Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 18!

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

18. Hike on a Glacier

It’s a question as old as time: if Oprah Winfrey was a geological formation, what would she be? Let’s list her traits – extremely powerful, influential, and probably very slow moving. “Glacier”, I hear you say? Correct!

Cast your mind back to joys of high school geography. For me, it’s hard to remember anything apart from my teacher Mr Gordon’s questionable fashion sense and offensive breath. However I do remember that glaciers are huge bodies of ice which, with the help of gravity and their own sheer weight, carve out U-shaped valleys through mountains. Thanks Mr Gordon!

Unless you have enough free time on your hands to sit and watch a glacier for a couple of months - you probably won’t see much happen! Most move at a rate between zero and half a kilometre (0.3 miles) per year. The appeal of hiking on a glacier is the sensational surroundings of snowy peaks and epic, eroded cliff faces. The thought that a pile of snow and ice has cut through something so strong like a hot knife through butter is mind-blowing! There is something about being surrounded by the immense power of nature which puts things in perspective.

The Fox Glacier deep in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most astonishing in the world – being one of the only glaciers to begin in a snowy Alpine peak and end in lush rainforest. The diversity of the scenery between the top and bottom shows you first-hand why New Zealand is one of the most spectacular countries in the world.

Topdeck’s new Canadian Rockies trip will take you to the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. This is the most visited glacier in North America for good reason, and we do it in style with an included ‘Totally Topdeck’ guided hike onto the glacier. Because of a warming climate, the Athabasca Glacier has been receding or melting for the last 125 years – leaving a surreal moonscape of rocky debris in its wake.

The Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China – there are many immense man-made attractions in the world, but there’s something quite special about seeing one of nature’s own attractions. A hike on a glacier is a thrilling and oddly moving experience, and takes its well-deserved place at number 18 on Topdeck’s list of 40 things to do before you’re 40!

Topdeck Top Tip: Glaciers may be icy but don’t let that deceive you – UV rays are intensified when reflecting off the ice so you can become sunburnt very quickly. Make sure to wear high-factor sunscreen, along with decent footwear and warm socks!

Video 1: Helicopter ride over the Fox Glacier, New Zealand

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 7!

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

7. Take a Bungy jump

Bungy jumping is much like the perfect holiday romance; fast, exhilarating, and you’ll soon be on the rebound!

A primal thrill which is guaranteed to get the blood pumping and the heart racing, it’s also the most peculiar of activities. Tell your friends that you’re thinking of jumping off a bridge and you’ll probably illicit looks of serious concern and a phone number for a suicide helpline.

But explain that you intend to do so with a giant rubber band attached to your ankles and not only does it become socially acceptable, you’ll likely be met with responses of jealousy and awe!

Bungy jumping was pioneered by a mulleted young Kiwi called AJ Hackett. His adventures in gravity-defying included a perilous plunge from the Eiffel Tower in Paris (see number 1 on our list), which earned him an arrest and an accusation of an act of terrorism (or “tirrorism” as he would have no doubt pronounced it).

His witty response was that it was merely an “act of tourism” – and in those prescient words he foretold of bungy’s wider appeal.

The business bearing his name quickly boomed in New Zealand, where it is still going strong. Beyond its homeland, bungy has become a global activity (though it’s written as bungee in most other places).

There’s no real secret to its huge appeal – the pure, unadulterated adrenaline rush you get as you leap from a ledge, against all your natural instincts, and hurtle earthbound at a rate of knots.

The air screams from your lungs as the ground looms with indecent haste, before the recoil kicks in and you bounce back in to the air for a fleeting moment of weightlessness. The natural high is hard to replicate and it’s what gets adrenaline junkies hooked.

At Topdeck our favourite bungy spots are Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, and Livingstone, a thrill-seekers paradise in Zambia.

Adventure capital Queenstown is considered the spiritual home of bungy and can boast several options including the mammoth 134m Nevis Bungy. Livingstone is perhaps Queenstown’s African equivalent, where it’s possible to bungee near the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls, Africa’s greatest natural wonder.

So why not put a bungy jump on your travel bucket list? You might just love it! And if not… well, you’ll quickly bounce back.

Topdeck Top Tip: Think you’ll struggle to overcome the terror? Don’t look down! Fix your eyes on the horizon and pretend that you’re diving in to an infinity pool.

A brilliant showcase of jump styles at the Ledge Bungy, Queenstown. Check out the views!

Obi Wan Kenobi refuses a bungee jump! Ewan McGregor turns down a bungee at Victoria Falls but colleagues on his Long Way Down TV show make the leap:

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!

Australia v New Zealand: Topdeck launches ‘Battle of the Bloggers’ contest.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Australia and New Zealand are beautiful nations with a longstanding rivalry. But which is best to visit? We are seeking two talented travel bloggers to help answer once and for all who rules the roost in Australasia!

The two victors of the Battle of the Bloggers contest will each win a dream holiday with Topdeck - one will experience a 14 day Island Suntanner in Australia and the other a 14 day Kiwi Explorer in New Zealand and blog about their experiences!

Each lucky winner will blog about their travels whilst on location, and their thoughts will help influence a public voting panel to decide once and for all which is the best destination!

Application for the contest is very simple:

1. Write a blog of up to 500 words about one of your favourite travel experiences (which must be a Topdeck destination)

2. Post a video entry on YouTube (tagged with #battleofthebloggers and no more than 90 seconds long) about a travel experience (which must be a Topdeck destination)

3. Fill in your contact details and submit your entry at

Applicants must submit their entries by 30 November 2012 and we will notify the winners by 24 December 2012.

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!


Thursday, September 9th, 2010



9 September 2010 


Topdeck New Zealand Trips are still ALL operating in the Canterbury region. 


Christchurch city is recovering well after the earthquake.  For safety reasons, Civil Defence still has a cordon in place around a few blocks of the central city but the remainder of the city is accessible. The cordon is being reviewed daily.


Purely for precautionary measures we have made the following itinerary changes on our existing trip/s.


JNZ15           3 September 2010 (and associated combinations)

We will relocate from Cathedral Camelot Hotel in Christchurch (City Centre) on 10 September 2010 to Redwood Hotel, 340 Main North Road, Christchurch Tel:64 33529165.

JNZ7 Tour pickup will now be at Redwood Hotel at 8.00am (11 September 2010)


JNZ15R         5 September 2010 (and associated combinations)

We will relocate from Cathedral Camelot Hotel in Christchurch (City Centre) on 11 September 2010 to YHA Kakapo Lodge, 14 Amuri Avenue, Hanmer Springs Tel: 64 33157472.


We will continue to access the situation and provide regular updates.


For the latest Tourism New Zealand update click HERE