Travel deals: Get in the spirit on a Waiheke gin-making course

Thermal adventure at Te Puia

Watch, hear and smell the Southern Hemisphere’s largest active geyser, Pōhutu, and vast expanses of highly-active mud pools at Te Puia, Rotorua, where twice-weekly guided tours are half-price until October 31. Visitors can watch the impressive weavers master-carvers at work, see resident kiwi and be captivated by stories passed down through generations of local Māori. A Te Rā Day Pass for Thursdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 1.30pm is $30. Two children can accompany a paying adult, free of charge. The centre opens from 10am until 4pm with the option to explore on your own.

Contact: Te Puia, 0800 837 842 or e-mail or check out the video from Anika Moa on

Gourmet Getaway in Queenstown

The Culinary Series Events at the Rees Hotel Queenstown are a favourite with foodies, wine-lovers. The Rees, which has a new executive chef, has two special event offers — the Felton Road Dinner on August 21 and the Billecart-Salmon Champagne and Mountford Estate Wines Dinner on October 23. Enjoy an evening’s dining out or an accommodation package which includes a cooked breakfast the following morning. The Felton Road dinner event and residential package is $332.50pp (minimum of two people) for an Executive Lake View Room, or book for the dinner event only, at $135 each. The Billecart-Salmon and Mountford Estate residential package is $325pp or $150pp for dinner only.

Contact: The Rees Hotel Queenstown, (03) 450 1100 or e-mail or check

Get in the spirit on Waiheke

Immerse yourself in the world of gin and learn how botanical plants and spices are used to create it — you will even get to create your own gin to sip on during the Gin and Tonic Experience. Bookings for this event at Batch Winery on Waiheke Island are discounted by 10 per cent until the end of September. A glass of bubbles and the winery’s signature “high tea” of New Zealand vintage dishes, with a contemporary twist is included, as is a complimentary shuttle bus to Matiatia Ferry Terminal for the return cruise to Auckland — or you can stay to explore the island. Book at least five working days in advance.

Contact: Helen at The Botanical Distillery, 021 544 419 or e-mail or check or

Get your glow on in Taupo

Glide into the evening darkness on Rotorua’s Lake Okareka for a spectacular two-hour Glow Worm Kayak Tour at half the standard price until August 31. The standard rate of $199 for an adult and $99 for a child is halved for the Glow Worm Kayak Tour only and includes optional pick-up from central Rotorua accommodations or the local information centre. Paddle Board Rotorua also offers a five-hour Redwood Forest mountain-biking adventure paired with paddle boarding on the Rotorua Lakes and through glow worm caves at twilight; paddle boarding adventures on Rotorua Lakes by day and a four-hour non-stop kayaking adventure through a remote gorge to steaming waters on the Waikato River.

Contact: Nev, e-mail info@paddleboardrotorua. com or book at and use the discount code “winter” for the glow worm kayak tour

Auckland: grand idea

Spend a night in 5-star luxury at the award-winning Hotel Grand Windsor in the heart of Auckland city. Book online with the discount code “hotdeal” to secure a complimentary room upgrade and breakfast. Last year, Hotel Grand Windsor won World’s Best New Hotel in the Boutique Hotel Awards. Rooms are available to December 30 and must be booked by August 31. Room rates start at $229-a-night.

Contact: Hotel Grand Windsor, (09) 309 9979 e-mail or check

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