GLIMPSES OF KIWI GLORY

Where should the in­dul­gent trav­eller park his money in New Zealand? Five un­miss­able ex­pe­ri­ences for the lux­ury trav­eller.

India Today - - TRAVEL - By SUPRIYA SEHGAL

NEW ZEALAND IS A land coloured from an ex­ten­sive palette of green, with soul­ful views and dra­matic land­scapes to im­merse in. It se­duces the trav­eller with its un­fal­ter­ing brush with na­ture. You can choose from ac­tion-packed ad­ven­tures, mel­low na­ture trails or charm­ing ex­pe­ri­ences dom­i­nated by the Maori cul­ture. So touted is the na­tion as an out­door play­ground, that trav­ellers of­ten miss the fact that New Zealand of­fers a num­ber of lux­ury ex­pe­ri­ences for the in­dul­gent trav­eller. Chalk these as the top five un-miss­able ones on your next trip.

Vol­cano view­ing from a he­li­copter

This is the most mag­i­cal ‘hotspot’ of New Zealand—both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. White Is­land is the coun­try’s only per­ma­nent ac­tive off­shore vol­cano, and can be reached by a three-hour he­li­copter ride from Ro­torua. Get a bird’s eye view of the North­ern Lakes dis­trict as you soar over the re­gion and get en­gulfed in the bil­low­ing smoke from the crater. Once you land on the is­land for a guided walk, ex­pect steam­ing vents and tech­ni­colour sul­phur for­ma­tions all around. Stroll around the lu­nar land­scape for an oth­er­worldly day around the steam-spew­ing vol­cano. Price Ap­prox­i­mately $628.50; Book vol­cani­cair.co.nz

Su­per yacht hol­i­day

The Bay of Is­lands on the north­ern edge of the North Is­land is strewn with 140 small is­lands, sur­rounded with un­der­wa­ter trea­sures. The emer­ald blue waters brim with fish and other marine crea­tures, mak­ing snor­kel­ing a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity. Ex­pect the quay to have some lean yacht traf­fic with hol­i­day-mak­ers sun­ning them­selves on the decks, glasses of chilled New Zealand Sauvi­gnon Blanc within gras­pable dis­tance and cray­fish BBQs crack­ling in earshot. It’s the ideal way to spend a summer day. Price Ap­prox­i­mately $300 per night, plus fuel and in­sur­ance; Book www.greatescape.co.nz

Wine O’clock

Apart from the as­tound­ing scenery and adrenalin-packed ad­ven­tures, peo­ple come in droves to New Zealand to ex­cite the palate—es­pe­cially with wines. The Waipara wine re­gion of the South Is­land is the his­tor­i­cal heart­land of the wine in­dus­try, known for end­less vine­yards in

In good com­pany

The low-key Kaik­oura Penin­sula in the South Is­land is rife with spec­tac­u­lar views of the ocean. But there is one ex­pe­ri­ence that trumps oth­ers in all ways— watch­ing the sperm whales and dol­phins from a high-winged air­craft. The mam­moth 60 ton­ners are amaz­ing to spot from a unique per­spec­tive, their al­most 18 me­tre length be­ing show­cased fully. The flight or­bits over schools of dol­phins and whales for 30 mem­o­rable min­utes. Na­ture’s trea­sures don’t end here. Back in town, you can also spot fur seals on the rock for­ma­tions along the sea. Price Ap­prox­i­mately 180 NZD per per­son; Book whales.co.nz

the alpine coun­try. Gen­tle slopes cov­ered in neat rows sprawl as far as your eyes can see. The only log­i­cal thing to do is to step in­side one for a tour and tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Both Chardon­nay and Pinot Noir vines are pop­u­lar prod­ucts of the re­gion and have an ad­di­tional or­ganic and bio­dy­namic tag to their list of cre­den­tials. Cus­tomised trips are up­wards of 150 NZD per per­son; Visit black­estate.co.nz

Geo­ther­mal won­ders in the wild

Steer off the usual lux­ury cir­cuit and ex­plore the Coro­man­del Penin­sula on the North Is­land. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of thou­sands of years old rain­forests and an­cient caves with lux­ury spa re­sorts over­look­ing epic views is a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence. You can choose to hit the na­ture trails from Stony Bay to Fletch­ers Bay in the day and re­turn to pam­per weary legs in the holis­tic spas. Invit­ing nat­u­ral springs line the Hot Water Beach to give you a flavour of the geo­ther­mal won­ders that head­line the re­gion. Book coro­man­deld­is­cov­ery.co.nz New Zealand is rife with be­spoke, lav­ish and clas­sic lux­ury ex­pe­ri­ences. The vote of con­fi­dence from trav­ellers has urged the coun­try to of­fer sub­lime ac­com­mo­da­tions and spas that are ad­dressed right in the mid­dle of vine­yards and beaches. An­cient forests, na­ture trails and dra­matic fiords are ideal for out­door en­thu­si­asts and the cities thrum with a hip gas­tro­nomic, shop­ping and art scene. There is no rea­son for a trav­eller to en­dure any hard­ships of travel. In­stead, time should be spent on de­cid­ing on the next one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence.

POST­CARD PER­FECT Dra­matic land­scapes and soul­ful views are par for the course

VI­GNETTES OF THEKIWI LURE Rolling vine­yards (left); hugely pop­u­lar water sports (be­low); whale spot­ting is as much thrill as sport (be­low left)

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