Best Accommodation – Pacific Coast Lodge and Backpackers
Pacific Coast Lodge and Backpackers is located close to the beautiful shores of Mount Maunganui Beach, offering affordable accommodation suitable for backpackers, families, sport groups, school groups, clubs or societies. The friendly team at Pacific Coast Lodge are able to give genuine advice and offer great deals on the range of activities and adventures to help you make the most of your stay in Mount Maunganui, ensuring that you experience the best that the Bay of Plenty has to offer – anything from swimming with dolphins, amazing walks & hot pools, to deep sea fishing, kayaking & surfing. If you're looking for work whilst on your travels, Pacific Coast Lodge are the only hostel in Mount Maunganui that actively assists you in finding work! Anything from fruit picking and orchard work, to factory and labouring jobs – they have people calling them daily for workers!
The hostel is well established and provides loads of the comforts you crave from a Backpackers. They have a variety of shared facility rooms to enjoy, with a huge communal kitchen complete with free tea/coffee/herbs/spices, an outdoor courtyard with BBQ's free to use, their very own games and reading room waiting for you to challenge them to a game of table tennis or Space Invaders, or even have a jam on the guitars, along with a separate TV Lounge room upstairs kitted out with over 2,000 movies on the media player. And if that isn't enough, they are happy to provide you with free surfboards and free bikes to use so you can enjoy the sunshine and catch a few waves!
Best Backpacker Night – Pipi Patch
The Pipi Patch is close to the beach and town. Often full of locals catching up on the latest rugby match, the bar is a good place to meet some friendly Kiwis, if you can take the piss-taking, antipodean-style, of your national team being mown down by the All Blacks
Outside the Pipi Patch bar, is a nightly barbecue, open to guests and visitors alike. For folks staying at the hostel, there's a small pool out the back. The Pipi Patch also has a travel centre which can hook you up with all your onward travel deals. With comfy and clean en suites and shared rooms, is only two minutes walk to Paihia pier, shops and cafes. Check out their spa and pool, hit the sundeck, have a feed at their tasty barbecue (every night, you’re invited) or explore the Bay of Islands. Pipi Patch has loads of great things going for it and modern facilities.
Pipi Patch Bar at Base Backpackers Paihia
Best Campervan – Spaceships
A Spaceship offers you the freedom to explore New Zealand in a custom designed, award-winning camper that is like a good car to drive but with more useful features than a campervan. The compact campervans are versatile, fun and fuel efficient and backed up by a trusted and friendly customer service team. Spaceships really are the Swiss army knife of campers - a great upgrade from a standard car hire, or a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to hiring a large campervan for your adventure in New Zealand.
Enjoy the smoother drive and better handling on the hilly and windy roads of New Zealand, access places bigger vehicles can’t, and save on fuel. These campers are easier to park and manoeuvre in built-up areas and cheaper to cross the Cook Straight on the ferry between the North and South Islands. All of their campers are supplied with linen, bedding, cutlery, and crockery. A dual burner gas cooker and one free gas can are included along with a quality fridge / freezer or a chilly bin.
credit: Spaceships Campervans
Best Tour/Activity – Haka Tours
This multi-award winning operator runs all kinds of exciting adventure, snow and mountain bike tours of New Zealand. With small groups of no more than 16 people, they can take you off the beaten track and treat you to spontaneous exploration and secret surprises. Trips run from 7 up to 24 days, and include all the essentials for a stress-free holiday. That means transport, accommodation, breakfast and your local Kiwi guide are all taken care of. Unlike other tours, Haka also let you customise your trip by adding on from a massive range of activities. So you only pay for the things you really want to do. Some of the most popular are bungy jumping, skydiving and swimming with dolphins.
Best Transport – Kiwi Experience
Kiwi Experience is an award-winning transport provider and is the best way for travellers to see New Zealand. It's fun, flexible and guided travel, offering you some of the most unique and unforgettable experiences on the planet. They are New Zealand’s original hop-on, hop-off bus adventure with over 25 years perfecting their service, you know that you’ll be travelling with the experts when you travel with Kiwi Experience.
Their Driver Guides will sort you out with Best Price Guarantee on unique accommodation and activities throughout the country. Kiwi Experience is the ultimate in flexible travel with over 30 different pass options to choose from and you’ve got up to 12 months to complete your trip.
Best Travel Agent – STA Travel
STA Travel is the largest student and young person travel company in the world. It is the preferred travel company for over 6 million people worldwide. With retail locations throughout New Zealand, a call center and an online presence at statravel.co.nz, anyone looking to 'experience the world face to face' has access to comprehensive travel products and services including airfares, accommodations and tours, discount cards, travel insurance, volunteer projects, working holidays and more through STA Travel.
Best Destination – Queenstown
Queenstown, New Zealand is located in the southern lakes region of the South Island, New Zealand. Surrounded by incredible mountains, and situated on the edge of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is New Zealand’s leading visitor destination. The region is renowned for its four distinct seasons, spectacular scenery and world class activities and attractions. Over 2.9 million visitors are drawn to Queenstown each year to experience their unique scenery, search for adventure, seek out relaxation and rejuvenation, or to just breathe the pure mountain air. Central Queenstown is a sophisticated town with a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping. The picturesque town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and you’ll experience a unique energy and atmosphere all year-round. The Queenstown region is world-famous for adventure and is the birthplace of many iconic activities including commercial bungy jumping and jetboating. Other activities guaranteed to get your blood pumping include white water rafting, ziplining, 4x4 off-roading, snowsports, paragliding and skydiving.
Best Visitor Attraction – Franz Josef Glacier Guides
Franz Josef Glacier Guides are an internationally recognized guiding operation, established in 1990, that prides itself on providing the most incredible glacier experiences. Combining traditional guiding techniques unique to New Zealand with modern innovations they are able to access glacier terrain normally only seen by experienced mountaineers. They make a clear commitment to their clients, that a tour with them is the most spectacular and rewarding available.
From its origins high in the Southern Alps, the Franz Josef Glacier descends deep into the lush rainforest of Westland’s National Park, from a height of 2700m above sea level to only 240m in as little as 11 km, making it the world’s steepest and fastest flowing commercially guided glacier.
It is the rugged gradient of the Franz Josef Glacier that ensures their clients enjoy the most dramatic glacier scenery available to the general public anywhere in the world.
Franz Josef Glacier credit: coddy
Franz Josef Glacier credit: danbreckwoldt
Franz Josef Glacier credit: coddy
Tamaki Maori Village
Best Cultural Experience – Tamaki Maori Village
New Zealand’s Most Awarded Cultural Experience! Experience an evening of ceremonial ritual, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting. Share in the Powhiri, an ancient ceremony of welcome before entering their pre-European Maori Village nestled within a native Tawa Forest. The village comes alive with sights, sounds & activity of days gone by including haka, poi, tattooing, weaving, carving and arts of warrior training. You will have the opportunity to participate in these activities. Witness the earth being scraped away from the hangi pit to reveal baskets of food cooked beneath the ground on hot stones. Enter the ancestral meeting house and enjoy a powerful cultural performance before dining the traditional hangi buffet feast!
Spend the night immersed in a peaceful and authentic Maori village deep within the heart of a Rotorua forest. Beneath the dappled sunlight of an ancient Tawa forest canopy, enjoy an afternoon engaging in a variety of traditional Maori activities before participating in the Evening Experience. Later, an open camp fire beckons where you will enjoy tales of Maori myths, legends and stories from history, before relaxing in one of the hot forest spa pools. Retire for the night for a restful sleep in our intricately carved Whare Moe (sleeping house).
Lifetime Achievement – Doug & Mike Tamaki – Tamaki Maori Village
Two keen brothers, the sale of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and the purchase of a 16-seater mini bus was where the concept for Tamaki Maori Village began. In 1989, Mike Tamaki had an idea – a whole new encounter with Maori culture, set in an ancient forest 15 minutes out of Rotorua. The trouble was, Mike needed money to get it started, and the bank managers weren’t quite as enthusiastic. In fact, all of the major lenders declined him – but Mike was still doggedly determined. Out of the blue came the answer, and it lay with Mike’s brother, Doug, and his pride and joy; a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
It took a while, but Mike convinced Doug that this idea was a good one, and he sold the Harley. The brothers then found themselves on the way back from Auckland in a 16-seater Japanese minibus, and all the way home they nutted out the plan. History was in motion, and they worked to create – from scratch – an authentic, pre-European Maori village. Many said they wouldn’t pull it off; but with a stoic entrepreneurial spirit, they embarked on a revolutionary approach to sharing Maori culture with the world.