Just Got Back: New Zealand

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Mark Dorenfast, Corporate & Leisure Travel Agent

 Where did you Just Get Back from? The North Island of New Zealand

 When were you in New Zealand? November 2016

 Provide a 1-3 liner highlighting your experience:The North Island of New Zealand greatly exceeded my (already inflated) expectations. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined with more activities and places to see than time would allow for.

I felt so welcomed everywhere I went that each place was like visiting close family.

Words to describe what you felt when you first arrived: After a 12 hour flight, I wanted to hit the ground running and go Go GO! As soon as I settled in for a morning coffee and fresh croissant overlooking the sunny, turquoise waters on Waiheke Island, that urgency all went away, and I immediately began to relax.

Where did you stay? I was constantly on the move and spent nights in Waiheke, Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, and Taupo.

Each accommodation was completely unique and totally immersed in its surroundings.

Delamore Lodge is inviting and chic, sitting on a bluff overlooking the ocean and neighboring vineyards.

The Sofitel Auckland is great for the sophisticated traveler in an amazing location in the Marina surrounded by fantastic dining options.

At Wildwood Lodge, you’ll fall as much in love with the natural wonders of Rotorua as you will with Cath and Simon, the owners.

The rooms at Solitaire Lodge have gorgeous views of the lake where you can boat, fish, kayak, and hike.

You can get lost in the woods for hours at Treetops (as I did) running into deer and goats before enjoying an exquisite dining experience.

 Acacia Cliffs nestled above the enormous Lake Taupo is the perfect place to base yourself for days of water activities and heli-hiking.

 With whom would you recommend staying at this hotel/resort? This type of trip would be wonderful for honeymooners, couples on a long holiday, and small groups of family or friends.  Many of the accommodations are very small (4-7 rooms) and not appropriate for young children unless renting the entire property.

Tempt us, Name the most special place you discovered on this trip: I spent just over 24 hours on Waiheke Island, but I could have stayed all summer. There is a brand new winery and restaurant, Tantalus, that is just gorgeous.  Onetangi Beach is an excellent spot for an afternoon picnic and swim, or simply a place to be inspired by the beauty of nature.

What’s the best time of year to go in your opinion? Summer is obviously the most popular time to travel, but the period between seasons has great weather and significantly smaller crowds (October-November and May-June). Remember, US Winter is New Zealand Summer.

Anything else to add? The great part of planning a trip with this much movement and activity is working with expertise of the team at Exclusive Travel Group. Based in New Zealand, they have their finger on the pulse of the best places to stay and what’s most worth your time to see. They configured a seamless itinerary based around my interests and made this visit to the North Island a trip of a lifetime.

If you’re interested in traveling to New Zealand, contact Mark at Mark.Dorenfast@altour.com or (310)571-6077

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