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ARCHIVES: January 1970

Our cruise on the Pacific Jemm by Eichardt's

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The team and I were lucky enough to be invited by Eichardt’s to enjoy their newest addition the, Pacific Jemm, over a lunchtime cruise.

As soon as we stepped on board, we were greeted by friendly smiles, and a glass of bubbles, which in my opinion is the best way to start a cruise. The weather was also on point which provided perfect cruising conditions.

On this trip we cruised the corners of Lake Wakatipu before stopping for a delicious BBQ lunch, which was served on the top deck. The food was a mixture of meats and salads, providing enough variety for everyone's taste buds.

Below deck the Pacific Jemm boasts four bedrooms all equipped with luxury linen, their own entertainment systems and bathroom facilities - the master including a spa bath.

A personal favourite of mine was the sun lounger on the front of the boat which is perfect for a spot of sunbathing and conversations with friends. Here you can also take in the amazing views that this cruise has to offer.

We cruised around Lake Wakatipu for approximately three hours before docking back in Queenstown central. This is an excellent daytime activity, especially for those looking to cruise in style while enjoying all of the luxuries that this boat has to offer. 

Thank you to the team at Eichardt's for this fantastic day out!

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Why the South Pacific is the ideal sabbatical destination

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The idea of uplifting your family and moving to the other side of the world for 3 months used to be daunting and unrealistic. Times have thankfully now changed.

With new direct flight routes between the US and New Zealand, along with infrastructure developments allowing guests access to hi-speed internet so they can stay in top of things ‘back home’, we have seen a large growth in the number of families looking to visit New Zealand for an extended period of time.

New Zealand has long been a popular destination for family travel. It is seen as a safe place to visit, and offers such a diverse range of experiences. Families can base themselves in places such as Queenstown or Wanaka, and then explore the rest of the country on ‘getaways’.

Queenstown is particularly popular for this, and our range of private villas are ideally suited for families wanting to a ‘home away from home’ for a period of time. Local schools also allow for short-term international enrolments as the seasonal nature of the region (for example the winter ski season) often sees workers only in the area for a few months.

The time difference between New Zealand and the US also means that you can wake up, have breakfast, and then jump on a Skype call with the East or West Coast before they finish their business day. After that, how about doing a couple of hours working online before taking the family on a walk around a beautiful alpine lake?

For families that want to visit multiple countries, it’s an easy 3 and a  ½ hour flight to either Australia or Fiji from New Zealand, with fantastic family villa options in both, so why not look at an entire South Pacific experience over a period of several months.

If you have been thinking about taking the family on a sabbatical but not sure what the accommodation options are, the Touch of Spice team are here to help!

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Book your Queenstown Marathon Luxury Accommodation

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With the Queenstown Marathon fast arriving, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start thinking about locking your accommodation in. Fortunately, we still have a selection of luxury private villas ideal for your stay.

Ranging in size from two to five bedrooms, we can accommodate your ‘cheer squad’ of varying sizes. With fully equipped gourmet kitchens, create your carb-loaded, pre-race meals in the comfort of your accommodation and then after the race enjoy a soothing soak in the hot tub, complete with stunning lake views.

Last but not least, as an extra sweetener, the first six who book a stay over the Marathon weekend will receive a complimentary 60 minute massage*, ideal to sooth those post race muscles.

Just quote 'MARATHON' at the check-out when booking online or to your Travel Designer when enquiring. 

Here are our top three ‘Marathon-made in heaven’ properties:

1. KOHANGA LAKESIDE VILLA

Located right on the Marathon course, your friends/family will have no excuse for not cheering you on.  The property also benefits from Marathon worthy features such as an outdoor pizza oven and hot tub.

2. HYDE LOFT

More interested in the post-race festivities than putting your feet-up? You could not be in a more central location to take advantage of the great Queenstown nightlife. 

3. JACKS POINT LAKE HOUSE

Enjoy the peace and tranquility that this properties nature preserve location affords, together with it’s stand out range of features including hot tub, media room, pool table and ample outdoor lounge & dining.

*Subject to availability. Valid for the first six booking made for dates including 16th - 18th November 2018 and for Touch of Spice exclusive properties only. 

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Shredding under the stars - Queenstown Night Skiing

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Our Travel Designer Paivi's verdict on one of Queenstown's popular after-dark winter activities

I was lucky to be invited for a Veuve Clicquot Wednesday night ski. Considering I hadn’t skied for a few years I was a little apprehensive.

Myself and a colleague hopped on a bus from NZ Ski snow centre. We sat back and enjoyed the views. At every corner and turn we were happy we did not drive up ourselves.

On arrival we went through the rentals. Being a Wednesday afternoon there were definitely no queues there and staff was very helpful. Even the boots fitted my colleague who usually has difficulties finding boots that fit. They fitted so well that she actually went and bought the exact boots afterwards!

Once we were geared up we headed for the lifts. There was some delay at Coronet Express and queue was building up. We decided to head for the Greengates and I am glad we did as it was the last run of the day at Greengates. Greengates runs are not lit up and the natural daylight was fading.

The snow as good, the temperature was comfortable and it wasn’t too windy. I was skiing down the mountain with a big smile on my face. I was enjoying it more than I thought I would after so many years. They say it is like riding a bike and that it comes back to you and yes that’s exactly how it was!

We did about 6 runs before we headed to the Peak Club for some Veuve Clicquot and nibbles. We also heard about the new products Coronet Peak offers this winter:

  • Veuve Clicquot Wednesday night ski. Avoid the crowds and hit the slopes Wednesday afternoon from 4pm until 9pm. This is a new addition to the usual Friday and Saturday nights. 
  • Heidi’s Hut Dinners. This special dining experience is limited to 40 seats only every Friday & Saturday night during August & September.
  • Peak Club Day Pass. Coronet Peak’s Ultimate Luxury Product is the Peak Club Day Pass. Includes VIP parking, Peak Club Lounge Access including meals & drinks and a Lift pass including First Tracks & Night Ski.
  • Twilight Pass. The Twilight pass is perfect for late-risers wanting to get a full day of skiing and experience the fun of night skiing at Coronet Peak.  Twilight Passes are valid from 12.30pm to 9pm at Coronet Peak only, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays until early/mid-September. Same price as regular day pass – perfect after a night night out in Queenstown!

After the Veuve Clicquots warming us up we did a couple of more runs before jumping back on the bus to Queenstown. We had such a great night and I am glad I got the opportunity to enjoy it!

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For the Love of Land

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Finding a local in Queenstown is like finding a needle in a haystack, so you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot when you hear the ever-apparent New Zealand accent of, Paddy, your guide, greet you on arrival.

The conversation runs freely during the drive out to Moke Lake. Stunning reflections, snow-capped mountains and sheep scarpering off in every direction and we were yet to arrive at our destination.

Suited and booted we headed past the boundary of Moke Lake and into the working high-country station of Ben Lomond. Climbing Cliffs, drifting around corners, and flying through rivers, past gold miners sledging for gold in a 6-seater buggy, this is 100% pure New Zealand.

Paddy throws in the occasional fun fact about the land, the history and the region, he is engaging and charismatic, answering any question we threw at him. We still can’t believe our luck with the weather, a typical Autumn morning, Jack Frost has visited and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. We are blazing the countryside with only sheep in sight thinking how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful corner of the world.

Pre-Lunch we meet the farmer and his wife sitting at their beautiful farmhouse enjoying bacon and eggs, it doesn’t get much more Kiwi than that. Paddy takes us up to the viewpoint and the climax for the trip; 1000m above sea level, snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, silver beach, and sheep is all we can see for miles while enjoying a picnic lunch and taking in that fresh rural air.

This is the perfect trip to escape the crowds, whether it’s a corporate group, a family getaway or a private trip for two, there is something to gain for everyone. Full of history, adrenaline, and fresh air, it is a must-do activity to get off the grid for a full or even half a day.

For further info on this tour, please contact us via info@touchofspice.co.nz or + 64 3 450 0855

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Our latest loves

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Tihi Chalet, Queenstown

Sleeps 8 | 4 bedroom | 3 bathroom | From NZ$190 pp pn
Your Scandinavian chic property with outstanding, uninterrupted lake and mountain views and luxe interiors.

 

The Edge, Wanaka

Sleeps 10 | 5 bedroom | 3 bathroom | From $110 pp pn
A retreat where every morning you have your coffee in absolute peace overlooking majestic mountains, and end your day in the soak tub with a wine in hand under the stars. 

 

Mudbrick - The Lodge, Waiheke Island 

Sleeps 6 |3 bedroom | 3 bathroom | From NZ$215 pp pn
A truely experiential stay. Relax and unwind at the gorgeous lodge, wander over to the two different onsite restaurants or treat yourself to an ocean swim & coastal stroll.

 

Blanket Bay Villa, Glenorchy

Sleeps 8 | 4 bedroom | 4 bathroom | From NZ$1,725 pp pn
Enjoy all the benefits of a luxury lodge, but in privacy. The villa has been designed and built to the highest spec and every element of your stay has been carefully considered. 

 

Cascata, Queenstown

Sleeps 8 | 4 bedroom | 3 bathroom | From NZ$1,250 pp pn
The very ultimate in entertaining. Everything about Cascata is glamorous; from the glass elevator and rooftop terrace to the top-of-the-line sound system and elite appliances.  

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Our top 5 luxury New Zealand stays for 2018

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Lakefront Luxury, Queenstown | Sleeps 8 | From NZ$156 pp/pn
 How did you find staying in a villa compared with a hotel suite?
“The villa is so cleverly split across two levels, it feels spacious and homely with areas for the family to come together in. There’s the impressive dining area with the stunning views over Lake Wakatipu, the cosy media room with plush cushions and sofas you can sink into plus the jacuzzi to unwind in after a long day exploring. All facilities are yours for private use.” - LYNDAL

 

The Boathouse – The Landings, Bay of Islands | Sleeps 4 | From NZ$875 pp/pn 
What surprised you about your stay?
“Being positioned on sacred Maori land, there’s a lot of beautiful art and history ingrained in the property which I loved hearing stories about. This experiential aspect added another level of 'wow' to the stellar service, food, wine and architecture." - LYDIA 

 

The Banya, Wanaka | Sleeps 2 | From NZ$350 pp/pn
 How would you rate The Banya as a great couple’s getaway?  
"The space is peaceful and secluded, the interiors are plush and comfortable, and the bonus of having access to the infinity pool and jacuzzi was the cherry on top. We enjoyed plenty of bubbles on the bean bags on the deck, taking in the exceptional lake and mountain views. It was heaven!" - JUDI

 

Scrubby Bay, Annandale, Christchurch | Sleeps 14 | From NZ$415 pp/pn 
Annandale’s tagline is “Stay where the world can’t find you…” – how would you describe the experience having stayed at Scrubby Bay?
"The setting is dramatic, the location is completely private, and the service is faultless. We relaxed in the open air jacuzzi under the stars, ate like kings thanks to our private chef Glen and unashamedly lounged around feeling at peace with the sound of the ocean in the background. It was the ultimate paradise." - EMMA

 

Donkey Bay Inn, Bay of Islands | Sleeps 6 | From NZ$875 pp/pn 
What was it about your stay that made the best impression?
“It was the small details that made the biggest impact. The loose gemstones on the walking track down to the beach, the freshly baked scones and jam to be enjoyed whilst reading in the library, your own mini sculpture park that echo’s Barcelona’s Güell Park, and enjoying a handcrafted Donkey Bay Gin on the balcony. A truly magical experience!” - JILL

 

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Our top Bay of Islands activity picks for this summer

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THE BEST WAY TO START THE WEEKEND
Start the weekend with a buzz by cruising off-road. Truly a unique outdoor adventure, experience riding through forestry tracks, sand dunes, and along the beautiful Ninety-mile beach tracks. Stop for a sand board on the dunes and enjoy the untouched scenery not accessible to the public.

THE BEST SPLURGE ACTIVITY
What better way to see the beautiful coastline of Northland than by air? See Hole in the Rock, Cape Reinga, and the large rolling sand dunes all on a scenic flight by helicopter or aircraft. Land on a secluded beach, sandboard on the dunes or pair your flight with a wine tasting at local vineyards. This excursion is a must-do splurge, leaving no stone left unturned when it comes to seeing the Bay of Islands. 

THE MOST SCENIC WALKING REWARD
Completing a walk along the scenic Kerikeri River Track is just over 4 kilometres and totals 2 hours return. Enjoy exercise among the continuously changing scenery, the calling of the native birds, and the reward of two stunning waterfalls during the journey - Wharepuke & Rainbow falls.

THE BEST FAMILY EXCURSION
Indulge in a private boat charter for the day as you level sail around the islands alongside dolphins and whales. Relax on the large trampolines while you are served lunch you’ve caught. Experience navigating the vessel at the helm and learn about the area from the knowledgeable hosts. Enjoy a swim, kayak, paddleboard or hike if you wish to anchor. Each experience is curated to the guest's desires.

THE BEST PLACE TO GO FOR A SWIM IN THE OCEAN
?At the northern end of Paihia lies Te Tii Bay, a golden sand beach lined with native pohutukawa trees. Te Tii is a generally calm beach suitable for swimming and fishing and has a popular children’s playground at one end.

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CATEGORY : Summer, New Zealand

Falling in love with Marlborough

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For spectacular scenery and wine look no further than Marlborough, in the north-eastern tip of the South Island. Our Travel Concierge Jill went on a recent visit there to sample the ‘best of the best’.

Where to stay: 

Marlborough Lodge

   

The experience of staying here starts from the minute you drive through the gates, with a winding path taking your through perfectly manicured gardens and streams. On arrival I was met by Peter, the general manger. He made me feel at home and his knowledge of the area and the historic lodge was very insightful. Originally a nun's convent, it has been transformed to a Lodge with 10 luxurious suites.

I was shown to my suite on the second floor and enjoyed the huge bath and garden views. The guests all dined together and the food was some of the best I’ve ever had!

Marlborough Lodge is located just 7 minutes from Blenheim airport and is the perfect spot stay to experience the wine region!

Bay of Many Coves

  

I was lucky enough to take the stunning heli flight from Marlborough Lodge to Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds. Kim greeted us and showed us around the grounds. Each suite felt private and had perfect views. We enjoyed a degustation meal in the relaxed dining area and had breakfast the next morning outside while watching the sunrise.  

The in-house hot chocolate is a must!

Where to eat: Hanz Herzog Organic Winery

 

A trip to Malborough wouldn't be complete without getting to sample this dining experience. Hanz Was a fantastic host – the food, the wine and the setting were excellent in this boutique winery! 

What to do: Wine tour

 

Boasting nearly 80% of New Zealand’s wine industry, you can’t visit Marlborough without sampling their wines. With so much choice available a wine tour is a great way of trying the very best in the region. Favourites include the family run Waipara Hills, methode specialists No 1 and the world renowned Cloudy Bay. 

Hidden treasure: Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

The biggest surprise of the trip was Omaka! I couldn’t believe this huge museum full of Peter Jacksons planes and historic collections were in Blenheim! I’m no aviation expert but it is a definite must for every visitor to Blenheim! 

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Mountain Carting at Cardrona Alpine Resort

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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!

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