12 great new reasons to visit New Zealand in 2020

With the focus on new – for a new year and a new decade – here are 12 new and compelling reasons to entice your clients to put New Zealand at the top of their 2020 holiday list.

Stargaze in luxury in a Lindis Pod.

1. LOOK TO THE STARS: The Pods at The Lindis, Southern Alps 

Immerse in nature by day and the sublime Milky Way wonders by night, snuggled up in a private universe. The Lindis Pods are New Zealand’s exclusive new luxe design experience (launched October 2019) in the Southern Alps. Designed to disappear into the landscape and bring the outside inside, the mirrored glass structures are endowed with every comfort. 
TREND: Sustainability is a focus for new accommodation openings in New Zealand e.g. Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat, Park Hyatt Auckland (opening June 2020), Falcon Brae villa at Stonefly, Sherwood Queenstown.

2. CHILL OUT RESPONSIBLY: Splore Festival (21 – 23 February 2020) 

Chill out on a beach with three days of good-times vibes and mindful, eco-partying. Splore is a boutique music and arts festival pitched for the whole family, a chance to savour and celebrate the outdoors in Insta-perfect Tapapakanga Regional Park (just south of Auckland), which might just be the world’s best summer festival location. Pitch a tent, park a motorhome or glamp.  

3. LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS: Down on the farm experiences 

Meet the locals at home – farmers, growers, producers and creators – on a hosted farm experience with Ahika Journeys. They welcome guests into their homes for curated experiences and culinary journeys, demonstrating how ‘regenerative agriculture’ can enrich healthy eco-systems. Or, go a little more grassroots with Off the Beaten Track for rural accommodation and experiences. 

4. GIVE BACK: Blue penguin conservation, Otago Peninsula  

Tiny, cute and endangered, little blue penguins are the stars of Kaitiaki Tautoko, an exclusive hands-on conservation experience. At Blue Penguins Pukekura on Otago Peninsula, join a penguin scientist on their rounds to assist with the crucial behind-the-scenes conservation work that is contributing to saving this precious feathered population. Kaitiaki means ‘supporting and caring’.  

DID YOU KNOW: New Zealand is the ‘penguin kingdom’ with more penguin species and more accessible opportunities to see them than anywhere else in the world. 

5. SAIL BACK IN TIME: Waka Adventures Tairawhiti, Eastland  

Experience Māori culture and the renaissance of ancient Pacific Ocean voyaging and navigation with master mariner Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp. Sailing out of Gisborne, the Tairāwhiti is a waka hourua – a 22-metre double-hulled Polynesian waka, one of only nine in the world. Made of fibre-glass and wood, the modern vessel is powered by coconut oil, diesel and the sun.  

TREND: Waka Adventures Tairawhiti is one of a new wave of authentic Maori culture products developing in New Zealand. 

6. FIND SANCTUARY: Te Arai Lodge, Auckland 

Feed body and soul in this tranquil retreat, just north of Auckland, on forested hills overlooking the beautiful Mangawhai Coast. Eco-friendly Te Arai Lodge – one of New Zealand’s newest luxury accommodations – is a family-run luxury destination where the personal touch comes with a focus on clean, healthy living and beautiful organic dining. Wellness amenities include a yoga studio, gym, pool and sauna, and trained practitioners. 

7. DISCOVER NEW TRAILS:  Paparoa Great Walk, West Coast    

Opened this summer hiking season, the Paparoa is New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk – a multi-day trail through a spectacular alpine and coastal wilderness. The 55km track travels east-west across the Paparoa Range, from the tiny inland village of Blackball, traversing alpine ridgelines and descending to rain forest and the famed Punakaiki Pancake Rocks on the South Islands west coast. 

COMING: Hump Ridge Track will open as New Zealand’s 11th Great Walk for the 2022 walking season. 

8. ETHICAL EATING: Follow the Realness trail 

New Zealand’s fertile lands and oceans provide abundant, fresh protein and produce. Alongside an extensive network of farmers’ markets, there’s a new website The Realness where diners can check out the best ethical eating destinations. An Auckland restauranteur created this online directory to connect diners with owner-operated eateries promoting sustainable food chains. New Zealand’s newest 7-day indoor farmers’ market has just opened at Riverside in downtown Christchurch.  

9. DESIGNER STAY / SENSE OF PLACE:  Park Hyatt Auckland 

Opening mid-2020 on Auckland’s downtown waterfront, the Park Hyatt Hotel is a unique design story based on ancient Māori heritage and hospitality. The outside form and interior elements are inspired by the natural resources that welcomed early arrivals and, unsurprisingly, it’s set to become Auckland’s brightest new dining destination helmed by returning star Kiwi chef Brent Martin.  

10. MARKING HISTORY: Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and The Endeavour, Auckland 

Runs until 15 March 2020 
Go back 250 years to first encounters between Māori and Pākehā (Europeans) during The Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand. At Auckland Museum, visitors will be able to learn more about this fascinating history through the eyes of Tupaia, the Tahitian high priest, navigator and artist who voyaged with Captain Cook acting as translator and mediator. This family exhibition has hands-on, tactile experiences, bold visuals and storytelling.  

11. MULTI-GEN NATURAL RELAXATION:  Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa 

Soak, slide or indulge naturally at Hanmer Springs, a popular all-age family attraction and New Zealand’s largest alpine spa. Soak those cares away in naturally heated mineral waters in five beautiful new bathing pools in a wooded riverside setting, lap up a luxury spa treatment, or throw yourself 13.5m down the Conical Thrill tube and raft ride.    

ON THE SIDE: Hanmer Springs has wineries to jetboating and bungy jumping.  

12. CAMP OUT ON HOLY GROUND: Staydium Glamping at Eden Park 

Cosy up for a sleepover in New Zealand’s original garden of Eden, better known as Eden Park – the spiritual home of Kiwi rugby. Choose a match or non-match day (rugby or cricket) in a well-appointed glamping dome overlooking the field. Watch the play from prime position and, when the crowd’s gone, the stadium is all yours to come and go, dine out in nearby Kingsland before snuggling down in a comfy king bed. Combo the stay with a the ‘Haka on the Park’ behind-the-scenes experience, learning to do the famous pre-match experience on the celebrated turf. 

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