Original zipline company Ziptrek Ecotours tells the story of New Zealand with tourism partners

Media Release from Ziptrek Ecotours

Multi-award-winning zipline company Ziptrek Ecotours is showcasing its new partnerships to more than 370 of the world’s leading travel buyers at New Zealand’s biggest international tourism event.

Still flying high after seven successful years in business, and a recognised leader in zipline innovation and sustainable business practice, Ziptrek Ecotours sought out equally environmentally-conscious businesses for its latest combos.

As a result, they now offer the ultimate air, water and land-based packages for visitors to Queenstown, ensuring eco-credentials translate to positive experiences for visitors and locals. The three combos were all individually chosen for what they would add in value and experiences for guests.

The hugely popular Zip & Wilderness combo neatly packages up a Ziptrek Adventure, soaring to new heights ‘zipping’ through the trees above Queenstown, with a Dart River Wilderness Jet journey from Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu deep into Te Waipounamu World Heritage area of Mt Aspiring National Park.

Both experiences offer a unique combination of breathtaking scenery and exhilaration, and Ziptrek Ecotours is “delighted” to be working with Dart River thanks to a shared passion for environmental sustainability and protection.

Dart River Business Manager Harald Ulriksen said they were delighted to be working with Ziptrek.

“Both experiences have a natural affinity with nature and our environment,” he said.

The Zip & Kiwi combo combines a Ziptrek tour of the visitor’s choice with entry to the Kiwi Birdlife Park just a short walk from the zipline base. The combo with the park, which has over five acres of forest sanctuary, has proved extremely popular as it “tells the story of New Zealand”.

Ziptrek Ecotours already has a close relationship with the park since sponsoring a brand-new reptile wing to house its collection of rare and endangered wildlife, in particular tuatara and critically-endangered Otago and Grand skinks.

“This is a great example of us working with other businesses to help tell the New Zealand story,” said Ziptrek Ecotours Executive Director Trent Yeo.

“There’s continued interest in eco-tourism and we aim to be at the forefront of that, gaining the type of visitor who wants to see and experience the ‘real’ New Zealand and not just go shopping!”

That philosophy also sits well with the company’s third combo on offer – Zip & Ride. The combo is the perfect choice for those wishing to explore the region by air and land. After being taken to new heights with a gravity-driven Ziptrek Moa or Kea tour, guests can take to ‘pedal power’ with Around the Basin to discover parts of the region unreachable by car, meandering past lakes, rivers, the historic village of Arrowtown or through stunning wineries.

At last year’s TRENZ, Ziptrek used world-leading virtual reality video technology to bring its exhilarating zipline tour to buyers, a move that proved “hugely popular”.

Buyers were able to immerse themselves in the world of Ziptrek by donning the latest Samsung VR headset which literally ‘put’ the buyer on the company’s framed treehouses, zipping downhill and able to look around them at the stunning views as they did so.

“It was incredibly successful at getting people to feel what it is like to fly through the trees and see the majesty of our tree architecture in context,” said Mr Yeo.

“We’ve continued to use the headsets for overseas sales trips, as a tool for staff training and even in our Queenstown store to give people a ‘taste’ of the trip before booking. Watch this space for more!”

Leading the way in zipline innovation and sustainable business practice, Ziptrek Ecotours launched in New Zealand in November 2009 and since then has completed nearly three-quarters of a million zips through the forest canopy on ‘gravity fed ziplines’.

Click here to visit Ziptrek Ecotours’ website.

Picture caption:

1/ A Dart River Wilderness Jet journey is part of a popular Zip & Wilderness combo with Ziptrek Ecotours


Read More

Rooms with a view at Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Rising above the Christchurch cityscape, the new Crowne Plaza Christchurch features 204 spacious and modern rooms, including eight suites, with unique views to the city, coast, hills and Southern Alps.

A number of features in each room are designed to make the most of the scenery. A comfy window seat with cushions invites guests to sit back and take in the views. It’s a great spot to relax with a book and a fresh brewed T2 tea.

Thanks to a glass panel between the bathroom and bedroom in some rooms, guests can even soak up the view from the shower. This design also adds great natural light to the bathroom and an electric blind is available to easily restore full privacy. Alternatively, guests can simply request a room without this feature.

Crowne Plaza has selected Rituals products as its premium bathroom amenities, specifically the Happy Buddha range. Guests can also enjoy a touch of luxury with a make-up mirror, dual head shower and large heated mirror featured in every bathroom.

It goes without saying that guests are guaranteed a peaceful night’s sleep – with new beds in comfortable ‘zen-like’ rooms and a range of Executive, Deluxe and Superior configurations from suites to king bed, split king, doubles and wheelchair accessible options.

Thanks to the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage programme, with its superb bedding, pillow options and quiet zones, guests are guaranteed to wake up with a smile.

And while the emphasis is on modern classic lighting, and a range of carefully thought-through textiles, textures and colourways in each room, the hotel hasn’t scrimped on technology that really works.

Staying connected to the outside world is easy with unlimited free WiFi and Samsung smart TV’s complete with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless mobile device mirroring. Several USB ports are also part of the room design, allowing for easy device charging from the bedside table and desk.

“Guests are encouraged to share their travel experiences and enjoy their own digital content from the comfort of their room, just like they would at home,” said Front Office Manager Krysten Butler.

Up-to-date hotel information is available from each guest TV, and if they need help setting it up or some assistance during their stay, they’re encouraged to call on the hotel’s ‘tech-savvy’ porters or front desk.

“We’ll even loan guests cables to connect their device if they need them,” said Ms Butler.

For guests who want to catch up on the latest news, the hotel offers free access to over 6,000 magazines and newspapers within the PressReader app. For those who prefer a more traditional approach, free newspapers can also be delivered daily to their room.

With business and conference travellers in mind, each room includes a desk and comfortable office-style chair, making catching up on emails or working on a presentation or business document a breeze.

The new hotel also features Market Place restaurant and bar, Café 1851 on the ground floor, the upmarket Social Wine Bar, hotel library, fitness centre and a range of function rooms.

The property is situated at the corner of Colombo and Armagh streets on Victoria Square, making it an easy stroll to all key attractions and alongside the gently-flowing Avon River.

“Within two minutes’ walk from the hotel guests can be exploring the many cafés and boutiques of New Regent Street, strolling through Cathedral Square, taking in the latest Arts Centre exhibition, shopping in the new city centre or visiting the Christchurch Casino,” said General Manager Reinier Eulink.

“We can’t wait to open the doors to our first guests, making it a hub for business and leisure travellers and a meeting place in the heart of the city for our wider community.”

The eagerly-awaited 4.5-star hotel, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), will be the largest upscale hotel in the Christchurch city centre when it opens mid-year.

Click here to visit Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s website.

Picture caption:
1/ An artist’s impression of a room at Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Read More

Culinary adventure brings new head chef to Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Media release from Crowne Plaza Queenstown 

More than a decade of travel and culinary adventures has come full circle with the appointment of Robin Lilley to the position of head chef at Crowne Plaza Queenstown.

The Canadian-born chef is looking forward to showcasing his knowledge of international cuisine as he takes up the position at threesixty restaurant, renowned as one of Queenstown’s best restaurants and bars.

Chef Robin, 34, most recently worked for eco-tourism company Heritage Expeditions, where he spent a year as head chef aboard the 50-passenger Spirit of Enderby as it visited Antarctica and the east coast of Russia.

“I got to travel in the best regions in the world,” he said. “There were some very interesting moments too – one day we delayed serving breakfast so everyone on board could watch four polar bears breakfasting on a walrus!”

After his stint on the Enderby, Chef Robin went on a self-styled “culinary adventure” through Europe, visiting Austria, Russia and Germany among other countries, before returning to Queenstown where he had worked in a variety of chef roles at hotels and restaurants over a six-year period.

At threesixty, Chef Robin is overseeing delivery of the restaurant’s existing autumn menu while planning a range of hearty winter dishes for hungry skiers and snowboarders, a fantastic European-feel après ski offering.

“I’m excited to adapt my knowledge of international cuisine to the role, looping back to my roots and taking influence from my Canadian heritage,” he said.

“New Zealand has a very ethnically diverse food offering and our menu is a showcase of everything that New Zealand has to offer culturally.

“We’ll serve hearty favourites like beef cheeks and braised ribs with fresh produce sourced from our own “backyard”, inspired by the freezing winters in Banff, where I’m from.

“A European-feel après ski environment will showcase mulled wines, and local craft beers will invite guests and locals to socialise over sharing plates and reminisce about their favourite ski moments.”

Chef Robin said designing banqueting menus for the conference and incentive market was a “speciality”.

“I plan on revamping the banqueting menus with a modern-twist encompassing trending foods and creating exciting alternatives for dietary requirements.”

He said he was delighted to join the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for the first time.

“IHG nurtures staff and offers employees room to grow and develop skills, and I see Crowne Plaza Queenstown as an opportunity to gain more experience in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.”

Crowne Plaza Queenstown General Manager Anna Edie said Robin’s knowledge of international cuisine was a perfect fit for threesixty.

“We look forward to welcoming diners to experience mouthwatering dishes from across the globe – all while sampling the very best of the regions wines,” she said.

The property has recently completed a half a million-dollar refurbishment offering a fresh new look for guests including new furniture and carpets in its public areas, restaurant and bar, and conference spaces.

Conveniently located in the heart of Queenstown’s visitor, retail and business district, Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s ground-floor threesixty restaurant is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, High Tea, or a good coffee.

Click here to visit Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s website.

Picture caption:

1/ threesixty restaurant new head chef Robin Lilley at Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Read More

New Executive Chef to showcase local produce at Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Media release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

The new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is promising to showcase the best fresh local produce the city and region have to offer in its brand-new café, bar and restaurant.

Conveniently located in the vibrant heart of Christchurch, the hotel will feature the 80-seat Market Place restaurant and bar, its ground-floor Café 1851 and the upmarket Social Wine Bar.

Swiss-born chef Mirco Turtschi brings to the table a wealth of experience from hotels and restaurants in Switzerland and New Zealand, and said it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to set up a new hotel of this size.

“My overall vision for these three venues is to capture a diverse audience at different times of the day and become known as a popular dining hub, for locals and visitors,” he said.

Chef Mirco’s culinary journey started at the age of 15 when he started his chef apprenticeship in a four-star hotel in Switzerland.

Mirco came to New Zealand at the age of 26 where he honed his skills in cafes in Blenheim and Picton, before making the move to top Auckland hotels and then Queenstown.

And while he loves the simple pleasures of fresh bread, pastries and roasted coffee beans in the morning, a small goods platter in the afternoon or sizzling steak on the barbeque, he names his favourite dish as his Aunty’s lasagne.

“We’re aiming to appeal to everyone, keeping good old-fashioned favourites that are generous in portion but reasonable in price, while offering health conscious guests some lighter options,” said Chef Mirco.

Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s features three premium offers in one inspiring new space. Market Place restaurant and bar takes inspiration from the local markets which once thrived just metres away in Victoria Square. Featuring an interactive marketplace dining concept, diners will be encouraged to pick and choose from a wide range of dishes on offer.

The menu for Market Place restaurant and bar is still under wraps, but Chef Mirco said his vision was to give locals and visitors the opportunity to discover the best fresh produce the city has to offer.

“I’ve been visiting our local farmers markets each week to get inspiration for ingredients and dishes and we’re excited to be opening up our very own interactive market inspired dining concept,” he said.

“There will be a live cooking station where guests can choose from a selection of meat, fish or seafood each evening, cooked to order just how they like it.”

Located in the lobby, Café 1851 is set to delight tastebuds and give friends, locals and families a place to connect in a contemporary environment. It will serve expertly brewed Mojo coffee, T2 tea, fresh juices and smoothies, pastries, cakes, sandwiches and salads.

The light-filled café features clean lines and Scandanavian-inspired décor. With free wifi available it will be the perfect spot for meetings, a work break or tasty ‘grab and go’ food.

Social Wine Bar will be the place for get-togethers and drinks over shared plates, an extensive wine list and a selection of NZ craft beers. Chef Mirco said the bar would be an “elegant and comfortable” space with a fireplace adding a cosy vibe.

“The selection of dishes on offer will include small, medium and large plates all designed to be shared by friends, colleagues, couples or groups,” he said.

“It’s sure to be the perfect space for socialising, meetings, a place to grab a quick bite before a show or game, or perhaps a nightcap after a busy day.”

Crowne Plaza Christchurch General Manager Reinier Eulink said he was honoured to be working alongside Mirco once more, after the pair previously worked at IHG’s Crowne Plaza Queenstown.

“Mirco’s strong knowledge of classical and contemporary techniques was perfect for Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s local and international guests and the feedback we received was outstanding,” he said.

“We can’t wait to see our restaurant, café and bar come to life thanks to his expertise at the helm of our food and beverage operation.

“We look forward to inviting Christchurch locals to visit at any time of the day, for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.”

Click here to visit Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s website.

Picture caption:

1/ Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s new Café 1851 will offer something for everyone

Read More