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Few know travel like cabin crew. Often in a destination for less than 24 hours, they know where to go to make the most of their time in each port.

To celebrate the airline’s 75th anniversary, Air New Zealand’s cabin crew have spoken with TNT about their favourite stopovers on the North and South Island, and the travel tips they would give to visitors planning a trip in the land of the long white cloud. Plus, there’s the most important decision of all – chucken or fush?

Queenstown
According to Emma Hardy 
Flight Attendant Premium Service (FAPS)

Queenstown is a nature lover’s dream, situated on glacier-formed Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by breath-taking views of mountain ranges including The Remarkables, Cecil Peak and Ben Lomond.
I’ve spent a lot of time there, both on lay-overs with work and personal holidays; I leave loving it even more with every visit – it really does have something for everyone.

Things to see and do
Queenstown’s variety is not just limited to its landscape. There is so much to see and do, from adrenaline-pumping activities including bungy jumping, jet boating and world-class skiing to laid back options of lounging at the town’s fantastic range of wineries, day spas, shops and restaurants.

Wining and dining
Queenstown has a great party atmosphere, from cosy wine bars to top nightclub venues. Can’t decide which venue to pick? Don’t worry – everything is within walking distance, making it the perfect place for a budget bar crawl!
Restaurants I would recommend are:
Botswana Butchery: Enjoy their speciality of fine cut beef and organic foods paired with local wines while overlooking Lake Wakatipo.
Winnies: Gorge on delicious pizzas and pastas in a relaxed environment. As the night goes on, the roof opens up and the music starts pumping, so you can dine and party the night away all at the same time.
Amisfield Winery & Bistro: This bistro is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Queenstown. Travel just 15 minutes outside of Queensland and snuggle up beside the bistro’s fireplace in its stunning courtyard while sampling local wines and food.
Vudu Cafe: Perfect for laid-back brunches and coffee stops while you’re exploring the town.
Eichardt’s Hotel: Treat yourself to this gorgeous lake front hotel’s extensive cocktail menu. Their Bloody Marys are the perfect morning-after cure!

Wellington
According to Alistair Hammond

Flight Attendant Premium Service (FAPS)

Maori legend refers to Wellington, New Zealand’s buzzing capital, as ‘TeUpokoteIka a Maui’, which translates to ‘the head of Maui’s fish.’ But don’t let its fishy nature put you off – Wellington might just be the coolest little capital in the world.

Things to see and do
The city crowds around the harbour, lined with parks and beaches. At the centre of it all is Te Papa, the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, where you can visit Air New Zealand’s 75th anniversary exhibition until June to try out an Air New Zealand Business Premier seat – or even a cabin crew uniform!
If you’re visiting New Zealand you have to take a journey to Middle Earth. Wellington is home to both Sir Peter Jackson and the special effects company behind the Lord of the Rings movies, Weta Workshop. At Weta Workshop you can visit the Weta Cave, a dream location for movie lovers full of props, outfits and collectibles from many famous films. There are also plenty of film locations that can be easily spotted in and around the city.
For a really memorable Kiwi experience, make time to visit the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier. Franz Josef is one of the world’s steepest glaciers and is located in the Westland Tai Poutini Park on New Zealand’s South Island. The views from the top of the glacier really are breathtaking. You can participate in a large range of hiking tours designed to suit all levels of fitness and abilities. Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can take in the spectacular ice formations and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains by taking a helicopter tour. See page 66 for more.

Party the night away
Courtenay Place: Filled with bars, restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas from end to end – no room to be bored!
Cuba Street: This area is creative and bohemian with some fantastic nightspots. Check out the buskers, boutiques and bucket fountain first before venturing further into its night time entertainment. Lastly, if for no other reason, go for the coffee! It’s the best I’ve had anywhere.

Kaikoura
According to Ceara Phillips
Flight Attendant Premium Service (FAPS)

Kaikoura is a great little town on the east coast of the South Island with a deep sea trench close to shore. It is home to an abundance of marine life including sperm whales, fur seals and, at certain times of the year, you’ll also see orca and blue whales. 

Things to see and do
If you’re visiting from mid-April to October, drive north to visit Ohau Point seal colony or do an easy bushwalk to Ohau Waterfall, where you can see pups frolicking in a natural nursery pool.
My ultimate Kaikoura experience was swimming among wild but friendly dusky dolphins with dolphin encounter. They’ll provide wetsuits, snorkels and equipment and you don’t need to be a strong swimmer. On the boat ride to the dolphins, expert guides will tell you all about the local environment. You’ll see royal albatross and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin, Hector’s dolphin. Truly magical.

Rotorua
According to Mike Guthrie
Flight Service Manager (FSM)

Rotorua is a mid-sized North Island city tucked away behind the beautiful Lake Rotorua. It is an ideal halfway point for those travelling through the North Island and contains the bulk of New Zealand’s main thermal and volcanic tourist sights. I would recommend staying for two to three days to get the full experience of what this city has to offer.
Rotorua is very accessible with Air New Zealand flying daily in and out of the city from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. It is also an easy two-and-a-half hour drive from the main city of Auckland.

Things to see and do
The city is steeped in history, having been originally built around the original Maori village of Whakawerawera. The village is well worth a visit as it contains a thermal park with boiling mud pools, hot pools that are still used for cooking and the world famous Pohutu geyser.
Rotorua is also home to the Polynesian Spa where Victorians came to visit from England to bathe in the city’s hot mineral waters. There are a number of thermal areas just outside the city including Waimangu and Hells Gate and a variety of lake districts. A little further afield are the North Island’s only ski fields, which are located on the sometimes active volcano of Ruapehu. 

Dining and accommodation
The city is full of cafes serving great Kiwi food and wine. There is also accommodation to fit everybody’s preferences, varying from backpacker hostels to newly built five star hotels.

The best beaches
According to Roxy Begum
Flight Attendant Pacific Class (FAPC)



Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove is hands down one of my favourite beaches, and it is without a doubt one of the most stunning in the world. I could sit on the sand all day taking in the picturesque views that can be seen from every angle and the tranquility they provide. 

Hot Water Beach
A trip to Hot Water Beach is a very unique experience and takes a little DIY work. Here you can dig your own personal hot pool metres from the Pacific Ocean. As you dig, naturally heated mineral water will bubble up from deep within the earth and emerge through the sand. Once you’ve made the hole big enough, you can settle in for a hot mineral water spa bath! 

Both beaches are a must see while you’re travelling in the North Islands and can be easily done in a day if you’re short on time. Plan your trip to Hot Water Beach around the tide times as the hot pools can naturally only be experienced when the tide is out. When I last visited, I started my day with a trip to Hot Water beach and then did a hike to Cathedral Cove which took just under an hour. I fully recommend the hike as it’s very scenic, making it a great place for taking photos. Bring lots of water and maybe even a picnic to break up the journey. If you don’t fancy the idea of a hike, you can also visit Cathedral Cove by tour boat, kayak or helicopter.


Talkback


NZ by those who know it best:  Air New Zealand cabin crew
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