Discover a haven between bush and bay, hurtle above an ancient forest and indulge in French dining across the ditch. Here are the best new things to see in New Zealand.
Drink at a sustainable, design-led city bar
Auckland’s newly rejuvenated 1 Albert Street building is home to Palmer, a city-centric cocktail bar and restaurant. Sip well-shaken cocktails, such as the Habanero Margarita, that are mindfully mixed using local produce and unused peels, husks and juice from the kitchen to minimise waste. Should a few drinks turn into a longer session, grab the Lamb Ribs with Romesco or the Fried Chicken with Hot Honey. That’ll fortify you for another round of Martinis on the expansive rooftop.
Eat at Auckland’s sleek new French bistro
Take in the waters of Commercial Bay through French restaurant Origine’s epic floor-to-ceiling windows, sitting on a walnut-coloured leather banquette. The menu is a modern exploration of traditional French fare grounded in New Zealand produce, such as the Wood-Fired Duck Breast with Confit Fig. Pair the latter with the berry notes of a beaujolais from the French-focused wine list, before heading into the classically styled Le Bar for a Hennessy XO cognac nightcap.
Stay at a luxe Marlborough Sounds sanctuary
The Bay of Many Coves Resort is set in 52 hectares of private Marlborough Sounds bushland, overlooking Miritu Bay. Take your morning coffee onto the generous balcony of your contemporary, treehouse-like luxury apartment before lacing up your walking boots to hit the Queen Charlotte Track or zipping up your wetsuit to meet the sealife at nearby Motuara Island. Guests arrive at the resort by boat or helicopter then settle into a front-row seat to nature, filled with stargazing, birdwatching, spa experiences and long sessions at The Quarterdeck – one of three on-site restaurants – drinking crisp Marlborough sauvignon blanc and sampling local cheese.
Discover a geothermal wonderland
New Zealand’s beauty runs deep. At Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua, you can catch all the action originating from the depths that give the region its hot springs, geysers and steaming lakes. Witness the Lady Knox Geyser, whose waters can reach an astonishing 10 to 20 metres high, as well as the other-worldly geothermal park – an extensive and colourful system filled with intense oranges, vibrant blues and emerald-greens – covering more than 18 square kilometres, plus the country’s largest, bubbling mud pool.
Explore an ancient forest from above
Step into a harness and whizz above a prehistoric forest in Rotorua. The Original Canopy Tour is a three-hour exploration along two swing bridges and 600 metres of ziplines that will appeal to every adventurer (aged six and up). Feeling brave? Look down as you zoom along the 220-metre line to the ground and try to spot a native bird and those iconic silver ferns. As a small-group guided experience it’s perfect for fearless families.
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Image credits: Josh Griggs (Origine)