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Alexandra Stewart
July 31, 2018

Alexandra Stewart is a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Alexandra, you can contact her directly at alexandra@antipodeanluxurytravel.com.

Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch 

Arrive at Christchurch airport. You will be transferred to your helicopter by luxury car for a flight to your first accommodation, Otahuna Lodge. Upon arrival, go on a guided walk of the estate's own century-old garden. The tour provides insight into the history of Otahuna, explaining why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants, as well as the many ways in which the current garden team restores and maintains Heaton Rhodes’ greatest legacy. We can arrange a cooking class for you; in the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing swim at the lodge's spa pool or ride a bike on the Otahuna Valley loop. Otahuna Lodge offers a different flight of complementary wine pairings with each dinner, emphasising Canterbury and New Zealand wines. 

Stay

Otahuna Lodge

Day 2: Akaroa 

Take a nature cruise at Akaroa. Originally settled by French immigrants, Akaroa is a picturesque seaside town that has retained many of its 19th-century public buildings and cottages. You will be joined by pods of dolphins (if they are feeling playful) — there is also an opportunity for you to swim with them. Other possible excursions include forest and hillside walks or a kayak excursion to the sea caves.  

Stay

Otahuna Lodge

Day 3: Christchurch 

A scenic flight by helicopter is the ultimate way to see the natural beauty of New Zealand. Depart from Otahuna and fly over dramatic Lyttelton Harbour and up the coast of the Pacific Ocean, before landing in the Waipara wine region. Here, a wine tasting will be offered before a delightful lunch of the very best New Zealand fare. In the afternoon, you will fly into the breath-taking scenery of the snow-capped Southern Alps for a mountaintop landing with staggering views west toward the South Island’s Main Divide and east across the Canterbury Plains to the Banks Peninsula.

Stay

Otahuna Lodge

Day 4: Lake Tekapo

Transfer to Lake Tekapo — you may wish to have a stopover at Avon River for a relaxing punting tou past the Botanic Gardens, or to stop in Geraldine, a small, friendly town located at the start of the Starlight Highway to Tekapo, for lunch. Once in Tekapo, make your first stop the Church of the Good Shepherd; it's one of the most popular photo spots in this area. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring and enjoying the scenary of Lake Tekapo at leisure. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. Take a guided tour through the southern night skies before retiring. 

Stay

Bluewater Peppers Resort

Day 5: Mount Cook

Drive to Mount Cook for an adventurous day exploring Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. You will come close to huge icebergs and watch the ice melt before your eyes in the tranquil glacial lake, nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. After lunch, hike the Hooker Valley Track, one of the most popular walks in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. In the evening, we recommend dinner at The Panorama Room, located in The Hermitage. Opened since 1969, the restaurant serves international cuisine made with fresh local ingredients. 

Stay

Bluewater Peppers Resort

Day 6: Queenstown

The flight to Queenstown could just be one of the world's most beautiful. If you are an adventurous traveler, we recommend gliding at the Omarama Basin. It is a spectacular way to experience the challenge of soaring the mountains and alpine environments of New Zealand. 

Stay

Matakauri Lodge

Day 7: Fiordland National Park

In the morning, take a helicopter flight across Lake Wakatipu into the heart of Fiordland National Park, ending at the breath-taking Lake Quill and the 1900-foot Sutherland Falls. Experience an exhilarating flight past spectacular mountains and blue-green ice falls, and land upon Mount Tutoko Glacier, an awe inspiring experience with ice formations and crevasses to astound. 

Stay

Matakauri Lodge

Day 8: Ben Lomond Station

Make your way to the picturesque Moke Lake, marking the beginning of Ben Lomond Station and the private-access-only road. Ben Lomond is a 13,500 hectare merino sheep station beautifully kept with grazing lands, native beech forest, lakes, rivers, mining huts, and beautiful scenic vistas. As a working farm, demonstrations differ throughout the year with shearing, tailing, drenching, dogs working, and lambing all part of the experience. After a gourmet lunch, embark on nature walks, or try some lake fishing, gold mining, target shooting, or farming, or just relax and enjoy the surroundings and a glass of wine or beer.

Stay

Matakauri Lodge

Day 9: Queenstown

Experience Queenstown, taking a high-speed Shotover Jet boat tour, stopping in the old mining village of Arrowtown, hitting the links at the Hills Golf Course, or visiting the Art and Sculpture collection. Lunch will be at one of the lovely local wineries before an afternoon wine tour. 

Stay

Matakauri Lodge

Day 10: Franz Josef

Embark on your long guided drive to Franz Josef, traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the South Island; we would recommend taking the full driving day to explore, as there are so many fantastic stopovers on the way. These include the Cardrona Distillery, an artisan distillery making fine spirits from scratch, the peaceful town of Wanaka, and the famous Blue Pools, crystal clear pools fed by the surrounding glaciers. 

Stay

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 11: Franz Josef

The Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier for a guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. You'll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.

Stay

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 12: Abel Tasman National Park

Drive to Nelson, with a lots of great places to stop along the West Coast of the South Island: Hokitika, Greymouth, Punakaiki, St. Arnaud, amd Lake Rotoiti. Finally, arrive at Edenhouse, an enchanting country retreat set in fifty acres of private grounds and eight acres of internationally acclaimed gardens.

Stay

Edenhouse

​​​Day 13: Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park, but has been very popular for its golden beaches, turqooise waters, native bush, and pristine marine reserves. This morning, embark on a guided kayak adventure from Marahau to Observation Beach. Enjoy lunch before swapping your paddle for walking shoes, hiking for incredible views over Anchorage and the Astrolabe Islands. 

Stay

Edenhouse

​​​Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park

Take a "Lord of the Rings"-themed tour, flying over famous filming sites like Mt. Owen, Mt. Olympus, and Canaan Downs, where the Hobbits are lead by Aragorn into the Chetwood Forest northeast of Bree.

Stay

Edenhouse

​​Day 15: Blenheim

Transfer to Marlborough, one of New Zealand's best wine regions. Along the way, you will pass through Nelson — stop off for some green lip mussels in the small town of Havelock.

Stay

The Marlborough Lodge

​​Day 16: Blenheim

Spend the day on a luxury boat cruise of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Learn about the Marlborough Sounds, a bit of history and listen to a few local tales. Get wet with some kayaking in the small bays and coves of the Sounds, or have some time ashore on a secluded beach. Visit salmon and mussel farms to learn about aquaculture and enjoy a tasting of fresh local seafood. 

Stay

The Marlborough Lodge

Day 17: Blenheim

Private tour of Marlborough, tailored to your interests. Must-see stops include the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, an alfresco among the vines at a winery restaurant, a distillery or brewery tour to taste locally produced fruit brandies, beers, and liqueurs, and walking in Wither Hills Farm Park or along the Taylor River reserve.

Stay

The Marlborough Lodge

Day 18: Christchurch

Drive south to Christchurch, stopping along the way in lovely Kaikoura for whale-watching. Once in Christchurch, take the time to find out what makes this ever-evolving city unique; the city boasts new and diverse restaurants, cafes, bars, and night clubs, but its old English charm is ever present.

Day 19: Christchurch

Join your local guide for a full day guided tour of Christchurch, learning about the English influences on the city and how it is rebuilding from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. 

Day 20: Depart from Christchurch

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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