New Zealand might just be the perfect travel destination. It’s home to scenic surroundings, epic outdoor adventures, and some of the craziest people this side of Australia. So planning a trip to New Zealand can be a difficult task. You don’t want to miss out on any adventure – especially when you consider the 12-hour flight. Fortunately, I was able to experience some of the best travel spots on the North and South Islands on a recent trip. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite spots.
Auckland is one of the more popular destinations in New Zealand – and rightly so. It’s an urban metropolis and a great starting point for adventures. This city exceeded my expectations and is very much a city in flux. Big changes and updates promise that future trips to Auckland will be even better.
If you venture to Auckland, you won’t want to miss a trip to Waiheke Island. It’s only a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland and promises pristine beaches, gorgeous olive groves and plenty of vineyards. MudBrick was my favorite spot for wine tasting and accommodations.
I also visited a very exclusive private member golf club which has many US residents. They do not publish their name, so please contact me if you are a golfer and interested.
Queenstown is like the Aspen of New Zealand. It’s a charming, laid back town that doubles as a gorgeous mountain retreat. It’s set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with a backdrop of the Southern Alps. Queenstown is a favorite of extreme sports enthusiasts – so it came as no surprise that it was the site of some of my most insane adventures.
During my stay, I was fortunate enough to reside in two of the best resorts in the area. The first was Matakauri Lodge. This gorgeous lakeside retreat was set right on Lake Wakatipu and only minutes away from town. My stay included panoramic views of the mountains, a private suite, and open fireplaces. This isolated spot is a perfect place for reflection and a launching point for outdoor journeys.
The second resort was Eichardt’s – located right in the heart of Queenstown. This private lakefront hotel had luxury amenities and was in the thick of the restaurant and dining scene.
History isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you travel to New Zealand. Despite gaining its independence in 1947, New Zealand is chock full of interesting history.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Christchurch. It was established by the British Canterbury Association in 1856 – making it the oldest established city in New Zealand. The European influence is on full display in the country’s Victorian buildings and world-famous botanic gardens.
My trip to the Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch gave me a sample of New Zealand’s rich history. The lodge was built in 1895 and is one of country’s greatest estates. I was able to enjoy the Queen Anne architecture with an overnight stay. My group also took a tour of the famous Otahuna gardens that surround the lodge.
Christchurch is very much a New Zealand city, but it’s European heritage makes it a unique spot. It’s a must see city for any traveler.
Stunning waterfalls, a lakefront setting, and hidden hot springs. These are just a few of the things found in the North Island town of Taupo.
My stay at Taupo’s Huka Lodge did not disappoint. It was located right along the turquoise waters of the Waikato River. The 17 acre lodge included sprawling grounds on the bank of the river and only minutes away from the Huka Falls. The great location, hospitality, and amenities made it difficult to leave Huka Lodge.
Renowned beaches, wineries, and architecture – what more could you want? Hawke’s Bay was one of my favorite pit stops. It had some of the most spectacular Ocean views in all of New Zealand. The wine didn’t hurt, either.
I lodged at the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a sister site of Matakauri Lodge. It was home to sprawling pastureland and private cottages – like something out of a Nicholas Sparks movie.
All of my stops had exceptional cuisine and unique wines. But Cape Kidnappers was the crème de la crème. The winery estate included a top-notch tasting room and five-star dining.
Bay of Islands
It’s hard to leave New Zealand’s main islands. That is until you learn about the Bay of Islands.
The Bay of Islands is a series of 140 islands located off the coast of the North Island. They’re home to endless swimming, boating, and once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing opportunities.
One of the best homebases for island adventures is Rahimoana Villa in Eagle’s Nest. This modern luxury hotel has 300-degree views of the ocean and over a half a mile of beachfront property. There’s also an 80-foot infinity pool to go with 44-acres of private land. There’s no beating Eagle’s Nest between the world-class amenities, gorgeous sunsets, and stunning views.
New Zealand is a bucket list item for any adventurer. It’s a beautiful destination that is surrounding by epic scenery and unique experiential offerings. Special thanks to Tourism New Zealand & Seasonz Travel for planning such an exceptional itinerary. Contact me today to book the trip of a lifetime.