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Old January 5th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #241
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Love the New Years Eve pic, just spectacular....and Happy New Year too..
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #242
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Very nice country!
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Old January 7th, 2012, 07:36 PM   #243
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The country of New Zealand is really beautiful, very nice; landscapes and cities/towns are great
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Old January 10th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #244
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Love the New Years Eve pic, just spectacular....and Happy New Year too..
Thanks mate - all the best


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Very nice country!
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The country of New Zealand is really beautiful, very nice; landscapes and cities/towns are great
Thanks
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Old January 10th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #245
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Air New Zealand wins top airline 'Oscar' for second time

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Air New Zealand 77W Business Premier Cabin by lindsay.gardiner, on Flickr

A global airline industry magazine has named Air New Zealand the world's top airline for the second time in three years. The United States-based Air Transport World gave the New Zealand airline top honours in its annual awards, which have been running for nearly 40 years, picking it as the best airline in the world in the past 12 months. The judges described Air New Zealand as an industry trendsetter in several areas, including product innovation and social media, and praised it for its staff motivation. The airline was also commended for its efforts in helping communities hit by the Christchurch earthquakes. Air New Zealand also won the airline of the year award in 2010, and chief executive Rob Fyfe said another win was a huge thrill. "Winning ATW Airline of the Year in 2010 was, in my view, one of the greatest accolades that had ever been bestowed on Air New Zealand - in our industry it's equivalent to winning an Oscar. To pick up the award again this year is simply outstanding."

Fyfe will accept the award at a ceremony in Singapore on February 13. Other recent recipients of the airline of the year include Dubai-based carrier Emirates last year, and Korean airline Asiana in 2009. Prime Minister John Key, who is also Tourism Minister, congratulated the airline, saying the award was an acknowledgement of the hard work staff and management had put in. "Air New Zealand is a vital part of our tourism infrastructure," Key said. "Often, the first experience incoming visitors have of New Zealand is with the national carrier, and those first impressions count." Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Tim Cossar said it was an exceptional achievement for the airline to win the award twice in three years. "It also highlights to New Zealanders the innovation and quality of our multibillion-dollar tourism industry," he said.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 03:36 AM   #246
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Lonely Planet - Christchurch is 'one of NZ's most exciting cities'

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CHRISTCHURCH 22 JAN 11 by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr

Christchurch is re-emerging as one of New Zealand's "most exciting cities", according to travel guide Lonely Planet. Despite more than a year of earthquakes altering the city beyond recognition, Lonely Planet author Brett Atkinson said there is still plenty to do in the Garden City. "Our latest visit was unlike any other Lonely Planet research gig, with virtually all of the bars, cafes and restaurants recommended in our 2010 New Zealand guidebook no longer open. But amid the occasional uncertainty of aftershocks, Christchurch is re-emerging as one of NZ's most exciting cities," Mr Atkinson writes.

"If you're heading to the South Island of New Zealand, definitely spend a few days in the city. There's still plenty to do, and you'll be supporting the new businesses inspiring Christchurch's renaissance. Note that there is considerable demand for Christchurch accommodation, and booking ahead is strongly recommended." He says "SoMo" - the area south of Moorhouse Avenue - is Christchurch's "most dynamic neighbourhood", and compliments Addington as the new hub for live entertainment.

"Christchurch's iconic Court Theatre has relocated into a restored warehouse and Dux Live has opened as a music venue. Look forward to a combination of beers from the Dux de Lux microbrewery and local and overseas acts. From April 2012, rugby fans can watch Christchurch's beloved Crusaders at their new home ground in Addington." Mr Atkinson notes that while the city has lost much of its precious heritage buildings, its charm remains.

"While much of the city's heritage architecture has been damaged by earthquakes, Christchurch's traditional English ambience is still in evidence," he writes. "Local students punt visitors languidly along the slow-moving Avon River, and the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park remain some of NZ's most impressive public spaces."

The CBD's new Cashel St pop-up container mall also gets a mention, as do other containers across the city which have been converted into shops, bars and restaurants. "While the city's rebuild is carefully planned, the humble container has emerged as a funky option to kick-start Christchurch's retail and hospitality sectors." Mr Atkinson recommends visitors obtain a free map from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority website in order to keep up with the frequent road closures due to the quakes.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 10:09 PM   #247
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Air New Zealand goes all black again




Air New Zealand goes all black once again, revealing the world's largest commercially operated plane sporting the national rugby team's colour. The Boeing 777-300ER was painted by 14 people working in shifts 24 hours a day for over a week, with 700 litres of chrome-free primer and paint. Boeing vice-president everett delivery centre, Jeff Klemann, said the job was one of the most challenging painting jobs they have ever done. "But the paint team was up for the challenge and the results are absolutely outstanding. I am very proud of what the paint team has achieved," he said. It took one and half days to prep and paint the aircraft entirely black, and a further five days for the intricate detail of the silver fern and the Koru symbol. The remaining time was spend on the finishing touches. All Blacks rugby players Kieran Read and Andy Ellis got a close look of the aircraft last month, when they led it out of the paint hangar facility in Seattle. "I always feel a huge amount of pride when I pull on the All Blacks jersey with the silver fern to represent my country on the rugby field and to see that replicated similarly on something this big is just awesome," Ellis said.

Read said the plane looked "sensational" and would turn heads at airports around the world. "I reckon they should paint all their planes like this!" Air New Zealand said contrary to popular belief, the black paint would not cause the aircraft to heat up a great deal. The more than 330 individual TV screens inside create more heat than the all black paint job. "The all black colour scheme and silver fern are a key part of both New Zealand's and the All Blacks' identity, so we're excited to be able to take that iconic imagery to the world on a flying billboard that's more than 242 feet (73.9 metres) long," Air NZ group general manager international airline, Christopher Luxon, said. "It will certainly get people's attention when they see it at Auckland, Los Angeles, London Heathrow and Melbourne airports over the coming year." The plane was expected to be delivered to Air NZ this month following the completion of its interior fit out. By mid next year Air NZ would have six aircraft featuring the all black livery including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900D turbo-props.
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Old January 13th, 2012, 04:22 AM   #248
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New Zealand the World's Friendliest Country

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09 DEC 11 24°C by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr

Living abroad doesn’t have to lead to homesickness. That’s especially true for people who have relocated to New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. These are the three nations where it’s easiest to befriend locals, learn the local language, integrate into the community and fit into the new culture, according to the results of HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, released last month.

The World's Friendliest Countries

1. New Zealand

2. Australia

3. South Africa

4. Canada

5. United States

New Zealand, in the top spot, had high scores in all four categories. Seventy-five percent of respondents living there reported that they were integrating well in the local community; in Australia it was 77 percent and in South Africa 79 percent. “New Zealanders as a whole seem like happy people, and that translates into friendly, helpful and kind people,” notes American expat Kim Brinster. Other positive aspects, she says, include a “pitch-in-and-help mentality,” as well as navigable government and health-care systems. A former New York City bookstore owner, she relocated two years ago to Waiheke Island, off Auckland, to be with her New Zealander partner. She has no plans to leave.

Coming in just behind the top three in terms of friendliness were Canada (dropping slightly from the top spot last year) and the United States. The HSBC survey’s top three overall scorers—Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates—didn’t fare so well in categories relating to community integration and befriending locals. What did impress expats living in each of these countries, however, were improved career prospects and high incomes. Though it was the survey’s economic category, Wood of HSBC adds, that showed the biggest changes this year. “We know that many expats choose to move abroad for increased wealth and career opportunities as we have witnessed this trend in previous years,” she explains. “But this year’s findings highlighted that even in countries which have experienced significant turbulence over the past year, expat wealth is widely immune to global economic troubles.”
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Old January 14th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #249
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Cruise to .......



[AUCKLAND]





[BAY OF ISLANDS]





[CHRISTCHURCH + AKAROA]





[DUNEDIN]

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Old January 14th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #250
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Cruise to .......



[FIORDLAND]





[NAPIER]





[MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS]





[TAURANGA & ROTORUA]





[WELLINGTON]

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Old January 16th, 2012, 10:42 PM   #251
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Auckland at a glance

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Old January 17th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #252
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Wellington's "The Rock" ranks as the 4th best airport terminal in the World

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Wellington Airport, international terminal "The Rock". by Alex Efimov, on Flickr

For many travelers, an airport terminal provides the first impression — and the final word — about a destination. It's also a place where travelers spend much time, particularly waiting for departing or connecting flights. With that in mind, Frommers.com has provided USA TODAY with its choices of best and worst airport terminals. Newark's Terminal A — despite Clampet's bad experience — did not make the worst list. But another nearby terminal did. The travel guide publisher says the best and worst choices were based on cleanliness, services, on-time departures, navigation and the ease of getting to and from a city's center. The world's best, according to Frommers.com, is Hajj Terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It covers 120 acres and is only open during the six-week Hajj, when millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Two years ago, the terminal received an American Institute of Architects award for an architectural design "that has stood the test of time for 25 years," the institute says. "The most stunning feature," Frommers.com says, "is that the terminal consists of 210 white fiberglass tents that create a chimney effect cooling the hot desert air." Only one airport terminal in the USA — JetBlue Airways' Terminal 5 at New York's JFK airport — finished in the top 10. The world's second-best terminal is Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal in Keflavik, Iceland, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík, the nation's capital. Fourteen passenger airlines fly into the airport during the summer, including Icelandair and SAS, which operate year-round service. "Iceland's cozy, little international airport looks like it arrived in a flat pack from Ikea," Frommers.com says. "It's all blond wood and volcanic-looking stone with big windows looking out on the dramatic Icelandic landscape."

The seven other terminals in the travel guide publisher's top 10 are at airports serving Seoul; Wellington, New Zealand; Singapore; Madrid; Marrakech, Morocco; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Bilbao, Spain. "If a city has an excellent terminal, it says to the visitor that they're thought about," Clampet says. "Cleanliness, good light, space to rest between flights, decent food and some strategically placed plugs are enough to say to visitors, 'We know you'd rather be somewhere else right now, but while you're here, we'll take care of you.' " Frommers.com says such customer care is lacking at the world's worst terminals. The worst, according to the travel guide publisher, is JFK Airport's Terminal 3, an old facility that was once the base of now-defunct Pan Am's flights and is now used by Delta Air Lines.

LIST: BEST AND WORST AIRPORT TERMINALS

BEST:
1. Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) Hajj Terminal
2. Leifur Eriksson Air Terminal, Keflavik, Iceland
3. Seoul (South Korea) Incheon Airport
4. Wellington (New Zealand) "Rock" Terminal
5. New York JFK Airport Terminal 5
6. Singapore Changi International Airport Terminal 3
7. Marrakech (Morocco) Menara Airport Terminal 1
8. Madrid (Spain) Barajas Terminal 4
9. Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay
10. Bilbao (Spain) Airport Main Terminal

WORST:
1. New York JFK Airport Terminal 3
2. Manila (Philippines) Airport Terminal 1
3. Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C
5. Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3
6. Amman (Jordan) Queen Alia Airport
7. New York LaGuardia Airport Terminal 5
8. Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport
9. Paris' Beauvais Airport
10. Chicago Midway Airport
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Old January 19th, 2012, 05:27 AM   #253
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Tyler Brűlé of Monocle Magazine fame in praise of the New Zealand way

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13 FEB 11 27°C HEADLAND SCULPTURE, WAIHEKE ISLAND by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr

Dear New Zealand,
Greetings from the Oriental in Bangkok. I decided to break up the journey to London and I’m now half-easing out of holiday mode, half-easing back into work poolside. I want to thank you for the most wonderful eight-day holiday and, while I could be penning separate thank-you notes, I felt that you would enjoy reading my reflections on your fine country. I’m not quite sure why it took me 43 years to reach your shores but I promise to be back very soon. While I know I saw next to nothing, Great Barrier Island was incredible and Unesco should already look at recognising “bach life” or NZ cottage living as a cultural force worthy of protection. The architecture by the Auckland practice Herbst is flawless, George FM radio is a great listen, it’s wonderful that your newspapers are still super-size and I found lots of interesting, small companies designing and manufacturing products that need a much bigger stage.

I wasn’t particularly surprised by the food, as I knew it was going be good, but the Depot restaurant in Auckland went beyond expectations and was nothing short of outstanding. The quality of the coffee was uniformly exceptional. If I may, I think Auckland is in urgent need of a hotel that reflects that quality of design, architecture and food that’s being produced. It doesn’t need to be fancy but it should embrace the NZ vernacular and feature high quality merino wool blankets, locally produced toiletries, a good pool area and an all-day café. As you were such a fine host, you should invite more people to sample what’s on offer – Auckland airport was a total surprise, with its charming old dears on hand to give directions, the good retail and the most courteous security set up I’ve ever passed through. Your national airline should go to more long haul destinations and add a first class to its 777s – just four seats covered in the best wool with possum fur throws and breakfast sandwiches from Dizengoff in Ponsonby. Congratulations for doing your own thing and not following the pack. I’m already dreaming about building a bach on Waiheke Island.
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Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:11 AM   #254
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Gay and Lesbian Tourism New Zealand refreshed with a fabulous makeover

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Wigs on the Waterfront by Steve Attwood, on Flickr

Gay and Lesbian Tourism New Zealand website and information source PureGayNZ.com has refreshed with strong support from Gay and Lesbian owned and friendly tourism operators keen to diversify and encourage the pink dollar. “While 2012 will continue to be a year of challenges due to the world economy, it will be a year of innovation and refined strategy to tackle those not so traditional key emerging tourism markets, said Vijay Naiker, Managing Director of Pure NZ Marketing Group. Kiwi’s are no stranger to innovation and that’s what Pure Gay New Zealand is about, it’s about promoting New Zealand worldwide as a leading Gay and Lesbian friendly tourism destination.”

According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey released last month and distilled by Forbes, New Zealand was placed in top spot “worlds friendliest country” with 75% of respondents reporting that they had integrated well into the local community. Gay and Lesbian Tourism New Zealand has successfully marketed Gay and Lesbian owned and friendly tourism businesses for the past 8-years. The group rebranded two years ago as Pure Gay New Zealand to leverage off Tourism New Zealand’s, 100% Pure New Zealand brand positioning. PureGayNZ.com is New Zealand’s Gay and Lesbian friendly, media, travel and tourism porthole, providing a comprehensive information source of New Zealand Gay and Lesbian friendly travel, accommodation, attractions, tours, transport, restaurants, bars, vacation and visitor information.

Part of the recent makeover of PureGayNZ.com included the addition of user reviews, booking engine facilities with partners Bookit and Tourism Exchange as well as further integration with social media channels. “Since relaunch we have experienced rapid growth in unique site visitors from as far as Spain and Denmark. New Zealand is an attractive year-round Gay and Lesbian tourism destination”, said Mr Naiker. With strong alliances with national Gay and Lesbian events like Queen of the Whole Universe, 2011 Outgames, Outtakes Film festival and the upcoming 2012 Gay Ski Week Queenstown to name a few, Gay and Lesbian Tourism New Zealand assists to promote national events as well as tourism operators.

PURE GAY NEW ZEALAND
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 07:30 AM   #255
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Auckland International Airport's boom travel week

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29 MAY 11 16°C AKL AIRPORT by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr


Auckland International Airport, the nation's largest gateway, has experienced record international travel demand for the week ended January 8. There were over 170,000 international arrivals or departures during the week, which is more than any other recorded week, even the peak periods experienced during the final stages of the Rugby World Cup 2011, said Judy Nicholl, general manager aeronautical operation in a statement. "This result indicates that despite some challenging economic conditions, more people than ever are willing and able to travel internationally to and from New Zealand." New direct services to Asia were introduced at Auckland late last year by offshore airlines, although the national carrier, Air New Zealand, reported a downturn of 5 percent in international travelers in December. The airline carried 173,000 long-haul passengers in the month of December, down from 182,000 a year earlier, with 3.8 percent fewer revenue passenger kilometers racked up at 1,619 million. Domestic travel buoyed total numbers, which were down 0.6 percent at 1.3 million. The Auckland-based company told analysts and investors in November it's aiming for a $110 million profit improvement by 2015 from long-haul flights, which have been under-performing for the airport. Shares in Auckland International Airport are currently trading at $2.53.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #256
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very nice updates on New Zealand....
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:04 AM   #257
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very nice updates on New Zealand....
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Old January 26th, 2012, 12:07 AM   #258
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The Museum Hotel in Wellington has been chosen as Travelers' Choice 2012 Winner in luxury accommodation by Trip Advisor - best Art Hotel in the World.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 04:24 AM   #259
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Queenstown's Eichardt’s Private Hotel named among world’s best

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QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND by Urban+Explorer, on Flickr


High-end influential UK magazine Tatler has named Queenstown’s Eichardt’s Private Hotel one of the world’s best hotels in its highly coveted annual travel guide. Eichardt’s is included for the first time in the magazine’s ‘Top 8 Forever Fabulous’ category of The Tatler Travel Guide 2012, alongside the world-renowned The Ritz of London. Eichardt’s Private Hotel General Manager Chris McIntosh said he and his management team “could not be more delighted” with the accolade. “This is a fantastic award for the hotel as we continually strive for excellence in all areas of our business and this shows through in excellent feedback from our guests,” he said. “We’re delighted to have won such a prestigious accolade from a magazine known for the high expectations of its loyal readership, as we continue to lead the luxury accommodation sector in New Zealand.”

Eichardt's Private Hotel is located on the shores of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu, comprising a collection of luxurious suites with stunning views of sparkling blue waters and snow-capped mountains. Holding leading rankings on Tripadvisor, the most widely used user generated content travel review site, this elite hotel and bar garners the highest accolades on a global level through its unsurpassed passion for world-class guest experiences. The Times newspaper of London recently named the Eichardt’s Bar one of the ‘Top ten bars In the world with a view’. Queenstown is the four-season tourism destination of choice for discerning visitors from all around the globe, known for its adventure sports, golf, skiing, wine, biking and tramping.

Mr McIntosh said hotel staff prided themselves on the management of bespoke guest itineraries that fully captured the spirit of the breathtaking resort regardless of season. “After a day of outdoor adventure, Eichardt's spacious suites with its welcoming and stylish environment, luxury amenities including heated floors, Super King-sized beds and unsurpassed interior design, beckon you to unwind and soak up breathtaking lake views,” he said. Eichardt’s Private hotel was acquired by the Imperium Capital Group in 2010, privately owned by Andrew and Sarah Cox.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #260
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Lonely Planet offers free Christchurch chapter download

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peacock fountain by ropergees, on Flickr

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has today released a free download of the Christchurch & Canterbury chapter from its forthcoming New Zealand travel guide. The 48-page chapter, researched by Brett Atkinson in December, is the first Christchurch guidebook information to be released since last February's earthquake. Atkinson told nzherald.co.nz earlier this month that amid the occasional uncertainty of aftershocks, Christchurch was re-emerging as one of New Zealand's most exciting cities. "If you're heading to the South Island of New Zealand, definitely spend a few days in the city. There's still plenty to do, and you'll be supporting the new businesses inspiring Christchurch's renaissance," he said.

Lonely Planet's Associate Guidebook Publisher, Errol Hunt, said the company was committed to providing "up-to-date, quality information for travellers". "We believe this new chapter will be able to help visitors to Christchurch in ways that the pre-quake content cannot." Although finalised editing and full mapping of the chapter hasn't yet been completed, Hunt said it would still provide visitors to New Zealand's "fastest-changing city" with quality post-quake information. The Christchurch & Canterbury chapter will remain available as a free PDF download until Lonely Planet's newest New Zealand guide is released in September.

* Click here to download your free copy of Lonely Planet's Christchurch & Canterbury travel guide chapter.
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