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nz_passportUs kiwis love to travel overseas.

Perhaps it’s due to our remoteness to the rest of the World, but whether we are travelling for a relaxing holiday, for work, to visit friends and family, or some other reason to take flight, each journey requires one important document – and today it has been announced that the NZ government and cabinet has approved a substantial increase in the New Zealand passport validity from 5 years to 10 years.

This is great news, considering the validity of a passport is 4.5 years for many countries which will not allow entry without six months remaining on a travellers passport, with some exceptions (eg. the United States).

There has been quite a movement calling for change to the validity of the New Zealand passport, with a petition started on change.org about 2 years ago, which gained over 17,500 supporters, and the petition was submitted to the government at the end of 2013.

After news in May 2014 that 10-year passports had been backed by a select committee, and announcements by John Key last month that 10-year passports would be coming in six months, it is great to finally see it come to fruition.

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and New Years break, hopefully with lots of good food, fun and laughter with friends and family – I know I did.

2015 will mark the second year that the site has been running, as a hobby site and a bit of a side project for me. There are a lot of exciting things to come this year and with all things going to plan especially in 2016, and although I cannot guarantee that I will be able to post more (even though I would like to) over the year, I will certainly do my best to try – It is always hard finding the time to write posts, even though I have more than enough content and things I would like to write about.

In any case, Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter and I are starting the year off with a long weekend road trip to one of our favourite destinations, the place where I was born and hometown, New Plymouth. We spend a couple of nights there before setting off to Taupo, an idyllic town by the lake where we spend a night there before heading back to Wellington.

Air New Zealand are no strangers to launching new, quirky and interesting updates to the otherwise typically drab inflight safety videos that are shown at the beginning of every flight, and their latest update released a few days ago is no exception.

Air New Zealand's new epic Hobbit safety video. Photo credit: Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand’s new epic Hobbit safety video. Photo credit: Air New Zealand

Titled, The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made, the new video was shot over 6 days over many of the Middle-Earth’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ film locations in New Zealand.

It is likely that this will probably be the last of a number of Hobbit themed safety videos, launched 1.5 months before the premiere of the final more in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy in Wellington. The new video replaces the current ‘Bear Grylls’ video which in turn replaced the short-lived “Safety in Paradise” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (50th Anniversary) video which some travellers complained of being ‘highly sexualised’.

The new video is currently the most popular and viewed to date, with over 16 million views since its release in the past week.

A number of cameos feature in the video, including: Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast). It also features cameos from The Hobbit Trilogy director Sir Peter Jackson, Weta Workshop Co-Founder Sir Richard Taylor and the director of the video, Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi.

Watch some of the other Air New Zealand in-flight safety videos here:

What do you think of Air New Zealand’s ‘The Hobbit’ safety video? Feel free to post your comments below.

For those who have never heard of Uber: It’s a relatively new, cashless taxi service, powered using the Uber app downloadable for iPhone, Android and Windows phones.
Although I can’t say I have used it overseas, I would say it could quite possibly be a good way of getting from A to B, particularly overseas where prices can vary and language barriers may be a problem. Regardless of whether you’re using it locally or while holidaying, Uber helps to bring some certainty for taxi fares.

Uber has been available in many countries all over the World (approx. 42 countries at last count) for some time, uber_logobut their expansion into New Zealand is only recent – Firstly with Auckland in May, and now here in Wellington, currently on a ‘test’ basis as of last week, where they helped some of our All Blacks, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane, hitch a lift to their gym sesh.

While Uber is in the testing phase, they are encouraging users (and potential passengers) free rides within the ‘Metro area’ (up to 2 a week) until Sunday 21st September.

As previously announced at beginning of this year, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines announced a strategic alliance for flights between New Zealand and South-East Asia, with the possibility of flights on the new routes beginning from the end of this year.

airnz_sia_logo

As of yesterday, the NZ Ministry of Transport announced that they had granted approval of this alliance between the two airlines, giving all the regulatory approval required for them to proceed further with the operational details.
The equivalent Ministry of Transport and Competition Commission in Singapore had already approved the alliance back in mid-April, so it has taken almost another four months for the New Zealand counterpart to reach a decision.

So on Thursday, Air New Zealand announced a press release for some quite exciting news which I know will be welcomed by many – From the 16th July, customers on selected Air New Zealand services will be able to use their electronic devices from gate to gate as long as they are switched to flight mode: As we all hear every time we take a flight, passengers are asked to switch their devices before take off and landing, and use is only normally allowed once the captain has switched off the seatbelt sign.

airnz_logoWith this announcement, there will now be no requirement to turn these devices off during the take off and landing periods of the flight, allowing use once you get on to when you leave the aircraft.

So I guess the title for this post really says it all..! Over the past couple of months I have been incredibly busy, what with work (unfortunately travel isn’ my full time job) ;), goings on in my personal life, and (of course).. travelling!

busyDuring this time, I haven’t been able to make as many updates as I would have liked, and for this I must apologise – I set this blog up as a bit of a personal project earlier this year, and it has been a lot of fun posting my thoughts, experiences, tips and tricks as I have come across them. Something I am disappointed about, and this is on a personal level – is that I haven’t been able to keep up with the level of updates as I would have liked – this is for a variety of reasons, but I am hoping that I will be able to do some more updates and posts over the Christmas/New Year break and into the new year (which is certainly fast approaching!).

I have an incredible amount of photos from the big trip earlier this year, from when we left Phuket onto Europe and back to New Zealand, and I have decided I want to get these up here in some shape or form. I have been thinking about it, and I think the best way for me to do this is to create a new type of review, different to the standard, more in-depth reviews I have done so far. I am going to call these Photo Reviews (PR’s) and these will consist of mainly photos from the remainder of this trip, along with some captioning. I hope that this will help to give those travelling on the same/similar routes or airlines some visual idea of the experience they will be in for, and help you to plan your journey, and as always, feel free to ask me any questions about anything if you have them.

I have just returned back from a trip from Melbourne just last weekend, and Miss. Kiwi Globetrotter and I went on a short weekend birthday trip at the end of October to Auckland as well.

On a side note, I recently won a trip to Queenstown here in New Zealand for the end of April next year so I am really looking forward to this, as this is one place I have never been but had been planning to do so at some point, as I think it really is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of scenery here in this beautiful country of ours. So keep an eye out for that in the coming months!

pohutukawa_xmas

As we are fast approaching Christmas and New Years, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year – wherever you are in the World (or up in the air), especially if you are travelling – and hope that you have good food, lots of laughs, and general good times with friends and family.

Jeremy

There’s been a few new things in the news this week, with Air New Zealand releasing a new in-flight safety video starring Betty White, and Jetstar receiving their first brand-new 787-8 aircraft, which was delivered to Melbourne on Wednesday.

Air New Zealand are always very innovative and creative with their in-flight safety videos, which all started off with their ‘Nothing to Hide‘ campaign, to ‘Crazy about Rugby” during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, to the rather loud one (Fit to Fly) featuring Richard Simmons, then more recently the Hobbit themed “An unexpected briefing” and the “Bear Essentials of Safety” featuring Bear Grylls.

I always do look forward to seeing the new AirNZ safety videos when they come out – It makes something that is typically quite boring interesting, and ultimately does what it needs to do – Make people pay attention to the safety instructions when flying.
After seeing a wide variety of safety videos from different airlines on our long Summer holiday trip to Europe and back earlier this year, it is surprising how many bland safety videos are out there (Lufthansa spring to mind as an example) and it’s refreshing to see a new take on things.

Air New Zealand’s new video, released on Thursday, features Betty White and a cast of other ‘golden oldies’ to present safety “old school style”.

To celebrate the launch of “Safety Old School Style“, Air New Zealand are running a competition for viewers to win a trip of a lifetime to either Palm Springs, California or Queenstown in New Zealand, including activities.

To enter, viewers need to share their story of how they are living life to the full – Enter here.
safety_oldschool_competition

For the Palm Springs prize, Air New Zealand will provide the winner and guest:

  • One x Roundtrip flights for two (2) (the winner and one (1) “Guest”) travelling on Air New Zealand from the airport from which Air New Zealand operates nearest the winner’s home town, to Los Angeles. All travel to Palm Springs, USA will be in our Premium Economy.
  • A shuttle service from LAX Airport to Palm Springs
  • The 1 winner and 1 guest will have 4 activities to under-take during their 7day prize in Palm Springs. All 4 activities are to be completed within the (1) one 7 day period. Some of the activities will be seasonal and availability will depend on the timing of the 1 Winner and 1 Guest arrival in Palm Springs.
  • All accommodation (4-5 star accommodation) will be provided during the 7 day prize in Palm Springs
  • 1 x Rental Car for 7 days

For the Queenstown prize, Air New Zealand will provide the winner and guest:

  • One x Roundtrip flights for two (2) (the winner and one (1) “Guest”) travelling on Air New Zealand from the airport from which Air New Zealand operates nearest the winner’s home town, to Auckland, New Zealand. All travel to New Zealand will be in our Premium Economy Spaceseat.
  • Domestic flights for the winner and Guest to Queenstown (within New Zealand).
  • The 1 winner and 1 guest will have 4 activities to under-take during their 7day prize in Queenstown. All 4 activities are to be completed within the (1) one 7 day period. Some of the activities will be seasonal and availability will depend on the timing of the 1 Winner and 1 Guest arrival in Palm Springs.
  • All accommodation (4-5 star accommodation) will be provided during the 7 day prize in Queenstown
  • 1 x Rental Car for 7 days

Full terms and conditions are detailed here.

Check out the video below:



On other news, Jetstar received the first of their new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners on Wednesday, which touched down in Melbourne. This is a different variant to the Boeing 787-9 model, to which Air New Zealand is the launch partner and which will be delivered mid-2014.

Jetstar's first new 787-8 Aircraft on its arrival in Melbourne on Wednesday
Jetstar’s first new 787-8 Aircraft on its arrival in Melbourne on Wednesday


The first international route for its new 787 aircraft has been selected to be Melbourne to Bali, and will start on December 18, after the aircraft has served on selected domestic routes within Australia.

Jetstar have announced that they will be using the 787 on some international routes from New Zealand, which will allow the airline to carry 335 passengers with a minimum seat pitch of 76cm, which may be quite a squeeze – Particularly for those taller passengers.
For a comparison, budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has a total of 291 seats in its 787 aircraft (32 in Premium Economy and 259 in Economy), and Air India’s 787’s (full service airline) have 256 seats (18 in Business Class and 238 in Economy).

The aircrafts configuration will include a 21-seat business class cabin in 2-3-2 configuration with a 38 inch seat pitch, and the new economy class seating in a 3-3-3 configuration with 30-31 inch seat pitch – This will be a slimmer design but will include seatback entertainment.

Seating on Jetstar's new 787-8 (Economy)
Seating on Jetstar’s new 787-8 (Economy)

Other features of the new Jetstar 787 aircraft:

  • Larger windows, which tint at the touch of a button – Eliminating the need for window shades
  • Larger overhead baggage storage compartments
  • Seat back entertainment with new release movies, tv shows, movies and games (likely requiring payment for access)
  • New, ‘more natural’ lighting
  • Leather seatings
  • Less cabin noise while in-flight (similar to the Airbus A380 Superjumbo – Which I can confirm to be a lot quieter)

For more information about Jetstar’s new 787 Dreamliner ‘experience’, check out their dedicated website here.

Jetstar have also released a fly through video of their Jetstar 787 aircraft and cabin, which I have added below, giving you an idea of what the new aircraft will look like:

Although the 787’s have been experiencing numerous issues over the past year, with electrical faults and battery issues; including one of the more recent incidents being a faulty hydraulic pump on one of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s aircraft, Boeing is taking safety seriously and is working to fix the issues and improve reliability on the new state of the art aircraft.

Qantas have ordered a total of fourteen 787’s for its Jetstar subsidiary, which will be delivered up until late 2015. The new lighter and more fuel efficient aircraft are anticipated to help save fuel costs in the Qantas group and help it to stay more competitive.

For those interested, there is also a video of the Jetstar’s new 787 Dreamliner being put together (quickly) below.

What do you think of the new AirNZ Safety video and Jetstar’s new aircraft that will shortly be gracing our shores? Feel free to add your comments below.

The Google Maps team first revolutionised the way we see things from the comfort of our own home with the introduction of Street View, allowing us to virtually explore streets all around the World.

Earlier last year, they brought us the first underwater panorama photos of Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, as part of the World Wonders Project.
You can also explore the Grand Canyon (USA), Stonehenge (UK) and even Scott’s Hut in Antarctica, amongst other places.

Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef on Google Maps Street View!
Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef on Google Maps Street View!

Today, Google Maps offers a new first – By offering a view inside one of Emirates A380 Super jumbos parked on the dedicated A380 concourse at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Emirates A380 and Concourse at DXB - Google Maps
Emirates A380 and Concourse at DXB – Google Maps

Durian: Nicknamed "The King of Fruits", this large spikey fruit is full of nutritional value and is characterised by its distinctive smell (commonly described as rotting flesh) - As a result, it's not even allowed to be carried on Singapore's Metro system!
Durian: Nicknamed “The King of Fruits”, this large spikey fruit is full of nutritional value and is characterised by its distinctive smell (commonly described as rotting flesh) – As a result, it’s not even allowed to be carried on Singapore’s Metro system!

Those that know me reasonably well, know me as quite the foodie. I do love my food, of all different cuisines and tastes, and *generally* will try most things once. With the World so full of all kinds of different things to eat, ranging from the smelly (durian) to the unconventional (various insects, bugs and snails) to comfort foods (Spag Bol, Fish and Chips, Sunday Roasts, to just a good steak) to fine dining (Anywhere where you encounter multiple forks, spoons and knives in the same sitting), there’s a never-ending range of choices out there on ways to treat and taste your palate.

This article was run originally in 2011 by CNNGo, and although it is a little old, I think many of the foods and tastes here are quite different and definitely worth trying. What’s interesting is they actually ran two versions of ‘The Worlds Most Delicious Foods’ – One by the magazine themselves collated by their staff, and another by reader vote by poll via. Facebook. I like to think the Facebook poll would be more indicative of people’s thoughts on the best tasting foods Worldwide, and it’s quite interesting looking through the list and seeing what’s on there.