NZONE Skydive celebrates thirty years in the sky

NZONE Skydive celebrates thirty years in the sky

New Zealand’s first commercial tandem skydive operation is celebrating a milestone 30 years of operation this month.

Three decades ago NZONE Skydive took to the skies in Queenstown, the home of adventure, thanks to the incredible vision of founders Robynne and Lindsay Williams.

Over the years its grown to become the world’s leading tandem skydive operation, giving more than 350,000 passengers to date the thrill of a lifetime, and with more to come.

Starting with just three staff members at its base in a paddock near Queenstown in October 1990, it grew year-on-year to become a world-renowned, multi-awarded adventure tourism operation.

Today it also operates Skydive Wanaka (the second-largest skydive company in New Zealand operating for 25 years) and Skydive Southern Alps. The company employed close to 200 staff in pre-COVID times and completed 60% of all tandem skydives in New Zealand.

Meeting the COVID challenge head on, NZONE Skydive is committed to keeping the doors open and retaining as many staff as possible.

“With a legacy of 30 years of operations under our belt as one of Queenstown’s pioneering adventure tourism companies we’re in a battle to survive,” says Skydive Queenstown General Manager Clark Scott.

“We’re celebrating our very special birthday with staff and customers, and over this summer and beyond we’ll continue to offer outstanding experiences to our domestic visitors and hopefully, in the near future, visitors from overseas.

“To all our customers, staff and key trade partners, we’d like to say a very heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for 30 years of incredible support. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

NZONE Skydive offers guests tandem skydives from 9000ft to 15000ft with up to 60 seconds freefall at speeds of 200 km/hour above some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

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Heli Glenorchy acquires Heliworks Queenstown – builds on brand for future

Heli Glenorchy, owned by Action Helicopters Limited and one of the Southern Lakes’ top scenic helicopter companies, has announced the acquisition of Heliworks Queenstown.

Heli Glenorchy director and chief pilot Nick Nicholson and co-director and maintenance controller Blair Christmas said they were proud and delighted to announce the move, which comes into effect today (Tuesday 1 September 2020).

Heliworks Queenstown was founded by the legendary Sir Richard (Hannibal) Hayes, who is renowned for extraordinary feats of search and rescue in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

Meanwhile Heli Glenorchy’s Nick Nicholson grew up in Te Anau and has spent the majority of his flying career in the mountains of Fiordland, the Southern Lakes region and Alaska, including invaluable time spent working for Sir Richard.

Nick’s love and intimate knowledge of flying in the region led him to set up Heli Glenorchy five years ago.

Heli Glenorchy operates from the Glenorchy Airstrip on the doorstep of the Southern Alps, Mount aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. The five-year-old company boasts a modern fleet of helicopters, a 100% safety record, highly-experienced local pilots and access to remote locations with spectacular alpine scenery.

Heliworks Queenstown Helicopters 2012 Ltd has a proven reputation for excellence. It offers a wide range of Queenstown and Glenorchy scenic flight experiences, and provides a range of helicopter services from search and rescue and commercial operations to filming and tourism.

Heliworks Queenstown is also renowned for its proposals and wedding services, working with professional wedding photographers, celebrants and planners to fly wedding parties to unique locations.

Nick and Blair said it was a “privilege” to take the reins of such an iconic brand.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and challenge that lies ahead,” said Nick.

“Hannibal built this brand from the ground up, and I was lucky enough to work beside him for a number of years. Taking this business into the future is now a dream realised, even in these trying times.”

Hannibal said he was proud to see Heliworks Queenstown going into the safe and capable hands of Nick, who he respected both as a former employee and director of another locally-operated and family-owned helicopter company.

“My wife Carol and I are happy to hand on the baton to Nick who we’re sure will continue the good name we’ve strived so long to establish,” he said.

“Nick’s a good kiwi bloke and has a close-knit, talented team including local pilots. They’re specialists in both commercial operations and scenic experiences.

“I’m sure the company will continue as it always has done, offering efficient, high-quality service with safety and professionalism as its highest priority, building on the reputation we’ve established and cherishing our history.”

Sir Richard and Lady Carol Hayes will continue to operate Southern Lakes Helicopters Ltd in Fiordland and the Mount Cook operations.  “We are looking forward to a close working relationship with the new Heliworks team.”

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Fiordland locals encouraged to ‘Host A Holiday’ for friends and family

Fiordland has come up with a unique initiative encouraging locals to invite their friends and family into town, just in time for the September school holidays.

Businesses have jumped at the opportunity to be part of ‘Host A Holiday’, providing locals with something free-of-charge if they bring full paying out-of-towners to their business.

Te Anau owner-operator Christine Wallace from Fiordland Outdoors Company, says getting locals out to experience what Fiordland has to offer, and bring all their friends, is a real win for businesses.

“Word of mouth can be very powerful and we’ve got a lot to see and do in Fiordland, still at a really affordable price.”

Christine’s business, which provides guided tours in Fiordland including water transport for the Milford and Kepler tracks, is one of 17 businesses taking part in the initiative including fellow tourism operators, restaurants, cafes, accommodation providers and even the local cinema.

“We want this community to get back on its feet and help itself. If we all work together it’s amazing what we can do, especially given what we’ve been through.

“We’ve got to keep coming up with these unique ideas because we’re in competition with every corner of New Zealand at the moment and we’re putting up our hand and saying ‘here, pick Fiordland for your next holiday’.”

Christine hopes the initiative will have a flow on effect following the school holidays, providing an opportunity to bring old friends and family together in Fiordland all year round.

As a town which relies heavily on tourism, Fiordland has taken a big hit, first with the floods in February this year followed by Covid-19.

Destination Fiordland General Manager Madeleine Peacock says she’s confident the initiative will give this resilient area another boost.

“It’s all about getting in behind our hometowns, we know why Te Anau Fiordland are special. There’s never been a better time for locals to get out and about in their own backyards and we’re asking them to encourage friends from all around New Zealand to get down here while they can have the place to themselves!

“The scenery, the activities, our great food and accommodation and superb locals welcome have never changed, but with borders still closed there’s never been a better time to explore.

“Bring Mum, Dad, the kids and grandparents, we promise they’ll have a superb time.”

Although locals are being invited to ‘host’ their friends and family, it doesn’t mean they have to stay with them. Visitors are being encouraged to stay with local accommodation providers while in the area.

Locals taking part need to provide proof of residence within the Te Anau Basin, Manapouri or Milford Sound regions and are also being asked to write a review, blog or social media post about the business, to help keep the momentum going.

Business providers include Sandfly Café, Fiordland Outdoors Co, Real Journeys, Cruise Milford, Fiordland Jet, Southern Lakes Helicopters, Habit Foods – Bao Now, Southern Discoveries, Fiordland Cinema, Trips and Tramps, Fiordland Helicopters, Redcliff Café, Faith in Fiordland, Go Orange, The Cinema Suites, Cruise Te Anau and Wings and Water- Fiordland Seaplane.

Terms and conditions will apply and may vary between operators. Free trips will be subject to availability and not in conjunction with other offers. Free offers will vary between providers and will depend on the number of visitors locals bring through the doors.

 

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Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

While tourism businesses scramble to adapt to the domestic market in the wake of Covid-19, Fiordland’s regional tourism organisation could argue its one step ahead of them all.

Destination Fiordland has always been justifiably proud of its operators and attractions in the lakeside townships of Te Anau and Manapouri, and the raw majesty of Fiordland National Park’s glacier-carved fiords and rugged mountains.

But with many visitors starting and finishing their Fiordland adventures in Queenstown, making a quick pit-stop in Te Anau, the tourism organisation embarked on a brand refresh in October last year.

The goal? To shout loud and clear from those mountaintops that Fiordland exemplifies all that’s good about New Zealand and is a destination in its own right, where locals value their visitors and ‘walk the talk’ about maintaining the world-class natural environment for generations to come.

The new brand ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ was revealed to operators this week, setting out to target domestic travelers from day one and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s so much more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.

“The launch of our new brand comes at a challenging time, where fortune favours the bold,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock. “Our challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all this majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland a unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand, a place worth visiting.

“Fiordland is a must-see for international visitors but even last year we could see the untapped potential of domestic visitors. We clearly have a job to do at home, and this is a great start.”

Ms Peacock says ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ conveys the scale, grandeur and mind-blowing nature of the area, and applies to everything on offer from the people who call Fiordland ‘home’  to the quality of experiences, accommodation and food, and a deep sense of connection with the environment .

“Our research has identified Kiwis desire to connect with nature, looking for real world experiences in their backyard, connecting with natural environments and ensuring those environments will be protected for generations to come – it’s about who we are as Kiwis.

“Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, the Great Walks and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri have to an extent been hiding in the shadow of Milford Sound, however these areas are equally as impressive.”

Kerri James, owner operator of award-winning five-star accommodation provider Radfords On The Lake, says she’s “absolutely delighted” with the new brand.

“People down this way epitomise Southern hospitality, and ‘beyond belief’ is the perfect fit to describe Fiordland and everything we have to offer,” she says.

Fiordland Outdoors owner operator Christine Wallace says the brand is in “perfect synergy” with the high-value experience that Fiordland offers.

“The brand communicates a premium location and offering that’s very much in sync with what we do here. It’s very timely when all regions around New Zealand are being considered by domestic travelers,” she says.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing, says Air New Zealand has a special connection with Fiordland through its work with DOC to bring back birdsong on the Great Walks, three of which are located in Fiordland.

“Fiordland Beyond Belief helps position Fiordland as a world-class destination, famous for its majestic scenery, and has inspired me to visit this unique and special part of New Zealand,” she says.

Operators are currently being encouraged to incorporate the ‘Beyond Belief’ brand and associated imagery into their marketing and a new website is expected to launch within the next two months.

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Adventure Tourism Operator, Experience Co., Inks Cross-Tasman Deal with IBIS Technology

In a signal of confidence in the post COVID-19 recovery of the tourism sector, Experience Co. Ltd (ASX:Exp) announced today it has selected Queenstown-based IBIS Technology as its tourism business systems software provider for the company’s skydiving operations in both New Zealand and Australia.

The new relationship marks IBIS Technology’s first major reservations, operations and e-commerce software customer overseas.

Experience Co. is New Zealand and Australia’s leading Skydive operator with three skydiving businesses in NZ’s Southern Lakes region, including the world renowned NZONE Skydive, Skydive Southern Alps and Skydive Wanaka.

The company also offers tandem skydiving in 13 locations in Australia and several marine based operations in Far North Queensland.

John O’Sullivan, CEO of publicly-traded Experience Co seeks to ensure the company emerges from COVID-19 stronger than ever.

“Now is the time to reconsider how we are operating our businesses to both streamline operations and improve the holistic experience of the customer with our brands,” he said.

“After a thorough review of tourism business operations systems available in our markets, we chose IBIS because of its integrated ‘whole business’ functionality and 22 years of committed customer support. The IBIS team has deep knowledge of the skydiving and tourism industry and they’re very passionate about that. I look forward to working together as partners with IBIS to help us rebuild New Zealand and Australian adventure tourism in a way that strengthens both our business and the customer experience.”

Founder and CTO of IBIS Erik Bradshaw commented, “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the brilliant team at Experience Co., both here in NZ and as one of Australia’s largest tourism businesses.”

Bradshaw continued, “IT systems are a mission-critical part of our customers’ success. Recognising this, IBIS has taken a financially conservative approach to managing our own business so that we can be a solid partner to Experience Co. and other customers in these challenging times.

Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, our goal is to provide tourism and leisure operators the flexibility and tools to respond nimbly to changes in market conditions, from unexpected downturns to re-thinking pricing, scheduling, product offerings and partners.”

Experience Co. will implement IBIS systems this winter, giving staff time to ‘settle in’ before the tourism visitor numbers begin to climb to their new normal.

IBIS Technology has been designing tourism business management solutions for the New Zealand tourism industry since 1998.

Fully NZ-owned and operated, the company has grown from its early start in reservations software to offering an integrated platform for online and direct reservations, admissions, point-of-sale, e-commerce, accounts management and reporting for tourism and leisure businesses large and small.

As the leading tourism business management software company in New Zealand, IBIS focuses on partnering with its clients to ensure that its software and services add value, improving both business and customer experience results.

Experience Co. is an adventure tourism company founded in 1999 in Wollongong, New South Wales, with the vision of now becoming the largest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.

In Australia, Experience Co. owns and operates Skydive Australia along with several marine and tour businesses operating in Far North Queensland, while in New Zealand they run NZONE Skydive, Skydive Wanaka and Skydive Southern Alps.

 

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‘Koha for kiwi’ – Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park appeals for visitors

‘Koha for kiwi’ – Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park appeals for visitors

Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park usually attracts thousands of visitors every year, and is recognised nationwide for its conservation success stories.

And now it needs New Zealand’s help.

After 34 years of operation, and with the same family at the helm, its international visitor numbers have dried up. Like many others it is targeting its domestic and local markets with great deals and packages to help keep the doors open and wildlife programmes running.

And for the month of June it’s launching an innovative ‘Koha for kiwi’ programme to help raise awareness and keep the wolf from the door.

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a national treasure — it holds and displays over 23 species of native wildlife as part of nationally-managed programmes, takes part in a number of breed-for-release programmes, and has planted over 18,000 native plants providing essential food and shelter to wild native birds.

Park owner and director Paul Wilson says he is “painfully aware” that tourist numbers will be “very, very low” in the coming months.

“While it’s scary to open the gates for koha donations only in June, we recognise that we need to raise awareness of who we are and what we do with New Zealanders who’re being encouraged to explore their own backyard. We have a product that we are very proud of and this is a great opportunity to share it with as many Kiwis as possible.

“We’re not a government funded facility and are completely reliant on visitors and souvenir sales to fund our conservation efforts, while providing the highest level of care for our endangered native wildlife.

“A few months ago we completed a $1million state-of-the-art new kiwi house but partially because of the Covid situation we’re struggling to get the revenue we need to pay for a significant part of the building cost.

“We visited every kiwi house in the country to make sure we built the best, and now have the largest kiwidisplay house of any Park in the country. Four of our kiwi are scheduled to be released into the wild over the next few months, but we keep some breeding pairs to add to this vital programme.”

The park is the first New Zealand facility accredited by Australasia’s Zoo and Aquarium Association for providing ‘positive animal welfare’.

KIWI BIRDLIFE PARK HISTORY

Nearly forty years ago, a Queenstown-based garage owner had an unlikely ‘vision’ – to build the resort town’s first birdlife and conservation park on an overgrown piece of wasteland.

Invercargill-born Dick Wilson and his wife Noeleen moved to Queenstown in the 1950s and opened their first garage and shop in Frankton. Twenty years later, Dick, a remarkable visionary, realised customers were asking where they could see New Zealand’s famous icon the kiwi.

An animal lover who was passionate about nature and native wildlife, he knew a piece of land was being used as a dumping site for old cars and rubbish on the edge of town. He applied to the Lake County Council to lease the land and was granted the lease for the land and use of a natural spring in the early 1980s. He was 57 years old when his dream project was given the green light.

After removing several tonnes of rubbish, fencing the entire area, clearing 2m-high blackberry and broom canes, building ponds and removing about  100 huge pine trees, Dick and son Paul built aviaries, the first Kiwi house and a ticket office, planting 10,000 native trees.

They contacted the New Zealand Wildlife Service (now Department of Conservation) to see how they could go about sourcing some birds, and two long and hard years later officially opened for business on January 13th1986. The park is still owned by Paul Wilson and his wife Sandra.

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Queenstown Excited To Welcome Visitors Again

Queenstown Excited To Welcome Visitors Again

In two recent NZ polls Queenstown has ranked the first choice of destination Kiwis are planning to visit once travel restrictions lift. It’s a great acknowledgement from people across New Zealand that Queenstown is an inspirational destination that they are keen to visit again.

The announcement yesterday that NZ will move to Alert Level 2 on Thursday has been met with delight in Queenstown, with operators in the Southern Hemisphere’s premier holiday destination excited to welcome visitors again and get back to business.

Regional tourism organisation, Destination Queenstown, says the announcement is hugely important and provides a pathway to recovery for tourism operators moving into the vital winter season.

Destination Queenstown interim CEO, Ann Lockhart, says tourism operators are keen to get back to doing what they do best – inviting visitors to share our culture and spectacular part of the country.

“The announcement today will provide some relief for businesses in Queenstown following many weeks of uncertainty. Tourism operators will now be looking at how the rules apply to them, how they can safely operate under alert level 2 and making any adaptations to do so. While this isn’t a total panacea it is a good step in the right direction. DQ will be working with businesses this week to understand their plans and identify any support they may need access to,’’ Ms Lockhart said.

“We are certain that our world leading tourism operators are well equipped to meet requirements to deliver great experiences, in a safe environment. We are excited our ski fields are able to operate, our hospitality sector will be looking forward to serving visitors again soon, and many of our activities will be able to make the guidelines work.”

The return of commercial air services to Queenstown will also go a long way toward getting the Queenstown community back on its feet.

Destination Queenstown (DQ) has developed a framework of marketing activity in response to Covid-19. The approach has three stages; local, regional and domestic and aims to tell our story from the inside out, celebrating our culture and our diversity.

The first campaign, #WeAreQueenstown, launched two weeks ago has centred on the local community. The marketing campaign not only encourages support for local businesses, but aims to inspire community spirit and pride, reminding locals why they choose to call Queenstown home.

DQ began ramping up winter marketing activity last week, following announcement of the inclusion of domestic travel in level 2. This will culminate with the launch of a new winter marketing campaign, targeting the domestic market, on 1 June. The campaign will be a celebration of being back in the outdoors, exploring, discovering and spending time with friends – some true Kiwi favourites.

DQ is also underway with research to get a wider understanding of the domestic market. The work will provide insights to both inform DQ marketing investment and activity but also to deliver key insights for DQ members.

Ms Lockhart says the RTO is keen to unlock the lockdown wanderlust and invite New Zealanders to enjoy our great outdoors, our vibrant town, exceptional dining and iconic activities.

“Queenstown’s world-class activities and outstanding natural beauty have earned Queenstown a collection of accolades over the years and now is the perfect time for Kiwis to experience why.”

New Zealanders have always played an important role in Queenstown’s visitation. Kiwis coming to Queenstown have historically made up a third of all visitors.

This was created by Destination Queenstown and first published on Scoop.

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From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

From fire to water – Tekapo Springs celebrates 12th anniversary with community event and Australian bushfire family offer 

A multi-award-winning Tekapo tourism operation business is celebrating 12 years in business with the launch of new attractions and a very special Australian bushfire relief package.

The horror stories that came out of the bushfire tragedy prompted Tekapo Springs to reach out to an Australian family that’s ‘lost everything’ with a collaborative package to take them from the fire-ravaged region to the peace and tranquillity of Tekapo.

The family has yet to be told, but their dream holiday will include return flights to Christchurch with Air New Zealand, a five-night accommodation package including Accor Hotels’ Peppers Bluewater hotel in Tekapo and a rental car from Thrifty.

Tekapo Springs has donated the return flights and activities at their complex, including the hot pools, day spa treatments and a tour with Tekapo Star Gazing.

Tekapo Jet, Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking, Christchurch Adventure Park, Christchurch Tramway Restaurant, Hassle Free Tours – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tour, KJet Queenstown and Ziptrek Ecotours have also offered activities.

Tekapo Springs’ sales and marketing manager Andy Murray says they’re “thrilled” with the response so far.

“We’re celebrating 12 years of having built a fantastic business in Tekapo so thought it was time to give back to our local and wider community,” he says.

“We know after having talked to Australian visitors who’ve lived through the fires just how much they appreciate getting away from it all, so we came up with this gorgeous family package. Along with the other businesses that have given so generously, we can’t wait to host them.”

The Australian relief package was announced this week as Tekapo Springs officially launched its fun new summer activities, the Jumpernaut and Aqua Drop waterslide.

Tekapo Springs was founded by Karl Burtscher, who still owns the company. It developed over the years to become a multi-award-winning, world-renowned and year-round tourism attraction featuring three hot pools, two cooler pools and an aqua play area, a day spa, a café and bar, steam and sauna rooms, unique stargazing products, and an ice rink and snow tube park.

It operates 364 days a year, employs up to 50 people and welcomes around 150,000 people a year.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved,” says Karl. “We’ve had an awesome summer as domestic tourism in New Zealand has been really strong, so we celebrated by having some fun, acknowledging our 12thbirthday milestone and giving back in the best way we can to our friends in Australia who’re having a hard time.”

Karl thanked the Albury Ice Hockey Club (now called Mackenzie Ice Hockey Club) as without their support and allowing the sale of the land, the Tekapo Springs complex of today would not exist.

“I also want to say a huge ‘thank you’ the local Tekapo and the wider Mackenzie community as without their support this would not have been possible,” he says.

Mackenzie district Mayor Graham Smith attended the birthday celebration along with Canterbury Cricket stars Chad Bowes and Cam Fletcher. The Mayor got into the spirit of things by racing the young cricketers on the Jumpernaut followed by a speed trial on the Aqua Drop, where speeds of 41km per hour were reached.

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Queenstown tourism operator targets premium visitor market with business growth

A well-established Queenstown tour operator is taking a new direction in response to changes in overseas markets and dynamics.

Alpine Luxury Tours, based in Queenstown, is a family-owned and operated business with family connections to Queenstown and the wider Otago region dating back nearly 60 years.

Founder Lee Saunders has a passion for showing people the New Zealand he knows and loves, and that’s evident to all who meet him.

Having grown up in and around Queenstown, he knows the region like the back of his hand, and prides himself on enabling his guests to experience the best of New Zealand in the most private way.

“We have always been about authentic, exclusive experiences thanks to the key relationships we’ve built up over the years,” he says.

“Because of our local connections we have exclusive access to areas where no other companies set foot. If a guest wants to exclusively book out a popular local restaurant, or visit somewhere and not see another soul, then we’re the ones to make it happen.

“We’re seeing an increase in the FIT premium visitor market which doesn’t show any signs of slowing down soon, so we’ve re-branded as Alpine Luxury Tours to focus on the key emerging markets of South East Asia and to cater for Western market growth.”

Mr Saunders says New Zealand now has a high standard of suppliers and partners enabling his company to work consistently at the premium end of the market, a far cry from stale, repetitive itineraries.

“Thanks to these partners we can attract business to superb exclusive locations and know that they will have a consistently outstanding experience at every level.”

The business started operating in 2011 and Lee says growth has been “very rapid”.

“It’s hard work but very rewarding, and working with long-term guides who also have great relationships and inside knowledge means we can customise any adventure at a moment’s notice, and often do!”

Alpine Luxury Tours specialises in privately-guided day experiences for sightseeing, private wine experiences, and hiking or heli-hiking and heli-experiences to some of the most unique, stunning and exclusive parts of Queenstown, Fiordland and Mount Cook National Park.

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Canyon Brewing buzzing over bee initiative

In a corporate social responsibility initiative, Canyon Brewing is sponsoring three thriving beehives in Arthur’s Point, near Queenstown.

Bee the Change founder, Neal McAloon, has placed five apiaries (hive locations) across the district in a bid to help save the bees and grow educational awareness.

Go Orange Marketing Manager Emma Hansen says she’s thrilled Canyon Brewing is part of the initiative.

“Here at Canyon Brewing we want to give back to our Arthur’s Point community as much as possible and Bee the Change seemed a perfect fit.

“On top of helping make a difference in this fight to save the bees, the bees also pollinate nearby fruit trees, providing free fruit for the community in years to come.”

The Arthur’s Point apiary is on the School House Reserve.

Neal says the bees are strategically placed to get the best pollination.

“They’re located in public spaces accompanied by educational signage which will be installed shortly.

“Our future and their future is intertwined. There are many, many diseases increasing around the world so by supporting Bee the Change companies are growing awareness about the importance of bees and what people can do in their own environment to help improve the bees environment.

“The Apiculture industry and bees are under a lot of pressure globally. Our long term mission is to build up strong colonies in the district so when crises strikes around the world we could be in a position to help send apiaries elsewhere.”

Once ready, the honey will be harvested and sold, at a highly discounted rate, back to Canyon and other companies which are part of the initiative.

Without bees other consequences to our food chain would come knocking, which would be dire to food sources around the world

“The global decline of bees is a problem we all face. Without bees we won’t have food so Canyon is doing what we can to help in this fight,” Emma says.

Neal says he is grateful for their support.

“Hospitability businesses take from the food supply which bees are an intrinsic part of. By getting involved with Bee the Change, Canyon is helping with bee resilience.

“It goes in a cycle: Canyon Brewing takes from the environment, bees help create the food they take and now they’re giving back to the honeybee species.”

All businesses and individuals involved with Bee the Change pay an initial start-up fee and then a continuous yearly fee to help with the upkeep of hives.

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Gibbston valley opens new luxury spa with wine on the menu

Gibbston valley opens new luxury spa with wine on the menu

When Gibbston Valley Winery opens its new 5-star luxury lodge this month, a standout feature will be the luxurious private spa and – fittingly – its range of vinotherapy treatments.

Part of the Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa development near Queenstown, the Spa will offer guests a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and well-being and the unique opportunity to connect with the land and winery on a whole new level.

Nestled within the breathtakingly beautiful grounds of Gibbston Valley Winery’s 1000-acre estate and a few minutes’ walk from the new accommodation villas, the standalone spa building features three private treatment rooms.

Experienced therapists will offer a range of treatments to suit any personal indulgence, including vinotherapy face and body therapies using different parts of the grape and vine to benefit the skin.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt is thrilled with the innovative treatments on offer at the new spa.

“Unmitigated wine immersion is central to what we want guests to encounter here at the Lodge & Spa – a weekend full of unique, indulgent, and engaging experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in Queenstown,” says Greg.

“So quite naturally incorporating wine elements into our spa treatments enables us to offer guests a chance to embrace the winery and spa experience in a very special way.”

Vinotherapy treatments include the TheraVine™ Luxurious Pinotage & Lime Salt Scrub, a full-body exfoliation that harnesses grape extracts, mineral salts and a citrus infusion to reveal silky, rejuvenated skin, and the Aromavine™ Uplifting Massage where a 100% natural blend of grapeseed, clary sage, rose and jasmine oils will leave guests feeling equal parts relaxed and invigorated.

Other signature treatments include a pampering massage using locally sourced Greenstone and Quartz, a Mud-Detox wrap where warm clay is applied in a full body envelope to draw out toxins, or a variety of tailored packages for individual or couple indulgences.

For total relaxation, guests can immerse themselves in one of two open-air hot tubs nestled into the hillside behind the Spa, offering an outdoor bathing experience with uninterrupted views of Central Otago’s ruggedly charismatic landscape.

Those who like to ‘sweat it out’ will enjoy the intimate yet well-appointed gym inside the spa building. Equipped with state-of cardio machines, free weights and a private all-hours access the gym provides a secure and tranquil place for guests to workout.

At the helm of the Spa is the newly appointed Spa Manager Frances Shirley. With over twelve years’ experience in massage therapy and spa management, UK-born Shirley is a trained beauty and massage therapist. She brings with her a breadth of skill and knowledge gained from previous roles at high-end luxury spas, including locally Matakauri Lodge and Hilton Queenstown.

“The aim of the new Spa is to create a calm, trusting and kind atmosphere for our guests that extends from the treatment rooms all the way back to their villa. Our therapists are intuitive, enthusiastic and highly trained offering tailored treatments and a wealth of knowledge to ensure every guest has a personalised and relaxing experience,” says Frances.

Catering to guests of Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, the Spa will be opening alongside the landmark Lodge and twenty-four private villas this month. For Spa information and bookings please visit: https://www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com/spa/

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Go Orange appoints new Kayak Experience Manager Courtney Quintrell

A love of the great outdoors and a quest for adventure are behind the appointment of a new Go Orange Kayak Experience Manager.

Courtney Quintrell has over 20 years’ experience working in tourism and hospitality, six of those in stunning Fiordland National Park.

And now she’s living her “dream job” enabling visitors to discover the serenity and beauty of Doubtful and Milford sounds on sea kayaking adventures in this remote part of the world, and kayak trips in the heart of Queenstown.

Born and raised in the US, Courtney says she loves to travel “anywhere and everywhere”, which ultimately brought her to New Zealand.

Her first New Zealand role saw her learning the ropes as a guide, driver and 2IC for a Milford Sound kayak company, interspersed with time in Alaska as a river guide and lodge guest services manager.

Joining Go Orange in November last year, she managed the daily operations of a full-service café on its newly-renovated scenic cruise boat the Milford Haven, catering for 500-plus guests each day.

And as the 2019/20 summer season cranks into gear she’s thrilled to take up her new role as Kayak Experience Manager.

“I have paddled a few places in the world, but nothing competes with kayaking in Fiordland!” she says. “The landscape is awe-inspiring, and the weather makes it even better. You haven’t really seen the place at it’s best until you’ve paddled in proper Fiordland rain. It’s incredible!

“It’s hugely rewarding to be in a position to have fun with our guests while working in such an exciting industry in the most beautiful place in the world.

“I am excited to work with our amazing kayaking team who deliver an outstanding experience, day in, day out.”

Go Orange is thrilled to welcome Courtney to her new role.

“We’re looking forward to working with her, especially knowing the level of experience and fun she’ll bring to the kayaking team,” says Go Orange Head of Experience Russell Thomas.

When she’s not busy working, Courtney’s renowned for the five years of time and energy she’s put into coordinating the Milford Sound Wild Foods and Brews Festival, the largest community event in the Sound.

And in what’s left of her ‘spare’ time she’s into tramping, camping, hunting, motorbike riding, fishing, skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle boarding, rafting and snowboarding.

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