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We thought we had maxed out this week's airport security stupid on Wednesday, when we wrote about the genius who tried to smuggle uranium, through an airport, in his luggage, in the United States. We figured that no one could be any less intelligent in trying to smuggle something through an airport, at least not this week. We were - in a single word - incorrect.
Meet the "fish pants smuggler" who got caught in New Zealand's Auckland Airport this week. Guess what he tried to hide in his pockets.
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On the way out of New Zealand it was a little hard to say goodbye. After all we saw the coolest McDonald’s in the world—kidding—there was a lot more to see and to do than just foreign fast food. Anyway, leaving a country, state, or city is always a little tricky, as you usually want to enjoy every last moment. Thankfully the Kiwis know how to say goodbye, as there’s a little bit of New Zealand to wish you farewell right at the airport.
For the most part you’re probably heading out through Auckland, and the city’s airport wishes travelers a final farewell with a pretty snazzy indoor tree right in the Auckland Airport. The thing is known as Pou Manawa, and you can think of it a giant projection screen—in tree form—dedicated to all things New Zealand.
That's right, there's no more of that sweet, yeasty spread cherished by Kiwis worldwide. The supply of marmite has been exhausted and is creating "Marmageddon." After the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 caused damage to the factory, the building was closed in November for further safety concerns.
The history of the iconic spread has its roots in England, who began exporting it in 1919. The original English taste wasn't well received and so the recipe was altered to suit local tastebuds, resulting in the acquired taste we know today. Alas, with this ordeal, even an emergency export from the UK won't exactly satisfy salivating fans.
Videos / Air New Zealand / Celeb Travel / Lindsay Lohan / New Zealand / New Zealand Travel / Social Media / Travel Advertising / → All Tags
The rat-like character, you'll remember, had been slowly making the transition merely sleazy to borderline rapey over a series of videos. Apparently the airline's creatives ran out of ideas, so they killed him.
The game is a Clue knockoff in which players are asked to determine which celebrity killed Rico where with what etc etc. The story is that Rico was killed at a Hollywood house-warming party, and so many of his former interviewees apparently make appearances. There's also some kind of prize which includes economy airfare to LA, a hotel stay, Universal Studios and Disney vouchers, and some other stuff. We're unsure whether "not playing the game at all" because "you really don't care" makes you eligible, but the rules and conditions spell everything out.
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We already talked about how the CEO of Qantas decided to counter industrial action by shutting down the complete worldwide operations. Since that weekend, Qantas is back up in the skies with a new motto, "Book with confidence and certainty," and a lot of explaining to do for the more than 70,000 passengers that were left stranded.
Leaving travelers stranded and with unanswered questions, Qantas had to do something. During the shutdown, the company offered to reimburse those who needed to re-book on different airlines, even pay the difference of airfares. For those who decided to stay in the city in which they were stranded, Qantas paid hotels, meals and phone calls up to a certain amount. If you were one of the unlucky passengers and you're still struggling to figure out what you get from all this, visit Qantas' website for more details.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Australia / Australia Travel / Melbourne / Melbourne Travel / New Zealand / New Zealand Travel / Qantas / Air New Zealand / Jetstar / → All Tags
Well this is getting kind of tired. In March Big Ash Problems caused by erupting volcanoes grounding flights throughout Japan. Then in May it was Europe's turn, with the ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn eruption disrupting air travel first in Scotland and then in other parts of the continent.
Now the Puyehue volcano in Chile has blown its top. First the ash cloud first wrecked havoc on Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Then over the weekend it traveled across the Pacific and shut down airports from Melbourne to New Zealand. With some flights still grounded indefinitely, 2011 is shaping up to be even worse than 2010, the year of vengeful air travel volcano gods.
Politics Travel / Airport Security / TSA / Airports / Travel News / Full-Body Scanners / New Zealand Travel / New Zealand / Drug Travel / AKL / Airport News / → All Tags
The US TSA has been famously unconcerned with traveler frustration over airport nudey scanners. In Britain, if you opt out of a full-body scanner, you don't even get to fly. There are some ins-and-outs to how the policies got made and why they stay the way they are, but mostly it's that security officials know that Americans and Europeans don't care about invasive searches and scanners.
Things are a little different in New Zealand, where there's legislation explicitly forbidding "naked imaging" in airports. Maybe it's because the culture is slightly more infused with machismo, or maybe travelers over there just have less patience for security theater than we do. In any case the ban is now creating some problems because New Zealand airport authorities want to introduce more advanced scanners into security checkpoints. They're not really interested in the extra security provided by the machines, though, as much as they want to catch drug smugglers.
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Since you've already read our ultimate guide to the new premium seats on Air New Zealand, there's nothing substantive that you could expect to learn from the airline's new commercials. That's a good thing, since there is absolutely nothing substantive in the airline's new commercials. What there is however, is a weirdly accented muppet squirrel (??) who says things that are sexually risque.
We're not going to get into too many details because we've embedded all four videos below. Suffice it to say that the first two videos are slightly NSFW and that you should be discrete about letting coworkers overhear the dialogue. Seriously. "She's blowing you" is only #3 or #4 on the list of things that would have you blushing if your boss walked in. We're not making this up.
In the US, rescuers have been complaining about "Yuppie 911." This happens when inexperienced urban hikers try to rough it and discover that nature is actually kind of brutal, so they use their personal locator beacons to call in helicopters because their water tastes salty (sweat) or because they heard a loud noise (thunderstorm). The underlying problem is that adventure tourists often simply don't realize what they're getting into.
In New Zealand their extreme travel tourism problems are less humorous and, at least recently, more tragic. The April 2008 death of Emily Jordan, a 21 year old who was killed in a river boarding accident, triggered a review of the entire industry. Now a new UK group, led by Emily's father, is demanding that the government take steps in the meantime to make adventure tourism safer:
It's no secret that Down Under has great waves and a great surf culture. To get in on another part of the south-of-the-equator action, head to the west side of New Zealand's North Island and the town of Raglan. The laid-back town was featured in The Endless Summer, and it offers plenty of hiking, kayaking and bars full of shredders boasting about tackling huge breaks.
For the best Hang 10 experience here, sign up for the Raglan Surfing School. For you green thumbs (toes?) out there, beginner lessons start at $60 US and include board rental, transportation and a post-surf sauna (!). The Surf Adventure packages will get you into North Shore territory: you'll be thinking surfing 24/7 while crashing at the Karioi Lodge with your fellow waveriders. (There's a definite hippie vibe at the lodge, but don't sweat it, bro, it's part of the fun.) A five-day surf-and-stay package will set you back only $206 US. Did we mention it's almost summer in the Southern Hemisphere right now?
[Photo: Magalie L'Abbé]
The oldies are coming! If you're in Wellington, New Zealand in the week starting on the 29th of October, you might notice a sudden increase in gray hair, bad driving and soft vegetables. The Golden Oldies Rugby Festival 2006 will haul in 200 rugby teams and 5000 "oldies" from more than 20 countries, including Russia, Spain, Japan, England, France, Samoa and the US.
To be fair, there probably won't be too many false teeth flying during the matches: The rules of the "golden oldies" clubs define eligible players as being over 35 years old. A bit past the best playing years of their life, but not totally past it. To the tournament itself they add a full festival week program and the odd beer will probably be drunk, too. Participants who read this, however, please note: Don't drink and drive your wheelchair, okay?
[Image via Frederic/Flickr]
Golden Oldies Goes Full Circle [MSN]
Sick of waiting for London's Academy of Sex and Relationships to open? We've got something to keep you, well, satisfied until then.
It's a long way from London but they still speak some kind of English down in Auckland, New Zealand, and from the 25th to the 27th August they're holding the Erotica Lifestyles Expo. It features exhibitions on sexuality, health and well-being and a highlight could be the chance to get a photograph of you with a famous porn star, perfect for framing and hanging in the kitchen.
If you're not prepared to hand over the NZ$20 entry fee, hang out downtown for the Boobs on Bikes parade. About 30 naked porn stars will ride on motorbikes and in open cars around the city center to open and promote the expo. This motorcade is not without its critics, of course; but as one town councillor aptly put it, "I appreciate the human form." If you do to, head down to NZ soon.
Boobs on Bikes Gets Green Light [NZ Herald]
Cataloguing False Starts [Jaunted]