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Best of New Zealand

New Zealand is home to some of the best luxury lodges in the world. Remote lodges with award winning chefs and sommeliers, combined with dramatic landscapes and movie making scenery, this itinerary has literally everything New Zealand has to offer. On the North Island discover the indigenous Maori history, tee off at spectacular cliff drop golf courses, walk on volcanoes or marvel at the sea colonies. Then awe at Mother Nature’s draw dropping views of the Milford Sound, picnic on a glacier, get exhilarated on a speedboat and top off with some local wines on the South Island.
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Alps & Helicopters

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New Zealand is an adventure playground with spectacular scenery

  • Aquatic & Coastal
  • Art & Indigenous Culture
  • Cities
  • Food & Wine
  • Sports & Adventure
  • Wilderness & Wildlife

No trip to the Bay of Islands would be complete without “getting out on the guided by professional and knowledgeable crew. This aquatic paradise boasts over 144 islands, a shoreline of secluded bays and coves, prolific marine life and a colourful history.

Arguably the most beautiful park in New Zealand the Abel Tasman National Park is predominantly a coastal park, and is admired for its golden sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons, fascinating rocky outcrops and beautiful, unmodified estuaries. Your private charter catamaran awaits in a secluded bay. Board your boat at Stephens Bay and cruise around the headland to Split Apple Rock, taking our time to enable you to get the best views and photos during your scenic cruise. You may see dolphins and Seals, or take in some kayaking or bushwalking.

Rotorua is the hub of Maori Culture and what better way of experiencing it than with a local Maori historian who will share with you stories, legends and history of his tribe, "Te Arawa”. Watch the Lady Knox Geyser erupt, at The Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, New Zealand's most colourful thermal region, where you will discover New Zealand's largest mudpool, the spectacular Artists Palette, and the Champagne Pool.

Visit the original settlement of the Maori, Ohinemutu Village, and the famous meeting house, Tamatekapua. Looking across the lake to Mokoia Island, your guide will tell the enchanting forbidden love story of two of his direct ancestors, Hinemoa and Tutanekai, and sing the world renowned love song, Pokarekare ana.

Meet more of his family at Whakarewarewa and see how his people still utilise the thermal waters for cooking, heating and bathing. You will experience a live cultural performance, comprising the poi dance, stick games, singing, and the mighty Maori war dance, "The Haka".

Auckland, the city of Sails never disappoints. World-class shopping, buzzing waterfront precincts lined with restaurants, a vibrant arts and culture scene and harbour adventures right on your doorstep. Visit the highlights of the city before heading out on the harbour to wine and dine and you sail around this world famous harbour.

Up in the mountains, you will find the city of Queenstown. A quaint little town that has so much character and charm. Your guide will take you through the city and it’s magnificent surrounds starting with the superb viewpoint over Lake Wakatipu before visiting the AJ Hackett Bungy Bridge, Gibbston Valley Winery, a Lord of the Rings film location and Arrowtown, all in the comfort and style of a luxury tour vehicle.

Are you a connoisseur of wines, or just enjoy a drop or two? The Hawke’s Bay region is a relatively large and diverse region capable of producing a wide range of wine varieties to a very high standard. Hawke’s Bay is best known for it’s Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet blends and Syrah, and equally impressive Chardonnay, however aromatic whites are consistently good and plantings of Pinot Noir at cooler sites are showing great results. The climate and lengthy growing season also allows regular production of successful dessert styles and new varieties are continually trialled.

While staying at Cape Kidnappers, you are right in the heart of this wine region and your private wine tour will be personalised to your tastes.

When in Queenstown, you will also stop by one of the award winning winery Gibbston Valley Winery to taste the celebrated Pinot Noir.

For Golf lovers, you will be staying at lodges located on some of the most beautiful and scenic greens on this planet. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offer an ideal location to play a serious round or friendly game of golf with unimaginable views at tee off.

At Stonefly Lodge in the Able Tasman National Park, try your hand at fly fishing or kyaking.

From Huka Lodge, fly high in a helicopter to Mt Tarawera, taking in the scenic wonders of the area from the air, before landing on Mt Tarawera for your guided crater walk experience.

Queenstown is a the hub of adventure, take your second heli experience and fly over the magnificent fiordlands of Milford Sound and land on a glacier for your gourmet champagne picnic. Boost your adrenaline on the Dart River Jet Boat, and an optional Bunjee Jump if your heart can handle it!

In the Bay of Islands, The Cape and Tane Mahuta helicopter tour showcases a diverse range of natural and historical treasures. Walk through the Waipoua Forest with some of the largest remaining Kauri trees in the world. Take in the stunning Ahipara dunes and the iconic Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga lighthouse, and fly over the purest deposit of silica sand in the world at Parengarenga Harbour.

Arthur's Pass, is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps. Arthur’s Pass National Park itself is a landscape of two halves; you'll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest on the East. Descend the western side and you venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers.

Out of Queenstown, a highlight not to be missed, Milford Sound mesmerises people all over the world. Carved by glaciers over 100,000 years the landscape is one where waterfalls cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords; where ancient rainforest untouched by man clings to mountains and where shimmering lakes and granite peaks look as they did a thousand years ago.

Itinerary Map

Both the North & South Islands of New Zealand are well represented in this journey.


Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and main transport hub. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, New Zealand, our largest and most diverse city.

Bay Of Islands

Northland is a story of two coastlines – the west coast is rugged and soulful while the east coast is relatively more sophisticated and urbane. In the beautiful Bay of Islands you can take a boat cruise, swim with dolphins, dive, fish or just relax in the sun. Be sure to visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of New Zealand's most significant historic sites.


Lake Taupo was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you'll see evidence of the lake's fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Lake Taupo's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites. The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it's a popular place for bicycle wine tours. Hawke's Bay is also New Zealand’s Art Deco centre, rebuilt in the 1930’s after a huge earthquake.


Celebrated as the country’s creative and culinary capital, Wellington is nestled between two of New Zealand’s finest wine regions. Loved locally for its dining culture, accessible waterfront, city markets, walking and biking trails, and some of the best coffee and craft beer on the planet, Wellington’s compact central city is home to a vibrant street culture.


Nelson is a lifestyle; that's the best way to describe it. Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, it is the sunniest region in New Zealand. Nelson's diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori.

Christchurch / Canterbury

Canterbury stretches from ocean to the Alps, and is land of plains and peaks. It is a place of variety and innumerable attractions. Within two hours of an international airport, you can ski, play golf, bungy jump, go whitewater rafting, mountain biking, wind surfing, whale watching, and visit world-class vineyards and gardens. Where else in the world can you do that?


Queenstown is the ultimate destination. Experience exciting adventure activities amidst some of New Zealand's most spectacular natural scenery. The town sits on the shore of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic mountain ranges; this stunning location will blow you away. Queenstown is suited to all kinds of adventures like paragliding, Zip lining, kayaking, jet boating, river rafting and bungy and of course, hub to the Fiordlands.

Exclusive Retreats


Discover New Zealand's finest luxury lodges in the most extraordinary locations.

About this journey

This journey is simply top of the line! Staying at the best lodges in some of the most remote places in New Zealand with multiple Helicopter experiences and private touring, you really can’t get much better than this itinerary.

Auckland, Bay of Islands, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown

Starting in the economic hub and the City Of Sails, Auckland, you will enjoy the city before heading north to the Bay of Islands – at the very tip of New Zealand where you will find ancient Kauri Forests and spectacular waterways.

Then head back south towards the centre of the North Island to visit the Maori Cultural Hub of Rotorua and stay in the Taupo. Here you will experience once of New Zealand’s most famous lodges, Huka Lodge, located right next to Lake Taupo and in the heart nature.

Still on the North Island you head east toward the coastline for the famous Cape Kidnappers golf course. You don’t need to be a golfer to appreciate the gorgeous surroundings of the course and the deluxe accommodation at The Farm. The Hawke’s Bay region is also known for its wine, so you may as well have a taste while you are there!

Continuing South you head to a remote location just outside of Wellington to Wharekauhau Lodge. This remote lodge and working sheep farm is located on the edge of the dramatic coastal scenery with seal colonies and lighthouses.

Across the waters you will then head to the Nelson and Able Tasman National Parklands to stay at Stonefly Lodge. This region has so much to offer from cruises, hiking, horse riding, fly fishing and relaxing!

Next stop is Christchurch for a 2 night stay in a mansion at Otahuna Lodge. You will discover the Arthurs Pass National Park on your scenic wilderness day trip into the Alps.

Lastly, you finish off your vacation in the mountains of Queenstown, home to adventure such as Dart River Jet Boating and Bunjee Jumping. Queenstown is the gateway to the Fiordland region and the world famous Milford Sound – which you will discover by helicopter and land on top of a glacier to enjoy a gourmet picnic with champagne.


Our first Trip to Australia was wonderful; we enjoyed our stay in Melbourne and especially our stay in Cairns. The Bungalow right on the beach and the Rainforest type accommodation was out of this world. The wild life was unbelievable and we really enjoyed the animals at the Zoo. Also our stay in Sydney was wonderful. It was a once in a lifetime trip and we will never forget it… Thank you for putting this trip together for us and especially for all the personal help from Suzy Mercien-Ferol

H & S McCowan, Virginia, USA
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