With almost six weeks of isolation and lockdown under our belts, it’s safe to say the team have learnt a few things – yes you can run out of things to watch on Netflix, daily yoga does in fact help keep you sane, we might not all be pro bakers, we aren’t all naturally blonde and that Will our Events Manager can grow a rather healthy beard!
We’ve also learnt that cabin fever really does leave you itching to get away! As a team who spend most of the hours in the day dreaming up some of the most out-of-this-world experiences and stays throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific, I can confidently say that lockdown has got us dreaming more than ever before.
We’ve been working hard alongside many of our local and nationwide suppliers and Luxury Lodge partners over the last week, brainstorming a variety of day experiences, short breaks and immersive itineraries that will show New Zealand in a way that even the locals have never seen – after all, what better place to start exploring than your own beautiful backyard?
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a variety of exclusive experiences and itineraries to spark up that imagination and get you pondering about wandering around New Zealand in 2020.
First up: five days going off the beaten track in the South Island, where being in the wilderness has never felt so luxurious and a trip from Queenstown to Christchurch has never looked so tempting.
Discover the South Island
DAY 1: Arrive Queenstown, New Zealand – Fly by private heli to Minaret Station (2 nights)
DAY 2: Discover Minaret Station with heli hiking, biking, fly fishing, jet boating and ridgetop Champagne
DAY 3: Explore Wanaka with your private guide before transferring to The Lindis (1 night)
DAY 4: Heli transfer from The Lindis to Seascape Annandale via Mount Cook (2 nights)
DAY 5: A day at Seascape – mountain biking, yoga, clay target shooting, farm tour and 4WD ATV adventure followed by a private chef
DAY 6: Depart from Christchurch
Welcome to queenstown. Touch down in the adventure capital of New Zealand and prepare to discover the South Island. Stepping out of Queenstown Airport you will be welcomed by stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains – a quintessential South Island view.
Met by your private guide you will take a private heli heading for beautiful Wanaka and Minaret Station. Listen to the tales of the landscape from your guide, take in the picture postcard views from above and feel at one with nature when you touch down. Settle into your private chalet, meet your hosts and embrace the tranquility of your surroundings.
ACCOMMODATION: MINARET STATION
Minaret Station Luxury Lodge, accessible only by helicopter, is set in a remote glacial valley surrounded by towering peaks. Minaret Station’s team of experienced guides are renowned for the private helicopter experiences they share with guests. Touring Fiordland and our national parks, backcountry fishing, hiking, heli skiing and guided hunting, to name a few. Minaret Station offers lifelong memories for both guests staying at the lodge, or elsewhere.
Discover Minaret Station. Explore the wilderness of New Zealand’s fiords and mountains on a range of unique experiences. Choose from private helicopter tours into the Fiordland National Park, mountain biking, guided hiking, fishing, hunting and heli-skiing on some of New Zealand’s most exclusive slopes.
Relax in the evening with a chef prepared meal, taking in the experiences gone by, as the sun sets over the valley. The lodge’s mountain kitchen follows a pasture-to-plate philosophy and offers a fine dining experience based on locally sourced, seasonal produce. A mountain escape unlike any other.
Today you will transfer from Minaret Station to The Lindis, on an adventure like no other with your expert guide.
Take off from Minaret Station by private heli, landing at Wanaka Airport to commence your journey to The Lindis by luxury 4WD via the Thomsons Gorge Track. Stop off at New Zealand’s only haunted hotel – St Bathans for lunch before continuing across to Canterbury via the Omarama Saddle and into the Ahuriri Vally towards The Lindis. A 4WD adventure that will take you well and truly off the beaten track.
ACCOMMODATION: THE LINDIS
Built to blend in and minimise its environmental impact, The Lindis is a lodge like no other. Located on 6,000 acres within the Ahuriri Valley it provides guests with a true retreat within absolute seclusion. The roof line follows the natural undulations of the land creating a sense of belonging within the valley. The Ahuriri Valley (pronounced A-hu-riri) is a dramatic landscape of rugged mountain country, wetlands, tussock lands and beech forest. In harmony with the valley the interior of The Lindis combines natural rock and timber materials with elegant furniture and artworks to create an inviting environment.
Explore Mount cook. Take off from The Lindis by private heli and head for the highest peak in New Zealand – Mt Cook.
Fly over the vast mountain peaks and dramatic valleys below as you make your way to the famous Mt Cook – a must see for any visit to the South Island. Fly around the top of Aoraki/Mt Cook viewing the unbelievable scenery that unfolds from the top of New Zealand’s highest peak.
Land on the Tasman Glacier and experiencing the “natural silence” of this very special place with so much to offer, hanging glaciers, rivers of ice and views of the incredible West Coast and Tasman Sea. From Mt Cook, fly over the carved icebergs of the Tasman Terminal Lake to your coastal accommodation – Seascape Annandale, rural Canterbury. Sit back and relax as the views hit you in continuous waves. Take a dip in the private hot tub after meandering along the ocean front bay.
Seascape Annandale is a picturesque private bay, above which an ultra-modern retreat provides a truly unique experience.
Inside, a king-size bed sits upon a dais, a step up from the living area and fireplace, so the incredible view dominates the space. The modern bathroom matches the rest of Seascape for drama – an arrowslit window capturing a view of the dramatic rock formations along the coast and leading to the outdoor spa.
From within, it appears you are floating on the open sea and to its ever-changing moods, yet safely embraced by luxury and modern comforts. Outside, dolphins and seals often frolic in the glittering water, with only you and the tussock grass to witness them.
Day of leisure at Seascape Annandale. Seascape’s magnificent location provides a wealth of opportunities for adventure and discovery right on your doorstep. Choose to explore the beautiful farm on a privately guided tour, get active with a hiking or biking adventure or get up close and personal with nature with a kayak or nature cruise, spotting hector dolphins, fur seals, blue penguins and bird colonies.
If you’re looking to go further than Seascape, enjoy an afternoon in the quaint seaside French town of Akaroa where you can relax on a day cruise, fish, jet boat, sea kayak and explore the cafes, bistros and quirky shops.
Depart from Christchurch Airport in awe of the five days of adventure gone by.
Global travel may be out of our hands right now, but discovering New Zealand is well and truly in our grasp. With four weeks of lockdown under our belts and world-wide recognition around the success of New Zealand’s fight against Covid-19, the reality of domestic travel finally feels like it’s on the horizon.
Like many, my 2020 international trip has been put on hold, and I’ve found myself back at the drawing board, trying to find the perfect dose of vitamin 'sea' and 'ski' to cure my itch to travel. Which got me thinking - getting away doesn’t have to mean going far. I started daydreaming of the hidden gems that lie in my own backyard and it's unique destinations - for the world renowned wines I could sip, the tropical bays I could make a splash in, for the Jurassic inspired parks that I’ve never explored, the flavours I’ve yet to taste and the adventures I’ve still to take. It made me realise how much I’ve still to experience at home. How New Zealand really does have it all, and most importantly, the Kiwis who know how serve it up in a truly epic style!
Staying home for now simply means discovering later – and what better place to start that your own backyard? So, let’s get excited ready to discover New Zealand and the places that most will only get to dream of in 2020!
2020 is the season to go above and beyond your usual ski season in Queenstown. Ever tried your hand at dog-sledding through a glacial valley? What about ice driving? One day in neighboring Wanaka and you will have both ticked off your bucket list! Looking to go to new heights? Join a private guide and fly to a peak in the majestic Mount Aspiring National Park for a day of ice hiking before relaxing with a well-deserved and perfectly chilled glass of bubbles at the top. Looking for a day away from the snow? Take advantage of the world-renowned Gibbston Valley on a privately guided tour. Gain access to some of the most exclusive cellar doors in the region, meet the wine makers themselves and find your favourite to take back to your Private Villa Collection home for an evening around the fire with friends ands family.
Discover the Garden City and experience it’s natural beauty like never before. Ever soared above the famous hector dolphins and blue whales of Kaikoura? What about indulging in a freshly caught seafood lunch by an alpine tarn? Let your private guide prepare the feast whilst you try your hand at clay-bird shooting before getting active on a hike along a ridge line. Looking for luxurious accommodation? Stay at the stunning Dancing on Moonlight and have access to your own private 9-hole golf course, orchards, cabana spa pool and tennis court – for a Short Break in Christchurch to remember.
Bay of Islands
Escape to our very own Bay of Islands where crystal clear waters, blue skies, tropical bays, and world class diving await. Fly by private heli from Auckland airport, taking in all the sights from above and regaining that feeling of ultimate freedom. Land on your own private beach and indulge in a gourmet picnic with only the dolphins knowing where you are. SUP in the bay or jump in a kayak to explore further afield before jumping on board your privately chartered boat for a spot of deep-sea fishing at Poor Knights Islands. Return to ‘Somewhere’ in the Bay of Islands where your private chef will cook up the catch of the day as you sit back with a G&T as the sun goes down.
Fiordland National Park
Discover the Jurassic Park in your back yard as you fly over the majestic and mystical mountains of Fiordland National Park. Never visited? Do it ultimate style – fly from Queenstown over the cascading peaks and falls of Milford Sound, landing on The Fiordland Jewel – a luxurious privately chartered boat in the middle of the sound for a delicious three-course lunch. Feast on the freshly caught crayfish as well as the unforgettable sights as you cruise through Milford like a VIP. Finish the day with an alpine landing for that picture postcard shot, with nothing and no one between you and an unforgettable view.
I think we can all agree that 2020 will be the year of change. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed, and will continue to change, life and business within the tourism industry on a global scale. We’re seeing, and personally experiencing, this ‘new world’ way of working – where being at home, in isolation - some with the kids running around, is the new business as usual.
Last week, following government advice in the fight against Covid-19, we temporarily closed our office in Queenstown. The benefit of doing what we do is we can do it from anywhere! Seven days into lockdown here in New Zealand and our team are now fully set up and working from home.
We’ve moved out the boardroom and taken our morning coffee chatter and meetings online, using Zoom, Trello and various other online platforms to stay connected, updated and ensuring our communications are as strong as ever. Our daily brainstorms have also moved from the office sofa to online (still from a sofa), getting our creativity and ideas flowing as well as that daily dose of daydreaming that we all need. Our Friday evening Cheers to FRIYAH are still in the team calendar – we know it’s as important now more than ever to enjoy our social time, a glass of wine and take the time to talk about the wins of the week- you’d be surprised how many there really are when you think about it!
Outside of keeping ‘business as usual’, the team are finding their feet in their new routines, taking on some healthy new habits and finding inspiration in their new home offices. With the team based between Queenstown and beautiful Matakana in the North Island, it’s safe to say we don’t have to look very far to feel inspired by the beauty in our backyard.
So, we’d like to take this opportunity to reassure our global clients and partners that although we are staying home, we are still very much here. It’s in times like this we need to think about what we CAN do, not what we can’t, and as always – the Touch of Spice team can do it all! We’re as online and on-call now as always, ensuring our current inhouse and future clients are taken care of from enquiry to departure.
We’re here to inspire you and remind you that we really are all in this together. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Linked In for daily updates and give yourself that well needed (and deserved) daily dose of daydreaming. From all the Touch of Spice team – we hope to see you soon!