What better backdrop to celebrate a birthday or special family occasion than the stunning islands of New Zealand? If you’re looking to organize a trip that knocks all others out of the park – this vacation, bursting with wildlife, waterfalls, wineries and, of course, incredible luxury properties, you’ve come to the right place. Start with an epic road trip that will lead you to billowing geysers and a rafting experience that’ll see you tackling some epic waterfalls, refuel halfway through with a tour through some of New Zealand’s best wineries, and prepare to don a wetsuit and swim with wild dolphins off dramatic coastlines. And that’s not all, as you’ll discover below…happy birthday to you.
Your first stop is Auckland. Explore this tranquil city and its myriad of cultural experiences, and make sure to take a trip up the Sky Tower to survey the landscape you’re about to discover. Tomorrow, you’ll continue onto Rotorua and the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture. Take in the views as you drive – then, when you arrive, find yourself confronted with limestone caves and bursting geysers that’ll make you stop and contemplate the fiery power of this ever-changing destination.
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Whilst in Rotorua, you’ll experience the adrenaline of a mountain bike experience through the vast and beautiful Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest before embarking on a waterfall rafting adventure on the Kaituna River. It’s here that you’ll tackle the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Feeling nervous? Just go for it. The best experiences are often the ones that scare you. Back from your wild watery adventure, slow the pace a little and end with a few hours kayaking around the scenic bays of Lake Rotoiti until you reach the thermal hot pools. The perfect soother to an excitement-filled day.
COUNTRY ESTATE RETREATS
After a fast-paced few days in Rotorua, you’ll depart for Palliser Bay and your next stop, Wharekauhau Lodge. Here, you can hike, bike or walk the miles of tracks across the estate, surrounded by lakes, mountains and dramatic coastlines. It’s the ultimate country retreat and a place that will see you embarking on 4WD farm safaris and yet more wine tours (it’s a special occasion, after all…). Meet the genius wine-makers behind some of your favorite tipples and really get under the skin of this art form before settling down for lunch in one of the local vineyards you’ve been exploring.
Islands of Activity
Next up, it’s the Bay of Islands, a gorgeous collection of 144 islands in the Pacific Ocean. From here you’ll set out on a private sailing vessel that’ll take you on an exclusive tour around the islands before stopping off for lunch and trying your hand at kayaking, or simply swimming in the glistening waters – the choice is yours. By night, bed down at the clifftop Kauri Cliffs and fill your next three days with tennis, swimming, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and sailing; to name a few.
Hopping across to the South Island, take the stunning road south to Kaikoura. This rugged seaside settlement has the dramatic mountain backdrop framing it and is ideal for any visitors with an eco-conscience. Two nights at the Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses—yes treehouses, but like you’ve never seen before…will ensure you have the opportunity to explore one of the world’s best spots for whale watching and – wait for it – swimming with wild dolphins. Words cannot describe how awesome this experience is for first-timers and regulars alike.
THE FINAL FRONTIER
Queenstown – the last leg of your trip – where you’ll go out in pure style. Soar above Milford Sound on a scenic flight before landing for your three-hour private boat cruise. Then, when it’s time to return to town, make sure you look down, as you’ll be flying over the glaciers of Olivine Ice Plateau. The perfect end to a celebration you’ll remember forever.