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Entertainment, Media and Television for Expats in New Zealand

Submitted: October 2014

Entertainment and Nightlife

The major cities of New Zealand are fantastic for nightlife. Auckland boasts the Britomart precinct, full of popular bars such as the Country Club and Northern Steamship, the lovingly restored original headquarters of a national steamship company. Britomart is also the home of 1885, one of NZ’s premier nightclubs. If you are in Wellington, visit Concrete for a selection of cocktails and a fine restaurant, the Malthouse if you are a craft beer fan, or Molly Malone’s if you fancy the incongruity of an Irish pub in the southern hemisphere.

Dunedin is the main university city in New Zealand, and as such features cheap prices and memorable nights to be had; check out the Duke of Wellington for a quintessentially English pub experience or Carousel Lounge Bar for a classy night involving whiskeys, cigars and cocktails. Finally, Mou Very (mou means ‘soft’ in French and ‘nothing’ in Japanese) proclaims itself to be the smallest bar in the country, holding fifteen people at the very most.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat, there are a plethora of fantastic restaurants in New Zealand. Ponsonby’s SidArt has been voted the 2014 Restaurant of The Year by Cuisine magazine, though be prepared to pay $95-$140 for dinner depending on whether you choose five courses or nine.  For a more realistically priced experience, try taking a trip to Cazador in Auckland for a Mediterranean game takeaway, or the Ortega Fish Shack in Wellington for fine fish and wine at excellent prices. Beyond this, Cuisine runs a Good Food Guide that can point you in the direction of wonderful eateries across the country.

Sightseeing and Tours

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and photogenic countries in the world, with spellbinding beaches, forests and mountains. One of the most visited destinations in the country is the Bay Of Islands, a set of 144 small islands and beaches offering white sands, dolphin watching and big game fishing. New Zealand’s geography has also created several geothermally active regions, none more attractive than Rotorua. This city and its surrounding areas contain beautiful lakes, active geysers, hot mud pools to soak your feet in, and thermal springs to relax in.

Alternatively, if you prefer your sightseeing lower in temperature, visit the Franz Josef Glacier in the southwest, where you can take a hike across the glacier and walk through the numerous ice tunnels, before retiring to the nearby township for a warm meal and some central heating. Or, if you are a film buff, why not visit the Hobbiton film set from the Lord of the Rings series? The majority of the LOTR series were filmed in New Zealand, and you may often stumble across a piece of Middle-Earth while sightseeing. For a full guide to attractions and places of interest, visit the NZ Tourism Guide and select your area.

Guided tours are also available over much of New Zealand. NZ Walks offer hikes through the National Park, and are the only company allowed to guide off-track.  Navigator Tours aim to bring a slice of authentic Maori life to the aspiring sightseer. Backcountry Concepts guide ambitious hunters or anglers who wish to bag a trophy. If you are after an adrenaline rush, Canungra Sky Sports can take you on a paragliding tour that will allow you to soar over the lakes and mountains of Queenstown. Again, the NZ Tourism Guide has a comprehensive list of guided tours by category available here.

Media and Television

The two largest newspapers by circulation in New Zealand are the New Zealand Herald and Dominion Post, based in Auckland and Wellington respectively. Generally, each city and major population centre in the country is covered by its own newspaper; for example Christchurch’s Press  and Dunedin’s Otago Daily Times. As such, there are no true national newspapers, but the Herald and Dominion are available over much of the North Island. However, many papers offer a subscription service, so if you cannot find your favourite paper in the shops, this is well worth considering.

As of December 2013, the entirety of New Zealand has now ceased analogue television transmissions and switched to digital; the main advantage of this is that digital transmissions allow consumers to bypass the broadcasting issues caused by the nature of New Zealand’s geography. The two main free terrestrial networks are Freeview and Igloo, both of which require only the cost of a set top box and installation, and provide both national and international channels. Igloo provides extra channels for a monthly fee of $19.95. Beyond this, multichannel international digital TV is available from SKY TV (no relation to BSkyB) or Vodafone for a monthly fee. Vodafone also offers packages including SKY and broadband, and it may therefore be worth it to get a combined deal. Consumer TelMe offers a free comparison questionnaire to help you decide which package is best for you.




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