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An eye-catching new catamaran has arrived in the Bay of Islands to join the Fullers GreatSights fleet.
Te Maki (meaning ‘orca’) made the long journey from Nelson up to the Bay of Islands last week and will be officially launched at a ceremony this Friday.
Built by Challenge Marine at a cost of $4.5 million, Te Maki is 24m long with an 8m beam, took 18 months to construct and can carry up to 200 passengers.
Fullers GreatSights general manager Charles Parker says Te Maki has been custom designed to offer an unforgettable cruise experience, with spacious indoor and outdoor viewing areas.
“The windows in the main saloon start below seat level and extend almost to the ceiling, offering amazing visibility,” he says.
The vessel has a low wake, and has been carefully designed so passengers can interact and swim with marine mammals.
Te Maki will be operating cruises to the Hole in the Rock during winter, and the original Cream Trip cruise during summer.
The vessel replaces Tangaroa III, which has operated the Cream Trip since 1999, and which will now be sold.
Te Maki is powered by two 900HP Scania engines, designed to the latest European emissions standard. She is prop-driven, with the props protected by large skegs to keep swimmers safe.
She is approximately 10-12 decibels quieter than Tangaroa, and improved hydro dynamics and engine technology mean she will also use less fuel than her predecessor.
Fullers GreatSights skippers Basil Umuroa and Billy Bogaers, engineer Tony Thompson and InterCity Group director Paul Smart brought the new addition home from Nelson over two days.
She was then escorted into the harbour by a welcome committee on board Fullers GreatSights’ Dolphin Seeker catamaran.
Te Maki’s name was chosen with the support of Ngati Manu, and she will be blessed by Ngati Manu and Te Uri Karaka elders.
ENDS – 25 May 2017
Travellers on InterCity’s direct bus service between Hamilton and Auckland Airport can now enjoy a taste of business class on the road.
Two new InterCity GOLD buses are now operating on the route, offering the choice of standard seats or premium GOLD seats – large soft leather recliners with individual charge ports and power outlets.
“Travelling to the airport doesn’t have to be a stressful or unproductive thanks to our premium GOLD seats” says Sam Peate, InterCity Group General Manager NZ Coachlines and Auckland Tourism.
“With plenty of room to stretch out, power plugs and free mobile WiFi the commute to and from the airport can now be a productive journey for business travellers”
Passengers can also take advantage of InterCity’s generous free luggage allowance of two pieces of up to 25kg each per person, plus carry-on.
The two brand new Scania K400 vehicles are fitted with nine InterCity GOLD seats and 39 standard seats and were built locally by Kiwi Bus Builders in Tauranga.
Standard seats on the direct bus are a flat fare of $20 one-way, making it one of the most cost-effective modes of airport transport available. Upgrading to a GOLD seat costs an additional $10.
InterCity operates 24 services connecting Hamilton and Auckland’s domestic and international terminals throughout the day. The new InterCity GOLD buses are currently available daily on services departing Hamilton at 10.30am and 4.30pm, and departing Auckland Central at 1.30pm and 7pm. In the coming weeks, GOLD buses will be operating all eight direct services.
The journey from Hamilton takes approximately one hour 50 minutes with stops at both terminals, before continuing on to Auckland CBD. Services operate daily, except on Christmas Day.
InterCity’s daily services between Hamilton and Auckland Airport launched in 2014 and have proved popular with business travellers and holiday makers alike.
They are the only direct public transport connection between Auckland Airport and Hamilton.
ENDS – 17 February 2017
InterCity Group is proud to announce its second major acquisition this year – the purchase of Auckland Hop-on Hop-off Explorer Bus.
From 1 November the distinctive yellow buses will be owned and operated by New Zealand’s largest sightseeing tour and passenger transport operator.
Auckland Explorer buses have been touring Auckland’s main attractions since 1987. Since then the business has expanded from a single double-decker to a fleet of eight vehicles. Its two routes connect 14 top Auckland attractions, including Kelly Tarlton’s, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Sky Tower, Parnell Village, Motat and the Auckland Zoo.
“I’m thrilled to add the iconic Auckland Explorer brand to the InterCity Group network,” says InterCity Group CEO John Thorburn.
“Auckland is a key part of our sightseeing tour network, and we’re excited to have a product that is ideal for a wide range of visitors, including the many cruise ship passengers who want to explore the city.”
Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive of Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development, Auckland’s economic development agency, says, “Hop-on hop-off sightseeing tours are an invaluable service in every world-class city, including Auckland.
“They provide a convenient way to experience some of the many great attractions on offer here. Having the potential for an integrated service with InterCity is an exciting opportunity for visitors."
The Auckland Explorer purchase is the second expansion by InterCity Group this year, after it was granted the license to operate the Gray Line sightseeing tour brand in August.
ENDS – 12 October 2016
InterCity Group, New Zealand’s largest sightseeing tour and passenger transport operator, has been awarded a license to operate sightseeing services in New Zealand as Gray Line, the world's largest and most respected sightseeing brand.
Gray Line offers over 3,500 tours and experiences in 700 locations around the globe. InterCity Group purchased certain assets from Johnston's Coachlines, and after a rigorous review process, the Gray Line board of directors approved the transfer of the New Zealand license from Johnston’s to InterCity Group.
InterCity Group CEO John Thorburn says the transaction highlights the positive state of the New Zealand tourism industry.
“We’re delighted to be joining the Gray Line worldwide family at a time when tourism is booming. We’ll be incorporating this iconic brand alongside our existing sightseeing day tours throughout New Zealand. This acquisition enables us to offer our customers even more choice, and opens up new opportunities for us to promote New Zealand as a destination to a wider international market.”
Brad Weber, Gray Line President and CEO, says: “I’m thrilled to see InterCity Group become an integral part of Gray Line. With their local expertise and strong industry relationships, we know Gray Line customers from around the world will be inspired by the unique experiences on offer in New Zealand. ”
InterCity Group’s GreatSights coaches around the country will soon be sporting a fresh new look, incorporating the world famous Gray Line brand.
Thorburn further says the InterCity Group plans to increase its portfolio of tour options and destinations for Gray Line and other signature brands in its portfolio.
ENDS – 26 August 2016
Passengers on New Zealand’s largest bus network can now track their bus in real time with the launch of a new mobile app.
Using GPS technology, the app allows Kiwi and international travellers to follow the progress of their bus along its route and receive instant notifications about their service.
Customers can also book travel, share their itinerary and vehicle tracking with friends and family, and check the balance of their InterCity Rewards loyalty account through the app, which is available to download free for iOS and Android mobile devices.
“We’re proud to introduce a new way for our customers to stay updated on the day of travel,” says Daniel Rode, InterCity General Manager Digital & Brand. “Whether you’re wondering how far away the bus is, what your bus will look like or the fastest way to get to your stop, the app has you covered.”
The passenger app is the latest in a series of technology upgrades introduced by InterCity over the past year to enhance customer experience and keep passengers connected, informed and comfortable during their journey. These include the installation of free mobile WiFi across its entire fleet, and the introduction of premium InterCity GOLD seats on selected services.
ENDS – 19 May 2016
New Zealand’s iconic national bus service InterCity has selected Spark Digital as its partner to launch Wi-Fi across the entire fleet. From this summer travellers and tourists will benefit from seamless 3G and 4G mobile Wi-Fi across New Zealand’s largest passenger transport network.
InterCity awarded the contract after an extensive trial on selected routes in order to determine the best coverage and technology from a range of network providers.
Spark Digital’s General Manager of Corporate Clients, Simon Gillespie, says InterCity chose Spark Digital on the strength of the company’s reputation for providing exceptional ICT solutions, its superior coverage, and the capability to support a number of other future on-board entertainment initiatives.
Gillespie adds: “Spark New Zealand’s recent purchase of 700Mhz spectrum puts us in the best position to deliver a high-performance 4G mobile network for New Zealand inside and outside of the urban centres. The new agreement is a strong endorsement of InterCity’s trust in Spark Digital to ensure they continually evolve and take advantage of a range of digitisation solutions that will be available to their customers.”
InterCity CEO John Thorburn says that InterCity will be the only nationwide long distance bus company to have free Wi-Fi on every route.
“We carry over one million passengers each year and together with our luxury InterCity GOLD seating service, providing seamless Wi-Fi will ensure our customers travel in style and remain connected whether they are travelling for business or pleasure on all our routes.”
“InterCity is passionate about delivering our customers the best services.” says Thorburn. “Our first step is to deliver Wi-Fi across the fleet and we will look to follow this with other customer entertainment options.”
The agreement between Spark Digital and InterCity has been signed and the service will be rolled out over the summer period with many key routes activated before Christmas. Spark Digital is the incumbent communications provider for InterCity’s fixed, mobile and WAN services.
ENDS – 1 December 2014
Embargoed until 12.01am, 1 April 2014
Some lucky InterCity passengers will be in for a surprise during April – they’ll be sharing a bus with Prince William, Duchess Catherine and Prince George.
The young royal family have confirmed that they will be travelling by InterCity bus for one leg of their New Zealand travels this month, in keeping with their frugal, down-to-earth public image.
While the route Wills and Kate will be travelling on cannot be revealed for security reasons, InterCity has confirmed that it is busy enhancing its best coach with a fit-out suitable for young royals; including a top of the range baby capsule for 8-month-old Prince George and plush Lazy-Boy recliners for the royal couple.
Royal insider, Mr Harold Jest, said the royal trio are very much looking forward to seeing the New Zealand landscape from the comfort of an InterCity coach.
“Wills and Kate expressed a desire to see New Zealand like the locals do. This way they’ll be able to observe the lovely scenery from an elevated view and partake in some good old-fashioned banter with our Kiwi friends.”
Spokesperson for InterCity New Zealand, April Dupé, says the coach line is dedicated to ensuring the young family have a premium ‘Kiwiana’ experience.
“William and Kate will be treated to a gourmet hangi lunch, prepared by InterCity’s very own executive chef. Other passengers won’t miss out either – every one on board will receive a goody bag packed with delectable home-grown treats.”
Further adding to the Kiwiana dimension, Lorde has been secured for a private on-board performance of her hit song ‘Royals’.
Passengers on the affected service will be notified in advance as they will need to arrive early at their stop to go through an additional security screening.
“This early notice will ensure our passengers have plenty of time to arrange their best clothes!” added Dupé.
North Island residents may have noticed a new arrival on the roads in recent weeks – a massive new InterCity bus.
InterCity has recently launched two of the custom-built 14.5 metre-long buses, which are running on its daily Auckland-Hastings and Auckland-Hamilton routes.
Powered by a 6-cylinder, 12 litre, 400 horsepower, low emissions engine, the buses have an imported Scania chassis, while the body was built by Tauranga company Kiwi Bus Builders, taking around 2800 hours to finish.
With 63 seats on board, the buses mean more room for InterCity passengers on routes which often sell out, says InterCity General Manager of Coaching Sam Peate.
“The Auckland to Hastings services are among the most popular in the InterCity network because they provide convenient travel times for people travelling between towns and cities like Auckland, Hamilton, Tokoroa, Taupo, Napier and Hastings,” he says.
“By adding the extra seating capacity we are pleased to be able to offer even more people the chance to get to where they want to go, when they want to go.”
More bus passengers means fewer cars on the road, a win-win situation for motorists.
The buses are likely to travel about 100,000km per year – that’s equal to two and a half trips around the world.
Fares on InterCity’s services start from just $1 plus booking fee. InterCity runs daily services to more than 600 destinations around New Zealand.
ENDS – 10 February 2014
InterCity has teamed up with Google to put its transit information at users’ fingertips via the Google Maps application.
People searching for directions around New Zealand on Google Maps can now see details of InterCity’s national bus services, including routes, stop locations, travel time and pricing.
InterCity is New Zealand’s largest long distance transport network, with over 100 daily services nationwide. Bus, ferry and train information can all be viewed in Google Maps and booked online via the InterCity website.
“There’s a growing trend for consumers to plan and book their travel online,” says Daniel Rode, General Manager Marketing and Online Sales at InterCity Group. “By integrating our route information with Google’s powerful Maps product, we can continue to make our services more accessible for passengers, whether they’re at home or on the go.”
Rode says working with Google to make transit information available for Kiwis on Google Maps is the latest in a series of moves to make travel planning easier for mobile customers, with InterCity’s mobile website launching earlier in the year.
Nabil Nahgdy, Product Manager for Google Maps, Australia and New Zealand, said, “Google Transit is also available on Google Maps for Android and iPhone. Simply search for where you want to go and Google Maps will show you how to get there by offering transit directions from your current location.”
Almost 90% of InterCity’s daily services are currently available via Google Maps, reaching 529 stops around the country including all major towns and cities. Google Maps also supports more than 40 languages, making bus information accessible for international visitors and non English-speaking residents alike.
Users can customise their searches by entering their desired destination, travel date and time into Google Maps, to find bus route options that match. Walking directions are included, while Google’s aerial imagery, Street View imagery and nearby business listings let travellers check out their stop before they arrive.
ENDS – 23 December 2013