New Zealand’s wildlife, viticulture, outdoor activities, cuisine and friendly locals are just a few of the reasons TCS World Travel loves this country. We asked our luxury custom travel consultants to share their recommendations for New Zealand.
Custom Travel: New Zealand
Where should travelers go in New Zealand?
Fly into Auckland on the North Island and spend some time way up in the north near the Bay of Islands exploring the beach cliffs, before heading down to Queensland in the South Island and working your way back up. The great thing about New Zealand is that the islands aren’t that big (roughly the size of California), so you can easily fly from one end of the South Island down to the North for a reasonable price and a short flight. Once you land in Queensland, you are in the “adventure sports” capital, so you can try bungee jumping, walking the suspension bridge, riding a luge down the mountain, or taking a jet boat on the Shotover River. In the winter, Queenstown provides skiing on the slopes of the Remarkables and Coronet Peak. It’s a beautiful area with great restaurants, outdoor activities and fun for families.
What are some can't-miss experiences?
People don’t necessarily connect New Zealand with wine, but the Sauvignon Blanc in the Blenheim/Marlborough region on the South Island is incredible: crisp, dry and refreshing. If you’re adventurous, don’t miss riding the gondola up the mountain in Queenstown and riding the luge down the mountain, or paragliding over the city. New Zealand is famous for its green-lipped mussels, so if the weather is nice, take a cruise on the Marlborough Sounds to see a mussel farm and enjoy fresh-steamed seafood.
What may surprise us about New Zealand?
It's fascinating how unpopulated New Zealand is. Even in the biggest city, Auckland, there are less than 1.5 million people—roughly the size of Phoenix, Arizona—and most of New Zealand consists of small communities and neighborhoods. You can drive from town to town on small by-ways and scenic roads, not freeways.
Where should travelers stay?
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a bit off the beaten path in Matauri Bay on the North Island. The beach is secluded, with an incredible view of the Cavalli Islands. The guest suites are airy and clean, with their own private porch, sitting area and open fireplace, overlooking the golf course and Pacific Ocean. Eichardt’s Private Hotel in Queenstown offers a unique contrast to the expansive property of Kauri Cliffs. The hotel is right in the heart of the active, vibrant city of Queenstown, in a historic homestead built in 1859 and overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The accessibility to the restaurants, pubs and shopping can't be beat.