During the month of April our team spent a couple of afternoons pulling wiling pines on Queenstown Hill. After a breathtaking ride up the Queenstown Gondola and a short walk on the Ben Lomond track, we find the Touch of Spice plot that we take care of each year to make sure the Douglas Furs don’t take over our beloved mountains.
Why pulling and not planting?
Normally you would think environmental sustainability would be about planting trees, not pulling them out of the ground, but in this case, the pines self-seed and grow wild. Not only do they take over the mountains, once the non-native trees form a thick canopy, nothing else can survive, threatening many New Zealand species. A recent article in Stuff provides a more detailed overview of the threat to our biodiversity.
Pulling pines literally consists of us scrambling over our plot on the mountainside, pulling out little seedlings by hand (protected by gardening gloves of course) or for larger pines, using some loppers flexing our gym formed muscles to get rid of the offending pine.
Together we can do so much
Not only is an afternoon pulling pines a great way to support our wonderful community and help to sustain the beauty that is Queenstown, but it’s a fantastic way for the team to spend some time together out of the office, in our high vis vests. This year, the sun was shining both afternoons, and of course the backdrop is spectacular. Our patch is now looking rather clear of wilding pines, but they will be back, so here’s to Autumn next year for another go at pulling pines.
A special thank you to Tom who we arrange our yearly trips with. Tom has the fun job of using the chainsaw on the larger trees and even taught us how to enjoy the variety of coprosma berries (for those brave of us to try).
Pines to pints
And of course, what better way to finish off an afternoon of hard labour, than a well-deserved cold pint at Frank's Eatery (a second home to some of the team here at Touch of Spice).
We know settling into winter can be a troublesome time and so we want to soften the blow with some incredible introductory rates for winter stays at Lake Hayes. For a limited time you can stay in this delectable five bedroom home from just $3500 per night.
Why consider a winter break at Lake Hayes?
Despite being just a 10 minute drive from Queenstown airport The Homestead at Lake Hayes offers complete tranquility. Sink into nature with lake views and unadulterated access to the nearby walking and cycling tracks surrounding the lake that meander their way all the through to Arrowtown. Once you have been exploring and taken in enough of the seamless lake and mountain views retire to the fireside and warm up in style.
The perfect spot for a multi-generational winter escape
With five wonderful bedrooms this property offers a brilliant option for a multi-generational getaway. The estate offers more than enough space for three generations to enjoy each others company without treading on each others toes. While the youngsters run around the grass, playing hide and seek in the Sequoia trees, the grown ups can unwind over a glass of Central Otago's finest.
Booking a winter stay at The Homestead
View more about The Homestead at Lake Hayes or get in touch with one of our Travel Designers to find out more. A minimum five night stay applies and all bookings are subject to availability - please contact one of our Travel Designers to find out more.
Autumn spice is in the Queenstown air
Indulge in a luxury getaway at one of our exclusive properties this Autumn and get one night free for every four you stay.
Stay for four nights and pay for three all the way through until the end of June 2019.
Choose from a wealth of pristine properties - book directly with us via phone, email or through our website and let our Travel Designers redefine your autumnal stay in Queenstown.
Where is your dream stay?
Te Kohanga Rua | Sleeps 4 across 2 bedrooms - 1x queen, 2x split king|1x bathroom | $350 per night.
Hyde Loft | Sleeps 4 across 2 bedrooms - 1x super king,1x king|2x bathroom | $1,150 per night.
Falconer Rise | Sleeps 6 across 4 bedrooms - 2x queen, 2x single, 1x bunk |2x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $700 per night.
Taimana | Sleeps 6 across 3 bedrooms -1x queen, 4x split king |2x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $1,150 per night.
One @ 25 Belfast | Sleeps 4 across 2 bedrooms - 1x queen, 1x split king|2x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $525 per night.
Arrow Cottage | Sleeps 6 across 3 bedrooms - 1x queen, 2x split king |1x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $600 per night.
21 Lakefront | Sleeps 8 across 4 bedrooms - 1x king, 3x split king|4x ensuite, 1x guest bathroom | $1,250 per night.
25 On The Terrace | Sleeps 8 across 4 bedrooms – 1x king, 2x queen, 1x split king|3x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $900 per night.
Alpine Retreat | Sleeps 10 across 4 bedrooms – 1x king, 2x split king & 1x king, 2x single in a self contained unit|1x ensuite, 2x bathroom | $1,100 per night.
Fifteen | Sleeps 6 across 3 bedrooms – 1x king, 2x queen |1x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $1,050 per night.
Casa Vista | Sleeps 4 across 2 bedrooms -1x queen, 2x single|1x bathroom | $450 per night.
Highview | Sleeps 6 across 3 bedrooms - 2x queen, 2x single|1x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $525 per night.
Ridge View | Sleeps 8 across 4 bedrooms - 3x queen, 1x split king|2x ensuite, 1x bathroom | $800 per night.
Penthouse on Hallenstein | Sleeps 7 across 4 bedrooms – 1x super king, 1x king, 1x queen, 1x single|1x esnuite, 2x bathroom | $875 per night.
The (not so) small print
Terms and conditions apply: Stay for 4 nights and pay for 3. This offer is valid for bookings between now and the 30th June 2019. Only valid on direct bookings over the phone, via email or through our website. All bookings are subject to availability.
Get away from it all and enjoy a short break this winter...
Talk to one of our Travel Designers about this exclusive Australian and New Zealand Residents' Winter Special at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
What does the special offer include?
- A special nightly rate
- Luxurious suite accommodation
- Pre-dinner drinks and canapes
- Gourmet dinner
- Full breakfast and complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar
- A choice of unlimited green fees on the award-winning golf courses OR
- A rejuvenating 60-minute spa massage treatment per person per night stayed
Prices: NZ$775 + 15% GST per person, per night based on double occupancy. For an upgrade to a Deluxe Suite add $150 + 15% GST per night to the package.
The small print
This offer is valid for booking from 1 April until 31 May 2019 and is valid for travel from 1 May up to and including 30 September 2019. Conditions apply, subject to availability and change.
Touch of Spice CEO Jacqui Spice has been awarded Condé Nast Traveler’s ‘Travel Specialist’ accolade for the third year running, following six previous accolades.
We’re thrilled our CEO and Founder Jacqui has been named a ‘Top Travel Specialist’ by Condé Nast Traveler for the third consecutive year. This marks the seventh occasion Jacqui has been acknowledged by Condé Nast Traveler for her unparalleled knowledge and talent when it comes to promoting and managing luxury villas throughout New Zealand.
What goes into becoming a Condé Nast Traveler Travel Specialist?
This accolade is awarded to Travel Specialists who have a uniquely in-depth understanding of the area they curate and promote, offering travellers and agents alike the best advice available.
At Touch of Spice we spend our time working hard, curating luxury stays and most importantly bringing these stays to life, through unique experiences and little ‘touches’ that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. At our Queenstown office our team of Travel Designers work with Jacqui to turn ordinary journeys to New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific into memorable experiences.
A note from Jacqui
“I feel incredibly privileged to be presented with this award for the seventh time. My team and I spend our days doing whatever we can to bring our client’s requests to life in ways they never thought possible. We strive to ensure every moment we have a hand in creating, becomes a memory that lasts a lifetime, and so it’s wonderful to be recognised (once again) for the service we provide.”
About Condé Nast Traveler
Condé Nast Traveler are the self-proclaimed leaders of news on all things travel, driving the most up-to-date and engaging updates on the travel industry, through both their printed magazine, expertly curated daily emails and enthralling online articles.
What is a Condé Nast Traveler Travel Specialist?
Only a select few are given this admirable accolade, awarded to whom they deem “the right experience maker” who “will intuit your desires before you even know what they are — then they’ll make them happen.” – Paul Brady and Christine Cantera, Condé Nast.
At Touch of Spice we embody this notion on a daily basis. We want you to run down the hallways, bomb in the pool and generally make the most of what our private escapes can offer. Despite representing some of the most incredible and exclusive properties in the region, we know it’s not about the accommodation itself. Although exquisite spaces, with unique levels of luxury, escapism and privacy are of course crucial – it’s ultimately about the experiences and the memories created – that we hope will last long beyond the journey home.
A couple of weeks ago a few of our team were invited to spend a night at Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Estate and Eco Sanctuary, a beautiful luxury lodge located just 20 minutes outside Wanaka.
Whilst being so close to the Wanaka township, the lodge feels incredibly remote with no one else in sight (aside from the sheep!). Upon arrival to the lodge we were all blown away by the expansive views over the stunning green landscape and out over Lake Wanaka, taken advantage of by the large floor to ceiling windows in the main lodge area.
The lodge is relatively small, with only four main suites, and another kids bunk room which can be used if the lodge is taken exclusively. Each of the luxuriously appointed suites are different styles and offer outlooks in different and equally beautiful directions, our favourite had to be the Master Suite ‘Tui’, with it’s large open shower room and copper bathtub looking out over the mountains, how relaxing!
The lodge manager Anna and host Chris really make the experience fantastic, they are so welcoming and knowledgeable about the local area. The food we had for dinner and breakfast was so delicious, made with local fresh produce, and they had a great selection of local wines to go with this.
In the morning we went for a walk down to the Stables, these are a short walk from the main lodge and are the most stunning stables any of us have ever seen!
Mahu Whenua is a fantastic place to just kick back and relax, and equally a great place to get out and explore the expansive property. You can enjoy hiking from the property, or a helicopter can land right outside and take you on one of many heli hikes in the region. One thing that really stood out for us which is a great option for those active people, is that you can pick up e-bikes in Arrowtown, Queenstown and cycle to the property, there are trails the whole way.
Thank you to the team at Mahu Whenua for hosting us and creating a truly memorable experience for us on this beautiful property!
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!
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!
Meghan and Harry have officially landed on New Zealand soil!
To toast their arrival, we’ve compiled a list of our very favourite luxury stays, worthy of a royal visit.
With privacy and security being of absolute paramount, Lodge at The Hills’ secluded setting on The Hills golf course perfectly combines the two. Add to this its outstanding art collection, one-of-a-kind sculpture tour and range of premium inclusions and you have something very special indeed.
Epitomising the sophisticated elegance of the English Art & Crafts movement, Meghan and Harry would certainly be at home in this luxurious cottage. Faultlessly designed and boasting a cosy and intimate atmosphere it’s an idyllic home to retreat to.
Positioned on the southern-most tip of the North Island. Wharekauhau provides the perfect base for a tour of both islands. A firm favourite for royalty, dignitaries and celebrities, Wharekauhau’s location on a 5,000 acre working farm provides guests with the ability to unplug from it all and embrace a more laid back lifestyle.
The Cooper Residence provides the ‘wow’ factor in every corner! Seamlessly blending luxurious furnishings with fascinating Maori artefact's and historic artwork; giving an entirely unique experience. It has jaw dropping coastal views, a private beach, and they even produce their very own wine – what more could they ask for!
The perfect place to relax and recharge after a long tour. This intimate luxury lodge perfectly combines premium accommodation and wellness. Guests can spend their day indulging in yoga, meditation and massages, whilst dining on gourmet Asian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine, where every ingredient has been selected for its positive contribution to health and wellness.
The team and I were lucky enough to visit and spend two amazing nights at Wharekauhau Luxury Lodge.
The 1.5 hour drive from Wellington airport takes you through the scenic Rimutaka mountain range. The drive is stunning however it is fairly windy so, if you do get queasy easily, we would recommend catching a short helicopter flight to arrive like a rock star!
As we approached the Lodge we were all gobsmacked by the view, a working farm with a shoreline backdrop. Richard, the General Manager, gave us a warm welcome and was an amazing host throughout our stay.
The Lodge itself was bright, airy and spacious. Our rooms were warm, modern and ultra-luxurious. A real highlight was the fact that all three rooms interconnected, so perfect for bigger groups! We immediately opened all of the doors onto our own private terrace and sat back to take in the ocean view. We felt completely at home.
We had time to relax by the indoor pool, explore the grounds on the Lodge mountain bikes and have a stroll along the various walking trails.
Before dinner, the wine cellar provided the perfect spot for some pre-dinner wine tasting and canapes. The first night we dined in the sumptuous red room with a real log fire and whiskey cupboard. The three course dinner with wine match was delicious, it tasted as good as it looked!
The following day we were taken on a tour of the farm by the Farm Manager. As it's a working lamb and beef farm we had the opportunity to see some of their cows and sheep, as well as feed their new born lambs. We were then taken on a scenic off-roading tour along the beachfront.
For the afternoon's activity we were told that clay target shooting was not to be missed, they have a shooting range for everyone, beginners to advanced shooters…..we were certainly beginners.
For the second evening we chose the downstairs dining room with light colours and a cosy fire. The food and wine was once again amazing, served completely peaceful environment we never wanted to leave. Two nights just wasn’t long enough!