THE TOP ADRENALIN ACTIVITY
Highlands Motorsport Park - Described as an adrenaline version of Disneyland, this motorsport park is without a doubt unlike any other place you will visit with its range of activities to suit everyone.
THE TOP ACTIVITY TO DO FOR FREE
Queenstown is surrounded by a variety of fantastic walking tracks for every level. Our favourite, The Ben Lomond Track, is a demanding climb, but on a clear day, you will be rewarded at the summit with spectacular panoramic views of Mt Earnslaw, Pikirakatahi and Mt Aspiring. At about 800m, alpine tussocks and dracophyllum dominate the landscape with magnificent lake and mountain views.
THE TOP PLACE TO GRAB A DRINK OR TWO
Opening it’s doors late last year, Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan has already built a steadfast following by locals and visitors alike. Housed in a restored cottage, enjoy a glass of their finest whilst gazing out to the picture-perfect gardens.
THE TOP PLACE TO EXPLORE FOR THE DAY
Milford Sound’s untouched landscapes make for a truly spectacular backdrop. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages and is breathtaking in any weather.
THE BEST SPLURGE ACTIVITY
Perfect for couples – be flown by a private helicopter charter to “The Ledge” of Cecil Peak for a magical hour of tranquillity. There, overlooking Queenstown and The Southern Alps you’ll enjoy a delicious Champagne picnic in an incredible sensory moment, where the imposing scale of nature is awe-inspiring.
Last week I was invited to experience the ultimate in ice driving at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SPHG).
Having recently being awarded "international proving ground of the year" verifying their status as a world leading testing ground, I knew I was in for a real treat! And fun fact - top automobile manufacturers secretly go here to test their cars!
‘Let the drifting begin’ I said!
Feeling very excited (but in a butterflies floating inside me kind of way) I drove up to the site to be met by stunning views of the valley and sheets of snow. We were each thrown a set of keys that unlocked a luxury Audi that was to be slid across the immaculately groomed mountain environment. The moment of truth.
Luckily, I wasn’t completely left to my own devices though. Via radio, we received expert tuition from industry leading race car drivers talking us through challenges such as the giant slalom and snow drift circle – it truly was an unbelievable experience!
It’s an adrenaline must do, the feeling of being in a Fast & Furious movie set is unbeatable… and I have the videos & photos to prove it all.
And yes, I did ask but and you can’t take the Audi home.
Over the weekend TeamSpice with partners, husbands and kids in tow were lucky enough to have a chance to check-out New Zealand’s first gravity-fuelled mountain carting adventure at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
After checking in at the ticket counter we were fitted out with helmets, gloves, goggles and personalised overalls featuring the names of racing greats, fictional and historic. Some of our favourites were Shake and Bake, Knight Rider, Mad Mike, and Nicky Lauder.
Following a short transfer and a brief safety briefing it was time to be fitted out with our carts. Designed for performance, comfort and safety, the 3-wheeled, alpine specialized carts are imported from Europe and the only of their kind in New Zealand. A few of our more hesitant riders were thrilled that the hydraulic disc brakes were really responsive, and the carts were comfortable for all shapes and sizes.
The friendly Cardrona team load the carts straight onto the lift and off once you arrive at the top, and in between you can enjoy watching the downhill mountain bikers tackle the trails. Side note: Cardrona is also home to the home to New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park offering 345 hectares of lift-accessed terrain for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders as well as private lessons.
The mountain cart trail is over 3km long & spans all the way out to Captain's Basin. Our crew got in four laps in the two-hour window, with a few speedsters knocking out five.
The verdict: we all loved this 3-wheeled fun!
We were lucky enough to get in on the last day of the summer season, and now all eyes are on Winter. Cardrona will once again host the Audi Quattro Wintergames and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for plenty of snow!
We’ll be partnering with Cardrona this winter to develop a package were our guests can purchase their ski passes directly through Touch of Spice without the need to stop into the ticket off in town or on the mountain. Combined with in-home ski and snowboard hire and fittings, guests can breeze direct from their luxury accommodation in Wanaka (we recommend Sunrise Bay, Ridge Retreat or The Dacha) and hit the slopes for first tracks. Transportation or a luxury hire 4WD can easily be included, as can private chefs, in-villa massages to soothe those tired muscles, baby-sitting services and private lessons.
Hit us up today and get those winter plans in motion, the snow will be here before we know it!
Our winter hiding spots & exclusive adventures
The ski season is just kicking off in New Zealand, one of the world’s premier snow sports destinations. But we aren’t talking about any old skiing here. Soar to the top of jagged peaks for some daredevil heli-skiing, zoom down the best off-piste terrain, venture into the backcountry for some cat skiing, and end our adrenalin-fuelled days relaxing in luxury at the finest villas, chalets, and lodges in New Zealand.
Offering plenty of sunshine, majestic lakes, snow-capped alpine beauties, and an unrivalled selection of activities and attractions, it comes as no surprise that Queenstown, New Zealand, is as popular a winter destination as it is a summer one.
Queenstown is nestled in the Alps close to four ski resorts and fabulous backcountry terrain. Typically the ski season starts on piste by mid-June with helicopter access to the Southern Alps being mid-July through to October. We can offer exceptional skiing and boarding on exclusive terrain with untracked, virgin snow. On and off-piste, the extensive range of activities has been designed to suit everyone’s ability and desires.
To help you out further, we can offer professional in-house ski ftting when renting equipment, free chains and GPS with Thrifty car rentals for the month of August, and complimentary value-add recommendations such as spa upgrades, two-for-one offers and complimentary drinks.
Accessible only by helicopter, this luxury chalet offers unparalleled accommodation and a spectacular base for those seeking the ultimate alpine adventure in an exclusive location—high in the mountains on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park. It sleeps eight in four bedrooms with four bathrooms.
This is one of the few places in New Zealand with ski-in, ski-out mountain access, which makes for the ultimate ski experience. With striking natural beauty in every direction, your photo-posting on social media will make you the envy of all your friends. From here, you will be helied onto exclusive untracked virgin snow, be taken on 10–12 runs, and then led back into the chalet for morning tea, gourmet lunch, and après-ski drinks.
You can completely tailor the chalet experience to suit your requirements, from a short day trip with a relaxing lunch and a glass of wine on the balcony to multi-night accommodation with action-packed alpine adventures. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience in this secluded mountain paradise.
Whare Kea Chalet starts from NZD$2,000/night.
Kumanu is a faultless luxury retreat in rural Queenstown, with stunning views across the Wakatipu Basin and beyond. Being at the centre of Queenstown’s three elite ski resorts, you have the opportunity try a field each day. With the perk of huge lawn space, heli-skiing is an obvious choice.
Kumanu sleeps eight in four bedrooms with fve bathrooms. Every room provides a feeling of serenity and calm yet draws you in seamlessly to the landscape. From the airy dining room with its ambient open fireplace, to the magnificent chef’s kitchen, which adjoins a cosy lounge. It is well equipped and appointed for winter with its large spa pool, ski storage, Cinema room plus indoor & outdoor fires.
Kumanu starts from NZD$2,000/night.
What's hot this winter? Lots of things! Even if you are not a skier or snow-boarder there is plenty for you to do in New Zealand this winter. Here are our top five absolute must-dos!
1. Heli-ski from Whare Kea Chalet
One of the only places in New Zealand with ski in, ski out mountain access. Accessible only by heli, this is the ultimate ski experience. With Instagram worthy scenery, you will be the envy of all your friends. From here you will be heli-ed onto exclusive untracked, virgin snow, be taken on 10 - 12 runs and ski back into the Chalet for morning tea, lunch and aprés ski drinks.
2. Ice Driving
Think you`ve got what it takes to race a performance car on snow and ice? As the only ice driving experience in the Southern Hemisphere it`s an absolute must-do. Experience the thrills of drifting on the snow circle, driving along the expertly crafted ice tracks and creating memories that you`ll want to share with your friends.
3. Dog Sledding
Experience a northern tradition in the Southern Alps of New Zealand! Enjoy the exhilaration as your sled cuts through the mountain trails, with no noise other than the sound of your dogs` feet shuffling through the snow. You can experience these amazing animals from the basket of a guided sled or, for the more adventurous, on the back of your own team, driving them through the stunning alpine trails.
4. Snow shoeing
A great opportunity to visit the untouched back country of Otago, experiencing beauty which is inaccessible to many. If you envisage large tennis rackets on your feet, have no fear, things have got a lot more `high-tech` and you`ll feel as if you`re floating on snow.
5. Aprés ski amongst the stars
No winter holiday is complete without a spot of aprés ski! Enjoy one of Queenstown`s best kept secrets, The Deck offers stunning views of Queenstown and the stars, while enjoy cocktails and delicious food wrapped up in a blanket next to the open fire.
The Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ is back and ready for you to join in and enjoy the fun, and best of all it??s all free! From the 21st to 30th August, all the action will be taking place at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak and Snow Farm NZ, so whether
Billed as the biggest party on southern snow, the on-mountain action is accompanied by an awesome festival programme based at the two Game Villages in downtown Queenstown and Wanaka.
You`ll get to watch Winter Olympic, Paralympic and X Games stars from around the World compete for glory in the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing World Cups at Cardrona Alpine Resort, ski racing at Coronet Peak, cross-country skiing at Snow Farm NZ and curling at Naseby`s international rink.
If it`s too cold up the hill for you, the festival in town is packed with daily entertainment and an awesome line up of live bands including New Zealand`s very own Ladi 6 and Kora - all free to watch!
If the Winter Games sounds like an event you would love to experience then make sure you book your luxury accommodation now to ensure you`re not left disappointed. We have an extensive selection of private villas perfectly suited for both couples and large groups of family and friends. All properties include designer bathroom amenities, luxury linen, WiFi and Sky TV.
To top off your Queenstown or Wanaka experience while enjoying the Winter Games NZ, we will provide you with a complimentary concierge service during stay with us.
If you can`t make it down to experience the Winter Games NZ you can also watch the live stream at wintergamesnz.kiwi along with the coverage on TV3.
Gay Ski Week is just around the corner, waiting for you to come and enjoy the winter festivities in Queenstown. With events and activities running from 29th August to 5th September, there is something for everyone. Gay Ski Week is the Southern Hemispher
New to the event line-up this year at Gay Ski Week is "Highlands Hook Up" an adventure day hosted by Highlands Motorsport Park, where "speed dating" will take on a whole new meaning! Also, new for 2015 is the "LYC Wet and Wild Foam Party" at Loco Cantina where you can dance the night away in foam filled fun.
If Gay Ski Week sounds like an event you would love to experience then make sure you book your luxury accommodation now to ensure you`re not left disappointed. Touch of Spice has an extensive selection of private villas perfect to suit both couples and large groups of family and friends. All properties are gay friendly and include designer bathroom amenities, luxury linen, WiFi and Sky TV. To view accommodation available in Queenstown click HERE, or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
To top off your Queenstown experience while enjoying Gay Ski Week, Touch of Spice will provide you with a complimentary concierge service while staying in one of our villas. For more information contact the team at email@example.com or on +64 3 450 0855.
Wellness â€“ the hottest topic on the planet right now.
Every time I log into social media I’m either reading an article about it or looking at a recipe full of goodness and health that I want to cook. We all seem to be looking for ways to improve our general health and detoxify our lifestyles. If you are anything like me, you are no doubt busy juggling everything from family to business and you'll be well aware of the toll it can take on your well-being. So finally I did something about it and went to Aro-Ha Wellness Retreat in Glenorchy, New Zealand to see what it was all about!
Upon arrival at Aro-Ha you`re greeted with a cup of delicious detox tea (caffeine free of course), along with a very light healthy snack.
Our accommodation had amazing views, and a simplistic, Zen inspired design. No TV`s or stereos and only communal bathrooms. You do however have WiFi, at Aro-Ha they appreciate that there are some people that just have no choice but to stay partially plugged in.
Our afternoon was spent doing a small 1.5hour hike around Wyuna Reserve where Aro-Ha is situated followed by a yoga class and the first of many amazing vegan meals. Never has vegan food tasted so amazing. Rani and Tony the two residence chefs do an incredible job of turning carrots, courgettes and various types of micro greens into the most amazing delicacies.
Woken at 6am to do our morning yoga. Several downward dogs later it was time for our breakfast smoothie. Much to our surprise our chia seeds, protein powder and berry smoothie was so filling it kept us energized for a 3.5hour hike into the gorgeous Routeburn, before returning to Aro-Ha for a late lunch.
The afternoon was spent doing HITT training before the best part of the day, the massage!
Then onto more yoga - this time focused on stretching and was much needed after hiking and HIIT training. We were well and truly knackered and in bed by 9pm.
Day 3, 4 and 5 involved a combination of the activities we`d done the previous day.
Five days later I left glowing, calm, partially detoxed (I probably need more than 5 days to be fair) and with a complete mind shift about what real wellness is. I learnt about mindfulness.
Mindful eating - slowly and appreciating what I am consuming.
Mindful listening - actually listening to someone rather than jumping in wanting to finish their sentences for them or solve their problems immediately.
Mindful walking - instead of having my head down busy compiling emails in my head, actually taking in the surroundings of where I am and appreciating the moment.
Most importantly I learnt to say "I have a beautiful life" at the end of most of my sentences - because the reality is, I do. Yes I work hard and a lot, I have a big commitment with my business and a busy family life - but I have a beautiful life.
See why New Zealand is No.1 on the hot list!
New Zealand is No.1 on the Hot List with many industry specialists noting that high-end travellers are flocking here for safe, authentic luxury experiences and being on the front line here at Touch of Spice - you can tell! We have been busier than ever and it’s the summer that just keeps on going. We have been curating some fantastic experiences all over the country for our clients and having a lot of fun doing so along the way. From planning once in a lifetime family holidays, secret getaways for high profile celebrities and road trips, to curating a surprise wedding anniversary for one of our repeat clients, every day we are putting together something special for our guests. Here are some of our highlights:
Addicted to St. Mary`s Residence
St. Mary`s Residence is one of our favourite new properties in Auckland and one of the highlights that we have found in the accommodation world of New Zealand. Located in one of the city`s most characterful and central neighbourhoods the exclusive, single reservation policy guarantees guests enjoy the ultimate in comfort and privacy, and elegant d?cor, culinary excellence, and an architectural `Wow` factor combine to make the Residence a discreet haven of seclusion perfect for a couple`s discovery of the city.
Click here to find out more about St Marys Residence.
Roadside Picnic with Wild Earth
Perched on a picturesque piece of land with views out over Lake Tekapo we set up a stunning gourmet picnic with Quintin and the wonderful crew from Wild Earth. End result was a very bespoke curated experience, happy clients and a venue we had never used before - State Highway 8!
Wedding Anniversary by Heli
We love curating once in a lifetime experiences for our clients and being given the brief to create a surprise 20th Wedding Anniversary was right up our alley!
Their 4 day itinerary in Queenstown was a complete surprise to them and their highlight was the anniversary dinner by helicopter. Flying from White Point to Earnslaw Burn, only accessible by heli, a stylish Marquee awaited with a stunning dining table set for 8 guests, with crystal, gold and silver glassware and crockery. Stunning floral centrepieces with emerald greens and lilies as they symbolise 20th Wedding Anniversaries.
We where given the task to curate a corporate family experience over 4 days - and what better way to start the week then to remind everyone how to play out at Oxbow Lodge, then experience extreme heli golf at Over the Top Golf and settle in for the night at a luxury hotel. What happened over the next 3 days, you will have to ask us to find out :)
Here are many benefits to staying in a villa versus a hotel or a lodge
There are many benefits to staying in a villa versus a hotel or a lodge - you have more space, you have privacy, you can find affordable villas that cater to a larger family (trust me when we travel it’s hard to find hotels that don’t charge the earth for 5 of us!) and a lot of villas have all the luxuries of a hotel. Well, at least the villas in our Touch of Spice Private Villa Collection do!
I`ve travelled recently to Bali to check out the villa scene there and it`s pretty impressive.
A lot of the add on`s are very affordable such as in-house chefs and masseuses, but after test driving a few of their villas I am pretty proud of what we offer here at Touch of Spice.
I thought I`d highlight what you get when you stay at a Touch of Spice Villa:
- Personal service and attention to detail from the moment of enquiry through to your check out
- World Class Villas with 24/7 on-call concierges
- A dedicated Travel Curator to help you plan every aspect of your trip
- A personal meet & greet on arrival accompanied by a fresh coffee or a glass o fwine while we chat through your arrangements and orientate you with the Villa
- Bathroom amenities, linen & towels
- Mid stay cleans with the option of daily house keeping if you prefer
- WiFi (very important for the modern day traveller!)
- Commercially cleaned and beautifully presented Villas with an in-house cleaning team on call
- Tea & Coffee making facilities
We have also come up with a complete list of Villa "Add On`s" to make your experience even better.
For an extra fee you can add on airport transfers, car hire, in-house chefs, catering, provisioning, in-house beauty treatments, in-house massage, a mini bar selection, private drivers, private tours, private guides, the list is endless.
There is nothing we can`t arrange for you to make your stay in one of our villas complete.
Contact us today to book your Touch of Spice villa experience.