• December 09

Flying Kiwi News - December 09

Hotter than Santa in thongs!

Summer has arrived in New Zealand and everyone is finally swapping their shoes for thongs (kiwi slang for flip flops for those that were worrying!)

Its been a record season so far with many forthcoming trips already full. If your thinking of treating yourselves to New Zealand's ultimate tour at christmas then our tip is get in early to avoid disappointment.

In the meantime, put your feet up, grab a cup of eggnog/mulled wine/ Glühwein or all of the above and enjoy a festive read. 

Hot Spot: Kaikoura

For natural beauty and the best chances of close encounters with dolphins, whales and more, nothing matches Kaikoura.

In the waters off the peninsula, a complex marine system 
provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for getting 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has it's own fascinating history, archaeological remains indicate that Moa Hunters inhabited the peninsula 900 years ago. In Maori legend, Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island. The Maori name Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish), and it is crayfish for which the region has traditionally been famous.

Several different species of whale can be seen off Kaikoura at different times of the year, but almost always the huge Sperm Whales. Regularly diving to depths of one kilometre, Sperm Whales have been known to dive to 3 kilometres, holding their breath for up to two hours - perhaps gulping down a few groper or wrestling with a giant squid.

Passing through this region our tours provide the chance to enjoy a variety of excellent coastal walks and a number of short hikes from the wonderful coastal camp. For the early risers its a great chance to take in this amazing seascape at sunrise.

For those looking to make the most of their time here we highly recommend the optional dolphin swimming and whale watching.


Get On Your Bike - Cycling in NZ

New Zealand is a paradise for cyclists with a range of excellent rides suitable for all levels and fitness abilities. We are often asked how the cycling part of our trips works so here's the lowdown for those that are thinking of taking to the saddle.

1. Suitable for all fitness levels. Our unique pick up and drop off system enables you to cycle the distances that suit you. This can range from 5km to 100km and you can even opt to join in the downhill sections! However, for those more experienced cyclists there are plenty of challenging rides to get the legs working and the heart pumping!

2. The most affordable bike tour in New Zealand. Our bike hire works out to approximately $14 per day which is quite simply, unbeatable. Private bike hire for similar quality bikes starts at around $25 per day (inc. a hefty deposit) and dedicated bike tours are often priced at last 50% more than a Flying Kiwi trip.

3. Not everyone hires bikes - there's plenty of other things to do.Whilst the cycling option is very popular on our trips only around 60% of passengers hire bikes. For those that don't hire bikes there is more than enough to fill your day with a plethora of hikes, activities and stunning sights to take in. For those that do hire bikes you also get the chance to mix these excellent optional activities with your bike rides - the perfect outdoor adventure!

4. On or off road we guarantee fantastic views! Most of the rides are on road and provide great scenery and easy access. With huge varieties of terrain and some of the most spectacular backdrops you could imagine its an excellent option to see the natural beauty of New Zealand. There are chances to take the bikes off road and there are most frequently experienced around the great campsites we stay in.

We provide you with a cycle, helmet, repair kit, map and 0800 help line number. The guides will describe the terrain so you can make an informed decision.

New Zealand top rated in 2009

Despite global recession and ensuing challenges in 2009, New Zealand continues to retain its position as one the World's most desirable locations.

Lonely Planet authors, staff and travellers picked New Zealand as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2010. Other accolades included:

  • favourite long-haul destination ( The Guardian & Observer Readers Travel Awards, UK)
  • world's top five destinations - listed for the sixth year in a row (Readers' Awards - Condé Nast Traveller UK).

Although we cant include them all here are a few other accolades for places and experiences on the Flying Kiwi Tours.

Dunedin - a quirky university city known as the Edinburgh of the South - featured three times in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2010 guide top tens for:

  • bird watching on Otago peninsula
  • super cycling routes on Otago peninsula

Natural wonder Milford Sound - which Rudyard Kipling called the eighth wonder of the world - has been short-listed in the global search for the new seven natural wonders of the world. 

Flight of the Conchords - Kiwi comedy duo 'Flight of the Conchords' were nominated for six Emmy awards, and announced that their award-winning show would finish with the current season. If you haven't seen any of this superb series thenclick here for more information.

(content taken from www.newzealand.com )


Cracking Christmas Links

We have cobbled together some Christmas classics to add to your present piles:

Click here to "elf yourself" - the ultimate xmas gift!

Click here to fill yourself with the latest trivia tidbits to liven up your xmas banter

Click here to visit the superb NORAD site and find out how close Santa is getting!