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Travel

Arrive in style: Glamorous ways to get about NZ

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Whether you are time-poor or up for a leisurely break, there are plenty of luxury choices on both land and sea, writes Maggie Wicks

Travel used to be a glamorous affair. Your best suit and polished shoes for flying, gloves on for cocktail hour on the cruise, and pre-dinner drinks in the buffet car.

Just because those days are gone doesn't mean we can't still find an excuse to travel in style, just every now and then.

Try the classics in Northland

Take a private charter in Northland with Cool Change, who hire out their 54ft catamaran to explore the Bay of Islands. You'll have two experienced skippers onboard, as well as snorkelling gear, a stand-up paddleboard, barbecue, and everything you need for an incredible day at sea.

On your way back home, why not ditch the taxi in favour of a VT right-hand-drive convertible Mustang? Rogue Pony offers scenic drives and transfers around Northland – whether you're taking a wine tour or just racing to the airport.

Waiheke Island, three ways

A trifecta of luxurious options awaits you on Waiheke Island. First, Classic Tours, who offer old cars and old-school service. Be picked up in your choice of Caddy, Chevy, Buick or Jag, and tour the island's world-class vineyards and restaurants in style.

For a different perspective, see the city and the island from the waters of the Hauraki with Terra and Tide, a yacht charter service that offers sailing, snorkelling and sunsets all around Waiheke.

And finally, a bird's eye view. Auckland Sea Planes can offer remote picnics, island-hopping adventures or a stunning ride to your table for the evening.

Relive the roaring 20s in Hawke's Bay

In Napier, take a vintage ride through our Art Deco capital with a personal driver and a classic 1920s car. Hosted by the city's Art Deco Trust, these tours offer insight into Napier's history from the earthquake to the architecture and will take you around some of the beautiful buildings in town that make Napier the cat's pyjamas.

Experience Art Deco Napier in a classic car. Photo / Art Deco Trust
Experience Art Deco Napier in a classic car. Photo / Art Deco Trust

Transfers on a jetboat up the Whanganui River

Get picked up by jet boat to adventure up the Whanganui River to the off-grid Posh Pioneers. Promising modern comforts amid pioneer living, this unique spot is a family-owned business offering six shepherd's huts on wheels. There is no road access here, so the boat is your only way in - reminiscent of the time when paddle boats regularly plied the Whanganui with passengers.

The romance of the rails – from Auckland to the West Coast

I'd argue the train is still the finest way to travel between our main cities. There's the Northern Explorer, which will carry you from Auckland to Wellington via the phenomenal Raurimu Spiral at the midway point, the Coastal Pacific that departs from Picton, then follows the rugged coastline between Kaikōura and Christchurch and, of course, the world-famous TranzAlpine, that takes in tunnels, bridges and alps on its way to Greymouth.

There's also the Capital Connection between Wellington and Wairarapa; and Te Huia, from Hamilton to Auckland, both of which offer commuters NZ's only public transport train bar services. Lovely.

Last year, TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific introduced their "Scenic Plus" class, which had travellers dining on local produce and wine as they glided through the regions. The service ran for limited time but will return next year, bigger and better, so don't miss out.

The Northern Explorer crosses the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, Tongariro National Park. Photo / Robin Heyworth
The Northern Explorer crosses the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, Tongariro National Park. Photo / Robin Heyworth

Be a speed demon Central Otago

Cromwell's Highlands is the spot for folks who want to drive and be driven in some seriously specialty vehicles. Choose from the famous Supercar Fast Dash, which will see you spinning around the tracks at up to 225kph, the Highlands taxi (a 4.1km race in a Porche Cayenne Turbo), or the creme de la creme - the Aston Martin Vulcan Experience, a ride in a 7-litre V12-powered Aston Martin Vulcan, worth $4.2m, and one of only 24 in the world.

Sleep with the fishes in Queenstown

The Pacific Jemm is a 80ft Falcon-S offers premium cruising for 8 guests at a time. Included in your stay are a la carte breakfasts, yoga mats and stand-up paddleboards, and an onboard barbecue – ideal for cooking the trout you just pulled from the lake. A private chef is also available.

If you're short on time, try New Zealand's fanciest airport pick-up service – a bottle of wine, an antipasto platter, a private driver from the airport, then captain, crew and full use of the yacht during a 2-hour jaunt on the lake.

Fine dining aboard Queenstown's Pacific Jemm. Photo / Supplied
Fine dining aboard Queenstown's Pacific Jemm. Photo / Supplied

Best day ever on the West Coast

How about this for the best day out of your life? Heliservices, Franz Josef will collect you from Hokitika and fly you to Franz Josef, with views of both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, and a snow landing to see New Zealand at its most untouched. Then, head south over the Haast and down to Jackson Bay for lunch at the legendary Craypot. Dine on fresh fish and chips or the freshest crays, overlooking one of the remotest parts of New Zealand. The day ends with the return flight to Hokitika, with stunning views of Westland (and possible seal and dolphin sightings) all the way home.

Get on your high horse at Te Waewae Bay

At Orepuki Horse Treks, enjoy stunning views stunning vistas from the back of a beautiful Arabian horse. These gorgeous creatures will take you on a trek that suits your ability, whether that's a canter down the beach, or a walk to the local cafe. Choose the farm tour for views that reach from Stewart Island to Fiordland, or the beach trek for a glimpse of the local Hector's dolphins if you're lucky.

Horse riding at Orepuki Horse Treks, Southland. Photo / Videocopter
Horse riding at Orepuki Horse Treks, Southland. Photo / Videocopter

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