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Latest News from A&K New Zealand
Graham Wood's visit to New Zealand’s South Island
Australia and New Zealand DMC Managing Director Graham Wood recently travelled to New Zealand’s picturesque South Island. While there he carried out hotel inspections in both Christchurch and Queenstown and reconnected with several A&K specialised tour operators including artists, wineries, and farmers.
In Christchurch Graham visited A&K preferred accommodations including the Sudima Hotel, Mayfair, The Observatory Hotel, and Otahuna Lodge, before driving to spectacular property, The Lindis in the pristine Ahuriri Valley. The Lindis is a unique luxury lodge set in a ruggedly beautiful slice of paradise. With sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows that blur the barriers between the outside world and the inside world, it features two spacious master suites, three luxurious lodge suites, and three glass pods, all designed with the utmost comfort and luxury.
Graham met new NZ Operations Manager Tracy Anderson in Queenstown where they were lucky enough to do a helicopter ride over the stunning ski resort town, and visit A&K preferred accommodations: Azur Luxury Lodge, The Carlin Hotel, Hotel St Moritz, Matakauri Lodge, Blanket Bay, The Rees, and Eichardt’s Private Hotel.
Graham said the trip was a wonderful way to remind us of just how spectacular the South Island is and why people are so excited to travel halfway around the world to see it. The quality and calibre of the properties we visited were exceptional and I have no qualms in recommending these hotels and lodges to our A&K guests. Graham said he enjoyed the epic scenery, great food, and the amazing locals he met along the way, all wrapped up in wonderful kiwi hospitality, however, the absolute highlights of his trip were staying at The Lindis and the exhilarating helicopter flight in Queenstown.
Abercrombie & Kent appoints Tracy Anderson to New Zealand DMC Operations Manager
It’s with great pleasure that Abercrombie & Kent announces the appointment of Tracy Anderson as New Zealand DMC Operations Manager. Tracy has a wealth of experience in the industry and will be a huge asset to A&K and the NZ operations.
Having grown up in New Zealand, Tracy spent over 20 years working in the US as a Virtuoso Agent where she was known as one of the top five selling agents to the South Pacific. Returning to the Southern Hemisphere, Tracy spent many years in Melbourne and Sydney working inbound for Australia and New Zealand. Throughout the years away from her homeland, Tracy would return for visits, exploring every corner of New Zealand, getting to know it intimately.
An avid scuba diver and snorkeller, Tracy has also made it her personal challenge to experience all of New Zealand’s thermal pools and is passionate about conservation and ecology.
Graham Woods, Australia and New Zealand DMC Managing Director is thrilled to have Tracy onboard and said, ‘It is Tracy’s distinct combination of knowledge and experience delivering outstanding sales and on-the-ground support that makes her the perfect person for the role’.
Tracy is immensely proud to be at the grassroots of New Zealand’s reopening to the world. She looks forward to this exciting new chapter helping international agents and the rest of the world discover the culture and natural beauty on offer in New Zealand.
Saadika Mahmood’s New Zealand Famil
A&K Travel Specialist Saadika Mahmood recently travelled on a famil to New Zealand’s picturesque South Island. While there, she managed to experience several unique and special tours that A&K guests also experience when travelling with us.
Saadika said one of the best days of the trip was experiencing a helicopter flight to both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, soaring first over the townships, and then following the ice flow of the glaciers. During the flight, Saadika admired views of Mt Cook and the beautiful Southern Alps, but the highlight was a special snow landing on Fox Glacier where she walked on the glacier and saw the path it had carved below her. The views all the way to the ocean from the landing were an unexpected surprise she said.
Saadika came back raving about a little-known and enriching culinary experience. Hapuku Kitchen was created by husband-and-wife team, Chris and Fiona Read who, in their previous lives, managed the beautiful Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses — an A&K preferred accommodation. Fiona was a finalist on New Zealand’s MasterChef, and it was during that time, she realised that working with food was what she wanted to be doing. Together, they created Hapuku Kitchen — a farm-based kitchen and cooking school on their property in Kaikoura, with an emphasis on reconnecting to the land and sea, using in-season and locally sourced produce. A unique and special experience, Saadika especially enjoyed foraging for the raw ingredients from the gardens on the property which she then got to enjoy eating, after the hands-on cooking class.
While in Kaikoura, Saadika also experienced a whale-watching cruise and travelled to Akaroa, an easy drive from Christchurch, where she went on an Akaroa Harbour Cruise to see Hector’s dolphins. Akaroa is the only settlement attempted by the French in New Zealand and passes through the spectacular landscapes of the Banks Peninsula. Formed following violent eruptions of volcanoes over 6 million years ago, the picturesque town of Akaroa itself sits in an ancient volcanic crater that forms Akaroa Harbour. Akaroa is a charming harbour village ripe for exploration and the absolute highlight of Saadika’s whole trip was seeing dolphin, whale, penguin, and fur seal while taking in the stunning volcanic cliff landscape from the water.
Queenstown voted in the Readers' Choice Awards
Queenstown has been recognised by Condé Nast as one of the Top 10 friendliest cities in the world as voted in the 2021 Readers' Choice Awards.
Coronavirus (COVID - 19) - Travel Information
Abercrombie & Kent Australasia is part of the A&K Group of Companies, the World’s largest network of DMCs with some 55 offices in more than 30 countries and over 50 Years’ experience of looking after the needs of luxury travellers. Travelling with A&K means you benefit from the A&K cocoon every step of the way; the safety of our guests, as well as our staff, is paramount to us.
This means that we have a robust support team to handle rapidly evolving situations such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, whether supporting our guests or our staff around the globe.
In all our destinations, our local teams are closely monitoring the development of Coronavirus and we will contact you should there be any immediate need to review your travel plans.
In addition to our usual high standards of care, our DMC offices are also ensuring similar levels of protection when it comes to Coronavirus. We are prepared in case of any suspicion of coronavirus risk to guests or staff to ensure that anyone who does become unwell is quickly cared for in the right way. Wherever possible in the event of illness, our staff will be on hand to assist and to minimise the impact on others.
For those due to travel soon, if you have concerns about the trip and the impact of Coronavirus on travel plans, please do contact us to discuss your options. Whilst, in most cases, there is no reason to change these plans, we do understand the many concerns that our guests and Travel Advisors may have in the current climate.
Huka Lodge for Garden Lovers
A new one or two-night package created especially for garden aficionados, includes a unique opportunity to spend time with Head Gardener, Elaine, exploring the stunning Huka Lodge gardens. Stay longer, and this experience can extend beyond the Lodge to include some of Taupo's exquisite private gardens, guided by renowned landscape gardener, Gordon Collier.
Huka Lodge is nestled within 17-acres of manicured grounds, along the banks of the magnificent Waikato River, upstream from the mighty Huka Falls.
Offering accommodation within 18 Junior Lodge Suites, one Lodge Suite, the four-bedroom Owner's Cottage and the two-bedroom Alan Pye Cottage - guests luxuriate in an exclusive hospitality experience.
Chinese Terracotta Warriors Coming to New Zealand
China’s ancient and much celebrated treasures, the 2,300-year-old terracotta warriors, are coming to Te Papa – New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington, for a four-month exhibition opening in December.
Terracotta Warriors includes more than 160 exquisite works of ancient Chinese art crafted from gold, jade and bronze, which date from the Western Zhou through to the Han dynasties (1046 BC – 220AD).
There’s so much to do in Wellington so this is a perfect addition to any visit.
Te Puia Rotorua Opens New Attraction
Visitors to Te Puia, New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), in Rotorua, will be able to take away a permanent reminder of their visit at the new tā moko (Māori tattoo art) studio.
The studio will give visitors an insight into the traditional and contemporary art form and sits proudly alongside the Wānanga (school) precinct’s existing disciplines – wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving and a bronze foundry. Leading tā moko artists, Arekatera Maihi and Jacob Tautari, will lead the studio.
Manuhiri (visitors), whether receiving a tā moko or not, will be able to gain an insight into the art form through a viewing window, which can be closed for privacy if needed.
New Ziplining Tour in an Ancient New Zealand Forest
Experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this three and a half hour zipline adventure. Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who bring knowledge, humour, fun and a whole lot of ‘Kiwiana’ to the adventure, with the safety of the utmost importance.
The guides help visitors hand-feed wild native birds while sharing knowledge of the birdsong, flora, and fauna. With a portion of every ticket invested into conservation, everyone is part of the forest restoration story. With three years of conservation and tonnes of pest removed from the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, 180ha of this forest is now predator-free and rowdy birdsong is returning, so keep an eye out for Robins, Kereru, Tomtit, Tui, Bellbirds, Whiteheads, Kaka, and Fantails. The dream is to restore the ecosystem to the one Captain James Cook discovered on arrival in New Zealand – full of loud bird chorus.
On the way traverse a 1.2km network of ziplines, swing bridges, an 18 meter abseil, 50 meter cliff walk and spiral staircases, deep in untouched native New Zealand forest. The jaw-dropping 400 meter zipline is the longest, where you step out of a 1000-year-old Rimu tree and fly over a long forgotten valley, deep into the forest beyond.
New Luxury Fiordland & Crayfish Helicopter Tour
Fly from Queenstown over the Wakatipu Basin towards Luna Ridge to take in views of Lake Wakatipu and up towards Glenorchy. From here continue your journey towards Milford Sound. View the magnificent Rees and Dart river Valleys as you fly past Mt Earnslaw to make your way into the Aspiring National park to view the glaciers of the Forbes Mountain range. Take in the marvels of this area and stand on a remote glacier seldom seen by man.
From here land on a remote West Coast beach to collect your crayfish.
From here fly the length of Milford Sound before landing at Lake Erskine to join the top of Lake Te Anau and descending into Fiordland Lodge for your freshly caught crayfish lunch.
Depart Fiordland Lodge and fly over the rolling Southland Farmland before joining the Humbolts mountain range and the Mavora lakes. As Lake Wakatipu comes into view land at 5000 ft above the lake at Cecil Peak Ledge before a short flight back to Queenstown Airport.
A Winter Special at Azur Lodge
Book 4 nights with A&K for travel until the 31st of October 2018 and receive a NZD$100 Resort Credit to be used during your stay!
It would be hard to imagine a more perfect view than the one from the nine free standing villas at Azur Lodge, one of Queenstown's and indeed, all of New Zealand's finest and most luxurious retreats. Perched on a hillside five minutes' drive from the centre of Queenstown, each villa has been designed to let you absorb the incredible view in luxury and total privacy. The Villas have been made from silver beechwood and stone to blend with the surroundings, and boast uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables. Floor to ceiling windows take full advantage of the breathtaking scenery, as does the large outside deck, ideal for enjoying those warm summer's evenings! Each villa offers total comfort and privacy and generous 79 square metres in which to relax.
Enquire with A&K for further details.
Visiting Tauranga on a Shore-Excursion?
Why not visit Rotorua with a private A&K guide and vehicle.
The day includes a visit to Te Puia, home to New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and the world famous Pohutu geyser or Whakarewarewa The Living Thermal Village which is a unique experience encompassing an authentic fusion of Geothermal activity & Maori Culture.
Next enjoy an Insider Access tour and become better acquainted with New Zealand's elusive kiwi. This tour will begin with an introduction to the concept of kiwi conservation in New Zealand and how Kiwi Encounter operates the largest kiwi hatching and rearing facility in the world. See the workings of the incubation and hatch rooms and find out about the long hatch process of the kiwi chicks. Go into the brooder room where the chicks are reared from 2 days old until old enough to go into the outdoor runs.
This tour will conclude back at the cruise ship and includes lunch.
Spotlight On - The Marlborough Lodge
Experience the relaxed elegance of The Marlborough Lodge. Found at the top of New Zealand's South Island, the grand country estate is nestled amongst 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of park-like grounds and Marlborough's famous Sauvignon Blanc vineyards.
Be wowed by Marlborough during the day and be spoilt by in-house chefs in the evening. The lodge experience is enhanced with gourmet dining created by an onsite chef team with cuisine featuring plentiful local produce.
Surrounded by mature trees, established gardens and vineyards stretching out on all sides, the setting is truly special. This is an oasis of calm right in the heart of the world famous Marlborough wine region.
Ra Karakia Sunrise experience in Auckland
A unique cultural experience from Auckland, take part in a ceremony thousands of years old as the sun begins to rise. For Maori, the Ra Karakia ceremony is where the spirit is reconnected to the environment. Dawn is the quiet time when the spirit world quiets and the living world starts to awaken.
On this 2 hour experience, as the sun rises the call from the Kaikaranga (female caller) and putatara (carved wooden horn) travels across the Waitemata harbour towards Tama-Nui-Te-Ra (the mighty sun). At the same time, an ancient karakia (blessing) is performed to celebrate the commencement of the day.
After basking in the light of the new day, the Ecology Kaitiaki (guide) leads guests down to the nursery and invites you to acknowledge Papatuanuku (Mother Earth), by planting a native tree (rakau) and experience the award-winning ecology project "Ko Te Pukaki". You are invited to write down your own personal wish or prayer and plant it into the whenua (tribal lands) with the tree connecting you and your spirit with the whenua.
Share breakfast with your Kaitiaki in the wharekai (eating house) at the marae (tribal meeting house). This final component of the ceremony is of significance as partaking in a meal together raises the sacredness for those who participate in welcoming the sun and acknowledging the Earth.
Leave feeling refreshed both physically and spiritually, and with the knowledge that you carry good fortune throughout your journey of New Zealand.
Spotlight on – Solitaire Lodge, New Zealand
Solitaire Lodge, one of the first New Zealand luxury lodges, offers secluded luxury accommodation and attentive hosting from a spectacular lakeside location overlooking the historic and beautiful Lake Tarawera.
Approximately a 25 minute drive from Rotorua airport, or a leisurely 3 hour drive from Auckland, enjoy the alternate option of arrival by private helicopter as the lodge has its very own helipad.
Styled with comfort in mind, all 9 luxurious suites feature panoramic views of the glassy lake and magnificent volcano through grand picture windows. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Freestanding baths allow views over Lake Tarawera while soaking. Complimentary mini bar, fruit and snacks are also at hand.
Renowned for its fine dining, Solitaire lodge serves contemporary modern New Zealand cuisine prepared with fresh local produce and complemented by superb wines from selected vineyards.
Minutes from your doorstep you will discover secluded private bays, hot water beaches and natural thermal hot springs beckoning you to soak in. Feeling adventurous? Embark on a scenic helicopter ride over volcanic peaks, skim across the lake in a kayak or enjoy world-class trout-fishing.
The lodge is also the perfect place to simply relax, indulge and rejuvenate, left in the able hands of your warm, friendly New Zealand hosts.
Takatu Lodge Matakana NZ
Named among the 'Best Hotels in the World' and ‘Top 12 Finders Keepers’ in TATLER UK's prestigious Travel Guide, Takatu Lodge & Vineyard offers a unique experience – the opportunity to stay on a working award-winning vineyard in the heart of charming Matakana, a premium wine-growing and famed farmers-market centre, renowned for its magnificent beaches – and situated less than an hour north of Auckland. Guests enjoy the highest standards of elegance and comfort at Takatu Lodge & Vineyard with high vaulted wooden ceilings and hand-cut stone throughout the contemporary lodge which complements the natural surroundings.
Open log fires inside and out, a cosy stress-free library and outside landscaped rooms are a few of the many architectural features. Underfloor heating throughout ensures a comfortable stay during any season. The lodge has four romantic and private luxury suites, all with vineyard views, with two overlooking Little Barrier and the Pacific Ocean.
Fish, Fly and Hike in One Incredible Day in Fiordland National Park
Experience Fiordland National Park around Te Anau from every angle, with an action-packed day of trout fishing, jet boating, hiking and a scenic helicopter flight. You'll fish and jetboat the mighty Waiau River, fly over Fiordland National Park and hike a section of the famous Kepler Track - incredible locations all right on the doorstep of Te Anau. Enjoy the grand landscapes Fiordland is famous for by water, air and land in one unforgettable day.
Spotlight on - The Boatshed Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Sand-between-your-toes luxury – The Boatshed on Waiheke Island, 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland brings together chic accommodation and fantastic beaches with a sophisticated mix of vineyards, coastal walks, and alfresco restaurants. A little slice of bohemian life!
Owned by the same family for 35 years, this property was developed by well known New Zealand designer Davis Scott as the perfect beach retreat. Today it is run by the next generation in the family along with a small team of dedicated professionals. The place is geared around doing very little, relaxing with a great book, enjoy a lazy breakfast, having a massage or taking a stroll on the beach.
The word “Bach” - is used to describe small holiday shacks in New Zealand; these are places close to kiwis hearts, places of sunny days and simple times. The Boatshed's rooms and suites all have a little bit of the Bach in them, albeit with a little more comfort than most. Seven beautifully appointed spaces all offering privacy, sea views, open fires and the highest level of design detail.
Redwoods Nightlights Treewalk in Rotorua
Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua and New Zealand designer David Trubridge have partnered to create a new nocturnal tourism experience: the Redwoods Nightlights.
Incorporating unique creations from the internationally-acclaimed design and sustainability champion David Trubridge, the new night-time experience will offer you the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood Forest under the shroud of darkness.
Walk high amongst the majestic redwood trees. Feel the spirit of Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest from above and up close to the 110-year-old gentle giants. This suspended 30-minute ecological walk captures the beauty and ambience of the forest from a bird’s eye perspective. Learn about the history of the redwoods, the people (iwi) and the land (whenua).
Open until 31 March 2017.
New Property on New Zealand’s North Island – Helena Bay Lodge
In the northeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island lies Helena Bay Lodge. Only forty five minutes by helicopter from Auckland or 40 km north of Whangarei, Helena Bay's 800 acres includes 3km of pristine coastline, four private beaches and many intimate coves.
Accommodating up to twelve guests in two and three suite villas all with magnificent views overlooking the bay, Helena Bay has a state of the art gym, sauna, including a Turkish Hammam, plunge pool, massage and treatment rooms, a 25-metre heated swimming pool, library, three lounge areas, both informal and formal dining areas and an outdoor fire pit.
Spotlight on Marino Ridge Waiheke Island
Marino Ridge is Magical. Whichever way you look at the 240° harbour and ocean views, whatever the season.
But this is no magical illusion. There really are spectacular views year round in this serene sanctuary of natural beauty and luxurious contemporary design. Marino Ridge guarantees spell-binding leisure experiences that make dreams come true.
Hosts Peter and Caroline - welcome guests personally to three superb, light-drenched contemporary suites in our purpose-built retreat on Waiheke Island, the famed Island of Wine – and of olive oil, too – just a 30 minute fast ferry ride or 10 minute helicopter transfer from Downtown Auckland.
Marino Ridge was created to satisfy their dream of offering international standards of hospitality, honed over years of high-end hosting, captaining and catering for the discerning owners of exclusive private super yachts in the US and Europe.
Waka on the Waitemata Season Begins in Auckland
The Waka experience is much more than a sail boat ride on Auckland harbour. If you want to know about the origins of Maori, seek to understand the complex rituals, customs, artistry and oral traditions of Maori people, then let your Waka hosts captivate you while sailing on the Waitemata.
Be welcomed on-board Haunui, recently returned from an 18 month Pacific journey of re-discovery, for a two and half hour cultural experience that begins by gathering in the Polynesian atrium at Maritime Museum where the Maori story begins followed by a traditional welcome and karakia on the Waka.
Leaving the viaduct berth “buddy-up” with crew members to man the “Hoe” and hoist the sails. Sit with the Navigator who will tell you about the recent journeys of seven voyaging canoes, speak about the ancient art of wayfinding and show how it is possible to sail 20,000 kms navigating by the celestial pathways first discovered thousands of years ago by the navigators.
Runs November to April – Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
The perfect half day, independent cycling trip experiencing the best that Queenstown has to offer. Enjoy Spirit of Queenstown cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, stopping at Bob’s Cove to view flora and fauna up close and spectacular views towards Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw, the Southern Alps and The Remarkables mountain range.
Disembark the vessel and journey between Mt Nicholas and Walter Peak (high country farms) located on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu as you cycle along a quiet country road through open farm land.
Breathe in the fresh mountain air, watch the landscape unfold and take in the panoramic alpine views while cycling 12 kilometres along a remote but public, shingle road to Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak. Enjoy lunch at Walter Peak before boarding the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown.
Once in a Lifetime Experience in New Zealand – Visit Volcanos and Lakes All in One Day
Enjoy a private helicopter to White Island - Whakaari, NZ's most geothermally active island followed by a sail on Lake Rotoiti.
This helicopter flight includes a viewing of the dormant volcano of Mt. Tarawera to wonder at the massive destruction caused by the 1886 eruption. Continue past the steaming cliffs and hot lakes of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and the picturesque coloured pools of the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve. Take a guided tour to experience the fury of nature at work on this ever changing island. View the main crater, sulphur deposits and the remains of the old sulphur mine. Depart White Island and track South past Mt Edgecombe to land at pristine Lake Rotoiti to join skipper and crew aboard the 53ft sailing catamaran Tiua for an exclusive sailing charter. Take the helm, help trim the sails, take a dip in the thermal pools or sit back, unwind and enjoy the natural splendor of the lake.
Spotlight on – Funyak on the Dart River in Glenorchy
Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) offer a fun and unique way to explore the Dart River as well as its hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. The Dart River Funyak trip is an amazing escape deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park and an opportunity to get close to nature.
Take it slow and drift along the Dart River into the serene surroundings that provided the backdrop to Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Then travel a back-country route passing by locations used in the movies to illustrate Middle Earth.
New Property in Queenstown - Hulbert House
Immerse yourself in a sense of timeless elegance at Hulbert House, one of Queenstown's original residences.
Hulbert House is a beautifully restored Victorian villa dating back to 1888. Hulbert House offers a luxury, boutique accommodation experience suitable for all discerning travelers.
Situated one block from Queenstown's vibrant central city, Hulbert House is imbued with a sense of serenity. The six uniquely designed suites have views over manicured gardens, some with views onto Lake Wakatipu, Award winning designer Neil McLachlan has worked his magic with the transformation of the building and grounds.
Treetops Lodge & Estate Rotorua
Nestled in 2,500 acres of 800-year old native forest, award-winning Treetops Lodge & Estate is a life-long dream realised by owner and passionate naturalist, John Sax. This uniquely New Zealand experience is a sanctuary and retreat of breath-taking terrain, offering the ultimate in world-class accommodation and adventure. Located near Rotorua the Maori heartland and trout fishing capital of the world the Lodge's elegant, ecology-inspired architectural style was derived from the country's pioneering past, with timber and stone finishes echoing the natural beauty and simplicity of the great outdoors.
Book with A&K and receive the following amenities:
First Night: Gourmet Picnic lunch and hike to the Bridal Veil waterfalls
Second Night: Your choice of a second Signature Treetops experience on one day of your choice
Third Night: Upgrade to the 'Chefs Top Table' inclusive matched wines on one evening of your choice
New Product - A World Heritage Hiking Tour of New Zealand's South Island
Enjoy a fully guided tour of the best of New Zealand's South Island featuring some of the country's most spectacular walking tracks – the Milford, Routeburn and Hollyford tracks and in Arthur's Pass and Aoraki Mt Cook National Parks.
Highlights include: staying in the remote Fiordland National Park, a spectacular rail journey on the TranzAlpine, experiencing the most breathtaking glowworm cave in the world, hiking at Fox Glacier, Gibbston Valley wine tasting, a stunning helicopter flight from Milford Sound to Martins Bay and a Aoraki Mount Cook stargazing tour. All this whilst your experienced and passionate guides help you along the way.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
New Product - Dartington Barn
Dartington Barn, Blenheim, specialises in gourmet master classes and unique leisure sports - from the delicious and famous Florentines and gourmet cooking classes, to archery and other target sports, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful Marlborough venue.
Take part in the Gourmet Master Class, presented by qualified chefs Angie & Hamish, for a showcase of the best of Marlborough produce. Included is an interactive cooking demonstration where you can learn how to use the finest New Zealand produce.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
SKYCITY Grand Auckland Refurbishment
Replace me with your content. Ideally situated in the heart of Auckland's CBD, with many of the city's most impressive attractions and eateries literally on the doorstep, the SKYCITY Grand Hotel offers guests a truly five-star experience.
Each element of the newly refurbished Premium Luxury Rooms draws its inspiration from the hills and colours of Auckland. These spacious and airy rooms have been superbly decorated and sensitively designed to minimise clutter and maximise your comfort. Appointments throughout are of the highest quality, with extensive use of natural materials, coupled with modern ergonomic design.
Gusto at the Grand is SKYCITY's latest exceptional dining experience in Auckland's Federal Street. Award-winning Australasian chef, Sean Connolly brings to the city an Italian restaurant where the ingredients speak for themselves and the dishes are rustic and true to traditional values.A stay at the SKYCITY Grand is five-star luxury experience for guests to Auckland.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
New Zealand's Stunning Back Country
Queenstown's newest tourism attraction the Spirit of Queenstown catamaran has started tours to Mt Nicholas High Country Station earlier this month offering an unrivalled opportunity to access New Zealand's stunning back country.
Located in a peaceful and normally-inaccessible area on the western shore of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Nicholas is New Zealand's oldest family-run High Country Station.The wool from Mt Nicholas is exclusively used for New Zealand's world-famous Icebreaker clothing.Visitors choosing the woolshed/Merino experience will have an exclusive look at the authentic shearing shed which in August and September is in use by a 15-strong shearing gang.
The half-day high country walk explores a different part of the station including Lovers Leap, the spectacular Von River mouth, native forest and the original homestead site. Follow the lake shore to the old bake house and walk up into the foothills of Mt Nicholas Station where you will be rewarded with spectacular uninterrupted views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The fully guided walk takes approximately two hours and covers around 6km of high country, enabling you to soak up the peace and tranquillity of New Zealand's remote back country.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:
1300 851 800
Spotlight on - Queenstown Country Lodge
Located in New Zealand's Southern Lakes region, this luxury lodge is close to the award winning vineyards, activities and attractions of the Southern Lakes, Fiordland and Central Otago areas and just far enough from Queenstown to ensure you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the New Zealand countryside.
Queenstown Country Lodge is set on 5 hectares (11 acres) of large secluded gardens and farmland and surrounded by mountains. It has the combined warmth and welcoming atmosphere of a country Inn with the comfort and class of luxury boutique accommodation.
Whether you are relaxing in the guest lounge by the log fire after a day skiing, rejuvenating in the garden spa pool after a walk in the mountains, sharing a glass of Central Otago wine before a wonderful meal or later on in the evening being guided across the spectacular and fascinating southern sky by the owners, Queenstown Country lodge will meet your every need.
Make the Lodge home while you explore Queenstown, one of the truly wonderful holiday destinations in the world. The mountains and lakes around Queenstown are paradise to skiers, trekkers, walkers, mountain bikers, photographers and fishermen from all over the world.
For more information or to book contact A&K on:1300 851 800
Lonely Planet Loves New Zealand
West Coast of New Zealand Ranked in Top Ten Places to Visit
Lonely Planet has ranked the West Coast of New Zealand in the TOP TEN regions in the world to visit alongside world renowned destinations like Majorca, Kimberley, Sikkim-India and Texas USA. Independently voted by over 500 Lonely Plane authors and staff this is a fantastic coup for the West Coast. Read the article about the West Coast Region that is in the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014 guide book here.
Auckland rated one of the world's top 10 cities to visit Auckland, which attracts 1.8 million foreign visitors a year, sits alongside iconic places including Paris, Zurich, Shanghai and Vancouver in the ninth annual Best in Travel guide. The book highlights the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year. Auckland was praised for its newly revitalised waterfront districts such as the Wynyard Quarter, and shopping and dining precincts such as the City Works Depot and Britomart plus scenery and culture. Also singled out are black-sand beaches on the west coast, the Waitakere Ranges, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island, the 77km Hillary Trail, the SkyWalk atop Auckland's Sky Tower and the refurbished Auckland Art Gallery.
"Auckland is often overlooked by travellers eager to head for the stellar alpine and lake landscapes further south, but food, arts and exploring the coastal hinterland are all excellent reasons to extend your stay in New Zealand's biggest and most cosmopolitan city", the book says. Auckland's many festivals and events, vibrant Maori and Pacific culture and impressive line-up of major sporting events also got a mention. The Top 10 Cities were independently nominated by more than 500 authors and staff of Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.
For more information, please contact A&K.
Rotorua's Ultimate 'Kiwi' Experience
Rainbow Springs is now offering a new combination product that will include Rainbow Springs, Kiwi Encounter and the Agrodome.
Get up close and personal with the NZ icon – the kiwi – and see conservation in action on a behind the scenes tour through the 'Kiwi Encounter' hatchery and nursery at Rainbow Springs, then return at night to see them foraging under the stars in their natural environment.
Complete the experience and get ready for a fun packed hour of entertainment and education at the legendary Agrodome Farm Show where you'll hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you're introduced to 19 breeds of sheep, and witness a live sheep shearing demonstration.
For more information, please contact A&K.
The Christchurch Gondola is now open!
The Christchurch Gondola has officially re-opened! Ride in the new-look cable cars and experience the exciting changes at the top.
Situated on the Port Hills of Christchurch City, the Summit Station of the Gondola provides spectacular panoramic views from its elevation at 500 metres (1500 feet) above sea level.
The Gondola is located on the edge of Christchurch just fifteen minutes by vehicle from the heart of the City.
Attractions at the Summit Station include:
Red Rock Café
Time Tunnel: A six minute entertaining ride on an electric cart which takes you back in time through the history of the local area
Stunning 360 degree views
This can be combined with The Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour and Punting on the Avon.
For information, please contact A&K.
Romance and The Remarkables
The results of the 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards confirm that Azur Lodge in Queenstown is the place to go for your next romantic getaway. The boutique hotel was voted Best Hotel New Zealand in the Romance category.
The quiet and unique setting, offers the perfect ambiance hillside in 3.5 acres of private grounds overlooking stunning views of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, Cecil & Walter Peaks. Guests can retire to the comfort of their spacious villa (75 sqm) with a large 10sqm sun deck perfect for relaxing and enjoying the expansive views. Couples can enjoy a glass of wine by the warmth of their own gas fireplace, take advantage of the in villa dining and curl up with a DVD or tune in to SKY Guest Connect with 50 + TV channels. An "In Villa Dining" guide which includes a selection of menus from around 10 different downtown restaurants can be arranged and delivered to your villa by Azur staff. A good night's rest is guaranteed - the bed is a sumptuous Super king made up with luxurious 300 thread count Egyptian cotton linens.
Service is personalized but discrete. The friendly & knowledgeable staff strive to make guests feel at home and their goal is to make each stay a unique and unforgettable experience.
We recommend you package this up with Milford Helicopter tour and private Mount Edward Winery experience whilst staying at Azur. Please speak to a Travel Specialist now for further details.
A 'Hole' New Way to Experience one of Bay of Islands' Natural Attractions
For many years a boat trip has been the only way to experience the stunning Bay of Islands' iconic attraction 'Hole in the Rock on Motukōkako'. We are now pleased to advise there is an even more exhilarating way to experience this fascinating natural attraction – onboard an unforgettable helicopter adventure!
In conjunction with the Motukōkako Ahu whenua Trust and our helicopter partners, visitors to this region now have direct access to the Hole in the Rock due to a new helipad that's been built on top of the island. Now it can be experienced up close and on foot. You have the option to land on the viewing platform for a brief photo opportunity or to be hosted on the island by a local Maori Guide, who will share the island's unique history and its cultural and ecological significance.
Very few people in history, including Maori, have ever ventured on the island in this way before. Being surrounded by steep cliffs (over 150 metres high) and stunning scenery looking towards Cape Brett and its surrounds, this unique landing location will no doubt appeal to the adventurous.
"The Hole Experience" – Heli & Cultural Tour Departures times are booked on demand and subject to suitable weather conditions.
For more information on how you can incorporate a Helicopter journey into your next itinerary, please contact a Travel Specialist
Christchurch - A city of rebuild
Lonely Planet has placed Christchurch at number six on its list of 'Top 10 Cities for 2013'. "New Zealand's second largest city is rising from the rubble ... with a breath-taking mix of spirit, determination and flair," Lonely Planet writers say. "The recovery effort is well under way and 2013 will be an intriguing year to join the rebirth of this proud southern city".
There is no denying the city received a major shake up with the 2011 quake and certain areas in the city centre are still cordoned off to the general public whilst an extensive rebuild takes place. For example, there is no access to buildings and activities in Cathedral Square or the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Christchurch Arts Centre. However, new innovative developments are breathing life back into the city. Artistic new 'pop up' cafes, restaurants and bars all made from brightly coloured shipping containers are now a major attraction as well as the new 'Re:START Mall' in Cashel Street - a vibrant new shopping area.
Our A&K guides can give you a glimpse of all of these new undertakings as well as the traditional 'must do' experiences of punting along the Avon and a tour through the International Antarctic Centre. We cannot forget the diversity of activities to be enjoyed outside the city centre - a round of golf at one of the world renowned golf courses, a visit to the internationally acclaimed gardens, taking to the skies in a hot air balloon over the Canterbury plains, or a swim with the dolphins in Akaroa.
Visitors to Christchurch in 2013 will be greatly moved by the sight of a broken city working towards recovery. "The creativity and determination people in Christchurch have shown since the quakes means we now have a city like no other in the world. There's a real energy and buzz in Christchurch which will intensify as the rebuild ramps up so it is an exciting time to visit", Mayor Parker says.
Maori Living Today - New Product
New for Bay of Islands, Maori Living Today is a joint venture between Explore NZ and the Te Rawhiti community. This latest product will offer visitors a unique opportunity to journey to Te Rawhiti and experience modern Maori life with a community keen to share their culture and perspective with visitors.
This is a unique opportunity to journey to Te Rawhiti and immerse yourself in modern Maori life and experience an authentic Maori community who will share their home, food and stories with you.
Learn their customs and gain a greater understanding of Maori living today!
The Maori Living Today experience includes:
- A morning cruise through the inner islands
- Time spent at the beautiful Otehei Bay before your transfer to Te Rawhiti
- A traditional greeting, with a visit to a marae (meeting house) learning about Maori customs
- A meal of local produce, which you may help in preparing
- Activities such as walking, flax weaving, fishing from the shore or learning about local flora and fauna
- An afternoon transfer back to Otehei Bay then on to the mainland.
The yellow and black Dolphin Discovery V catamaran is designed for comfort, with an abundance of indoor and outdoor seating.
Trip duration: approx. 8.5 hours, departs Paihia 9.00am, departs Russell 9.10am.
Days of operation: Monday – Saturday.
For further information, please contact a Travel Specialist.
Kelly Tarlton's - Enticing lovers of the under-water world
Auckland's legendary underwater attraction, Kelly Tarlton's, has undergone a $6 million upgrade and re-launched as the all-new Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium.
With over 30 exhibits and more than 80 different species, the sea change breathes new life into Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium to inspire visitors of all ages.
At the heart of the re-development is a brand new walk-through penguin encounter, which is home to the world's largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, and allows visitors to get closer than ever before to these magnificent sub-Antarctic creatures.
Further developments include Kelly Tarlton's famous Shark Tunnel – the first in the world and now Maori Pacifica themed housing New Zealand's largest collection of Sharks. The tunnel also contains shipwreck artefacts in the Shipwreck Explorer Oceanarium.
With 8 new themed zones, Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium boasts unique new attractions including New Zealand's first-ever live jellyfish display, the world's only display of Spiny Sea Dragons in Seahorse Kingdom and the world's biggest species of stingray – one ray alone weighs over 240kg and has had 65 pups in her 27 years at Kelly Tarlton's! The new Rock pool Experience allows visitors to touch a crab or hold a starfish and with the new animal-themed quiz trail, Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium offers a truly interactive day out. Please enquire with your consultant about adding this attraction to your Auckland itinerary.
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