EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in New Zealand travel (2)

Friday
Oct272017

Family Travel Destinations for Luxury and Adventure

Planning a fun family getaway with kids doesn’t have to mean sacrificing adventure or luxury-style travel in favor of theme parks and all-inclusive resorts. Some of our favorite destinations rank high in terms of safety and tick the right boxes for family travel - optimal weather during school break times, palatable food for picky eaters, sleeping arrangements that are comfortable and convertible, and where you can see a lot in a week or so. What lies beyond those basics is even more of a draw - a bonding opportunity for the whole family through experiences that  will thrill travelers of all ages. Through a face to face encounter with an endangered species, or exposure to a wildly different culture, experiencing the sights and natural wonders that feel a world away from home, or taking the opportunity to give back through conservation initiatives, both parents and children will go home with a feeling of significance and a broader understanding of the world beyond the familiar.

Africa has so much to offer families of all kinds. In fact, we’ve dedicated a whole page to ideas for African family safaris. In particular, Botswana is a sparsely populated country with a peaceful energy and vast open spaces for exploration. A beautiful green season coincides with spring break times and brings about lush vegetation and lots of animal babies. In this atmospheric land reminiscent of the Lion King family members of all ages will find themselves enchanted. Canoe through the Selinda Spillway filled with zebra, hippos and elephants, embark on a meerkat walking safari, or go a step further and take part in a solar light distribution to a village where children can interact with others their own age, taking with them life lessons and memories they will cherish their whole lives.

Iceland has been named the most peaceful country in the world for several years in a row now and its location just a few hours from New York and London makes it a prime choice for families looking for a shorter excursion, as highlights can be seen and done in less than a week. Reykjavik has all the conveniences of a big city and easy day trips to waterfalls and thermal pools will keep everyone occupied and also offer some of the most incredible frame-worthy photo opportunities. More adventurous families with slightly older children can also opt to sleep out in a luxury camp on an ice blue glacier giving them more exposure to incredible nighttime spectacles in the sky, depending on the time of year: the never ending day under the midnight sun, or the mind-blowing northern lights.

New Zealand is also considered one of the safest countries in the world, a utopian paradise where airport security is practically non-existent because it doesn’t have to be. Plentiful outdoors activities including swimming with wild dolphins, exploring coastal waters via catamaran or kayak, fly fishing, hiking, exploring mermaid pools, and much more. Parents will love wine tasting in Marlborough where plenty of the wineries are kid-friendly. There are even cultural immersion opportunities with indigenous Maori groups in their villages that are organized and well-equipped to handle visits from tourists. Finally, visions of the spectacular Aurora Australis (the south pole’s version of the Northern Lights) from New Zealand’s south island will leave everyone spellbound.

In Japan, a culture of respect, rich history and ancient traditions that are strikingly different from most everywhere else will result in a sensory-filled learning experience for the whole family. In Tokyo, older kids and teenagers will delight in a trip to the famous Tsujiki Fish Market or a stroll to experience neon overload in Harajuku. Art, music, and all types of media make this capital city a mecca for pop culture lovers. For more traditional learning experiences, there are dozens more temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sights than one can experience in one trip, as well as plenty of natural wonders in more rural areas. Accommodations range from traditional to modern all over the country, and japan is known for being one of the safest and cleanest places on the planet.

At Epic Road we create custom itineraries for families to ensure all needs and interests are met. Check out our pages with expansive info dedicated to family safaris, Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan.

Thursday
Jul202017

Top Tips for Your Honeymoon in New Zealand


If you’re planning a honeymoon to New Zealand, you’ve chosen one of the most pristine, otherworldly places on earth for your once-in-a-lifetime trip. With daring adventure travel to test your nerves, gorgeous, cliff-clinging luxury lodgings to calm your body and mind, and gourmet meals with local wines, produce and meat to tease your senses, New Zealand is a top choice for honeymooners. We’ve compiled a list below of just a few of the most romantic, memorable experiences in the land of the Kiwis. 

Stay

On the North Island, The Lodge at Kinloch, Taupo, is a modern version of a dramatic Scottish castle, where guests take in views of the gorgeous lake or play golf on their renowned par-72 course. For those wanting proximity to Auckland but a taste of country life, the Boatshed at Waiheke Island is a short ferry ride away, set amidst gardens, olive oil farms and vineyards. 

On the South Island romance, seclusion and outdoor adventures abound. At mountainous alpine lodge Blanket Bay, Glenorchy, honeymooners hike on trails past waterfalls and wildflowers, then unwind with soul-soothing spa treatments and cozy nights in front of the fireplace. Annandale, an elegant working farm on a peninsula near Christchurch, offers guests the luxury of a private chef in an off-the-grid location surrounded by fields full of roaming sheep. 

Taste

New Zealand has a culinary scene with top notch restaurants like the award-winning Sidart in Auckland, or the plethora of fine dining options in Wellington, the country’s culinary capital. Food is of the highest quality everywhere, with many luxury properties sourcing fruit and vegetables from the gardens on their own property, and sheep and cow meat is all free range. Freshly caught seafood in the form of mussels from local farms or Tuatua, a type of indigenous New Zealand shellfish that isn’t found anywhere else in the world, are readily available. For a truly authentic experience try Hangi, a Maori specialty comprised of some combination of fish, chicken, sweet potato, pumpkin, cabbage and root vegetables, cooked in a hole dug in the ground and best experienced on a visit to a Maori village. For wine enthusiasts visiting Marlborough, New Zealand’s most famous wine region, is a must. 

Experience

For adrenaline junkies, the best thrill ride of your life might be a bungy jump with your new spouse over the Nevis River in the Nevis Swing, which can hold two people. In Abel Tasman National Park, beautiful Cleopatra’s Pool is a good spot for a romantic dip, or ride down a waterslide that has been formed naturally by moss covered rocks. During the summer months (January - March) the beaches at Herne Bay are a luxe locale to see and be seen near surf and sun, while swimming with dolphins off Kaikoura and Lake Taupo fly fishing round out the outdoorsy activities for the more adventurous. During winter, heli-skiing in Queenstown is a surprisingly affordable, and unforgettable, treat, as is snuggling up at a prime spot on Stewart Island or Dunedin to watch the fantastical Aurora Australis, the Antarctic Circle’s answer to the northern lights. 

Contact us at hello@epicroad.com to start planning your perfect New Zealand honeymoon, and check out our main New Zealand page for more general information.