New Zealand, home to Kiwi birds, a half decent rugby team and Bilbo Baggins. You’d be a Fool of a Took not to go. Monumental mountain ranges, volcanic springs, glaciers and a heavy dusting of vineyards. Warning: you may feel the urge to buy a pair of walking boots…
WHERE TO STAY
Location, location, location. If you want to spend some time in the capital then this Art Deco haven is the place to be. The rooms aren’t exactly huge but are impeccably styled and comfortable too. Pack your newest frock as they have the swankiest bar that you enter from a dramatic spiral staircase.
This eco lodge on South Island is an essential place to visit to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the peace and quiet (no children are allowed). It is nestled within 50 acres of forest and is next to two national parks. It is also a foodie’s paradise – dinner is four courses, with organic produce and a farm-to-table policy.
Panoramic alpine views, a few minutes walk from the beach and surrounded by parkland. This is Queenstown’s newest luxury boutique hotel. Located in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown is the place to be if you are an adrenaline junkie. It’s also a really convenient base to explore the delights of the entire South Island.
WHERE TO EAT
Just outside Christchurch in the vibrant port town of Lyttleton this was, until recently, one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Sadly the cat is slightly out of the bag as they were named New Zealand Restaurant of the Year in 2015. This is simply the cosiest restaurant with the prettiest food.
This is a fun little bustling Italian bistro in the heart of the city. We loved it because it’s a trendy eatery without being pretentious. The kind of place where beards and babies live together in harmony. You’ll find it filled with locals, which in the Auree book is a very good sign.
Housed in an impressive farmhouse style building with a RIDICULOUSLY amazing mountain range backdrop, Amisfield is on the outskirts of Queenstown. Fit for royalty (they supplied the food for Prince William and Kate’s visit to New Zealand) and they’re also specialist wine producers with their own vineyard.
WHAT TO DO
Tramp the Tongariro Crossing
This is what the New Zealanders call hiking. Get in the Lord of the Rings zone and tackle this day long trek, with its dramatic volcanic landscape. It’s not exactly a stroll in the park as you face some steep climbs and loose lava underfoot – plus it’s a 12 MILE jaunt (not up Mrs Auree’s street). But with turquoise sulphuric springs, views that reach forever and out of this world scenery you may be able to persuade even the unlikeliest hikers to tackle it!
Step back in time to the 1930’s and discover iconic architecture in this fabulously stylish Art Deco city. An earthquake in ’31 left so much destruction that it was almost entirely rebuilt to create what still remains today as the largest concentration of inner-city Art Deco buildings in the world. This seaside gem is playful and arty, with a totally different feel to the rest of the country.
Wine Tasting heaven
As if New Zealand didn’t already have enough going for it, they also produce some of the World’s finest wines. The South Island is home to Marlborough, one of the most internationally famous, but you’ll also find that some excellent varieties are produced all along the eastern coast of both islands, including Northland, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury.
This fiord has an eerie beauty with towering rocky cliffs and cascading waterfalls rising up from the dark depths of the sea. It’s a completely magical sight and can be seen by foot, boat, kayak or helicopter.
Pack/BUY some hiking shoes and if this is rather a novel wardrobe addition, then plenty of compeed.
A very good camera to capture the views around every corner.
Try a road trip ice cream – opt for the Hokey Pokey flavour (you can’t get more Kiwi that that).
Rent a campervan. Obviously.
Contributors: Louise Jackson
Image credits: iexplore.com; hotel-r.net; resurgence.co.nz; boutiquehotels.co.nz; stuff.co.nz; silverkris.com; amisfield.co.nz;