Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Southland is a land of rugged coast and rolling plains, world-renowned Bluff oysters and the launching place for a visit to Stewart Island.

Southland’s largest centre is Invercargill. If you’re a garden lover you must see Queens Park and its 80 hectares of tree-lined walkways and diverse gardens. The city turns on the hospitality so, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you’ll find plenty of friendly and high standard accommodation.

Half an hour from Invercargill is the fishing port of Bluff. Known for its fabulous seafood, this is the place to taste the famous Bluff oysters. If you like bird watching, catch a ferry to Stewart Island where you’ll find a haven for native bird life and the only place in New Zealand where you have a fair chance of seeing kiwi in their native habitat.

And speaking of wildlife, head along the coast to the Catlins. The Catlins River Walk leads you through beech forest and is known for its hidden waterfalls and rare native birds. At Curio Bay you’ll find fossilized trees, over 180 million years old, embedded in coastal bedrock. And at Nugget Point you’ll find fur seals, sea lions, sooty shearwaters, shags, yellow-eyed penguins, spoonbills and a breeding colony of gannets. And if you look closely, you may see Hector's dolphins frolicking out in the waves.


Fiordland is one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Absorb the breathtaking treasures of this region by water, air or hiking.

Carved by glaciers over 100,000 years the landscape is one where waterfalls cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords; where ancient rainforest untouched by man clings to mountains and where shimmering lakes and granite peaks look as they did a thousand years ago.

Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. Milford Sound, Rudyard Kipling described as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Take a scenic flight over it and you will understand why.

Some of the fiords can be explored by kayak but if you’d like to see the less accessible fiords, eco-tours can be arranged.

But this, really, is the place for hiking. Fiordland National Park has three of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’, the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. Milford Track is arguably New Zealand’s most famous walk. Starting in Te Anau, it takes you, over 53 kilometres, through the most breath-taking scenery; mountains, lakes and enormous valleys right up to the Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. Accommodation ranges from the most basic hiker’s hut to the better-than-normal level of comfort.

Central Otago

Central Otago is a powerful landscape, sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. 

In the 1860’s this was a place of gold; you can still pan for it, in amongst the miners' old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery.

But the gold today, in Central Otago, is wine. Pinot noir, that most fickle of grape varieties, excels in these southernmost vineyards and most of the wineries will welcome you for tours and tastings.

Many tourists hire a motorhome. This way you can see some of the region’s more remote sights; incredible scenery that you will often have to yourself. Go wildflower walking in Alexandra, take a cruise on Lakes Dunstan and Roxburgh, or for another form of transport entirely, go biking along the Central Otago Rail Trail. The 150 km trail follows the route of the old railway and you cycle from station to station staying in places little touched by modern hustle and bustle.

Accommodation in Central Otago ranges from the luxury lodges set in inspiring locations through to character B&B’s, historic backpackers, country pubs, motels and camping grounds. Wherever you stay you will be welcomed.


Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s top visitor destinations and if you come to the region you’ll understand why.

The town sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic ranges.

The lake and mountain landscape make it suited to all kinds of adventure. There’s skiing in the winter and activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round. If hardcore adventure isn't your thing, there are plenty of mellow options available. Experience one of the many walking & hiking trails, sightseeing tours or indulge yourself  with spa treatments, boutique shopping and excellent food and wine.

Head out of Queenstown and the drama of the Central Otago landscape unfolds around you. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you’ll recognize many of the locations of Middle-earth here. Twenty minutes from Queenstown, Arrowtown’s gold-mining history is alive and vibrant. Visit the Lakes District Museum or go gold panning. Forty minutes from Queenstown at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu is rural Glenorchy and Paradise Valley. From here it’s a short drive into the Mt Aspiring National Park and the start of some of New Zealand’s great walks.

Lake Wanaka

45 kilometres long and covering 193 square kilometres, the crystal clear waters of Lake Wanaka are perfect for jetboaters, sailors and kayakers to explore.

45 kilometres long and covering 193 square kilometres, the crystal clear waters of Lake Wanaka are perfect for jetboaters, sailors and kayakers to explore.Nestled below towering mountains, Wanaka is the most tranquilly set of the South Island lakes.

In winter, skiers flock here from all over the world for superb skiing and snowboarding at Cardrona and Treble Cone, cross-country skiing at Snow Farm and heli-skiing high in the Harris Mountains. But Wanaka is much more than a winter destination. Year round activities include fishing, hiking, canyoning, climbing and skydiving. Visit the nearby towns of Queenstown, Cromwell and Alexandra, go shopping, or simply sit in a café and watch the world pass by.

One of the attractions of a stay in Lake Wanaka is that it combines the warmth of small town living with the quality and attention to detail you’d expect of an international holiday destination. Accommodation ranges from luxury lodges and boutique B&Bs to backpacker lodges and family holiday parks. It’s an easy walk to shops and restaurants from most accommodation and taxis cars and bikes are readily available. And if you want to head out of town, transport providers offer daily services to most popular destinations.

Dunedin - Coastal Otago

Dunedin and Coastal Otago is a region of natural beauty overlaid with a fascinating cultural history, often referred to as the eco-capital of New Zealand.

The Otago coast stretches from the Waitaki north of Oamaru to the mighty Clutha River south of Dunedin. A must see are the mysterious Moeraki boulders.

Start at the north. New Zealand's Waitaki district is a place of haunting natural beauty with green pastures and small picture-book fishing villages. Stop in at Oamaru and look at the historic whitestone architecture, an amazing townscape that towers over a modest community.

Dunedin is New Zealand's city of the south. Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, it wears its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The accommodation is good and plentiful; equally so, the natural attractions. On Dunedin’s doorstep you will find incredible wildlife including the world’s rarest penguins and, at Taiaroa Head, the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross.

Head further south, and you join the Southern Scenic Route, a must-do of the South Island that follows the wild coast down to Invercargill and then north-west to Manapouri and Te Anau.


The Waitaki is a place of scenic contrast. Journey along the Waitaki Valley and the landscape changes from green pasture to the dryness of Central Otago.

Snow-capped peaks and beautiful lakes contrast with the bare brown hills that rise up from the valley floor.

Driving towards the mountains, stop and see the Earthquakes, an impressive formation of limestone cliffs. Nearby you’ll find Maori rock drawings made from red ochre, charcoal and animal fat.

Further along the highway, you come to Kurow, a farming town with many historically important limestone buildings. If you like fishing or hunting, this is a good place to stop. Kurow's also a great place for a spin in a jet boat.

The Waitaki River surges through the landscape, punctuated by three hydro-electric dams - Waitaki, Aviemore and Benmore. The Waitaki Dam was built with picks and shovels in the 1930s and Benmore is one of the largest earth dams in the southern hemisphere, and the only dam open for viewing.

There are many pleasant walks in the Otematata area - most will take around an hour. Longer hikes include the Benmore Peninsula and Deep Stream Tracks.

Omarama marks the western end of the Waitaki Valley. If you're into gliding, this is the place for it. The nor'wester blows steady and warm off the Southern Alps to form the famous Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take an intrepid glider pilot to 10,000 metres.

Christchurch - Canterbury

Canterbury stretches from ocean to the Alps, and is land of plains and peaks. It is a place of variety and innumerable attractions.

Within two hours of an international airport, you can ski, play golf, bungy jump, go whitewater rafting, mountain biking, wind surfing, whale watching, and visit world-class vineyards and gardens. Where else in the world can you do that?

A must-see is New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook. Go hiking in Arthur’s Pass National Park or just wander around the picturesque bays and villages of Banks Peninsula. And then there’s New Zealand's second-largest city, Christchurch known as ‘The Garden City'.

In February 2011, Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake. Much of the central city with its classic neo-gothic architecture was destroyed. But it remains a beautiful city, a city where you can cycle alongside the river, stay in good hotels and indulge in fine sophisticated dining, and a city where, just 15 minutes from the centre you can scramble up mountain bike tracks or ride a wave at a surf beach. The buildings may have been damaged but the soul of the city and the welcoming spirit of the people remain very much intact. Don’t miss visiting Christchurch.

West Coast

The West Coast, or ‘the Coast’ as locals call it, is a wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures.

Never more than fifty kilometres wide, in the whole stretch of it down the coast of the South Island there are only 31,000 people. Greymouth is the largest town.

It’s good if you’ve got your own transport because this is a long region and there’s a lot to see.

Visit the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. These giant rivers of ice have squeezed down the valleys to just 250 metres above sea level.

The pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki are among the West Coast’s most famous sights.  The West Coast, also, is New Zealand’s only source of greenstone (pounamu) with the boulders being found in the West Coast rivers. In Hokitika and Greymouth you can take a tour and watch the greenstone carvers at work.

Meet the ‘coasters’ as the locals are known and you’ll find a bunch of independent, self-reliant but hugely friendly and hospitable people. Sit down and have a beer with them and they’ll regale you with west coast stories. Accommodation can be a cosy B&B, luxury lodge or character hotel; all of it excellent value.


Located at the top of the South Island, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and the home of world-renowned sauvignon blanc.

Marlborough enjoys high sunshine hours and a temperate climate so that visitors can experience all of Marlborough’s diversity through the season. No matter what time of year, there is always something going on in Marlborough.

There are over 40 cellar doors in Marlborough, why not take advantage of a pre-arranged wine tour with a local operator and visit a selection of the region’s top wine producers. You can map out your own route: self-drive, travel in style in a chauffeur- driven car or mix your daily exercise with your tasting in a cycle tour. Whichever mode of transport you choose be sure to stop at a winery restaurant along the way.

The Marlborough Sounds are best explored on water, with a range of cruises and activities from a self-guided kayak excursion to sailing on a luxury yacht. Get active by swimming with dolphins, diving or fishing in the Sounds. Hike the length of the Queen Charlotte Track as it winds its way through native forest, along view filled ridges and beside idyllic coves.

Take a tour into Marlborough High Country as it stretches down the Pacific Coast towards Kaikoura. Stop at the pink salt lakes at Lake Grasmere and check out Molesworth Station the largest working farm in New Zealand. For a real New Zealand experience stay in a historic homestead, take a 4wd farm tour, try heli-fishing for trout or mountain bike or hike through this remote area.

Accommodation in Marlborough is plentiful with an extensive range whatever your budget and there’s a room with a view wherever you stay.

The botenic gardens

Nelson, South Island, New Zealand

Nelson is a lifestyle; that’s the best way to describe it. Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, it is the sunniest region in New Zealand.

Nelson's diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains.

Perhaps it’s the sun, perhaps it’s the location, but Nelson has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you.

Walk the sun drenched sands of Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs. Walk Nelson's Abel Tasman track – it’s a three to five day walk – or, for a different view, take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water.

Or just relax. Sit in the sun, sip a wine from one of the local vineyards, and dine on the famous Nelson Bay scallops.

Accommodation options in Nelson range from basic backpacker lodges to luxury spa retreats, and everything in between.

Monday, 29 April 2013


Wairarapa is an hour’s drive north of Wellington. Visit the vineyards of Martinborough or Cape Palliser, the southernmost point of the North Island.

Coming from Wellington, you drive over the winding Rimutaka Hill road. Halfway down there’s a corner where the whole vista of the Wairarapa opens up before you, bush-clad ranges to the west across flat plains to a rugged coast on the east.

A rural area with an off-the-beaten-track charm, the Wairarapa offers the traveller a wide range of experiences. Head up to the Waiohine Gorge at the foot of the Tararuas and a swing bridge is your gateway to tramping tracks into the ranges. Head out to Cape Palliser on the coast and you’ll pass through the tiny fishing village of Ngawi where you’ll see a colourful array of old bulldozers and tractors parked on the beach.

The towns have their own individual character and charm. Martinborough is the centre of the local wine industry – take a tour of the vineyards - while Greytown has an architectural charm and is a favourite weekend getaway for Wellingtonians.

Accommodation ranges from boutique hotels to homestay cottages. Having a car for transport works best; it’s a big area.


Situated at the southern end of the North Island, nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills, Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city.

onely Planet named Wellington ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ (2011), and the city is renowned for its arts, culture and native beauty.

Things to do
Relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden-sand inner-city beach and delve into the many museums, art galleries and theatre shows that make up the city’s pulsing cultural scene. If you’re into the outdoors, Wellington has action-packed adventure activities like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as beautiful walks around the harbor and surrounding hills. Try the visually stunning Makara Peak track, as well as the City to Sea walk where you can experience the best of Wellington's waterfront. Ride the cable car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city and enjoy an ice cream at the top.

On the waterfront itself you’ll find Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, New Zealand’s national museum. Te Papa, as it’s colloquially known, means ‘our place’ and is one of the best interactive museums in the world.

A gourmet food experience
Wellington buzzes with delicatessens, cafes and restaurants – it’s a city that enjoys gourmet food and fine wine. Known as the culinary capital of New Zealand, Wellington is famous for its tucked-away bars, quirky cafes, award-winning restaurants and great coffee. Head to Courtenay Place or Cuba Street to get amongst the good stuff.


Whanganui was one of the first cities to be founded in New Zealand. Whanganui, meaning ‘big river’ comes from the great river that flows through it.

The city is picturesque and has much to show the visitor. Prominent heritage buildings in the city include the Wanganui Opera House and the Sarjeant Art Gallery. Visit the regional museum and see the magnificent collection of Lindauer portraits and Maori treasures. And have a look at one of the more unusual attractions, the earthbound elevator that rises to the top of Durie Hill.

But the real heart of this place, both physically and spiritually, is the Whanganui River. In early times the river was an important transport route for Maori and European settlers. Today, the Whanganui National Park is a place of river adventures where you can zip up the river by jetboat or cruise it by paddle steamer. For a kayaking experience, try the ‘Whanganui Journey’ which starts in Taumaranui and ends in Pipiriki, taking you through stunning bush-clad hill country and long narrow gorges. Time, indeed, to go with the flow.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Manawatu, New Zealand

The Manawatu is heartland New Zealand. A landscape that sweeps from the sea to the Tararua Ranges, it offers an exciting range of adventure activities.

Choose from rafting, kayaking, blokarting, horse trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing and a host of other activities.

If you want to experience country life, it’s all around you. Go to a real stock auction. This is where the farmers buy and sell their farm animals, gathering around pens as the auctioneer rattles off bids. Stock auctions are one of New Zealand’s oldest traditions, dating back to the 1880s.

Or you could find a farmstay and meet farmers whose families have been on the land for generations.

There's a great diversity of attractions in Manawatu. In the vibrant student city of Palmerston North you can explore the world’s first museum devoted to rugby. If you’re a garden lover there are some fabulous public and private gardens to see, including one of the top rose gardens in the world. And a little way down the road around Horowhenua you’ll find such quirky attractions as an owl park, a farm devoted to Clydesdales and a fully operational Dutch windmill.

Hawke's Bay

There are two words that best describe Hawke’s Bay and they are Wine Country - but there is much more than wine to this sunny region.

Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it's a popular place for bicycle wine tours.

Hawke's Bay is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre, rebuilt in the 1930’s after a huge earthquake. It hosts the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki – the Maori New Year. It’s a place where you can shop at the farmers' market for locally grown delicacies, indulge in artisan gourmet food, and join the lunchers at Napier’s Great Long Lunch. And it’s a place where you can walk the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks, visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony or relax on the glorious beaches that stretch along the coast.

Hawke's Bay offers every kind of accommodation, from exclusive lodges and self-contained cottages to hotels, motels, camping grounds, bed & breakfasts and homestays. Some wineries have room for guests, providing the perfect setting for a romantic stay.

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Lake Taupo

The beautiful Lake Taupo is about the size of Singapore – more of an inland sea really.

It was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you'll see evidence of the lake's fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Lake Taupo's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.

Just north of Lake Taupo you'll find New Zealand's most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.

Taupo is a great lake for water-skiing, sailing and kayaking. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion. The forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking to suit all levels of experience.

But what Taupo is really known for is fishing. The town of Turangi has the largest natural trout fishery in the world; this is the place to cast a line and look for the big one. Turangi also happens to provide a convenient base for exploring Tongariro National Park, whether it be walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (New Zealand's most popular day walk) or skiing at Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields.

Great Lake Taupo is centrally located in the middle of the North Island, approximately 3 1/2 hours drive from Auckland and 4 1/2 hours drive from Wellington. There's a genuinely friendly culture here and plenty of accommodation – so why not stay awhile?


The Ruapehu region is defined by the three volcanoes that stand sentinel over a landscape of tussocked desert, rivers, lakes and thermal springs.

Today the volcanoes are part of the Tongariro World Heritage Park, New Zealand’s first national park. The centerpiece is the snow-capped Mount Ruapehu with, alongside, the two smaller cones of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. For skiers and snowboarders, Ruapehu is the site of two of the North Island’s best skifields.

Snow pursuits aside, there are many other outdoor and adventure activities in the region. For mountain bikers, there’s the famous 42 Traverse. The area is popular with hunters and, for trout fishers, the small tributary rivers provide excellent if challenging sport. And then there’s hiking. For sheer scenic incredibility, you must take the Tongariro Crossing This one-day hike takes you from alpine meadow to mountain summit across a surreal landscape of craters, coloured lakes and volcanic rock.

There is plenty of accommodation in the towns around the area with everything from the basic backpacker’s hostels to boutique lodges and the Edwardian grandeur of the Chateau on the slopes of Ruapehu.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Aslak Cross via Audrey Moreira

Aslak Cross via Aya Mita

Source: furkl.com via Aslak on Pinterest


No region in the North Island has more defined character than Taranaki. Wherever you are the symmetrical cone of Mount Taranaki gazes down at you.

Seen from the summit the green fertile lowlands below are threaded with roads and dotted with toy-like towns and the coast is rugged and wild. It’s a place where you can go snowboarding in the morning and surfing the same afternoon.

The region offers a huge range of outdoor activities. You can take a gentle stroll through cool native forest or embark on a multi-day hike. There’s river rafting, ocean surfing, and winter snow sports.

If you fancy a little less adventure, walk the New Plymouth coastal walkway and see the Wind Wand, conceived by the pioneering kinetic artist, Len Lye. There are art trails, festivals and award-winning museums and galleries and a thriving café culture. And there are gardens. Walk the parks and gardens in the rhododendron season and they are a beauty to behold.


From the very tip of the North Island at Cape Reinga, the Northland region stretches south for more than 300 kilometres.

Northland’s story is a story of two coastlines. Much of the coastline remains unspoilt but on the west coast it is rugged and soulful and simple while on the east coast it is relatively more sophisticated and urbane.

Drive north along the west coast and you’ll come across the magnificent Tane Mahuta, the tallest kauri tree in an area that was once covered in kauri. Exit the forest and you come to the Hokianga Harbour with its huge white sand dunes and quiet beach communities. Then head to the northernmost tip, Cape Reinga, and watch the seas of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide.

The east coast has different charms. Here the pristine beaches are white-sanded and tranquil, places of relaxation and activities – golf, swimming, sailing and diving. In the beautiful Bay of Islands, take a cruise, soak up the sun or immerse yourself in Maori culture at Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

The city of Whangarei has plenty of accommodation and is an excellent place to enjoy the Northland lifestyle. Sit at a quayside café and watch the yachts or visit New Zealand’s first Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning and stock up on the freshest local food.

The full beauty and diversity Northland is yours to experience when you drive the Twin Coast Highway, a comprehensive touring route along the Tasman and Pacific coasts.


Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and main transport hub. Make sure you stop and enjoy the shopping, dining and natural wonders Auckland has to offer.

Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, our largest and most diverse city.

Shopping and dining
Auckland is a shopaholic's paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open air street markets. While you're here, enjoy the city's diverse cafes, restaurants and nighlife. Favourite downtown spots include Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct Harbour and the Britomart precinct.

Once you've seen the city, head out to one of Auckland's four distinct wine districts where you can sample local vino against the backdrop of rolling hills and sparkling ocean.

City of Sails
Wherever you are in Auckland, you’re never far from the water. From wild West Coast surf beaches to the tranquil Hauraki gulf, the sea and all its attractions are why this is known as the City of Sails. Make sure you get out on the water while you're here, whether it’s a relaxing harbour cruise, a fishing charter, whale and dolphin spotting, kayaking or surfing.

Holiday islands
The Hauraki Gulf has a vast collection of tranquil islands to explore. The most populated is Waiheke Island, just a 40 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. The landscape here is a picturesque blend of farmland, forest, beaches, vineyards and olive groves.

Volcanoes and adventure
Auckland region is dotted with 48 volcanic cones, which provide spectacular panoramic views of the city and the perfect spot for a picnic. Rangitoto Island, just a 25 minute ferry ride from Auckland, is the city's most iconic volcano and a favourite spot for hikers and bird watchers.

If it's adrenaline you’re after, head up the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere – the brave can even jump off it. Here in Auckland you may also like to try bridge climbing, bungy jumping, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking or canyoning.

A city like no other
In the Maori language Auckland is known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau - ‘the maiden with a hundred suitors’, because it was a region coveted by many tribes. The name still holds true, as Auckland's lifestyle is ranked amongst the best in the world.

Come and experience it for yourself. A few days in Auckland, building in a tour or two, is the perfect beginning to your New Zealand vacation.


Eastland is the place where the first Polynesian canoes landed, Captain Cook made his first landfall and Maori and European first encountered each other.

Gisborne, the largest settlement in Eastland, is the first city in the world to see the sun each day.

In this relaxed and tucked-away part of the country, the world moves slowly; horses and bare feet are common forms of transport. You might wish to take a car but you’ll also want to take your time.

Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and Maori culture is evident in every settlement you see. There are carved meeting houses, beautifully painted Maori churches, and conversations in Te Reo. Venture up Mount Hikurangi, the sacred mountain of the Ngati Porou people, and you'll see giant carvings of figures from Maori folklore.

Deep in the misty Te Urewera Ranges, descendents of the ‘Children of the Mist’, the ancient Tuhoe tribe, still live in harmony with the forest around the village of Ruatahuna. You’re unlikely to come across them if you go hiking in Te Urewera National Park, but hire a local guide and you’ll learn some of their stories and legends while exploring the largest untouched native forest in the North Island.

Sunny Eastland is famous for its beautiful, often deserted beaches, and its exhilarating and diverse surf breaks. Hire a surf board and get out there, or watch the peeling waves from the comfort of your outstretched beach towel. Other popular pastimes include fishing, diving, cycling, mountain biking and golf.

Trying the wine here is a must. Known as the "Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand", Gisborne produces premium white wines which can be readily enjoyed on a scenic winery tour.

Accommodation in Eastland can be as fancy as an upmarket lodge, boutique B&B or waterfront hotel. But Eastland is also heaven for those in motorhomes or tents, with plenty of freedom camping amid picture-perfect scenery.

Friday, 26 April 2013


Rotorua - the place of fascinating Maori culture, hot springs and boiling mud pools. No visit to New Zealand would be complete without stopping here.

Rotorua is one place where the turbulent forces that formed New Zealand are most evident. This city, on the Volcanic Plateau, has one of the world’s most lively fields of geothermal activity and sits squarely on the Pacific Rim of Fire.

Rotorua is also the ancestral home of the Te Arawa  people who settled here more than 600 years ago and their presence offers the visitor numerous cultural experiences. Try a hangi feast – cooked in the steaming ground, take a tour of an authentic pre-European Maori village or treat yourself to an indulgent spa therapy. If adventure is your thing, Rotorua has many attractions to get the adrenalin flowing; everything from skydiving and luging to zorbing and one of New Zealand’s best mountain bike circuits.

It’s also a big trout fishing area with fishing on the lakes and tributary rivers and if you’re unlucky there you can sight some of the huge trout (but, alas, not catch them) at Rainbow and Fairy Springs. With its international airport, Rotorua is also the gateway to the North Island’s skifields for excellent skiing and snowboarding at Mt Ruapehu in the winter.

Hamilton - Waikato

Just south of Auckland you enter the Hamilton-Waikato region. A land where lush pasture and fertile soils have made this the centre of the dairy industry.

Just over an hour south of Auckland you enter the Hamilton & Waikato region; a land of lush verdant pasture, chosen to play The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

If you’re a Tolkien fan, drive east to Matamata and visit Hobbiton Movie Set, the amazing Hobbit-sized village created for the movies. Or if surfing is more your style, then Raglan is the perfect spot for you, with one of the longest left hand breaks in the world.

For a magical underground experience, drive south to Waitomo Caves, where the natural beauty of stalactites and stalagmites lit by the blue light of glowworms will take your breath away; or for those seeking more of an adrenalin rush, black water rafting and abseiling are not to be missed.

Known for its scenic diversity, the Hamilton & Waikato region offers a myriad of options for those keen on walking, hiking and cycling, from casual strolls along the Waikato River to overnight bush excursions and winding mountain biking tracks. A popular spot is Maungatautari Ecological Reserve, which allows walkers to experience the New Zealand forest as it was hundreds of years ago, thanks to the special predator-free environment.

The city of Hamilton boasts stunning gardens, plentiful shopping and a popular nightlife and restaurant scene. With abundant accommodation, Hamilton provides a perfect base for exploring the wider region.

The Coromandel, New Zealand

The Coromandel, with pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations.

A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, the Coromandal is everything that a big city isn’t. Cloaked in native rainforest with dazzling white sand beaches, it is rustic, unspoiled and relaxed. Activities and attractions are plentiful. You might choose skydiving in Whitianga or a guided sea kayak tour around the coast.

You could take a walk in the coolness of the pristine bush - the Coromandel is a walker’s paradise – or simply sit and relax in a warm bubbling pool at Hot Water Beach. You might even like to explore your own secret lagoon in Donut Island. And there are many more.

The Coromandel is the home of many artists and craftspeople. Pop into their studios – you’re welcome to visit – and pick up a unique piece of art or pottery to take home with you. It’s also the home of many events and concerts that draw locals and visitors alike to this remarkable place. Staying in the Coromandel is easy. Most of the accommodation providers have found themselves spectacular locations so whether your tastes are for the upmarket or the simple, you’ll find a room – or tent site – with an amazing view.

Its Very Hot Lets Chillllllllllllllll out

Eastland, New Zealand

Eastland is the place where the first Polynesian canoes landed, Captain Cook made his first landfall and Maori and European first encountered each other.

Gisborne, the largest settlement in Eastland, is the first city in the world to see the sun each day.

In this relaxed and tucked-away part of the country, the world moves slowly; horses and bare feet are common forms of transport. You might wish to take a car but you’ll also want to take your time.

Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and Maori culture is evident in every settlement you see. There are carved meeting houses, beautifully painted Maori churches, and conversations in Te Reo. Venture up Mount Hikurangi, the sacred mountain of the Ngati Porou people, and you'll see giant carvings of figures from Maori folklore.

Deep in the misty Te Urewera Ranges, descendents of the ‘Children of the Mist’, the ancient Tuhoe tribe, still live in harmony with the forest around the village of Ruatahuna. You’re unlikely to come across them if you go hiking in Te Urewera National Park, but hire a local guide and you’ll learn some of their stories and legends while exploring the largest untouched native forest in the North Island.

Sunny Eastland is famous for its beautiful, often deserted beaches, and its exhilarating and diverse surf breaks. Hire a surf board and get out there, or watch the peeling waves from the comfort of your outstretched beach towel. Other popular pastimes include fishing, diving, cycling, mountain biking and golf.

Trying the wine here is a must. Known as the "Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand", Gisborne produces premium white wines which can be readily enjoyed on a scenic winery tour.

Accommodation in Eastland can be as fancy as an upmarket lodge, boutique B&B or waterfront hotel. But Eastland is also heaven for those in motorhomes or tents, with plenty of freedom camping amid picture-perfect scenery.

Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

The Bay of Plenty region is home to spectacular beaches, juicy kiwifruit and an active island volcano.

When James Cook arrived in 1769, he anchored off a great bay ‘full of plantations and villages’ that was, he noted ‘a bay of plenty’. The Bay of Plenty, today, is no less a place of plenty. Around Tauranga are hectares of orchards and gardens producing everything from kiwifruit and citrus fruit to avocados. Add to this bounty the local wines and the plentiful fresh seafood and you just know that this is a place where you will dine well.

Mount Maunganui, a short distance from Tauranga, has spectacular beaches which are a magnet for surfers all year round. For the adventurous, there’s skydiving and for those more keen on terra firma, blokarting (small land yachts) will blow the cobwebs away.

Visit White Island – a quick helicopter ride from Whakatane – and you can walk, yes, on an active volcano as it hisses, belches and rumbles. It’s that same geothermal activity that provides the hot pools and spas that you will find in many places where you can relax and let the world slide by. There is plentiful accommodation in the area; everything from bed and breakfasts through to hotels and boutique lodges.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Charles de Gaulle Airport

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (French: Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle, IATA:CDG, ICAO: LFPG), also known as Roissy Airport (or just Roissy in French), is one of the world's principal aviation centres, as well as France's largest airport. It is named after Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), leader of the Free French Forces and founder of the French Fifth Republic. It is located within portions of several communes, 25 km (16 mi) to the northeast of Paris. The airport serves as the principal hub for Air France.
In 2012, the airport handled 61,556,202 passengers and 497,763 aircraft movements,making it the world's seventh busiest airport and Europe's second busiest airport (afterLondon Heathrow) in passengers served. It also is the world's tenth busiest andEurope's busiest airport in aircraft movement. In cargo traffic, the airport is the fifth busiest in the world and the second busiest in Europe after Frankfurt Airport, having handled 2,087,952 metric tonnes of cargo in 2011. On 1 March 2011, Franck Goldnadel was appointed as the director of the airport.

Charles de Gaulle Airport extends over 32.38 km2 (12.50 sq mi) of land. The choice of this vast area was made based on the limited number of potential relocations and expropriations and the possibility to further expand the airport in the future. It straddles three départements and six communes:Seine-et-Marne département: communes of Le Mesnil-Amelot (Terminals 2E, 2F ),Mauregard (Terminals 1, 3), Mitry-Mory Seine-Saint-Denis département: commune of Tremblay-en-France (Terminals 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, and Roissypôle) Val-d'Oise département: communes of Roissy-en-France and Épiais-lès-Louvres Management of the airport is solely under the authority of Aéroports de Paris (ADP), which also manages Orly, Le Bourget, Marsa Alam in Egypt, and several smaller airports in the suburbs of Paris.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

About County Wicklow,Ireland

Glendalough - County Wicklow

About County Wicklow
County Wicklow is located directly below County Dublin on the east coast of Ireland. This is a county blessed with a mix of purple mountains, waterfalls, golden sandy beaches and wooded glens and it's this natural beauty that gives Wicklow the title 'Garden of Ireland'.

What To See And Do
When in County Wicklow make sure to visit some top attractions like Glendalough, where St. Kevin founded a monastery in the 6th century. St. Kevin chose this location, as it was beautiful, peaceful and remote. Today visitors can see the monastic remains from that time including a round tower, some high crosses and churches. To learn more visit the Glendalough Visitors Centre .

There are lots of scenic drives in County Wicklow but the Vale of Avoca is one that should not be missed! Where the River Avonmore meets the River Avonbeg is a lush valley and it was here that Thomas Moore was inspired to write the poem "The Meeting of the Waters". Visit the little town of Avoca, made famous by the TV series "Ballykissangle". You'll also find Avoca Handweavers here, which claims to have Ireland's oldest working woollen mill!

Other must see attractions in County Wicklow include Powerscourt Waterfall and Gardens, Blessington Lake, Wicklow National Park, Mount Usher Gardens and the Arklow Maritime Museum.

County Wicklow sets the perfect backdrop for a whole range of outdoor activities like horseriding, golfing, fishing, cycling, water sports and lots of walking opportunities like the popular Wicklow Way - a beautiful walking trail through the Wicklow hills and countryside.

Towns In County Wicklow
The towns of Bray, Greystones and Arklow on the coastline are major seaside resorts. Other popular towns in Wicklow include Blessington, Enniskerry, Baltinglass and Wicklow town.

How To Get To County Wicklow
If you arrive in Dublin Airport and hire a car it's about a 1 hour journey from Dublin city to Glendalough in the heart of County Wicklow. Just follow the N11 out of Dublin city to get to County Wicklow, then take the R755-R756-R757 to get to Glendalough.

You can also get a bus connection or a train from Dublin's Connolly Station and be in Wicklow town in just 1 hour.

Glendalough is about a 1 and a half hour drive from Rosslare Ferryport in County Wexford.

Featured Attraction - Glendalough

Not only is Glendalough home to one of Ireland's top attractions, it's also a place of astounding natural beauty. After you've explore the monastic remains including the round tower, the cathedral, the Priest's House, St. Kevin's Church, St. Kevin's Cell and St. Kevin's Bed, take a pleasant walk along one of two beautiful nature trails.

About County Wexford,Ireland

Picture of Wexford County

About County Wexford
County Wexford is located on the south east corner of Ireland. The south east is known as the "sunny south east" as it enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other part of Ireland, making County Wexford the ideal holiday destination. It has so much to offer with blue flag beaches, pretty seaside towns, a beautiful landscape in which to enjoy outdoor activities and a wealth of historical attractions.

Wexford is also known as the "Model County" and the name Wexford derives from 'Waesfjord' which is Norse for 'inlet of mud-flats'. This is a county steeped in a long and eventful history. It was here that the Normans first landed when they invaded Ireland in 1169 and Wexford was also one of the main counties that took part in the 1798 Rebellion.

What To See And Do
It is a county rich in history and heritage with major attractions like Duncannon Fort, Johnstown Castle and Gardens, Enniscorthy Castle, Dunbrody Abbey, Dunbrody Heritage Ship, Westgate Heritage Tower and Tacumshane Windmill.

Other places of interest to visit include The Wexford Opera House, John F. Kennedy Arboretum, Wexford Wildlife Reserve, Kilmore Quay Maritime Museum, the Irish Agricultural Museum and the Berkeley Costume and Toy Museum.

With the Atlantic Ocean on its south coast and the Irish Sea on its east coast, County Wexford has lots of busy harbours, coastal inlets, delightful fishing creeks and of course, lots of safe sandy beaches like Courtown, Duncannon, Rosslare and Curracloe. Curracloe beach was in fact used in the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan!

Whatever your interests are, you're sure to find plenty to do during your visit to County Wexford. In the unspoilt countryside you'll find challenging golf courses, excellent fishing outlets, walking paths, trails and scenic driving routes. You can also explore the countryside by horseback or head to the coast and enjoy some exhilarating water sports.

Towns In County Wexford
Courtown and Rosslare are two of Ireland's best loved seaside destinations and as well as safe sandy beaches both have lots of attractions and amenities to cater for all the family. Bunclody is a great destination if you want to take in some outdoor activities as it's situated at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains on the River Slaney. Wexford town and Enniscorthy boasts some astounding historical attractions while the little picturesque town of Kilmore Quay is a charming spot with whitewashed thatched cottages lining the street. From Kilmore Quay you can visit the Saltee Islands - one of the biggest bird sanctuaries in Ireland!

How To Get To County Wexford
County Wexford is home to Rosslare Ferry Port, which is served by two main ferry companies Irish Ferries and Stena Line, so if you're travelling from England or France you can get a ferry from Pembroke, Cherbourg or Roscoff.

The nearest airport is in the neighbouring county of Waterford . Aer Arann flies into this airport from London Luton, Manchester and Lorient. If you fly into Cork Airport you can hire a car and take the scenic coastal drive to Wexford. This journey takes approximately 2 and a half hours.

County Wexford also has excellent bus and train connections. If you arrive in Dublin city or Dublin Airport you can get a train directly from Connolly Station to Wexford town in just over 2 and a half hours!

Featured Attraction - Duncannon Fort

It is said that this star shaped fort was built back in 1588 as a precaution against a feared attrack from the Spanish Armada. Take a tour and admire this superb attraction, which features a maritime museum, an arts centre, a café and a craft shop.

Westmeath is a county of remarkable beauty and diversity

Picture of Westmeath County

Westmeath is a county of remarkable beauty and diversity.

Situated in the heart of Ireland, it stretches from the Shannon's Lough Ree in the West to the shores of Lough Sheelin in the North East and to Kinnegad and the Royal Canal in the South. It has an area of 710 square miles and a population of 62,000.

The county boasts one of Ireland's largest castles. Tullynally Castle, located in Castle Pollard and dating from the 17th century, is a huge structure adorned with numerous turrets and battlements.

The county's lakes are one of its greatest assets with fishing, cruising, and watersports readily available. There is a wealth of trout and coarse angling on lakes Ennell, Owel, Derravaragh, Lene, Ree and the River Shannon.

Lough Derravaragh is forever associated with the legend of the Children of Lir who are said to have spent 300 years in isolation on its waters.

About County Waterford,Ireland

County Waterford is located on the south coast of Ireland in the province of Munster. It's

renowned far and wide for not only its world famous crystal, but also its beautiful scenery,

its dramatic coastline and its vibrant city.

Some of the top attractions to visit while holidaying in County Waterford include Lismore

Castle & Gardens, Ardmore Church & Round Tower and Curraghmore House & Gardens. golfing and

horse riding. You can also enjoy some fishing on the River Suir or the River Blackwater or

hiking on the Comeragh or Knockmealdown Mountains.

Waterford City
A visit to Waterford city is a must! It's the oldest city in Ireland so it's full of

character and charm. Take the time to stroll around this small, friendly city - it's got

lots of narrow cobbled streets filled with excellent shops, gourmet restaurants and lively

traditional Irish pubs. Waterford is also home to one of Ireland's finest third level

educational institutions, Waterford Institute of Technology.

It was the Vikings who first established a settlement here sometime in the early 10th

century and they named it 'Vadrafjord'. Later in the 16th and 17th centuries Waterford

prospered as a European Port and it became the unofficial capital of Ireland for a while.

Reginald's Tower - which is claimed to be the oldest civic building in Ireland! Also see

Waterford Church and Tower, Waterford Treasures at the Granary, and of course, no visit to

Waterford city is complete without a visit to the home of the world famous crystal -

Waterford Crystal.

If you're thinking of visiting Waterford, why not make your trip coincide with one of the

top arts festivals in the south west - the Spraoi Festival which takes place each August

Bank holiday weekend.

Tramore is one of Ireland's most popular holiday resorts with its 5km golden sandy beach.

It's just about 13km from Waterford city so it's definitely worth a visit especially during

the Summer months when the town is lively. It's an exciting family resort with lots of

amusement arcades, fun fairs, a championship 18 hole golf course, an indoor water theme park

and lots more.

Dunmore East
Dunmore East is a picturesque little fishing port located at the mouth of Waterford Harbour.

It's a popular destination for water sports and sea angling.

Other Towns...
Dungarvan, Lismore, Ardmore and Cappoquin.

How To Get To Waterford;
Aer Arann operates flights between here and Manchester, Birmingham, Lorient and London

Luton. If you arrive in Cork Airport you can hire a car and be in Waterford city in 1 and a

half hours. From Dublin city it's just about a 2 and a half hour drive to Waterford city.

You can also get a bus from anywhere in Ireland or you can get a train from Dublin's Heuston

Station and arrive at Plunkett Station in Waterford city in about 2 and a half hours.

Tyrone is a county of forests,Ireland

Tyrone is a county of forests, mountains and rich historic heritage.

The Ulster-American Folk Park tells the story of Northern Ireland's unique contribution to the New World.

For a change of pace and perhaps a spot of shopping, visit the busy towns of Omagh, Dungannon and Cookstown.

Autumn is the perfect time to drive through the Sperrin mountains - stopping off for afternoon tea at An Cregan Visitor Centre.

About County Tipperary,Ireland

County Tipperary, also referred to as the 'Premier County' is the largest inland county in Ireland and is located in the province of Munster in the south west of Ireland. Due to the county's size it is divided into North Tipperary and South Tipperary.

Central Tipperary is occupied by the 'Golden Vale' one of the most fertile stretches of land in the country with an undulating landscape of green pastures, woodlands and mountains. To the north of Tipperary lies Lough Derg the second largest lake in Ireland and widely regarded as Ireland's 'Pleasure Lake' due to the amount of water activities to be enjoy here. The Glen of Aherlow is another area of outstanding natural beauty. This lush valley can be found between the Slievemamuck and the Galtee Mountains - the highest inland mountain range in Ireland.

About County Tipperary,Ireland

County Tipperary, also referred to as the 'Premier County' is the largest inland county in Ireland and is located in the province of Munster in the south west of Ireland. Due to the county's size it is divided into North Tipperary and South Tipperary.

Central Tipperary is occupied by the 'Golden Vale' one of the most fertile stretches of land in the country with an undulating landscape of green pastures, woodlands and mountains. To the north of Tipperary lies Lough Derg the second largest lake in Ireland and widely regarded as Ireland's 'Pleasure Lake' due to the amount of water activities to be enjoy here. The Glen of Aherlow is another area of outstanding natural beauty. This lush valley can be found between the Slievemamuck and the Galtee Mountains - the highest inland mountain range in Ireland.

County Sligo,Ireland

County Sligo's beautiful scenery inspired many of the great writings of W.B. Yeats. This will come as no surprise to the visitor when experiencing the county's fine mountains, lakes and beaches.

In Celtic mythology, Sligo was the power base of the warrior Queen Maeve of Connaught and the county's legacy of prehistoric sites indicate that the area was heavily populated in Celtic times.

Sligo town, the busy thriving capital of the North West, is rich in culture and history with a heritage going back 6,000 years.

The Ox Mountains in the west of the county form a background to the coastal plain, while north of Sligo town, the landscape is dominated by steep sided and flat topped limestone hills. The loaf-shaped Benbulben is Sligo's most famous mountain.

There are some excellent beaches at Strandhill, Mullaghmore, Rosses Point and Enniscrone.

Indoor and outdoor activities are well catered for in the area. Traditional Irish music is widely played locally, especially around Tubbercurry and Ballymote.

Sligo is also home to Sligo institute of Technology, one of Ireland's most successful third level educational institutions.


Roscommon is a county of fertile farmland, extensive bogs and lakes.

The Great Famine of 1845-8 had a devastating effect here. Many died and more emigrated when the potato blight destroyed the county's main food crop. The famine museum at Strokestown Park House gives a unique insight into the lives of the Irish people who battled against hunger and want.

One of Ireland's principal lakeside parks, Lough Key Forest Park, is located five miles east of the town of Boyle. Over 840 acres in size, it offers nature walks, ring forts, monuments, cruising, fishing, a bog-garden, an old ice-house, picnic grounds, and a fully-serviced caravan and camping park. Deer wander freely through the park.

Clonalis House, a victorian manor outside of Castlerea, is the ancestral home of the O'Conors, the last High Kings of Ireland and Kings of Connaught. This old Gaelic family can trace its heritage back 1500 years and the ruins of their gabled 17th century home are visible in the grounds.

Monaghan is a county of lakes,Ireland

Monaghan is a county of lakes, gentle hills, farmhouses and market towns. Scenic, peaceful and relaxing, it is the perfect destination for the serious angler, casual golfer, and keen walker or cyclist.

A county of great cultural and artistic wealth, Monaghan boasts several bronze age megalithic sites and pre-historic remains.

The celebrated Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh was a native of the village of Inniskeen. Kavanagh drew a good deal of his inspiration from the Monaghan countryside. Inniskeen now houses an information centre on his life and work.

The famous lace-making towns of Carrickmacross and Clones are renowned for their traditional crafts.

Other attractions in the county include Monaghan County Museum, Lough Muckno and the leisure park at Castleblaney. Visitors to Monaghan will be pleasantly surprised at the diverse range of activities and entertainment on offer in this beautiful area.

Boyne Valley in County Meath,Ireland

The fertile Boyne Valley in County Meath first attracted settlers during the Stone Age. Remains of this ancient civilisation are plentiful in the area and include Newgrange, the finest Neolithic tomb in Ireland.

In Celtic times, the hill of Tara became the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and was the Celts' spiritual and political capital. Tara retained its importance up until the Norman invasion in the 1100s.

Meath's rich soil has sustained hunters and farmers from ancient times up to the present day and has permitted artisans and craftsmen to create complex structures such as Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth and the passage graves of Lough Crew.

The breathtaking beauty of the Boyne Valley still retains its capacity to attract visitors today just as it attracted the Celts and Normans centuries ago.

Apart from historical sites and beautiful views, the Royal County, as Meath is known, boasts a wide range of activities. Angling, shooting and horseriding are all readily available. Cycling is an ideal way to explore the treasures of this county.

County Mayo,Ireland

Picture of Mayo County

County Mayo is the third largest county in Ireland and one of its best kept secrets. Its formidable landscape is made up of rugged mountains, sandy beaches and a breathtaking coastline.

Europe's largest Stone Age land enclosure, the Ceide Fields, is located along a bleak, dramatic stretch of north Mayo coastline. Megalithic tombs and dwellings discovered in the enclosure date back 5000 years. There is an excellent museum on the site.

Other must-see places in Mayo include Achill Island, Croagh Patrick, Knock and the town of Westport.

Achill is Ireland's largest island and is linked to the mainland by bridge. It boasts spectacular scenery and the island's breathtaking Keem Bay has fine safe beaches as well as being home to harmless sharks.

Saint Patrick, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, once fasted on Croagh Patrick for forty days and nights. Thousands of pilgrims retrace his steps each year on the last Sunday in July, climbing the holy mountain while fasting. An apparition of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint John appeared to a group of local people in Knock in 1879. Since then, people have visited the site in droves.

Pope John Paul II visited Knock in 1979, making it the focal point of his trip to Ireland.

Westport is an attractive, lively town - full of good pubs hosting excellent traditional Irish music. The town was designed by architect James Wyatt in the 1770s and features many wide, tree-lined streets.


Louth is the smallest county in Ireland, covering an area of only 317 square miles. Stretching northwards from the River Boyne to Carlingford Lough, it consists mainly of fertile undulating countryside alongside a coastline of wide sandy bays and occasional rocky headlands.

The territory now known as County Louth figures prominently in the epic tales of ancient Ireland. Sights to see include Monasterboice and Mellifont Abbey.

Monasterboice was founded in the 5th century by St. Buite - a disciple of St. Patrick. It is one of the most famous religious sites in the country. The ruins of the medieval monastery are enclosed within a graveyard in a secluded spot north of Drogheda. The site includes a roofless round tower and two churches.

Monasterboice's greatest attractions, however, are its 10th century High Crosses. High Crosses are distinctive ringed crosses that have become a symbol of Irish Christianity. Mellifont Abbey lies 6 miles west of Drogheda. Founded in 1142 on the orders of St Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, it was the first Cistercian monastery to be built in Ireland.

County Longford,Ireland

Picture of Longford County

County Longford, the third smallest county in Ireland, lies in the Shannon basin and the upper catchment of the Erne. The county town of Longford is the progressive administrative centre of the county.

Sights to see include the heritage village of Ardagh, which was built in the 1860s to a Swiss design, and the recently discovered Old Bog Road, an Iron Age trackway of large oak planks in a bog at Corlea.

The true beauty of Longford lies in its quiet countryside of farmlands, bog, the occasional low hill and its pleasant views. An ideal spot for a get-away-from-it-all relaxing break.

County Limerick,Ireland

King Johns Castle - County Limerick

County Limerick boasts a vibrant bustling city and a charming rural environment.

Limerick city has an interesting, colourful history and its castles, ancient walls and museums bear witness to this. Limerick's City Charter is older than that of London's and in 1997 the city celebrated the 800th anniversary of its signing.

The city has undergone a facelift in recent years and is now an excellent centre for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Limerick is also considered the sporting capital of Ireland because of its passionate devotion to rugby and its excellent sports facilities.

The surrounding countryside is dotted with picturesque towns and villages like Castleconnell on the banks of the Shannon and Adare with its old world thatched cottages and medieval churches. The city also has a large student population and is home to the University of Limerick.

Activities like horse-riding, golf, game and coarse angling are readily available.

Leitrim, Ireland

With just two miles of coastline, Leitrim is a mainly inland county of rolling hills, lakes, rivers, pastures and boglands.

River cruising is one of the most popular activities in the area with Carrick-on-Shannon one of the best developed centres on the River Shannon for hiring cruising boats.

The county boasts numerous activities. You can go horse-riding, explore the River Shannon by boat, sail dinghies, play golf at one of the well-kept uncrowded courses, or go fishing.

Wherever you are in Leitrim, you are sure to be kept busy!

County Laois, Ireland

Set in the midst of the midlands of Ireland, County Laois offers the visitor a myriad of places to visit and things to do.

The Rock of Dunamase, one of the finest celtic fortifications in Ireland, looms dramatically above the plains east of Portlaoise. Originally crowned by an Iron Age ring fort, the 13th century castle which succeeded it is now more recognizable- although it was nearly destroyed by Cromwellian forces in 1650.

Make sure to visit the towns and villages associated with the Quakers and Huguenots and the waterfalls and valleys of the Slieve Bloom mountains.

The county boasts several gardens of note as well as angling, golf and equestrian facilities for every level.

There are also numerous places to stay, places to eat and pubs in which to experience traditional Irish music.