It's time to come out of hibernation and shrug off a couple of layers of clothing, to welcome a colourful new season.

It's also the season to book travel. You can get anywhere or to anyone by making the first journey an international flight out of Christchurch. We have 11 commercial airlines offering you more than 10,000 international and 60,000 domestic flights a year, so book your seat to the place you want to see for the first time or the umpteenth time.

It's time to smell the daffodils, or daphne, or frangipani and go wherever in the world you blossom.




There's a new way to experience Christchurch Adventure Park. At the top of the stairs at Gate 15 you'll look out over both the city and Lyttelton, then as you travel down the escalator you'll move through the mountain bike trails and trees to the base building, getting a glimpse of what you can experience at the park along the way.


Energy efficiency and carbon reduction have long been key Kaitiaki (Guardian) priorities for Christchurch Airport. Since 2013, we have reduced operating emissions by more than 27% (1,100 tonnes per annum). By year's end we'll decommission our fossil fuel boilers and replace them with a second ground-source heat pump system, reducing our emissions by another 1,000 tonnes per annum.


The new autonomous shuttle being trialled at this airport is believed to be the biggest 3D-printed vehicle in the world. It was printed over a few days, to produce 13 parts which lock together. The material used is similar to that used in high performance cars. Just what you'd expect for this new fully electric and autonomous (driverless) vehicle!


To commemorate the centenary of the 1919 birth of Sir Edmund Hillary, we have installed a permanent tribute to him. It's opposite our image of Aoraki/Mt Cook, the mountain New Zealand's favourite son climbed to prepare for Mt Everest in 1953. An aspirational quote and photo of Sir Edmund overlooks a reference to the Hillary Step on Mt Everest, and a timeline of some of the highlights of his life.


What is red, but green, and moves between Christchurch Airport and the central city? The new bus on direct airport route 29! The electric bus is 100% exhaust emissions free and has many benefits over diesel - there's no battery, so no exhaust emissions; no gear changes, so a smoother ride for passengers; and no engine noise for travellers or residents in the houses the bus passes.



Advice from a first-time visitor to Beijing - the city is exciting and the scale is mind-blowing, so see and do as much as you can!

Wanaka resident Pip Gillespie recently visited China's sprawling capital and found it fascinating.

"There's magnificent architecture, palaces, walkways, ancient alleys, and much more," she says.

"There's a lot to navigate, so we hired a local guide who gave us history, culture and heritage information as he drove."Pip says The Great Wall is at the top of most visitors' must-do list.

"We went early to get ahead of the crowds. The wall sprawled across the hillside as far as we could see, so our first stairs were followed by thousands more, with a shaded guard-house every few hundred metres. Heading back down to meet our driver showed us the wall's steepness and the beauty of the surrounding area."

Another must-see is the Forbidden City, an Imperial Palace where 24 Emperors lived in tight security, with symbolic architecture, spectacular gardens and almost two million pieces of art in the Palace Museum now open to the public.

"Tiananmen Square is a surprisingly large area with beautiful buildings. It includes Mao Zedong's mausoleum and the National Museum of China, the world's third largest and third most visited museum. Definitely the place to learn about China's arts and history!"

After exploring the city in hot weather, Pip's group asked their driver to find a local brewery where they could get a cold beer, before tracking down local cuisine.

"Thousands of China's best cooks developed the region's cuisine within the Forbidden City over many years, but you can't pass up Peking Duck in its delicious famous sauce!"

Finally, the shopping. Pip says the shopping malls are amazing, open late and easy to navigate.

"Even among crowds of people, the nightlife and lights are worth the walk at night. It doesn't pay to miss a minute in Beijing."

Flying from Christchurch to Beijing is easy, with one stop options flying China Southern Airlines via Guangzhou, Singapore Airlines via Singapore or Qantas via Sydney.


Imagine living on a farm where 50 acres of golden daffodils trumpet spring every year!

That's been the scene for six generations of the Chamberlain family at Hadstock Farm on the banks of the Selwyn River.

John Chamberlain's grandfather began growing tulips and a few daffodils in the 1930s, his father added more daffodils in the 50s, and now he and daughters Courtney, Jessica and Hannah work with millions of bulbs.

"Most people buy daffodils in spring, but we work on them all year. We pick daffodils from the end of May, have more flowers in late August for the Cancer Society, dig bulbs from the end of October, sell bulbs after that, and it's not long before the cycle begins again."

John says he gets a lot of satisfaction from a paddock of daffodils, especially the famous golden yellow trumpet 'Malvern City' variety, but also from knowing the family's daffodils support a charity.

"We've been supplying bunches of daffodils to the Cancer Society for more than 25 years, to help the society raise funds by selling the daffodils to businesses. These days we supply the society with about 30,000 bunches of ten flowers, all hand-picked and hand bunched."

There are many ways the Chamberlain family puts smiles on people's faces, including opening its gates to people with buckets.

"One year in the 1970s the markets didn't want daffodils, so my father invited people to come fill a bucket of daffodils. Decades later, the invitation continues, and at $10 a bucket we're usually inundated on the first weekend of September,"

he laughs.

John says daffodils last a week in a vase, if you keep them away from heat, change the water and trim the stems every couple of days.

Open day, first weekend in September.
71 Corbetts Road, Springston.


Can you be tempted by a roadie to North Canterbury to visit what is officially one of the best health spas in the world?

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa recently won two awards at the World Luxury Spa Awards and was named New Zealand's best Luxury Mineral Spring Spa and Luxury Destination Spa.

General Manager Graeme Abbot says more than 450 spas from 90 countries entered the awards, so being recognised for service excellence and outstanding achievement puts The Spa on the world stage.

"The award recognises our unique setting, our famous thermal waters and The Spa's attention to detail in crafting and delivering treatments," he says. "The Hanmer Springs body products we use contain our thermal water, but what really sets us apart is our excellent staff. Feedback we get shows customer satisfaction levels consistently in the 90% range and talks about how good our staff are."

The most booked treatment at The Spa is the hour-long massage followed by Hot Stones treatment, with international clients making up half The Spa clients and often booking back-to-back treatments.

World Luxury Awards Group Marketing Director Michael Hunter-Smith says Hanmer Springs' win is significant.

"True luxury is not easily attained," he says. "It takes highly efficient and dedicated staff, who are willing to go the extra mile and stop at nothing to ensure every guest feels cared for and no challenge goes unresolved. This is what makes the winners shine."


Street art is literally coming alive through mobile phones in Christchurch.

Sam Evans and Adrian Taylor formed a tech start-up 18 months ago to make "engaging, interactive and meaningful products using augmented and virtual reality". Their interest was piqued when Christchurch was ranked in the world's top 50 street art cities.

"We decided to bring that art to life through an app called 'Plain Sight'," Sam says.

"The name refers to the saying 'Hidden in plain sight', because street art is often overlooked, misunderstood or people don't realise it's there. Even when they do realise it's there, they still don't see all that can be seen, so our app adds another digital layer.

"After people download the free app onto their phone, they'll get a map of more than 15 works in the city and can hold the phone up to the mural to see it 'come alive'."

Sam hopes the app will encourage residents and visitors to have fun exploring Christchurch's central city. The tech team has worked with the artists to understand the intention of the art and to ensure the way it comes to life is not at odds with that.

"None of the artists said no to us, and they're excited about this extra dimension being added to their work," he says.

Two pieces of street art at Christchurch Airport are getting this innovative treatment. "Perspective" focuses on the surfer in Dcypher's Canterbury mural at Gate 15, and "Endangered" focuses on the Orange-Fronted Parakeet in Flox's mural under the Express Park building.

"It has been a passion project to do this for our home city and we're keen to hear people's reactions to it," Sam says. "We've learnt a lot while creating this app and we hope people have fun with it now it's here."


Who Did You Help Today? is both a thought-provoking question and the name of a charity known for "unleashing the magic of helping".

Founder Stacey Shortall asks her children that question over dinner each night, and mentioned it during a speech at an awards dinner.

"The room went silent… then people started asking how they could help our three community projects," says Stacey.

"HelpTank now has 700 professionals sharing their skills with not-for-profit organisations who need them. Mothers Project has more than 100 female lawyer volunteers signed up to support children of mothers in prison. Homework Club has 300 business volunteers helping more than 600 low decile primary school children with homework or other learning."

Stacey says help doesn't mean a big gesture.

"New Zealanders want to help, but don't always know how. Some issues look really big, but something small always helps. You might not know the impact your interaction will have, but it may help someone at a low point in their life."

Stacey says her children don't understand the ripples the dinner question has caused.

"My children have grown up thinking it's what everyone does. They might answer they passed the ball to someone who doesn't always get a shot, picked up a lunchbox a child dropped at school, or helped me unload the car. It's second nature to them and if they knew other people's responses, they'd probably ask 'What's the big deal?'"

A donation from the Christchurch Airport Community Fund helped Mothers Project publish pamphlets for children to know what to expect when they visit their mother in prison.

"There's about 750 women in New Zealand's prisons and reports say about 87% of them are mothers," Stacey says. "It can be difficult for those relationships to stay strong and for children to have their mother's emotional support. Our volunteers help information flow so the mothers know their children are OK and the children know their mother loves them and is asking after them."


When the call went out for people to identify and potentially solve systemic tourism issues in this country, ten start-up teams accepted the challenge.

Three months on, they've emerged from a whirlwind of highly intensive activity within the Lightning Lab

Tourism. programme.

The accelerator model has focused on other sectors in the past, but this time topics under scrutiny included voluntourism, helping EV drivers find resources they need outside South Island cities and towns, offering visitors a personalised Maori cultural experience, and working with farmers to offer a patch of land for special tourist experiences.

Programme Director Jeffrey Ling says the teams had a lot of support while they learned and considered solutions for the issues they were considering.

"Our teams have had unprecedented access to perhaps New Zealand's largest collection of tourism and hospitality resources, to help them test and develop their products in New Zealand, before competing on a global scale," he says.

"The programme has specially designed tools and processes, so the teams could generate tourism insights crucial for understanding how the tourism industry should develop and evolve, commercially or otherwise.

"I'm confident the teams are well on their way to finding solutions and raising funds to hone their plans for a sustainable future for tourism in New Zealand."


Memories of a recent cricket game at Lord's may be rekindled when Kiwi and English stars head to Christchurch in early November..

The first T20 match ever played at Hagley Oval will be between New Zealand's BlackCaps and England, and promises excitement, family fun and plenty of banter.

New Zealand Cricket Manager of Public Affairs Richard Boock says the combination of lots of runs scored in a short time and families getting up close to cricket stars makes this game very appealing.

"The game will start at 2pm and will not be a late outing for families. T20 games usually last for about three hours and are action packed, with teams scoring around 150 to 200 runs in a typical game.

"New Zealand's T20 side is ranked sixth in the world and England is ranked second, so this will be a top-class event - with the added opportunity for autographs and selfies with cricketing heroes."

November 1
BlackCaps vs England - T20 game - Hagley Oval



The French saying 'La nourriture est la vie' (Food is life) explains why this year's Akaroa FrenchFest will again feature mouthwatering food alongside culture, entertainment and romance.

One of the longest queues is always for crêpes made by Elise Cailleau, a Frenchwoman who found Akaroa nine years ago and now has two mobile crepe makers and a food cart there.

"One of the best things about crêpes is you can do anything with them," she says. "I make savoury toppings and sweet toppings, and everyone has their favourite.

"The most requested topping here is the classic lemon juice and sugar, but other Kiwi favourites are banana and chocolate, or banana and caramel. The most popular savoury topping in Akaroa is probably smoked salmon, spinach and cream cheese.

"In France the classic topping is egg, ham and cheese, and at home I make myself a ham, goat cheese, honey and thyme topping. It's delicious, but I'm not sure Kiwis are ready for it," she laughs.

Elise says preparing for FrenchFest means sourcing lots of local free range eggs, buckwheat for savoury crêpes and premium wheat flour for sweet ones. She makes the doughs the night before sale, to give them plenty of time to stand.

Elise says crêpes are a part of life in France.

"As a child, I had crêpes once a week. We always had the ingredients at home, for the crêpes and the toppings. My mum would make the dough and we'd all take our turn to make our own crêpe with the flavourings we liked."

Elise says making crêpes for others is a genuine pleasure and the biggest compliment she's had came from a little girl.

"She told me 'Your crêpes are yummier than Easter eggs'. I consider that a great compliment," she laughs.
October 11-13


  • Rest the dough for at least two hours before you cook it.
  • Make sure the dough is thin and light.
  • Use a thin metal shallow/low-sided pan with a wide base which will spread the heat evenly.
  • If you spread the dough with a wooden scraper, keep it in water between crêpes, so it doesn't stick to them.
  • Watch the crêpe closely while it cooks and remember to flip it over.



September 21

Look no further for a challenge which will also be a blast. The event starts with a 2km ski section high on the slopes of Mt Hutt. From the Mt Hutt base area, your mountain bike will take you 18km down the dirt access road, which may appear all downhill, but you will certainly have to peddle. Then the run begins - 12km of road, trail, water and mud to the finish line at the famous Blue Pub.

March 16
September 23

The West Coast boasts untamed wilderness and this event will make the most of it. There will be mud galore on the farm and forestry tracks, so you'll need safety gear and mates to master the 20km. This event is designed for ATVs, with creek and water crossings and some brand new tracks. All proceeds will be donated to Women's Refuge, so get muddy for a good cause.


September 27-29

This very popular all women event is sold out, but you can go on the waiting list or go watch the fun and support the competitors. It's an adventure for trios of women who go rafting, mountain biking, hiking and orienteering in three, six or nine-hour events. It's the 13th annual Spring Challenge, which started with 327 women, but this year will welcome 450 teams.

October 12

It's back and better than ever, if that's possible! It's the day central Dunedin's Vogel Street becomes a family friendly pedestrian space to celebrate the things that make Dunedin special. Make your plans to get to the free events, interactive activities, entertainment and, of course, food. It's a one-day fun day you won't want to miss.

October 26

Westport whitebait is seriously famous, so it seems only right that the town honours its delicacy. The weekend starts with a Friday night market with local music. Saturday is the main event, with music, art, food stalls and 'The Great Whitebait Cook-Off', plus the famous 'Whitebait Filleting Competition.' That night will see the inaugural 'Whitebaiters' Ball', before Sunday family fun and avant-garde whitebait themed cuisine.

November 16

New Zealand's largest high country station will host this ultra running event for solo runners, or teams of two or four. The terrain includes gravel road, grass and tussock land, rolling mountains and scree slopes, alongside rivers to the North Canterbury town of Hanmer Springs (and the glorious thermal pools for recovery). It's spectacular scenery which even the hardiest runner will appreciate.