This Indulgent Escape: New Zealand Luxury Vacation was designed for a couple from California celebrating a milestone birthday. They wanted a magical getaway that was perfect from start to finish, filled with beautiful scenery, gourmet food and wine, and unforgettable adventures. We sent them to some of our favorite boutique hotels where we knew they would be treated like royalty.
They began at the elegant Fiordland Lodge, located on the shores of Lake Te Anau. It was the perfect start to their trip, as they were able to relax and soak up gorgeous mountain views. The next day, they explored the natural beauty of Fiordland National Park on an exhilarating helicopter ride and nature cruise of the famous Milford Sound.
Next for their Indulgent Escape: New Zealand Luxury Vacation, they drove to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital and one of the most visually stunning towns in the world. For the wife’s 50th birthday, they had a special treat: the signature “Picnic on a Peak” experience! They were whisked away in a helicopter over the Southern Alps, taking in the dramatic, snow-covered mountains from above. They touched down on a remote peak for a champagne picnic with panoramic mountain views.
Then they journeyed to Kaikoura, a beautiful coastal town on the North Island. Here, they were able to swim with the playful dusky dolphins! They stayed in a luxury treehouse at Hapuku Lodge, one of our favorite places in New Zealand. The last stop on their Indulgent Escape: New Zealand Luxury Vacation was Waiheke Island, a stylish and chic island off the coast of Auckland. They stayed at a fabulous beach house and had a private tour of the island, where a “small is beautiful” philosophy leads to exceptional wine, food, and artisan crafts.
This Indulgent Escape: New Zealand Luxury Vacation was the perfect getaway, filled with once-in-a-lifetime adventures in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful regions. They returned home feeling utterly refreshed and already planning their next trip!
Welcome to New Zealand! Pick up your rental car in Queenstown. Enjoy a scenic drive to Te Anau and the gateway to Fiordland National Park, one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the world. It is an area where snow-capped mountains meet freshwater lakes and expanses of temperate rainforests. It is also home to Milford and Doubtful Sounds, narrow inlets of water surrounded by rising peaks and rushing waterfalls. Your accommodation for the next 3 nights will be a lovely wilderness lodge set on the shores of Lake Te Anau. Delicious dinners and breakfasts at the lodge are included in your stay.
Today, you’ll have an incredible opportunity to witness the raw beauty of Milford Sound. First, it’s a helicopter excursion over Lake Te Anau and the breathtaking Southern Alps. Touch down for a 2-hour Milford Sound wilderness cruise, where you’ll see dramatic peaks, gushing waterfalls, and wildlife like fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. Once back on dry land, board another scenic helicopter flight over beech forest and stunning mountains, passing over Lake Manapouri before you land back in Te Anau.
Enjoy a day of leisure. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike or bike through your stunning surrounds. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted with the abundant brown and rainbow trout found in the secluded rivers of the area; guided fly fishing excursions can be arranged if you wish. Alternatively, you can simply relax at the lodge, enjoying a cozy fire, serene lake views, and local New Zealand wines.
Enjoy a scenic drive to Queenstown, a small mountain town known for its stunning beauty and outdoor adventures. Settle into the luxurious Azur Lodge, your home for the next 3 nights. Azur is a distinctively contemporary lodge located on a hilltop overlooking some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Set among native trees and with stunning panoramic vistas, each villa offers complete privacy.
Spend the morning at your leisure, perhaps enjoying a round of golf at Jack’s Point, a world-class golf course nearby. This afternoon, you’ll take a helicopter to a secluded mountain peak, where you’ll be surrounded by the natural wonders of Queenstown below. Enjoy a leisurely gourmet lunch with champagne, then take in stunning aerial views on your helicopter ride back to town.
You have a full day to explore Queenstown at your leisure. Visit historic Arrowtown to learn about the early mining history of the region, or perhaps take a wine tasting tour of the Otago region to sample some excellent pinot noirs. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Queenstown is the perfect base for bungee jumping, sky diving, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining, canyon swinging, luging, and more!
Make a short flight to the beautiful coastal town of Kaikoura on the North Island, where you’ll pick up your rental car and drive to Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses. You’ll be staying in a luxurious treehouse 10 meters above the ground, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains and the Pacific coast, a luxurious spa bath, wood-burning fireplace, and custom-designed furnishings. During your stay, enjoy delicious gourmet meals at Hapuku’s restaurant, take a swim in the heated lap pool, indulge in spa treatments, or get out and about with complimentary use of mountain bikes.
Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses
Today you’ll have a chance to swim with adorable dusky dolphins! These playful dolphins reside in Kaikoura’s coastal waters year-round, and pods of 100 dolphins or more are common. Get into the water and watch as the dolphins swim and leap around you. The afternoon is free to do as little or as much as you like.
Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses
Drop off your rental car at the airport and take a short flight to Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city. Enjoy a private transfer to the ferry terminal and take the ferry to Waiheke Island, Auckland’s chic and stylish neighboring island. Waiheke Island is an eclectic mix of vineyards, sophisticated restaurants, holiday homes, artists’ studios and galleries, and golden sand beaches. Your home for the next 2 nights is a glorious boutique hotel right on the seaside, with fabulous views over Oneroa Beach.
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a private tour around Waiheke and experience award-winning wines, olive oils, arts and crafts, and beautiful scenery on this tranquil island. The inhabitants are a diverse bunch of colorful, creative, passionate, and original people, drawn together by their communal love of the island and its unique lifestyle. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high-quality produce, which in turn makes for some of New Zealand’s most delicious wines.
Today, your fabulous New Zealand vacation comes to an end. Take the ferry back to Auckland, where a private transfer will be waiting to bring you to the airport.