Circus Oz is touring

Circus OzThe wonderful Circus Oz is touring NSW and ACT and you can catch the show in Canberra, Parramatta and Bathurst in September and October. Dates and venues are:

Canberra Theatre Centre from Wednesday, September 23 to Saturday, September 26

Parramatta Riverside Theatre Thursday, October 1 to Saturday, October 3

Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, October 7

But Wait…There’s More is the name of this show, which recently played to standing ovations across America and wowed Melbourne audiences.

Circus OzThis show features a creative bunch of fabulous weirdos… there are graceful men, strong women, intricate and innovative jugglers, lyrical and virtuosic unicyclists, brazen hula hoopers, hilarious flying trapeze artists, booty shaking hip-hoppers, highly musical acrobats, highly acrobatic musicians and all the performing animals are 100% human!

But Wait… There’s More is two hours of pure entertainment for all ages – punchier and gutsier than ever with exuberant circus performances presented at increased velocity and electrifying original live music.

This is that rarest of beasts: a performance that everybody can enjoy.”  Brisbane Times

Here is a link to the Circus Oz website. If you are travelling to see Circus Oz and need accommodation, Rydges can look after you at Rydges Capital Hill in Canberra, Rydges Parramatta and Rydges Mount Panorama in Bathurst.

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The Queenstown Jazzfest

The 38th edition of the Queenstown Jazzfest promises to deliver an exciting four days of live musical entertainment when it happens from October 23 to 26.   Some events will be free and some ticketed and will be in various venues around Queenstown.

The Queenstown JazzfestThe festival has grown from humble beginnings back in 1978 to become one of Queenstown’s most popular music events, featuring world class musicians from throughout the country and around the globe.   The Festival Organisers are currently planning a stunning line-up of international, national and local artists who will showcase their talents across all genres of jazz. From smooth blues to big band swing, Dixieland to funk bands, traditional jazz to ground breaking contemporary concepts, there will be something for everyone, young and old.

There’ll also be outstanding dinner shows for dining and listening pleasure and some fantastic concert events that will appeal to all ages.   There will be over 40 different free events and ticketed concerts keep checking the official Jazzfest website for the full program.   There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, to be inspired, and most importantly, to be thoroughly entertained.

If you are visiting Queenstown, Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Kiwi Birdlife Park

A lot of visitors to New Zealand never actually get to see a Kiwi – the bird that is, not the locals – and the Kiwi Birdlife Park can get you up close to this wonderful iconic bird.

The main reason no one sees this elusive bird in the wild is that they are nocturnal, so during the day they are curled up underground having a sleep in their burrows.

Kiwi Birdlife ParkYep, they live in burrows. They are also the only birds in the world with nostrils at the tip of their beaks. The friendly and professional staff at the Kiwi Birdlife Park will fill you in on all things to do with Kiwis, including what they have for breakfast.

The great thing about the wildlife park is that they have reversed time for the critters – they live in enclosures that simulate night during our daytime so visitors can see them while they are actively foraging, grooming and going about their usual business. There are Kiwi feedings every day at 10:00am, midday, 1:30pm and 4:30pm.

The Kiwi Birdlife Park has 30 species of animal including some of NZ’s most endangered birds and reptiles (like the tuatara, right) and the Park is easy to get to – set on five acres, it is located at Brecon Street in Queenstown. Here is a link to the official Kiwi Birdlife Park website.

If you are visiting Queenstown, Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Some Great Walks

For a nice break from the slopes or the adrenaline-packed things to do in Queenstown there are a some great walks to take in the magnificent scenery. One is the Ben Lomond Walkway (behind the Skyline Gondola). Fabulous views – take comfortable walking shoes, a camera, some water and a jacket in case the weather changes up there. Allow at least a few hours.

Some Great WalksQueenstown Hill is a nice walk from town – a tad steep in places it is very rewarding, especially when the pine forest trees clear and the views open up. (Allow a couple of hours and start from Belfast Street in Queenstown).

And if you visit lovely Arrowtown, a stroll along the Arrow River makes for a very rewarding walk (or cycle), especially in autumn when the trees are full of gold, brown and red leaves. No doubt you will work up an appetite and you’ll find a café or two in the quaint, historic town for a snack, meal or coffee/hot chocolate.

And, if you are really serious about your walking, there are multi-day walks with Ultimate Hikes (based in Queenstown) including the famous Milford Track, Routeburn Track and the Grande Traverse.

If you are visiting Queenstown, Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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New Zealand Wine Tours

Dropped in to see what visitors had to say on Trip Advisor’s Queenstown and coming in at Number One out of 101 things to do in Queenstown was New Zealand Wine Tours. There were 127 reviews – 122 of them rated the experience as ‘excellent’ and 5 as ‘very good’. Jake and Liz (guides) get rave reviews for their professionalism and passion and if you like food and wine (and not worrying about driving) you are guaranteed an informative, fun and memorable day out.

New Zealand Wine ToursThey know how to tailor tours to suit the tastes of guests and wineries they visit might include Peregine, Akarua, Mount Difficulty and Chard Farm. The tours take a maximum of six people so even if they are ‘packed’ they are small and personal. Every wine tour includes lunch and snacks, free Wi-Fi and, of course, free wine tastings.

There are a number of tours like the Pinot Country Tour that includes four wineries matched to your tastes, a vineyard/winery tour, platter lunch and aroma room experience. The cost is $185 per person and it is a full day from 9:45am pick up to an after 5:00pm drop off. There’s also a four winery tour that includes a degustation lunch and a Pinot Paparazzi Tour that includes lots of scenic stops.

Here is a link to the official New Zealand Wine Tours website.

If you are visiting Queenstown, Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Trip Advisor’s Rotorua

Out of curiosity dropped in to see what tourism things to do/see ranked highly for Trip Advisor’s Rotorua and coming in at number one (out of 76 things to do) was the Whakarewarewa Forest for the Redwood trees. Out of 1261 reviews, 1222 came in as ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ – there are nice and easy walking tracks with great views that suit family walks or just a pleasant stroll to lots of trails for mountain biking (from easy to tricky) and, as one reviewer noted, “tree huggers are gonna love this place”. Another noted that “you can’t take a bad photo in this place!

Volcanic Hills WineryOther things to do that rated highly include the Tamaki Maori Village, Nature and Wildlife Tours (they liste eight of them), the Wingspan Bird of Prey Centre, Skyline Rotorua (you can take the gondola up and the luge back down), NZ Riverjet The Squeeze, Bike Tours (four of them reviewed), Horseback Riding Tours (three), Volcanic Hills Winery and rounding out the Top Ten is OGO.

To go back to No. 9 – the Volcanic Hills Winery had 111 reviews at the time of posting and 109 of them were ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ for the views and the value as well as the viticulture. It is located at the top of the Skyline Gondola and $7.50 will buy you three wine tastings. Here is a link to the Volcanic Hills Winery website.

If you are visiting Rotorua, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Wingspan Bird of Prey Centre

Wingspan Bird of Prey CentreThe Wingspan Bird of Prey Centre is a unique and rewarding attraction that also has a wonderful environmental and conservation program. Located at 164 Paradise Valley Road Ngongotaha the entrance is quite understated with a few farm paddocks and farm buildings but it is nationally significant as New Zealand’s first and only bird of prey centre.

Visitors are able to view a museum area before entering the main aviary, a landscaped all-weather walkway themed with native plants. Best to time your visit to be there at 2:00pm because the highlight is the flying display of falcons and other birds of prey. They practice the old art of falconry to prepare birds for release into the wild. Best to arrive at 1:30pm to get a good seat. The Centre is open from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily.

Wingspan Bird of Prey CentreA bird of prey is a bird that hunts for its food.  Many other birds are predatory but the term ‘bird of prey’ only refers to those that catch their prey with their feet and have a hooked bill suitable for subduing prey and tearing flesh into edible chunks. The only exceptions are those that only feed on carrion (e.g. vultures). Not needing to grapple their prey, those that solely feed on carrion only have the strongly hooked bill suitable for tearing flesh.
A raptor is another name for a bird of prey. The term raptor comes from the Latin word rapere, meaning to seize or take by force. There are four species of raptors that are native to New Zealand. Native meaning: that they naturally occur and breed in New Zealand (opposed to being deliberately or accidentally introduced).

Each of these species fulfils a unique role in our ecosystem making them vital to the maintenance of a healthy New Zealand environment. The New Zealand Falcon specialises in chasing live prey. The Swamp Harrier is usually seen slowly quartering the landscape for food. The Morepork Owl feeds largely on insects within forested landscapes. The Barn Owl occurs in open farmland habitat.

If you are visiting Rotorua, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Taking the Cure

Taking the Cure 1There is a delightful diversion at Rotorua Museum called Taking the Cure. It is a permanent feature at the museum with the price included in the museum exhibition (Rotorua residents free). Taking the Cure tells the story behind the Bath House Building, which today houses the Rotorua Museum.

The Bath House was once a famous geothermal spa offering therapeutic treatments to visitors from all over the world. It opened in 1908 and represents the New Zealand Government’s first major investment in the tourism industry.
Originally marketed as the ‘Great South Seas Spa’ you can find out why people came from all over the world to bathe in the thermal waters, and discover the health benefits of the sometimes bizarre treatments. View the treatment rooms, the baths, pools and cooling room as they would have been used in the day.

Climb the stairs to the attic, in the eaves of the building, and get a close-up look at the construction, lighting and ventilation techniques used in the Bath House. Continue through the attic space to the roof and be rewarded with panoramic views of the City, Government Gardens, Lake Rotorua and Sulphur Bay. Reopened to the public in 2006, after being closed for about 70 years, the original viewing platform was removed from the Bath House building, probably for safety reasons, sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Explore the bowels of the building, with its foundation piers, vaulted ceilings and intricate network of pipes. This is where mud bath treatments using Rotorua’s famous thermal mineral mud took place.

If you are visiting Rotorua, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

You can enjoy a very special production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Rotorua at the Civic Theatre on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30pm.

In an unprecedented artistic coup, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is thrilled that Liam Scarlett, one of the most sought-after choreographers working today, will create his first full-length, main stage production, for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, in 2015.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based on Shakespeare’s play and with Mendelssohn’s wonderful incidental music, will have its world premiere in Wellington before moving to Christchurch.

Scarlett’s musical, witty choreography, displayed in designs by Tracy Grant Lord (Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet) and lighting by Kendall Smith (Giselle) will bring Shakespeare’s enchanted wood and vivid characters, to fresh new life for New Zealand audiences.

Liam Scarlett was appointed The Royal Ballet’s first Artist in Residence in 2012. He has created a string of acclaimed ballets for The Royal Ballet, and commissions for international companies have included works for New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, English National Ballet, K-Ballet (Japan) and the BalletBoyz (UK).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a co-production with Queensland Ballet.

If you are visiting Rotorua, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Selling the Dream

You have until Sunday, October 11 to catch an exhibition titled Selling the Dream (NZ Graphic Art Tourism Posters) at Rotorua Museum. The museum is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and entry to this exhibition is included in the museum admission (Rotorua residents free).

Selling the DreamSelling the Dream is a celebration of beautiful graphic art tourism posters that helped to promote New Zealand to the world. Before television and colour photography, cleverly crafted poster images were pivotal in developing New Zealand’s tourism industry and the country’s national identity.

The posters images are amongst the finest graphic art ever produced in New Zealand and are as powerful today as when they were first created. Selling the Dream includes more than 50 lithographs and silk-screen prints produced by some of New Zealand’s leading commercial artists between the 1920s and 1960s. The exhibition also includes a series of short interviews and a documentary Graphic Wonderland, which explores the art, skills and techniques of commercial artists during this period.

Many of the posters feature in a beautiful coffee table book, Selling the Dream: The Art of Early New Zealand Tourism by Peter Alsop, Gary Stewart and Dave Bamford, published by Craig Potton Publishing in 2012.

If you are visiting Rotorua, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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