Get your land legs on after that twelve-plus hour flight. With New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes from lush to dry, culinary escapades, and style and adventure around every craggy corner, you’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Hope you packed your sneaks.
Attention shoppers: Proceed directly to Newmarket to stock up on hometown fashion heroes like Zambesi and Cybèle. Hi There, Karen Walker’s adorable collaboration with Myer, is available only at her five flagship stores. Peruse Ponsonby Road for Twentysevennames and Juliette Hogan and don’t miss the thrift on Karangahape Road. If you can’t wait till you get back to your cozy quarters at Mollies on Tweed to recount the day’s catch, do so over a pint at local favorite Northern Steamship, a stiff White Lady drink at SPQR, or Spanish-influenced plates at Rocco.
Once you check into one of the lodges at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North, you may not want to venture out — there is a winery, bistro, seasonal grower’s market, and art gallery on the premises. But the post-1931-quake art deco architecture and museum in port city Napier, the surf breaks at Waimarama Beach, and the scenic tramp along Lake Waikaremoana make it worth it. That and legendary Rush Munro’s ice cream. Hey, why not see it all on two wheels?
Eat your way through Flight of the Conchords’ hometown (a.k.a. the country’s capital). Start with homemade fruit toast and a short black at iconic roastery Caffe L’affare, treat yourself to the bistro prix fixe at gorgeous Logan Brown, and make a night of dinner and drinks at the equally sceney and scrumptious Matterhorn. You’ll almost feel guilty sleeping it off at Ohtel, a new ten-room hotel in Oriental Bay, but then you’ll remember it’s ecofriendly.
You can’t help but count sheep covering the countryside. Just don’t nod off at the wheel. Instead, rest your weary head at The George. Paddle your way down the Avon River with Antigua Boat Sheds, then refuel with the best pizza fungi and cold beer around at The Bicycle Thief. Head over the Port Hills to the farmers market on Saturday mornings at the Lyttelton Main School on Oxford Street; pack a picnic to take to the Botanic Gardens.
Extreme sports and alcohol. You’ll find the best of both here. Risk your life in the adventure capital of the world strapped into a Red Baron-like plane from Fly by Wire or pick your poison with Adventure Junkies. Get automated liquid courage (not that you need it) for pennies on the bottle at Wine Tastes machines or go straight to the source for Central Otago’s finest at Amisfield. Though you’ll have to wait until next year to lap up the luxury at the soon-to-be-renovated Matakauri Lodge, now’s the time to check into Eichardt’s Private Hotel in the middle of everything or its High Country Camp and Lakefront Cottage offerings just out of town.
They do everything with zeal around here.