A two hour drive north of Queenstown lies the sleepy town of Wanaka surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park. This laid-back town is a haven for all outdoor activities with hiking, kayaking, boating and mountain biking all popular in the summer months. Winter here is equally dramatic and exciting with ski fields opening and the mountains blanketed in thick snow. You simply cannot beat the beauty of the clear lake surrounded by snow-dusted mountains. I’d recommend staying in the town by the lakefront for the best views and the most immersive experience.
Emily, New Zealand Specialist
My love of wildlife and nature sparked an insatiable desire to travel when I visited South Africa at the age of 18. After completing my undergraduate degree in zoology, I toured Asia and Australasia, completely falling in love with New Zealand.
I was utterly captivated by the dramatic landscapes, the wines and the Maori cultural ceremonies and some of my best memories include seeing killer whales in the Bay of Islands, stargazing at Lake Tekapo and flying over Milford Sound.
After returning from my travels I completed a master’s degree in conservation, furthering my passion for wildlife and the environment. New Zealand is a country that is at the forefront of environmental awareness, which is also critically important to me. I am very eager to share my passion for this incredible country and hope to help others fall in love with it as much as I have.
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Nestled in the green, leafy trees of Abel Tasman National Park, secluded Awaroa Lodge offers rustic charm and chic styling and makes a great place to relax after a long day's walking and kayaking. Clever design, large, open fires, excellent food and friendly and attentive staff make it an inviting and character-filled retreat. Sitting in the conservatory eating dinner you can look out onto the tranquil forest and listen to native birdsong. The property is remote and requires a journey by boat taxi or fixed-wing plane to get there but once you arrive, the amenities are all you could wish for.
I'll never forget when…
Nothing compares to the feeling of flying above the snow-covered Southern Alps, landing on freezing cold glaciers and exploring some of the places where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. I was in absolute awe of the beauty of the mountains as they stood proud against the clear blue sky. The descent into Milford Sound was unforgettable and showcased exactly why this part of New Zealand is so impressive from the air. The experience was so special, with only my friend and I as passengers in the helicopter, both of us speechless at the natural beauty of the country.