Phew, the last long haul flight is over and I am about to wrap my Christmas presents while contemplating on what a fabulous year 2014 has been!
I didn’t head off overseas until March when I was invited to Singapore from Christchurch for 3 days. I saw the wonderful evening music and lights show at Garden’s by the Bay, and found the BEST place for satay on a street that is pedestrianised at night for those who love these little tasty peanut sticks. Here’s where to find Satay Street next time you visit>>>
April kicked off with some travelling around New Zealand with the royals. I know! I got to work with Tourism New Zealand and follow Prince William and the smashing Kate around on their 2-week tour of the country. It was a fantastic experience and I wrote about the places they visited and working alongside the British royal press – which was an eye opener. Here is my post on Behind the Scenes with the Royals>>>
May saw us hunkering downin a Maui campervan and tootling around Central Otago from Queenstown to Wanaka – a drive that could take one hour if you needed to! But spending 5 days allowed us to bob between wineries, find some great little places to eat and shop and do it like a slow-roasted dish for the full flavour! Here’s my post on my Top Tips for Campervanning in New Zealand>>>
One of the highlights this year was my first visit to the Philippines. I was invited to speak at their national tourism conference on social media strategies around perception from the terrible cyclone Haiyan last year. We all met in Clark known for the airforce base (where the runway is 3km long so that that US space shuttle can land on it if need be). But after the “work” was over we flew west of Manilla and stayed in gorgeous Palawan at one of the El Nido resorts. Here’s my blog post on the highlights of Palawan>>>
This was another huge highlight – being invited by Air New Zealand to Seattle to take delivery of the 787-9 Dreamliner! It was the first Dreamliner dash-9 off the assembly line at Boeing so much fanfare and frivolity was had. Only 30 media from around the world were invited and I was beyond chuffed to be included. Here’s my post of photos inside the new 787-9>>>
New Caledonia was my Pacific Island of choice this year and I had a week here exploring so much of this 400km long island. I met a kanak family in the north and had a traditional bougna lunch, I went into the south and photographed the rare kagu bird, I spent enough time in Noumea to select my 5 favourite things and visited the very moving WWII New Zealand cemetery in Bourail>>>
I stayed at home this month and popped out to Auckland’s west coast to stay at rugged Bethells Beach and then got the chance to stay onboard the new Hauraki Blue catamaran that is now basing itself in Auckland for one night voyages.
October was our big trip for the year. I set off from Christchurch on Fiji Airways to Nadi for a couple of days at the Sofitel Denarau, and checked out the inflatable Bula Park, then on we went on Los Angeles where I visited Catalina Island for the first time and also tried zip lining for the first time!
It was a great few days in LA where I managed a bit of shopping (Proof I was working: I wrote this post on 5 of the best places to shop in LA) then my husb flew over and off we went to Washington DC, then Philadelphia and finally ended up in Chicago to watch the All Blacks play the USA Eagles. While I was in Chi Town I got to visit the kitchen of legendary Garrett Popcorn and see just how they make their amazing cheese and caramel corn. Oh and we got to stay at Donald Trump’s hotel over the river and dined at his Michelin-star restaurant.
Western Australia was the trip this month as Qantas are flying direct from Auckland to Perth from December 2014 until April 2015, so they sent me over to check out some of the cool things to do in Margaret River. I started with a day trip out to Rottnest Island from Perth and met the cute quokkers! Then we headed south into wine country where me and my friend Nic spent 5 days wine tasting and checking out some of the things this region is famous for>>>
My final trip for 2014 was back to America to visit Sonoma County (I see a wine theme here!) I hadn’t visited this Californian region before and was quite surprised by the things other than wine they had to offer. Then over to Washington DC once more to present my media training for tourism businesses to the US Travel Association Communications Committee. It went over really well so I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 might hold!
Oh and on my way home I checked out the newly refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal that Air New Zealand has just moved to and joins Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui. Here’s my post on the new terminal.
Happy holidays and happy new year to you and yours and I really thank you so much for reading my blog. I try and make my posts interesting, informative and relevant to help you decide where to take your holidays. And I couldn’t do it without you and your comments!