For the last seven or so weeks, the Touch of Spice teem have become pro bakers, homemade wine connoisseurs and the private in-house chefs. Alongside learning how to use that slow cooker that's been sitting in the cupboard for months, I also learnt how much I missed wining and dining around Queenstown and Central Otago.
With level two finally here (well done New Zealand!) and the opening of bars this evening, we thought we’d serve up something a little different for this week’s Discover New Zealand Series. Over the last two weeks we’ve explored 5 days in The North and 5 days in The South – this week we’re adding our 5 favourite and most adventurous Queenstown foodie experiences to the menu.
Beyond having access to some of the most exclusive tables in town, we also work with amazing local suppliers and partners that are able to serve up something you've never seen (or tasted) before. Whether you have a thirst for adrenaline, a taste for adventure or just enjoy the simplicity of being wined and dined with the finest produce, our team of Travel Designers know all the secret spots and delicious treats that the guidebooks don’t even know about!
So here it is, the dish of the day - A Taste of Adventure in Queenstown to feed your inner foodie, quench your thirst for adventure and guarantee to leave you craving for more!
The Taste of Adventure
1. Apres Ski in Style
2.Progressive Dinner Tour
3. Dine and Dine in Dusky Sound
4. Forage to Fork in Wanaka
5. Sip and Sail on the Fiordland Jewel
Apres Ski in Style with Alpine Luxury Tours
Coming to Queenstown looking for that dose of ‘vitamin ski’? Shred the slopes in the morning before jumping in a private heli and flying out to the remote Earnslaw Burn Ski – an iconic glacier with stunning waterfalls just west of Queenstown. Soar above Lake Wakitipu before landing in the valley. Discover the area and feel the spray from under one of the falls before sitting down to a glass of hot mulled wine straight from Gibbston Valley paired perfectly with a gourmet platter showcasing some of Otago’s finest produce. Finish the day back on the slopes before returning to your luxury Private Villa for an après ski bottle of wine.
Progressive Dinner Tour
One of the team’s personal favourites – join private local guide Lee from Alpine Luxury Tours and taste some of the finest flavours on offer. Start your evening at Canyon Brewery for a flight of craft beer that has been perfectly matched with a selection of nibble starters in a relax spot on the side of the famous Shotover River. For the main course you with drive through Gibbston Valley to Kinross Winery. Here you will indulge in a some of the freshest seasonal produce on offer whilst sampling a selection of the regions finest Wines. Lee will be sharing stories about the wine and winemakers themselves (and cracking out some of his own) before taking you to the renowned Aosta in Arrowtown for dessert. A must try on the menu is the tiramisu – your waiter will construct the dish at the table as you sip on the dessert wine, eagerly waiting to dig in. This tour is great if you’re short for time – three locations, local beer, wine and a delicious selection of food all in one evening.
Dive and Dine in Dusky Sound with Alpine Helicopters
Take off in a private heli from Queenstown and fly towards Dusky Sound, one of Fiordland’s most isolated a remote inlet’s in the southwest corner of the South Island. Soar over the mountain peaks and lakes before arriving at a floating helipad to transfer to a custom-built boat, ready and waiting to explore Dusky Sound. Once you’re settled on board and have taken in the stunning surroundings, your private guide will don all the gear and dive and dish up a crayfish lunch paired perfectly with some of Queenstown and Central Otago’s finest wines. If this isn’t a lunch with the ultimate view, we don’t know what is!
Forage to Fork in Wanaka with New Zeal
Fly by private heli or drive from Queenstown to Wanaka with Paul from New Zeal, your private guide for the day, for a day of hiking, rafting and drift fishing. Upon arriving at Makarora and the Haast Pass, enjoy a gentle hike down the Haast Pass Bridle Track, the first link between Otago and Westland, to David Flat where you will find rafts awaiting. Jump in and roll with the grade two waves down the Makarora River arriving at the stunning Blue Pools – a truly magical spot in the West Coast. Once through the rapids it’s time to catch some lunch. Drift fish for approximately 15km before stopping to cook up the catch of the day on the embers of an open fire for a feast that’s well deserved. Once back to Lake Wanaka, why not stop by a local venison farm to pick up some fresh produce for dinner? We can organise for a private chef to do all the work for you in your private villa to finish off the day in style.
Sip and sail on the Fiordland Jewel
Last and by no means least, explore the renowned Milford Sound by heli and boat. Fly from Queenstown over the soaring peaks, landing on top of the sound for the picture-perfect shot before touching down on the private heli-pad of the Fiordland Jewel. This luxurious private yacht will then take you around the sound, under the iconic waterfalls and right up to the Tasman Sea where you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for the migrating dolphins and whales. Once docked up in the bay indulge in a freshly caught and prepared sea food lunch – three delicious courses served up with a side of unforgettable views. After lunch, take off from the top deck to return to Queenstown. Feel like staying longer? Enjoy a nights stay on the Jewel - kayaking, dining and relaxing in the rooftop hot tub on the perfect slice of floating luxury in the sound.
It’s time to try and taste something new. Get in touch with the team today and let us serve up something truly epic.
Wow – how are we almost at seven weeks of lockdown already? Part of me is questioning where the time has gone - the other part is questioning how on earth I’ve managed to stay somewhat sane! After reading my stack of travel magazines front to back, watching all the wanderlust documentaries on Netflix, changing my desktop background to a paradise beach and contemplating afternoon margaritas on an almost daily basis, I think it’s safe to say I’m more than ready to get away!
Whether you’ve been working from home, spending all your time with the kids or itching to get space from your other half (or all three), the freedom to get away from it all is almost here. With the outlines of Level Two released this week and with domestic travel soon to be open for business, now is the time to get excited about getting out there and seeing what all our international travellers have been ranting and raving about for years!
With that being said, I'm excited to share our second itinerary in our Discover New Zealand Series – a selection of exclusive experiences and itineraries we are sharing weekly here and on our Instagram and Facebook, to spark up that imagination and get you ready to explore New Zealand in 2020.
Last week we shared a South Island Itinerary and it seems only fair that we show some love to the North Island this week. So here we have it – The Best of The North, five days making a splash in the beautiful Bay of Islands, where you can forget the desktop background and dive straight into paradise as those afternoon margaritas are served up in style!
Discover the North Island
DAY 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand – Private vehicle transfer to Bay of Islands and The Glasshouse (2 nights)
DAY 2: Discover The Glasshouse with guided kayak tours, fishing charters, scuba diving, a round of golf or guided Kauri forest walks
DAY 3: Transfer to Eagles Nest after enjoying a boat trip to Poor Knights Island (3 nights)
DAY 4: Northland heli excursion with gourmet lunch
DAY 5: Enjoy a day at leisure at Eagles Nest with a round of golf, a bike ride through Russell, horse trekking, fishing and nature cruises on offer
DAY 6: Depart from Kerikeri
Touch down in Auckland, the City of Sails of New Zealand, and prepare to discover the North Island. Arriving in Auckland, you will experience a Maori cultural welcome by your private guide who will transfer you to The Glasshouse, Northland. Enjoy an Auckland tour, learning of the culture and history along the scenic drive taking in the coastal views as you approach The Glasshouse. Embrace the tranquility and natural beauty that surrounds you as watch the sunset over the Pacific from the comfort of this retreat.
ACCOMMODATION: THE GLASSHOUSE
From the moment you pop your welcome Champagne and get lost in the spectacular 180-degree panorama – you’ll realise you’re in for an unforgettable stay at The Glasshouse. This spacious and architecturally designed one-bedroom retreat has everything you need to spend time exactly how you choose - whether it’s getting cozy by the outside fire, enjoying a long shower with ocean views or napping in a hammock. Enjoy a private chef cooked dinner from the comfort of The Glasshouse or indulge in an inhouse massage – all available through the onsite team.
Discover the glasshouse. Whether it’s getting active exploring or relaxing with a book, The Glasshouse has something for everyone. If you’re able to tear yourself away from the comforts of The Glasshouse, there’s so much to enjoy on Kauri Mountain Point and beyond. Explore the 20-acre peninsula itself, with its own tracks and secret coves from which you can swim, fish, kayak or simply take in the views. There’s also some large natural rock pools, which gently warm in the sun and are perfect for taking a dip.
Explore Poor Knights islands. Transfer from The Glasshouse to Eagles Nest with splash of adventure.
Twenty three kilometers off New Zealand’s Tutukaka Coast and washed by warm currents swept south from the Coral Sea, the Poor Knights Islands are an international icon. A total marine and nature Reserve - and pending World Heritage Site - the 11 million year old Islands’ volcanic origins provide spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels. Board your privately chartered boat and choose from snorkelling, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding or fishing for an afternoon that will be remembered!
ACCOMMODATION: EAGLES NEST
With a horizon lap pool splayed out across the front of the villa overlooking the ocean and private spa alongside, Eagles Nest creates seamless flow between living and the stunning surrounding environment. The walls of Eagles Nest are adorned with art by famous New Zealand artists, and with the property overlooking the historical site of Waitangi, it is the perfect place to reflect, be inspired and unwind.
Take to the air and explore the rugged coastline of Bay of Islands. Departing from Eagles Nest, fly high over spectacular harbours and beaches for a birds eye view of this amazing region and its 144 islands. Land at a private airfield and enjoy a luxury vehicle tour to the tip of New Zealand where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch at the serene Tapotupotu Bay.
The next flight leg is over spectacular and remote scenery such as the white silica sands of Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay. Land at Hole in The Rock and experience the islands unique history, culture and ecological significance.
Fly back down the east coast over the Kerikeri Peninsula and the stunning Cavalli islands before landing back at Eagles Nest.
Discover Eagles Nest. A day at leisure here will allow you to explore the wilderness of the Bay of Islands – it’s tropical beaches and secluded bays, its cuisine and the nature that makes this one of New Zealand's hottest spots.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, foodie or explorer, a day at leisure at Eagles Nest will have something for everyone. Get active on the bike tracks around Russell, tee-off in one of the many surrounding world-class golf courses, relax on a horse trek, fish for your dinner or simply let the flavours of the North come to you in one of the many markets. Whatever leisure means to you, Eagles Nest can make it happen.
Depart from KeriKeri Airport in awe of the five days of adventure gone by.