up to make for comfortable and easy lounging. Most innovative of all: The Skycouch is in economy class.

Premium economy actually, but still. Seats should be way less expensive than business class. The first flights with Skycouches will take to the air in December of 2010 on routes between Los Angeles and Auckland, and it's unclear exactly how much they'll cost.

jan 22 2010

Park your RV for free in New Zealand

A new service in New Zealand allows you to park an RV in dozens of locations at no charge other than a reasonable membership fee.

The service is called Native Parks. Pay your fee (about $53 in U.S. dollars) and you get a membership card and handbook listing all the different places you can park for free. At last check, there were about 80 parking locations, with most on the North Island. All of the "motorhome havens," as they're called, are on privately owned properties where nothing is expected of travelers. The only real requirement for a property owner to welcome RV tourists is that the property must have a flat piece of land suitable for parking. In other words: Don't expect electric hookups, bathrooms, showers, or other amenities that come at typical RV campgrounds. On the other hand, you're not paying the $20 or so to park your RV either.

jun 23 2009

4 cool audio tours for cities worldwide

Actress Shu Qi narrates Soundwalk's Hong Kong tour (Stephan Crasneanscki/courtesy Soundwalk)

How four innovators are making the audio tour cool. (Really!)

Soundwalk

Founder Stephan Crasneanscki revolutionized audio tours eight years ago by focusing on under-the-radar neighborhoods and recruiting pop-culture narrators. The company's latest endeavor: partnering with Louis Vuitton to create guided walks through Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong in which Chinese actresses weave local folktales into their narratives. soundwalk.com, hourlong tours from $10.

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