My travels to New Zealand had to be both the best destination and experience I have ever had! I visited the North and the South Islands and stayed in some incredible lodges and villas.
I took Air New Zealand both on my way to and from Auckland. On my flight from LAX to Auckland I was seated in economy which was not as bad as I expected. I think that the flight is what most people are afraid of when traveling all the way to New Zealand. It was a 16 hour flight from LA and I flew non-stop from Fort Lauderdale to LA and had a long layover during the day. The seats were fairly comfortable and there was an entertainment center behind each seat with plenty of free movies on demand as well as movies for purchase. I had a charger for my iphone and my ipad. The flight went a lot faster then I thought and I didn’t even get to watch all the movies I wanted to because I slept quite a bit on this red eye flight.
My layover was 8 hours long so I decided to visit the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Ray. I love this hotel for those clients who want to break up the travel time and stay over before catching the longer fight from LA to Auckland.
I arrived in Auckland at around 6 am two days later from when I left. What one needs to remember is when traveling to New Zealand you cross the date line so you have the travel time plus a day. On the way back you get there the same date as you left! I stayed at the Sofitel in Auckland which was was a Westin only 7 weeks before our stay. I didn’t think that it was quite ready for opening yet. My recommendation would be to stay at the Hilton on the waterfront. Since it was early and I wanted to adjust to the time difference I opted to stay up and walk around Auckland for a bit. I found a little sushi place on the water and had some of the freshest most delicious Salmon.
My next stop was the Bay of Islands where I stayed at Kauri Cliffs. I can’t recall one negative thing about this most amazing Lodge. This is a great hotel for both couples and families. I loved the soft decor of the rooms and the fireplace. It was April when I was there so it was starting to get pretty cold. To this Florida girl there is nothing better then some cool weather and a crackling fireplace. The bed was just perfect as was the huge deep tub. They have a complimentary mini bar fully stocked with drinks snacks and brownies!
We enjoyed a delicious light 3 course set menu for lunch over looking the golf course.
The dinner menu changes nightly and features local produce and seafood. The best New Zealand lamb and beef are served. Executive Chef Barry Frith oversees the culinary team and the Pastry Chef is a master of exotic and tempting desserts.
Unfortunately we only had that one night at Kauri Cliffs and made our way to spend a night in a villa at Eagles Nest. We got there by way of Catamaran which made for a wonderful morning.
Our next night was at Eagles Nest in a private Villa. I shared my villa with just one other person but could have fit a large family. There are no restaurants on property so its great for those who like to go into town and go out to eat or even hire a private chef to come in and cook for you. The kitchen is amazing and is stocked breakfast foods. There is a nice infinity plunge pool or even a hot tub for soaking.
Our itinerary said we were going to take a helicopter to Wharekauhau Country Estate from the airport but the weather said otherwise. It was too windy for a helicopter so instead we had a private car take us.
We flew to vibrant Queenstown for the last nights of our New Zealand trip. We visited Blanket Bay which is 45 minutes outside of town and wonderful! If you want to be right in the middle of it all Eicharts is perfect! For those seeking a place that has some nightlife this is a great stop. There are nice restaurants and bars for those who want to stay out a bit later.
I took a helicopter trip over Milford Sound which was amazing! The pictures I got were probably the best of the trip. I ended my trip with the jump of my life. I never thought I would bungee jump EVER! On our way to the airport someone had a brilliant idea we should do it. I was hesitant at first but decided I would do it just this one so I can say I experienced the thrill. It was crazy and exhilarating and I will probably never do it again but it was fun.