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Run away from home this Xmas – great NZ hotels to hide in

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Maori Concert Christchurch Wellington Horse Tour Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas

If the sound of Ho Ho Ho makes you think “No, No, No!” then you’ll probably need to get away this Christmas to power up your merry mood. But what kind of holiday do you choose? How about something relaxing, adventurous, exciting or just plain different – but always surrounded by natural wonders and lashings of local fare? So take your pick, then pin a note to the tree, “Dear Santa, we skipped town. Sorry mate, no beer and cookies this year…”

Cut down your power bill and let nature put on your big Christmas light show this year. See the glimmering lights of the Te Anau on a tour that includes a scenic cruise of Lake Te Anau and exploration of the caves to see the thousands of tiny glowworms in the grotto. Soak up a fresh, crowd free summer Christmas in the lake view lounge at Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas. And for lunch? The restaurant specialises in South Island delicacies: we suggest you ditch the traditional gobbler and go for some delicious Fiordland Rock Lobster.

If you’ve experienced your fair share of carols by candlelight and torturous tinselling, maybe it’s time for something more traditional near Christchurch. Say goodbye to the stockings and elves, and “Kia ora” to a Maori welcome and cultural performances of the haka and poi dances. Enjoy a buffet dinner afterwards at Willowbank, then it’s out to the reserve at night. If you’re craving some Christmas fare, no fear — the Latimer Hotel has a 5-course Christmas Day buffet luncheon.

Ditch the gold, frankincense and myrrh and keep riding on a horse during the Wairarapa Adventure tour from Wellington. The day is jam-packed full of fun, from horse trekking, to a chasm walk and high ropes course all amidst the beautiful countryside, before hitting a vineyard for some wine tasting. No doubt all the gourmet vino will leave you yearning for munchies. Garson! The Duxton Hotel Wellington are holding a Christmas lunch where you can devour belt-stretching dishes such as maple crème fraiche and toasted sunflower seeds, Akaroa salmon, and succulent prime Angus beef fillet… yum!

No need to count down at midnight when you can have fun before New Year’s Eve at the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park in Auckland on 12 December. There are performers for every age group, from kids bands to rock bands to stunning soloists who entertain the people in the largest free annual music event in the world. Get a more down-home feel at the Elliott Street Classic Apartments, with classic styling and a group of boutique eateries just downstairs — will it be sushi, crepes or bruschetta?

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