Here’s something you didn’t need to know


Ignoring the mind-searing stupidity of the proposed situation, media are doing articles on what you rather leave behind if you only had space for one of those items.

If we had space for only one thing on a trip, most of us would rather bring our smartphone than our toothbrushes, deodorant, or even our driver’s licenses.

According to a global study from travel site Expedia conducted by Northstar, 66 per cent of travellers said they consider their smartphones the most essential travel item.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of travellers around the world said their toothbrush is the most essential, and only 23 per cent said deodorant was an essential travel item. Read more »


Photo Of The Day

The Return of the Sun "Extremely heavy precipitation of rime crystals during the night, our rigging being heavily encrusted some of the ropes being over 3" in diameter, but the effect is beautiful" Hurley Diary. Shackleton aimed to make the first-ever land crossing of the Antarctic continent, but his ship became trapped, then crushed and sunk, by ice before the team could reach their starting point for the trek. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. (Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images)

The Return of the Sun “Extremely heavy precipitation of rime crystals during the night, our rigging being heavily encrusted some of the ropes being over 3″ in diameter, but the effect is beautiful”.  Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images.

The Endurance

Survival Against the Greatest Odds

When Antarctica’s hulking glacial landmass—icy and inhospitable—was spotted by 18th century British Captain James Cook, he remarked:

“I make bold to declare that the world will derive no benefit from it.”

 That proclamation did not ward away future journeys, though.

One hundred years ago, one of the most astounding tales of survival began aboard a small wooden ship with 28 men trapped in Antarctic ice.

A year and a half later, in August 1916, the details of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ordeal emerged — a story of a spectacular, yet triumphant, failure.

For the second time, Shackleton had failed to achieve his goal of reaching the South Pole. Yet, with his ship crushed, his men camped on ice floes and then marooned on a barren island, he managed to sail 800 nautical miles (1,475 kilometres) in a small boat, in winter, to get help. Not a single life was lost, cementing his reputation as a man of boundless courage and one of the greatest leaders of all time.

Shackleton set sail on Aug. 1, 1914, the day England declared war on Germany. The British Admiralty let him go, expecting the war to be over by Christmas. When Shackleton returned, the world no longer cared about gentlemen adventurers and their polar dalliances. It seemed trivial when set against death on an unimaginable scale on the battlefields of Europe.

Shackleton was naturally gifted in the traits that make leaders. Much of it for him was instinct.

Read more »

Dried frogs, holy water and a bat – is Michelle Boag back from holiday then?

Some people pack amazing things in their luggage.

Dried frogs, holy water and a bat are among a range of unusual items intercepted at New Zealand airports and ports.

Recent figures from show 176,700 visitors arrived in New Zealand in May, an increase of 10 per cent on May 2014.

Ministry for Primary Industries staff intercepted 6733 items of biosecurity interest from passengers during May. Of these, 5803 were declared.

Some of the notable interceptions included dried frogs declared as food, some undeclared fruit fly-infested chillies, a tiger tooth and a vesper bat which was intercepted in a sea container at the Tauranga port.

Staff also intercepted plant cuttings, a bulb, a tuber and seeds after a bio-security dog sniffed out the plants near a man’s groin.   Read more »


Another way to escape Wellington

Wellington is a cold, miserable hole. I know, I lived there for 10 years, suffered more like. I ended up with pleurisy the first winter I was there.

Well, now there is a new way to escape from Wellington…Fiji Airways.

Central New Zealanders can now say “Bula!” to Fiji Airways as their inaugural flight between Nadi and Wellington touched down at midday today.

The launch sees the beginning of a year round flight to one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations with onwards connections to North America.

“A very warm welcome for Fiji Airways,” said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “This service provides direct links with the Pacific and offers a delightful opportunity for Fiji to be a stopover between Wellington and Los Angeles in either direction.”   Read more »


Hit’s ya right in the awwwww

Discovery Channel Employs well known Arts, Travel and Fitness Blogger David Farrar

David’s so excited, the Discovery Channel have employed the much slimmer and fitter David Farrar as its new travel blogger.

Here’s a preview of his new show!

Read more »

Maybe they feel sorry for us

Sydney Morning Herald

Australians need to realise New Zealand isn’t actually that bad….and Kiwis can always use Clendon Park and Otara.

There’s a common refrain from people who don’t think about these things the same way I do. It’s something like this: “Why would you travel all that way just to look at poor people?”

On the face of it, it’s not a bad question. Why would you? Why would you leave a place like Australia that’s perfectly safe and well-off for a country like India, where there’s poverty on a mass scale shoved in your face, sometimes literally?



Bringing classy back

Herald on Sunday

Kerre Woodham looks to be a convert to Malaysian Airlines with their new restriction on kids on the upper levels of their A380s, she suggests they extend the ban from children:

But a quick poll among my talkback listeners revealed that there was way worse to endure than crying kids.

Obese people who demand that the armrest be raised so they can wedge themselves in are a pet hate; as are stinky people who seem to have an aversion to deodorant or indeed any form of personal hygiene.

One person told me he saw an Auckland Airport official take a smelly passenger away for a shower before they could board their flight, and if that’s true give that man or woman a medal.

Being stuck by the toilets and seated next to people trying to join the mile-high club were all considered worse than a crying baby.

Still, the stance by Malaysian Airlines is a start. Today restrictions on screaming babies, tomorrow the obese, next week the smelly. Let’s bring classy back to international travel.


Campaigning on the taxpayer?

MP travel expenses have ballooned last quarter:

The domestic travel and accommodation costs of MPs and ministers totalled $3.7 million from October to December – 51 per cent higher than for the same quarter in 2010 when it was $2.4 million. It equates to an average of an extra $10,000 on travel for each MP over the three month period.

The figures do not include accommodation costs for MPs’ bases in Wellington.

The sharp spike in travel was likely caused by the election campaign and the Rugby World Cup.

MPs have unlimited domestic travel, including for campaigning and personal use as well as work-related.

Yep it is outrageous that representatives are able to extort the taxpayer to fund their election campaigning.

Have a look at these three examples from the latest figures:

Trevor Mallard, Katrina Shanks, Charles Chauvel and Gareth Hughes…all are Wellington based MPs. There should be precious little excuse, particularly for electorate MPs like Mallard for excessive

Party Member Accommodation Domestic travel Total
Wellington Out of Wellington Air Surface
Green Hughes, Gareth 1,421 13,325 3,805 18,551
Labour Chauvel, Charles 1,525 9,658 3,475 14,659
Labour Mallard, Trevor 253 10,126 7,667 18,047
National Shanks, Katrina 312 2,188 1,479 3,978

It certainly looks like Labour’s campaign strategist was taking the piss on travel and using the taxpayers funds to cart his carcass around the country. Gareth Hughes is a terrible spender, enjoying large amounts of air travel for dubious purpose.

Mates and Not Mates

When the earthquake struck Christchurch it devastated the central city, has killed hundreds and left many people without homes, relatives and busineses. It is a time for mates and a time for stepping up.

Air New Zealand stepped up. They immediately put on 747s and charged bare minimum prices to get people home or out of the region. They are a good corporate citizen. They are our Mates.

Our nearest neighbours Australia reacted immediately sending rescue folk, troops and Police from across the country.

From my sources on the ground I hear that the Australian cops have been extremely professional and effective in Christchurch. Great people doing an excellent job. Australia has fronted up above and beyond. We tried to help Queensland where we could and when you do send help you hope that one day, should it be needed that the help is reciprocated. Australia has delivered, they are so generous and supportive. You can’t speak higher of them. 300 plus cops AND the USAR teams, who are world class. The Australian military support has been brilliant too. I understand we have also received donations from all Aussies states. Give Gillard her due, she has fronted. They are our Mates.

They are heroes and mates that we salute.

However we now turn to Not Our Mates.

Qantas and Jetstar reacted far differently.

Jetstar has decided that people travelling to and from Christchurch with a bag (and it has to be an evac) is $99. Anyone else is normal fares. I think it is fair to say that we can call that profiteering.

Jetstar’s owner Qantas also seems to have forgotten how many customers come from NZ. They made a $1000 a ticket getting the outstanding Australian cops into Christchurch. The spirit of ANZAC and mateship does not apply to Qantas. In the darkest day, you remember. Qantas made their views known and we accept their decision.

Qantas has failed to recognise that have a choice of airlines to cross the Tasman.  “Anyone But Qantas” is the new call.

We remember our mates and Qantas are not our mates. That’s fine, you made the call Qantas, now take the lumps.

Apart from not being our mates, they are idiots and the shareholders should be annoyed.

Option A : Stick a pack of cops on a plane for three hours.

Glory of press statement and stories across your home markets saying:

“Qantas makes plane available at short notice to help Christchurch”

“Qantas has been flying to Christchurch for X years. It is an important part of our network. Qantas was proud to help 120 top Aussie cops to keep the people of Christchurch safe. Kiwis cops have been working tirelessly for the community. In the spirit of Australia, we were proud to help give them a break. We put on a free flight for the police. We also took x pallets of bottled water to help out Christchurch in its darkest days. Qantas is there for Christchurch”

Result : Glowing Trans-Tasman media stories, endorsment and brand enhancement by a major factor. Whaleoil endorsement. Major political figures in NSW and NZ say “good guys”. Customer base takes pride in their airline.

Value : Millions. Kiwis talk for years about Qantas being “our mates”. NSW Government pleased. Australians proud of their airline.
Cost : A$120,000

Option B : Be a pack of tight bastards.

Value : A$120,000
Cost & Result : Crap media across Australia and New Zealand. Immeasurable brand damage. Make an enemy of Whaleoil. Negative Media. NSW Govt has to ask Federal Govt for cash, embarrassing both Govts.

Message to Shareholders of Qantas : Seriously? You let these clowns look after your money? REALLY????

Remember folks, remember well who our mates are in times of need and then when you make a choice for where you will spend your dollars, spend it with our mates. As we hear more of donations and assistance I will create a Mates and Not Mates list. Qantas is now Not our Mate.