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NEW ZEALAND

A visit to Hobbit land

A traveller enjoys the breathtaking view of Mount Cook from the outlook at Mount John in Tekapo, South Island.

A traveller enjoys the breathtaking view of Mount Cook from the outlook at Mount John in Tekapo, South Island.

A new promotion offers Thai visitors a chance to make the most of South Island

Tourism New Zealand has partnered with Emirates Airlines and Christchurch Airport to entice visitors from Thailand for a road trip in South Island.

A self-drive, camper-van and coach holiday from mid-summer to early autumn from Christchurch is a great option for anyone wanting to discover the beauty of South Island.

"South Island's summer and autumn seasons are full of colour, treating holiday makers to dramatically changing landscapes as they travel around the regions. These months showcase New Zealand at its finest, and driving around is the best way to experience the full glory of the seasons," says Emirates sales manager for Thailand & Indochina, Virasakdi Vongkositkul.

Under the "100% Pure New Zealand Road Trips" campaign, a host of road trip options from Christchurch are available.

Driving in New Zealand is far easier than negotiating the heavy traffic in Bangkok. The scenic roads stretch out along the coast and offer a vista of the countryside, vineyards and mountains. A GPS device, with road information and real-time traffic, helps the driver and his passengers reach the destination sooner than later. New Zealand's scenic road will demand the travellers stop from time to time for breathtaking views as well as to allow herds of sheep and families of duck to cross the road.

Among the attractions travellers should not miss are national parks such as Abel Tasman and Kahurangi; scenic boat cruises in the Marlborough Sounds; whale watching in Kaikoura; stargazing in Mt Cook; or checking out seasonal activities in Christchurch and Queenstown.

"Christchurch is a great first stop to discover the rest of the South Island. The iconic Christchurch trams back on track, the transitional 'Cardboard' Cathedral has opened and we have four central city hotels offering a range of accommodation options," says Matthew Findlay of Christchurch International Airport.

"Choices from Christchurch are limitless, whether journeying south down the beautiful coast to Dunedin and Invercargill, circling through Fiordland and the Southern Alps to Queenstown, or north through the vineyard country of Marlborough, with whale and dolphin spotting at Kaikoura," he continues, adding that Thai arrivals in Christchurch in October were up 104 per cent to 1,108 for the month.

Mischa Mannix-Opie, TNZ Regional Manager for South and Southeast Asia, recommends visitors to take their time.

"Thai travellers can look forward to Kiwi hospitality as they meet the friendly locals, stop at vineyards or hot springs at will, and enjoy the solitude of miles upon miles of stunning views on open roads with little traffic. Add to this quaint accommodation options, luxury lodges, gourmet food and world-class wineries that will truly make the trip a memorable holiday."

If you go

_ To plot your plan for New Zealand road trip, visit www.NewZealandSelfDriveTours.co.nz and www.NewZealand.com.

_ The package offers can be found on www.newzealand.com/int/campaign/thaiemirates/, and Bangkok to Christchurch economy class airfares on Emirates start at Bt35,875 per person using promo code THSEENZ.






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