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If there's a more dramatic destination for an al fresco tipple we'd like to know. After spinning around the vertiginous walls and serene water of Milford Sound, A&K's surprised guests found their helicopter touching down in the mountain top snow for champagne and canapés.
Of course you expect poetry-inducing scenery in New Zealand. You might be surprised, however, to find it also offers the perfect pillow. We'd like to take some of the credit. When we heard that a client of ours was dissatisfied with the ones in her hotel, we immediately relayed the information to her next accommodation. The result? The owners of South Island's superb Eden House rushed out to buy plump, supportive pillows. The country that gave the world the bungee jump, had now given it the ultimate night's kip.
It's the sort of attention to detail our Australasian office has been delivering for the last two decades. Its expert consultants have tried and tested just about all the country's hotels, guesthouses and excursions - one of many reasons we were recently voted Tour Operator of the Year. Travel to New Zealand with Abercrombie and Kent in 2014 and we'll deliver our handpicked highlights.
You can chose your sand variety: do you want Karekare's volcanic black, Gisborne's gold or the Bay of Island's honey blonde? Or you can soak in Rotorua's emerald geothermal waters, sip fine wine around Hawke's Bay, or dine in Auckland's gourmet restaurants - we'll design a culinary tour of brilliantly creative chefs and acclaimed vineyards.
Alternatively you can burn off a few calories paddling through Abel Tasman park, or with some high octane adrenaline in Queenstown, before heading into the mountains for the astounding Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers. Unsurprisingly the Land of the Long White Cloud is glorious self-drive country, and clients have written poetically about touring through the sublime Haast Pass with its snow-licked peaks and alpine lakes.
Many also tell us their first reaction to the idea of a New Zealand holiday is it's a long way to go. But once they've been, they adamant they'd happily give up a couple more days of their life to return. We can't think of a better recommendation.
Best time to be there
Summer on the north island (December to February) is ideal for outdoor pursuits with mild temperatures and hours of sunshine. Venture to the numerous ski slopes and warm up close to a crackling fire during the winter months in June to August.
Auckland (Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, daily)
26 hours, one stop
GMT +12 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area
The final day in Cusco was outstanding and we do want to thank the really good guide Juan Carlos, who everybody said was exceptional. Please pass on all of our thanks to all concerned at every level for making this trip so spectacular.
- BM, Sussex
Regions we travel to in New Zealand
Suggested itineraries in New Zealand
Quintessential New Zealand
Highlights of New Zealand
Luxury New Zealand
Glaciers and Lakes
Alpine & Lakes Retreat
Follow the Spirit of the Maori
Connections Australia & New Zealand: Two Worlds of Wonder