New Zealand is an intriguing country that has long been known for its breath-taking scenery and rich culture, and attracts millions of visitors from across the globe every year. An island nation in the Southwestern Pacific, it was the chosen backdrop for the iconic Lord of the Rings films, and it’s easy to see why, with rolling hills, plunging valleys and roaring volcanoes just some of the features that make it so unique.
It’s a lengthy flight to get there from Europe or the UK, averaging between 24 – 28 hours in total – but when you’re flying first class, it’s surprising how quickly the time passes. Both Emirates and Qantas offer flights from London to Auckland for just shy of £5,000 per person, which is a small price to pay when you see what’s waiting for you at the other end.
Visiting New Zealand for any less than two weeks is to do it – and yourself – a disservice, as with so much to see, do and explore, a shorter break will only leave you wanting more. If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find plenty of it here – and these are the highlights you won’t want to miss. Although New Zealand’s borders currently remain closed to tourists, we have faith they will be reopening again soon – and here at LLM, it’ll be the first country on our travel list when they do.
Lavish and unique hotels
First things first; you’ll want to secure yourself a luxurious base from which to explore New Zealand – but with so many incredible things to see and experience across the country, it can be difficult to choose just one. We’d advise checking in at a selection of different accommodation choices across the islands to ensure you get the best of everything – and the good news is that there are plenty of incredible spots to stay, wherever you are.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers – one of New Zealand’s most sumptuous destinations – offers world-class food, a famous cliff-top golf course and impressive views down over the Hawke’s Bay peninsula below, while the Minaret Station, in remote Wanaka, is the perfect pick for those looking for seclusion and exclusivity and is well located if you’re keen to indulge in some winter sports. But these are just two of many, and you’ll be certain to find somewhere special to lay your head wherever you go. Plan your route across the country first, and then choose your hotels afterwards to make the decision-making a little easier.
Breath-taking natural beauty
Majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, icy glaciers and spectacular beaches combine to make New Zealand a truly unrivalled country when it comes to natural beauty, and whatever type of scenery you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Comprising two main islands surrounded by a whole host of smaller ones, you can easily find yourself soaking up the sunshine on the beach or strolling rugged coastline one minute, and navigating snow-capped mountains and taking a dip in some natural hot springs the next, with the kind of diversity on offer here you won’t find anywhere else on earth.
With two weeks to work with, you can kayak in Milford Sound, Fjordland, visit the unique and colourful champagne pools of Wai-o-Tapu and take a night tour in the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves for a truly other-wordly experience. The Moeraki Boulders at Dunedin and Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua Forest are also worth taking a detour for.
Rich and intriguing culture
The Māori culture, developed by Polynesian settlers some 700 years ago, is still very much present in modern New Zealand, and is rich in arts and tradition, forming a huge part of the nation’s identity.
To fully immerse yourself and gain a greater understanding of this fascinating culture, a trip to a marae is a must, and will offer the chance to interact with New Zealand’s indigenous Polynesian people and take in interesting displays of traditional Māori singing and dancing. The Haka is a ceremonial war dance which features synchronised stomping and chanting, and is an iconic and memorable sight for anyone visiting the islands. Bear in mind that maraes are only accessible via organised tours, so it isn’t possible to simply rock up on your own.
Vineyards and wineries
New Zealand is a haven for wine lovers, and is world renowned for its viticulture, with some of its proudest wine varieties including Marlborough’s fruity Sauvignon Blanc to Central Otago Pinot Noir. The perfect place to stroll vineyards and enjoy a winery tour and tasting, some of the most famous estates to consider visiting include the Brancott Estate, which has been producing Marlborough Sauvignon since the 1970s, and the Ta Meta Estate in Hawke’s Bay, which is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in New Zealand and now exports to over 42 countries across the globe.
Private tours will, of course, need to be booked in advance, but it’s an enlightening experience you won’t want to miss out on.
Nightlife and entertainment
There’s no denying that New Zealand is a huge draw for lovers of nature and the great outdoors, but night owls will be pleased to know that there’s a thriving party scene on offer for those looking to head out after dark. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are each packed with a wide range of restaurants, bars, clubs and casinos, with something to suit all tastes. While Auckland offers a laid-back, sociable vibe, Wellington offers a thriving arts scene, which spills over into its nightlife via live music and performance. Queenstown, which boasts the highest concentration of nightlife venues in the country, is also worth a visit, and offers a combination of all the best bits you’ll find elsewhere.
According to the experts at bestnewzealandcasinos.com, high-rollers will no doubt enjoy an evening at the opulent SkyCity Casino in Auckland, where you’ll find a huge selection of table games and slots in its 328M Sky Tower. The chain offers a further two SkyCasinos in Hamilton and Queenstown, but our favourite haunt has to be the lavish Dunedin Casino in Dunedin, which has been refurbished to offer a taste of Monte Carlo, in Monaco and offers plenty of old world charm alongside an exciting modern gaming experience.