Blog posts from 2009

  • A Zipping Good Time in Queenstown

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 28 October 2009

    I’m upside down, 25m above the ground, hurtling at 50km per hour through a forest. Hundreds of towering fir trees whip by in a blur. My legs are flailing in the crisp air; hands reaching towards the distant, needle-covered floor...

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  •  Houses at Oriental Bay, Wellington  © Positively Wellington Tourism

    Wellington Walks

    By Judith Doyle
    Wednesday, 21 October 2009

    In Wellington as part of a New Zealand tour? Or for a conference? A meeting? Staying with friends or family? The capital is known for many different things but, astonishingly, not for its city walks.

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  •  Oamaru, Central Otago  © Amelia Norman

    Ordinary Home - Extraordinary Writer

    By Judith Doyle
    Wednesday, 21 October 2009

    For anyone who has been bowled over by the fiction of Janet Frame — New Zealand's most distinguished writer — a visit to her girlhood home in Oamaru is evocative and exciting.

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  •  © Destination Queenstown

    Arrowtown's Wealth of History

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    The hubbub of the small town’s central cafes and boutique shops emits an impression of a modern dwelling, one glance along the schist-laid main street suggests there’s an old tale or two behind this Central Otago settlement.

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  •  A warming weekend in Queenstown

    A Warming Weekend in Queenstown

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Stepping out of the bus in downtown Queenstown we’re greeted by chilly May darkness. “The sleet,” says our taxi driver, “has only just stopped.” Our breath comes in cloudy white puffs as we trundle up the steps of Peppers Beacon hotel.

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  •  Lee Bay, Stewart Island  © Amelia Norman

    Time for Tales on Stewart Island

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Be warned: if pressed for time on Stewart Island, don’t speak to the locals. They’re a proud lot, and with one question about the island you could easily miss your boat home.

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  •  An adult black stilt wading.  © Department of Conservation

    Black Stilts: In our Hands

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    If it weren’t for humans, black stilts would be prevalent throughout New Zealand – or extinct.

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  •  Greymouth at night. West Coast, New Zealand.  © Tourism West Coast

    Greymouth: That Kind of Town

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    I didn’t expect to see bok choy on the menu in Greymouth. I couldn’t exactly tell you why, it’s just that, well… Greymouth isn’t your average bok choy kind of a town.

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  •  The Mackenzie Country

    The Mackenzie Country

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Mackenzie Country folk know how lucky they are. I know this because they told me. Repeatedly.

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  • Cycling through Hagley Park Christchurch

    An Atmosphere of the Marvellous: Christchurch City Bike Tour

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    Sometimes in life, there are things that we just don’t see – even when they’re right in front of us. Take Stephanie Fitts, owner of Christchurch Bike Tours. Her thing was a tree, on the day she learnt to ride a bike.

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  •  © Tourism Northern West Coast

    Stop for Something Different at Punakaiki

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    “Now there’s something you don’t see every day,” says Brian, our bus driver. “A traffic light.”

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  •  A reed sculpture bobbing in the wind. Part of Art in a Garden at Flaxmere Garden, North Canterbury.  © Amelia Norman

    Art in a Garden

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    I never have had an eye for art, but this is ridiculous! Is that sculpture moving? Or is it an actual dog? Is that pond part of the exhibition? Or is it just Mother Nature getting artistic, shining golden light upon delicate, repetitive ripples?

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  •  Wine barrels stacked in the Waipara Wine Region.  © Alpine Pacific Tourism

    A Taste of the Waipara Valley

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    The loud slurping noise does not fit the situation: a schist-laid room; contemporary, minimalist furniture; elegant hostess and, from her mouth, this distinct slurping sound.

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  •  Feeding a red panda at Wellington Zoo.  © Wellington Zoo

    Hand-Feeding the Locals

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    From the safety of his house the little red panda fixes his tiny, round, shining eyes on me. His pointy white ears stand to attention and his white whiskers sprout symmetrically from either side of his petite snout. He sniffs the air curiously.

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  •  The Priest Spa at Rotorua's famous Polynesian Spa complex.  © Destination Rotorua Tourism Marketing

    The Heat is On in Rotorua

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    When soaking in a magma-fuelled hot spring within a volcanic caldera I decide it’s best to adopt a philosophical air. Really, if the volcanic basin that is spread out before me in the form of a lake suddenly erupted, there would be nothing I could do.

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  •  Kamahi Cottage.  © Amelia Norman

    Coming Home to Kamahi Cottage

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 29 September 2009

    The sun is thinking about setting behind the rolling King Country hills as I wind my way through verdant farmland to Kamahi Cottage. As I drive, speckled cows glance up indifferently from their grazing. Two plump pheasants skitter across the road.

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  •  Panorama Restaurant, Hermitage Hotel - Aoraki Mt Cook New Zealand

    A Fairytale Feast

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 28 September 2009

    I don’t know if Cinderella ever ate pineapple Carpaccio or if Snow White sipped on Sauvignon Blanc, but as I nestle into the fairytale surroundings of the Panorama Restaurant in Aoraki Mount Cook Village, neither princess is far from my mind.

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  •  Amelia Norman flies high at the Freefall Xtreme, Rotorua.  © Agroventures

    Flightful Fun at Agroventures

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 28 September 2009

    “Three!...” The countdown begins. I hold my breath and clench my hands together. “Two!...” My eyes alternate between open – glancing at the ground 40 metres below - and closed, waiting to fall. “One!...”

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  •  Discovering Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

    Discovering Kerikeri

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 28 September 2009

    I’m not going to pretend that the chocolate wasn’t a highlight. Yes, the vivid orange mandarins dangling en masse from their trees and the bulbous, ripe avocados for sale on the road side were tempting. But the chocolate… mmmmm.

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  •  Otira, Arthur'a Pass, West Coast  © Tourism West Coast

    There's History in Them Thar Hills

    By Amelia Norman
    Sunday, 27 September 2009

    Stagecoaches and gold trains, milestones and hitching posts: this bus ride is becoming more and more like a chapter from a wild western.

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  •  Kawarau Jet, Queenstown (Activity)  © Destination Queenstown

    Dodging Ducks: Snippets of a Queenstown Weekend

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 24 September 2009

    We are careering across the water at 85kph towards a tiny, fluffy, mottled yellow duckling. It flails in the water, paddling its miniature feet and bobbing in circles on the swift current.

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  •  Air New Zealand Plane at Christchurch Airport  © © eliduke via Flickr

    A Carbon Neutral Airport Company?

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has become the first airport company in the southern hemisphere to achieve carbon neutral certification.

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  • Climbing the Iron Way: Queenstown's Via Ferrata

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    “Remember: the journey is everything,” says guide Chris Prudden, as our group of eight assembles beneath the hard, flat face of Queenstown Hill on a grey Sunday morning.

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  •  The Christchurch Tram.  © PhotoNewZealand

    Christchurch Past

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    I awake to the sound of wind thundering down the chimney. Dwarfed in the timber-framed bed, I lie still and watch shadowy witch-fingered tree branches dancing behind the drapes. The digital clock glows midnight.

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  •  Our Wilderness Base Jumper motorhome near Erewhon Station, Canterbury.  © Amelia Norman

    Talking About the Weather: A Week in a Wilderness Motorhome

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    “Wherever you are, whatever the weather, you'll be sorted in a Base Jumper,” said the Wilderness Motorhomes website. ‘Really?’ I wondered. ‘Even for five days in a bitterly cold South Island autumn?’

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  • Discovering Tasman Glacier

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    The Tasman Glacier tastes of nothing. I crunch through a morsel of the 25km long ice river and feel the frozen fragment melting across my tongue. Granules of silt wash across my teeth.

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  •  Lunch at Waipara Springs Winery, Waipara.  © Amelia Norman

    North Canterbury's Secret Recipe

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    You could get lost out here, in the back blocks of rural North Canterbury. In fact, you should try to.

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  •  Arriving at the Christmas Country Fete near Culverden, North Canterbury.  © Amelia Norman

    Things Learnt from a Day in the Country

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    Thing #1: Tying a pink balloon to your car’s radio antenna is not as silly as it sounds. In fact, when parked in a paddock-cum-carpark amongst hundreds of other vehicles, it’s downright clever.

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  •  The bays that wiggle around the greater city limits...  © © Photo New Zealand

    Roving Wellington

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    I can’t say I wasn’t warned. The Wellington Rover website distinctly says: “…Wellington has evolved to be New Zealand’s best city (we might be a little bias).”

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  •  Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellington New Zealand

    Karori by Night

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    “Stop!” cries Matt, our guide, in a loud stage whisper. I reel to a halt as something darts across the path in front of me, so close I nearly step on it.

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  •  Kereru - New Zealand's native wood pigeon - at Kapiti Island Nature Reserve, New Zealand.  © Amelia Norman

    Kapiti Island: Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    There’s a parrot on the sugar bowl. Large and sleek with a perfectly hooked beak, his ruffled olive brown feathers are edged with a brilliant pohutukawa red.

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  •  Te Papa Tongarewa - the National Museum of New Zealand.  © Te Papa, Wellington

    Smelly Ambergris & All: Unearthing Te Papa

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    On the day that the Whales|Tohorā exhibition closed at Te Papa Tongarewa – the National Museum of New Zealand, a pod of killer whales could be seen frolicking outside in Oriental Bay.

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  •  Crowds gather for the famous Cuba Street Carnival, Wellington.  © Wellington City Council

    A Buzzy Week in Wellington

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    There’s a palpable buzz in the air. Lunchtime has just broken in central Wellington. Office workers bustle along brick-paved lanes, shoes clicking, collars sharp. Newspapers are tucked under arms; cellphones and iPods adorn ears.

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  •  A Maori warrior welcomes visitors to Mokoia Island.  © Wai Ora Experiences

    Legendary Paradise: Mokoia Island

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    The boat slices through the calm waters of Lake Rotorua. Ahead, I see the humpbacked silhouette of Mokoia Island rearing from the lake’s centre. As we draw nearer, the island’s beauty comes into sharp focus...

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  •  Rangitaiki River Rafting

    Wet 'n Wild in the Rangitaiki

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    In a split second, our huge white water raft flips and I tumble into the biting Rangitaiki River. For a disorientated moment I’m lost, underwater, in a jacuzzi of thrashing neoprene legs and flailing paddles.

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  •  A Maori warrior performs the haka at the Mitai cultural show, Rotorua.  © Amelia Norman

    Ready for some Culture?

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 16 September 2009

    In his long, feathered cloak, the chief is formidable. As he speaks in a rolling, fluid stream of Maori, the whites of his eyes glisten from his brown, tattooed face.

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  •  Eco-Travel Auckland Style

    Eco-Travel Auckland Style

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 16 September 2009

    ‘If you would like your towels washed, please place them on the bathroom floor. If you would like to reuse your towels and save water, please hang them on the towel rail. Thank you for considering our environment’.

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  • A stingray rears out of the water towards me... © Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World

    Stingray Splash

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 16 September 2009

    A stingray the size of a dinner table rears out of the water and launches itself towards me. Its mouth is open and its thick, fleshy ‘wings’ are wrapping themselves around the sides of my upstanding body.

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  •  The path within Ruakuri Cave is adorned with stalactites and unusual cave features.  © Amelia Norman

    Waitomo: New Zealand's Underground Scene

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 2 September 2009

    In the depths of Ruakuri Cave, I’m surrounded by a smorgasbord of golden rock formations.

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  •  Archery is just one of the activities offered by the Hanmer Adventure Centre, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand.  © Hanmer Adventure Centre

    Fun for (Big) Kids in Hanmer Springs

    By Amelia Norman
    Friday, 28 August 2009

    So it turns out I’m no William Tell. Armed with a heavy bow that swirls and curves like a calligraphic ‘D’, I at least look the part. I’ve got a quiver of rigid arrows on hand and have my new archer’s stance down pat...

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  •  Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown New Zealand

    Ripples of the Past: Kayaking on Lake Wakatipu

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 27 August 2009

    According to Sam de Reeper, there’s “a whole lotta rubies” in the hills above Lake Wakatipu. Sam, our suntanned, dreadlocked kayaking guide, points across sparkling water to the head of the lake...

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  •  Dolphins & Unicycles - Christchurch New Zealand

    Dolphins & Unicycles: A Weekend in Christchurch

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 27 August 2009

    There’s only so much spoon-bending a girl can take. On stage, a skinny, mohawked Australian contorts yet another shiny spoon using nothing more than his mind. I have to close my eyes. This can’t be happening.

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  •  Ti kouka, the New Zealand cabbage tree, at Lake Hawea, Southern Lakes District.  © Roy Sinclair

    Footprints in the Landscape: New Zealand's Cabbage Trees

    By Roy Sinclair
    Wednesday, 26 August 2009

    Early summer, those distinctive native plants with their poetic Maori name ti kouka burst into bloom, their ungainly bunches of creamy white flowers enhancing New Zealand’s rural and urban landscapes.

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  •  Marine Parade buildings in Napier, Hawkes Bay  © Gemma Dixon

    10 Reasons to Take the Kids to Napier

    By Karen Goa
    Tuesday, 25 August 2009

    Planning a visit to Hawke’s Bay for an Art Deco tour or a wine and food festival but don’t know what to do with the offspring?

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  •  The Zest of Wellington, New Zealand

    The Zest of Wellington

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 25 August 2009

    This article contains wheat, alcohol, dangerously moreish dairy products, fierce doses of caffeine, and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Over indulgence in this article may cause extreme hunger.

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  •  Sheep, Agrodome Rotorua

    Tourism on the Sheep's Back

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 24 August 2009

    New Zealand’s got sheep. Lots of sheep. Millions, in fact. We eat them, we wear them, keep them as pets, sleep with their skins, and we wait patiently in the car while herds of them meander across our major highways.

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  •  Bay of Plenty New Zealand

    Plenty to do with a Day in the Bay

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 24 August 2009

    My hands are blistered, haunches are aching and I’ve got a serious hankering for honey. But what a day!

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  •  A Wandering Albatross feeds on 'albatross icecream'. Albatross Encounter, Kaikoura, New Zealand.  © Amelia Norman

    Breathless Encounters in Kaikoura

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 17 August 2009

    That day, the Pacific Ocean resembled a slab of chipped greenstone. Smooth marbled jade interspersed with small, choppy peaks of white etched out by the whipping wind.

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  •  Blokarts lined up on a Bay of Plenty beach.  © Tourism Bay of Plenty

    Heaven is a Blokart

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 13 August 2009

    Science was never my strong suit. So when Garry Ingram, Track Manager at Blokart Heaven in Papamoa, tells me that what I’m about to do is “all about physics”, I instantly panic.

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  •  Felton Rd Vineyard, Central Otago  © Tourism Central Otago

    The Landscape of Namesakes: Central Otago Wineries

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 6 August 2009

    Mt Difficulty, Lindis River, Dry Gully… The names of Central Otago’s wineries read like a description of the area’s inimitable landscape.

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  •  Up close and personal – passengers on a Glacier Explorers trip touch blue ice on the base of an iceberg     © Magic Memories

    Exploring a Glacial Life Cycle

    By Amelia Norman
    Monday, 3 August 2009

    Tasman Glacier is dying and I am floating in its cold, milky grey blood.

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  •  Queen Charlotte walking track - Marlborough  © Destination Marlborough

    10 Top Things to Do in the Marlborough Sounds

    By Karen Goa
    Monday, 27 July 2009

    Karen Goa trawls the Sounds’ watery, ponga-ed glory for the best land and sea adventures

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  •  The bar inside the Monteith's Brewery, Greymouth, New Zealand.  © Amelia Norman

    The Monteith's Brewery: It's Tradition

    By Amelia Norman
    Friday, 24 July 2009

    Leeanne is pure West Coast Kiwi. Long and lean with pushed-up sleeves, she is self-assured, tough almost. With slender arms she yanks the huge wooden beer tap and pours a glass of Monteith’s Celtic Red in a swift, practiced way.

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  •  Emerald Lakes Mt Tongariro - Ruapehu Region (courtesy of Destination Great Lake Taupo)  © Destination Great Lake Taupo

    Tongariro Crossing

    By Judith Doyle
    Tuesday, 21 July 2009

    The Tongariro Crossing, central North Island, is described as "the best one-day walk in New Zealand". This tag appears on countless brochures and accounts.

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  •  Large spotted Kiwi, Otorohanga, Waikato  © Tourism Waikato

    Bushy Park Kiwi Creche

    By Helen Frances
    Monday, 20 July 2009

    On day one of a two-day visit to Bushy Park’s Edwardian homestead Dan Hurley, Bushy Park Trust’s Conservation Officer, offers an opportunity few could resist – an expedition through lush Manawatu rainforest to find a kiwi chick.

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  •  Amelia Norman visits White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  © Amelia Norman

    White Island: Where Nature Reigns Supreme

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    Dipping my finger in the milky stream I dab a little water on my tongue. “That water contains sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, gold and probably a bit of iron,” explains our guide Rachel. “How’d it taste?” she laughs.

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  •  Waimarino glow worm kayaking, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.  © Waimarino

    Welcome to Glow Worm Central

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    You’ve got to love New Zealand. Where else in the world would your tour guide announce he’s practically brand new in his role, divulge that he expected to be underwhelmed when he first did the trip on which you’re about to embark...

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  •  The giant kiwifruit at Kiwi 360, Te Puke.  © Amelia Norman

    Kiwi Culture

    By Amelia Norman
    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    I select a giant kiwifruit and climb inside it. A Dutch couple sits quietly in the kiwifruit behind me. Bringing up the rear is an American family, nestled into their fluorescent green seats, chatting happily beneath the kiwifruit’s rounded brown top.

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  •  Waitomo's Black Labyrinth  © © Amelia Norman

    Waitomo's Black Labyrinth

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 14 July 2009

    Karl’s voice floats upriver through the echoey dark: "Basically, what we’re looking at is the snot and pooh from a bunch of cannibalistic maggots."

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  • null © Amelia Norman

    The Colours of Auckland

    By Amelia Norman
    Friday, 10 July 2009

    This morning, Auckland is grey. The grey sky sits lifelessly above the roaring morning traffic. At the ferry terminal, boats cruise in from across the grey harbour, delivering inner city workers from the outer suburbs and gulf islands.

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  •  Dolphin Adventure, Bay of Islands

    Swimming with Dolphins, Bay of Islands

    By Amelia Norman
    Thursday, 9 July 2009

    Eleven pairs of eyes scan the ocean in baited silence. “Even if you think you see one, call out. We’d rather stop for a piece of driftwood or seaweed than miss a dolphin,” says our Dolphin Adventure skipper Tammy.

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  • Heli-Rafting the Shotover River

    By Amelia Norman
    Tuesday, 2 June 2009

    I’m floating towards a small white light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. I’m nervous. All around me is black. My ears are filled with a rushing sound, getting louder and louder. My heart is beating faster and faster.

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