Fresh from her whirlwind 10-day tour hosted by New Zealand's terrific Tourist Board team, intrepid Travel Director Zoe Dodd gives us the lowdown on her most magical moments – and some tips on where to stay for good measure...

Her trip showcased the finest luxury experiences the country has to offer, and this report really just scratches the surface of all the super-privileged experiences she was lucky enough to enjoy, so to find out more, just give her a call!​​​​​​

North Island

Trout Fishing at Lake Taupo

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Minaret Station, Lake Wanaka​Created thousands of years ago by the eruptions of Mount Tauhara, this freshwater lake is renowned for being full of trout. We took a yacht charter out, and managed to catch five in the space of an hour – not bad for a bunch of jet-lagged novices! But best of all, the crew were able to use our catch to make the most delicious sashimi for our lunch on-board. 

STAY

Huka Lodge, Lake Taupo – ideal for older couples, foodies, romantics – the Owner's Cottage is a great option for older family groups or couples travelling together.

Kinloch Lodge, Lake Taupo – ideal for active families, golfing guys and anyone with an interest in Maori history and culture.

Sailing in the Bay of Islands

​From the cutesy seaside town of Russell (I loved the café-fronted harbour and old world charm), we set sail on our luxury catamaran into the tranquil, super-calm waters in search of common and bottle-nose dolphins, past rocky outcrops, sandy beaches and an array of islands, to the majestic Hole in the Rock.

STAY

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matuari Bay – Heaven for golfers, and ladies who 'spa'.

Eagles Nest, Russell – Ideal for anyone planning a special occasion, couples, groups and older families.

The Landings Residences, near Kerikeri – Ideal for families of all ages and groups.​

Bike-Riding at Hawke's Bay

​With over 124 miles of smooth, wide biking trails (some natural, some purpose-built, and mostly all pretty flat), self-guided or privately-guided cycling tours have to be one of the best ways to explore Hawke's Bay's world-acclaimed wineries, stunning scenery, wonderful wildlife, Art Deco architecture and fabulous food.

Fortunately for us with our trip being so full-on, our tour with TakaroTrails (the region's best, and only QUALMARK-endorsed cycle tour operator) was only six miles, taking us alongside orchards, farmlands, rivers and vineyards. As we were there in the autumn, the area, its buildings, farms and wide leafy lanes made the ride quite reminiscent of New England. We stopped at the Elephant Hill Winery for a tasting – a beautiful spot to enjoy the wine (the Syrah and Pinot Gris are delicious) and watch the sun setting behind the vineyards down to the ocean and out over Hawke's Bay and Cape Kidnappers. 

STAY 

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay – ideal for young families, any age couples, and keen golfers.

South Island

Minaret Station, Lake Wanaka​

Oh my goodness – I wasn't expecting this! Thank you New Zealand Tourism for sneaking this trip into the wilds of the Southern Alps at the last minute. If only one of the experiences could stay with me forever, this would be it! Why? Well, being an extreme retreat – I've never felt so remote anywhere else in the world – you can only get here by helicopter. And that – as well as the intimate, personalised service, the array of alpine activities and the memories you'll make doing them – is what makes Minaret Station so completely out-of-this-world. Where else will a hotel transfer include a 45-minute heli-flight that hugs the coastline, follows the river through a valley until you turn a corner and are faced with a jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfall, hovering for a while to take it all in, just before landing in the valley beyond? 

And that's just the start of a truly incredible adventure. The chalets are comfy and cosy, and you can choose to dine in the main lodge at the family-style dinner table, or on the terrace of your chalet next to your private hot tub. But the main reason you come here is beyond the lodge itself. There's guided fishing, hunting and trekking – all of which are fantastic – while a whole host of heli-adventures give you the chance to explore the otherwise inaccessible breathtaking wilderness of the Southern Alps, with scenic flights, alpine picnics, a mountain kitchen lunch (NZ's most remote fine-dining experience), heli-skiing, downhill mountain-biking, heli-hiking – even heli-fishing (yes, it is a thing, and the pilots are so good they can lift lobster pots out of the water!).​​

Ideal for the more intrepid explorer, and those who really want to get away from it all.​


​​Featured Hotels

  • Hilton Auckland Auckland, North Island

    This hotel offers stunning views in a downtown location on the end of Princes Wharf, a five-minute walk away from the famous Sky Tower, with a fab spa, an outdoor heated pool with unique underwater viewing window, and imaginative cocktails and cuisine.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland, North Island

    Sophisticated and elegant, this five-star hotel at SKYCITY Auckland (the entertainment destination in the heart of the city) offers superbly refurbished accommodation and the wonderfully luxurious East Day Spa.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Takatu Lodge & Vineyard Matakana, North Auckland, North Island

    Enjoying a beautiful location, surrounded by its own vineyards and less than three miles from the famous Saturday market and foodie restaurants, cafés and bars of Matakana, Takatu Lodge is perfect for visiting Matakana Coast wine country.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Hotel DeBrett Auckland, North Island

    Settled in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, in an iconic building stylishly reinterpreted into a 25-room boutique hotel, Hotel DeBrett links two unique precincts – High Street’s hip fashion and Shortland Street’s tailored commerce.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The Boatshed Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island

    A unique luxury beach house experience, close to the Waiheke Vineyards, in an intimate seaside setting that's perfect for strolls along the beach, reading in the sun, and enjoying the creative attention to-detail.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Marino Ridge Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island

    A jewel on Waiheke Island in three-and-a-half acres of native bush and gardens, magical Marino Ridge serves up three gorgeous suites, and an ever-changing 240-degree panorama of the glistening ocean – whatever time of year.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Matuari Bay, Bay of Islands, North Island

    Everything you could possibly want is here: blissful beaches, wonderful walks, a soothing spa… and, like its sister property at Cape Kidnappers, it has a world-class golf course.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Eagles Nest Russell, Bay of Islands, North Island

    A world-class retreat overlooking the Bay of Islands, within walking distance of historic Russell, where fabulous chefs, a superb wine cellar and fresh locally sourced foods ensure the most indulgent of stays.​

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Helena Bay Lodge Hikurangi, Northland, North Island

    On two miles of stunning coastline with in the North Island’s north-east corner, this is NZ’s first property with accommodation directly on the beach. Go hiking, mountain-biking, or kayaking, and don't miss the cultural tours guided by the local Maori tribe.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Cape Kidnappers Hawke's Bay, North Island

    Forming part of North Island’s Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s most important wine districts, Cape Kidnappers has a rich history, beginning with its discovery by Captain Cook in 1769.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Greenhill Lodge Hawke’s Bay, North Island

    Opulent and tranquil, this gracious, elegant and historic five-bedroom exclusive-use mansion has played host to British royalty, and provides an authentic and tranquil New Zealand country homestead experience.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, North Island

    One of New Zealand’s first five-star luxury lodges, Solitaire Lodge boasts an unrivalled position set on the idyllic shores of legendary Lake Tarawera, minutes away from secluded private bays, hot-water beaches and natural thermal hot springs.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Treetops Lodge & Estate Rotorua, North Island

    Designed for guests to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding forest amidst world- class luxury.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Huka Lodge Taupo, North Island

    An enchanting landscape of lakes, mountains and waterfalls forms a vast backdrop to this iconic property that’s welcomed everyone from Billy Connolly to Bill Gates and, on her last visit to NZ, the Queen.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Acacia Cliffs Lodge Taupo, North Island

    Lake Taupo is one of the North Island’s most beautiful destinations – and this four-suite boutique lodge has been designed to make the most of the uninterrupted panorama from high above the lake.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate Palliser Bay, Wairarapa, North Island

    This stylish, luxury lodge is situated on a 5000-acre working farm on the south-east coast of the North Island, framed by the Rimutaka Range and Palliser Bay, and surrounded by ancient native forest, spectacular beaches, bountiful rivers and tranquil lakes.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Split Apple Retreat Abel Tasman National Park, near Nelson, South Island

    An exclusive, intimate, three-suite ultra-luxury wellness retreat built high into a cliff face on the edge of the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, with private access to two beaches, and some of the best bush-walking in the country.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Edenhouse Nelson, South Island

    Nestled in 48 acres of private grounds with landscaped gardens and amazing views, Edenhouse offers a pampered country house guest experience and delicious local fare for just six guests.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The Marlborough Lodge Marlborough, South Island

    Experience the relaxed elegance of The Marlborough Lodge at the top of South Island. Nestled amongst 16 acres of secluded parkland and famed Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, the contemporary suites are spread over two levels of this grand country estate.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Bay of Many Coves Resort Marlborough Sounds, South Island

    One of nature’s finest waterfront sanctuaries, and Marlborough Sounds’ only five-star resort, Bay of Many Coves fuses the region’s breathtaking scenery, romance, and spirit of adventure with stylish apartments and world-class cuisine for a slice pure paradise.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Otahuna Lodge Christchurch, South Island

    This is an intimate, exclusive retreat set in an 1895 homestead and surrounded by 30 acres of botanical gardens. Located 20 minutes' drive from the centre of Christchurch, it's the ideal place from which to explore.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The George Christchurch, South Island

    Situated centrally in Christchurch’s most picturesque area, The George has a great reputation for its fine cuisine, and is within easy walking distance of the historic arts centre, shopping centre, casino, theatre, and restaurant areas.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses Kaikoura, South Island

    Sitting between the mountains and the ocean, on a deer stud and olive farm seven miles north of Kaikoura, with contemporary design complementing the breathtaking scenery, Hapuku Lodge perfectly positions guests to take full advantage of the area's activities.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Annandale Coastal Farm Escape & Luxury Villa Collection Banks Peninsula, South Island

    Rural New Zealand at its best: a 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm off the tourist trail in one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, with a five-bedroom homestead and three additional luxury villas.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Blanket Bay Queenstown, South Island

    With stunning views over Lake Wakatipu to the Humbolt Mountains, set on a 65,000 acre farm and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, a prehistoric rainforest and trout-filled rivers.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Eichardts Private Hotel Queenstown, South Island

    New Zealand’s most exclusive lakefront address, Eichardts sets its own standard for gracious, luxury accommodation incorporating historic charm with its unrivalled setting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • The Spire Queenstown, South Island

    Thoroughly modern yet wonderfully intimate, this chic boutique hotel has just 10 guest rooms, a contemporary breakfast restaurant, and an ultra-chic, super-sleek watering hole: Queenstown's only specialised Champagne bar​.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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​​Featured Itineraries​

  • True New Zealand 18 Days

    WAIHEKE ISLAND | ROTORUA | TAUPO | WELLINGTON | MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS | CHRISTCHURCH | FRANZ JOSEF | QUEENSTOWN

    From £12,995 per person, including flights, transfers & car hire

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

    View this itinerary
  • New Zealand Super Lodges 17 Days

    AUCKLAND | BAY OF ISLANDS | TAUPO | HAWKES BAY | BANKS PENINSULA | QUEENSTOWN | GLENORCHY

    From £25,595 per person, including flights, transfers & car hire

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

    View this itinerary

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