The “Down-Under Travelers” of 2012 have now enjoyed a second trip with Australia 2000 Travel – this time to New Zealand! How can we really thank you for putting together another amazing journey for the Kraemers? The answer became apparent these past few weeks. We spent 5 incredible weeks in New Zealand (February 1 – March 8, 2014) and while the experience was a once in a lifetime, the retelling to friends is a special way of reliving the trip. And that is how we can really thank you. It is an ongoing experience with us every time we get the iPad out and share pictures and memories. And we see the looks on our friends’ faces…..first a bit of envy, then joy, and then….the question….who did you use for this amazing trip? Then we can return the favor and say, well of course, Karen at Australia 2000 Travel! It was also interesting that during our New Zealand travels we met other guests during our stops who upon hearing our itinerary asked that same famous question…..who was your agent? Again, the joy when we could share your information with them!
Our 5 week journey took us from Auckland to Queenstown with our overnights at some of the most beautiful places one can imagine. Though each were wonderful, Helmut and I had some favorites: EdenHouse in the Nelson region, Otahuna Lodge outside of Christchurch, Huka Lodge in the Taupo area, and both the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay and Matakuri Lodge in Queenstown. And we should not forget Mollies in Auckland and Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura! But a trip is not about lodges, it is about what one learns. We met such wonderful “Kiwis”, hospitable, kind, and fun-loving. We learned so much about New Zealand, its history, culture, and its life today both economically and politically. I have told so many friends that we attended the “University of New Zealand” for 5 weeks!
I must confess that I was a bit hesitant to travel to New Zealand because I am not a “sports” person and rather risk adverse to things that the locals find just plain fun-like jet boat rides and bungee jumping! But one need no athleticism to eat and drink one’s way through New Zealand….only stamina!! With an agro/aquaculture based economy one certainly has access to the best foods in the world. The concept of paddock to table is everywhere and we were in good food withdrawal for days upon our return! The wines…..shall we say most of the good wines remain “home” in New Zealand!
Finally, the natural beauty of New Zealand, alone, is worth a trip. I have likened New Zealand to California on steroids…..ocean, mountains, desert, rainforests, volcanoes, tectonic plates…..you name it, it is there! And the animals….for all my days I will remember my “baby”…..Vortex, the kiwi bird, who has been so fortunate to be in a sanctuary at Cape Kidnappers and be able to grow up in safety in his natural habitat.
In a nutshell, New Zealand touched each one of our senses: our eyes took in the magnificent scenery, our ears heard the calls of native birds and the wind, our noses smelled the beautiful flowers and sheep, our taste buds burst with the amazing flavors of the foods we ate, and our hands touched and felt so much of the texture of this incredible world. All perfection…and because you helped to bring all of that into our lives by paying attention to every detail of our journey. That brings smiles of joy to our faces!
The three pictures say so much…….we enjoyed and we thank you, your US team, and the New Zealand team that made it all a beautiful reality for us!
Fondly…..Marlies and Helmut Kraemer
Whether you seek a romantic hideaway or a simply relish time to rejuvenate and unwind, our favorite luxury lodges of the South Island of New Zealand are the optimal place to rediscover life’s pleasures.
Acclaimed to be “New Zealand at its finest”, Otahuna Lodge, located at the head of a secluded valley on New Zealand’s South Island, is a place of replenishment and refinement. Where prestigious luxury accommodation meets exemplary service and cuisine in the context of an elegant, historic country estate and guests receive the warmest welcome and indulge wholeheartedly in the sense of occasion presented by lavish surroundings.
The exclusive country estate offers 5 suites and 2 master suites. Each retaining architectural features from the 19th century such as ornate original fireplaces, carved inglenooks and stained glass windows. All luxury suites offer super-king beds, fine custom-made linens, toiletries by Penhaligon’s of London, deep bathtubs and separate rain showers.
Gourmet breakfast is served daily and each evening guests enjoy a 5-course degustation dinner with wine pairings to accompany each course and pre-dinner drinks with canapés.
This exclusive lodge has been featured in dozens of magazines including British society’s Tatler “101 Best Hotels” and most recently in Gourmet Traveller and Luxury Travel Advisor August.
Nestled under the peaks of the Southern Alps and situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Blanket Bay Lodge, is found at latitude 44 degrees. With all the flair and sophistication of the world’s finest alpine lodges, Blanket Bay it is a haven of peace and tranquility reserved for the most fortunate of travelers. Every evening celebrates a luxurious adventure, where guests join together for pre-dinner drinks, before gathering in the dining area for an exceptional meal with newfound friends.
While at the lodge there are many opportunities to participate in activities or can choose to simply soak up the sheer beauty of this spectacular area. Guests enjoy horseback riding, curling up on the porch with a good book or for those that are keen explorers, a variety of trails originating at the lodges doorstep can be recommended by the hosts. Others seeking an adrenaline rush may care to venture out to join in the many thrill seeking activities offered in Queenstown, known as the “Adventure Capital of the World”.
For those with a heart for the environment, discover wild nature in the most spectacular mountain setting at Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge. This luxury eco lodge was built in 1996 into a natural forest clearing and has been designed with conservation in mind.
Set on a 2,400 hectacre nature reserve, the lodge and working merino sheep farm is surrounded by 200 hectares of native beech forest, tussock grasslands and a small lake. Guests are invited to explore the surrounding mountains, forests, river and offer organized activities including the very popular trout fishing and guided tours by owner, ecologist and conservationist, Gerry McSweeny.
Guests enjoy out of this world gourmet breakfast cooked to order prepared by specialty chefs and come back together at the end of the day to indulge in superb dinner selections and fine wine against the backdrop of the Arthurs Pass Wilderness Park mountain range.