Ever wondered how the rich and famous experience New Zealand? From sailing superyachts to mountaintop golfing – here are the most lavish experiences that money can buy in New Zealand. By Alissa Jenkins
Helicopter around the Southern Alps
Live the high life in more ways than one with the good folk at Minaret Station, offering guests private helicopter charters around New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps.
As an area so rugged and remote that only those with a helicopter can access it, every tailor-made itinerary can chopper you around the region’s snow-capped peaks and glaciers, down deep green valleys, across glittering lakes, past towering waterfalls or to secret beaches.
But it’s not just looks; the secluded southern reaches of NZ’s South Island is also world-class territory for an array of activities including heliskiing, hunting, hiking, fishing or simply lounging back with a vino and gourmet picnic.
Whatever your particular predilections, the sky is the limit as to what your private heli tour entails (pun intended).
Then at the end of the day, snuggle up in Minaret Station’s exclusive alpine lodge for a three-course dinner crafted by the onsite chef before retreating to your private chalet, where an outdoor hot tub awaits…
Cash to splash: From NZD$2000 per chalet per night, plus NZD$1800 per adult for return heli transfers.
Cruise the Hauraki Gulf on a superyacht
Few things say glamour like chartering a superyacht, just as few places on the North Island are as scenic as Hauraki Gulf with its bounty of islands, beaches and wildlife.
Combine the two together and you get cruising the gulf on board the show-stopping VvS1.
Stretching 34 metres, this four-bedroom superyacht sleeps eight cashed-up guests looking to sail in style.
The super spacious VvS1 also comes decked out with timber floors and furnishings, shiny ensuite bathrooms, exercise equipment, even a Teppanyaki bar.
There’s more entertainment options onboard than fish in the sea with all the high-tech trimmings you’d expect of a five-star stay, as well as snorkelling gear, kayaks, fishing gear, water skis and wakeboard.
Among the many indulgent pitstops on your doorstep, be sure to visit the wine-drenched Waiheke Island, home to Stonyridge Vineyard.
Here you can either stretch out on the vineyard’s yoga deck or sample its famed cabernet blend Larose, which is officially the country’s most expensive red wine.
Cash to splash: Starting from USD$95,000 per week
Indulge in New Zealand’s finest produce
While there’s no shortage of luxury lodges throughout New Zealand, the country’s largest private historic residence Otahuna Lodge, holds a special place in our heart.
Set on sprawling pastoral land in Tai Tapu (a 25-minute drive south from Christchurch), overlooking an ancient volcano, the lodge itself is a Victorian mansion adorned with fireplaces, stained glass, period woodwork and all the charming touches you’d expect of a 19th-century estate.
With the Relais and Chateaux stamp of luxury, it’s the dining room that is the standout experience for luxury lovers.
Every evening, dinner is a five-course chef’s degustation menu that changes daily, inspired by New Zealand’s world-class seasonal produce and Otahuna’s own homegrown goodies.
Better still, each dinner comes with a unique flight of specially-paired wines from the lodge’s own extensive wine cellar.
Cash to splash: From NZD$950 per night.
Detox at Aro Hā Wellness Retreat
After indulging in New Zealand’s many gourmet spoils, detoxes don’t come any more exclusive (or effective) than Aro Hā Wellness Retreat, situated on 21 secluded acres overlooking Lake Wakatipu, just northwest of Queenstown.
This multi-award-winning, ecologically-designed escape guides guests through a serious of yoga classes, hikes and therapeutic massages on their journey to “unveiling your own innate health”.
In addition to the ritualistic stretching, exercising and massaging is a large focus on diet, as guests purify their insides with an impressive paleo-vegan menu (that’s no alcohol, no caffeine, no meat or fish, no dairy, no refined sugar and no gluten), crafted by the onsite chef who draws largely from the onsite organic gardens. There’s cooking classes too.
Of course, participants can’t just waltz in and out willy nilly. The only way to experience Aro Hā is to commit to a scheduled ‘retreat’ (usually capped at an intimate 16 participants), which are hosted every month, ranging from four to six nights.
If wealth was measured by wellbeing, this place would be the jackpot.
Cash to splash: From NZD$4550 per person per retreat.
Tee off at over 1300 metres above sea level
Combining driving range with mountain range is Over the Top Helicopter’s golfing experience, on a mountain top just outside of Queenstown in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
This par 3 experience takes place 4500 feet (that’s 1372 metres) above sea level, overlooking Queenstown, which means players have to be flown in by helicopter.
Once you arrive four tee boxes await, where you can putt away or attempt a hole-in-one.
Dollar value: From NZD$475 per adult.