Wellington, Travel Digest, October 2011


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Wellington, Travel Digest, October 2011

  1. 1. 34 October 2011, Travel Digest 35Travel Digest, October 2011 L ess than an hour’s flight from New Zealand’s main cities, Wellington is a very compact city with its international airport just 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The downtown area is only 2km wide and this makes walking one of the best ways to get around, but if you want to explore further afield, you must try the city’s excellent public transport system. GETTING AROUND Introduced three years ago, Snapper card has changed the way locals navigate It is the coolest little capital in the world, according to Lonely Planet. Thanks to its diverse events calendar, cafe culture, nightlife and artistic edge, Wellington is our creative capital as well as political centre. SARAH WEEKS pays a visit. WellingtonWicked this bustling city, allowing you to upload credit and save money. It is now the fastest, most cost-effective way to pay for single journeys on nearly 400 buses in the Wellington region. But it’s not just bus fares you can use this card for, as it allows you to buy everyday items such as your newspaper, coffee and sandwiches from over 180 retailers. With Snapper, you can get through the entire day without the need to carry cash or any other cards and it’s so simple to use – just snap on with your card when you hop on the bus / train / ferry and snap off as you depart. WHERE TO STAY Amora Hotel is the new name for the old Duxton Hotel, which has just completed a complete renovation. Conveniently located right in the bars and entertainment precinct and only a short walk away to the central business district including Te Papa, TSB Bank Arena and the waterfront, most rooms offer views of Wellington Harbour and / or the city. The beds provide a very decent night’s sleep and the rooms are spacious with 192 deluxe, Club and Club suites featuring all the niceties you would expect such as a personal bar, coffee making facilities, fluffy robes, superb marble bathrooms with separate bath and showers and wireless internet available in all rooms including the ground and mezzanine floor. WHAT TO SEE AND DO Ask any local what there is to see and do in Wellington and they will no doubt mention a day trip to Day’s Bay, one of this city’s best swimming beaches set against a backdrop of beautiful native forest and what better way to get there than by ferry? East by West Ferries run daily return harbour crossings between Queen’s Wharf and Day’s Bay, calling into Matiu / Somes Island. This fascinating Island, only recently opened to the public, is a reserve administered by the Department of Conservation and is steeped in local history, from early Maori settlement to more recent times as a prisoner of war camp, and quarantine station. Spend an afternoon wandering around the beachside village of Day’s Bay, enjoying local attractions such as the waterfront cafes, restaurants and an arts and craft shop. Visit the relaxed and fun Chocolate Dayz Cafe which makes great coffees and delicious brunch food – I highly recommend the crushed potato and fish cakes with New Zealand smoked salmon, nestled on a bed of wilted spinach, poached egg and lemon hollandaise sauce, scrummy! Eastbourne village is just a ten-minute stroll around the foreshore and offers more interesting shops and restaurants. As the capital of New Zealand, Wellington has a long and colourful history. Maori legends date back as far as 950 AD when Kupe first discovered Wellington and in the 1840s European settlers began to arrive and colonise the region. The popular Museum of Wellington City and Sea will take you back 1,000 years and lead you to a vibrant present day Wellington with their interactive and exciting exhibitions. Housed in a significant heritage building on the waterfront, the museum offers a wonderful insight into the rich social and cultural history of Wellington. Highlights include a dramatic 12-minute installation that uses holographic effects to tell Maori creation legends and the moving story of the 1968 Wahine ferry disaster. For an insight into what early settler life was like, visit the Colonial Cottage Museum, Wellington’s oldest original cottage and garden. Built by William Wallis in 1858, the cottage typifies the elegant late-Georgian style of housing built in Wellington through to 1870. Some points of interest include a sugar cone, antique iron heated from an open fire and a nursery pram designed with only three wheels to avoid the road tax payable on all four-wheeled vehicles. Thanks to Peter Jackson’s world-famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wellington has also become the cinematic capital of New Zealand – even earning its nickname, Wellywood! This city is just full of local stories and interesting shooting locations and almost everyone knows someone who was involved in the making of these magnificent films. The ultimate way to experience this side of Wellington is a tour with Wellington Movie Tours. With a choice of a Valley Movie Tour taking you out of Wellington, the Wellington Movie Tour which takes you to the Hobbiton Woods of Mount Victoria or the Ultimate Movie Tour for those who want a full day of fun, there’s a tour to suit everyone’s schedule, budget and interests. All tours include audiovisual displays and props for added effect for photos – have fun posing for your photo with the “one ring”. And of course, no movie tour would be complete without a visit to Weta Cave in Miramar which screens a first-ever behind- the-scenes look at Weta and interviews with Weta co-founders Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk. See firsthand the creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art Weta creates. In their mini-museum you will come face to face with some of the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies where you can also purchase a wide range of Weta related movie and TV merchandise to take home and show off to friends and family. Te Papa is a Wellington icon and hard to miss sitting alongside this city’s stunning waterfront – it has five floors and is the equivalent size of three rugby fields. This bold and innovative national museum is a recognised world leader in interactive and visitor-focused museum experiences.  Entry is free, although charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and activities.  New Zealand’s geology and natural environment and the stories of the Maori people are celebrated in Te Papa’s permanent exhibitions. There are a number of exciting tours on offer including the Taste of Treasures Tour which gives wonderful insights into Maori culture through traditional and contemporary treasures. Our Maori tour guide provides a Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience WELLINGTON
  2. 2. 36 October 2011, Travel Digest 37Travel Digest, October 2011 $300,000 increase in sales. To add to this, if we could reduce the debt collections days from 53 to 43, it would mean a $29,340 reduction in borrowings and a further $1,956 interest saving. This is why it’s so vital to keep a keen eye on your costs and overheads. A small re-duction in them can far out-weigh a large increase in sales. If you’re in a service based business: 1. Reduce materials on jobs by managing wastage and write offs. Review ordering methods and introduce systems like job cost sheets to track goods on jobs. 2. Maximise efficiency of contractors and staff, eg check any “non chargeable” time. Work could be done by someone less expensive, freeing up a more costly person to focus on chargeable work 3. Have a quoting / estimating system and measure actual costs against them for each job to see which took longer. 4. Have a system for following up quotes and tenders - the quicker you get started the quicker you finish. Review operations for efficiency and ask yourself: “Am I getting deals over the line quickly?” Create a sense of urgency. 5. Have one person managing jobs with a good Why has the interest gone up? In the example of this business the debt collection days are running at just under 53 (recent national average per Dunn & Bradstreet) and it has an overdraft of $100,000. If we sell more and the debt collection days remain the same we will need to borrow, waiting for customers to pay more money, ie an extra $29,000. The overheads would go up as you would spend more on advertising and sales to achieve the extra sales. Whereas if we could reduce the costs in this business by two per cent it would look like this: detailed explanation of Maori artefacts, including a waka which was actually built by her ancestors. The tour is followed by light Maori-style refreshments – rawena bread with pikopiko pesto, kawakawa and manuka honey shortbread and kawakawa tea with manuka honey. Just minutes from downtown Wellington, is a place unlike any other – Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience. Home to some of the rarest and most extraordinary wildlife on the planet, this award-winning eco- attraction will take you back in time to see what it would be like to explore our native bush before the arrival of people. Their new state-of-the-art visitor centre features interactive displays where you can see, feel and play with the history of New Zealand’s wildlife and landscape – from untouched paradise, to the tragic destruction caused by man and finally the restoration and conservation efforts of today. Explore this sanctuary valley with its easy-walking bush tracks, protected by a predator-proof fence enclosing 225 hectares of regenerating forest. As darkness falls, the valley takes on a new life of its own which you can experience on their night tour. Your tour guide will take your group on a journey through the bush keeping an eye out for the elusive national mascot – the kiwi. Over 100 live here, so there’s a very good chance of spotting one, foraging in the leaf litter – a truly magical moment! You will also get to see the ancient tuatara in their natural habitat. This is an utterly unforgettable experience and a definite must-do when visiting Wellington. Be sure to bring good footwear and warm clothing as it can get quite chilly here at night. WHERE TO EAT Wellington is known as the culinary capital, famous for tucked-away bars (with award-winning bartenders), quirky cafes, award-winning restaurants, curly fries and really good coffee. It’s even said that Wellington has more cafes, bars and restaurants per capita than New York! If you’re looking for a fancy restaurant to dine at for dinner that is sure to impress then look no further than Logan Brown Restaurant on the corner of Cuba and Vivian Streets. As the supreme winner of the Restaurant of the Year Awards 2009, the restaurant offers exceptional service, an exemplary wine list and atmosphere that is elegant yet relaxed. Combine that with the delicious food served, Logan Brown is a most memorable dining experience. Their degustation menu is a must for serious foodies with matching wines over five decadent courses. Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of the items on the menu – their friendly staff are more than happy to help you out! As the closest beach to the city, Oriental Bay is a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike. In summer, this area becomes a hive of activity with cafes, restaurants, and bars attracting many diners. My personal favourite is Beach Babylon, a retro beachside cafe in a great spot to soak up the sunshine and watch the world past by. Their funky decor creates an upbeat ambience and is a popular watering hole in the evenings. For brunch, why not try the creamy garlic mushrooms on toast with halloumi – their iced mocha is simply divine! Monsoon Poon is a vibrant and busy south-east Asian restaurant and the perfect spot to relax and dine at the end of a busy day. Decorated with a distinct Asian style decor, the restaurant seating allows you to view their open kitchen, watching the chefs wield their tools whilst preparing and cooking a fabulous array of food from Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. My personal favourites are the Malai chicken pieces marinated in yoghurt, cumin, ginger, cardamom and pepper and the duck and pineapple curry – an interesting combination that really works! Located in the heart of the city, The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor offers two restaurants and bars including the well renowned Whitby’s Restaurant and its international buffet dining. Their James Cook High Tea is the perfect way to relax after a shopping spree with the girls. Enjoy a three-tier stand filled with a selection of bite-sized club sandwiches, warm savouries, cakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and scones with jam and cream. They also offer a fine collection of Dilmah teas and coffee which will leave you coming back for more. Located on level three of the Harbour Wing of Museum Hotel, the Hippopotamus Restaurant offers stunning views of the beautiful Wellington harbour with a mouth-watering menu to match. The restaurant serves up exquisite French-influenced cuisine in a glamorous environment that boasts breathtaking views. The opulent decor of the restaurant is accented by a private collection of original artwork. Dine here for dinner before a show or event – my personal favourite on the menu is bouillabaisse style fish with crayfish, saffron gnocchi, rouille and corn crouton – delicious! Logan Brown Restaurant Is a former supreme winner of the Restaurant of the Year Awards. Photo:NickServian WELLINGTON ( SMALL BUSINESS F irstly what is “costing”? If you sell a product, it’s the cost of buying the product, plus preparing it for sale, eg freight, storage, currency exchange, importation etc. This excludes overheads, eg rent and admin wages. If you sell a service or job, it’s the cost of direct labour, ie those who deliver the service and materials. As per products, it excludes overheads. Costing, or costs are some- times referred to as direct costs, cost of goods sold and variable costs in management reports. It’s important to understand what are all the costs associated with a product or service, because you need to know that you’re making a reasonable margin, ie the difference between sell price and cost price. A reasonable margin covers overheads and contributes to profit. It’s sometimes considered that selling more volume, ie more product or service will fix lack of profit and cash flow. Here’s an example of where this falls short: Value of getting COSTING right It is important to understand all the costs associated with a product or service, writes SUE HIRST, because you need to know that you’re making a reasonable margin to cover overheads and to contribute to profit. Scenario 1 Business with yearly sales = $1,000,000 Costs = $ 700,000 (70%) Overheads = $ 300,000 (30%) Interest = $ 10,000 Loss = $ 10,000 Scenario 2 If sales grow in the next year to = $1,300,000 Costs remain at 70% = $ 910,000 Overheads remain at 30% = $ 390,000 Interest = $ 12,000 Loss = $ 12,000 The interest has gone down because we need to borrow less funds to pay for the costs. The difference between Scenarios 2 and 3 is a $23,310 improvement in profit. This would likely be a lot less expensive to achieve than a understanding of status and progress to ensure jobs get finished efficiently. 6. Manage labour resource allocation and track staff / contractor time spent on jobs. Schedule jobs and travel efficiently. 7. Make allowances for variations to material prices on jobs to avoid hold ups. 8. Have good quality control to avoid rework and investigate write offs. 9. Use checklists and templates to maintain standards. 10. Keep equipment maintained to avoid down time. Here’s a few ways to reduce costs 1. Review and negotiate with suppliers. Technology has opened up many opportunities to improve efficiency. 2. Get supplies to “tender” for your business. 3. Look for innovative ways to improve processes. Research your industry to find out what ideas are available. 4. Check “industry benchmarks” to see what the top performers are achieving. Investigate how they achieve their margins. 5. Lock in good exchange rates with forward cover on foreign currencies. Scenario 3 Business with yearly sales = $1,000,000 Costs = $ 680,000 (68%) Overheads = $ 300,000 (30%) Interest = $ 8,690 Profit = $ 11,310