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Travel

Bitesize luxury: Quick hits of excess around New Zealand

NZ Herald
By: Sarah Pollok
Not for sale

Some travellers delight in the simple pleasures of life. Give them a hearty homecooked meal, rustic family bach or day spent hiking outdoors and they'll find more than a little delight. As long as they have good company, good food and a good place to explore, they're set.

Then, there are the rest of us. The ones who love a modest meal or simple accommodation, but sometimes find ourselves dreaming of… well, a little bit more. As we flick through a glossy magazine or thumb through social media, we'll be abruptly hit with a craving for luxury. A longing to fly First Class, race around in flash cars or be swaddled in fluffy bathrobes and pampered at a spa. Desires often halted by the inconvenient fact that while our dreams are big, our luxury budget isn't.

Full-blown spa spree: Check into Queenstown's Millbrook Resort. Photo / Supplied
Full-blown spa spree: Check into Queenstown's Millbrook Resort. Photo / Supplied

However, that doesn't mean we can't live on the luxurious side, even if just for a day. So, if you're in the mood to indulge in some extravagance, throw on a flashy outfit, grab a few mates and treat yourself to these quick hits of luxury, available in your next New Zealand vacation or staycation destination.

Full-blown spa spree: Check into Queenstown's Millbrook Resort. Photo / Supplied
Full-blown spa spree: Check into Queenstown's Millbrook Resort. Photo / Supplied

Hit the spa

A trip to the spa may technically be classed as "luxury" but nothing feels more essential than having the stress massaged out of your muscles by a highly trained professional. From 15-minute facials or aroma stone massage to full-body scrubs and leisurely saunas, your local spa is an easy way to indulge in some TLC, ASAP.

For those whose skin needs a little attention, hit up an after-work facial at Auckland's The Facialists or Forme Spa in Hamilton. Looking for a full-blown spa spree? Check into Queenstown's Millbrook Resort, Rotorua's Polynesian Spa or the Paihia Beach Resort and Spa for next-level relaxation. Meanwhile, those wanting to unwind like a Silicon Valley tech tycoon should try a futuristic float session at Christchurch's O Studio or Zen Float Spa in Mount Maunganui.

Hop aboard a Heletranz charter that whisks you out of Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Hop aboard a Heletranz charter that whisks you out of Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Take to the skies

If you thought First Class was as good as it gets, think again, because if we're living the luxe life for one day you can bet we're taking over the whole plane. Or, at least an entire helicopter. See some of New Zealand's most breath-taking natural landscapes from a whole new view with an exclusive charter that will have you feeling like a literal high-flying millionaire.

Glide 6000ft over the magnificent Franz Josef and Fox Glacier with Heliservices NZ, or soar across the South Island's wild coastline on a customised flight route with Highland Helicopters. Travelling further North? Hop aboard a Heletranz charter that whisks you out of Auckland and over the city's ancient volcanoes or Coromandel beaches.

Drift across Rotorua's Lake Rotoiti on the Pure Cruise yacht Tuia. Photo / Supplied, TNZ
Drift across Rotorua's Lake Rotoiti on the Pure Cruise yacht Tuia. Photo / Supplied, TNZ

Cruise around in style

Sure, some may consider a private cruise on a 70-foot yacht to be a little on the pretentious side, but let's be honest, deep down they probably want to be partying it up on the ocean too. Spoilt with countless oceans, gulfs and sounds to sail, there are few better places to set sail than New Zealand.

Explore Hauraki Gulf's exclusive beaches and coves aboard Cruise New Zealand's 26m yacht, complete with jacuzzi, chef and diving gear. Spend the day drifting across Rotorua's Lake Rotoiti as you wine and dine aboard a private catamaran with Pure Cruise New Zealand. Or, glide around Lake Taupō with Sail Barbary's daily cruises that guide you around Mine Bay's stunning Māori Rock carvings.

Chef Monique Fiso, behind the pass at Hiakai restaurant, Wellington. Photo / Supplied
Chef Monique Fiso, behind the pass at Hiakai restaurant, Wellington. Photo / Supplied

Indulge your tastebuds

Between Swedish massages and helicopter rides, living extravagantly (even for a day) can really work up an appetite. Luckily for us, New Zealand's spoilt with countless world-class eateries specialising in cuisines across the globe. Whether you delight in artful degustation dishes or love the pared-back, Parisian approach of a neo-bistro, a lavish meal in a beautiful setting is indulgent for every one of your senses.

For the ultimate five-star dining experience, grab one of the 30 seats at Hiakai; a world-class Wellington eatery that made Time magazine's 2019 list of "Greatest Places". In Palmerston North, you'll find Nero, a family-owned modern bistro famous for its seasonal fine dining, extensive wine list and whisky dry-aged beef (a labour of love that takes around 42 days to mature). Meanwhile, those near Napier need look no further than Pacifica Restaurant; an intimate 30-seat restaurant that delivers Michelin-quality degustation in a relaxed pacific-style.

Taste your way through Hawke's Bay with a trip to Craggy Range. Photo / Supplied
Taste your way through Hawke's Bay with a trip to Craggy Range. Photo / Supplied

Wine tour

Can't tell the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah? Find yourself lost in conversations about 'buttery chardonnays' or 'tannic reds'? No need to worry! Whether you dip your toe into the world of wine with a simple cellar tasting or commit to an entire day tour, one doesn't need a drop of vino know-how to enjoy a luxurious day at a vineyard.

Blessed with one of the most diverse geographies of any major wine-growing country, New Zealand is home to more than a few world-class places to choose from. Taste your way through Hawke's Bay with a trip to Craggy Range or Church Road Winery. While those in Marlborough can take their tasting to the next level at Cloudy Bay Vineyard with an exclusive sailing, helicopter or restaurant experience. Or take a bespoke luxury wine tour with Queenstown's Black ZQN, who can help craft an itinerary to suit your preferences and will see you travel either in a Mercedes Sprinter or private helicopter.

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newfinder.co.nz and newzealand.com