Among our far-flung correspondents is Jade Chan, who writes for The Star, an English-language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Jade was on vacation in New Zealand just days and hours before that country — as well as Malaysia and Australia (where she had to transit) — severely limited travel to combat the coronavirus threat. Getting home was something of a trial — “I was ‘saved by the bell,'” as she puts it — but at least she wasn’t stranded for weeks on a cruise ship.
I’ll let Jade take it from here (note that a somewhat different version of this piece originally appeared in The Star).
By Jade Chan
My family had planned for a holiday in New Zealand more than half a year ago, and departed for the Land of the… Continue reading
New Zealand is one of my favorite destinations.
I’ve hiked along the Milford Track and through Abel Tasman National Park, marveled at gorgeous valleys and mountains that served as dramatic backdrops for the “Lord of the Rings” saga, made my way through an eerie glowworm cave, cruised through ice blue narrow passages of Milford Sound, enjoyed the urban amenities of Auckland and Wellington, and dined on lamb, lamb, and more lamb (though there’s much more to the diverse Kiwi cuisine — I just like lamb).
The country consists of three main islands: North, South, and Stewart (the latter is much smaller), and climate can range from warm and tropical in the north to cold and wintry in the south. Don’t forget that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so beautiful Fjordland in the far south can… Continue reading
You may have read recently that a group of eminent geologists now believe there is a land mass that should be regarded as the earth’s eighth continent, based on scientific studies of the nature of its continental crust.
They’ve dubbed it Zealandia, partially because it includes the island nation of New Zealand in the western Pacific.
The term “Zealandia” was actually coined back in 1995 to describe a number of islands in the region (of which New Zealand’s three main islands are the largest) and what were believed to be submerged fragments of continental crust that broke off from Australia in the distant past.
Now the evidence is that Zealandia is all one big piece stretching from north of Antarctica almost all the way to the east coast of Oz. That would make… Continue reading
Along with Switzerland, New Zealand is my favorite place to hike.
The “tracks,” as hiking trails are known there, lead along mountain ridges, lakes, and rivers and through valleys and rainforests. The scenery is, well, choose your cliche: spectacular, breathtaking, unforgettable.
Some of the tracks are relatively easy, while others can literally take your breath away.
A Kiwi-owned company, New Zealand Trails, makes it easy for baby boomers — about two-thirds of its customers are in the 49 to 67 boomer age range — to experience several of the tracks as well as other South Island highlights, such as a train journey across the Southern Alps, a glowworm cave, a kayak trip through a coastal lagoon, a scenic helicopter ride, a lake cruise, and a boat trip across Milford Sound.
Hiking trails include a… Continue reading
I was surprised to read a few days ago that Tourism New Zealand — the organization charged with luring travelers to kiwi land and making their visits more enjoyable — has just launched its first mobile app.
Called “Essential New Zealand,” the new app can be downloaded for free and used to access travel advice throughout the country without having to have a WiFi connection.
Among its current features you’ll find:
The top 10 New Zealand experiences;
“must-do” experiences for 26 regions and many popular locations;
photos, descriptions and prices for hundreds of activities and attractions;
contact details and detailed map locations for activities and information centers;
and ways to plan, save and share your favorite activities.
More features are planned for future versions.
Smartphone usage is reported to have increased by 28 percent in New Zealand… Continue reading
A 2010 AARP survey of U.S. baby boomers turning 65 in 2011 caught my eye. According to its findings, those responding picked “travel” more than any other answer when asked what their “major ambition for the next five years” would be. “Travel” topped such categories as “improve health,” “retire,” “improve finances,” “improve housing/home projects,” “enjoy relationships with family and friends” and “relocate.”
Surveys show that boomers want to travel far and wide as well. Australia and New Zealand top wish lists, followed by Europe, and then by North American locations. Asia, Africa, the Antarctic and other exotic spots also attract many boomers.
Boomers are active travelers, willing to spend their money on adventurous, educational and creative forms of travel. Tour agencies, tourism bureaus, resorts and lodges, cruise lines, and other travel companies take heed – if you overlook boomers, you’re… Continue reading