Destination Focus: ChinaSeptember 12, 2017
Four Reasons Auckland is More Than Just An Entry PointSeptember 21, 2017
New Zealand is a destination that calls to the imagination, from its fantastical origin stories of the demigod Maui to its recent popularity as the filming location for the Lord of the Rings series. Many travelers list this South Pacific country on their travel bucket lists, and for good reason! No matter your style of travel or personal interests, there is something for everyone to enjoy, including relaxing geothermal spas in Rotorua, highly-acclaimed wineries in Marlborough, and more adventure than you could ever handle in Queenstown.
Above all, one of the biggest draws of New Zealand is its ridiculously scenic terrain. While the cities have their own appeal, your days can be easily spent driving around to gaze at the various landscapes. The North Island has bubbling hot springs, peaceful blue harbors, and emerald rolling fields dotted with millions of sheep (it’s estimated that there are 7 sheep to every person!). Hop over to the South Island and the topography rapidly changes, with the snow-capped Southern Alps and the misty Fjordlands.
Reason 2: Luxurious Lodges
Perfectly suited to view these dramatic landscapes are a number of luxury lodges, each with their own appeal and focus. These lodges offer beautiful accommodation, world-class farm-to-table cuisine, and amazing onsite and offsite excursions. Most are boutique properties that feature 30 rooms or less, and all are entirely unique! Some of our favorites include Matakauri Lodge, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Wharekauhau, and Huka Lodge, but there are plenty of others that serve as a basecamp for exploring New Zealand, in addition to being a destination all on their own!
While the focus is generally on the destination, the journey is also a surprisingly enjoyable experience! There is now a direct flight available from Houston to Auckland, and Air New Zealand has pulled out all the stops with their offerings. From takeoff to landing, there are constant reminders of your final destination, from the friendly welcomes of “Kia Ora” to the selection of New Zealand wines available in all classes of service. The Business Class cabin is particularly comfortable, with fully lie-flat beds and luxurious leather armchairs. For the more budget-conscious, there’s also a very nice Premium Economy section and “Sky Couches”, where a row of three seats can be converted into a cozy couch setup.
Reason 4: Wine-Lover and Foodie Paradise
Your first thoughts of New Zealand might not be about the food and wine, but they really should be! Marlborough is quickly becoming a highly-acclaimed wine region, and is fondly referred to as the Napa Valley of New Zealand. With over 60,000 acres of producing vineyards, it’s easy to see why! From a food standpoint, the focus is really on farm to table, and menus typically feature local in-season produce. In addition to the countless restaurants and cafes, there are 6 Relais & Chateaux properties scattered throughout the country, offering their takes on local favorites. Expect menus that change daily, with ingredients sourced from on-property vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, greenhouses, and mushroom houses. And remember those millions of sheep we mentioned above? They’re good for more than just wool – think delicious lamb chops and roasts. For uniquely “Kiwi” tastes, be sure to try the local feijoa fruit, and the medicinal-tasting Manuka honey.
Reason 5: Your West U Travel Advisors Have Personal Experience
Several of our advisors recently returned from New Zealand, and are eager to share their insights and experiences! Over the next two weeks we’ll be featuring some of our favorite cities and lodges on both the North and South Islands, along with suggested activities for each locale. You could easily spend months exploring this amazing country, but we’ve distilled it down to our top highlights and recommendations. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter by filling out the contact form below, or follow us on Facebook.
Overall, there are a million reasons to visit New Zealand and not a single reason not to! Ask us today about planning your own trip to this fabulous country.
Ready to plan your own trip to New Zealand? Send us a message to learn more!
Our profiles in social media: