New Zealand Destination Guide
With its magnificent mountains and alpine glaciers, rampaging rivers and pristine lakes, virgin rainforests and hilly farmlands, and a fascinating cornucopia of indigenous wildlife, luxury travel in New Zealand remains a photographer’s dream and a naturalist’s paradise. These stunning panoramas provide the perfect backdrop for various outdoor activities, from the leisurely pace of nature walks, fjord cruises, and scenic drives to the adrenalin-charged rush of heli-hiking on glaciers.
The sheer variety of natural wonders and thrilling adventures make our luxury New Zealand vacations a wonderful destination for travelers of all ages and interests.
Luxury Travel In New Zealand
Our custom New Zealand tours bring you the best of this majestic country, from the stunning slopes of Middle Earth to the lively metropolis of Auckland and introduce you to the warm-hearted kiwis that will welcome you with ear-to-ear smiles. Kiwis love showing off and enjoying their country alongside you, one where you can hike glaciers that slide down into temperate rainforests and watch dolphins swim side-by-side with penguins in Milford Sound. In addition to highlighting its natural wonders, 1Papaya’s New Zealand tours also embrace its pre-colonial past, celebrating its Maori origins and preserving Maori culture for both locals and visitors to experience.
New Zealand Tours
With a luxury New Zealand vacation the magic of the North and South Islands are yours to experience any way you wish. New Zealand is home to many strangely wonderful creatures that we love introducing to our guests! The Waitomo Caves are home to glow worms unique to New Zealand. Although tiny, thousands of them create a major statement as they radiate the caves with luminescent light. New Zealand boasts the most species of flightless birds in the world, including the Kakapo, a critically-endangered flightless parrot, and the kiwi bird, after which New Zealand natives are nicknamed. The picturesque city of Queenstown sits at the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is know as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” offering options for bungee jumping, sky diving, white water rafting, and more.
1Papaya’s New Zealand private luxury tours can do it all. Our knowledge, connections, and access will help us guide you to create a wonderful New Zealand tour you will cherish for a lifetime.
Visit the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park in the south island for some sea kayaking or hiking through the dense beech tree forest and rocky headlands that skirt the stunning coastline.
Observe flightless kiwi on the remote and unspoiled Stewart Island, where you can spend the night at a turn-of-the-century lodge that overlooks Half Moon Bay.
From Auckland in the north, set sail on Waitemata Harbour, and then examine Maori artifacts at the Auckland Museum.
Fish at Lake Taupo, the trout capital of New Zealand before tours of the south and Naiper, where you can enjoy an artsy atmosphere and unique 1930’s Art Deco architecture.
Experience New Zealand
With a population of just over 4 million people, New Zealand might be small in population however its charms are vast. From fascinating places to visit, to culture, and special events…New Zealand simply has it all and our range of local New Zealand accommodation and hotel options are just what you need to get the most out of this magnificent country. The world’s youngest country, New Zealand has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting both Maori and European heritage. Amazing Maori historic sites and taonga (treasures), some dating back almost a thousand years, are a contrast to many beautiful colonial buildings. In fact, a walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating the South Pacific based country really is. Museums, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, casinos – NZ’s tourists attractions are endless. And then there’s the countryside. Comprising of the north and south island, New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and scenery includes vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines and lush rainforests making it a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation. Our New Zealand hotels also offer a base for thrill seekers and adventurers all year round with activities including bungy, skiing, white water rafting and much more never far away.
Known as the “City of Sails”, there are few places quite like amazing Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, ranks among the best in the world. Home to 1.3 million people, Auckland has something for everyone. Enjoy designer shopping, inspired restaurants, colorful art galleries and trendy clubs and bars, visit SkyCity Casino and the Sky Tower, or soak up the colorful waterfront atmosphere of Auckland’s iconic Viaduct Harbour. Looking for cultural experiences close to your Auckland accommodation? Enjoy a taste of New Zealand’s rich history at Howick Historical Village, or discover Maori treasures at Auckland Museum. There’s plenty to explore outside of the city center, too. Take a quick, scenic drive and you can be sailing to a stunning volcanic island, exploring gorgeous sub-tropical forests, relaxing on a white sand beach, or sampling fine wines at a local vineyard. Whether it’s adventure, relaxation or a cultural experience you’re seeking, you’ll find it – and our world-class Auckland accommodation options are a great place to start. Talk to our friendly staff for information on the best places to explore, eat and experience in the city, and further afield.
Situated on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, Hamilton is among New Zealand’s largest metropolitan areas, and is the country’s largest inland city. Your Hamilton hotel is a gateway to the wondrous Waikato region – and rest assured that whatever your reason for visiting, Hamilton is a hive of activity all year round. Start your jaunt at the city’s historic Southend, then stroll through an abundance of boutique stores, and enjoy a bite at one of the trendy cafes or restaurants that occupy the area. After lunch, take in the amazing contemporary art, and learn all about the intriguing Maori culture at the Waikato Museum of Art and History. And that’s just day one! Spend the rest of your holiday wandering the gorgeous Hamilton Gardens and getting up close and personal with nature at the famous Hamilton Zoo and Free-flight Sanctuary. Don’t forget to try your luck at the glamorous Sky City Casino, and catch a game at Waikato Stadium – home of the Waikato Chiefs rugby team. We offer hotels that are conveniently located in the city center, near the banks of the Waikato River, our hotels in Hamilton are renowned for exceptional quality and service – with friendly staff who are always happy to recommend local dining, entertainment and experience options to suit the needs of our valued guests.
Located in the central North Island, Rotorua is less than a three-hour drive from bustling Auckland, and less than seven hours from the nation’s capital, Wellington. Known as “Nature’s Spa of the South Pacific”, the rising steam, hissing geysers and bubbling mud let you know you are in Rotorua. Visit Whakarewarewa Thermal Village to experience some of Rotorua’s geothermal highlights, or discover New Zealand’s farming culture at Agrodome, where visitors can feed the lambs and calves. The heartland of New Zealand Maori culture, Rotorua invites tourists to experience the warm spirit of Te Maori. Watch a Maori cultural performance, where stories are relayed through beautiful song and dance, or indulge in a traditional hangi feast. After a hard day of sightseeing, there really is no better way to relax than by soaking in the healing waters of Rotorua’s hot springs. Whether it’s adventure, rejuvenation, or a cultural experience you seek, Rotorua offers something special for everyone.
As New Zealand’s colorful and cultural capital, there is so much to see and do in Wellington you’ll never want to leave! Nestled between a beautiful harbour and bush-clad hills, the city’s appealing countryside is a natural place to start exploring. Trek to the top of magnificent Mount Victoria for stunning views, then catch a cable car up to the beautiful Botanic Gardens. You’ll love exploring Wellington’s “Middle Earth” locations, where much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot. Wellington’s lively downtown precinct is just as thrilling, with the nation’s ‘Beehive’ Parliament building just a short stroll away. Waterfront shopping at the promenade, sophisticated and inventive cuisine and world-class hotels and theater productions make a holiday in Wellington an experience to remember. The cultural whirl of Wellington is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand, as well as the Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the National Opera. Talk to our staff for tips on the best places to explore, eat and experience in New Zealand’s capital city.
The second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, Dunedin is a region of rare charm. A thriving town set among a stunning natural landscape by the sea, Dunedin’s streets buzz with life and color, culture and natural beauty. A university town, historic Dunedin wraps around a beautiful harbour and features some of the most spectacular views. The Edwardian and Victorian spires and towers, neo-Gothic architecture and stately old homes proudly mark Dunedin’s cityscape. The city center is small and easy to navigate, with an impressive array of cafes, unique local art and craft, jewelry and designer fashion outlets. Dunedin is also well known for its proximity to amazing wildlife. A short drive from our Dunedin hotel, the Otago Peninsula is home to a colony of rare Yellow Eyed Penguins, the most accessible breeding colony for the royal albatross, and native New Zealand sea lions. Other Dunedin sights include the grand Larnach Castle, the Speight’s Brewery, chocolate factory Cadbury World, Dunedin Casino and the famous Fortune Theater. Meanwhile Dunedin’s warm southern hospitality is an attraction in itself! Our staff will be happy to help you arrange your stay in Dunedin.
New Zealand’s oldest city; Christchurch is the capital of the spectacular South Island, and one of the most charming cities in the world. Known as the “Garden City”, Christchurch’s natural splendor is sure to win the hearts of even the most discerning traveler. With lush green open spaces, and floral and architectural beauty coupled with an exciting downtown precinct, Christchurch offers something special for everyone. Cruise down the gorgeous Avon River, stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens, or ride the scenic, 955 meter high Christchurch Gondola to view all of the city’s charms, as well as the rich surrounds of Lyttelton Harbour and the wider Canterbury Plains. Just a taste of Christchurch’s other must-see landmarks include the Christchurch Art Gallery, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Ferrymead Heritage Park, and International Antarctic Center.
Located on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and looking out at the famous Remarkable Range, Queenstown combines natural beauty with adrenaline fueled adventure. Magnificent mountain ranges and crystal alpine lakes set the scene for a huge range of adventure activities. Get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping with a bungee jump, jet boat ride, or hang gliding experience, or just soak up the incredible view with an awe-inspiring scenic flight. After a busy day exploring, put your feet up at one of our iconic hotels in Queenstown, or curl up with a glass of renowned Central Otago Pinot Noir at one of the center’s many cozy restaurants and bars. With more than 100 superb eateries to select from, you’ll find it hard to choose! Queenstown is hugely popular as a ski retreat during winter, but is gorgeous all year round. The town also boasts wonderful wineries, amazing art galleries, sophisticated shopping and challenging championship golf courses. With so much on offer, you’re bound to make some amazing memories in New Zealand’s best-loved resort town.
When is the best time to visit New Zealand?
seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere’s and most people who visit New Zealand choose to come during our summer season, which is December through February.
New Zealand in Summer – December to February
Travelling in summer has the advantage of the best overall weather. However the biggest disadvantage is that it is also the busiest time of year for both local holiday makers and international tourists. As a result prices tend to be significantly higher, and accommodation in some areas can often be very difficult to obtain.
New Zealand in Autumn (Fall) – March to May
Autumn in New Zealand is a time of spectacular changes in colors, with vivid russet browns, reds and golden leaves. This is especially the case in Wanaka and the Otago region of New Zealand in the South Island; or Hawkes Bay in New Zealand’s North Island. For those on a self drive holiday, if you are travelling any time after Easter, the roads and number of other tourists are always much less; so this is always one of the best times to travel to New Zealand.
New Zealand in Winter – June to August
Though temperatures in the mountains are cold; once you get away from there, the winters are relatively short and mild. There are many days or nights when you will have crisp, clear skies; though in the North Island it may be a little wetter. For the keen and beginner skier, New Zealand has a great choice of Ski Fields with the ski season running from June to the first week in October. In the North Island are the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park with Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas. The South Island has great skiing at Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Hutt; as well as many smaller club fields.
For those wanting to do a New Zealand self drive holiday, driving is extremely easy. There is little traffic on the roads, and any snow that falls is generally in the mountains, and not in the valleys. Only the heaviest snow falls will result in a few days of snow in the lowlands, and this only happens very occasionally.
New Zealand in Spring – September to November
Spring is a great time of year to travel in New Zealand. As the ski season is still coming to an end; the Southern Alps and mountains are majestic with their snow covering. For adventure seekers, this is a great time for white water rafting, as the mountain snows start melting.
Spring is also the time when the new flowers and leaves start appearing. For gardeners it is a special time of year in New Zealand, with some magnificent gardens and parks to visit. In the North Island of New Zealand a visit to the Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival, or to Hawkes Bay to see the blossom on the trees are highlights. In the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch is aptly named “the Garden City”, and there is no better time than Spring to take in the gardens and parks of Christchurch. Also you could make a visit to Otago and Dunedin, with its many historic gardens, or Alexandra with its blossoms and annual spring festival.
Months: December, January, February
North Island weather: 20-24⁰C (68-75⁰F), 60-100 millimeter of rainfall per month
South Island weather: 19-23⁰C (66-73⁰F), 35-60 millimeter of rainfall per month
Hiking Conditions: Long, warm days. This is definitely the most popular time to hike in New Zealand!