Luxury Travel Advisor Gina Griffin regularly crafts fantastic itineraries to this delightful country, utilizing her extensive knowledge gained in her travels, research, and relationships. Gina shares her New Zealand expertise by walking us through a few highlights of her most recent trip to paradise.
New Zealand is a haven for nature enthusiasts, wine lovers, foodies, and just about anybody else. The plethora of must-sees across the North and South iIslands are immense, ranging from the north’s cosmopolitan Auckland and iconic woodland paradise of Taupo to the south’s spectacular Fjordland National Park.
And with appealing adventures for so many, it’s no surprise that accommodation availability is naturally tight. The most sought-after lodges are small and in high demand. Gina recommends booking your accommodations first and letting the lodges determine your itinerary flow.
If you’re interested in a stay at a working sheep and cattle farm, then the Farm at Cape Kidnappers is where you want to be. Don’t forget to bring your golf clubs for a pre-arranged tee time at this incredible course.
The Kiwi Discovery Walk is a “must do!” Exclusive to guests of Cape Kidnappers, this excursion may be your only opportunity to see these Kiwis, a rare and endangered bird, in their natural habitat. During Gina’s last visit, her small group of six assisted the sanctuary guide in monitoring and weighing kiwi chicks. It was amazing!
Time your trip right, and you will delight in admiring the colony of Gannets that return to Cape Kidnappers year after year. Marvel at the unusual markings of these sea birds, watch them nest in rows, and possibly witness hatchlings learning to fly. A guided tour by Can-Am (an all-terrain vehicle) is a fantastic way to experience the Gannets.
Often touted as one of the best lodges in the world, Huka Lodge does not disappoint. All guests appreciate the amenities of this world-class resort but it’s best suited for anglers with unbeatable trout fishing in the area.
Once a simple fishing lodge in the 1920s, Huka Lodge is now a welcome retreat for the most discerning traveler. Along with fishing, guests can hike, horseback ride or experience the Hawke’s Bay Wine Trail by helicopter. Be sure to leave some free time in your itinerary to take in the beauty of the Waikato River on a leisurely stroll.
For the best fly-fishing experience, look no further than Stonefly Lodge. Set on the Motueka River, Stonefly Lodge offers travelers breathtaking views, superb cuisine, and some of the best fishing in the world. But with only four guestrooms, the lodge is extremely difficult to reserve. Thanks to Gina’s trusted network in New Zealand, she is often able to secure rooms in otherwise-sold-out situations for her clients.
Marlborough Lodge is located in the heart of the South Island’s wine region. Explore the beautiful vineyards on the estate, indulge in superb cuisine, and relax in one of only ten suites on the property. For a special treat, Gina arranges a private tasting and food pairing, which is well worth it!
Gina also recommends visiting the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center. This one-of-a-kind museum offers the chance to view rare memorabilia, aircraft, and artifacts from WWI. As you walk through the intricate and captivating displays, you feel like you’re on a movie set. Through these theatrical recreations, you learn untold and forgotten stories from this period that will stay entrenched in your mind and heart.