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They say beauty comes from within. This statement resonates true in New Zealand. The country is undoubtedly esthetically pleasing; however, it is the people, the culture, and the experiences that truly make New Zealand extraordinary.

New Zealand is a young country and one of the last landmasses to be settled by humans (established by the Polynesians and Dutch). This land of ‘Kiwis’ – not the fruit or the bird, rather the term reserved for a person born in New Zealand – is a wonderful mix of Maori and British culture and language.

On the North Island, the city of Auckland offers a wonderful introduction. A coastal metropolis, Auckland is known for its sailing culture. Visitors can enjoy a day aboard the America’s Cup yacht exploring the harbor and environs. Nearby, the Bay of Islands is a mecca for golfing, fishing and beach hopping while in Rotorua, the Maori culture and the thermal pools offer soft adventure in abundance. A visit to the North Island wouldn’t be complete without an iconic glass (or bottle) of wine in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough.

Whether by ferry or by plane, the journey across Cook Strait will lead you to the beautiful South Island. From wine tasting in Marlborough, journeying by train over Arthur’s Pass, ice climbing the glaciers, or overnighting aboard a boat in Milford Sound, you’ll think you’ve seen it all until you arrive into Queenstown: the jewel of the South Island. The unsurpassable beauty (captured in films like “Lord of the Rings”) offers only a backdrop to endless hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, bungee jumping, paragliding, and skydiving.

No matter your style, the luxury lodges, hotels, and resorts only mirror the natural beauty of the country and showcase the warm hospitality of Kiwis, making this one of the most desired destinations.

Having spent over two years of her life in New Zealand, Melissa Pugh is sure to design and deliver the ultimate itinerary to this amazing country.  Contact Melissa at to dream up your very own adventure!

JetSet Hotels: Minaret Station Luxury Tented Lodge, Lake Wanaka New Zealand

Hidden in the remote Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island, near Queenstown and on the shores of Lake Wanaka sits Minaret Station, the country’s first and only luxury tented lodge.  Minaret provides a unique combination of alpine adventure with comfort, style and relaxation. Activities abound year round, including fly fishing, heli skiing, hiking, water activities, biking, and food and wine pursuits. For those seeking a truly local experience, mustering assistance is welcomed on this 65,000 acre working sheep farm. Guests’ experiences are tailored by personal guides and designed for all ages and abilities.

The accommodations exceed every luxury imaginable. Canvas tented suites boast wall to wall sheepskin carpet, a private deck with personal hot tub, plush king or twin bedding, and large open windows framing some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. A main lodge invites guests to relax or converse in two separate living areas, with open fires and first class dining experiences. The Mountain Kitchen features fresh local produce prepared as modern European cuisine, seamlessly paired with selections from the extensive cellar and bar. Guests can dine together or in the privacy of their suite (Tip – request that the kitchen prepare a gourmet picnic and set out for a day of exploring!)

With crystal clear waters, rainforests, green fields, mountains, wildlife and glaciers beckoning visitors, and luxurious tented appointments seducing guests, it’s no wonder Minaret provides the perfect complement to any New Zealand itinerary.

To plan your custom New Zealand adventure, contact Monika Weinsoft at or 312-574-1184