New Zealand is a true nature lover’s paradise. The generous hospitality of its people and rustic luxury of its many posh lodges, combined with its enviable coastline that stretches for 9,300 miles, storybook views and great wine make this remote South Pacific destination a divine departure from the everyday resort. For such a small nation, New Zealand holds dramatic discoveries in its mountain lakes, rugged ranges, enormous waterfalls and stunning geophysical features, far surpassing that of most destinations, and guaranteed to engage and enchant even the most well-traveled guests. At the same time, the island nation’s dynamic and cosmopolitan cities, such as Auckland and Queenstown, provide a striking complement to the plentiful adrenaline thrills and position New Zealand as the holiday of a lifetime.
Settled by Melanesian and Society Island travelers around the 13th century, New Zealand’s native inhabitants were a seafaring tribe, creating distinctive waka canoes that often approached 130ft in length with stations for 80 paddlers. Creating a culture all their own, the Maori developed a rich heritage that’s just as beautiful as it is interesting, establishing an early marine presence that continues today. Perfectly balancing leisure and activity, our New Zealand Destination Guide will lay out how to properly enjoy this South Pacific paradise.
Where to Stay
Located on a private 75-mile peninsula overlooking the Bay of Islands, Eagles Nest is a Bond-worthy luxury retreat nestled in the most gorgeous landscape imaginable. This luxurious estate has been designed and furnished to fit an eclectic international contemporary style. It perfectly complements the surrounding landscape and the lush gardens are as much a part of the local topography and foliage as the rugged and untamed Antipodean scenery. There are five ultra-deluxe villas here altogether and four of them have private heated infinity pools. All interiors are state of the art and have the most luxurious features. Here you can enjoy the services of private resident personal trainers and spa therapists. Personal chefs will spoil you with the finest culinary creations made from only the freshest ingredients sourced locally.
Our New Zealand Destination Guide also includes a detailed Luxury Hotel Guide with our top picks for accommodation.
Where to Dine
If you search for the best regional and vineyard restaurants in New Zealand, Mudbrick leads the way. Immersed in dream-like scenery and complete with vineyards, endless blue skies and rolling hills, this place soothes the soul as soon as you arrive. It’s a perfectly romantic setting, where you can gaze over the Hauraki Gulf during dinner. The atmosphere is well-balanced and calm with candles lighting up the dining space in the evening. During summer the restaurant extends to the open-air conservatory overlooking the sea, while in the winters an impressive wood-burning fireplace heats up the space. The owners emphasize that the atmosphere here is just as important as the food. Start your meal by feasting on a twice-cooked pork belly amuse-bouche or try the New Zealand oysters.
Our New Zealand Destination Guide also includes a comprehensive Restaurant Guide with our top fine dining picks.
What to Do
New Zealanders love the outdoors and are enthusiastic participants in every possible pursuit, from surfing and sailing to hiking, biking, diving and rafting. That enthusiasm spills over into cuisine, winemaking, gardening and even spectatorship, as the Kiwis embrace the passionate pastime of watching All Blacks football games, drawing in tourists like lifelong neighbors. Coastal treks, like those along the Abel Tasman, with its incredibly pristine crescent beaches, mountain hikes that trim the coastline, world-class sailing, and terrific offseason skiing for northern hemisphere travelers, this destination is the epitome of active leisure. When all is done for the day, however, few destinations match the warmth and congeniality of the Kiwis, delivering culinary feasts and comforts to cushion the end of the day.
Skiing is the king of the southern hemisphere winter in Queenstown and the surrounding mountains, with a clutch of resorts keyed into powder, heli, backcountry, and snowpark skiing. The fishing, diving and sailing found around the Bay Of Islands are nothing short of exceptional, with the astonishing Ninety-Mile Beach, the spellbinding Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and Rainbow Falls supplanting the active pursuits. Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, constructed on cliffs 140 meters above Hawke’s Bay, presents play recognized globally as one of the top courses in the world. Nearby, the Kinloch hybrid Jack Nicholas course and the Wairakei course allow similar beauty and challenge, with luxury accommodations nearby at Dunalistair House or the Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
What to Pack
Through mesmerizing natural beauty, heart-pumping active experiences and sophisticated cultural gatherings, New Zealand is a destination where you’ll want to be prepared for both indoor and outdoor adventures. From hiking to sailing and everything in between, these AMI Taille Wool Bermuda Shorts are a great all-purpose option that will take you through just about all your outdoor activities. Cut from a luxurious wool and complete with an elastic waistband, these versatile shorts offer elevated style with just about any top you pair it with. Whether it’s shopping in Auckland or wine tastings just outside of Queenstown, this Agua Bendita Pomelo Printed Linen Midi Dress is perfect to take you through the day. Fusing traditional Colombian craftsmanship and contemporary design elements, this mini dress is crafted in an A-line silhouette from hand-embroidered featherlight linen to maximize breathability.