Dreaming Of: New Zealand (again!)

morning on my balcony at Kauri Cliffs

This is my screensaver, fyi: morning on my balcony at Kauri Cliffs

You guys, I really cannot properly emphasize how wonderful and life-changing my trip to New Zealand was last year. Even after going to South Africa, which was HIGH on the bucket list for decades, my reverence for Kiwiland remained undiminished. It was quite simply the best trip ever.

The Sounds Retreat in Queen Charlotte Sound New Zealand

You want romance? The Sounds Retreat in Queen Charlotte Sound has GOT your romance.

Piggybacking off the three Oscar nominations for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Air New Zealand (it’s the “official airline to Middle-Earth,” doncha know) is offering a ton of package deals right now that I wanted to share with you. 7 of my friends are getting married this year, and I’ve been pushing all of them to honeymoon in New Zealand. I can’t think of a more perfect locale–and if I ever get married, I’m dragging Hubby Jolie there, stat!

Bay of Islands wishing well in New Zealand

A wishing well in the Bay of Islands: wishing for a book deal, a preppy boyfriend and perfect hair

  • Fellowship of the Ring (3 stars) 8 Night Hotel, Land & Air Inclusive Vacation starting at $2,999*. The North Island of New Zealand is a combination of geothermal wonderlands, scenic beaches, mountain backdrops and Kiwi culture on this 8-night North Island vacation to Auckland, Matamata, Rotorua & Wellington.
  • Pillars of the Kings (4 stars) 8 Night Hotel, Land &  Air Inclusive Vacation from $3,199. Discover the South Island of New Zealand on this 8-night vacation that takes you to the iconic sites of the Island: Christchurch, Queenstown, Fox Glacier & Milford Sound.
  • An Unexpected Journey (4 stars) 17 Night Air & Land Inclusive Vacation from $4,499*. This 17-night journey takes you to the several prominent film locations from both the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbits Trilogy. Destinations include: Auckland, Matamata (Hobbiton movie set), Rotorua, Wellington, Queenstown, Milford Sound, and more.
  • There and Back Again (4 stars) 10 Night Air & Land Inclusive Vacation from $4,499*. On this 10-night vacation package, see a combination of major attractions with well-known scenes on this self-guided adventure to Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington & Queenstown.
  • New Zealand Trilogy (3.5 stars) 10 Night Air and Land Inclusive Vacation from $3,299: Visit the trilogy of New Zealand’s most popular cities on this 10-night escape and discover the changing landscapes and sights that make each destination unique: Auckland, Rotorua & Queenstown.
Wither Hills wine tasting in New Zealand

Wine tasting at Wither Hills: just another work day...

If you’re really jonesing for Hobbits–and want the very best of New Zealand–I highly recommend Odyssey Travel’s “The Hobbit Road Trip”, a 9-night journey through New Zealand accompanied by one of the actors from The Hobbit trilogy. It includes the movie set Hobbiton; exploring the capital Wellington, which houses Sir Peter Jackson‘s studios in Miramar; plus Queenstown, the world’s newest and most untouched alpine destination and hub of Sir Peter Jackson’s South Island locations.

Panning for gold in Arrowtown New Zealand

Arrowtown, on New Zealand's South Island: There's gold in them thar hills!

My personal favorites in New Zealand were Queenstown (where you can ski, bungee jump, helicopter to Milford Sound, go panning for gold in Arrowtown, and bar-hop at some of the cutest Alpine apres-ski spots ever) and Bay of Islands, where my dream hotel Kauri Cliffs awaits my return…

The Spire Hotel in Queenstown New Zealand

One of the coolest boutique hotels on the planet: The Spire Hotel in Queenstown

Additional Middle-earth itineraries, including a virtual journey to Middle-earth, can be found on Tourism New Zealand’s website. Kia ora!

Helicopter to Milford Sound New Zealand

This photo might be a little douchebaggy, but let me just tell you: happiness is a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier with Milford Sound and Queenstown at your feet.

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