Our hotspots rate on 'must-do' list

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012
tdn heli stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Jolanda, left, Richard and Safi from Heliview were ranked number four in the AA Travel 101 Must Do list.

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Heliview Taranaki has come fourth in a nationwide tourism competition in which Taranaki's hottest tourist attractions claimed nine placings.

The AA Travel 101 Must-Do's for Kiwis list compiled 1600 attractions across the country suggested by the public, then invited people to vote for their favourites.

With nine placings, Taranaki held its own against other regions with Auckland receiving 12, Northland 11, Waikato/Bay of Plenty six and Marlborough two.

The categories were "Get Active", "Eat & Drink", "Explore" and "Relax".

Heliview, run by Richard and Jolanda Foale, operates scenic helicopter flights around Taranaki.

Following Heliview in the rankings were Womad at 17th, Mt Taranaki and Egmont National Park 29th, New Plymouth's coastal walkway 34th, Pukekura Park 43rd, the Forgotten World Highway 47th, Taranaki's beaches 74th, Festival of Lights 77th and Surf Highway 99th.

Venture Taranaki visitors manager Paul Stancliffe said the progress Taranaki had made since the AA first started doing the list was impressive.

"Going from four to nine over three years is a reflection of the work Taranaki does to promote itself and the experience people have when they come here."

He said Taranaki people should be proud of the fantastic natural product the region offered.

"With the exception of Heliview, all of the attractions are natural."

Jolanda Foale said they had huge support from locals after promoting the competition through social media. "It's been great getting feedback on Facebook. We're really stoked with how people have got behind us."

The mountain was a valuable asset, but it was the extras that bumped Heliview into the top 10, she said.

"Mt Taranaki is a wonderful product, but people like the family setting, it's our life."

She said Taranaki locals knew Heliview were the go-to people for a great experience and they were pleased to spread the message to the rest of the country.

"Our little secret is out. Hopefully it will keep us busy."

Mrs Foale said the success would be bolstered by the purchase of a new, quieter aircraft.

Heliview came in behind Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa in first place, Rotorua's Polynesian Spa in second, and Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises.

What is your favourite Taranaki Must Do?

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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