By Jo Gardner | June 2019 | 5 minute read
With new product coming on stream all the time for nature-lovers, adrenalin junkies and foodies, there has never been a better time to sell New Zealand to the niche markets.
For Food & Drink Lovers
Put the diet on hold: Kiwis absolutely love their food and it’s easy to help your clients taste their way around the country.
Book-end each day with a cup of coffee at a cool café and a craft beer at a local brewery; in between, there are street vendors, farmers’ markets, waterside dining, vineyards, top-notch restaurants, cooking courses and food festivals.
For lunch, Auckland Harbour is hard to beat, or try some street food in Wellington’s hip Cuba Quarter. Celebrating an occasion? Many of New Zealand’s fine dining restaurants can be found in luxury lodges in remote (and frankly stunning) locations. Imagine arriving by helicopter and dining in front of dramatic snow-capped mountains.
When it comes to produce, the vast coastline (all 14,000 kms of it) can only mean one thing: seafood… tuck into green-lipped mussels, scallops, crayfish or oysters during a casual lunch or posh dinner. Not a seafood lover? Try the succulent New Zealand lamb.
There are more wineries in the country than you can shake a grape at - try the crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc or the light Pinot Noir at a pretty vineyard, before buying some to take home. For a complementary snack, dairy farming New Zealand has many award-winning cheese varieties, including blues, vintages and cream soft cheeses.
With its inventive menu of fine dining using traditional Maori cooking techniques (in a pit under the ground), Wellington’s newest restaurant, Haikai, is already a hit.
For Adrenaline Junkies
Head for heights? After an adrenaline rush? You’ve come to the right place. Kiwis may be extremely relaxed by nature but they have a head for thrills and spills, with more adventure sports and activities on offer than anywhere else in the world.
As for adrenaline rushes, Zegos (quad bikes on water), Seabreachers (water-based whale-shaped pods) and Riverbugs (inflatable armchairs on river rapids) are the newest crazes to hit the country. Visitors to New Zealand can bungee jump, sky dive, white-water raft, ski, heli-ski, jet-boat, zip-line, abseil, climb and Zorb. You can even jump head first off Auckland Harbour Bridge.
With its high mountains and fast rivers, Queensland still wears the adrenaline capital crown, however. This is where the original (Kawarau) and highest (Nevis) bungee jumps can be found, as well as plenty of places to white water raft, jet-boat, skydive, ski and heli-ski.
Canyoning – abseiling down mountain faces, leaping into waterfalls and basically scrambling to safety - takes place in remote mountain locations in Auckland, Nelson, Canterbury and Wanaka, while zip-lining – flying through the air on a wire – is popular in Waiheke Island and Rotorua. Rotorua is also where Zorbing can be done – rolling downhill in a big plastic ball (of course).
For Nature & Wildlife
Very few countries can rival New Zealand for scenery – think snow-capped mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers, forests, lakes, beaches, fjords and gushing rivers. Over one third of the landscape is located in nature reserves and national parks (of which there are 14), too ensuring their preservation for generations to come.
One trip here could see visitors dousing themselves in volcanic mud in Rotorua, riding a helicopter over Franz Josef Glacier, joining a whale-watching exhibition in Kaikoura, standing on picture-perfect beach in Abel Tasman National Park and setting up camp under a 51-metre Kauri tree in the Waipoua forest.
Binoculars at the ready for the local wildlife too, with many rare birds and creatures that have survived since prehistoric times. Stewart Island is the best place to spot the country’s national bird, the kiwi, a flightless bird that was once nocturnal but which can now be spotted hunting for food. The world’s rarest penguin, the yellow penguin, can be seen in nearby Dunedin, while the Takahe bird, once thought to be extinct, has been boosted to a population of 300 off the coast of Auckland thanks to intensive management.
In Wellington’s Te Papa museum a new permanent exhibition showcases New Zealand’s natural heritage and has a rare Moa egg on display, one of only 36 in the country. The Hector’s dolphin and Hooker’s sea lion, meanwhile, can only be found in New Zealand waters.
On the Road offers an 18- day Best of New Zealand Ultimate Adventure small group tour, taking in both islands, from £7,577pp based on two sharing, and including 17 nights’ four-star accommodation, a private driver, most meals and activities including river rafting, zorbing, skydiving, heli-skiing and jet-boating.
Prestige Holidays offers a nine-day Volcanoes and Vines fly-drive tour from £2,127 per person based on two sharing, including international fights, transfers from Auckland, car hire, eight nights’ accommodation and guided touring. The tour includes guided tours of Rangitoto Island, White Island (New Zealand’s only active marine volcano) and a half-day experience on the Tongariro Track.
Bridge & Wickers has a 19-day self-drive New Zealand Food & Wine Odyssey tour from £3,375pp including flights, car hire and accommodation, as well as a Food and Wine Lovers’ Delight tour of the Esk Valley, Te Mata, Clearview, Craggy Range and Trinity Hall estates in the Hawke’s Bay area.
Where To Stay
HAWKE’S BAY is a large wine region near Napier with vineyards, cellar doors, accommodation and places to eat and drink. Fans of stylish period architecture should set up camp at Omaruni Valley, a great base for touring the vineyards and within easy reach of the Art Deco town of Napier.
STONERIDGE ESTATE is a five-star boutique lodge with majestic mountain and lake views. Built using reclaimed iron, stone and slate, the grand property has just 10 rooms, each with beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows letting the outdoors in. After a day of adrenaline-fuelled pursuits sink into the outdoor hot tub with a glass of wine from the local vineyard.
THE RESURGENCE is a remote, adult-only eco-lodge set in the outskirts of two national parks and within 50 acres of native bush. Close to Abel Tasman National Park, the lodge off ers access to Golden Bay and the migratory birds of Farewell Spit. Dining is a communal, sociable aff air.