You’ll be looking forward to the holidays we bet, as survivors of the pre-Christmas madness. By now you’ll have helped save the planet with your eco-chic presents. You’ll have adopted an acre of rainforest in South America, and made all those fair trade, socially-conscious, and organic purchases – like the GM-free soy wax aromatic candles. You’ll have wrapped them of course, in recycled paper. What? You made a last minute dash through The Warehouse and bought stuff made of plastic?
But seriously, your editor stumbled on one of the most meaningful gifts of all time in, of all places, Mary Holm’s financial column: the gift of sight. At the Fred Hollows Foundation website (www.hollows.org.nz), for just $25 you can make a donation to restore the sight of someone in a developing country.
In Spotlight, you’ll find a few holiday hints on things to do. One way to get off the beaten track locally is to visit Matakana Island. Many long-time locals have never set foot on the island, that remains relatively inaccessible – partly because there’s lots of privately-owned land, forestry, and few ferries. Grant Bradley of Adventure Bay of Plenty is putting that to rights with a bit of paddling. The company that specialises in ‘unique outdoor adventure activities for small groups,’ runs kayak tours run in a hook-up with the local Maori.
Spotlight also has tips on one of the cheapest ways to get out on the harbour – aboard the Spirit of Tauranga, the summertime cross-harbour ferry. The Spirit will begin its service on December 27th.
Harbour bridge users may have spotted in the distance the gleaming white hull of The Ultimate Escape, brand new on the charter boat scene. This craft that moors off the Sebel Trinity Wharf, can accommodate up to 80 people for day cruises in the sheltered waters of Tauranga Harbour – or 6 guests overnight in ‘total luxury’ for extended cruises around New Zealand. If you want to shop around for boat trips, we recommend you surf BoTCom’s Water Activities section and click on Cruises, Charters & Fishing. If you’re downtown, visit the excellent iSITE visitor centre in Willow Street, where you’ll find lots of brochures for the charter boat operators.
And if finding a park at the beach and sand in your jockeys begins to pall, keep Baywave pool complex at Mount Maunganui in mind. They are offering ‘$2 Tuesdays’ on the first Tuesday of each month.
There aren’t too many cafes around that are a three-in-one type destination. Church Manor Café has joined Country Originals furniture and long-time favourite The Art Boutique, to make the Cambridge Rd complex a great little outing.
Our new prizes will send you into orbit – or almost. Read on to see generous offerings Adventure Aviation has come up with. Don’t Miss is chokka with events of all kinds to attend in January, and there really is something for everyone.
New Content – Booking Maps
Also if you are new to BoTCom, you will see our new easy to use Google-style maps for booking accommodation. These maps provided by an associate company Vianet, sit on a number of our pages. By clicking on the flag, then the bubble that comes up, the user sees information on that accommodation provider. There is a complete rundown on the facilities, and other details. An availability calendar at the bottom of the page, complete with prices, allows the user to make an on-the-spot booking.
Two gift packs of Huni cosmetics from natural health products company Comvita will soon be on their way to Claire and Grant, both from Tauranga. We also have a pass to the blokart track at Papamoa for Ken, also from Tauranga. Two copies of The Best of Tauranga guide will be sent (after the crazy Christmas rush) to Jennifer in Ohope and Ian & Maureen in Tauranga.
The local flight scene has never been so buzzy, and we are pleased to highlight it with our superb aviation prizes from Adventure Aviation. This group’s companies will get you airborne in a multitude of different and exciting ways. Our winners will receive a $100 Adventure Aviation voucher, and a family of four will get entry tickets to the Classic Flyers Aviation Museum and Tauranga Military Collection ($25).
It’s the season for outdoor concerts on balmy summer evenings, and ‘Stars Under the Stars’ at Mills Reef is one of the most popular. The promoters have kindly provided four tickets worth $140 for Sunday January 27th.
January is a bumper month for events in the Bay. Whether you’re sporty or arty – or both – there’s an enormous variety of things on. Read on for our picks of the best stuff.
Bayleys Raceday is one of the biggest events of the year at the Tauranga Racecourse. It’s more than horse racing with a range of activities, including live music and free children's entertainment. Put aside January 2, the gates open at 9 am.
Port of Tauranga Half Ironman is a prestige event with a big prize pool attracting top New Zealand and overseas entrants. It starts from Salisbury Wharf, Mount Maunganui: a 2km swim in Pilot Bay, 90km bike ride, and 21km run that includes the base track of Mauao. Forgot ya bike? Just go to ogle the finely tuned athletes on January 5.
More FM Pro Tour International Beach Volleyball makes the most of summer sun and sand at Mount Maunganui’s iconic Main Beach. The Mount is New Zealand's home of beach volleyball and the pro tour showcases the game at its highest level. Catch the pros on January 5-6 at Main Beach.
Thundercats! This is a high adrenaline sport where tunnel hull inflatable boats with a crew of two blast through the waves, often airborne, at speeds of up to 80kph. A great spectator sport and its free. Round two of the Surfcross national series is on January 6, Main Beach, Mount Maunganui, from 10am.
Katikati Muraltown Twilight Concerts begin on January 6 at the Mural Town’s Haiku Reserve. These concerts are at the ‘family friendly’ prices of $15 adults, and under 15’s free. The second concert is on January 20, at 55 Pukakura Road. For tickets contact the Katikati Mural Town Concerts info line on 549 4250, or Katikati Information Centre, Main Road, Katikati.
The Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival features gourmet cooks preparing meals using avocado – that go on sale in a large marquee. Wine makers big and small take part, along with various ‘from whitebait to guacomole.’ Entertainment is provided by Woody Woodhouse Band, Sound Workshop, and Off the Cuff. Early bird tickets at $12, available from Westpac Katikati, or on the day for $15. Children under 18 with parents are free. For more information phone Bruce Robinson on 549 2064. On at Uretara Domain, January 12, from 11.30 – 6 pm.
Vegetarians...stop reading now. Morton's Restaurant and Bar, at the elegant Morton Estate Winery, is holding a Red Wine and Steak evening on Friday 18 January from 6pm. The ticket price includes fillet steak. Enjoy red wine from the barrel and live music. For details phone 552 0620.
The Outdoors New Zealand Traditional Archery Rendezvous is held annually at Anniversary Weekend, from January 26th to 28th, at Experience Outdoors New Zealand near Te Puke. For more details contact Kelvin O’Hara on 533 1484.
Mills Reef Stars Under the Stars is so popular the annual concert is being held over two nights at Anniversary Weekend. The two main acts are one of Australia’s hottest up and coming bands, The Bostocks and the high-class, high-energy, Rock’n’Roll review, ‘Class of ‘58, led by TV star Shane Cortese. Tickets for both shows are on sale at Baycourt Ticket Direct. The concerts are on January 26th and 27th, at Mills Reef winery in Bethlehem. For more information phone Craig Wilson on 0274-943 838.
Garden Art @ The Elms is held in the elegant grounds of The Elms, Tauranga’s most historic building. Artists and craftspeople exhibit and sell original works - sculpture, woodcrafts, ceramics, topiary, furniture and more. Entertainment for all ages, fine food and tours of the Mission House. January 27 to 28 from 9.30 am to 5 pm. For more information phone The Elms on 577 9772.
Bendon Sport Women’s Triathlon is a women-only tri held at Mount Maunganui at Anniversary Weekend, January 28th. The annual sporting event starts at Pilot Bay with a 400m swim, followed by a 10km cycle and 2.5km run. Check out www.triathlontauranga.co.nz. Contact Ken Knott on 576 2069
Strange Names: Robyn Wills says Otumoetai Intermediate's music teachers (Mr Blow and Ms Screach) were just a precursor to Otumoetai College's teachers - Mrs Jelly who taught home economics, geography teacher Miss Hill, and Mr Dick ... well, he was a biology teacher ( NZ Herald Sideswipe column).
We hate to think what they’d do if they caught you...
That’s All from Us – for Now
BoTCom’s local news returns on January 14th, once jaded journos have had some R&R. In the meantime, we will continue to work invisibly behind the scenes updating our pages, and our next newsletter will go out in January. Have a happy, safe holiday...from all of us at BoTCom.