Example Trip Itinerary
Marlborough Sounds and Wine Region
Private transfer to Picton
Cruise out of Picton along the Cook Sound to the Bay of Many Coves.
Accommodation in Marlborough Sounds and Wine Region
- 11 apartments
- Fine dining restaurant and waterfront bistro
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Hot tub
Located in the heart of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, the Bay of Many Coves is a tranquil haven where switching off and reconnecting with your natural surroundings has never been easier. This is a place where dolphins, orcas and seals come to splash in the waters; sweeping views of Queen Charlotte Sound greet you at every corner; and where you can meet the local wildlife during the day and relax with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc overlooking the bay as the day draws to a close. The Bay of Many Coves is reached by boat, cruising across a sheltered bay until you reach the resort perched on the water’s edge. Nestled within the native bush that surrounds, are a selection of one, two or three-bedroom apartments, each with their own balcony that looks out over the bay. The Kereru Suite has its own private entry and features two en-suite bedrooms, making it a perfect option for families. When it comes to eating and drinking, guests are spoiled for choice. Enjoy fine dining in the award-winning Foredeck Restaurant, brunch in the lounge and signature seafood dishes at the cafe on the jetty. Of course wherever you choose to eat, a crisp glass of local Marlborough wine is never far away. With such beautiful surroundings, you’ll want to head out and explore what’s on your doorstep. Grab a kayak or paddleboard and take to the water, go bush walking, visit the cormorant breeding colonies or head out at night to witness the spectacle of hundreds of twinkling glow worms.
The Marlborough Sounds is an adventurer’s paradise where you can indulge your passions, challenge your senses, and try new things you’ve always dreamed of doing. Take the waters by kayak or motoryacht, arrange a fishing charter, or head out in search of dolphin - including the rare Hector’s dolphin - with the chance of swimming with these incredible marine mammals. You can also explore this beautiful ribbon of coastline by hiking a section of the famed Queen Charlotte Track, go bird watching, bush walking, tour the vineyards of Marlborough or relax on your own personal beach, by the pool or at the spa.
Step ashore at Ship Cove, in the footsteps of explorer Captain Cook, for our this rightly popular 15km (9 miles) walk. Through magnificent virgin forest you’ll emerge at the ridgeline to breathtaking views of Cook Strait and Resolution Bay, before descending to the sheltered shoreline of Endeavour inlet.
Marlborough has become world famous for two iconic areas - the Marlborough wine region and the Marlborough Sounds. Enjoy the best of both on this tour which starts in the heart of the Marlborough wine region, where you'll enjoy two fine wine experiences before heading for lunch on the waterfront in the Marlborough Sounds. Then in the afternoon enjoy a totally unique seafood cruise in the Marlborough Sounds where you'll learn about seafood farming, take in some stunning scenery and enjoy fresh local seafood with a glass of award-winning Marlborough wine.
Rental car pick up in Picton
Accommodation in Kaikoura
- 12 rooms and suites
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Hot tub and sauna
The work of a family of architects and builders, Hapuku Lodge is an extraordinary ecolodge perfectly placed between the white peaks of the Kaikoura Mountain Range and waves of Mangamaunu Bay. There are four ultra-spacious rooms in the main lodge with wonderful mountain views, Japanese soaking tubs with room for two and immense custom beds – said to be the best on the island. The two suites also have their own fireplaces and a living area. However the real stars of the show are the luxurious treehouses, standing 10m (30 feet) above the ground in the canopy of a native Manuka grove, each with a wood-burning fire place, spa bath, open rain showers and large glass windows with a birds eye view to the coast. There are two storey options for families, and the standalone Olive House Suite has room for two adults and up to three children. Dining at Hapuku means an organic and locally-sourced menu, with produce collected from the hotel’s own herb and vegetable gardens, free range chicken populations and meat from nearby hunters and fishermen. Constantly changing and evolving offerings may include venison, wild blackberries, a variety of cheese, crayfish and even homemade plum ice cream. A comprehensive wine list makes sure to incorporate vintages from all over New Zealand, the ideal accompaniment to a wonderful meal. There are adventures to be had in every corner of Kaikoura’s coast, dubbed the ‘Maritime Serengeti’ by the local National Geographic. Head out on the waves in a sea kayak, swim with dolphins and seals or go whale watching to spot the gentle grey giants in the ocean blue. Mountain bikes can be borrowed from the lodge to traverse the surrounding trails while there are also Maori cultural tours, horse riding and the acclaimed surfing of Mangamaunu Bay a short walk away.
- Four rooms
- Photography gallery
Situated in beautiful mountain surroundings amongst groves of manuka trees, with panoramic views towards the South Pacific, Manakau Lodge is a luxury rural retreat. This peaceful haven is ideal for relaxation, but is just a ten-minute drive from the shops and restaurants of Kaikoura, and many leisure activities. The lodge is also just a stone’s throw away from some great wilderness walks, and just minutes from beaches and coastal scenic reserves. It is the perfect base from which to explore Kaikoura and the magnificent surrounding areas. Comfort is the main priority, and all four rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed, featuring New Zeland timber and locally furnishings. Breakfasts are a leisurely affair, and cheese and supper platters can be specially arranged in advance for those not wanting to dine in Kaikoura.
Kaikoura, a quaint village between the snowcapped Kaikoura Range and Pacific Ocean, is a haven for wildlife fanatics and adventure sports enthusiasts alike. For the former, the region has been dubbed the ‘maritime Serengeti’, the sea here one of the best places in New Zealand to go whale and dolphin watching. For the active, there are wonderful hiking and mountain biking trails along the coast, fine surfing, sea kayaking and more.
Whale watching by from the air offers a unique perspective and the opportunity to view whales and dolphins in their natural environment, experiencing the true magnitude of some of the world’s largest animals, and offering a fabulous view for photographers. This scenic flight lasts for around 30 minutes.
Enjoy a private cruise to spot the dusky dolphins inhabit the coastal waters off Kaikoura all year round. They are renowned for their acrobatic leaps and interactive behaviour.
Drive to your Lake Tekapo lodge, stopping for lunch in Christchurch
Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook
Accommodation in Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook
- 4 Rooms
- Private Spa
- On-site Observatory
- Wine Cellar
- Tennis Court
On the doorstep of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the exclusive Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is set in a forest wilderness by the azure waters of Lake Pukaki, with spectacular, uninterrupted views towards the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mt Cook itself, New Zealand’s highest mountain. There is a range of accommodation options, from the private two-bedroom Ashley Mackenzie Villa and the Moraine Villas that overlook the magnificent Ben Ohau ranges, to the two-bedroom Pukaki Homestead, located just 350 metres from the villa. Breakfast provisions and a three-course evening meal are included. Visit the garden and choose your favourite vegetables for dinner. The garden is bursting with berries, herbs and vegetables – for everything else, pureness and authenticity are paramount when it comes to suppliers. The retreat is located in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. In the company of your hosts, enjoy a superb stargazing experience. Guests also have access to a tennis court, pétanque, croquet, and curling rink (winter).
- Six rooms
- Media room
This luxury lodge on the shores of Lake Pukaki prides itself on being off-grid and spectacularly situated. The six bedrooms are beautifully appointed and comfortable. Floor to veiling windows offer uninterrupted views of Lake Pukaki and the Southern Alps. Meals are inpired by fresh local produce and menus change daily depending on what is available. And the chef will even prepare your fresh catch for you if you have a successful day out on the water. You’ll also find some of the best local wineries and craft breweries represented on the drinks menu. Head out into the mountains in a helicopter, enjoy a relaxing massage, go cycling through the countryside, or star gaze from your own private bathtub.
- Two suites
- Dining room
Located near the shores of Lake Tekapo and just a short walk from the Church of the Good Shepherd, are Alpine Suites on Tekapo. With just two suites, guests will feel right at home here. Bright and airy, rooms feature private outdoor decks from where you will enjoy views of Lake Tekapo and the Two Thumb Mountain Range. Owner Kevin Bowie is a fine art landscape photographer and beautiful images of New Zealand’s stunning scenery are displayed on the walls. Breakfast is served in the dining room which enjoys views of the lake and the Southern Alps and guests will also enjoy complimentary New Zealand wines and craft beers along with local smoked salmon, cheeses and chutneys. You’re ideally located to explore Lake Tekapo as well as Lake Pukaki which is less than a hour away.
New Zealand’s highest peak, Aroaki Mount Cook, is an arresting sight dominating the skyline of the national park which surrounds it. Its traditional Maori name means ‘cloud piercer’, apt in a stunning alpine landscape where 22 other snow-capped mountains stand over 3000m, towering above flowering meadows, glacial streams and turquoise lakes. One of the park’s highlights are the brightly hued waters of Lake Tekapo, watched over by the humble Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand.
A haven for climbers – this is where Sir Edmund Hillary trained before ascending Everest – the park also offers hikers dozens of stunning tracks and walks to choose from. Add to this dizzying mountain biking trails, the chance to kayak around floating hunks of ice, helicopter flights onto the enormous Tasman Glacier and even some skiing, it is an adventurer’s dream.
Take a spectacular scenic flight that explores the Mt Cook and Westland National Parks and shows you the region from a privileged perspective. You will see beautiful turquoise glacial lakes, the braided river system of the Mackenzie basin, remote high country sheep stations, and New Zealand’s highest mountain Mount Cook, as well as Franz Joseph, Fox and Tasman glaciers.
Visit a private high country beef station, Tasman Downs. Your host and property owner Ian Hayman, will treat you to a quirky but informative tour of this three-generational property, sharing insights into a wonderful family history. This property was also transformed into one of the main film sites for The Hobbit Trilogy and you will stand on the shore where ‘Laketown’ was destroyed and its residents washed ashore. Ian will tell you of how 600 crew and cast, including Sir Peter Jackson took over the property for a month and the impact that had on their lives. The tour is conducted in a rather ‘unique vehicle’ so get ready for some fun!
Drive to Queenstown
Accommodation in Queenstown
- 16 rooms
- Dining options
Sat on the shores of the deep Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge is a tranquil haven of serene blue waters and sweeping mountain landscapes. Snow-capped peaks reach towards the sky, providing a backdrop like no other to this incredible luxury establishment. Modern, bright and with plenty of room, the 16 suites have been styled by the highly celebrated designer Virginia Fisher. Four suites are found in the main lodge section while others have been built in a native forest with alpine panoramas. All have their own private balcony, lounge area and decadent bathroom, not to mention the cosy fireplace. The sizeable Owner’s Cottage is an idyllic getaway for larger groups or families. Boasting a menu that changes constantly with the availability of seasonal produce, the kitchen at Matakauri Lodge focuses on a clean and fresh experience for the palate. There are a number of settings in which to savour this modern New Zealand cuisine, from the privacy of your own patio to the property’s spacious courtyards. Located near great pine thickets, the spa provides an exclusive space where you can rejuvenate and reinvigorate your body with completely personalised treatments. Fall in love with the heated pool, let off some steam in the sauna or enjoy a leisurely time in the hot tub. Whether you arrive to the long, warm days of summer or to a winter wonderland of snow, there is always so much to do during your stay at Matakauri. Walks and hikes dominate the area, as do scenic horse riding trails and wine tours. Avid golfers will rejoice to know a PGA-rated course is nearby; The Hills is surely one of the most stunning and gorgeously isolated round of 18 you can play anywhere in the world.
- 6 rooms
- Kitchen garden
- Designed by acclaimed designer Neil McLachlan
A relic of stately Victorian elegance, Hulbert House is a luxury villa that operates as one of Queenstown’s oldest residences. Built in 1888, this boutique hotel offers historic charm with contemporary comforts and modern amenities. Transformed by an award-winning designer, the interiors are vibrant while paying tribute to the antiquity of the property. The six luxury suites are all individually designed, carrying through a feeling of old-world opulence with extravagant, bold and fresh furnishing. Each has views over either Lake Wakatipu, Skyline Hill or the well-kept gardens. A scrumptious breakfast of fresh and delicious ingredients waits those early morning risers, while the kitchen can provide tasty snacks throughout the day. Ideally placed, Hulbert House is found in close proximity to many of the attractions of Queenstown, with popular cafes, restaurants and shops all within walking distance. It is also only 450m from the banks of the large Lake Wakatipu and just a little further from the Skyline Gondola and Luge.
- 12 rooms
- Gourmet cuisine
- Fitness equipment
Often adorned with flowers beneath a clear blue New Zealand sky, the rustic yet elegant stone lodge of Blanket Bay sits perched upon the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The establishment is found in an typical South Island alpine setting of vast valleys and great mountains. There is a luxury element found throughout all the the 12 residences, from the separate chalet cottages to the spacious lodge rooms and suites, both enjoying incredible views and plenty of natural light. There is a charming antiquity to the spaces, beautiful timber beams reaching up along the ceiling and refined wooden furnishing adding to the already classic atmosphere. When it comes to wining and dining, there is no letting up of world-class service. The menu is forever changing, making the utmost of the kitchen’s access to locally-sourced ingredients and produce. What you will find are modern, innovative takes on classical dishes incorporating fresh fish, lamb and venison and an array of fruits and vegetables grown in the region. Forget about your troubles at the spa, embracing the unbridled pleasures of the sauna and Jacuzzi. Ease away those aches and pains with a massage by a professional therapist, ideally after a hard workout in the fitness centre or a few laps in the heated pool. There are few other places on earth with so many activities and adventures on offer, from the numerous hiking trails meandering up mountain ranges, fly fishing hotspots in the pools, runs, rivers and smaller mountain lakes, heli-skiing in winter, jet boating and kayaking. Tackle 4WD tours and vineyard and art trails. Horse riding enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the available tracks while golfers of any calibre will surely revel in the splendour and beauty of championship-standard Jack’s Point Golf Course.
- 10 rooms
- Bar with tapas menu
- In-house spa treatments
With a history intertwined with the region’s gold rush, the building of Eichardt’s Private Hotel carries with it the understated and classic elegance of a bygone era. With sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu’s emerald blue waters and eminent mountain peaks, it is a gateway to Queenstown and the untouched wilderness beyond. Choose from Eichardt’s lake view or mountain view suites, or the one- or two-bedroom apartments. For more privacy, or for those looking for a group getaway or family foray, there is the stand-alone three-bed Eichardt’s Residence which has a spacious kitchen, private dining area and sweeping balconies. The hotel bar has been considered a town favourite since 1867, providing the perfect environment in which friends and colleagues can sit down for a refreshing cocktail or a refined vintage from the famed Otago wine region. For those feeling peckish, there are comprehensive tapas menus to suit every palate, with locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The bar also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cosy dining area with a fireplace. From the hotel you can treat yourself to an extensive range of in-room spa treatments provided by a local spa, wander down to the lake edge or head into the heart of the action in bustling Queenstown.
- 10 Suites
- Restaurant and Bar
- Gym Access
Nestled in the heart of Queenstown, The Spire Hotel offers award-winning luxury combining genuine hospitality, serenity and style. Ten spacious suites boast fine contemporary furnishings and design elements, large balconies and roomy bathrooms. Enjoy outstanding local produce prepared with a Mediterranean twist at the in-house bar and restaurant No5 Church Lane. Choose from a variety of Otago and international wines, and signature cocktails. Featuring work by local artists and contemporary furnishings, the restaurant offers a chic yet casual place to relax. The five-star hotel is located within walking distance of the city’s vibrant cultural scene. There are plenty of shops and cafes to explore, as well as an active nightlife and a variety of lake and mountain activities to make your stay a memorable one.
- Nine private villas
- Dining room
- Private sun deck
Azur Lodge consists of nine private villas set on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding mountain ranges and Lake Wakatipu. The open-plan villas feature a lounge, dining room and a bath tub which has been set into a bay window so you can enjoy the scenic views as you soak. There is also a private sun deck from which to gaze out across the wilderness. Breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapes are included, and there is the option to dine in the main lodge or in the privacy of your villa. You are conveniently located just 20 minutes from the airport and five minutes from downtown Queenstown, so exploring this wonderful part of New Zealand couldn’t be easier.
From the towering alpine ranges that envelop Queenstown, to its laidback lakeside sister Wanaka and the incredible Milford Sound, this is easily one of the most spectacular regions of the country. Seek out one of the endless thrills on offer here from skiing, white water rafting, canyon swinging, jet boating, mountain biking and bungy jumping, or slow down to the cosmopolitan pace of life in Queenstown and cool Wanaka and you’ll discover its flourishing arts scene, excellent vineyards, fine dining and quiet lakeside shores where you can take in the incredible scenery. And, of course, Milford Sound with its spectacular 1692m-high Mitre Peak (Rahotu in Maori) is unmissable.
Explore Milford Sound's stunning fjord from both the air and the water. Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter flight past spectacular rivers, valleys and mountains with blue-green ice falls, and land on Mt Tutoko glacier in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Upon landing in Milford, you'll enjoy an unforgettable cruise past sheer cliffs and waterfalls - keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and penguins.
Board your twin-engine jet boat and speed across crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu at breath-taking speed, surrounded by majestic mountains and mesmerising scenery. Zoom under the Kawarau Dam onto the deep green waters of The Kawarau River, complete with lots of 360° spins. You will then arrive at the pier for a complimentary view from Queenstown's Underwater Observatory.
Enjoy a 13km bike ride (approx. 1.5hrs) from Arrowtown through to the Kawarau Bungy Bridge. Departing Arrowtown, you'll follow the Arrow River trail downstream, crossing five bridges - including two iconic suspension bridges. The ride is grade 1-2 with some undulating hills along the way, and the scenery is absolutely spectacular.
Once you have arrived at the Bungy Bridge, you have the option to cycle a bit further along the Gibbston trail to the wineries, where you can enjoy a wine or cheese tasting before being picked up from whereever you finish.
Rental car drop off at Queenstown Airport