My first stop was Bay of Islands and a two night stay at the beautiful Eagles Nest, unique luxury villas, each with stunning views over the ocean. The Bay of Islands is a great way to start your trip to New Zealand and recover from the long international flight. There’s a lot on offer with wildlife, Maori Culture at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a cruise out to The Hole in the Rock or a round of golf at Kauri Cliffs.
Next stop was a night in Christchurch, where it was great to see how the city is recovering since the earthquake in 2011. There is a new area called Re:START which is a shipping container shopping mall - a really unique, cutting-edge idea which shows how the city is reinventing itself. Whilst there, we also enjoyed a lovely afternoon punting on the Avon River.
A short flight across to Queenstown early the next morning and our helicopters were ready and waiting to take us out to Minaret Station for lunch. Minaret Station is New Zealand’s first luxury tented lodge in the heart of the Southern Alps. The lodge is only accessible by helicopter and the perfect place to literally get away from it all. The rooms are safari style ‘tents’ but it's hard to call them tents as they are fully kitted out with beautiful sheepskin carpets, full double beds, ensuite bathrooms and are fully heated along with your very own hot tub on your private deck.
After lunch we were flown to Wanaka, a small town on the West Coast of New Zealand, a great place to do as little or as much as you want with fishing, walking and kayaking all on offer. We had an afternoon exploring the Mou Waho Scenic Reserve and an overnight stay at Whare Kea Lodge, where I had some of the best food in New Zealand prepared by their award-winning chef James Stapley.
Queenstown was our last stop and it’s the adventure capital of New Zealand and a vibrant town with the most stunning scenery. A visit to Milford Sound is a must, along with a heli trip to the glaciers. For the more adventurous there’s skydiving, bungee jumping and jet boating. Queenstown has a number of great restaurants and places to stay from The Rees Hotel offering one or two bedroom apartments on the lake, to the Luxury Matakauri Lodge which has stunning views from your room.