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Wedding registries

Giving gifts will never go out of vogue and wedding presents even more so. Traditionally, this came with horror clichés such as three-too-many toasters or a dubious art piece to look at every day until it “broke”!

A bridal or wedding registry is an easy-peasy, fabulously fun, win-win for everyone. It is still in line with excitement and sentiment, compared to asking for cash – which doesn’t vibe with many. This also helps out our local companies – by sending a little love their way.

This is the opportune time for lovebirds to explore dreamy Aotearoa while we momentarily have it to ourselves.

And setting up a wedding registry with the couple’s favourite local travel agent makes for domestic-travel bliss.

If hearts are however set upon faraway sandy shores, overseas travel can be booked for well after the wedding and there is no time limit to use the funds.

Honeymoons can often sit on the back burner after the expenses of a wedding.

So giving the gift of travel is a marriage made in heaven and one that everyone can pitch in for, no matter their budget.

Couples can opt to pre-book the honeymoon, or decide after the wedding once they have a budget to play with. Their guests can opt for their token to be anonymous or not.

The travel fund doesn’t have to be just for travelling either. The travel agent can organise the perfect inclusive romantic hotel wedding night, or two, without having to leave town.

Many a favourite local little suburban gift shop or larger department store will be happy to do up a wedding register, and they often have a convenient online system in place.

The couple can select any number of items they love, to suit all budgets for their guests and loved ones who are unable to be there.

Some independent and specialised on-line registries have also popped up too.

Offer guests a range of registry variety. Perhaps select a large online store and a smaller local giftshop, for example and ensure there is plenty of choice for not-too-pricy items.

It is nice too for the gift giver to buy a present they could easily have chosen anyway.

Any gift relating to coupledom can be set up as a registry, such as a cosy new log or gas fire for home renovators.

A sporty couple, for example, would treasure a gift for their common love of the outdoors, like a romantic luxury tent.

Just as it’s impolite to ask for birthday present, most choose not to include the registry on the wedding invitation, instead including a separate note, or mentioning it personally.

This makes it less mandatory and more of a suggestion. And there will be guests that prefer tradition, want to give money, or a special surprise.


Quest for Queenstown

With travel overseas being postponed or cancelled, it’s important to remember what we have in our own backyard. Just a few short hours away, Queenstown has always been an international tourism hub for New Zealand, but it might be high time we put on our tourist hats and explore what this southern spot has to offer. We’ve pulled together some year-round attractions that are worth checking out.



  1. TAKE A HIKE! Queenstown offers a range of walking tracks and trails for all levels of fitness. Whether you prefer a short local, day long or even a multi-day walking adventure, a guided hike or an independent walking trip, there is a Queenstown walking or hiking option for you.
  2. DON’T BE A LUGER: The benefits of Queenstown being a tourist-centric location is that you’ll often find more than one attraction together. The Skyline Queenstown luge is conveniently placed at the top of the gondola. So, you can get gondola and luge packages!
  3. ALL THE EATS: With more than 150 bars and restaurants, the food scene is always buzzing in Queenstown. Whether it be new craft beer bars, cafes or restaurants popping up, food tours, or inventive new dishes, there’s always something new, creative and exciting to try.
  4. ICE, ICE BABY: Something that was worth highlighting was the fact that Queenstown has not one, but two ice bars. Yes.. that is bars entirely made from ice – from the seats right down to the glasses.
  5. BOTTOMS UP! Queenstown is brimming with craft beer bars and breweries. Why not jump on a local craft beer tour? If wine is your thing, the wineries in Queenstown and nearby Gibbston, the ‘Valley of Vines’, have a reputation for producing some of the world’s best pinot noir and you can find your favourite vintage taking in local cellar doors and restaurants. Even cocktail lovers can get their fill, with inventive and unique cocktails available at most restaurants and bars.
  6. GET ON YOUR BIKE: Cycling tours and mountain biking trails in Queenstown are a great way to explore and discover remote parts of this beautiful region! The Queenstown Trail has more than 130kms of off-road trails taking you from Queenstown to Gibbston via historic Arrowtown. Cross-country, trail riding, heli, downhill… whatever your cycling or mountain biking style, Queenstown’s got the terrain, rental and guides to suit everyone’s kind of ride.
  7. GET UP THE GONDOLA: Providing panoramic views of Queenstown, there’s only one way to really see the infamous resort town – from above!


Let’s talk travel

We talk travel with House of Travel Ferrymead owners Mel Hubber and Kim Beswick, in the first of an ongoing column.

You are both working mums, tell us more about your families?
Kim: My partner Tony & I have a gorgeous three-year-old son, Theo, who seems to be in charge at our place as well as my partner’s 21-year-old son. It’s a busy, happy house.

Mel: I am a stepmum to a wonderful 18-year-old, Olivia who we have just helped relocate into the halls at Auckland University for her first year of a business degree. My husband and I have now found ourselves as empty-nesters.

Where was your most memorable holiday and why?
Kim: Such a hard question! Borneo was a wonderful holiday for us, amazing wildlife and scenery. Also, Theo’s first trip when he was a baby and we stayed in a villa in Provence.

Mel: Egypt because I had always dreamed of seeing the pyramids and the Sphinx since I was young. Plus I went there on my own (and joined a group trip) which was scary but exhilarating at the same time.

What destination is on your wish list for 2020?
Kim: This year we are planning to go to London, Barcelona and Dubai for the World Expo in October and a quick trip soon to Auckland to see Book of Mormon.

Mel: Tahiti is just such an idyllic destination quite close to home and no shopping temptations as I just can’t help myself.


David Williams: The Influencers

In a day and age where everything happens at lightning speed, there are still times when it pays to take your time – planning a holiday is one of them.


Managing Director House of Travel Christchurch City

While the internet is packed with DIY travel agencies that can see you booking a holiday with a few clicks of the finger, this is one area where faster isn’t necessarily better and there are plenty of benefits to booking through a professional travel agency.

Firstly, an agency isn’t necessarily more expensive! With long-standing relationships with airlines and suppliers, House of Travel consultants can provide great deals to locations all over the world. In addition to competitive pricing, they’re privy to many websites the public can’t access.

This also enables them to create the trip of your dreams – after all, holidays are about so much more than flights and hotels! They can create bespoke holidays with every client’s tastes, preferences and visions in mind. Once you’ve decided on where and when, they’ll also make sure everything is easy. They can book rental cars, day trips, tours, and even sort the right travel insurance to suit you and your budget.

A big part of the fun of planning a holiday is looking through the incredible options available, but it can also get a little overwhelming. House of Travel consultants are trained across all aspects of the industry and, because they’re world travellers themselves, they can provide you with local knowledge and secret spots to help make your trip the experience of a lifetime.

Great holidays made better together.





The recipe for family adventure: House of Travel Christchurch City

House of Travel Christchurch City is all for embracing the family dynamic and recognising that travel is a powerful educational tool. Travel has never been so affordable, nor have they been able to offer such a vast range of holiday options that cater for all.



Whether it’s a cruise, flop and drop, or an adventure holiday you’re after, House of Travel Christchurch City really does have the experts instore to ensure you get an amazing holiday experience that every member of the family can enjoy.

House of Travel’s Top Consultant for 2018, Belinda Fifield says one of the key tips to achieve your dream family holiday is to plan your trip well in advance. This not only ensures you can take advantage of the best deals, but also that you secure the best possible options for your family’s needs… this is the recipe for an amazing family holiday!

If you want to travel during school holidays, you need to start talking to House of Travel consultants at least 11 months out. This then assists them in getting every request catered for, from interconnecting rooms to securing your preferred cruise and cabins.

Cruises are very popular with families as they offer so many facilities on board that ensure every member of the family gets their own unique experience. Many multi-generational families who travel for a celebration are going for the cruise option, as every member of the family, from infants to grandparents, are catered for.

The bonus of a cruise holiday is you only have to unpack once, enabling you and your family to make the most of each day. The House of Travel Christchurch City team are experts at providing the right experience for their clients. General Manager Megan McCall says, “We pride ourselves on using our knowledge and ability to think outside of the box to create unique holiday experiences for our clients.

“There are a lot of family friendly tours that you can do which offer the whole family an adventure, mixing with like-minded families and ensuring that it is at a pace that gives you free time to spend at the pool or just having some time-out. Vietnam is especially popular with families. We’ve had amazing feedback from clients, with some rebooking for the following year for another family tour as soon as they return.”

It really doesn’t matter what experience you are after, or what your family dynamic is, you just need to come and visit the travel experts at House of Travel Christchurch City and they will work with you to create your own unique journey.
“We want clients to bring us their bucket list – their trip to cherish – and we’ll work with them to achieve their dream,” Megan says, “That’s why our motto is ‘Better Together’, because it is!”

For more information, visit House of Travel at 122 Victoria Street, phone 03 365 7687, email or visit


House of Travel Christchurch City – Belinda Fifield



Where travel dreams lie: House of Travel Ferrymead

Anticipating a longed-for adventure should be a significant part of the joy of travel. So committed to this concept are Mel Hubber (nee Lowen) and Kim Beswick, co-owners and consultants of House of Travel Ferrymead, that they have redesigned the store around their clients’ comfort and relaxation.



“We have come up with a layout that is interactive, relaxed and private,” Mel says. “We found traditional set-ups could be intimidating – rows of desks and wondering which one to pitch up to, particularly if you are in the early stages of realising your dream and just have questions or would like to pick up a brochure,” Kim says.

A relaxed ambience fills the store: a living wall, natural oil diffuser and coffee made from compostable pods help clients to leave the world behind and start thinking holidays. Conversations about travel dreams happen at café-style tables over coffee. “We have moved on from transactional conversations over the top of a PC. We distil the details to create the exact trip that their heart desires. We find clients open up more in this environment,” Mel says.

“We nurture the relationship with the client, discuss what inspires them and where their travel dreams lie,” Kim adds. The seven consultants are experienced travellers, committed to the life-enhancing role of travel.

Their central tenet of duty of care is prized by clients. “We take great pride that we will personally answer the emergency phone number and do whatever it takes on a 24/7 basis.” All this, plus ample free parking at the door.


Make some Mediterranean memories: House of Travel

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller,” said Ibn Battuta, and House of Travel Christchurch City’s ‘The Mediterranean: An Escorted Journey’ will not only give you the stories to tell, but the memories of a lifetime.



Hosted by Stuart Latimer and James Blankley, you receive as much or as little guidance and company as you require throughout this amazing journey, whilst receiving the security and expertise of travel industry professionals. Stuart and James are specialists in hosting luxury, small escorted tours to Europe and incorporating a Mediterranean cruise into each trip. This spring, Stuart and James are thrilled to present their superior quality expedition around this historic and beautiful part of the world.

Ensuring tour groups are made up of like-minded people with similar values and interests, Stuart and James guarantee the journey offers great friendship, fabulous amenities and unique experiences. From 26 October – 20 November 2019, the tour takes you around the stunning sights of Southern France, Italy and Malta, with airfares, accommodation and touring all included for $25,495 per person share twin.

The adventure begins by flying from Auckland via Dubai to Nice, France, where you will travel across the border with Italy for a walking food tour through the narrow streets of San Remo. From there, a short trip to Monte Carlo takes you to your gorgeous luxury cruise ship, the Seabourne Ovation. The cabin of your choice is your luxury home for the next seven days, while you delight in the sights of fabulous Marseille, glamourous St Tropez, Bastia in Corsica with its ancient Genoese Citadel, Civitavecchia the port of Rome, Naples where you will explore Mt Vesuvius and experience the scenic Amalfi Coast, the significant early port of Messina in Sicily and UNESCO World Heritage City – Valletta in Malta.

Transferring to Valletta airport, you will fly to Milan where you can choose to tour its historic centre visiting da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘The Last Supper’, or take the day excursion to Lake Como. After a full day at leisure in Milan, you’ll enjoy dinner as guests of the owner of a Milanese mansion, with a viewing of his art collection.

From Milan you will travel by coach to Tuscany where you will stay in the Medieval stone village of Borgo San Felice, now converted to a hotel and wine resort. The next day you will tour the vineyard, and enjoy a wine and olive oil tasting. For the following two days you will explore Tuscany, visiting Siena, San Gimignano, Pienza and Montalcino before transferring to Rome for a guided visit to St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, or alternatively the Palazzo Colonna and the Borghese Gallery before your return to Auckland via Dubai.


Stuart Latimer & James Blankley



Melbourne’s calling

Urban therapy: Melbourne’s calling

It’s the holiday time of year. Liesl Johnstone looks at why Melbourne is hot property for your travel itinerary.


Melbourne’s calling


Almost-summer is as good a time as any for some Aussie urbanity; some Melbourne time. Wake up here, and things could definitely be worse. Straight from New Zealand, there are a couple of extra hours before the alarm, for starters.

It’s becoming a repeatable luxury that I would highly recommend…. to station myself in the midst of a bustling city a few levels up off the street (for views and interest, allowing reasonable airspace from traffic sirens) to observe life, think, walk, read, eat and drink, then sleep and repeat. Did I mention the shopping?

As someone whose cultural norm was unfailingly to ‘get away from it all’ beside the sea or into the mountains whenever possible, city breaks are a new burst of neon. Occasionally there’s something strangely comforting about being in the midst of a large bustling population. Ditto, to walk down the street at night surrounded by teeming humanity; many pedestrians; copious night-cyclists.

Parts of Melbourne’s CBD (and Sydney’s) are not dissimilar to Paris, or any city of millions. The trees and old architecture lend beauty and respectability; the street art and talented (auditioned) buskers


Melbourne’s calling


proffer whimsy and edginess. Trams are yet another reason to love it here, giving so many such ease of access; a domino to the city’s vibrancy.The State Library of Victoria seems enough proof that Melbourne has a silken lining of learning, heritage and high culture. It’s beautiful architecturally; the fourth most popular library in the world, according to the city’s official visitor guide. The La Trobe Reading Room has that hushed, grandiose feel you get from a mix of history, the patina of quality timber, big airspace and gracious balconies.

Melbourne is a true melting-pot culture and notably one with incredible menus, globally sourced. I conducted a proper scientific straw poll, questioning two local dedicated gastronomic consumers on their favoured city establishments. Checking these out online showed a plethora of Trip-Advisor back-up and hearty recommendations. In a city this size, that equals booking weeks ahead.

If a weekend ‘Spice Journey’ appeals, try booking at Maha, which bills itself as an ‘unrestricted Middle Eastern’ eatery. Duck-fat hummus, preserved lemon, charred chicken kefta, Persian cherries, smoked almonds… plus a truly global range of craft beers and inventive, other-worldly cocktails.


Melbourne’s calling


Other well-patronised, gloriously centrally-located eateries included Sezar, an Armenian establishment with a geographically extensive wine-list; Tonka, with its ‘clean, punchy flavours’ of modern India, and Taxi Kitchen with its fabulously brash marketing (announcing unequivocally that you’ve arrived) and its inventive Aussie-Asian-fusion menu. The latter is perfect for savouring local fish, meat and a flavour-kaleidoscope of dumplings.

Other favourite haunts include the Peruvian Pastuso, (particularly noteworthy for its fab spirits menu, drawn from all over the globe), and the South-East-Asian Red Spice Road with artfully presented fresh fare and mind-blowing taste hits.

The conclusion? Any cuisine in the world can be found here, lovingly crafted; likewise any fashion. Alternatively, sit riverside on the South-Wharf boardwalk and do nothing. There’s no compunction to consume. Being somewhere different and just thinking is a re-boot too.



Wet Feet Dry Feet Travel

One of a kind travel: Wet Feet Dry Feet Travel

Wet Feet Dry Feet Travel is a bespoke travel planning and design service focused on providing personalised travel experiences.


Wet Feet Dry Feet Travel
Ricci Harbuck


The company engages with clients from the inspiration stage through to travel completion to design truly one of a kind travel. Recognising the trend of travellers becoming more involved in booking their own travel, Wet Feet Dry Feet Travel partners with clients to plan and design travel experiences that reflect their travel dreams instead of offering one-sized fits all packages.

Drop-off and pick-up service between home and the airport is included for all itineraries. Complimentary travel concierge service is available 24/7 and allows for real time assistance for itinerary changes and booking of tours and activites..
The company also translates this concept into its corporate offerings by assisting both employers/employees with incorporating personal travel into their business itineraries through its Briefcase2Backpack programme.


Call and speak with Ricci, your Dry Feet Travel expert today! Visit



Style Notes: HOLIDAY S.O.S

Headed off on a much-needed winter break? Try these tips to help steer you towards a stress-free packing experience.

With Bridget Hope, Wardrobe Director for Magpie Style


      • Take one light suitcase

        Samsonite make the best ones. Weighing in around 2kg, you can get more in it without over-stepping the 23kg luggage limit of local airlines.

      • Ditch the white

        HOLIDAY S.O.S
        LUXURY CASHMERE CO Merino/cashmere scarf, $165

        White clothing is painfully limiting for travel. It can only be worn once and when you send it off for cleaning, the hotel or resort – yes, even 5 stars – will almost always return it looking grey.

      • Only pack enough outfits to force you to wear everything once

        Less is more when travelling. Less thinking, less decisions and less stuff. Work out how many outfits you have versus days. If you have fourteen looks for a seven-day holiday, halve this, then add three back in as evening options. This leaves ample options and ensures you wear everything.

      • Remove clothes that need an iron

        The sound of the ironing board opening is uncomfortable enough at home. On holiday, it feels like nails on a blackboard.

      • Pack 2-3 pairs of shoes max

        Shoes are weighty and cumbersome in the suitcase. Heels look silly in the islands. In the city, they become impractical when you are exploring your location. Reduce footwear options to a pair of dressy trainers, ballet flats or sandal and – if you must – a kitten heel for dinner.

      • Bring two carry bags – total

        This means one large (but light) tote you can that pack down flat into a suitcase for extra shopping. Ensure it has a zip across the top to keep everything inside. The second bag should be a small, flat canvas over the shoulder bag with multiple pockets to keep you hands-free on the move.

        Magpie Style
        PAULA RYAN Tote Bag, $140


      • Wear a neutral coloured scarf on the plane – wool or cashmere (not acrylic!)

        Grey or sand tones will style with everything and not look too wintry on arrival. A warm, but light, scarf is also a blessing if the temperature drops.

      • Have a dedicated wallet on hand to house valuables

        HOLIDAY S.O.S
        PAULA RYAN Large Travel Wallet, $95

        Losing valuables on holiday is no joke. Keep them safe in a dedicated travel wallet and lock it in the safe before heading out. This will save you from leaving things lying around your hotel to be forgotten or stolen. Taking jewellery? Opt for light pieces only.

      • Heading for the tropics?

        Take a small selection of easy-care kaftans you can wear day or night, but not so fussy they can’t stand exposure to sunscreen. Preferably in crease-free fabrics for easy washing and wear. “I’ll meet you by the pool, just as soon as I iron this kaftan” said no-one ever!

    • Leave wiggle room

      Leave wiggle room in your case for shoppingEven if you are travelling to a desert island, chances are you will find yourself raiding the spa of Pure Fiji products. So leave a little room to prevent that inevitable suitcase struggle on your final day.

      Magpie Style
      PAULA RYAN Pocket Shoulder Bag, $110

First published for Magpie Style