It all begins late afternoon when you and your partner are collected from the grounds of your villa by Heli. The outlook from above fills you with excitement as you look out over city hustle, down past mountain ranges and over dazzling blue lakes. You are on your way to a secret location, where a glam, pop-up restaurant for two has been built especially for the occasion. Your private chef prepares a five course, delicately crafted degustation, each plate somehow more delicious than the last and all individually wine matched.
The show continues and you’re chauffeured by a champagne stocked limousine, though more Lord of the Rings-esque scenery. Your final stop is the Dark Sky Reserve, where you’re greeted with canapés before entering the observatory for a private night of comets, planets and constellations.
How does it end? Surely with a proposal, but we’ll let you decide.
Five of New Zealand's best million dollar views.
1. 50 Aspen Grove - Queenstown
The view from the infinity pool is impressive, to say the least.
Panoramic windows throughout the house allow the glassy lake and snow-capped mountains to surround you at all times - whether you're cooking up a storm in the kitchen or gazing out to the starry sky from your bed.
2. Princes Wharf - Auckland
Princes Wharf is the ultimate in urban luxury, with its premium location in the heart of the city.
Large, glass sliding doors bring an open-air, seaside ambiance and let the view right into the apartment, and the balconies continue along the entire exterior - nothing comes between you and your million dollar view.
3. Rahimoana, Eagles Nest -Bay of Islands
Set atop its own private peninsula overlooking the spectacular Bay of Islands – this 75 acre estate definitely makes the most out of these awe-inspiring location.
Rahimoana, Eagles Nest’s flagship villa, is the epitome of luxury in New Zealand and offers guests some of the most outstanding views in New Zealand from its private horizon edged infinity pool.
4. Blanket Bay - Central Otago
If it's fresh country-air, views of glassy lakes and alpine peaks which stir you, Blanket Bay has generous measures of all three.
It is widely heralded as one of New Zealand's very best luxury accommodations. You'll find it difficult not to slow down, breathe deeply and enjoy the majestic surroundings of Lake Wakatipu.
5. Treetops Lodge - Bay of Plenty
Views from the suites here overlook the forest canopy, which is a stunning sight of endless green folds and tumbles across the many valleys in front of you.
There's something incredibly therapeutic about being surrounded by all this green and nature, listening to a chorus of birdsong and feeling like you're on the top of the world.
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.
World renown travel experts, Quintessentially have written an article on Queenstown accommodation - and it's pretty neat to say that 7 of the 8 recommendations are from our portfolio:
If an adventure packed holiday is what you are seeking then look no further, as New Zealand offers a plethora of adrenaline fuelled adventures that are perfect for family, group or couple vacations.
Quintessentially Travel recommends heading to Queenstown, located in the southern lakes region of the South Island where you can embark on a thrill seeking adventure. Go jetboating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and skydiving, as well as heading to the slopes of this premier four season lake and alpine resort. For those who prefer to wander with nature there’s also plenty of hiking and biking trails, guided tours, boat cruises, scenic flights and spa and wellness centres.
Aspen House, Queenstown
This exquisite private 4 bedroom villa boasts spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and snowcapped Remarkables Mountain. Request a private chef or enjoy an in house massage to complete the personalised service that the Aspen House offers. This traditional and rustic villa boasts modern amenities, a media room, an outside log fire and a hot tub. It will be hard for you to get out and explore New Zealand’s sumptuous surroundings.
Situated in the heart of Queenstown City, Forty Two is ideally located close to the town leaving you free to explore the local culture. Enjoy uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu from the balcony, entertain guests after a day of exploring with the traditional kiwi bbq in the courtyard, or unwind by the bespoke log fireplace, admiring the beautifully infused classical materials that blend seamlessly with its surroundings in this 3 bedroom villa.
Following an exhilarating day on the slopes, escape to this unparalleled 4 bedroom luxury retreat, combining the rustic Central Otago bold statements with accents of art deco flair, to bring you a bespoke ambience throughout the villa. Take in the beauty of New Zealand’s natural surroundings and its beautiful landscape through the floor to ceiling windows.
One of three luxury apartments, this 3 bedroom villa is perfect for those seeking a secluded and architectural delight in the heart of Queenstown. Contemporary styled throughout and complete with a media room, ski room, hot tub and underfloor heating so you can sit back and relax after an adventurous day. Take in the grandiose surroundings of the mountain peaks and Cecil Peak on the uber gorgeous and luxurious deck spa.
An uber luxurious 3 bedroom villa, boasting an extensive living area to make this property perfect for family holidays or a getaway with friends. Relax by the fire after a day of activities, or indulge in a spa treatment at the Matakauri Lodge besides the villa. Situated in the heart of the town this villa is the perfect retreat all year round.
Taimana Central Apartment
Taimana Central Apartment offers sophistication and elegance right in the heart of Queensland. This 3 bedroom property is ideal for families, and includes modern amenities, a bbq and plush bespoke furnishings that create the perfect ambience. Retreat to the terrace and take in the remarkable views of Cecil Peak and Walter Peaks.
BAY OF ISLANDS
Discover New Zealand's hidden culture at the beautiful and historic Bay of Islands. With its golden beaches and glistering waters, tranquil harbours, dramatic coastlines and enchanting forest you will certainly be in paradise!
The Landing Residences, Bay of Islands
Enjoy waterfront views in this sumptuous and spacious 5 bedroom villa, with rare and bespoke Maori and Pakeha artwork and artefacts. Sleeping up to 10 guests, this villa is perfect for families and large groups. Complete with a heli-pad, private beach access, pizza oven, wine cellar and private study, this abode caters to every need.
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.