As the temperatures lower, many of us head to the mountains
or the other hemisphere for what makes us smile in winter
Christchurch Airport has welcomed record numbers lately, as
South Islanders welcome friends or family among international
visitors here to see our place in the world.
The headlines include this airport being named one of the
world's best airports. We thank you, your city, region, tourism
organisations and operators for working with us to promote the best
place to work, live and play.
More and more South Islanders are visiting Dubai, both on a
modest budget or for a luxury experience. Either way, the rave
reviews are compelling.
Sam Park, Team Leader at Flight Centre Ferrymead, says visiting
Dubai changed her perceptions of it.
"I packed conservative clothes and expected to be very careful
in Dubai, but I was wrong," she says. "It's Westernised,
people are friendly, transport is cheap, the atmosphere is chilled
and there is so much to see and do. Every client I have helped
visit Dubai has loved it as much as I did."
Sam says her absolute must-do is the Dune Safari. "This whole
day is amazing. You travel in 4x4s, ride a camel, watch a falcon
show, have your hands henna "tattooed", see stunning views, eat
amazing food, and watch the sun set over the desert."
Sam says the world famous Burj Khalifa is simply
"It is an iconic building in its own right, and from it you can
see all of Dubai and get perspective of the very clever man-made
Dubai Mall is one of the shopping highlights in the city.
It's the world's largest mall, with stores, eating places and
entertainment. Themed areas for children and families include the
Dubai Ice Rink (an Olympic sized rink), the Dubai Aquarium and
Underground Zoo. The famed Dubai Fountain is on the man-made lake
outside Dubai Mall, with nightly shows combining fountains as high
as a 45-storey building with music, 6600 lights and colourful
Sam says there's nothing you can't buy in Dubai. "You don't pay
tax in Dubai, you can barter, you can buy top-end designer labels,
and will find gold, electronics, carpets, rugs, spices and dates,
and more, to suit your budget."
To blow your mind, Sam suggests a visit to Ski Dubai, a ski
field in the Mall of the Emirates. "It's difficult to believe this
is in the middle of the desert, but it's where people ski,
snowboard, go tobogganing, and meet penguins."
Sam recommends at least three nights in Dubai for a first visit,
but says clients who spend a week there come home with a list of
things to see the next time. "Like me, they would go back in a
Emirates flies its flagship A380 aircraft between
Christchurch and Dubai every day. Christchurch is the smallest city
on the planet to have a daily A380 service. This is made possible
by the South Island tourism industry.
It's official - your airport is one of the best in the world! In
the recent World Airport Awards, Christchurch Airport was named the
Best Regional Airport in Australia/Pacific. These are the most
prestigious accolades for the world airport industry because they
are voted by air travellers. This year they were based on 13.82
million airport survey questionnaires completed by 105 different
nationalities of airline customers in 550 airports.
Christchurch Airport recorded its busiest month on record over
summer - twice in fact! In December, the number of passengers
through the terminal (638,043) was the highest ever recorded here
and equals more than the entire population of Canterbury and the
West Coast through the doors. In March, we beat that record, with
more than 650,000 passengers in the month. Over the summer we saw a
total of 5.5% growth (4.1% domestic, 8.9% international) on the
same time the previous year, which itself was a record year.
CUPS WIN AWARD
Next time you put a used coffee cup in our special bins, you'll
be using something which has been recognised as a leading
initiative internationally. The Airports Council International
(ACI) is always on the look-out for projects which show airports
minimising aviation's impact on the environment. In March,
ACI Asia-Pacific awarded Christchurch Airport silver recognition
for the giant coffee cups as a simple innovative solution for a
problem airports face globally.
A new vehicle is about to join New Zealand's first autonomous
vehicle (AV) trials on the private roads at Christchurch Airport.
The new vehicle is the first locally designed and built AV and uses
artificial intelligence to repeat a charted course over and over.
The second phase of the trial which began more than a year ago will
allow the New Zealand vehicle to be proven and licenced. We look
forward to continuing to explore how autonomous shuttles might play
a part in our future at our airport.
WHERE'S THE PILOT?
California-based company Kitty Hawk, operating as Zephyr
Airworks in New Zealand, is testing the world's first self-piloted
and electric air taxi in Canterbury. We have been working
with the American company for some time now, supporting its search
for a suitable test space for the autonomous air taxi, known as
Cora. The American-based company was keen to work here to pay
respect to Richard Pearse first pioneering flying here.
A mountain biking and tramping trail with a beguiling name
is attracting visitors who value heritage, wilderness and some
The Old Ghost Road is a long-forgotten miners' road on the west
coast of the South Island, though some call it an 85 kilometre-long
outdoor museum. Run by enthusiastic volunteer trustees, the trail
is a single-track adventure through remote valleys, mountain tops
and river gorges.
Phil Rossiter, chairman of Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust,
says more than 11,000 people went through the track last year.
Experienced mountain bikers comprised more than two-thirds of
visitors, however the proportion of intrepid trampers is
"We'd love as many visitors as possible to enjoy this trail and
landscape, but realistically it's not suitable for everyone,
particularly to ride it. The Old Ghost Road is an advanced mountain
biking trail - a narrow trail with some long steep climbs,
technical descents and significant exposure."
Phil says people considering riding the trail must be realistic
about their capability, but says there's plenty of riders who take
their time and thoroughly enjoy it.
"The feedback we get is humbling and overwhelming,
dripping in superlatives. People describe their experience on the
trail as life-changing and incredible. It's not just the landscape
- they get the history and unique circumstances that created the
Trampers also enjoy the trail, but need experience in the
backcountry. Tramping The Old Ghost Road usually takes four
nights/five days, walking at least four hours a day, with one day
around seven hours.
Backcountry huts exist along the trail and there's a range
of services such as transport, gear drops, guiding, catering, and
gear hire if you want it. 'Old Ghost Adventures' even exist -
tailored packages designed to cater for specific visitor needs and
Whichever way you choose to enjoy the trail, you're in for a
spirited adventure and maybe even a ghost story to tell.
Southern All Blacks fans are about to see their local and
national heroes play - at the same time.
In a South Island first, the All Blacks will play Canterbury and
Otago in a Game of Three Halves in August.
The All Blacks will play 40-minute matches against each
provincial side, with Canterbury and Otago also playing each other
in a 40-minute match. The games will be the only opportunity to see
the All Blacks play in Christchurch this year and will not be
broadcast on TV.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks look
forward to bringing this concept to passionate Canterbury rugby
fans. "A lot of great All Blacks have hailed from both Canterbury
and Otago. We know they'll throw everything at the All Blacks,
which is just what we need in the build up to the Rugby
Championship," he says.
Canterbury Rugby CEO Nathan Godfrey is pleased local rugby fans
will get this opportunity.
"When we heard last year that Christchurch wouldn't be awarded
an All Blacks Test Match for the next two years, the city really
rallied around the CRFU. Without that support, this game
simply wouldn't be possible and the low ticket prices will allow
families to see the game live."
Canterbury Head Coach Joe Maddock says the chance to take on the
All Blacks and Otago is exciting for a lot of his players.
"They'll get to play 40 minutes against some of their heroes -
that's a real dream come true."
Otago Head Coach Cory Brown says the Game of Three Halves is a
rare opportunity for players to come up against the All Blacks. "We
hope a lot of our supporters travel to Christchurch to see the
Game of Three Halves - 6.30pm on Friday 10 August at AMI
Stadium. Tickets $20 for adults and $5 for children.
If you're looking for a reason to admire and photograph
Christchurch central city walls, here it is.
A new walking tour takes in some of the newest and most
spectacular street art murals.
A group called Watch This Space launched the street art walking
tours, at the time Christchurch was ranked by Lonely Planet as one
of the street art capitals of the world.
Art historian Dr Reuben Woods has a PhD in the subject of street
art, is a trustee of Watch This Space and one of the tour
"Street art tells a story of what the city is, what it was and
what it could be," he says. "It was once something tucked away in
Christchurch, but the earthquakes gave it new prominence.
Christchurch deserves a street art resource as amazing as the art
itself, so we want to keep it visible."
New Zealand artist DSide is one of the artists whose work is
included in the tour and he chose to produce a cycle themed
"Christchurch is the cycle capital of the country, holds all the
good stats for biking and encompasses environments for all avenues
of the biking culture," he says. "Christchurch has the best
collection of walls in New Zealand because of so many international
big name artists."
Canadian muralist Kevin Ledo describes the new areas of the city
as "gorgeous and well thought-out" and he enjoyed seeing murals
from friends and colleagues from all over the world.
Dr Woods says people shouldn't just stare up at the city's huge
masterpieces, but also look down and around.
"You'll find graffiti in some of the most out of the way and
obscure places. Sometimes we miss things if we are not
Whether going east to west, or west to east, crossing the
South Island by rail is undoubtedly one of the great journeys of
TranzAlpine train travel evokes a sense of elegance and
adventure, mixed with scenery which makes Kiwis proud and
international travellers' jaws drop.
KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy says the train journey is
one of the country's most popular attractions for local and
"The idea for the TranzAlpine was born more than 30 years ago
after it became clear how much passengers on our
Christchurch-to-Greymouth service enjoyed the scenery on their
journey," he says.
It carries about 140,000 passengers a year and has been named
among the world's top train journeys by National Geographic
Traveller. The journey takes just under five hours from
Christchurch to Greymouth and goes through 16 tunnels, the longest
being the 8.5km Otira Tunnel.
One recent passenger says "I'm an American living in
Christchurch, and when my Mom visited recently, we turned the
TranzAlpine train journey into a weekend treat. It was a magical
experience and one I believe every visitor to the South Island
should have. Around every corner there was a new, different and
unexpected view, and within four hours we saw farmland, alpine
passes, rain forest and ocean. I spent 98% of the trip in the
outdoor carriage, in the fresh air and feeling the wind on my face,
while my Mom enjoyed being inside, knitting and being wowed by the
No matter where they come from, consistent feedback from people
who make this iconic journey is they love it because it passes
through spectacular and untouched scenery, typical Kiwi towns,
wildlife in natural settings, farmland, Southern Alps passes, and,
depending on the time of year, deep white snow.
Things are literally looking up in Southland - the place to
catch a glimpse of the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, when
the winter sky is lit with pink, red and green light.
Dark areas away from city lights - Stewart Island/Rakiura, The
Catlins and Bluff - are the best places to view this, and efforts
are underway to have Stewart Island established as the world's
fourth Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Stephen Canny from Venture Southland says there's huge
interest in the Aurora Australia.
"We get a lot of people planning a winter visit here
specifically to see Aurora Australis. They research it carefully,
so we consider them very special visitors."
Auroras are electrically charged particles from solar
winds that enter the Earth's atmosphere and react to its gases.
Websites cite the Southern Lights as the world's most remarkable
light show, the result of the type of gas molecule, the electrical
state at the time and the type of solar wind particle the gas
"The Aurora Australis sometimes occurs with only 30 minutes'
notice, but generally speaking the best time is around midnight or
the early hours of the morning," says Stephen. "Information on the
aurora conditions come from Invercargill's Unwin Radar and when
combined with the Tasmanian Tiger Radar, a precise prediction of
Aurora activity can be achieved.
"For the best views, you need a very clear night, a very dark
sky with very little moonlight and no cloud cover. People tend to
get away from city streetlights to see the light shows."
The aurora is always moving, so photographers recommend using a
wide angle lens, slow shutter speed, wide aperture, a tripod and a
Visitors to Southland can also stare directly into the centre of
the Milky Way and get the best views of Large and Small Magellanic
Clouds - two extraordinary galaxies visible to the naked eye.
If you want a cool weekend that will definitely leave you
highly entertained, warm right through and exhilarated, make plans
right now to get to the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival
later this month.
The festival has been running for 43 years and is billed as the
southern hemisphere's biggest celebration of all things winter.
Festival Director Rae Baker says "This year's festival will see
all the good stuff you know and love, so you should be getting your
dog in training for the dog derby and prepping your wings for a
polar plunge at the good old Day on the Bay. However this year
there will be new features that will keep even the most seasoned
festival fan surprised and entertained.
"The festival has evolved over the past 43 years and the party
that launches Australasia's winter season continues to draw people
from New Zealand and overseas to Queenstown for a celebration to
remember," she says.
Since its early days, the festival has been rated in the
Top 10 'must do' festivals of the world by Yahoo Traveller and has
previously won accolades such as the Best Marketed Event and Best
Established Event at previous events awards.
This year's host mountain is Cardrona Alpine Resort, but the
events take place all over Queenstown from June 21 to 24, so get in
training now and prepare yourself for mega winter fun.
June 21 to 24
If there's one company famous for outstanding food and
service, it's White Tie Catering.
The Christchurch-based company has a history of family and
friend ownership and a reputation for contemporary high-end
cuisine, delivered in some of New Zealand's most beautiful
General Manager and Director Katie Duncan grew up around White
Tie, working for the company while it was owned by her parents.
"These days I wear a chef's jacket at events, but I'll take my
turn doing dishes and sweeping floors," she laughs. "We say all
staff are created equal, and the owners are no exception."
Katie says winter catering is all about warming up from the
"We love to do dishes that take hours to develop rich, dark
flavours, alongside creamy mashes and gratins, with a warm sticky
pudding with port or whiskey chaser."
Asked to share a recipe for a decadent winter treat, Katie
offers a boozy hot chocolate.
"It's perfect for a winter wedding, celebration or party, and
even more special because most of your guests won't have tried
Amarula before. It's a creamy liqueur made from berries of the
Marula tree, or Elephant Tree as locals call it in East
"We recommend you use a good quality, relatively dark New
Zealand chocolate, like Whittakers 50% or even better, 62%. Gently
melt a 250gm block with a litre of cream, or cream and milk, and
add Amarula to taste. This is decadent and very grown up."
Katie says adding Winter Spice Marshmallows takes it to the next
"Making marshmallows is quite easy if you've got a good mixer
and thermometer. Use gladwrap sprayed well with canola oil spray,
so your sticky mixture is easy to remove once it sets. Cut it
into cubes with a pair of scissors, stick it on a skewer and,
voila, heaven in a mug!"
Winter Spice Marshmallow
Makes 40-50 pieces
3 tbsp powdered gelatine
½ cup cold water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dredging
In a bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatine over the ½ cup
of water. Soak for 10 minutes.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, spices and ¼ cup water in a small
saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling
syrup into gelatine, and mix at a high speed. Add the salt and beat
for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and scrape into a 9"x9" cake tin lined
with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: lightly oil hands
and spatula). After pouring marshmallow mixture into the tin, take
another piece of oiled plastic wrap and press over mixture in
Let mixture sit for a few hours. Remove from tin, dredge the
marshmallow slab with icing sugar and cut with scissors - the best
tool for the job.
Completely coat marshmallow in icing sugar.
A WINTER SELECTION
|MT VERNON GRAND
Registrations on the day only (from 9am) for this run, walk and
kids' challenge on courses which separate the events and make the
most of the countryside. The Grand Traverse is an 18km hill run,
the Fun Run/Walk is 11km long and the Kids' Challenge is 2km out
and back with smaller hills to climb. There's plenty to see no
matter which course you are on.
|NZ MOUNTAIN FILM
& BOOK FESTIVAL
June 29 - July 7
Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown will host this festival offering
films, speakers, workshops and presentations from inspirational
adventurers, both Kiwi and international. Billed as a "celebration
of adventurous sports and lifestyles presented for adventurers,
film and book enthusiasts and armchair adventurers", this festival
will showcase adventure sports, travel and environmental
July 6 - 10
Art, science, design and technology combine to offer this
spectacular free outdoor gallery of works in the historic Queens
Gardens, Albion Square, NMIT and surrounding areas. A garden walk
on a clear winter night with some magic, illusion and fun.
A gravel and seal cycling event in multiple stages across the
day and totalling 121km. The course takes in two passes south of
Blenheim, as well as scenic backroads and you can choose to race or
ride. Coffee, gourmet pies, craft beers and Marlborough wines may
also count as attractions.
SOUTH ISLAND HALF
Make the most of Autumn in Mid Canterbury. From the Lake House,
it's three laps around Lake Hood for the half marathon runners,
walkers and hybrid (run and walk) entrants; one lap for the 1/6
marathon (7km) run or walk; and a Kidz Dash of 1.5km for seven to
15 year olds.
WOOLON CREATIVE FASHION
Fibre, art and glamour. Entries from all over New Zealand and
overseas mean what started as a small show on a very limited budget
is now a two night fashion extravaganza of garments with a minimum
75% wool content. Categories are Streetwear, Special Occasion and
Avant-Garde, as well as Under-23 Emerging Designer and Novice, are
among the sections which promise a memorable weekend.