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Arts & Culture of Nelson

Kyak the Abel Tasman National Park Nelson, the main urban hub at the top of the South Island, is known as the creative arts capital of New Zealand. The majestic area is home to over 300 working artists who draw on the beauty of the natural environment, spectacular scenery and gentle coastal landscapes to create arts and crafts reflecting New Zealand’s culture and way of life. Located along the banks of Tasman Bay, Nelson is just over 400km north of Christchurch. Nelson Arts Nelson offers a real cultural experience when you visit the many galleries and museums showcasing New Zealand’s works. The Suter, RED Art Gallery, Nelson Provincial Museum and South Street Gallery are just a few of the places you’ll be able to see works from local and international artists, or if you want to meet the passionate people behind the artwork, head to the local markets held in Nelson each Saturday. For something a little different, visit the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum, also known as WOW,
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Discover Warwick QLD

Queen Mary’s Falls Warwick, an area rich with history, natural beauty and distinctive streetscapes is a great place to explore, relax and rejuvenate. Located in the heart of Southern Queensland, Warwick is just a scenic 2 hour drive from Brisbane, one hour from Toowoomba or three hours from the Gold Coast. Local Warwick History Warwick is the home to some of Queensland’s oldest sandstone buildings dating back as early as 1850. Stone from the local quarries was used to build many of the public and private buildings which you can visit today including St Mary’s Catholic Church, Warwick Town Hall, Warwick Courthouse, Warwick Railway Station, Pringle Cottage and the Warwick Police Station. Follow a self-guided walking map or cycling circuit to view Warwick’s historical buildings, churches, museums and galleries, or choose from one of five tourist drives to explore the surrounding areas of picturesque villages, thriving agricultural areas, waterfalls and stunning countryside. A photo
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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
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North Island Road Trip Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo

Distance: 81km Approximate Driving Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Skyline Rotorua A great continental breakfast delivered to our unit at the Econo Lodge Cleveland set us up for a busy day ahead. Having the breakfast delivered the night before (and stored away in our own kitchen fridge) gave us the luxury of being able to eat at our leisure, thus reducing the chance of a too-tired-for-this-meltdown (mine, not the kids – I am NOT a morning person!). We said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and our little home-away-from-home and set off to explore more of Rotorua. Skyline Rotorua First stop for the day was Skyline and a gondola ride up to the top for awesome views across Lake Rotorua. The ride up is an adventure in itself (with the obligatory, “I can see my car from here!”). From the top it was a thrilling ride back down on the awesome luge runs. Everyone started off on the slow route first to get used to the way the luge handles (and to find that all important braking mechanism)
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North Island Road Trip Day 3: Napier to Rotorua

Distance: 219km Approximate Driving Time: 3 hours Penguins at The National Aquarium of New Zealand After a superb night’s rest at the Econo Lodge Napier (we were all so comfortable that we overslept), we devoured the cracking continental breakfast that was delivered to our unit the night before. Freshness and local produce were the focus once again and we even discovered a new favourite cereal – a bonus when you have a fussy eater! Then, with a round of smiling farewells from the staff, we were on our way, this time under stunning blue skies. National Aquarium of New Zealand Along the waterfront, we visited the National Aquarium of New Zealand. An awesome attraction for both kids and adults, we spent a couple of hours exploring and meeting the inhabitants. The penguins were ever so cute and after feeding-time one of them swam right over to us to splash around in the water within arm’s reach. The amazing array of fish, reptiles and aquatic creatures kept us all fascina
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North Island Road Trip Day 2: Palmerston North to Napier

Distance: 177km Approximate Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins Tom Parker Fountain, Napier Our delicious cooked breakfast was delivered to our rooms at the Comfort Inn Kauri Court the next morning. The generous portions set us up for lots more exploring on day two of our road trip. That’s once we could pull our youngest away from the luxury of a king size bed all to himself! The Square in Palmerston North is the central hub of activity for the city. Before hitting the road for the second day of our trip we swung by The Square for some frosty fun on the temporary ice rink. The kids had never been ice skating before and were keen to give it a go. Though there were plenty of Bambi legs at first, they soon got the hang of it and had a great time – bruised bottoms aside! Palmerston North: Left to right – Ice skating, chess in The Square, fountains and the clock tower at The Square. On the road from Palmerston North to Napier we were fascinated by the sight of the huge wind turb
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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
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Marvellous Mackay

Once known as the sugar capital of Australia, Mackay offers some sweet retreats for travellers looking to enjoy tropical ambience and natural beauty. Picturesque coastline, sea views, marine life, rainforests and rivers are all in reach of the palm lined streets of the laidback city centre, with the casual al fresco dining offering one of the best ways to take in the art deco architecture and other heritage buildings. Offering a Mediterranean feel five minutes from the CBD is the newly refurbished four-star Quality Inn Marco Polo Motel. Visitors after a more luxurious experience will enjoy the Clarion Hotel Mackay Marina, which is the only hotel offering marina views over the Coral Sea. The peace and beauty of Illawong Beach is a short stroll from Econo Lodge Beachside, while a bit further out, you can enjoy the Northern Beaches from beachfront apartments at Comfort Resort Blue Pacific. While Captain James Cook was one of the first Europeans to travel through the region, the town is ac
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Apollo Bay: Brimming with possibilities

Situated in the foothills of the Otway Ranges on Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is an idyllic seaside village and historic fishing port brimming with all-year-round possibilities. A renowned tourist destination, Apollo Bay is the perfect spot to laze away a few days or use as a base to take in the surrounding area’s beautiful and rugged splendour. What better way to hole up than at Comfort Inn The International? This centrally located hotel is close to both the Apollo Bay Gold Club and Cape Otway Light Station, one of Australia’s most significant lighthouses, as well as the town’s cosy stretch of restaurants, shops and quality watering holes. The four-star hotel’s 24 spacious, homely rooms cater to business and leisure travellers alike. Settled in the 1840s, Apollo Bay is named after trading voyager Captain Loutit, who used the bay to shelter his vessel, the Apollo, from a storm, (m. (Iits name was officially changed from Krambruk to Apollo Bay in 1898).) After the comp
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Hervey Bay: a holiday haven

Situated approximately 300km north of Brisbane, Hervey Bay is perhaps best known as the home of the humpback whale and gateway to heritage-listed Fraser Island. While these attractions are undeniable, it offers so much more, with its calm protected waters, mild climate and quiet clean beaches. Visitors can choose from three Choice hotels in Hervey Bay. The 4-star Comfort Inn & Suites Arlia Sands is ideally located just a block from the beach, while the 3.5-star Econo Lodge Fraser Gateway Hervey Bay is close to shopping facilities, the Cultural Centre, Discovery Sphere and Art Gallery. For visitors looking to indulge, relax and unwind, Oceans Resort, an Ascend Hotel collection member, is the perfect hotel. This hotel features 54 self-contained suites, offering uninterrupted views of the Great Sandy Strait and Fraser Island. The hotel offers a day spa, two lagoon pools, fitness centre and an onsite restaurant and bar. Home to the Butchulla people, the first recorded sighting of Herv
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