The Top 10 Hikes in South Island New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island is famous for spectacular natural landscapes and adventure. It’s the home of stunning attractions like the Southern Alps and Fiordland National Park, where Milford Sound’s sheer cliffs rise out of the water.

With so much scenery on offer, it’s only natural that hiking is a popular South Island activity. And you don’t have to be ultra-fit or wander for days to experience its beauty. The South Island has a variety of walks both short and long for both day hikers and rugged adventurers. Read on for ten top South Island hiking tracks. 

1. Milford Track

Milford Track

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

New Zealand’s most famous walk, the Milford Track is 53km worth of mountains, valleys, lakes and other incredible views. Starting at Lake Te Anau, it takes you through the highest point of Mackinnon Pass and all the way to Sutherland Falls, NZ’s tallest waterfall, as you follow in the footsteps of early explorers. You can do this four-day walk guided or independently, staying in huts along the way.

2. Kepler Track

Kepler Track

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Another Fiordland National Park epic walk, Kepler Track was specially built to show off some of Fiordland’s finest features: beech forest, tussocked plains, waterfalls and streams. The track can be walked in either direction (although anti-clockwise is recommended) and those who don’t want to commit to a multi-day mission can take a day walk.

3. Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

This rugged mountain rises 5735 feet behind Queenstown and although it’s a sometimes steep and challenging climb, the views from the summit are magical. On a clear day, you’re treated to 360-degree scenery of lakes and mountains. If you don’t feel like walking the whole way, you can take a shortcut by gondola. Convenient! For those who are willing to go the distance, a trek through the pine forest awaits you.

4. Routeburn Track

Routeburn Track

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Linking Fiordland National Park to Mount Aspiring National Park, this track delivers superb scenery in the way of mighty cliffs, mountain ranges and cascading Routeburn Falls. It’s also a flexible option. You can walk the entire 32km from either direction or walk to one of the huts and then turn around and return the way you came.

5. Heaphy Track

Heaphy Track

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Starting (or finishing, if you prefer) in the tiny town of Karamea, this 82km four-day mega-walk takes you through a variety of different landscapes from forested mountains to limestone cliffs and open alpine country. Shorter day walks are an option for those who don’t want the full adventure.

6. Roy’s Peak

Roy’s Peak

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

After a trek through grassland and alpine meadows, this Wanaka day-long return walk will offer you superb views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.

7. Diamond Lake Track

Diamond Lake Track

Also in Wanaka, this seven km walk is shorter than several others on this list but will still take you past Diamond Lake and to the summit of Rocky Mountain with views of Lake Wanaka. If you fancy an even shorter walk, you can just take a 20-minute wander around Diamond Lake.

8. Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Swap the mountains for the beach as you explore the coastline of Abel Tasman National Park. With clean white sand, shimmering water and granite cliffs, this coast has the most whether you’re taking a day hike or walking for the whole three to four days.

9. Centre of New Zealand Walk

New Zealand Walk

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Botanical Hill, this place was a survey point in the 1800s. Now it’s an iconic walk with views of Nelson and The Grampians. Start at the Reserve where NZ’s first ever rugby game was played and be at the top in less than an hour.

10. Queenstown Hill Time Walk

Queenstown Hill Time Walk

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Starting at Belfast Street in Queenstown, this walk to the summit of Queenstown Hill can be steep and demanding. But the views of Lake Wakatipu and mountains like the Remarkables make it worthwhile. In a relatively short timeframe (it’s 1.5km long) you can feel like you’re already out in the wilderness.  

Closing Thoughts on South Island Hiking Tracks

New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and with thousands of kilometres of hiking tracks, it’s no wonder so many people take the time to get around it using only their own two feet. If you’re properly prepared, hiking is a safe and exhilarating way to see the South Island at their own pace.

In New Zealand, hiking is also called “tramping”. Now that you know about ten of the best walking tracks in New Zealand, it’s time to tramp away!


Top 10 Things to do with kids on the North Island

Kayak Tour, Bay of Islands

Coastal Kayaking, Bay of Islands – Image: Adventure HQ


Get the kids together and book into a sea kayaking ocean adventure in the mesmerising Bay of Islands area. The guides will show you the essential kayaking protocol before embarking on a sea mission to remember. The water clarity around here is amazing, so expect to see lots of interesting marine life.

Ziplining, Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island, Auckland – Image: Adam Bryce


Get your thrills in the hills of Waiheke Island as you zipline over the native bushland surrounds. Kids and adults alike will get a real buzz as they fly through the sky for over 200 metres. There’s dual cables too, so you can keep pace with a family member to share the ride experience.

OGO Zorb, Rotorua

OGO Zorb, Rotorua – Image: OGO


Ask anyone who has had a go and they’ll tell you quicksmart just how much of a laugh zorbing is. Discover the longest zig-zag Sidewinder Track in the world here at OGO Zorb in Rotorua. What kid wouldn’t want to roll down Mt Ngongotaha inside a giant inflatable ball?

Tawhiti Museum, Taranaki

Image: Tawhiti Museum – family gets into the boat which will take them through the exhibition


Tawhiti Museum is a private collection of artefacts, photographs and exhibitions that reflect New Zealand heritage, culture and tradition. Kids enjoy making their way through the many themed galleries and especially enjoy the immersive Traders & Whalers display in which visitors drift through the exhibition on boats, an experience not to be missed.

Paradice Ice Skating

Image: Paradice Ice Skating / Facebook


Take a trip and try out your blade skills at Paradice Ice Skating in Auckland. Burn off energy out on the rink and make a fun-loving family memory that lasts forever.

Kawakawa Bay Bike Track, Rotorua

Kawakawa Bay Track, Rotorua – Image: Tourism New Zealand


With countless kilometres of riding trail that range from beginner tracks right through to expert runs, the entire family is guaranteed plenty of two wheeled outdoor fun. Get your heart racing with pedal power adrenaline! Take your camera too – the forest area is undeniably awesome to photograph.

Archie’s Pizzeria, Auckland

Archie’s Pizzeria, Auckland

Wind ‘em up and wear ‘em out – that’s a safe motto to go by when on holiday with children! Take that notion a step further and fill them up on fantastic pizza at Archie’s pizzeria in central Auckland. Bellissimo.

Lions at Auckland Zoo

Image: Lions at Auckland Zoo / Facebook


The Auckland zoo has over 1000 animals onsite and is home to the largest diversity of wildlife in Aotearoa (that’s Maori for “New Zealand”). See all types of creatures great and small in the zoological garden setting. Take the Safari Night tour if you want to witness the inhabitants nocturnal activities and add a different edge to your animal experience.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel

– Image: Adam Bryce


Hang out in a natural hot spa on the beach. Dig into the sand and feel the warmth rise up between your toes. Little ones have a terrific time making sand castles by the surf, while adults can take the chance to relax in the saltwater heat.

Hobbiton Matamata, Waikato

Hobbiton Matamata, Waikato – Image: Sara Orme


Kids and adults alike will be thrilled by this real life movie set. It’s straight out of middle earth! Fantasy fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ book and movie series are transported to a hobbit village on a day tour to this iconic site. Hint; book ahead and go in the evening to dig into a communal Dragon’s Feast for tea.

Top Things for families to do in New Zealand

Tasman Glacier Tour, Mt Cook

Tasman Glacier Aoraki, Mount Cook – Image: David Wall


A picture, they say, tells a thousand words and if the one above doesn’t inspire you to take a cruise on the Tasman Glacier, then nothing will. This is where the water mirrors the ice as the landscape reflects upon the Glacier. Icebergs of all sizes often crack into the water, enabling the crew to touch and even taste the watery crystal shapes.

St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, Dunedin

Saint Clair Dunedin – Image: David Wall


Set aside a day to explore Dunedin and its array of family-friendly attractions. Located on the head of Otago Harbour, Dunedin has a rich Scottish and Maori history. After a brief wander of the Edwardian architecturally styled streets and a classic fish and chip shop feast, head to St Clair beach. This is where the ever-inviting Hot Salt Water Pool sits regally along the sea. At a meagre $14 NZD per family for entry, it’s an affordable adventure too. Aaron Lodge TOP 10 Holiday Park positions you perfectly to explore the area.

Cycle at Lake Dunstan, Central Otago

Lake Dunstan Central Otago – Image: David Wall


The gorgeous Otago region is renowned for its plentiful vineyards and placid lakes. And, though we highly recommend adults find time to sample some of the country’s finest wine while here, we thought we’d add a kid-friendly suggestion for this region too. Ergo – some casual bike riding fun around the dramatic beauty of Lake Dunstan! Stay at Cromwell TOP 10 Holiday Park and make hitting the trails that much easier. The park is located just 200 metres from the banks of Lake Dunstan.

Redwoods Forest, Rotorua

Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua – Image: Tourism New Zealand


Honestly, what could be nicer than a family stroll through the canopy of a towering Redwood Forest? The dense foliage underneath the suspended bridge walks are home to all sorts of forest critters. Whilst high above the birds sing-a-long in a harmonising display of unorchestrated unison. There’s two TOP 10 Holiday Parks to choose from in Rotorua. Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park is located centrally in town and close to the action, while Blue Lake TOP 10 Holiday Park is 10 minutes’ drive from Rotorua township and located on the stunning blue lake, Lake Tikitapu.

Visit Hobbiton, Waikato

Hobbiton Matamata, Waikato – Image: Sara Orme


Straight out of middle earth! Fantasy fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ book and movie series are transported to a hobbit village on a day tour to this iconic film set site. Pose for photos in front of a hobbit’s home and keep them as a treasured NZ memento. Looking for a place for you and your little Hobbits to rest after your day of magic? Cambridge TOP 10 Holiday Park is only 30 minutes’ drive from the Hobbiton Movie Set.

Triple the Fun at Treble Cone

Treble Cone Lake, Wanaka – Image: Martyn Williams


Seeing the world-famous ski slopes of NZ up close and personal is a very special family experience. Both Treble Cone and Cardrona Valley are major tourist attractions on the South Island (not too far out from Queenstown). Local and international powder hounds are drawn here to ski, snowboard and admire the 360-degree jaw dropping scenery of the mountain peaks. Even if you’re not a family of powder hounds, this is a special place to spend some quality family time.

Dine out in Queenstown

Queenstown – Image: Adam Bryce


There’re many family friendly places to eat in the cosmopolitan streets of Queenstown. Here’s a couple of favourites for you and the crew to chow down at…

  • Taco Medic – for the best nachos and tacos in town.
  • Fergburger – tasty burgers and ice-cream equals win, win.
  • The Ballarat Trading Company – A steakhouse with excellent kids menu selections.

When the feast has finished, rest off the food baby at Queenstown TOP 10 Holiday Park.

Learn to Surf at Sumner Beach, Christchurch

Image: Paul Abbitt


Sumner is a super pretty cove beach in Christchurch and if conditions are right it’s an ideal wave for a family that wants to learn to surf. Saltwater is a cure all for sure! Get ready, get wet and get out there.

And then get dry, comfy and relaxed at Christchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park before you continue discovering the surprises Christchurch has to offer.

Catch a Rugby Match

Westpac Stadium, Wellington – Image: Tourism New Zealand


New Zealand is a proud sporting nation where rugby is almost a religion. Whether it’s Rugby Union or Rugby League, New Zealand teams are always near or at the pinnacle of the international ladder. Secure tickets to a see a match live and the whole family is bound to have a great time. Tip: lock in your tickets for high-profile games such as internationals in advance as these are very popular. 

A Hurricane’s home game is not one to be missed. Get your heart racing as the action unfolds, before recovering and resting your head at Wellington TOP 10 Holiday Park.

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves – Image: Tourism Holdings


Explore the underground passageways of Waitomo Caves led by knowledgeable guides. The detailed limestone catacombs are a natural marvel to see up close. A historical family NZ adventure indeed. 

Located just 600 metres from the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park makes the perfect base for exploring the caves and beyond. The friendly staff would be happy to help you arrange tours in the local area.

Hot water soaking through the sand at Hot Water Beach. Image – Hot Water Beach TOP 10.


A natural phenomenon to fascinate the whole family, Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel is one of the most renowned beaches in New Zealand. Kids and adults alike will be enthralled as hot water bubbles up from beneath their sandy toes. Take a shovel and dig yourself a hot pool and sit mingling with travellers from all around the world. And best of all it’s free! Just remember to plan your visit 2 hours either side of low tide for the best experience. After your down soaking your soul, settle for the night at Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park.

Kayaking around Split Apple Rock in Abel Tasman National Park. Image – Ian Trafford


Some would argue that the golden sands of Abel Tasman are best explored and admired from the water. BYO kayak or hire one from the many tour operators in the area. Or if you’d prefer, take a guided tour for the best local knowledge and advice. Paddle your way through the picturesque inlets and coves of Abel Tasman for an unforgettable family adventure. Abel Tasman National Park is straddled by two mighty fine TOP 10 parks – Pohara TOP 10 Holiday Park to the west, and Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park to the south.

Milford Sound’s spectacular alpine peaks. Image – Jessie Russell


One of the most breath-taking areas of New Zealand, the Milford Sound should be on every New Zealand travel bucket list. There’s no better way to explore Milford Sound than from the decks of a cruise boat. The feeling of gliding through the sound while dwarfed by the sheer cliffs and looming peaks is indescribable. Some cruise providers will even steer the boat right up to the waterfalls, so visitors can feel the spray. It’ll bring sheer delight and squeals from the whole family. Accommodation in Milford Sound itself is limited, so most visitors spend the night before/after visiting in the township of Te Anau. Situated opposite the lake, Te Anau TOP 10 Holiday Park is a great family-friendly place to stay to bookend your Milford Sound experience.

Meet the locals in Hokitika. Image – The National Kiwi Centre website


Get up close and personal with New Zealand’s native icons at The National Kiwi Centre in Hokitika. New Zealand’s favourites are on display. The family can meet the rare kiwi, NZ’s largest reptile the tuatara, and fresh water eels and crayfish. Keeper talks run throughout the day and you’ll even can feed and pat the eels. A unique experience for visitors of any age. Children under 5 visit for free, making it a worthwhile and affordable trip for the whole family. Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park sits just 30 minutes’ drive to the South, while Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park will have you covered when driving north along the West Coast.

Dolphins riding the wake of a Bay of Islands cruise boat. Image – Jessie Russell


The Bay of Islands is a unique collection of islands located on the north east coast of New Zealand. With over 144 islands to discover, there’s several tour operators available to help you see many of them from the water. You’ll learn the rich history of the Bay of Islands, and the whole family can delight in the local birdlife as well as dolphins, whales and other marine life. Russell TOP 10 Holiday Park and Paihia TOP 10 Holiday Park will have you sitting pretty to explore the majestic Bay of Islands with the family.

Top 10 Scenic Drives in New Zealand

The land of the long white cloud looks like heaven from above, as anybody who has ever flown over NZ can attest. However, the countryside really shines when you’re in drive mode. Here’s our guide to the top 10 New Zealand scenic drives. Get into gear and hit the road fast or hit it slow. Just make sure you go…


Rakaia Gorge

Rakaia Gorge – Image: Jessie Russell


This route takes you to the epic Rakaia Gorge and is approximately a 1 hour drive from Christchurch. There’s an abundance of easy nature walks on offer here. Adventurous people may like to challenge their fitness by completing the 3-4 hour return hike along the  ‘Rakaia Gorge Walkway’.

McLean Falls on the Tautuku River

McLean Falls on the Tautuku River in Catlins Forest Park- Image: Venture Southland


Road trips don’t get much better than this! Spend the day in cruise mode from Dunedin south through to the rugged Catlin Coast. Take your time and stop often for the Catlin’s are an area of wild beauty, including gems like the McLean Falls pictured above. Your journey will come to a close after passing through the unspoiled environment of the remote New Zealand Southland, make sure you have your camera ready, because this scenery is dramatic.  

Hooker Valley Aoraki, Mt Cook

Hooker Valley Aoraki, Mt Cook – Image: Fraser Clements


This terrific place is the foreground to Mt Cook so park the car and set your camera panorama. The scenery along Mt Cook Road is truly picturesque and on a clear day one can see the mountainous landscape reflect upon the lake. Tip: you can pre-book a Mt Cook Ski Plane or Helicopter tour and see the natural beauty of the place from above. Keen to land on a glacier anyone?

Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach in Oamaru

Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach in Oamaru


Leave the lush forestry of Mt Cook and leisurely pace your drive to the limestone townscape of Oamaru via the gorgeous Waitaki Valley Way. Oamaru, on the east coast is renowned for its colony of penguins and art deco like heritage buildings.

Mitre Peak at Milford Sound, Fiordland

Views of Mitre Peak at Milford Sound, Fiordland – Image: Rob Suisted


Glorious Milford Sound is the jewel in the South Island’s crown. The beautiful drive into the region is part of the Milford Sound experience itself! Keep an eye out to see a variety of marine life abound such as fur seals and dolphins. There’s plenty of all-inclusive boat cruise operators there too. However it’s best to pre book one, as it is very popular NZ activity.


Piha, Auckland

Piha, Auckland – Image: Sam Mahayni


Take a trip to pretty Piha and see the awesome Lion Rock natural stone sculpture on the beachfront. Drive 12km through the Waitakere Ranges, before taking a left onto Seaview Rd, which will take you to Piha itself. We love this winding, yet easy to navigate road that offers up spectacular west coast scenery at every turn.

Bay of Plenty Map

Bay of Plenty Map – Image: Bay of Plenty Tourism


As the name suggests the Pacific Coast Highway is filled with excellent ocean views any which way you look. We love the ‘Bay of Plenty’ stretch of this road, with its sweeping azure vistas of the surrounding bayside zone. Outstanding!

Mangawhai, Northland

Mangawhai, Northland – Image: Fraser Clements


There’s no way “Scenic Drive” is going to be missing from this list. From Auckland, take this picturesque drive to explore the volcanic landscape of the Waitakere Ranges until you reach its end in Swanson. It’s about 40 minute drive to pristine rainforest, waterfalls and black sand beaches. Welcome to NZ’s wild, wild west…

Te Rata Bay

Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach) – Image: Destination Rotorua


This lovely winding road leads visitors to many of Rotorua’s world famous geothermal hot springs. Pack your togs in the car, a thermos and a picnic lunch and have yourself a quaint road trip to one of New Zealand’s most popular visitor destinations.

Mokau Maniaroa, Marae, Taranaki

Mokau Maniaroa, Marae, Taranaki – Image: James Heremaia


Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel, or so sung Jim Morrison. Well, that’s easier said than done when you take into account the rolling surf in the background. Take the New Plymouth route toward Hawera along the Surf Highway and be rewarded with over 100km of coastal view goodness.

Top 10 Wineries in New Zealand

Church Road Vineyard, Hawkes Bay

Church Road Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay – Image: Chris McLennan


The Church Road cellar is named after pioneer Kiwi winemaker Tom McDonald. Which is apt, since the Hawke’s Bay area has a wine producing history that goes back 150 years or more. One simply must stop in and indulge in a wine tasting and cheese plate at this charming vineyard. The wines here have developed a delicate complexity over time as opposed to relying on basic oak and fruit flavours alone.  

Mission Estate Winery, Hawkes Bay

Hawke’s Bay – Image: Camilla Rutherford


Yet another front runner from the Hawkes Bay region is the team behind the Mission Estate label. Fact: Mission Estate Winery is New Zealand’s oldest winery and was first established in 1851. Set in a picturesque hillside location, this estate is a formidable producer of quality wines, delivered at an excellent value price point.

Poppies Winery, Martinborough – Image: Poppies Winery


Be taken on a wine tasting experience by Poppy herself at Poppies Wines, in the heart of Martinborough’s extensive wine region. The namesake winery, set amongst the vines, allows you to sit outside and enjoy a delightful tasting platter in the sun-filled courtyard, or sample their finest drops in their elegant inside dining area. No matter your taste, Shayne and Poppy will look after you.

Rippon Vineyard, Lake Wanaka

Rippon Vineyard, Lake Wanaka – Image: Julian Apse


Pass me the Pinot Noir please! Rippon Vineyard is a historic winery situated in the world famous Otago region of the South Island. The combination of climate, highly refractive soils, long sunshine hours and alpine air work together to create an enviable vineyard environment. Come for a vino tasting with your partner and you’ll likely leave with bottle or two.

Omata Estate, Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands, Northland – Image: Alistair Guthrie


Omata Estate is a boutique winery in the Bay of Islands region. The onsite Omata kitchen is a quaint establishment serving up delicious food with a backdrop of incredible ocean views. Think gourmet cheese platters and woodfired pizzas right by the vineyard. We like their high quality, small batchwines.  

Lake Hayes Wines, Queenstown

Lake Hayes, Queenstown – Image: Julian Apse


The star of the show from the talented vino producers at Lake Hayes Wines is their Central Otago grown Sauvignon Blanc. Made to drink young, the zesty floral notes are finely balanced with a crisp finish. An excellent drop, no matter the vintage.

Peregrine Wines, Queenstown

(Image: via Peregrine Facebook)


Staying in the Queenstown region, Peregrine is a family run winery with an established reputation for making cutting edge, world class Pinot Noir, unlike anywhere else on Earth. They also produce a host of premium whites that you can buy from the multi-award winning cellar door.

Te Whau Vineyard, Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island, Auckland – Image: Julian Apse


A visit to Te Whau Vineyard is oft described as a gastranomic delight merged with hand craftedwines. The restaurant come cellar space features stupendous water views from the cosy terrace. The vineyards, perched on the higher terrain, consistently produce the wonderful grape tastes that create their flagship red ‘The Point’.  

Greystone Wines, North Canterbury

Image: Greystone Facebook


Greystone is home to Mr Dom Maxwell, also known as the winner of the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year award. This innovative and creative lad and the Greystone winery team produce a broad range of perfectly fermented organic wines for all to enjoy!

Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyards, Marlborough

Image: Saint Clair Family Estate / Facebook


Seeking a reliable, boutique-made, world-famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc? Because if you’ve ventured to the Saint Clair Estate you’re in the right spot. Have a glass or two matched with a special Saint Clair Kitchen dish and admire the splendid Richmond Ranges on the horizon.

Foxes Island, Auckland

Image: Foxes Island /Facebook


The highly regarded winemaker and international wine critic, John Belsham, is at the helm of the Foxes Island winery. John first cut his winemaking teeth at the Bordeaux region of France and is a man whose vast knowledge of grape varieties and growing techniques has earned him and his wines a slew of international accolades. Visit the only winery tasting room in central Auckland and pick up a few bottles of Foxes plus a fine crystal glassware set too.

Martinborough TOP 10 turns down the lights and turns up the magic of the South Wairarapa night’s sky

We’re very excited to share the news that Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park will be the first Dark Sky Friendly Business in the proposed new South Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve.

This will be the second International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand (and the Southern Hemisphere), after Tekapo, and one of only 11 in the world. The Dark Sky initiative aims to protect and enhance the beautiful dark skies and natural wildlife habitats around the world by controlling light pollution.

Under the dark sky-friendly plan, businesses agree to manage the levels of light pollution generated, and therefore removing another source of light glow and preserving the clear, dark night sky the region uniquely enjoys, now and in the future.

“The whole team at Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park are delighted to be the first

Martinborough Dark Sky friendly business,” Park Co-Owner Lisa Cornelissen said. “We have always kept our lighting low as I remember the amazement I felt when Frank (Lisa’s Husband and the second Park Co-Owner) and I moved back from the UK and I saw the Milky Way for the first time. That’s an experience we try to share with our guests.”

Signing the Martinborough Dark Sky Society’s charter means Frank, Lisa and their team are required to ensure outdoor lighting and fittings comply with international regulations that prevent night sky glow and even lower it by using lower-temperature lights, fitting only down lights or fitting timers so lights are on only when needed.

Their commitment to changing their lighting regime to fit within the dark sky friendly rules gives visitors to the region the opportunity to marvel at the magnificent night sky of the Southern Hemisphere and feel connected to the truly awesome history of the universe.

Congratulations to Lisa, Frank and the team at Martinborough TOP 10 for their fantastic efforts toward making South Wairarapa an International Dark Sky Reserve.

Book a stay at Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park to experience the wonders of the night’s sky.

KiwiRail provides the perfect platform to explore the New Zealand coastline.

We are delighted to share in the joy of our friends at Great Journeys of New Zealand and announce that that KiwiRail’s iconic Coastal Pacific scenic journey will roll again between Picton and Christchurch from 1 December 2018 this year. This well-loved service will be running again this summer, two years after the service was put on hold because of the devastating Kaikoura earthquake.

With the sea stretching to the horizon in the east and the Kaikoura mountains stretching to the sky in the west, the Coastal Pacific is one of the most astonishingly beautiful journeys in New Zealand. The re-establishment of this service will, once again, allow thousands of travellers from around the world to enjoy this spectacular coastline by train.

The Coastal Pacific will run seven days a week from 1 December 2018 through until 28 April in 2019, with services departing Christchurch at 7am each morning and Picton at 2:15pm each afternoon. The five-hour journey includes 98km travelling along the rugged Pacific Coastline. It also journeys through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges, and has key stops along the route include Rangiora, Kaikoura and Blenheim.

The Great Journeys of New Zealand continue to provide our TOP 10 Club Members with awesome deals, including increasing the InterIslander discount to 15% late last year. So, thank you Great Journeys for your ongoing support of the TOP 10 Membership Program and providing our members with such great value.

Find out more about the great deals that you can get from KiwiRail by being a TOP 10 Club Member.

Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park wins Most Improved Park Award

A holiday park at the entrance to the stunning Abel Tasman National Park has won the Most Improved Park Award at this year’s TOP 10 Holiday Park Awards.

Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park is set amongst lush trees and native bird life in the Tasman Bay region and the team has been recognized for their vast improvement over the last year, not only by guests, but also now officially by the TOP 10 group. TOP 10’s assessment criteria showed that Motueka TOP 10 had made leaps and bounds in their customer service and guest experience scores, which is to be commended and celebrated.

Park Managers of TOP 10 Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park, Ben Ilton (left) and Ashlee Ilton (right) accept the TOP 10 Most Improved Park Award from Lynne Graham (middle), National Sales Manager at AA Traveller.

The beautiful tree-filled park is currently owned by Jeanette and Steve Edwards and managed by Jeanette’s niece Ashlee Ilton and her husband Ben, who thrive on providing excellent customer service and creating memories for all guests. Ashlee and Ben have been managing the park for 12 months and so receive this award is “a huge honour and extremely unexpected. It shows that our hard work and passions for what we do is being recognized,” says Park Manager, Ashlee Ilton.

“As managers we believe in providing our guests with an experience, and this starts at reception when our guest check in. We have a great team here at Motueka TOP 10 who have huge pride in the work they do. To win this achievement is a reward for our entire team for their hard work and dedication in providing our guests with an experience when they stay with us.”

The leadership team at Motueka TOP 10 realise that quality service starts with training front line staff. The hard-working staff promote a positive, helpful and friendly environment, and go out of their way to make sure guests feel welcome and have a stress-free holiday.

“We want our guests to receive the services we would expect if we were travelling around New Zealand. Ben comes from a background of customer service and I grew up in the Holiday Park industry, we just do what we can to ensure our guest have an enjoyable and memorable stay,” says Ashlee.

The team at Motueka TOP 10 go out of their way to assist customer with making the best use of their time in the Tasman/Nelson districts and beyond. They offer a complete booking service for all sightseeing, transport and adventure activities in the region, and some of the best advice guests receive during their stay will come straight from their friendly, informed staff who all live in Motueka and know the place like the back of their hand.

“Our goal is the provide world class experiences to our customers, and to do this we need to be proactive in identifying areas for operational and service improvements,” says TOP 10 Chief Executive, David Ovendale.

“TOP 10 places a lot of focus on guest feedback and understand that it’s integral in shaping the way they enhance their offering at the park. It’s evident in the way that Motueka TOP 10 has improved that they are using guest feedback to improve their offering and build better relationships with customers, making sure they drive away happy and feeling valued.”

The team at Motueka TOP 10, and the wider TOP 10 network recognize that their job will never be done and making improvements will always be critical to remaining competitive and providing world-class experiences.

As customer expectations continue to change, the experience at Motueka TOP 10 will evolve, and the exceptional team at Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park will no doubt be pulling all the stops to continue surprising and delighting their customers into the future.

Congratulations to Ashlee and Ben, Jeanette and Steve, and the team at Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park, winners of the 2018 TOP 10 Most Improved Park Award.

Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park wins Supreme Award

Northland’s premier west coast holiday park, Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park, has taken out the coveted Supreme Award at this year’s TOP 10 awards night.

The sought-after award rewards the team at Kauri Coast TOP 10 for their exceptional dedication to deliver world-class customer experiences for visitors to their parks.

Jane McComb, Co-Owner of Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park receiving the Supreme Park award at TOP 10’s Gala Awards evening in Auckland from Todd Moyle, Acting Chief Executive, KiwiRail.

Set on two beautiful hectares of parkland surrounded by native bush with river boundaries on two sides, the park has undergone drastic improvements since Jane and Chris McComb took ownership of the park in August 2013.

Park Owners, Jane McComb has stated, “we are really honoured to receive this award and be judged ‘the Best of the Best’ by the Group, because as we all know that TOP 10 Holiday Park represent the very best Holiday Parks in New Zealand.”

In the 5 years they’ve owned the park, the McComb’s have had a keen focus on providing immaculately clean and peaceful grounds, and ensuring their guests walk away having had a unique Kiwi experience.

“We’re always looking for new ways to add to our guests experience when they stay with us – creating memories for life,” says Jane McComb. “In the last year alone we’ve started offering free daily rides on ‘Fergie the Tractor’ during the summer season, which all the kids just loved, installing a log fire in the communal dining / kitchen to create a warm cosy place to hang out on winters evenings, and also created a Nature Trail around the Park so that guests can get the most out of the amazing surroundings and learn about native NZ trees, plants and wildlife”.

It’s all these little things provided by the team at Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park combined that make this park such a unique haven amongst the Kauri forests of the Northland.

To add to the list, they’ve also got a flying fox along the river side, ancient Kauri benches in the kitchen and bathrooms, tubbing experiences on the river, and don’t forget the highlight: a night-time walk round the campsite to feed the eels and see the glow worms! And when you’re tuckered out for the day, fall asleep in this beautiful valley while listening to the calming noise of the river.

“There has been immeasurable change in the tourism industry over the last few decades. Customers have very different needs in 2018 vs. the 2000’s, and family groups, travel patterns, origins and budgets have all become far more varied,” says TOP 10 Chief Executive, David Ovendale.

“Jane, Chris and their team at Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park are an outstanding example of a business listening attentively to customers and going above and beyond to create memorable guest experience, and they should all be extremely proud of their efforts”

Owners Jane and Chris McComb have been no strangers to accolades during their time own the Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park. They’ve won or placed as Runner Up in 10 awards over their 5 years within the group, and this is in fact their second time winning the most prestigious TOP 10 – the Supreme Park award.

The Park Owners would like to “say a huge thanks to all our guests who have written rave reviews about their stays here in our beautiful Park, and a massive thanks to all our awesome staff, who have all contributed to every guest amazing experiences.”

Congratulations to Jane, Chris and the team at Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park, winners of the 2018 TOP 10 Supreme Park Award.

2018 TOP 10 Holiday Parks Award Winners

There’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes at a TOP 10 Holiday Park. There’s toilets to be scrubbed, lawns to be mowed, hedges to be trimmed, beds to be made, and the list goes on. Running a holiday park is certainly no walk in the park… excuse the pun. But our dedicated group of staff wake up every day and work hard to try and give you the very best experiences.

We’d like to take a moment to recognise and thank the park staff, managers and owners who work so hard to make your stay so enjoyable. We’re thankful every day for their ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to helping you create memories for you.

Once a year we also take the time to recognise the fabulous achievements of a handful of individual parks within the group who have risen above the rest.
At our annual awards night in October we celebrate the contributions of several outstanding TOP 10 Holiday Parks. Competition was tough, but we’d like to recognise the following parks for coming out on top. Congratulations for your fabulous achievements. You deserve every bit!

Supreme Award
Winner:  Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner Up:  Geraldine TOP 10 Holiday Park

Jane McComb, Co-Owner of Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park (left) accepts their award from Todd Moyle, Acting Chief Executive, KiwiRail

Most Improved TOP 10 Holiday Park
Winner: Motueka TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner Up: Oamaru TOP 10 Holiday Park

Motueka TOP 10 Park Managers Ben Ilton (left), and Ashlee Ilton (right) accept their Most Improved Park award from Lynne Graham of AA Travel (centre).

Top Guest Experience Award – Large Park Category
WinnerOhope Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park
Runner UpWaitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park

Ohope Beach TOP 10 Park Co-Owner Mark Inman (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Peter MacDonald.

Top Guest Experience Award – Medium Park Category
WinnerGeraldine TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner UpWhangarei TOP 10 Holiday Park

Geraldine TOP 10 Park Owners Brian and Kathryn Horrell (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Peter Macdonald (right).

Top Guest Experience Award – Small Park Category
Winner: Kauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner Up: Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Kauri Coast TOP 10 Park Co-Owner Jane McComb (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Peter Macdonald (right).

Cleanest Park Award
WinnerGeraldine TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner UpOhakune TOP 10 Holiday Park

Geraldine TOP 10 Park Owners Brian and Kathryn Horrell (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Jacqui Anderson (right).

Best Customer Service Award
WinnerWhanganui River TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner UpShelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Whanganui River TOP 10 Park Co-Owner Jeannie Kay (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Jacqui Anderson.

Most Improved Club Membership Seller
WinnerWaitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park
Runner UpRotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park

Waitomo TOP 10 Park Co-Owner Julie Tobeck (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Chrissy Alfeld.

Top Club Membership Seller
WinnerHot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park 
Runner UpChristchurch TOP 10 Holiday Park

Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Park Owners Grant (left) and Sheree Webster (right), with Park Manager Vivianne Bongard (second from right), accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Chrissy Alfeld (second from left).

Largest Proportionate Club Membership Seller
WinnerOhakune TOP 10 Holiday Park
Runner UpKauri Coast TOP 10 Holiday Park

Ohakune TOP 10 Park Owner Kordula Daniel (right) and Park Manager Karen Fletcher (left) accepting award from TOP 10 Board Member Chrissy Alfeld (centre).