New Zealand

Souvenir Sunday: coloring for adults

What can you do to entertain yourself on a long flight to say, New Zealand?

Watching movies will fill a few hours. So will sleeping, eating and reading a book. But then what will you do?

Tourism New Zealand suggests you pack your colored pencils in your carry-on and spend some time coloring.

new zealand cove coloring

Kids do it all the time, but now that coloring has become the latest stress-reducing, mindfulness-inducing trend for adults, Tourism New Zealand is sharing some lovely line-drawings by New Zealand artist Gabby Malpas to get your started – and get you in the mood for a New Zealand adventure.

There are four free images that can be downloaded here, but to get you started, here’s the Hobbiton (of course) coloring page

new zealand hobbit coloring

Tidbits for travelers: win free travel, get guides to airports

First a couple of contests you might want to enter. The prizes include all-expenses-paid trips.

To celebrate the release of Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 3, Aflac is giving away a trip to Hollywood and a tour of Walt Disney Studios – for four people.

Prize includes: airfare, three nights in a hotel, a special Disney tour, a private screening of your favorite Pixar movie (which one would you pick?), and $500 cash.

Enter the Quacktastic vacation giveaway here.

(Auckland, New Zealand  airport welcomes travelers with this!)

The Great Kiwi Adventure contest has as its prize a trip for four to New Zealand.

Prize includes plane fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand and a seven-night trip in the Bay of Plenty.

(Photo courtesy Daniel Incandela)

And, take a look at the growing list of airport profiles I’ve been working on for  The note at the top still says “the 25 busiest airports” – but the list is growing and will soon include short guides to 50 airports.  There’s a spot in each guide to add your comments and tips as well. Here’s a link to the USA TODAY Airport Guides.

Connection conundrum: SFO or LAX?

If you’re traveling to or from New Zealand or Australia, you’ll have a make a connection in California at either LAX or SFO.

San Francisco would like you to make your connection through San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and has kicked off the “I Wanna Go Through SFO” campaign to urge folks to consciously make the choice to connect through SFO rather than LAX. The campaign includes this sort of cute video, which includes cameos by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the iconic SF Twins and lines like “…there’s the bad airport and then there’s San Franscisco International Airport.”

OK, LA. Let’s see what’s you’ve got!

Meeting Aviation Pioneer Jean Batten in Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua  - blue gree statue

Earlier this week, my short flight from New Zealand’s Rotorua Regional Airport to Auckland was canceled, so I ended up stuck at that tiny airport for a while. Good thing.  The delay gave me a chance to look around.  In addition to finding more than a half-dozen giant statues, I was able to learn a bit about Jean Gardner Batten, a famous New Zealand aviatrix from the 1930’s who was born in Rotorua in 1909 and made a number of record-breaking solo flights across the world,  including the first direct flight from England to New Zealand

Rotorua - jane batten

( Photo: Jean Batten at Rongotai Airport, Wellington, circa 1930s, Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library).
Unfortunately, when Batten stopped flying she disappeared from public view and later became a reclusive. She died in November 1982 in Palma, Majorca after refusing treatment for a dog bite that had turned septic. She was buried anonymously in a mass grave and for five years, no one even knew she had died.

Later, it was discovered that Batten wanted to have her ashes interred at Auckland International Airport and today, that airport’s international terminal is named in her honor.   I’m going to poke around and see if I can find the spot where they’ve put her ashes.

Rotorua - Jean Batten statue

Jean Batten exhibit at Rotorua Regional Airport