Where to go for your Mid-winter Break

Regular holidays are very, very important,” according to Dr Antony Vriens, the senior medical officer and business development manager with SalusHealth, an Auckland-based facility focusing on preventive healthcare. He recommends busy executives make one day week totally work-free zone and take three-day weekend every month. Individuals should only work “full-on” for maximum period of 10 to 11 weeks (including one-and-a-half day weekend each week) before taking few days’ break.
It’s often in these relaxing times away from work you get your very best business ideas, says Auckland business psychologist and coach Jasbindar Singh, of SQ Consulting. “You can be walking along beach when creativity strikes.”
She is great believer in maintaining balance and says this particularly applies to the many New Zealanders who are self-employed. “Most have real issue around time and balance. They need time out to work on the company and not just in it.” Singh suggests executives should take regular breaks from work to take “helicopter view” of their lives.
In world that has been totally changed by the events of September 11, where do executives in need of rest go? report available from Statistics New Zealand for March 2002 revealed the first monthly increase in the number of New Zealanders travelling on short-term overseas trips since September. There was an increase in departures to Australia, Fiji, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Aussie Rules
We’re rivals in sports, but New Zealanders cross the Tasman in droves for their holidays, with some very different and exciting destinations now available. Check out the Australian Tourist Commission’s website www.australia.com.
At Australia’s newest island resort, Couran Cove Island Resort, (just off the Gold Coast at South Stradbroke Island) you can be totally relaxed or very adventurous with kayaking, basketball, rock-climbing or parasailing on offer. In keeping with the spirit of 2002 (the United Nations’ International Year of Ecotourism), the resort, which covers rainforest, surf beach and bush land, has been accredited as genuine ecotourism product.
You can combine golfing at one of the luxurious new Mornington Peninsula resorts with some shopping and drop of culture in Melbourne just an hour’s drive away. Or if you want holiday with real difference, you can take houseboat holiday in wonderful comfort and style along the picturesque Murray River. Unforgettable Houseboats (based in Adelaide) has won 15 tourism awards including the 2000 and 2001 Australian Tourism Award for “Unique Accommodation.”
Pacific Islands
On gloomy winter’s day in New Zealand, the prospect of basking in the sun on golden sands seems wonderfully alluring and the Pacific Islands are tantalisingly close, with some very good fares and holiday packages on offer.
Kiwi confidence in that perennially popular holiday destination, Fiji, has been completely restored following the political upheaval of 2000. Visitors’ numbers and bookings are healthy and the outlook is very optimistic with several new tourism projects planned.
“Fiji is not only popular with holiday-makers, but it has also returned to popularity with investors,” the director for the Fiji Visitors Bureau NZ, Penny Henderson, says.
The comprehensive selection of accommodation in Fiji will be improved in 2003 with the completion of the new Hilton on Denarau Island, which is joined to the mainland by causeway. Plans are also on the drawing board for the Natadola Project at Momi Bay, which will include number of golf courses and full upgrade of roads to the area.
Vanuatu is promoted with the slogan “another time, another pace” and it is safe place to visit with great beaches to loll/stroll on. For those who want activities during this winter escape, there are plenty available on the island, according to Craig Reid, of Vanuatu Tourism.
Scroll through the island’s calendar of events for 2002 on the Vanuatu Tourism website www.vanuatutourism.com for variety of interesting events – the Kiwanis Race Day, the Round Island Relay and Cross Country Triathlon are all scheduled for July. Or you could visit one of the 85 outer islands – Santo has the largest accessible shipwreck dive in the world.
Several new properties have recently opened in Vanuatu, including the Trade Winds and the new Chantillys on the waterfront of Port Vila. And for lovers of fine international cuisine, Richard Elliot, the New Zealand manager of Air Vanuatu, recommends the 26 “really good” restaurants of Port Vila for quality, variety and “Parnell, Auckland prices”.

Tahiti and her islands
The manager of Tahiti Tourisme, Lola Carter, says there has been major increase in the bookings from this country for Tahiti since November last year – particularly at the premium five-star end of the market. She believes this is reflection of post-September 11 market trend for Kiwis to travel “closer to home”.
“Many have obviously set money aside for trips to the States and Europe, but decided to use it in Tahiti – concentrating on the higher end of the market.”
Tahiti has 118 islands – all very different, some with beaches of black basalt and others with white coral sand, but all with the glorious colours of Gauguin painting. Many of the small atolls are becoming very popular for luxury holidays and new Pearl Resorts are to open over the next couple of months in Moorea and Taha’a. Both include romantic overwater suites and beach suites complete with private swimming pools.
In Tauamotu, the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort opened last July, while the first resort in the island of Fakarava, called Le Maitai Dream is due to open next month.
Another very romantic way to see these islands is by sailing ship operated by Windstar Cruises. The stately ships, which do regular seven-day trips, combine the elegance of bygone era with the very latest in equipment and fittings.
Exotic Asia
Many Kiwis love to travel in the exotic east and Thailand continues to be very popular holiday destination for Kiwis. More than 61,000 New Zealand residents visited there in 2001, the New Zealand representative for Thai Tourism, Tony Smith reports. It’s great place to explore the culture, enjoy local food, and shop or to sunbathe on secluded beach.
Krabi in Southern Thailand is being hailed as “the new Phuket”, and getting there is now lot easier – in May Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary Silk Air introduced direct flights from Singapore’s Changi Airport three times week.
Krabi is renowned for its magnificent scenery and is the area where the Leonardo Di Caprio film The Beach was filmed. With unspoiled pristine beaches and brilliant blue water, it is ideal for just “blobbing out” or for scuba diving and snorkelling. Krabi is also popular choice for “back-to-nature” activities like trekking and rock climbing with its lush tropical forests, waterfalls and striking rock formations. Holiday packages covering wide range of accommodation options are available along with an extensive range of restaurants offering local and European cuisine.
If you love reading and India, you will have enjoyed the 1997 Booker Prize winning novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. And now you can easily visit Kochi (earlier known as Cochin) in Southern India where this book was set. Located on the Arabian Sea, Kochi is the commercial capital of Kerala and you can now fly there directly from Singapore on Singapore Airlines’ regional subsidiary SilkAir.
The service was introduced in October last year and now includes four flights week. Holiday packages are available with wide range of accommodation options available.
There has been lot of interest in this new route to Kochi, according to Bridget Vercoe, marketing executive with Singapore Airlines, as this direct Singapore-Kochi service means passengers no longer have to transit through one of India’s large cities.

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