The best thing about winter in New Zealand is that you can have a day on the ski fields in amazing ‘pow pow’ one day, and have that and so much more the next. Here at Touch of Spice, we know that not everyone is a skier. Some prefer to look at the snow-covered mountains from a heli rather than through some goggles, others might rather skip the snow altogether and head straight for the Après ski – sipping some of the finest wine available in the region. Or maybe you’re a Queenstown local and looking to escape to the winterless north for a slice of paradise for a long weekend?
Whatever the reason, no matter your style, Touch of Spice have out-of-this-world, snow free days to let you experience something different this winter. Whether you’re planning a big family escape, a romantic weekend away, an active getaway with friends or to simply find some peace and quiet following the school holidays, the Touch of Spice Team will match your individual needs and wants with a dreamy stay for a truly unforgettable experience.
Join your private guide on an exclusive walking track along Lake Wakitipu at the base of Cecil Peak. Follow the flat bush track towards McKinnons Creek for brunch before flying by private heli towards Mt Nicholas Station where you will collect and harvest honey straight from the hives. Jump back in the heli and soar towards Buzzstop in Queenstown where you will spin your honey and prepare your own sample to take home with you.
A High-Country adventure like no other. Experience the thrill, excitement and adrenaline rush as you conquer diverse terrain on a four-wheel drive buggy. You'll get geared up and prepared for a bit of dust, mud and a ton of fun. Once at the station, learn a new skill with clay target shooting and archery. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, coaches are on hand to help you hit the target. Next up, take a seat next to New Zealand's very own World Rally Car Champ, Hayden Paddon and experience life in the fast lane. Finish your day of adventure with a gourmet dinner and a glass of local Pinot Noir.
Only a short drive from Auckland airport, arrive in the wild west of the North Island for a day of adventure.Take to the rugged coast and let the fresh, salty ocean air wake you up with a morning of blow-karting along the beautiful black sand surf beaches of Muriwai. Catch your breath after an adrenaline fuelled morning and take a more leisurely approach to discover this coastline. Saddle up and meander along the beach by horseback to the edges of the Waitakere Ranges, some of the most stunning bushland in New Zealand, lookout for some native birds and be in awe with nature.
Fly or sail from Auckland to the stunning paradise island of Waiheke. Upon arrival, meet your private guide for the day Julie Biuso (Ambassador for Le Codon Bleu Institute New Zealand & award winning chef and writer) for a tour of her favourite island spots. Meet the bakers, producers and vintners as you indulge in their delights. Collect produce from private orchards, gardens and fishermen before arriving at Julie's private slice of paradise to cook alongside her or relax in the sun with a local glass of wine. Sit down in the courtyard with a delicious meal, serving up the best treats the island has on offer, with someone who knows it best.
Take to the tropical waters in Bay of Islands in a privately chartered 54ft sailing catamaran. Choose from sunbathing and relaxing on the top deck, kayaking, snorkeling, SUP or looking out for the dolphins swimming by. Relax with a chilled glass of bubbles a a private chef prepares a BBQ on deck for a day of total relaxation and tranquility.
They say a picture says 1,000 words but in New Zealand, it usually brings one to mind – WOW! Oozing natural beauty, adventure and delicious food and wine, New Zealand is a photographer’s playground. Whether you’re a landscape pro, travel blogger, Instagram foodie or looking to bulk out the family album - you could have all the gear or no idea, New Zealand naturally puts on a show you can’t help but snap up.
And what’s the best part? Capturing it of course. From soaring peaks and glassy lakes to active volcanoes, wildlife, tropical bays and unforgettable starry nights, you really do have to experience it to share it. So we thought we’d do something a little different in this weeks Discover New Zealand Series – we’ve already covered The North Island, The South, A Foodies Guide to Queenstown and our Favourite Winter Experiences, this week we’re going to show you the places to go, the things to experience and the foods to taste to get that ultimate shot! It’s about experiencing the best and capturing memories that really do last a lifetime.
1. Sleep in a Glass Pod at the foot of the Ahuriri Valley at The Lindis for an unimaginable starry night. Sink into the private hot tub and leave the time lapse to work its magic.
2. Soar to a glacier peak and trek through the glassy ice tunnels with mountain top views that will leave you speechless – an adventurous landscape lovers dream.
3. One for the food bloggers – indulge in a delicious degustation dinner at Amisfield Bistro and Winery. A taste sensation that will leave your followers craving for more and trying it for themselves.
4. Station to station bike tour in Queenstown. Queenstown is renowned amongst travelers for a reason – no matter what way you look, whether you’re hiking or biking, you’ll realise every trip takes twice as long when the camera comes out.
5. Dive into the depths of the world at Lost World in Taupo for a shot of drama.
6. Go above and beyond with Over The Top Golf knocking biodegradable golf balls into the dramatic backdrop of Queenstown.
And just like that, winter is almost here! With Queens birthday weekend just gone, it was amazing to see so many of our clients and our team take advantage of the freedom of the long weekend. A buzz returned to Queenstown, the restaurants and bars felt alive, our guides were back to doing what they do best, and our Travel Designers got more excited than ever about the winter season ahead.
With snow predicted to fall by next week, the wintery playground of Queenstown will be coming to life. Whether you’re a skier, boarder, dog-sledder, ice driver or glacier rock climber, Queenstown and the South Island has the powder for every snow junkie – but what’s a getaway without some luxurious accommodation to retreat to after adventurous days?
We know time is precious which is why we want to help you make the most of it. With Exclusive Stay | Pay Deals and Offers now available on selected Private Villas, you can get away for longer and treat the family to free nights whilst you do it! Think shredding by day, sinking into the hot tub by evening and relaxing by the fire or in the media room at night – before doing it all over again!
So whether you’re looking for a short break, week long getaway and more, our Travel Designers can take care of all the arrangements for you, booking your luxury accommodation and treating you to some world class experiences that most will only get to dream of this winter.
Need some more inspiration? Check out the team’s favourite snow day activities below and let’s get ready to make this winter one to remember.
Soar to remote and exclusive ski fields and shred in complete privacy on the untouched powder of the day. Your pilot will be waiting to serve up a delicious glass of local mulled wine for an apres ski and view to remember.
Fly by private heli to the Isobel peak for a challenging yet insanely rewarding day. Grab your ice axe, don the crampons, get the harness connected and set off along the alpine trek with a specialist private guide. Discover the crevasses, keep your balance as you walk along the ridges and embrace the views that only most can dream of.
Experience the thrill of a sled dog team as you run through the high trails of the Southern Alps. Whether you’re driving yourself or riding along in the basket with an experienced musher at the helm, you’ll feel like a slice of Alaska has landed in your backyard.
Cruise across pristine snow at an altitude of up to 6,000ft above sea level in a private snow mobile tour exploring the dramatic landscapes and taking in the views whilst on the move. The day will be finished with a private heli flight back to Queenstown to make sure you don’t miss out in any of the picture-perfect moments.
Whatever your style, New Zealand has it. Get in touch today and let's get planning!
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.
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!
We can’t think of a better time to take a well needed ‘staycation’ or that well deserved hop across the ditch for a short break. With fresh mountain air, white sandy beaches, blue skies, lakes and multiple hiking trails – New Zealand really does have it all!
Now is the time to do something different! Throw off the shackles of an ordinary stay. Eat breakfast in your bathrobe and dinner in your board shorts, run down the hallway and make a splash in the pool, celebrate with friends and family with a classic kiwi bbq on the terrace – all made possible in the ultimate home from home.
Whether you’re a beach side lover or mad about the mountains, The Residence Collection and Private Villa Collection by Touch of Spice has something to suit your every need, want and desire. To make things a little easier, we asked our Travel Designers for their favourite villas for the ultimate ‘staycation’ or vacation in New Zealand – and wow do they not disappoint! Check them out and get inspired to getaway!
The newest villa to The Residence Collection, Kowhai Retreat is the most luxurious villa in Matakana. Only a 1-hour drive from Auckland CBD, this coastal escape has space for up to 16 across the main house and the additional boat house and shepherd’s hut, meaning no one needs to be left at home! With a private pool, hot tub, games room, sunken trampoline, heli-pad, petanque court, kayaks and e-bikes, there’s something to keep everyone entertained.
Step beyond the gated villa and spend some time exploring the exquisite local wineries, farmers markets, cafes and unique kiwi surf culture. Feel like getting out on the water? Set sail on Kowhai’s Retreats resident vessel – a high-tech sea legs that can be driven from the property down to the water’s edge. Let one of our experienced skippers guide you from the dock upriver to the Matakana pub to indulge in the catch of the day or head out to sea to explore the surrounding bays.
We don’t know about you, but we’re can’t think of any reason not to stay at Kowhai Retreat!
Only a 40-minute drive from Auckland Airport and placed on 6.6 hectares of stunning coastal land, Muriwai Estate is the ultimate haven to escape the everyday. With an effortless and breezy atmosphere combined with every luxurious touch you could imagine; Muriwai Estate is the perfect place to round up family and friends and celebrate in style. With vast gardens, a saltwater swimming pool, spa pool, separate cabana pool house, heli-pad and children’s play area, there really is space for everyone.
Spend your mornings by the pool with a book in hand, take to the rugged west coast beaches for a surf in the afternoon and taste the flavours of the surrounding wineries in the evening. This getaway spot is perfect for disconnecting from the outside world and reconnecting with those closest. Let a private chef do all the hard work for you as you sit around the terrace table, sharing memories and creating more.
Just a 15-minute drive from Christchurch Airport, a long-gated driveway welcomes you to Dancing on Moonlight – the ultimate private sanctuary. This working horse stud farm comes with its own private 9-hole golf course, blueberry and walnut orchards, hot tub and of course a luxurious lodge. The best part about it all? The whole place is energy positive thanks to its innovative solar power credentials.
Wake up in one of the three sumptuous bedroom suites. Enjoy a coffee in bed as you watch the sun rise over the stunning gardens. Roll out of bed and start each morning feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to seize the day. Take off from the front lawn in a private heli and discover your backyard that is Canterbury. Fly to the coast for a spot of whale watching before collecting the catch of the day and flying to an alpine tarn for a delicious gourmet lunch – true flavours of the coast. Get active on an alpine hike or simply sit back and enjoy the view before flying to an exclusive winery to sip some of the finest wines the region has on offer.
Grab a bottle or two to take home, let a chef prepare dinner and relax as the sunsets over the Canterbury fields.
Only a stone throw from Queenstown Central and with historic Arrowtown just around the bend, The Elms at Lake Hayes Villa One is the perfect getaway for a group of friends looking to indulge in the flavours of Otago. With views overlooking the stunning Lake Hayes, there’s a real sense of living in a watercolour painting. Relax on the terrace with a coffee in the morning before taking a stroll around the lake – or why not meander along to Akarua Wines, Kitchen by Artisan for a delicious brunch to start the day off right.
Villa one is perfectly placed to wine and dine around. With renowned Amisfield Winery and Bistro on the doorstep, Wet Jacket Winery and Cheesery just down the road and the Gibbston Valley a short drive away – you’ll be spoiled for choice! Join a private wine tour and let the guide do all the driving. Sit back, relax and taste the finest, freshest flavours on offer before returning to your luxurious retreat at The Elms.
A slice of mountain side paradise overlooking Queenstown CBD, The Views at Aspen House will leave you breathless. With panoramic views overlooking the iconic Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Wakitipu, feel the stress of work and city life melt away as you get lost in the majestic beauty of Queenstown. With room to sleep the full family and space to entertain in style, a getaway to Queenstown should be on everyone’s cards.
Discover all that Queenstown has to offer throughout the day – whether it’s an active adventure, ski day on the Remarkable Ski Fields, afternoon of wine tasting or a relaxing spa day, there really is something to suit everyone.
Return to the ultimate home from home - the open plan kitchen, dining, lounge and bar being the perfect to host an intimate family dinner or evening entertaining friends. Or why not cook up a feast on the private courtyard BBQ? With covered outdoor seating and fireplace, you can dine alfresco all year round. Let the children relax with a movie in the media room as you sip a glass of bubbles from the private sap pool. The Views at Aspen House is perfect for enjoying family time and that well deserved you time.
Needing a break from city life? Otaha Beachfront Lodge in the Bay of Islands is your own little slice of paradise to get away from it all. With space to sleep ten, this spacious home is the perfect spot to simply get away from it all with those that matter most.
Rise and shine to panoramic ocean views, jump down onto the beach and get a morning surf in before breakfast is even on the table. Dine on the terrace and find the perfect spot to sit back with your morning coffee, read a book or simply watch the waves roll in. Wander off on a walking track from the front door and have a day in nature or jump into a private heli from the lawn and make your way to the renowned Kauri Cliffs for an afternoon of golf.
Otaha Beachfront Lodge is a place where the whole family can feel a sense of freedom – where space, fresh air and picturesque beaches go hand in hand.
Stay on the doorstep of Central Queenstown at Hyde Loft. Centrally located overlooking lake Wakitipu, you’ll feel the buzz from the town as you settle into this luxurious two-bed apartment.
With Queenstowns signature bars, boutique stores and award-winning restaurants only a step beyond the front door, Hyde Loft is the perfect little sanctuary to jump into Queenstown one minute and retreat the next. Perfect for two couples travelling together or a small family getaway, experience Queenstown the way the locals do. Swing from the original bungy bridge, jet boat, zipline and luge or go above and beyond, heli-hiking, stand-up-paddle board on a glacial lake or indulge in a picnic of local produce on top of a mountain peak.
Whatever your style, whatever the occasion – anything is possible from Hyde Loft.
So whether you’re lucky enough to call New Zealand home or your just looking for an excuse to escape the hustle, bustle and chaos of your everyday, our team of Travel Designers know the perfect spots to make a ‘staycation’ or vacation, a getaway that will be spoke about for years to come.
It’s February which means one thing – it’s the season to celebrate love!
Valentine’s day is a day to show love to someone special. Whether you’re married, engaged, dating or single, treat your other half or yourself to a day you won’t forget.
Leave the supermarket flowers where you find them and use February as the month to have an experience of a lifetime. Getaway for that romantic weekend you’ve been promising each other or take the plunge and go off the grid in a well-deserved trip of self-love - Why shop at Hallmark when you can check out some of the South Pacific’s hidden gems?
So here we have it – the perfect Valentines gifts for the both the romantics and the singles, those looking to pop that special questions and those looking to answer their own, experiences of a lifetime to share with your other half, amazing friends or to keep all for yourself!
Go off the grid and venture into the wilderness of the Ahuriri Valley at The Lindis. Sleep in a mirrored glass pod under the stars, be in awe of nature and getaway from the stresses of the everyday. Discover the Valley by day and relax in your own private hot tub as the sunsets – the perfect retreat to take that shared time or that well deserved you time.
Stay in one of our exclusive Residence Collection homes Cascata, only a stone throw from stunning Queenstown. Take the plunge during the day (proposal or bungy!), discover iconic Queenstown and relax in the evening at the entertainer’s paradise that is Cascata. Sink a glass of bubbles with friends on the rooftop terrace before hitting the town or sink into the hot tub with a glass of local pinot noir with your other half – perfect for getting the gang together or escaping with your one and only.
Take off from Queenstown and get taken above and beyond in a scenic flight to the awe-inspiring Milford Sound. Soar over the waterfalls, peaks and tourists below before landing on a rugged West Coast beach. From the coast you'll fly to a mountain top peak for a gourmet picnic - lunch with a side of once-in-a-lifetime views. Enjoy the picture postcard landscape overlooking the dramatic landscape and say cheers to you, the view and the special person/ people around you.
The ultimate getaway for just the two of you or a small group of your best girlfriends – our Wellness and Wine short break has everything a weekend away would need. Rise and shine to yoga on the terrace, indulge in chef prepared meals and savour and sip some of the finest wine from some of Central Otago’s most exclusive wineries. This short break is as good for the soul as it is for making memories with those you love.
Let us help you make memories and create those unforgettable moments that you’ll talk about for years to come this Valentines Day. Get in touch of our team today – we’re experts in wrapping up gifts of a lifetime!
America’s Cup expert and New Zealand’s top luxury travel and experience curators join forces to launch the Larry Keating & Friends America’s Cup project; curated by Touch of Spice, Love My New Zealand and Larry Keating himself.
Setting the scene for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021
Around the table they thrash out course expectations, unique waterside venues, an epicurean kiwi lunch menu and which vineyards are best - combined with all important aspects, such as how jet lag is going to affect guests who have travelled from the other side of the world, to be here for the sporting spectacular that is the 36th America’s Cup. Together, Jacqui Spice, Sharon Stewart and Larry Keating are setting the scene for sailing lovers worldwide, travelling to Auckland in 2021.
Welcoming sailors with open arms
From December 2020 through to March 2021 they will be working with individual travellers, couples, groups and yacht clubs from around the world to ensure they make the most of their time in New Zealand for the 36th America’s Cup. Together, they are curating unique and unrivalled experiences, both on the ground and out on the water. From touching down, to settling into luxury beachside accommodation, to setting sail as part of (what will undoubtedly be) Auckland’s most dazzling sailing event to date.
Our aim? Cutting through the noise with real, tangible & authentic experiences
As a team they have an unrivalled passion for both New Zealand and the America’s Cup - the excitement, the nerves, the challenge, the fear, the adulation, the joy and the thrill of world-class competition. Together, they want to carefully curate how the world experiences this event, showcasing luxury Auckland, our people and our culture, whilst celebrating some of the greatest maritime history around the world.
What does a day with Larry Keating & Friends look like?
Start the day exploring Auckland’s famous fish markets with your own private guide, before lunch at a mystery venue, paired with wine from Waiheke Island’s nearby Man O’War Bay vineyard. Head out for an afternoon of America’s Cup action, with exclusive viewing access, guided by our experienced skippers, on board historic round the world racing yachts (Steinlager 2 & Lion NZ) from the New Zealand Sailing Trust. End the day unwinding, sipping on a G&T as the sun goes down. Dine with Larry Keating as he gives you a private viewing of one of his incredible films, screened in an intimate boatshed, on your own private beach.
It's not just about the sailors…
Collectively, they are offering accommodation and experiences for every kind of sailor coming to New Zealand, including those who may be more interested in sitting and sipping on a glass of Waiheke’s finest than sitting out on the rail, feeling the ocean spray! They are ready for travellers wanting everything from a sprinkle of race days amongst an orchestrated North Island itinerary, to getting out on the water and in on the race action every day.
The depth of the experience
This partnership is about bringing Auckland and the America’s Cup to life in a way only they know how; through the warmth of the nation, hospitality of the city, with off-grid experiences, incredible places to stay, local delicacies to try and people to meet - resulting in an experience unrivalled by other providers.
Experts in every field - from sailing to sundowners...
Curating these America’s Cup journeys with a collaborative approach ensures each stay is curated by experts in their field. From unrivalled luxury accommodation and destination management with Touch of Spice, to incredible hands-on experiences curated by Sharon Stewart (Love My New Zealand), and exclusive and insightful time with an America’s Cup expert – Larry Keating. Together, the team are looking forward to intricately weaving their uniquely in-depth America’s Cup experiences into the thrill of a stay in the world-class host city.
Want to know more about our experts?
About Larry Keating
- Larry Keating is well known in America's Cup circles and for his award-winning book 'Exposed – The Dark Side of The America’s Cup' nominated as one of the Best Books for 2018 by Yachting Year.
- Having travelled the world extensively for over 40 years, ten of those sailing around the Mediterranean with wife Deborah in their yacht Chinano, Larry is a passionate yachtsman who built a strong interest in America’s Cup history, working at various levels in the international sports media, from photography to broadcasting.
- Larry’s experience has taken him to ten America’s Cup events, two Olympic Games and found him crewing in the 1989/90 Whitbread Around the World Race.
- As a film producer/raconteur, Larry has interviewed some of the world’s most famous characters; Olympic sports stars and Hollywood actors to Nelson Mandela.
- A true-blue Kiwi, Larry's knowledge of New Zealand is vast, having lived and travelled the length and breadth of the country.
About Us and Jacqui Spice
- With a background in super yachts, Managing Director & Founder Jacqui Spice is a Condé Nast Traveler Travel Specialist, a Virtuoso Preferred Partner and an Ultraluxe Community member.
- Touch of Spice have been specialising in bespoke experiences, boutique luxury accommodation, and customized destination management across New Zealand, Australia and Fiji since 2005.
- Their portfolio of luxury accommodation is a handpicked collection of premium holiday homes, private residences, boutique hotels and exclusive lodges. Their tailored services include a personal travel designer to organise whatever clients may desire.
- Jacqui and her team strive to ensure every moment spent on a Touch of Spice itinerary becomes a lifelong memory.
About Love My New Zealand
- Love My New Zealand are simply put - all about the experience. Curators of the most amazing activities, Sharon, the director's relationships and networks mean behind the scenes access to some of the most incredible things to do, more so that any guidebook norm.
- Each experience is designed around the guest as no two people are the same.
- You can paint with an Auckland artist in the morning and listen to the only living Maori art historian in the world whilst a private chef cooks up a storm in his studio.
- Drive the back country of Auckland going from black sand beaches to deep lush rainforest in Range Rovers and make handmade pizza dough overlooking the ocean.
- You can stay overnight on a sailing vessel and sleep in Sir Peter Blake's bunk after a BBQ on a white sandy beach as the wind gently moves the main sail back and forth under the stars.
Press & Contact Details
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A wellness weekend with The Luxury Network, Hyoumankind and Touch of Spice
This Spring The Luxury Network New Zealand sent out special invitations to a number of lucky ladies giving them the opportunity to escape reality for a night and get away with Touch of Spice and new wellness brand Hyoumankind. Photographer Tatiana Skorik came along and snapped some beautiful shots of us enjoying champagne on the deck overlooking the ocean, dinner cooked by Des Harris and Hyoumankind's beautiful new wellness products.
Muriwai Estate – an escape to end all escapes, just a stone's throw from Auckland
The night away from the hustle and bustle of city life took place at Muriwai Estate – part of The Residence Collection by Touch of Spice – a portfolio of exclusive use luxury homes across New Zealand. Muriwai Estate is just a 40-minute drive or 15 minute helicopter ride from Auckland City Centre. It is the dream location for multi-generational getaways, product launches, photoshoots, filming or events for up to 100 people.
Our partners at Hyoumankind
Guests were met by a glass of champagne by Jacqui Spice, Sofia Ambler from The Luxury Network and Steph Wyborn from Hyoumankind – a wellness company who have recently launched their pioneering set of pillows that help you get the most out of life – both whilst awake and whilst you are resting.“Asleep or awake, when your body is supported and comfortable you are poised to get the most out of life.”
Hyounmankind started with the aim of helping you to sleep soundly, wake up feeling fresh and ready to get the most out of your day, every day. Hyoumankind combine design with science to build the best shape for you to rest your head and relax. Their range extends from smaller travel sized pillows to specialist support pillows for different areas of your body.
Dinner with Hunting Lodge Chef - Des Harris
After time to relax, unwind and shake off a week of work, the ladies were treated to a seasonal al-fresco three course dinner cooked by Des Harris – ex fine-dining chef and Head Chef at the nearby Hunting Lodge Winery. The food was incredible!
Breakfast and morning yoga overlooking the wild west coast
After a quiet night of rest, the wellness break concluded with a morning yoga session overlooking the wild west coast of New Zealand and a delicious breakfast. A little escape from city life just a stone's throw from Auckland!
It was brilliant partnering with our friend Sofia Ambler at The Luxury Network New Zealand and we can’t want to see what Hyoumankind has in store over the coming years. Having tried one of their pillows, we’re sleeping better already!