default logo

North Island Road Trip Day 5: Taupo to Wellington

Distance: 371km Approximate Driving Time: 5 hours 5 minutes Lake Taupo It may have been a cold and stormy winter’s night but we were toasty warm throughout. After a superb night’s rest at the Comfort Inn Cascades, we woke on the final day of our road trip to news that our route home, the notorious Desert Road, was currently closed due to snow and ice. But with bright, clear skies we figured it would open by the time we were due to head south. Plus, the kids were excited by the prospect of some snow to play in! OK, I say kids but really it was this snow-mad mum trying to spread the enthusiasm for the bitterly cold day. We packed up and after the kids said goodbye to the friendly resident cat that had greeted us the night before, we took a wander down to the lake to breathe in the fresh air before setting off. Huka Prawn Park We headed out to the Huka Prawn Park, just a few minutes drive north of Taupo at the Wairakei Tourist Park (SH1). Beside the steaming Wairakei power sta
Read More...

North Island Road Trip Day 1: Wellington to Palmerston North

Distance: 140km Approximate Driving Time: 2 hours 10 mins Donkeys at Owlcatraz Road trip! The last time my kids heard those words we embarked on a two week epic journey around the South Island. By the end, we were all exhausted! This time, we were heading off on a five day trip during the school holidays to explore the lower North Island. With shorter driving distances – and hence more time to explore and have fun – the kids (Lee and Jason), my husband, Paul, and I were raring to go. Being the July school holidays the weather was, well … July! Dull, wet and cold. But that just added to the adventure and we were well prepared with beanies, gloves and lots of waterproof and warm clothing – and a change of clothes easily to hand in the car. We headed north along the picturesque Kapiti Coast road where the Wellington wind was sending the waves crashing into the rocks. Leaving the coast, Levin is a great place to stop and stretch the legs. The kids love the huge Adve
Read More...

XYNZ Choice Roadie: from Hamilton to Rotorua

Recently Ellen Dick and Tessa Stockdale from XYNZ took park in a #ChoiceRoadie. Below is an account of their adventures, as originally published in XYNZ, June 2015. Ultimate roadie playlist – check. Jucy Fiat Punto – check. Spot on accommodation to rest our heads – check. Reading and rearing for the big-little roadie. Get in. Thanks to our friends at Choice Hotels, we were sent on a roadie of epic proportions. From 0 to 100 real quick (thanks Drake), to indulging in divine cuisine and cosy accommodation, to being treated to each city’s best attractions; this was an adventure you don’t want to miss. Setting off from Auckland, to Hamilton and then on to Rotorua, we were ready for anything. Show us what you’ve got: Waikato and Bay of Plenty, we are ready. Clarion Suites Ambassador Located in the heart of Hamilton, the newly opened Clarion Suites Ambassador is a quaint yet vibrant place to spend your time whilst visiting the Waikato. Located a short walk from the Waikato Stadium for those
Read More...

Christchurch in winter: The Cold and the Beautiful

Known as a great summer city with its beaches, harbours and rivers, Christchurch – the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island – is also a popular winter destination. Less than two hours’ drive from the beach will see you in the snow-capped Southern Alps, with their stunning scenery and world class ski fields. With a population well over 300,000, Christchurch is a vibrant modern city with a lively entertainment scene. Whether you are staying a while in Christchurch, or just passing through, there’s plenty of great accommodation options. Quality Hotel Elms is easy walking distance from Northlands and Papanui Shopping Centres, where you will find cinemas, bars, restaurants, and even indoor swimming pools for the kids – with gym facilities for Mum and Dad! And Econo-Lodge Canterbury Court is conveniently placed for those attending events and concerts at the nearby stadium or show grounds, and is within easy reach of all Christchurch has to offer. Known as “the Garden City”,
Read More...

Goodness gracious, great rims of fire!

Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua in the central Bay of Plenty area, lies the city of Rotorua. Established in the 1830s, Rotorua offers a mix of natural beauty, unusual geo-thermal activity and a fascinating Maori culture. Rotorua’s name comes from the Maori words Roto (lake) and Rua (two). Rotorua is situated on the Volcanic Plateau and has one of the world’s most lively fields of geothermal activity. It’s a region known for boiling mud pools and natural hot springs and sits squarely on the Pacific Rim of Fire. There’s a host of attractions to cater to all tastes in Rotorua and you can stay at a number of Choice Hotels in the region. Quality Inn on Fenton is close to Rotorua’s CBD and within walking distance to buzzing cafes and restaurants. The hotel offers a choice of suites, studios and deluxe studios. Comfort Inn & Suites Coachman is also centrally located and features self-contained spacious apartments. Econo Lodge Cleveland is situated on the shores of the stu
Read More...

Marching with our ANZACs in Canberra

Canberra is a treasure trove just waiting to be explored, and with the 100-year anniversary of ANZAC Day upon us, there is no better time to visit our nation’s capital. Careful planning of this purpose-built city allows for easy access to all the attractions no matter where in Canberra you are staying. The award-winning Quality Hotel Woden is situated minutes from one of Canberra’s largest shopping complexes – Westfield Woden Plaza Shopping Centre.  Quality Hotel Dickson and its 4.5 star accommodation rooms are just a stone’s throw away from top quality dining options. For those looking for the best value for money the Comfort Inn Airport International is perfect, located 15 minutes from the airport. If country hospitality is what you’re after the Quality Inn Country Plaza Queanbeyan is conveniently located just over the border and is only 20 minutes from Canberra’s CBD. The Australian Capital Territory was established to house Australia’s Government, with construction beginning on the
Read More...

Coober Pedy: gem of the Australian outback

  A trip to Coober Pedy promises it all; a location unlike any other, adventure, precious stones and interesting stories from the thousands of fascinating locals that have come from 45 different nations to call this place home. Located in the centre of the outback 685km from Alice Springs and 846km from Adelaide, it is one of the few locations in the world where the question of extreme exposure and a harsh climate has been answered by building accommodation underground. With over seventy opal fields and the largest opal mining area in the world, Coober Pedy has become the world’s most important source of quality gem opal.   Visitors to the town also have the exciting opportunity to experience the cool and quiet of a stay underground, with hotels like the Comfort Inn Coober Pedy providing rooms in a fully converted former opal mine shaft that was used from the 1910s until the 1960s. The Comfort Inn Coober Pedy is the perfect choice for travellers wanting to experience the uniq
Read More...

Never a dull moment in Warrnambool

Situated on the western end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Warrnambool is the perfect place to start or end your trip along the world famous stretch of coastline. With so much to do and see this historic town attracts almost a million tourists every year. There are a number of quality Choice Hotels to choose form in the area and you’ll definitely want to stay at least a couple of nights. The Comfort Inn Western is located in the heart of Warrnambool and offers beautifully appointed rooms. The Comfort Inn on Raglan is an award-winning motel offering comfort and relaxation and is situated just a few minutes’ walk from everything you need. The Comfort Inn Warrnambool International has the town’s only restaurant where local crayfish is the house special. If you are after something away from the hustle and bustle, the Quality Suites Deep Blue is located just two kilometers from the main street and just moments from the beach and Lake Petrobe. The town is drenched in history. Settled in the
Read More...

Road Trip Wrap – Central Victoria

Melbourne is, more often than not, named the world’s most liveable city. It’s one of Australia’s most artistic and cultural cities, known around the world for its popular graffiti art, and unique music scene. There is so much to explore in Victoria’s capital city, each region different from the other. Carlton is home to Victoria’s parliament, the Melbourne Museum and the Melbourne Zoo. Melbourne is also famous for its huge range of high quality restaurants, many of which are located on the famous Lygon Street. The Quality Hotel Downtowner on Lygon is the perfect place to base yourself for exploring this buzzing part of Melbourne. The Quality Hotel Batmans Hill is the place to base yourself for exploring the central and southern area of the city. Check out the famous lane ways and graffiti of the CBD, explore the sights and smells of China Town, and relax next to the Yarra River.  But we all need to escape the city sometimes. Luckily there are so many oppor
Read More...

Choice Hotels Big Things Tour of Australia – Part 9

Gold Coast, QLD
So far we’ve travelled close to 12,000 kilometres through 7 states and territories past snow covered ski fields, scorching deserts and stunning coastline. We’ve visited countless towns and numerous big things, some that make your jaw drop and others that make you wonder why.
Read More...