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 / Travel & Outdoor
NZ Today

NZ Today No 83 Dec-Jan 19

NZ TODAY is unique in New Zealand. It features real stories, captured off the beaten track, set in amazing locations, coupled with human elements stories, supported by incredible photographs that capture the real spirit & core elements of the writers’ experiences at the time.

New Zealand
RNR Publishing Ltd
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4 min.
christmas holidays

Here in Martinborough it’s been an odd few days, weather-wise, We’ve had the fire going for a couple of days, but right now the clouds have parted, the sun is streaming down and I am listening to some Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and others. Bruce’s mum arrived from Melbourne just in time to enjoy the Toast Martinborough event that was taking place in the square. It was a bit windy and cold but we decided to take our chairs down and enjoy the live music. Now our guest is relaxing on the deck in the warm sun, listening to her favourite tunes. We are heading to Queenstown in two days and are looking forward to some yummy food, as well as cuddles with our first great-grandchild, Finn. This will be…

6 min.
the news that shocked the nation – new zealand’s worst railway disaster

RUAPEHU DISTRICT TANGIWAI 39°27’51.1”S 175°34’36.7”E Christmas 1953. A less-commercial time than it is today. Retailers, including general stores, closed their doors for four days. Simplicity in Christmas decoration styles, nativity scenes, church services, family togetherness and a traditional large lunch were the order of the day, and it was a time when most of the nation looked forward to an annual holiday. Young, newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II was touring New Zealand and her visit was making newspaper headlines throughout the country. No one foresaw the horror that lay ahead. At 3pm on Christmas Eve of that year, express passenger train Ka949 carrying 285 passengers left Wellington for Auckland. Many of those passengers would never reach their destination. For some people Christmas would never again be the same, and future Christmases would never be…

6 min.
first to see the light

EASTLAND GISBORNE 38.6623° S, 178.0176° E New arrivals to Gisborne are awestruck by the little beachfront city on the east coast of the North Island, encircled by a half moon of green hills. Travellers are also discovering the place. They are amazed and delighted to have discovered a place of such prosperity, peace and space, where there is a joie de vivre and quiet awareness among the people who live here that they share a special secret, a key to paradise. It’s most evident on the faces of the people who have come from faraway lands to settle in this most easterly city in the world, first to see the light of each new day. It’s good to mingle with such folk because they refresh our sense of wonder at how blessed we are to…

9 min.
freedom to coast

WHAKATANE OPOTIKI 37°59’46.3”S 177°17’14.2”E The Dunes Trail has made quite an impression since it was officially opened in mid-2012. It’s now journeyed by around 20,000 cyclists per year, plus many walkers and runners. Intrepid travellers, fitness enthusiasts, families, a Thursday-evening ‘bike, beer and BBQ’ group, youth groups, motorhomers, e-bikers, hand-bikers – they’re all out there enjoying it. Trail counters confirm usage is growing each year. It’s not just a numbers game, either. Like other trails in special places around New Zealand, Opotiki’s Dunes Trail has clearly captured a lot of hearts. The easy-rated trail is one section of the Motu Trails which, in turn, is one of the 22 Great Rides on Ngā Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail. The other sections of the Motu Trails are the historic Motu Road, which stretches a hilly…

6 min.
auckland museum 166 years on

It’s an overcast Sunday, the beginning of the school holidays, when we meet on the steps of Auckland War Memorial Museum, and any thoughts that the blustery weather might serve to deter the crowds are quickly diminished. There’s a real buzz around the building as tourists and families throng the forecourt. Waiting there on the grand steps, I am privy to snatches of excited conversation between those coming and going. Of them all, I am most intrigued by a young father who peels off to stand quietly at the stone cenotaph before re-joining his family. “Had to pay my respects,” he explains, as the group wanders towards the entrance. Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tāmaki Paenga Hira – is first and foremost a living shrine, built to remember the fallen from WWI,…

8 min.
a hidden treasure

BANKS PENINSULA QUAIL ISLAND 43.6278° S, 172.6902° E Nestled in Lyttelton Harbour and surrounded by the Port Hills, Quail Island is certainly a one of a kind location. Canterbury’s largest island, it occupies 81 hectares within the harbour and is a haven for a variety of flora and fauna. Treasured by conservationists and gentle trampers alike, its beauty is of a peaceful, solid, and quietly confident kind. This relatively forgotten island is now promoting itself as very much ‘on the map’, as it now hosts the closest Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai (DOC) hut to Christchurch. The hut, Ōtamahua, comprises two bunk rooms (each sleeping six people), a communal room (with wood burner), and warden accommodation. What’s fascinating about this completely reconditioned building is that it has stood on the island for over 100 years.…