The logical starting point or conclusion to a holiday in New Zealand, Auckland has the cosmopolitan vibe that you would expect from any country's largest city but this is a city with a difference - it's all about the water. Set between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours and a previous host to sailing's blue riband event The America's Cup, the sobriquet of 'City of Sails' is apt.
Aucklanders are passionate about getting out on the water and there are many ways to join them; ranging from a short ferry ride over to the quaint artists' haunt of devonport to a day's cruise on a fully crewed, luxurious motor launch. You can enjoy calm seas and white sand beaches on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf including idyllic Waiheke Island which is becoming increasingly famed for its excellent wines and cuisine as well as its stunning natural beauty. In addition for something a little more unusual, drive an hour west to discover thundering surf and black sand.
The bigger of the two islands, the North Island is also home to the country’s largest city; Auckland. Known as the ‘City of the Sails’ due to its location between the waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, you’ll find that Aucklanders are passionate about getting out on the water and there are many ways to join them; from a short ferry ride over to the quaint artists’ haunt of Devonport to a day’s cruise on a fully crewed, luxurious motor launch.
You can enjoy calm seas and white sandy beaches on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf including idyllic WaihekeIsland, famed for its stunning natural beauty. The Bay of Islands boasts gorgeous coastal scenery too but is also home to some of the country’s most important history. Rotorua lays claim to being at both the thermal and Maori heart of the country, a fascinating combination of geysers, boiling mud pools and cultural experiences, while nearby Lake Taupo is ideal for those wishing to indulge in a spot of trout fishing. The Hawke’s Bay region’s boutique vineyards and abundant local produce combine to create a gastronome’s delight. At the foot of the North Island lies Wellington, where you’ll find an array of fascinating galleries and museums, with superb dining to boot.
The Bay of Islands is famed for its gorgeous coastal scenery but it's also home to some of the country's most important history, so make time for the township of Russell and the Treaty House at Waitangi. If you're a keen golfer, the challenging course at Kauri Cliffs has Pacific Ocean views good enough to make your round memorable, even if your golf game deserts you!
Rotorua can lay claim to being at both the thermal and Maori heart of the country, a fascinating combination of geysers, boiling mud pools and special cultural experiences, while nearby Lake Taupo has similar virtues and is also a mecca for those wishing to indulge in a spot of trout fishing.
The Hawke's Bay region's boutique vineyards and abundant fresh, local produce combine to create a gourmand's delight, with many hidden gem cafes and restaurants at which to punctuate your days with long, lazy al fresco lunches.
At the foot of the North Island lies compact Wellington, political capital and in most eyes cultural and artistic capital too; certainly you'll find an array of fascinating galleries and museums, while the dining experience here is also worthy of note.
For a hip hotel in the centre of Auckland take a closer look at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel, where everything you’ll want during your stay - including trendy eateries and local attractions - is right on your doorstep. Take a break from your sight-seeing schedule to enjoy a relaxing massage at the hotel’s East Day Spa.
If the adventure activities of the central NorthIsland tempt, then a stay at the Huka Lodge, Taupo will add a luxurious element to your visit to the region. This iconic luxury lodge provides a tranquil haven within 17 acres of perfectly manicured grounds in an unrivalled location alongside the WaikatoRiver. Superb cuisine is a hallmark of the lodge and dining is enhanced by the extensive variety of venues, from wine cellar to library and from river terrace to orchard.
In Hawke’s Bay you’ll discover Greenhill Lodge; a charming historic homestead in a delightful hill top country setting and the ideal base from which to enjoy the region’s superb gourmet delights.