Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Welcome to Middle Earth.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Yesterday, the New Zealand capital Wellington did not exist as you might expect. Instead, it was known as ‘The Middle of Middle Earth’, transformed into a place where hobbits, dwarves, elves, dragons, trolls, goblins and wizards ruled the streets! Of course, this was all deliberately planned and based entirely on the promotion of the new Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, which premiered in front of around 100,000 fans, many who dressed in costume for the occasion. Even the airport ground staff got in on the act wearing bright yellow ‘Elf and Safety’ vests while ushering in The Hobbit crew on an Air New Zealand plane, the ‘Airline for Middle-earth’.

Explore beautiful New Zealand

Having been filmed throughout many locations in New Zealand, in both the North and South Islands, it will do a great job, much like Lord of the Rings trilogy, at showcasing the beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer, highlighting just why this country needs to be high up on anybody’s travel bucket list! The film will showcase much of New Zealand’s landscape including volcanic mountain ranges, valleys, lakes and national parks.

If you have been dreaming of visiting New Zealand or if you find yourself wanting to see some of the country’s amazing landscape after watching The Hobbit film, luckily, Topdeck offers a great range of trips to the North and South Islands! The exciting new Australian and New Zealand 2013/2014 trips are now available for viewing online. Why not take a look and see what the fuss is all about! You never know, maybe you’ll come across one or two Hobbits on a Grand Kiwi Southbound trip!

48 hours in Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

So you’ve signed up for an epic New Zealand adventure with Topdeck? Well, the chances are your trip will either start or finish in the country’s largest and most diverse city – Auckland.

If you have a few spare days under your belt before or after your trip why not make the most of your time in town with these top tips.

Explore the Viaduct Harbour & Wynyard Quarter by Day and Night

A stroll around the Downtown Harbour area is the perfect way to get into the City of Sails.

Auckland's Viaduct at Night. Photo/Tourism Auckland

Auckland's Viaduct at Night. Photo/Tourism Auckland

The Viaduct was given a new lease of life for the America’s Cup Yacht Races in 2000 and 2003 and the Wynyard Quarter was primped in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The area is home to world class bars and restaurants and nightlife that really comes alive on weekends.

It’s also the perfect area to relax with plenty of open space and views of jealousy inducing super yachts, city sky line, the busy Auckland Harbour and Rangitoto Island the

Topdeck Recommends: Pay a visit to Oceanz at the Auckland Fish Market for some of the best classic kiwi fish ‘n’ chips around.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Is your money burning a hole in your pocket? In the need of some retail therapy?

Auckland is a shopper’s paradise, home to many world famous and up-and-coming fashion designers.

On Vulcan Lane, High Street and Chancery, some of the most historic parts of the city, you’ll find designers Karen Walker, Zambesi, World and Workshop along with modern art galleries and other quirky stores.

Topdeck Recommends: Grab a flat white coffee from one of the many cafes and watch the world go by.

Auckland Bridge Climb

There’s no better way to take in the stunning panorama of the Auckland Harbour than with a Bridge Climb.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb. Photo/Tourism Auckland

Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb. Photo/Tourism Auckland

The climb takes you below, inside and above the bridge. Starting as a gentle stroll, the climb takes you higher and higher and despite the knowledge you are safely hooked to the rails of the purpose built walkways there’s certainly a thrill in being so high above a busy motorway and the ocean below.

If you’re after an even bigger rush you could sign up for the Auckland Bridge Bungy.

Island Escapes

If you want to get away from the rush of the city in Auckland an island retreat is only minutes away by ferry.

The volcanic island Rangitoto is an iconic sight in the Auckland landscape.

Beautiful Beaches on Waiheke Island. Photo/Tourism Auckland

Beautiful Beaches on Waiheke Island. Photo/Tourism Auckland

Make your way to the summit solo or on a guided tour for stunning views of the city and surround harbour.

Thirty-five minutes from downtown Auckland is the chilled out Waiheke Island complete with vineyards, olive groves, farmland, art galleries and beautiful sandy beaches.

The boat ride to the island is half bad either!


As well has being home to some of the world’s most beautiful untouched landscapes, New Zealand also boasts a wealth of cultural activities.

Established in 1852, Auckland Museum tells the story of New Zealand from prehistoric times to the present including amazing exhibits on the culture and history of Maori and Pacific people.

A must see for any visitor, the museum is a great way to get a better understanding of the country and its people.

Right in the centre of town is the Auckland Art Gallery - home to the visual arts in New Zealand.

With a collection of more than 15,000 artworks from old European masters to Maori and contemporary artists the gallery is world class.

Whether you’re in town for a day or a week you wont have any trouble finding something to do while holidaying in New Zealand.

Topdeck Down Under: The New Zealand Adventure Part II

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Part II of sales manager Aaron’s New Zealand Adventure


After a day of culture and learning it was time to shake things up a bit!

For a little adventure, Az’s next stop was the Agrodome, also in Rotorua, famous for its giant swing, bungee and of course, the Zorb.

For those of you who don’t know what Zorbing is, it involves climbing into a giant clear plastic water-filled ball in your swimsuit and rolling down a hill. Simple!

Az says once you start rolling you have no idea what’s going on.

“Zorbing is the funniest thing I have ever done!”

Once his head had stopped spinning, Az found himself strapped into a hang-gliding harness and winched up 50m in the air before pulling a rip cord and swinging down to earth.

Az getting ready for some extreme swinging!

Az getting ready for some extreme swinging!

You’ll be glad to hear he made it out in one piece and was able to catch his breath on the next excursion – Milford Sound, in New Zealand’s South Island.

Az is a true blue Aussie, but even he had to admit it’s impossible to beat New Zealand when it comes to natural beauty.

“As a country that’s visual spectacular, nothing compares,” he says. “It’s absolutely amazing.

“One minute you’re driving through rolling hills, the next minute mountains. It just feels good to be there, really clean and fresh.”

Cruising overnight on the Sound, Az says it felt peaceful like no one else was around.

“All around you are sheer cliffs coming down into the water. Forests and waterfalls are everywhere.”

Milford Sound is also home to families of seals, penguins and dolphins and even whales can be seen on the odd occasion.

From the ship passengers can kayak, take small boats or even swim into little bays around the Sounds.

Beautiful Milford Sound

Beautiful Milford Sound

“When it comes to natural beauty you can’t beat it!”

All this from an Australian.

HURRY! 20% Off Selected NZ Trips Ends 30 November 2011!

An Aussie in New Zealand: Getting Down with the Locals

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Topdeck’s sales manager Aaron popped down to New Zealand to find out what makes this little country the place to be.


Aaron, Az to his friends, was sent to New Zealand with a mission - take in its most famous features including the unique culture, heart stopping adventure and breathtaking scenery and tell us all about it!

While there, Az had the chance to take part in one of Topdeck’s most loved exclusives – an overnight stay on a Maori marae.

As the original inhabitants of Aotearoa (New Zealand), Maori hold a special place in the country’s history and culture.

Az admits he had a limited, and possibly stereotypical, view of Maori culture to start with, but this all changed when he stepped foot on Taheke Marae in Rotorua.

Taheke Marae in Rotorua

Taheke Marae in Rotorua

“I thought it would be touristy, but instead found a vibrant, working marae full of everyday people living as one big family from little children to elders of the tribe,” he says.

The Ngati Hinerangi people, a Hapu (sub-tribe) of the Te Arawa tribe, have opened their doors to Topdeck travellers giving them the chance to learn about and experience Maori culture first hand.

First, they were giving the traditional welcome onto the land which involves both groups greeting each other with a waiata (song) and finally hongi (pressing noses).

“Now we are cousins and can come back whenever we like,” says Az

One of the highlights for Az was getting taught the history and story behind the famous haka. He was even shown a few moves by one of the tribe’s haka experts!

Az testing out his new haka moves

Az testing out his new haka moves

Az says it was impossible to fault the tribe’s hospitality.

Just when the group were settling in for their evening meal there was a black out across all of Rotorua.

But it was going to take more than a power cut to stop these hosts from feeding their hungry guests.

In a flash, the chefs were off to their homes and in no time were back on the marae with gas BBQs and cookers cooking up a storm.

After dinner, the evening was spent with the tribal elders, sharing stories and asking questions.

“I have a new respect for these people. It was a life changing experience.”

*Come back next week as Az checks out the more adventurous and scenic side of New Zealand*

Book any northbound New Zealand trip before that is 10 days or longer and departs between 01/01/2012 - 31/03/2012 and get 20% off with Topdeck’s NZ is the New Black promotion. (offer ends 30 November 2011)

New Zealand: World Champs

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Kara Segedin

Ten minutes from full time and I couldn’t bear to watch! Peering through my fingers, this was scarier than any horror movie!

Would they, wouldn’t they? One tiny mistake and the hopes of a nation would be dashed.

And there it was, 80 minutes down and the whistle blew – the All Blacks were the 2011 Rugby World Cup champions and the crowd in our little London pub went wild.

We managed to show a little decorum and shared words of commiseration with our French friends, but it was near impossible to wipe the smiles from our faces!

The Rugby World Cup has been the perfect showcase of New Zealand’s all-round greatness (no bias here of course!). With matches played the length and breadth of the country, visitors to NZ’s shores were treated to the stunning and varied landscape of this small island nation. Not to mention the world class Kiwi hospitality.

Take a dive in Queenstown

Take a dive in Queenstown

With this being NZ’s first Rugby World Cup win in 24 years, the celebratory mood should last throughout the summer months!

When you grow up in New Zealand it’s easy to take its natural and cultural wonders for granted.

Watching matches with mates from overseas, the World Cup has given me the opportunity to see my NZ through the eyes of a visitor and it’s been a great excuse to brag about my home town and country to my Aussie, British and North American friends.

“Yip, the North Island is awesome. Beaches, bush, vineyards, world class restaurants and nightlife – what more could you want.”

Check out the Bay of Islands

Check out the Bay of Islands

“Oh, and the South Island – heaven on earth springs to mind topped off with some of the warmest people on the planet.”

If I was going to describe New Zealand to someone who has never visited I’d say it is a land of contrasts.

Sunny, sandy beaches, snow-topped mountains, lush bush and chilly glacial drifts – NZ has it all.

It is home to both extreme, heart pumping adventures like skydiving, bungee jumping and jet boating and more leisurely activities such as horse riding, kayaking and tramping.

Mouth-watering food, beer and wine found in even the smallest town and a unique Maori heritage that goes back hundreds of years, this small island nation at the bottom of the world doesn’t lack culture.

Spend the night on a traditional Maori marae

Spend the night on a traditional Maori marae

Topdeck trips take you right across the country from North to South and vice versa or focus on one of the two islands.

Experience all sides of New Zealand with an overnight stay on a tradition Maori marae, get your thrill fix in the adventure capital Queenstown, sample life on a sheep farm and take in the scenery on a cruise through Milford Sound.

And who knows, you may even spot an All Black in the flesh taking a much deserved break on one of the country’s beautiful beaches.

Fancy your own NZ adventure? Visit Topdeck’s website & get planning!

Cruise the beautiful Milford Sound with Topdeck

Cruise the beautiful Milford Sound with Topdeck