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A Luxury Journey Through New Zealand

A Modern Day Utopia

OVERVIEW

Otherworldly in its purity, ethereal in its simplicity and legendary in its hospitality, New Zealand is one of those rare places that completely embraces its natural assets and celebrates them with unabashed bravado. It can be rugged and pristine; adrenaline-pumping and soul-soothing; utterly rustic and exquisitely refined. We go there to feel nature in the raw and to experience it in the most satisfying ways, whether heli-hiking on a glacier, meandering along a volcanic beach, sipping sauvignon blanc just steps from the vines, following in the footsteps of the ancient Maori, frolicking with dolphins, or simply letting the scenery take our breath away. Join us as we venture from North Island to South Island, revealing New Zealand’s intrinsic beauty, one authentic adventure at a time.

WHAT WE LOVE

  • Utopia: In 1516 Sir Thomas More imagined a place in which everything was perfect, he called it Utopia. In 1642, the last land mass on Earth was settled by humans, we call it New Zealand. A modern day Utopia. A place where there are almost no guns, pesticides, poverty, pollution or crime. A place where the people are dedicated to living in harmony with nature & are most often woken by the sounds of birds. A place where the animals are harmless & have no fear of humans because they've never been threatened. A place with barely any airport security because it's not needed. A place consistently named the most beautiful, peaceful, harmonious & safest nations in the world. New Zealand stands as an example of what the world once was & could be.
  • Swimming with Dolphins in Kaikoura: The waters off Kaikoura are world-renown for abundant marine life, from sperm whales to fur seals. We like to jump right in and swim alongside the region’s playful dusky dolphins—an acrobatic pod of loveable creatures—on an unforgettable encounter.  
  • Adrenaline Sports in Queenstown: A veritable nerve center for adrenaline junkies, Queenstown offers everything from skydiving to heli-skiing to paragliding to jet boat rides through narrow canyons. And since organized bungy jumping was born in New Zealand, you’d expect one of the greatest drops—an 8.5-second freefall from the world-famous Nevis Bungy over the Nevis River. If you dare to open your eyes, the views are spectacular!
  • Sail the Bay of Islands: Breathtakingly beautiful and anchored in turquoise waters, the 144 islands in the bay are teeming with dolphins, marlins, penguins and whales. We prefer to explore via catamaran and kayak, a soothing way to see the playful marine life up close. 
  • Helicopter Explorer: Touring the island by helicopter is both accessible and spectacular - New Zealand is a place where a one hour helicopter ride starts atop a mountain glacier, soars through the cinematic Milford Sound, and ends on a stunning black volcanic beach where you can soak your toes in the turquoise South Pacific. 
  • Hiking in Abel Tasman National Park: With its crescent beaches, granite cliffs, natural estuaries and waterfalls, Abel Tasman is a haven for walkers of all levels. The Coast Track is a favorite and will take you to Cleopatra’s Pool, a natural waterslide. The Inland Track is more advanced but the sights and sounds of the undisturbed forest are worth the effort.
  • Winetasting in Marlborough: At the top of the South Island, New Zealand’s famous wine region beckons to oenophiles with inviting cellars nestled among picturesque vineyards. At Cloudy Bay, we enjoyed sampling sauvignon blanc in egg-shaped chairs suspended from the trees, as well as seafood sensations at Jack’s Raw Bar. Brancott Estate Heritage Center provides equally enthralling vistas, fabulous vintages, fresh local produce and a show featuring endangered New Zealand falcons.
  • Mountain Biking in Rotorua: Zip through towering Redwoods and exotic trees on the trails of Whakarewarewa Forest, a world-class mountain-biking destination. The lower portions are ideal for families and novices, but the upper sections have enough vertical and twists and turns to excite even the most experienced rider.
  • Golf with a View: With more than 400 golf courses situated in pristine locales on the North Island and South Island, New Zealand provides a stunning backdrop for a day of play. Snow-capped peaks, cliff-top greens and, yes, wildlife in the gallery all add to a one-of-a-kind experience for golfers.
    Farm to Table Dining: The freshest seafood…plump oysters…lush lamb…artisanal cheeses. Dining in New Zealand is a gastronomic adventure. Chefs with an appetite for experimentation are incorporating the best local ingredients with Pacific, European and Maori influences to create imaginative dishes. A foodie’s dream destination. 
  • Fly Fishing in Lake Taupo: If you’re angling to land the big one, New Zealand’s a fly-fishing paradise. The backcountry tributaries that feed Lake Taupo on the North Island, including the legendary Tongariro River, are home to a large population of rainbow and brown trout—the ideal spot to write your own fish story. 
  • Celebrating Maori Culture: The indigenous Maori, New Zealand’s first inhabitants, today make up 15% of the country’s population and their cultural impact remains strong. Walking tours with Maori guides are ideal for learning about tribal history and the Maori’s unique connection to nature. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, home to one of the world’s largest ceremonial waka (war canoes), to experience traditional performances as well as a special celebration on New Zealand’s Waitangi Day (February 6), commemorating the 1840 treaty between the Maori and the British Crown.
  • Aurora Australis: The southern counterpart to the perhaps better known Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. They can be seen year-round but the best time to get a glimpse of these lights is always during winter months when the nightsky remains darkest for longest, for New Zealand this is March through September. Stewart Island, Lake Tekapo & Dunedin include some of the best spots to spot the aurora. 
  • Eden Eats: With a human population accounting for just 5% of all living things, New Zealand's 40 million sheep by & large outnumber its' 4 million people. The sheep as well as the cows are freerange and everywhere so the meat is fresh, plentiful & of outstanding quality. Most luxury properties have a natural garden onsite from which they source the vast majority of their fruits & vegetables making farm-to-table not a fad but a tradition. Not to mention the abundance of mussel farms, the extraordinary medicinal manuka honey & olive oil that rivals Italy. New Zealand is a true foodie's delight. 

REST & REJUVENATE

NORTH ISLAND

  • Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay: Elegant, comfortable and welcoming, Kauri Cliffs is an intimate 22-suite clifftop hideaway offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands. Every inch of the hotel takes full advantage of the breathtaking views, whether you’re lazing by the infinity pool, savoring Pacific Rim cuisine in the cozy dining room or relaxing on your own private veranda. Even the award-winning 18-hole golf course will take your breath away. And after a day of play, try a Waterfall Massage or Manuka Honey Healing Cocoon, one of the signature treatments at the resort’s spa, nestled in a totara forest.
  • Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands: A modern marvel perched on the edge of a peninsula in the Bay of Islands, Eagles Nest blends seamlessly into its stunning surroundings. The property features five distinctive villas (ranging from one to four bedrooms) with names like Sacred Space and First Light Temple, giving you a sense of the harmony that lies within. Each luxury accommodation is exquisitely decorated and boasts gourmet kitchens and floor-to-ceiling windows so you can completely experience the dramatic, ever-changing bay and sky views. Four of the villas have pools, all have access to the estate’s private beach and service is impeccable, with personal chefs, concierges and spa services available throughout your stay.
  • The Boatshed, Waiheke Island: The Boatshed is a charming alternative to Auckland hotels—a mere 35-minute ferry ride from the city but a world away on beautiful Waiheke Island. This seaside getaway is cottage living at its best, with five suites and two bungalows nestled among flower and vegetable gardens overlooking the sea. The accommodations are comfortable and cozy and the island is wild and wonderful, known for its rolling vineyards, olive oil farms and art galleries. For sheer romance, choose the Lighthouse suite, which features a three-story tower with incredible views. And enjoy private al fresco dining with dishes prepared by the in-house chef using locally sourced seafood and meats, and vegetables from the hotel’s own organic garden. 
  • The Lodge at Kinloch, Taupo: Feel like royalty at the Lodge at Kinloch, an ultra-modern take on a Scottish castle that was imaginatively rendered by an award-winning New Zealand architect. The main lodge is a gleaming masterpiece of local schist stone, dramatically set on the grounds of the famous par-72 Kinloch Club links course on the shores of Lake Taupo. Choose from one- and two-bedroom villas or one-bedroom junior suites, each adorned with handmade New Zealand rugs, sophisticated furnishings, carbon-neutral fireplaces and expansive views of the lake and course.
  • Huka Lodge, Taupo: What began in the 1920s as a rustic fishing lodge tucked away on the banks of the Waikato River has developed into one of the world’s most acclaimed retreats, renowned for its enviable location, unsurpassed hospitality and refined design. Situated on 17 manicured acres just upstream from Huka Falls, the Huka Lodge features 19 suites and two cottages, each with hypnotic river views and complete privacy. Enjoy hearty breakfasts and five-course dinners, served in romantic riverside locations on the property, plus an array of activities, including fly fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, biking and hiking—though just sitting on your veranda by the river is an experience in itself.
  • The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay: Set on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm atop a cliff overlooking the sea, “The Farm,” as it’s affectionately known, offers a true taste of New Zealand pastoral life—all with a contemporary twist. Massive wood beams, stone fireplaces and unending water views make this ranch-style retreat a traveler favorite. With just 22 suites and a four-bedroom owner’s cottage, all incorporating rustically elegant design, the massive estate feels warm and welcoming. There’s golf, clay target shooting, walking, birding, horseback riding, Can-am tours, swimming and an inviting spa right on the property, as well as gourmet dining options, plus picnics available to fully savor the resplendent grounds.
SOUTH ISLAND
  • Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch: At the gateway to the Southern Alps sits a storybook home, a magnificent Queen Anne-style estate accented by a field of daffodils, lush woodlands and a Dutch garden. This is Otahuna Lodge, originally built in 1895 and completed restored in 2007, the name which translates from Maori to mean “little hill among the hills.” Enter this Victorian gem, with its stately woodwork and historic character, and you’ll be transported to a gentler time. Each of the seven suites has been painstakingly preserved and oozes with charm, whether you’re soaking in a grand tub, reading by a hand-carved fireplace or taking in views of the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps from the veranda. Expect gourmet cuisine infused with flavors from the lodge’s own potager garden and orchard.
  • Annandale, Banks Peninsula: The ultimate in “gumboot luxury,” Annandale, a working coastal farm on the Banks Peninsula near Christchurch, takes you delightfully off the grid. Featuring four distinctive villas set among rolling hills by the sea, this escape is uber-private and utterly alluring. There’s the Homestead (five bedrooms), an 1880’s restored farmhouse; Scrubby Bay (four bedrooms), a cedar-clad beach house; Seascape (one bedroom), a supremely romantic modern masterpiece perched on a pebble beach; and Shepherd’s Cottage (one bedroom), a cozy hilltop getaway in full view of roaming sheep. Enjoy an on-site pool and fitness center. Gourmet meals, loving created using ingredients from farm, is discretely delivered to the villas or private chefs are on call. Activities abound, including farm tours, kayaking, helicopter tours, spa treatments and even art classes conducted in the villas by a local artist.
  • Minaret Station, Wanaka: Accessible only by helicopter and set in a picturesque glacial valley, Minaret Station is a high-country experience that elevates the spirit. This working deer, sheep and cattle farm is family owned and boasts only four Alpine chalets, each luxuriously appointed with sheepskin carpets, king-sized bed, en-suite baths and private decks with hot tubs, providing uninterrupted alpine views. The wonderful Mountain Kitchen specializes in European and Asian fusion cuisine, paired with fine wines. Feel like a modern-day explorer and take off on private heli-skiing, hunting and fishing tours. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience—rugged, authentic and unforgettable.
  • Blanket Bay, Glenorchy: With the mighty Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu as its mesmerizing backdrop, Blanket Bay is a quintessential alpine lodge. Soaring peaked roofs, stone fireplaces, comfortable furnishing and expansive windows provide a comfy base to explore the area’s many wonders. There are beautifully appointed lodge rooms and suites, and chalet suites that reflect New Zealand’s colonial architecture. Try world-class fly fishing nearby or via helicopter to remote spots; make tracks in virgin snow on a heli-skiing adventure; trek past lakes, rivers, waterfalls, peaks and wildflowers on an alpine hike; take a private helicopter tour over glistening Milford Sound and Fiordland; or enjoy the more serene activities at the lodge’s spa or at Jack’s Point championship golf course.
  • Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown: Opulence meets nature at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, an iconic property in the heart of Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This establishment has been welcoming guests since the 1860s when a gold rush put Queenstown on the map. Today, all that glitters is this waterfront complex, with lake-view and mountain-view suites and apartments, as well as a fabulous two-bedroom penthouse boasting a huge private terrace. Do spend some time in Eichardt’s bar, a favorite local haunt, and the Grille by Eichardt’s, a sophisticated dining experience.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Best time to travel is November through May, with peak season from mid-December to end of February, so advance reservations are needed
  • 12-hour flight from Los Angeles
  • Easy to navigate via car (driving on left side of road) or domestic flights
  • Roughly the size of California, with about 4.5 million people and more than 25 million sheep
  • During the summer months (December through February) daylight can last until 9:30 p.m.
  • Great heli-skiing during winter, particularly from July through September
  • Seamlessly combine a trip to Fiji or Antarctica