New York, New York Travel Agent
New Zealand Expert
I was born in Auckland, so New Zealand is a country near and dear to my heart, as well as one of the hottest travel destinations in the world for couples and families. I have done extensive personal travel, advanced certification and booked countless trips for my clients.
Many travelers think they can visit both Australia and New Zealand in a week. No. Both countries have too much to do and see. An ideal itinerary to New Zealand would be 10 days.
Fly Business/First Class (or at least Premium Economy) on Air New Zealand to Auckland.
Insider tip: Do NOT try to drive right when you get off such a long flight. You will be exhausted and it is not a good time to practice driving on the opposite side of the road! I book my clients overnight (with VIP perks, of course) in Auckland at either Sofitel or the Hilton (and the soon to open Park Hyatt) down on the waterfront. They then drive a rental car or take internal flights to their next destination.
The intimate ultra-luxury lodges I and my clients favor fill up very fast and must be booked in advance. My long time personal relationships with these properties help me get the best accommodations. These are paragons of service, design, locations and food & wine. Among them are Taupo, Queenstown and Hawke's Bay.
3 nights at Huka Lodge near the waterfalls for hiking, Rotorua thermal villages and exploring Maori culture.
3 nights at The Marlborough Sounds, an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys at the northern end of the South Island where I can book the exquisite Eden House from which my clients can visit Abel Tasman National Park and Tonga Island Marine Reserve, a wilderness reserve and home to fur seal colonies, little blue penguins and bottlenose dolphins. It is also a great destination for birding.
Finally, I would recommend 5-7 days in Queenstown, where I love the Matakauri Lodge, Blanker Bay Lodge, The Spire, Azur, Eichardts Hotel and for families, the Sofitel. Queenstown sits on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. It is a bit like Aspen. Among the amazing adventures I have arranged for my clients:
- Helicopter rides with the actual Lord of the Rings set pilots
- Lunch on a glacier
- The breathtaking fjords at Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound
- Bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge
- Phenomenal food & wine tours
- Boating & rafting
- Skiing the slopes of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak