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Latest News from A&K New Zealand
New Luxury Fiordland & Crayfish Helicopter Tour
Fly from Queenstown over the Wakatipu Basin towards Luna Ridge to take in views of Lake Wakatipu and up towards Glenorchy. From here continue your journey towards Milford Sound. View the magnificent Rees and Dart river Valleys as you fly past Mt Earnslaw to make your way into the Aspiring National park to view the glaciers of the Forbes Mountain range. Take in the marvels of this area and stand on a remote glacier seldom seen by man.
From here land on a remote West Coast beach to collect your crayfish.
From here fly the length of Milford Sound before landing at Lake Erskine to join the top of Lake Te Anau and descending into Fiordland Lodge for your freshly caught crayfish lunch.
Depart Fiordland Lodge and fly over the rolling Southland Farmland before joining the Humbolts mountain range and the Mavora lakes. As Lake Wakatipu comes into view land at 5000 ft above the lake at Cecil Peak Ledge before a short flight back to Queenstown Airport.
A Winter Special at Azur Lodge
Book 4 nights with A&K for travel until the 31st of October 2018 and receive a NZD$100 Resort Credit to be used during your stay!
It would be hard to imagine a more perfect view than the one from the nine free standing villas at Azur Lodge, one of Queenstown's and indeed, all of New Zealand's finest and most luxurious retreats. Perched on a hillside five minutes' drive from the centre of Queenstown, each villa has been designed to let you absorb the incredible view in luxury and total privacy. The Villas have been made from silver beechwood and stone to blend with the surroundings, and boast uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables. Floor to ceiling windows take full advantage of the breathtaking scenery, as does the large outside deck, ideal for enjoying those warm summer's evenings! Each villa offers total comfort and privacy and generous 79 square metres in which to relax.
Enquire with A&K for further details.
Visiting Tauranga on a Shore-Excursion?
Why not visit Rotorua with a private A&K guide and vehicle.
The day includes a visit to Te Puia, home to New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and the world famous Pohutu geyser or Whakarewarewa The Living Thermal Village which is a unique experience encompassing an authentic fusion of Geothermal activity & Maori Culture.
Next enjoy an Insider Access tour and become better acquainted with New Zealand's elusive kiwi. This tour will begin with an introduction to the concept of kiwi conservation in New Zealand and how Kiwi Encounter operates the largest kiwi hatching and rearing facility in the world. See the workings of the incubation and hatch rooms and find out about the long hatch process of the kiwi chicks. Go into the brooder room where the chicks are reared from 2 days old until old enough to go into the outdoor runs.
This tour will conclude back at the cruise ship and includes lunch.
Spotlight On - The Marlborough Lodge
Experience the relaxed elegance of The Marlborough Lodge. Found at the top of New Zealand's South Island, the grand country estate is nestled amongst 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of park-like grounds and Marlborough's famous Sauvignon Blanc vineyards.
Be wowed by Marlborough during the day and be spoilt by in-house chefs in the evening. The lodge experience is enhanced with gourmet dining created by an onsite chef team with cuisine featuring plentiful local produce.
Surrounded by mature trees, established gardens and vineyards stretching out on all sides, the setting is truly special. This is an oasis of calm right in the heart of the world famous Marlborough wine region.
Ra Karakia Sunrise experience in Auckland
A unique cultural experience from Auckland, take part in a ceremony thousands of years old as the sun begins to rise. For Maori, the Ra Karakia ceremony is where the spirit is reconnected to the environment. Dawn is the quiet time when the spirit world quiets and the living world starts to awaken.
On this 2 hour experience, as the sun rises the call from the Kaikaranga (female caller) and putatara (carved wooden horn) travels across the Waitemata harbour towards Tama-Nui-Te-Ra (the mighty sun). At the same time, an ancient karakia (blessing) is performed to celebrate the commencement of the day.
After basking in the light of the new day, the Ecology Kaitiaki (guide) leads guests down to the nursery and invites you to acknowledge Papatuanuku (Mother Earth), by planting a native tree (rakau) and experience the award-winning ecology project "Ko Te Pukaki". You are invited to write down your own personal wish or prayer and plant it into the whenua (tribal lands) with the tree connecting you and your spirit with the whenua.
Share breakfast with your Kaitiaki in the wharekai (eating house) at the marae (tribal meeting house). This final component of the ceremony is of significance as partaking in a meal together raises the sacredness for those who participate in welcoming the sun and acknowledging the Earth.
Leave feeling refreshed both physically and spiritually, and with the knowledge that you carry good fortune throughout your journey of New Zealand.
Spotlight on – Solitaire Lodge, New Zealand
Solitaire Lodge, one of the first New Zealand luxury lodges, offers secluded luxury accommodation and attentive hosting from a spectacular lakeside location overlooking the historic and beautiful Lake Tarawera.
Approximately a 25 minute drive from Rotorua airport, or a leisurely 3 hour drive from Auckland, enjoy the alternate option of arrival by private helicopter as the lodge has its very own helipad.
Styled with comfort in mind, all 9 luxurious suites feature panoramic views of the glassy lake and magnificent volcano through grand picture windows. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Freestanding baths allow views over Lake Tarawera while soaking. Complimentary mini bar, fruit and snacks are also at hand.
Renowned for its fine dining, Solitaire lodge serves contemporary modern New Zealand cuisine prepared with fresh local produce and complemented by superb wines from selected vineyards.
Minutes from your doorstep you will discover secluded private bays, hot water beaches and natural thermal hot springs beckoning you to soak in. Feeling adventurous? Embark on a scenic helicopter ride over volcanic peaks, skim across the lake in a kayak or enjoy world-class trout-fishing.
The lodge is also the perfect place to simply relax, indulge and rejuvenate, left in the able hands of your warm, friendly New Zealand hosts.
Takatu Lodge Matakana NZ
Named among the 'Best Hotels in the World' and ‘Top 12 Finders Keepers’ in TATLER UK's prestigious Travel Guide, Takatu Lodge & Vineyard offers a unique experience – the opportunity to stay on a working award-winning vineyard in the heart of charming Matakana, a premium wine-growing and famed farmers-market centre, renowned for its magnificent beaches – and situated less than an hour north of Auckland. Guests enjoy the highest standards of elegance and comfort at Takatu Lodge & Vineyard with high vaulted wooden ceilings and hand-cut stone throughout the contemporary lodge which complements the natural surroundings.
Open log fires inside and out, a cosy stress-free library and outside landscaped rooms are a few of the many architectural features. Underfloor heating throughout ensures a comfortable stay during any season. The lodge has four romantic and private luxury suites, all with vineyard views, with two overlooking Little Barrier and the Pacific Ocean.
Fish, Fly and Hike in One Incredible Day in Fiordland National Park
Experience Fiordland National Park around Te Anau from every angle, with an action-packed day of trout fishing, jet boating, hiking and a scenic helicopter flight. You'll fish and jetboat the mighty Waiau River, fly over Fiordland National Park and hike a section of the famous Kepler Track - incredible locations all right on the doorstep of Te Anau. Enjoy the grand landscapes Fiordland is famous for by water, air and land in one unforgettable day.
Spotlight on - The Boatshed Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Sand-between-your-toes luxury – The Boatshed on Waiheke Island, 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland brings together chic accommodation and fantastic beaches with a sophisticated mix of vineyards, coastal walks, and alfresco restaurants. A little slice of bohemian life!
Owned by the same family for 35 years, this property was developed by well known New Zealand designer Davis Scott as the perfect beach retreat. Today it is run by the next generation in the family along with a small team of dedicated professionals. The place is geared around doing very little, relaxing with a great book, enjoy a lazy breakfast, having a massage or taking a stroll on the beach.
The word “Bach” - is used to describe small holiday shacks in New Zealand; these are places close to kiwis hearts, places of sunny days and simple times. The Boatshed's rooms and suites all have a little bit of the Bach in them, albeit with a little more comfort than most. Seven beautifully appointed spaces all offering privacy, sea views, open fires and the highest level of design detail.
Redwoods Nightlights Treewalk in Rotorua
Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua and New Zealand designer David Trubridge have partnered to create a new nocturnal tourism experience: the Redwoods Nightlights.
Incorporating unique creations from the internationally-acclaimed design and sustainability champion David Trubridge, the new night-time experience will offer you the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood Forest under the shroud of darkness.
Walk high amongst the majestic redwood trees. Feel the spirit of Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest from above and up close to the 110-year-old gentle giants. This suspended 30-minute ecological walk captures the beauty and ambience of the forest from a bird’s eye perspective. Learn about the history of the redwoods, the people (iwi) and the land (whenua).
Open until 31 March 2017.
New Property on New Zealand’s North Island – Helena Bay Lodge
In the northeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island lies Helena Bay Lodge. Only forty five minutes by helicopter from Auckland or 40 km north of Whangarei, Helena Bay's 800 acres includes 3km of pristine coastline, four private beaches and many intimate coves.
Accommodating up to twelve guests in two and three suite villas all with magnificent views overlooking the bay, Helena Bay has a state of the art gym, sauna, including a Turkish Hammam, plunge pool, massage and treatment rooms, a 25-metre heated swimming pool, library, three lounge areas, both informal and formal dining areas and an outdoor fire pit.
Spotlight on Marino Ridge Waiheke Island
Marino Ridge is Magical. Whichever way you look at the 240° harbour and ocean views, whatever the season.
But this is no magical illusion. There really are spectacular views year round in this serene sanctuary of natural beauty and luxurious contemporary design. Marino Ridge guarantees spell-binding leisure experiences that make dreams come true.
Hosts Peter and Caroline - welcome guests personally to three superb, light-drenched contemporary suites in our purpose-built retreat on Waiheke Island, the famed Island of Wine – and of olive oil, too – just a 30 minute fast ferry ride or 10 minute helicopter transfer from Downtown Auckland.
Marino Ridge was created to satisfy their dream of offering international standards of hospitality, honed over years of high-end hosting, captaining and catering for the discerning owners of exclusive private super yachts in the US and Europe.
Waka on the Waitemata Season Begins in Auckland
The Waka experience is much more than a sail boat ride on Auckland harbour. If you want to know about the origins of Maori, seek to understand the complex rituals, customs, artistry and oral traditions of Maori people, then let your Waka hosts captivate you while sailing on the Waitemata.
Be welcomed on-board Haunui, recently returned from an 18 month Pacific journey of re-discovery, for a two and half hour cultural experience that begins by gathering in the Polynesian atrium at Maritime Museum where the Maori story begins followed by a traditional welcome and karakia on the Waka.
Leaving the viaduct berth “buddy-up” with crew members to man the “Hoe” and hoist the sails. Sit with the Navigator who will tell you about the recent journeys of seven voyaging canoes, speak about the ancient art of wayfinding and show how it is possible to sail 20,000 kms navigating by the celestial pathways first discovered thousands of years ago by the navigators.
Runs November to April – Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
The perfect half day, independent cycling trip experiencing the best that Queenstown has to offer. Enjoy Spirit of Queenstown cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, stopping at Bob’s Cove to view flora and fauna up close and spectacular views towards Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw, the Southern Alps and The Remarkables mountain range.
Disembark the vessel and journey between Mt Nicholas and Walter Peak (high country farms) located on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu as you cycle along a quiet country road through open farm land.
Breathe in the fresh mountain air, watch the landscape unfold and take in the panoramic alpine views while cycling 12 kilometres along a remote but public, shingle road to Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak. Enjoy lunch at Walter Peak before boarding the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown.
Once in a Lifetime Experience in New Zealand – Visit Volcanos and Lakes All in One Day
Enjoy a private helicopter to White Island - Whakaari, NZ's most geothermally active island followed by a sail on Lake Rotoiti.
This helicopter flight includes a viewing of the dormant volcano of Mt. Tarawera to wonder at the massive destruction caused by the 1886 eruption. Continue past the steaming cliffs and hot lakes of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and the picturesque coloured pools of the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve. Take a guided tour to experience the fury of nature at work on this ever changing island. View the main crater, sulphur deposits and the remains of the old sulphur mine. Depart White Island and track South past Mt Edgecombe to land at pristine Lake Rotoiti to join skipper and crew aboard the 53ft sailing catamaran Tiua for an exclusive sailing charter. Take the helm, help trim the sails, take a dip in the thermal pools or sit back, unwind and enjoy the natural splendor of the lake.
Spotlight on – Funyak on the Dart River in Glenorchy
Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) offer a fun and unique way to explore the Dart River as well as its hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. The Dart River Funyak trip is an amazing escape deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park and an opportunity to get close to nature.
Take it slow and drift along the Dart River into the serene surroundings that provided the backdrop to Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Then travel a back-country route passing by locations used in the movies to illustrate Middle Earth.
New Property in Queenstown - Hulbert House
Immerse yourself in a sense of timeless elegance at Hulbert House, one of Queenstown's original residences.
Hulbert House is a beautifully restored Victorian villa dating back to 1888. Hulbert House offers a luxury, boutique accommodation experience suitable for all discerning travelers.
Situated one block from Queenstown's vibrant central city, Hulbert House is imbued with a sense of serenity. The six uniquely designed suites have views over manicured gardens, some with views onto Lake Wakatipu, Award winning designer Neil McLachlan has worked his magic with the transformation of the building and grounds.
Treetops Lodge & Estate Rotorua
Nestled in 2,500 acres of 800-year old native forest, award-winning Treetops Lodge & Estate is a life-long dream realised by owner and passionate naturalist, John Sax. This uniquely New Zealand experience is a sanctuary and retreat of breath-taking terrain, offering the ultimate in world-class accommodation and adventure. Located near Rotorua the Maori heartland and trout fishing capital of the world the Lodge's elegant, ecology-inspired architectural style was derived from the country's pioneering past, with timber and stone finishes echoing the natural beauty and simplicity of the great outdoors.
Book with A&K and receive the following amenities:
First Night: Gourmet Picnic lunch and hike to the Bridal Veil waterfalls
Second Night: Your choice of a second Signature Treetops experience on one day of your choice
Third Night: Upgrade to the 'Chefs Top Table' inclusive matched wines on one evening of your choice
New Product - A World Heritage Hiking Tour of New Zealand's South Island
Enjoy a fully guided tour of the best of New Zealand's South Island featuring some of the country's most spectacular walking tracks – the Milford, Routeburn and Hollyford tracks and in Arthur's Pass and Aoraki Mt Cook National Parks.
Highlights include: staying in the remote Fiordland National Park, a spectacular rail journey on the TranzAlpine, experiencing the most breathtaking glowworm cave in the world, hiking at Fox Glacier, Gibbston Valley wine tasting, a stunning helicopter flight from Milford Sound to Martins Bay and a Aoraki Mount Cook stargazing tour. All this whilst your experienced and passionate guides help you along the way.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
New Product - Dartington Barn
Dartington Barn, Blenheim, specialises in gourmet master classes and unique leisure sports - from the delicious and famous Florentines and gourmet cooking classes, to archery and other target sports, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful Marlborough venue.
Take part in the Gourmet Master Class, presented by qualified chefs Angie & Hamish, for a showcase of the best of Marlborough produce. Included is an interactive cooking demonstration where you can learn how to use the finest New Zealand produce.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
SKYCITY Grand Auckland Refurbishment
Replace me with your content. Ideally situated in the heart of Auckland's CBD, with many of the city's most impressive attractions and eateries literally on the doorstep, the SKYCITY Grand Hotel offers guests a truly five-star experience.
Each element of the newly refurbished Premium Luxury Rooms draws its inspiration from the hills and colours of Auckland. These spacious and airy rooms have been superbly decorated and sensitively designed to minimise clutter and maximise your comfort. Appointments throughout are of the highest quality, with extensive use of natural materials, coupled with modern ergonomic design.
Gusto at the Grand is SKYCITY's latest exceptional dining experience in Auckland's Federal Street. Award-winning Australasian chef, Sean Connolly brings to the city an Italian restaurant where the ingredients speak for themselves and the dishes are rustic and true to traditional values.A stay at the SKYCITY Grand is five-star luxury experience for guests to Auckland.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
New Zealand's Stunning Back Country
Queenstown's newest tourism attraction the Spirit of Queenstown catamaran has started tours to Mt Nicholas High Country Station earlier this month offering an unrivalled opportunity to access New Zealand's stunning back country.
Located in a peaceful and normally-inaccessible area on the western shore of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Nicholas is New Zealand's oldest family-run High Country Station.The wool from Mt Nicholas is exclusively used for New Zealand's world-famous Icebreaker clothing.Visitors choosing the woolshed/Merino experience will have an exclusive look at the authentic shearing shed which in August and September is in use by a 15-strong shearing gang.
The half-day high country walk explores a different part of the station including Lovers Leap, the spectacular Von River mouth, native forest and the original homestead site. Follow the lake shore to the old bake house and walk up into the foothills of Mt Nicholas Station where you will be rewarded with spectacular uninterrupted views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The fully guided walk takes approximately two hours and covers around 6km of high country, enabling you to soak up the peace and tranquillity of New Zealand's remote back country.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
Spotlight on - Queenstown Country Lodge
Located in New Zealand's Southern Lakes region, this luxury lodge is close to the award winning vineyards, activities and attractions of the Southern Lakes, Fiordland and Central Otago areas and just far enough from Queenstown to ensure you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the New Zealand countryside.
Queenstown Country Lodge is set on 5 hectares (11 acres) of large secluded gardens and farmland and surrounded by mountains. It has the combined warmth and welcoming atmosphere of a country Inn with the comfort and class of luxury boutique accommodation.
Whether you are relaxing in the guest lounge by the log fire after a day skiing, rejuvenating in the garden spa pool after a walk in the mountains, sharing a glass of Central Otago wine before a wonderful meal or later on in the evening being guided across the spectacular and fascinating southern sky by the owners, Queenstown Country lodge will meet your every need.
Make the Lodge home while you explore Queenstown, one of the truly wonderful holiday destinations in the world. The mountains and lakes around Queenstown are paradise to skiers, trekkers, walkers, mountain bikers, photographers and fishermen from all over the world.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:1300 851 800
Lonely Planet Loves New Zealand
West Coast of New Zealand Ranked in Top Ten Places to Visit
Lonely Planet has ranked the West Coast of New Zealand in the TOP TEN regions in the world to visit alongside world renowned destinations like Majorca, Kimberley, Sikkim-India and Texas USA. Independently voted by over 500 Lonely Plane authors and staff this is a fantastic coup for the West Coast. Read the article about the West Coast Region that is in the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014 guide book here.
Auckland rated one of the world's top 10 cities to visit Auckland, which attracts 1.8 million foreign visitors a year, sits alongside iconic places including Paris, Zurich, Shanghai and Vancouver in the ninth annual Best in Travel guide. The book highlights the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year. Auckland was praised for its newly revitalised waterfront districts such as the Wynyard Quarter, and shopping and dining precincts such as the City Works Depot and Britomart plus scenery and culture. Also singled out are black-sand beaches on the west coast, the Waitakere Ranges, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island, the 77km Hillary Trail, the SkyWalk atop Auckland's Sky Tower and the refurbished Auckland Art Gallery.
"Auckland is often overlooked by travellers eager to head for the stellar alpine and lake landscapes further south, but food, arts and exploring the coastal hinterland are all excellent reasons to extend your stay in New Zealand's biggest and most cosmopolitan city", the book says. Auckland's many festivals and events, vibrant Maori and Pacific culture and impressive line-up of major sporting events also got a mention. The Top 10 Cities were independently nominated by more than 500 authors and staff of Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.
For more information, please contact A&K.
Rotorua's Ultimate 'Kiwi' Experience
Rainbow Springs is now offering a new combination product that will include Rainbow Springs, Kiwi Encounter and the Agrodome.
Get up close and personal with the NZ icon – the kiwi – and see conservation in action on a behind the scenes tour through the 'Kiwi Encounter' hatchery and nursery at Rainbow Springs, then return at night to see them foraging under the stars in their natural environment.
Complete the experience and get ready for a fun packed hour of entertainment and education at the legendary Agrodome Farm Show where you'll hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you're introduced to 19 breeds of sheep, and witness a live sheep shearing demonstration.
For more information, please contact A&K.
The Christchurch Gondola is now open!
The Christchurch Gondola has officially re-opened! Ride in the new-look cable cars and experience the exciting changes at the top.
Situated on the Port Hills of Christchurch City, the Summit Station of the Gondola provides spectacular panoramic views from its elevation at 500 metres (1500 feet) above sea level.
The Gondola is located on the edge of Christchurch just fifteen minutes by vehicle from the heart of the City.
Attractions at the Summit Station include:
Red Rock Café
Time Tunnel: A six minute entertaining ride on an electric cart which takes you back in time through the history of the local area
Stunning 360 degree views
This can be combined with The Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour and Punting on the Avon.
For information, please contact A&K.
Romance and The Remarkables
The results of the 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards confirm that Azur Lodge in Queenstown is the place to go for your next romantic getaway. The boutique hotel was voted Best Hotel New Zealand in the Romance category.
The quiet and unique setting, offers the perfect ambiance hillside in 3.5 acres of private grounds overlooking stunning views of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, Cecil & Walter Peaks. Guests can retire to the comfort of their spacious villa (75 sqm) with a large 10sqm sun deck perfect for relaxing and enjoying the expansive views. Couples can enjoy a glass of wine by the warmth of their own gas fireplace, take advantage of the in villa dining and curl up with a DVD or tune in to SKY Guest Connect with 50 + TV channels. An "In Villa Dining" guide which includes a selection of menus from around 10 different downtown restaurants can be arranged and delivered to your villa by Azur staff. A good night's rest is guaranteed - the bed is a sumptuous Super king made up with luxurious 300 thread count Egyptian cotton linens.
Service is personalized but discrete. The friendly & knowledgeable staff strive to make guests feel at home and their goal is to make each stay a unique and unforgettable experience.
We recommend you package this up with Milford Helicopter tour and private Mount Edward Winery experience whilst staying at Azur. Please speak to a Travel Specialist now for further details.
A 'Hole' New Way to Experience one of Bay of Islands' Natural Attractions
For many years a boat trip has been the only way to experience the stunning Bay of Islands' iconic attraction 'Hole in the Rock on Motukōkako'. We are now pleased to advise there is an even more exhilarating way to experience this fascinating natural attraction – onboard an unforgettable helicopter adventure!
In conjunction with the Motukōkako Ahu whenua Trust and our helicopter partners, visitors to this region now have direct access to the Hole in the Rock due to a new helipad that's been built on top of the island. Now it can be experienced up close and on foot. You have the option to land on the viewing platform for a brief photo opportunity or to be hosted on the island by a local Maori Guide, who will share the island's unique history and its cultural and ecological significance.
Very few people in history, including Maori, have ever ventured on the island in this way before. Being surrounded by steep cliffs (over 150 metres high) and stunning scenery looking towards Cape Brett and its surrounds, this unique landing location will no doubt appeal to the adventurous.
"The Hole Experience" – Heli & Cultural Tour Departures times are booked on demand and subject to suitable weather conditions.
For more information on how you can incorporate a Helicopter journey into your next itinerary, please contact a Travel Specialist
Christchurch - A city of rebuild
Lonely Planet has placed Christchurch at number six on its list of 'Top 10 Cities for 2013'. "New Zealand's second largest city is rising from the rubble ... with a breath-taking mix of spirit, determination and flair," Lonely Planet writers say. "The recovery effort is well under way and 2013 will be an intriguing year to join the rebirth of this proud southern city".
There is no denying the city received a major shake up with the 2011 quake and certain areas in the city centre are still cordoned off to the general public whilst an extensive rebuild takes place. For example, there is no access to buildings and activities in Cathedral Square or the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Christchurch Arts Centre. However, new innovative developments are breathing life back into the city. Artistic new 'pop up' cafes, restaurants and bars all made from brightly coloured shipping containers are now a major attraction as well as the new 'Re:START Mall' in Cashel Street - a vibrant new shopping area.
Our A&K guides can give you a glimpse of all of these new undertakings as well as the traditional 'must do' experiences of punting along the Avon and a tour through the International Antarctic Centre. We cannot forget the diversity of activities to be enjoyed outside the city centre - a round of golf at one of the world renowned golf courses, a visit to the internationally acclaimed gardens, taking to the skies in a hot air balloon over the Canterbury plains, or a swim with the dolphins in Akaroa.
Visitors to Christchurch in 2013 will be greatly moved by the sight of a broken city working towards recovery. "The creativity and determination people in Christchurch have shown since the quakes means we now have a city like no other in the world. There's a real energy and buzz in Christchurch which will intensify as the rebuild ramps up so it is an exciting time to visit", Mayor Parker says.
Maori Living Today - New Product
New for Bay of Islands, Maori Living Today is a joint venture between Explore NZ and the Te Rawhiti community. This latest product will offer visitors a unique opportunity to journey to Te Rawhiti and experience modern Maori life with a community keen to share their culture and perspective with visitors.
This is a unique opportunity to journey to Te Rawhiti and immerse yourself in modern Maori life and experience an authentic Maori community who will share their home, food and stories with you.
Learn their customs and gain a greater understanding of Maori living today!
The Maori Living Today experience includes:
- A morning cruise through the inner islands
- Time spent at the beautiful Otehei Bay before your transfer to Te Rawhiti
- A traditional greeting, with a visit to a marae (meeting house) learning about Maori customs
- A meal of local produce, which you may help in preparing
- Activities such as walking, flax weaving, fishing from the shore or learning about local flora and fauna
- An afternoon transfer back to Otehei Bay then on to the mainland.
The yellow and black Dolphin Discovery V catamaran is designed for comfort, with an abundance of indoor and outdoor seating.
Trip duration: approx. 8.5 hours, departs Paihia 9.00am, departs Russell 9.10am.
Days of operation: Monday – Saturday.
For further information, please contact a Travel Specialist.
Kelly Tarlton's - Enticing lovers of the under-water world
Auckland's legendary underwater attraction, Kelly Tarlton's, has undergone a $6 million upgrade and re-launched as the all-new Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium.
With over 30 exhibits and more than 80 different species, the sea change breathes new life into Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium to inspire visitors of all ages.
At the heart of the re-development is a brand new walk-through penguin encounter, which is home to the world's largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, and allows visitors to get closer than ever before to these magnificent sub-Antarctic creatures.
Further developments include Kelly Tarlton's famous Shark Tunnel – the first in the world and now Maori Pacifica themed housing New Zealand's largest collection of Sharks. The tunnel also contains shipwreck artefacts in the Shipwreck Explorer Oceanarium.
With 8 new themed zones, Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium boasts unique new attractions including New Zealand's first-ever live jellyfish display, the world's only display of Spiny Sea Dragons in Seahorse Kingdom and the world's biggest species of stingray – one ray alone weighs over 240kg and has had 65 pups in her 27 years at Kelly Tarlton's! The new Rock pool Experience allows visitors to touch a crab or hold a starfish and with the new animal-themed quiz trail, Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium offers a truly interactive day out. Please enquire with your consultant about adding this attraction to your Auckland itinerary.
Which New Zealand lodges are the best according to the 2012 Condé Nast Traveller Readers' poll?
The Top 20 Best Overseas Leisure Resort in the Australasia and South Pacific Region has been announced and some truly remarkable New Zealand hotels and resorts have been selected by readers.
Coming in at #3 was Blanket Bay in Glenorchy. Sitting at the north end of Lake Wakatipu amidst New Zealand's finest scenery and located just forty-five minutes from the world famous resort town of Queenstown, this is New Zealand's activity and adventure centre. Today's travellers visit the Lodge at Blanket Bay in search of peace and solitude from the outside world. The area has some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery and a vast array of visitor activities, ensuring the visitor plenty of enjoyable options to choose from.
Kauri Cliffs was voted #6. The lodge at kauri cliffs is located in the Bay of Islands, in the north island of New Zealand. This luxury lodge is one of the most awarded luxury boutique golf & spa resort hotels in New Zealand and is set on 6,500 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland. It affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and is home to a par 72 PGA championship golf course designed and built by David Harman. Huka Lodge was also voted in the 'World's Top 100', coming in at #89.
Huka Lodge is located in Taupo, in the central North Island of New Zealand. We invite you to enter a world where elegant and generous hospitality meets sophistication and style - creating a welcoming haven, whose reputation and awards are richly deserved. Founded in the 1920s, Huka Lodge is considered to be the iconic New Zealand retreat. Sought by the world's most discerning travellers – enjoying an unrivalled riverside location, offering superb hospitality and attentiveness as palpable as the force of the Waikato River itself.
For information on these accommodation options, please speak to an A&K specialist.
Rainbow Springs newly hatched kiwi chick
Abercrombie & Kent is the only company that allows for the exclusive opportunity to become better acquainted with New Zealand's elusive kiwi at Rainbow Springs, Rotorua. Your tour will begin with a brief introduction at the incubation room and hatchery where you are able to see the equipment working, visit the breeding units and the nocturnal area where kiwi enclosures are completely open with no partitions between the kiwi and visitors! Your tour concludes with a static display ofKiwi Encounter that provides a wealth of information and audio visual of kiwi.
Now there is an even greater reason to visit with a newly hatched kiwi chick! The chick hatched on the 14th of September 2012, weighing 326g, and hasparticularly silvery feathers on its head and gingery tones to its sides. Mumand baby are doing very well while dad, Artha, is still sitting on the siblingegg which should hatch a month from now. Abercrombie & Kent are the proudsponsors of this new chick, and are proud to welcome this newest member of the family. The chick's parents are Billie and Artha and the egg code was R. Art –all the chicks born from this pair have been named after 'artists' (because ofthe "ART" in the egg code) and the name of the new chick will also bean art themed name.
Gourmet Helicopter Adventure - Nelson & Marlborough
Travel in style to award winning vineyards of the Marlborough wine country and taste a fabulous range of wines with the winemakers and choose your ideal drop to accompany your lunch.
Gather fresh ingredients straight from the producers or perhaps visit tranquil Marlborough to source fresh seafood straight from the ocean or meet the farmers. With the freshest of food in hand, fly by helicopter to a breathtaking location in one of Nelson's many conservation parks and find the perfect backdrop for a lunch with a view. Step into the outdoor 'kitchen', which may be a teppanyaki table on a mountain top, or BBQ grill on the beach with your award winning personal chef, Matt Bouterey. Sit back and savour a memorable 3 course chef prepared lunch whilst soaking in the stunning New Zealand scenery.
Luxury boutique hotel re-opens in Christchurch
After our nine week closure to undertake cosmetic earthquake repairs, we are delighted to announce The George Hotel reopened its rooms and outlets to guests on Friday 8 June 2012. The Hotel has completed minor cosmetic work including plastering, repainting, flooring and general repairs have been completed to a very high standard and the hotel is looking fresh and back to its original 5 Star condition. The closure period provided an ideal time to carry out some other projects in the hotel. 50 Bistro now has new outdoor louvers and an acoustic ceiling. The entire Lobby area through to The Residence has new oak parquetry flooring (sourced from a sustainable forest) and additional new rugs have been fitted in the seated bar areas, adding extra comfort. They have also installed a new RFID entry card system to all guest rooms to improve security and reliability. Rather than swiping a magnetic card through a slot, the locks now read the card when it is held close to the door.For the safety of our guests and team, we have undertaken preventive strengthening to the building which has brought the hotel up to the new code or as close to the code as practical. We are delighted to announce that The George's signature restaurant, Pescatore, has once again been selected as one of the finalists in this year's Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards.
Luxury hosted experience in the Bay of Islands
If you would like to experience some of New Zealand’s amazing culture and history, then a visit to the Bay of Islands is a must. For a truly memorable stay, the charming village of Russell is the perfect destination and Flagstaff Lodge & Day Spa the ideal place to relax and soak it all in.
Forget the car, the Lodge is just a few minutes level stroll from the restaurants, galleries and architectural gems of historic Russell and the Lodge itself is one of those gems. The Lodge is 100 years old this year and it has been transformed into a truly luxurious space, reflecting contemporary style, NZ art and a focus on local food & wine. The Lodge offers 4 beautiful en-suite rooms, each individually styled and with views through Russell to the Bay. All rooms have flat screen TVs, DVD players, mini-bars, iPod docs and free Wi-Fi laptop access.
The very popular on-site day spa offers massage and beauty treatments using premium Thalgo products but at rates which will be a pleasant surprise.
Included in the tariff are evening drinks with canapés with the hosts Jessie and Ruth which provides the perfect opportunity to sample the best of local Northland wines and the chance to chat with your Kiwi host and fellow guests. Also included are breakfasts featuring local ingredients and freshly made treats. Jessie and Ruth are friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and excellent cooks, making this the perfect example of a luxury hosted experience.
Exclusive and personalised tour with Old Antarctic Explorer
Join an Old Antarctic Explorer on an exclusive and personalised tour of Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre discovering New Zealand’s Scott Base, The Snow & Ice Experience and the Antarctic Storm where you will experience extreme wind chill Antarctic conditions. Enjoy a cruise to Antarctica on board an Antarctic Cruise Ship in the brand new 4D Extreme Theatre or enjoy watching the penguins being fed in the New Zealand Penguin Encounter.
Rations are available in the Antarctic Café & Bar and a signed copy of an Antarctic book is yours to take away at the end of your 3-hour personalised Antarctic experience.
The Tour will give visitors the opportunity to spend time with genuine Old Antarctic Explorers many of which have spent many years in Antarctica and have written books about the icy continent.
The “Old Antarctic Explorers Tour" Tour will be 3 hours in duration.
The tour consists of a visit through the famous Antarctic attraction, an Antarctic Explorers luncheon- with time to reflect and share old Antarctic stories. Also included is a Ride in the Hagglund - a genuine Antarctic vehicle used down at Scott Base, and a private Antarctic clothing display demonstration and discussion. At the end of the tour a gift of an Antarctic book will be presented to each participant personally signed by the Old Antarctic Explorer himself.
Bishops Suites, Nelson
For the ultimate in opulence and indulgence, consider the newly opened Bishops Suites in Nelson – located in New Zealand’s North Island.
The Bishop’s Suites are annexed to The Bishopdale Estate homestead, a grand Victorian home built on a charming 20 acre estate. Originally built by Bishop Suter in 1925, the estate has been restored to its former glory.
Access to the Suites is easy – only 10 minutes from the airport or 5 minute drive from the town centre. On arrival you are welcomed by the hosts Mary & Peter Dallison who are friendly, inviting and love entertaining their guests.
The main estate is tastefully decorated and sits on the estate’s well-manicured gardens, complete with swimming pool and spa room. In the evening a sumptuous five course dinner is served in the dining room of the Homestead.
The Bishop’s Suites are luxury stand-alone apartments accessed by pathways from the suites down to the homestead (approximately 50 - 100 metres away). Generously appointed, each has a warm and inviting style of its own, with rich fabrics, elegant furniture and beautiful Irish linen. There are numerous thoughtful touches – soft and enveloping bathrobes, L’Occitane toiletries, fresh fruit, scented candles, handmade chocolates, even shortbread made in the homestead’s kitchen.
In these generous but cosy suites it’s easy to immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of the estate’s more relaxed pace. Each suite has an open fireplace, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, DVD player, radio, and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi connection. The rates are fully inclusive and offer exceptional value for money.
For more details and pricing, please speak to a Travel Specialist.
The Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel, Rotorua
The Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel is a beautifully appointed hotel that offers the discerning visitor the opportunity to experience the comforts and hospitality of personalised luxury hotel accommodation, whilst enjoying an exclusive and intimate environment. The expansive grounds include rose gardens, sweeping lawns, swimming pool, secret grotto, sandy beach, private jetty, heli-pad and eight suites.
Although situated in an oasis of calm, the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel is only a 5 minute drive from Rotorua City Centre and a 15 minute ride from Rotorua International Airport. For guests who’d rather not leave the haven of the hotel, there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy including lake cruises, fishing trips and float plane scenic flights from the private jetty or a helicopter sightseeing trip from the onsite heli-pad.
The chic décor is tastefully designed with black, white and dark purple tones with opulent wallpapers and elegant chandeliers and accompanied with stunning views over Lake Rotorua, great service and food (the restaurant is getting fantastic reviews from guests and local diners). If you want to stay somewhere with stately home furnishings in contemporary finishes and fabrics then you won’t be disappointed.
Rooms are well appointed with flat screen TV's, minibars, tea/coffee making facilities, large and well-presented bathrooms, in neutral tones, separate large shower, double sinks and large deep bath. We recommend the Lakefront rooms (for which there are 2) as their large windows open fully to uninterrupted views over lake.
NEW: Art Adventures, Queenstown
Art Adventures enables you to design your exclusive and personalized art experience in and around the lake and alpine resort of Queenstown. No art experience is necessary. Professional tutored excursions can offer you the opportunity to learn about art, sketching or painting, and to create your own original artworks that record your outdoor experience.
Light refreshments are provided on half day tours and lunch + light refreshments are offered on full day tours.
1) Artists’ Studio / Art Gallery Tours: Minimum 2 guests
View creative works of established and emerging New Zealand artists with a professional guide for a half or full day. Travel by luxury transport through scenic landscapes while visiting some of the best local artists in their studios and
regional dealer art galleries.
- Personal guiding and commentary by a professional guide
- Customised to your interests. (e.g. traditional, contemporary, landscape)
- Small intimate groups for personal attention
2) Learn to Sketch Excursions (Tutored): Minimum 2 guests
Half and full day sketching excursions where you are taken to scenic locations to learn to sketch. No art experience is necessary. Tutors explain and demonstrate how to record their holiday experience with artistic tips and techniques that can be used long after the excursion ends.
- Tuition by professional artist. Note - tutors are subject to availability; one per group of 2 - 6 adults
- Moleskin Travel Journal and a pencil case of high quality sketching equipment all provided in an eco carry bag
- Comfortable outdoor seating provided
- Visits to artists’ studios or dealer art galleries can be included in full day combo
- Small intimate groups for personal attention and instruction
Tranz Scenic – Coastal Pacific rail journey
This outstanding train journey between Christchurch and Picton in New Zealand’s south island, stops at Blenheim and the renowned whale watching town of Kaikoura. Travelling along 98 kilometres of ruggedly beautiful coastline you’ll get astonishingly close to the swelling Pacific Ocean and steeply rising Kaikoura Ranges. You’ll also travel through beautiful wine growing regions, across broad rivers and the rich patchwork farming landscape of the Canterbury Plains. The views are breath-taking!
Brand new scenic carriages have now been introduced on this journey to bring guest comfort to a luxury new level. The features of the new carriages are the large panoramic and sky windows opening up the views of the mountains and hands free doors and swiveling seats allowing passengers to face the direction of travel. New train enhancements also lend to a smoother ride and there is also now commentary available in five languages (English, Japanese, Mandarin, German & French).
NEW: Explore Marlborough by boat
Explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds aboard a 53ft luxury yacht. The relaxing day tour includes a cruise to the end of Queen Charlotte Sound to Motuara Island and Ship Cove. On Motuara take a short walk to the top of the island for stunning views of the Queen Charlotte Sound. The island is home to a number of New Zealand’s endangered birds which can be spotted while walking. The tour includes a gourmet lunch of local produce with a focus on local seafood. The balance of the day is spent cruising back towards Picton with canapés, a glass of Marlborough wine and the setting sun. Throughout the day your experienced skipper and Explore Marlborough guide will entertain you with stories of the area’s history, wildlife and landscape and local personalities.
* Experienced skipper.
* Morning tea or coffee with locally roasted coffee and fresh home baking.
* Gourmet lunch on board the yacht.
* Bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc per couple
* Knowledgeable guide
* Pick up from and drop off to accommodation
* Visit to Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove.
Top 5 Adventure New Zealand
When deciding between luxury & adventure for your holiday for this year, look no further than New Zealand – the destination that provides arguably the best adventure options as well as some of the most renowned luxury lodges internationally.
White Water Rafting - The Kaituna River makes for an exciting forty minutes of pure adrenalin rush and includes the world famous 27-foot (7-metre) waterfall - the largest rafted waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere!
Zorb Rotorua: Experience the inside of a bouncy ball! Zydro – this is the ride that has water added so you can run, tumble, flip or slide inside, as the globe hurtles downhill at speeds of up to 30 km/h.
Four Wheel Drive (4WD) Safari: Travel to the Mamaku Ranges where a truly unique experience awaits you. Take the wheel and drive in convoy on a four-wheel drive track that is full of obstacles and challenges such as water-filled tunnels, logs and swamps. At the end of your experience your helicopter your way to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers.
Bungy Queenstown: The Nevis High Wire Bungy is the younger brother to the original Kawarau Bungy Jump and is the same height as the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Sky Dive: It takes a certain kind of person to jump from an aircraft at 15,000ft into thin air. It takes courage. Harnessed by space age materials to an experienced qualified jumpmaster, you step out that aircraft door and for some 60 seconds you plummet toward the ground at 200kph, Terminal Velocity.
With a selection of superb lodges awaiting you after your adventure, the only question is when do you arrive? Contact A&K for more information and to tailor the right itinerary for you.
Located on a headland above the sea with sweeping views of the bay, the well-secured, exceptional luxury escape comprising of five villas in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, a few kilometres north of Russell is not boasting when they say they are “Somewhere between seven stars and heaven”. Recently voted the World's best "Luxury Coastal Hotel" by the World Luxury Hotel Awards, there is no doubt of Eagles Nests unsurpassed facilities and services. The World Luxury Hotel Awards are regarded as the pinnacle of achievement for luxury hotels worldwide. This award was established as a celebration of the ultimate achievement in the worldwide hotel industry. It is about recognizing hotels that have taken the ultimate step and distinguished themselves as truly exceptional hotels. This award is by no means the first for Eagles Nest who already have a full mantelpiece of international and domestic accolades from the likes of Conde Nast Traveller, Elite Traveller, Tattler Magazine and Kia Ora Magazine. When staying at Eagles nest, there are many things to do in the area if you can bear to leave your villa. Let us arrange a private sailing or fishing charter for you. Or perhaps you would prefer a private scenic flight over the spectacular region. For a more outdoors approach, let us arrange a guided walks with gourmet picnic lunch or private touring to the regions historical highlights including Waitangi grounds.
Whakarewarewa Thermal Village
Whakarewarewa Thermal Village: Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao' - Meaning “The uprising of the warriors (war party) of Wahiao" Set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity, hot thermal springs and hot bubbling mud pools is the Living Maori village of Whakarewarewa situated in Rotorua, the heart of the North Island. Meet the people of Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao (a Maori family tribe) who have lived in and around the geothermal activity of Whakarewarewa for over 200 years. This tribe have opened up their village to show visitors their way of life, a legacy passed down from generation to generation. Let us arrange a private experience for you to truly discover this lifestyle designed to incorporate the unique thermal environment as well as the culture and traditions of this tribe. The people of this area have been hosting visitors and welcoming guests into their homes since the early 1800’s. The Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao people have a proud heritage which they have shared with visitors from around the world. As the Maori Tribe say, Nau mai, haere mai, whakatau mai - Welcome, Come In, Make Yourself At Home.
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