There are some places in the world that just have to be visited at least once in a lifetime, and New Zealand should high on the list. It’s a land built for those with an adventurous spirit as one of our travel specialists Alison Garven found out on a recent visit. She has picked some highlights from her 10-day trip and can help you plan the ultimate getaway.
When travelling with our locally based supplier you can take a luxury cruise through the Bay of Islands on a private catamaran. If you’re flying into Auckland, a tour of the 150 islands should be the first stop on your itinerary.
Setting off early in the morning, you’ll enjoy a long stopover in a secluded bay for lunch before exploring the colourful marine life with a private scuba diving guide or hopping onto a kayak to navigate the craggy coastline and sunbathe on deserted beaches.
Every so often, one of our specialists stays at a hotel that all other properties become compared to – and Eagles Nest is now Alison’s benchmark. Just six private villas dot the 75-acre estate overlooking the turquoise waters that surround the Bay of Islands. The contemporary lodgings are all polished concrete, floor-to-ceiling windows and designer furniture and four of them have private infinity pools running the length of the terrace.
‘With levels of luxury this high, the only way to arrive is by helicopter,’ says Alison. ‘Private chefs are on hand to cook your meals and active types can play golf, cycle the coastline, give deep sea fishing a spin or join a horse trek along the beach.’
It’s one of our 11 Global Hotel Collection properties in New Zealand, meaning you’ll receive complimentary buffet breakfast, early check-in and late check-out*, a room upgrade and US$100 hotel credit.
New Zealand is the home of extreme adventure and if you’ve got the bottle to throw yourself off a bridge or career down a canyon in a high speed jet boat, we recommend a nine-day itinerary which covers some of the most exciting regions.
It begins in Queenstown, a great base for day excursions, which can include a helicopter trip through Milford Sound fjord and over the glacier of Mount Tutoko, followed by a private fishing and diving trip.
The next day it’s an early rise for a white water rafting voyage down the raging Shotover river and there’ll be opportunities for paragliding and bungee jumping.
The Hapuku Lodge is perhaps the best place to stay on the rugged South Island. Sandwiched between the Southern Ocean and the Kaikoura mountain range, it’d be a shame to be staying on ground level when you could be making the most of the views from a beautiful tree house.
‘The far flung location means it’s a fantastic base for exploring the great outdoors and after a full day of exertion, there’s nothing better than tucking into a meal created by hotel owner and Masterchef finalist, Fiona Reed,’ explains Alison.
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The nearby Kaikoura Canyon is one of the most nutrient-rich stretches of water to surround New Zealand and it attracts the largest whales on the planet. Countless boat tours operate out of the Kaikoura and neighbouring towns and while we can recommend which to use, we think it’s best to take to the air. The experienced helicopter pilots know exactly where to look, meaning you’ll able to watch humpback, sperm and orca whales breaching the surface and pods of dolphins chasing enormous shoals of fish.
One of the most famous regions in New Zealand, Marlborough, is a rolling landscape that produces some of the finest wines in the world and is particularly known for its fruity Sauvignon Blanc. There are many wineries to visit which can be reached easily from Blenheim by car, or those looking to work up a thirst can cycle between vineyards. Popular wineries include Brancott Estate, the pioneers of New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc wine, and the well-known Cloudy Bay – we can arrange private tours of the vineyards and tasting sessions with the experts.
If you’d like to plan a tailored getaway to include these or any other experiences, contact us to talk to one of our specialists who can plan every aspect of your itinerary, including return flights and transfers ►
.*Subject to availability
Last updated on 2 August 2016