With the arrival of the spring shoulder season, the influx of international tourists has slowed, and you have a rare opportunity to explore the beauty of New Zealand without the crowds. Here are my top picks:
1. Private boat charter in the Marlborough Sounds
Shake off those winter blues in stunning Marlborough Sounds, where the mountain meets the sea. Relax in luxury, swim with the dolphins or go diving. It's an opportunity to create memories even greater than the views!
Stay: Bay of Many Coves. Reward your tired limbs with a tranquil soak in the spa pool overlooking their private jetty and the surrounding hills.
2. Hawke’s Bay wine tour
Have a highly experienced guide take you off the beaten track to discover some stunning Hawke's Bay wines and meet the people with the passion who create them, providing you with an exclusive experience that most visitors will never get.
Stay: The Lodge at Craggy Range. The perfect retreat for foodies, featuring a chef’s kitchen, open fire-place dining and an in-lodge sommelier service.
3. Horseback riding through the lupine blossoms in Glenorchy
For about 4-5 weeks at the end of each year, the middle of New Zealand’s South Island bursts into colour — purples, pinks, blues and yellows sprout up along lakesides and in riverbeds, making the already stunning views even more incredible.
Stay: Wyuna House and wake up to some of the world’s most outstanding views.
4. Heli-fishing in Rotorua
Catch the season opening buzz from 1st October in the Maori heartland and trout fishing capital of the world. There isn't a more satisfying meal than when you've caught and cooked it yourself.
Stay: Treetops Lodge and enjoy access to seven streams, on-site trout fishing, four lakes, and over 70 kilometres of adventure trails.
5. Golf in style around Central Otago
There's dramatic scenery, lush greens and world class facilites to see! So have a heli-chauffeur guide you to all the premier courses, from mountain-top tees with biodegradable balls, to exclusive member only grounds with art collections. It’s an experience to remember!
Stay: Jack’s Point Lake House. On the doorstep of Queenstown, this ultimate luxury play pad boasts modern furnishings, a spa pool, pool table, cinema room and unparalleled views.
CATEGORY : Luxury Travel
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.
It's awards season in Hollywood and all the celebrities are out and about strutting heir stuff in the most extravagant of attire, celebrating their success on the big screen. Well, we think itâ€™s time we recognise some of our famous villas!
For ‘best in a television series or blockbuster movie’…and the nominees are...
Wyuna House for 'use of territory in Lord Of The Rings'
4 bedroom | 5 bathroom | 8 people max | From NZ$175 pp, per night*
Wyuna is set amongst the iconic 'middle earth' territory in Glenorchy where numerous Lord of the Rings scenes were filmed. The endless amount of beauty in the diverse landscape can be appreciated from inside Wyuna House, where the interiors complement the surroundings as you look through the large bay windows. With cladding in local schist and cedar plus timber floors, walls and ceilings, this house has a warm lodge feel and sits harmoniously amongst its picturesque setting.
Hurakia Lodge for 'photo-shoot worthy backdrop on America's Next Top Model'
5 bedroom | 5 bathrooms | 10 people max | From NZ$250 pp, per night*
Hurakia Lodge was chosen to showcase the beauty of New Zealand to the American market. The lodge sits on Rakino Island and has magnificent views of Waiheke Island and Auckland city in the near distance. The villa features wide open areas and floor to ceiling windows to maximise the feeling of space, as well as being able to fully absorb the stunning scenery.
Bridgeview Luxury Apartment for 'being host to Germany's Next Top Model'
Viaduct Apartment | 2 bedroom | 2 bathroom | 4 people max | From NZ$460 pp, per night*
It only made sense for a gorgeous property to host to the gorgeous German Next Top models, so Bridgeview Luxury Apartment was the top pick. Auckland central, stunning viaduct, city and harbour bridge views plus divine interiors.
It's no wonder that the apartment is currently being leased out long term... luckily we also have the Viaduct Apartment which is situated in the same building as Bridgeview and offers the same deluxe feel and views.
Te Hihi Estate for 'supporting stage in the X-Factor New Zealand 2015'
5 bedroom | 5 bathroom | 10 people max | $920 pp, per night*
Spoiler alert: When the judges of X-Factor have their 'home auditions', the properties aren't their actual homes.
It's become expected that the judges home auditions are at extravagant properties that 'wow' viewers to create an illusion of how the celerity judges must live.
Te Hihi Estate has copious amount of 'wow'. From the outdoor fire, swimming pool, to the onsite golf course, tennis court, gym and private spa. The villa itself boasts french-country styling with home comforts.
Jacqui's pick: Seascape – Christchurch
I couldn’t rave more about how romantic this property is. A real no-fuss, yet ultra-modern, world-of-your-own jewel that allows you to forget all of life’s matters.
The remoteness (only accessible by heli or 4WD), outdoor Jacuzzi, fire pit, natural feel of the interiors plus the private chef made our stay a lifelong memory.
Nic’s pick: The Cooper Residence - Bay of Islands
This property provides the ‘wow’ factor in every corner! It seamlessly blends luxurious furnishings with fascinating Maori artefact's and historic artwork; giving an entirely unique villa experience. It has jaw dropping coastal views, a private beach, and they even produce their own wine there with private wine tastings available – what more could you ask for! Even as a born and bred kiwi I would holiday there in a heartbeat.
Nora’s pick: Hawke's Bay Haven - Hawke's Bay
Haven by name, haven by nature! I’m not at all green fingered but the immaculate gardens are those expected only in fairy-tales. If, like me, you want to have some serious rest & relaxation whilst on holiday, then this is the place to go. The property comes complete with swimming pool, outdoor dining cabana, wood fireplace, BBQ, tennis court (....the list could go on!), making it hard to find a reason to leave!
Clare’s pick: Otaha Beachfront Lodge – Bay of Islands
If only I could live here, I would be the most content person that there ever was. The energy that the space provides is something I wish I could bottle up – it has an enormous sense of calmness which is only heightened by the private beach that you have at your disposal. The light wood styling, the designer furnishings and the floor to ceiling windows collaborate together in complete harmony. I can’t wait for you to see what I mean!
Sarah's pick: Kumanu – Queenstown
My ultimate favourite would be Kumanu. Its interior design is unique and its location is remote. A true retreat to get away from it all, relax in the hot tub, in the multiple lounge areas or by the outdoor fire with a glass of pinot noir! Absolute bliss!
With Russell being a hop, skip and a jump away from Auckland it's a great destination for a weekend away or that last minute escape. We were fortunate enough to spend a night in one of Russell's premium villas, Tahapuke.
As we approach the gates to the property, the villa itself is wonderfully hidden, giving no glimpse as to the beauty which awaits. Walking down the winding path the first thing which grabs our attention is the beautiful private beach at the front of the property – with the aqua coloured, serene water it’s hard to miss. Greeting us as we enter the door is chilled bottle of local Chardonnay and box of hand-crafted chocolates – together with the perfect setting to enjoy them in. The property itself has a wonderful large open plan kitchen, dining and living area (with three living spaces to choose from). All are luxuriously appointed with contemporary decor and furnishings and opens out onto a large decking and a portrait of stunning sea views. There are three bedrooms; all complete with TV, plus expansive windows and doors opening to your own terrace and of course the fantastic water views. All are fairly even in size - meaning that you don’t have to fight over who gets the master.
Things to do
It’s very easy to sit back, relax and zone out to the sound of the waves, however with access to your very own private island a ride over there is a must! Fortunately guests have complimentary access to both a dingy and kayaks so off we go. We opted for the lazier choice of the dingy (don’t judge us!) but for the more active types the kayak also provides guests with the wonderful opportunity to venture across the bay. Nearby fishing or sailing charters are also available, providing ample things to do. Guests also benefit from a 5 acre backdrop of native bush cascading down to the beach, which is not only incredibly beautiful but also stemmed in history; serving as a turangawaewae (or standing place) for
Maori Chief Te Keemua and his people. Two Maori Pa sites are also located at the very top of the property. As the sun beings to set, the pink colours surrounding the property are picture perfect as we head out to dinner. We make the 5 minute scroll to the town centre, head to the Duke of Marlborough for a sumptuous meal and toast ourselves to our own private piece of paradise.
Bike the Gibbston Valley wine trail
Not wanting to blow the budget but looking for something fun to do in the sun? What better way than enjoying a beautiful summers day exploring the famous Gibbston Valley by bike and tasting stunning Otago wine along the way.
Over the Top Golf in Queenstown
Think you can score a hole in one at 4,500 feet? Accessible only by helicopter Over the Top Golf at Cecil Peak is a great way to have a bit of family competition with their 4 separate tee boxes.
Taste of Waiheke
Want to experience the best wines the North Island has to offer? We can arrange a private wine and olive tour and tasting for you and a group of friends at some of New Zealand’s best vineyards located on Waiheke island.
Otaha Beachfront Lodge, Bay of Islands
Only a two minute walk to a secluded beach, this villa provides you with your very own private paradise in the Bay of Islands.
This five bedroom villa is incredibly spacious, with a modern, crisp feel– it’s definitely beachside living with a luxurious twist! It’s a great villa for entertaining with a large open plan living area and plenty of outdoor space, complete with decking, dining area and barbecue.
If you’re after the quintessential summer vacation home you’ve found it.
Whale Bay, Matapouri
Boasting a heated swimming pool, 360-degree views of the sea and only a two minute walk to the beach, this immaculately presented villa is ideal for any water lover!
The seven bedrooms can accommodate up to 16 guests, ensuring ample space for a large family or group of traveling friends. If you are looking to entertain, the outdoor furniture in front of the most amazing Italian marble open fireplace with BBQ is perfection.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on +64 3 450 0855.
I was lucky enough to enjoy the Queen's Birthday long weekend with my family in the beautiful lake side town of Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka is an absolutely stunning location and the perfect getaway either for a family holiday or
The Residence - Villa South Pacific
This villa is an absolute jewel with views to die for! Built on an elevated plateau Villa South Pacific provides the most gorgeous backdrop looking out to Lake Wanaka, Treble Cone, Mt Roy and Mt Aspiring.
With the open fire crackling in front of you, a good book and a glass of the regions finest, this Villa feels like home. Sue the owner had pre-pared two pizzas for our arrival which she cooked in the pizza oven. They were supposed to just be for the kids but they were so crispy and delicious we couldn`t help ourselves. With its rustic Mediterranean decor and ideal location, being walking distance from both Wanaka township and the lake front my family and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.
The Adrenaline - Oxbow Lodge
Easily one of the most awesome adult playgrounds ever and not just for the boys either! Sprint boats, knife throwing, a "Gun Club", dirt buggies, helicopter rides, they have it all - it had the girls screaming and even the boys! Our three kids aged 8 - 13 couldn`t get enough of it. The hosts Darb and Lloyd are incredibly hospitable and ensured that everyone had an amazing time.
The Relaxation - Minaret Station
This was my third visit to Minaret and it just gets better each time! Accessible only by helicopter, the flight in is absolutely magical as you come in through the Southern Alps and land in what feels like the middle of nowhere. You might be in one of the remotest parts of the country but the cuisine is exquisite; dining on lamb racks, paua soup and chocolate mousse in complete luxury while enjoying some of New Zealand`s finest wines. Minaret Station is a must for everyone, plenty of star studded celebrities have been here - the kids were so excited just by the names in the guest book!
The Beauty - Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka is the heart of this beautiful town; it demands your attention and will take your breath away. It`s so serene and so vast; you could never tire looking at it. Whether you want to exercise around it or on it, or just relax and enjoy the view you will no doubt agree with me when I say it`s one of the most tranquil and untouched places in New Zealand.
The Adventure - Whare Kea Chalet
Getting to check out Whare Kea Chalet was definitely a highlight of the weekend. Only accessible by helicopter, with the most stunning views (quite honestly photos just don`t do it justice!). It`s the perfect location for a romantic proposal, a scenic lunch with friends or an ultimate overnight activity trip during both summer and winter. With the ability to go heli-skiing or hiking right on your door step it`s definitely one of Wanaka`s best kept secrets!