New Zealand, it has been some time. Too lengthy, actually. The COVID-19 pandemic minimize us off from one in every of our closest neighbours, one in every of our dearest mates, and we missed it.
The Land of the Lengthy White Cloud simply has a lot to supply travellers, from white-knuckle journey to a implausible meals and wine scene, from world-beating sights to immersive cultural experiences. And naturally, all of this stuff continued to exist in New Zealand regardless of our absence, and in lots of situations they continued to develop.
There’s been rather a lot occurring in New Zealand in the previous few years. New resorts. New sights. New experiences. For those who’re planning to move again throughout the ditch after an enforced absence, these are the very best of New Zealand’s latest additions.
Lodge Britomart, Auckland. Picture: Patrick Reynolds
New Zealand’s lodging suppliers have been undeterred by the pandemic and the closure of worldwide borders, with loads of thrilling new resort openings happening since Australians had been final round (that’s, discounting our transient “bubble” association with our Kiwi neighbours).
In Auckland, the spotlight of the latest arrivals is unquestionably the Voco Auckland Metropolis Centre (auckland.vocohotels.com), with 201 sensible rooms and suites within the coronary heart of town. The resort additionally boasts Auckland’s highest rooftop bar, in Bar Albert, and Mozzarella & Co, a restaurant that does a la carte pizza and pasta.
Elsewhere within the metropolis, the Lodge Britomart (thehotelbritomart.com) is New Zealand’s first “5 Inexperienced Star” resort – a neighborhood design classification for eco-friendly buildings – whereas the QT Auckland (qthotels.com) is a daring new addition to town panorama. And do not forget The Convent Lodge (theconventhotel.co.nz), a boutique property that is set, as chances are you’ll think about, in an previous convent, with 22 lovely suites, and an Italian-leaning bar and restaurant known as Ada that may be a vacation spot in itself.
However, as they are saying, there’s extra. In Wellington, Naumi Studio Lodge (naumihotels.com) opened in late 2020, and is about in a heritage constructing with fantastically designed rooms. Additionally within the Kiwi capital, there’s Pipinui Level (pipinuipoint.co.nz), a luxurious resort perched on a towering, 250-metre-high cliff simply outdoors town.
After which let’s flip our consideration to the South Island. Start on the prime, in Nelson, the place Pihopa Retreat (pihoparetreat.nz), which opened in mid-2021, presents six luxurious suites in beautiful surrounds. Close by in Marlborough wine nation, 14th Lane City Lodge (14thlane.nz) opened in late 2020, providing luxurious lodging in what was as soon as a nightclub in central Blenheim.
In Christchurch, in the meantime, every of the 5 flooring on the new Muse Artwork Lodge (themusehotel.co.nz) has been assigned to a unique native artist, giving the property an actual level of distinction, in addition to a neighborhood connection. The brand new design resort, The Observatory (observatoryhotel.co.nz), additionally brings an thrilling lodging choice to the historic Arts Centre district.
Mt Isthmus. Picture: Shaun Jeffers
There have been loads of openings down in ski nation too. In Queenstown, there’s The Carlin (thecarlinhotel.com), New Zealand’s first six-star resort (it is a factor, apparently), and the city’s first seven-storey constructing (additionally a factor). That is one luxurious property. In close by Wanaka, these chasing new properties may strive Cross Hill Lodge and Domes (crosshill.co.nz), a glamping hideaway on the lakefront, or Mt Isthmus (thelindisgroup.com), an unbelievable luxurious villa sitting on a 7000-acre station overlooking the lake.
And at last to the far south, in Dunedin, the place Fable (fablehotelsandresorts.com) opened in mid-2020, and marks a whole revamp of a Victorian-era resort as soon as referred to as Wains; there’s additionally Ebb Dunedin (ebb-dunedin.co.nz), a contemporary boutique property.
SKI AND ADVENTURE
The Lake Dunstan Path. Picture: Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand has all the time supplied a number of the best snowboarding and the very best white-knuckle adventures on the planet, and nothing has modified there. In reality, it is solely improved.
Exhibit A must be the Nice Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp (thegreatglenorchyalpinebasecamp.co.nz), a brand new hub for all issues loopy and adventurous within the South Island, an outfit that may facilitate all the things from heli-skiing to snow-shoeing to browsing to glacier trekking to tenting out underneath the celebrities in the course of the wilderness. The bottom camp itself is sort of pretty, too.
Close by in Queenstown, adventurers ought to try the Coronet Loop Path (queenstowntrail.org.nz), a 50km backcountry monitor round Coronet Peak, which opened in March this yr and is already attracting loads of hikers and mountain-bikers eager to sort out terrain that is by no means beforehand been explored. Over the move in Wanaka, 4WD specialists Ridgeline Adventures (ridgelinenz.com) have added a brand new expertise, the Dingleburn Safari, a 4WD journey and stroll that explores the personal, high-country Dingleburn Station.
There are a couple of extra new biking trails to take a look at within the South Island, too: the 55km Kawatiri Path (kawatiricoastaltrail.co.nz), which is opening progressively over the course of this yr, on the west coast from Westport to Charleston; and the Lake Dunstan Path (centralotagonz.com), a really spectacular 55km pathway that hugs the cliffsides above the titular Otago lake, and must be on any eager adventurer’s hit record.
There’s additionally loads of motion to whiten your knuckles within the North Island, too. In Auckland, climb aboard a jet-ski and luxuriate in a guided tour of Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf with the brand new Sea Auckland Jet Ski Excursions (seaauckland.nz), which opened in November final yr. Slightly additional south in Rotorua, in the meantime, Skyline Rotorua (skyline.co.nz) – a family-friendly journey centre on the prime of a mountain overlooking the city – added three new luge tracks in 2021, growing the full there to 5. The brand new tracks took 4 years to finish, and have a number of corkscrew turns, metropolis views, and 4 tunnels.
In lovely Lake Taupo, Taxicat Adventures (taxicat.co.nz) has launched excursions to the Western Bays facet of the lake, which was beforehand untouched by tourism operators – and actually, nonetheless the one option to entry this space is by boat. On this family-friendly afternoon tour, passengers will see waterfalls tumbling into the lake, towering cliffs that stand 100 metres above sandy bays, and luxuriate in a picnic whereas bobbing on the pristine waters of Te Papa bay.
ATTRACTIONS AND EXPERIENCES
Geysers by Evening at Te Puia.
The Kiwis have been busy. Not content material to only sit out the pandemic and see how issues go, they have been throwing open the doorways to new vacationer sights all through the nation. Starting in Northland, above Auckland, we have now the Hundertwasser Artwork Centre (hundertwasserartcentre.co.nz), in Whangarei, a novel and crowd pleasing constructing that homes the most important assortment of Austrian artist and architect Friedenreich Hundertwasser’s work outdoors Vienna – an ideal complement to close by Kawakawa’s iconic public bathroom block, designed by Hundertwasser. Additionally in Northland, Ngawha Springs (ngawha.nz), an in depth array of pure hot-spring swimming pools, has undergone a multi-million-dollar redevelopment, and has a lot to supply guests of all ages.
Shifting right down to Rotorua, there are many new sights to take a look at. Start with the Tamaki Maori Village (tamakimaorivillage.co.nz), which unveiled an in depth improve and some new experiences in Could this yr. The spotlight is the brand new night expertise, a four-hour immersion into Maori tradition, which incorporates storytelling within the village and surrounding forest, and a four-course meal, with a standard hangi.
Additionally in Rotorua, there is a new expertise on provide on the Te Puia (tepuia.com) geothermal space: Geysers by Evening. Beginning at nightfall and armed with a torch, guests are escorted by means of the park’s 3km of illuminated trails by skilled guides who share the historical past and the tales of the valley, earlier than arriving on the world-famous Pohutu Geyser. That is the primary time the geyser has been in a position to be considered at evening, lit by floodlights, and it is an incredible factor to see.
Shifting to the South Island, there’s nonetheless a lot that is shiny and new. Start with Trip from the Sky (airmilford.co.nz), an expertise that is solely been supplied from January this yr, and an unbelievable option to see the Southern Lakes space. You start in Queenstown, with a scenic flight throughout Lake Wakatipu, earlier than leaping on a motorcycle and using 32km, traversing rolling hills on a path from Von Hill to Walter Peak, after which settling down on the Walter Peak Homestead for a scrumptious barbecue lunch. The day ends with a cruise again to Queenstown aboard the TSS Earnslaw steamship.
Additionally within the South Island, there is a new wellness providing within the city of Methven, about an hour west of Christchurch: Opuke Thermal Swimming pools and Spa (opuke.nz), which opened in late 2021. The advanced presents a community of interconnected swimming pools, all with beautiful views of the Southern Alps. There are family-friendly areas, and likewise adults-only swimming pools, for the final word rest. Take pleasure in a poolside canape and a drink when you’re there.
FOOD AND DRINK
You are by no means going to be wanting an excellent meal in New Zealand. This can be a nation that has all the time accomplished meals effectively, from swish fine-diners to nation bakeries to cafes that do a nice flat white (although do not get the locals began on who invented these). Since borders closed in early 2022 there have been loads of additions to the New Zealand foods and drinks scene, from Auckland all the best way right down to Dunedin.
Within the former, make sure to try Parade (paradeponsonby.com), a Ponsonby stalwart that has a brand new location, an American-influenced diner that now has an enormous, sunny backyard house, and a liquor license, which implies you’ll be able to wash down the tasty burgers right here with a cocktail or a craft beer. One other notable addition to the Auckland scene is The Bridgman (thebridgman.co.nz), a schmick bar and bistro in Mt Eden. The deal right here is pub grub made fancy, with nice drinks to match.
There’s additionally kingi (kingibritomart.com), a sustainable, moral seafood restaurant in Britomart. And do not miss Florets (florets.nz), a cult bakery in Gray Lynn recognized for the very best sourdough sandwiches on the town.
We flip now to Wellington, lengthy New Zealand’s culinary hub, the place there have after all been loads of new openings, even in powerful, COVID-affected occasions. Some of the thrilling is unquestionably Mabel’s (mabels.nz), a restaurant whose roots date again to 1978, when Burmese migrant Aunty Mabel opened The Monsoon, one in every of New Zealand’s first Burmese eating places. The trendy iteration, run by Mabel’s granddaughter Marler, will take you straight to Myanmar.
Additionally new to Wellington, there’s Koji (kojirestaurant.co.nz), a contemporary, Asian-fusion fine-diner, and Lola Rouge (lolarouge.nz), set within the new Naumi Studio resort, which serves high-end pan-Asian delicacies. And for these after a drink, there’s now Southward Distilling (southwarddistilling.com), the place you’ll be able to mix your personal gin and maintain the bottle, and The Beer Engine (thebeerengine.co.nz), New Zealand’s first small-batch, contract brewery, with a terrific taproom.
Down within the South Island there’s additionally a lot occurring. In Christchurch, try Hali (hali.nz), the extra relaxed sibling to star British chef Simon Levy’s fine-diner Inati. For drinkers, name into Wilko (wilko.nz), a traditional “dive bar”, although one which has craft beer, area of interest spirits and pure wine. There’s additionally Londo (londo.bar), a wine bar with a concentrate on small plates of seasonal, native produce.
Heading additional south, in Wanaka, Arc (arcwanaka.co.nz) has been added to the native scene – it is a sensible brunch and tapas joint with a powerful wine record. And in Dunedin, pay a go to to Steamer Basin (steamerbasin.co.nz), a cracking microbrewery set in a disused industrial house on the waterfront, and Ebb Café (ebb-dunedin.co.nz), a part of the Ebb Lodge, the right spot for an off-the-cuff breakfast or lunch.
FIVE NZ CLASSICS WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE
New Zealand has a surfeit of luxurious lodges which have redefined the best way the nation is skilled, and the very best of them may simply be Matakauri. Perched on a hillside excessive above Lake Wakatipu, outdoors Queenstown, Matakauri is the posh you are searching for, the place you’ll be able to chill out in your lovely room, go to the spa, dine on the restaurant, play golf, discover native wineries, and even take a helicopter flight over Milford Sound. See robertsonlodges.com
There’s by no means been a scarcity of spectacular fine-dining eating places in New Zealand both, and it is heartening to seek out that one in every of our favourites, Hiakai in Wellington, has survived the struggles of the pandemic. Hiakai is helmed by chef Monique Fiso, who takes in components of Maori delicacies – components and cooking strategies – to offer diners a real style of New Zealand. You’ll want to guide forward, as this 30-seater is eternally widespread. See haikai.co.nz
THE ROUTEBURN TRACK
For eager hikers, that is bucket-list stuff: the Routeburn Monitor, one in every of New Zealand’s community of “Nice Walks”, a 33-kilometre path that meanders by means of a number of the South Island’s most spectacular alpine surroundings. That is typically a three-day hike, from Routeburn Shelter, close to Queenstown, to the Divide, close to Lake Fergus, with well-equipped huts to remain in alongside the best way. See doc.govt.nz
A visit to New Zealand is not full with no deep-dive into Maori tradition, with out doing one thing immersive, one thing instructional, one thing enjoyable. And that is the place Whakarewarewa, a “marae”, or conventional Maori gathering place, simply outdoors Rotorua has all the time excelled. At this “dwelling village” company can find out about Maori tradition, plus hear the historical past of the land, and take a look at a couple of of the geothermal sights that the realm is understood for. See whakarewarewa.com
Our ultimate previous favorite is a whole city, Wanaka, within the South Island. Wanaka is all the things that is nice about close by Queenstown, solely on a smaller scale: it is a hub for snow sports activities and different journey actions, it enjoys a wonderful location proper by a lake, there is a top-notch meals and wine scene, and that laidback way of life that New Zealand does so effectively. What’s to not love? See lakewanaka.co.nz