Long seen as a destination for backpacking thrill-seekers New Zealand’s reputation is synonymous with adventure. But camping is out and glamping is in, and as demand for the ultimate luxury holiday increases - this slice of paradise has stepped up to the plate. With its friendly people, spectacular surrounds and traditional Maori heritage, New Zealand gives indulgence a new kind of meaning. Because what’s luxury for one, isn't for another and the best kind of experience is marked by the ability to personalise.
And a truly personal experience is what New Zealand does best. Being diverse in scenery yet close in proximity means whatever you fancy can be arranged. Want to swim with the dolphins then ski down a glacier all in one trip? Enjoy michelin star dining in the heart of the city followed by a night in the wilderness with only the stars? or superlodge-hop for a luxe holiday of a lifetime? the scope is wide and the range is long, the hardest part actually deciding what to do. But chances are - if a New Zealand luxury holiday is top of your list it's not the shopping you're flying all night for.
The ultimate indulgence
While ‘luxury’ may indeed be personal, the term still conjures some universal sameness. One such example is a level of accommodation, and in this area you’re not disappointed. The country's scattering of boutique hotels and premium lodges are like no other - and offer far more than just a bed for the night. All of the properties are situated in unique and beautiful locations, most with jaw-droppingly spectacular in-room views. Some are only accessible by helicopter and all offer a gourmet five course dining experience - often by celebrated chefs. With infinity pools, spa’s, a private golf course and concierge anything you need is anticipated and anything you want is provided. Notable properties are The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - a cliff-top manor in the heart of Hawke's Bay wine country, Huka Lodge - a riverside retreat in Taupo (frequented by Her Majesty The Queen) and Matakauri Lodge - an alpine escape on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown. And for those who crave the great outdoors you can’t go past Minaret Station Tented Lodge - a helicopter only, remote glamping escape complete with a private chef and hot tub.
A gourmet experience
If gastronomy is a priority, then look no further. New Zealand food and wine is unique, innovative and sits among the best in the world. From Michelin star restaurants to private fine-dining, to meandering the nation's wine trails - gourmet cuisine is abundant. Local organic produce features heavily along with with just-caught seafood or grass fed beef and lamb. Each region has its own distinct flavour, be it strawberries, oysters, kiwi fruit or wine. As mentioned above, all the luxury lodges offer five-star gastro delights, but there's plenty of match-worthy opponents spread across the country. No visit down under would be complete without at least one trip (or three) to a winery or boutique brewery and both the North and South are home to globally recognised wine and craft beer. For a first-class experience try Kumeu River Vineyard in Auckland, Cloudy Bay in Marlborough or Amisfield Winery in Queenstown. For craft beer, head to Garage Project in Wellington.
An eye for adventure
Luxury adventure doesn't have to mean laid-back adventure. Take a scenic flight over the breath-taking Milford Sound or cruise neighbouring beauty, Doubtful Sound. Swim with the dolphins in the North, heli-ski a glacier in the South. Walk the crater of an active volcano or catch a helicopter to the top of a mountain for a romantic sunset picnic. If you're a fan of Lord Of The Rings visit the Hobbiton set - or for the really fanatic hire it exclusively for the evening. If walking’s your thing, spend a week hiking one of the spectacular national parks. Have your bags carried for you and stay in high-end lodges along the way. Everything’s on offer down here and the opportunities to explore are only as limited as your imagination.
With less than 200 years on the clock New Zealand doesn't have much in the way of crumbling architecture. But what it lacks in historical landmark, it makes up for with its rich Maori culture and a vibrant art and fashion scene. Take a private guided trip to ancient tribal meeting grounds and join in on a traditional hangi feast. Visit the Bay of Islands and learn about the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document. Arrange for an exclusive Maori experience and hear about the legend of the Pounamu, or thrill your companions with an authentic Maori war dance. View renowned New Zealand artists as you experience a private showing of a prominent Auckland Art gallery or wander the sculptures at the South Island’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition in Banks Peninsula. And If you really did fly all night for the shopping, a personal stylist and fashion consultant can escort you through the most exclusive designer stores, for an unforgettable retail experience.
Whatever ‘luxury’ means to you, New Zealand can provide. Be it an adventurous vacation with a sprinkling of indulgence or a full-blown luxury holiday, this country of soaring scenic contradictions means a drool-worthy itinerary to rival any global counterpart. And lucky for you, we have the local expertise and knowledge to create something unique, individualised and truly remarkable. So pull out your wishlist and give us a call - we’ll be waiting!
At Fine Tours New Zealand we offer exceptional New Zealand self drive tours. Our itineraries are customised and designed to suit your exact requirements, with all the planning and hard work done by our New Zealand-based travel experts.