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Rediscover New Zealand with an island hopping adventure

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There’s more to New Zealand than its north and south islands. The country is an island nation and there are many hot spots to be discovered dotting the coastlines.

For a sense of true escapism and adventure, to encounter endangered wildlife or to treat yourself to a little bit of luxury, New Zealand’s islands offer something for everyone. Whether it’s standing on an active volcano on White Island or spotting Kiwi on Kapiti, here is Adelto‘s guide to some of the best islands you shouldn’t miss.

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Best for wildlife: New Zealand’s official third island – Stewart Island

Subantarctic Stewart Island, which lies 30 kilometres south of the South Island, has a land area of nearly 2,000 square kilometres and 85% of it is included within the boundaries of Rakiura National Park. Key highlights include nocturnal bird life and the calls of ruru, weka and kiwis by night and listening to red-crowned parakeets, bush parrots and Stewart Island robins by day. Stewart Island is a paradise for hikers with 245 kilometres of walking tracks that can all be accessed from the town of Oban. Visitors can participate in short walks through Fern Gully, Horseshoe Point or Moturau Moana and for the adventurous, a three day ‘Great Walks’ hike. Just off the west coast of Stewart Island is Ulva Island, the home to Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve. Here, guests can explore the 56 species of marine fish including kina, sea cucumber, starfish, kelp species and brachiopods with diving trips and sea kayak safaris.

Where to stay: Observation Rock Lodge

Overlooking the harbour of Paterson Inlet, Observation Rock Lodge on Stewart Island is a new luxury boutique lodge offering secluded gardens, untouched native forests and panoramic ocean and mountain views.

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Best for wine lovers: The Hamptons of Auckland – Waiheke Island

Located just a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island is the Hamptons of the city with countless stunning wineries, a growing local food scene, stunning white sandy beaches, an eclectic arts scene, galleries and studios and a growing crop of uber cool boutique properties. Those with a passion for wine can enjoy the island’s wineries that produce unique, high quality wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and the recent move into Chardonnay grape varieties. At Mudbrick Vineyard, hand-picked fruit is nurtured from vine to bottle and the wines are carefully selected from classic French varieties. Stonyridge Vineyard is nestled in a valley of olive trees, colourful vines and the aromas of the south of France and offers wine tastings and café dining. Te Whau Vineyard is described as one of the most achingly beautiful and dramatic places a vineyard has ever taken root and grows five star Chardonnay and Cabernet Savignon/Merlot, the best of Waiheke wine.

Where to stay: The Oyster Inn

Located in the heart of Oneroa Village on Waiheke Island, The Oyster Inn offers a renowned seafood restaurant, bars, beach shops and just three luxury boutique guest rooms all rolled into one. Founded by designer Jonathan Rutherfurd Best and former fashion PR for Louis Vuitton and Topshop Andrew Glenn, The Oyster Inn comes equipped with a vintage VW taxicab bus on hand for excursions and to collect guests from the ferry terminal as well as a Fish & Chippery take-away window at hand at all times.

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For the adventurous: Walk on an active volcano at White Island

Take a walk on the wild side and head to New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, White Island, a giant, barren moonscape streaked with iron oxide reds and vivid sulphur whites and yellows. White Island is located 48 kilometres off the shores of Whakatane in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, just 100 kilometres from Rotorua in the North Island. For those who want to arrive in style, take a flight with White Island Flights flying over farm land, white sand beaches, off shore islands and landing right on the volcano. For the truly adventurous, take a 90-minute boat cruise arriving 50 kilometres offshore to the island and then an unforgettable two-hour walking tour past steaming cracks in the ground, bubbling pools and roaring gas fumaroles. The cliffs rise vertically to over 300-metres high and the crater lake, a huge expanse of steaming water, is a must see.

Where to stay: White Island Rendezvou

White Island Rendezvous provides a variety of accommodation to fit all needs from backpackers to the luxurious and is just walking distance to the departure point for White Island tours.

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For relaxation: A must do in New Zealand – Bay of Islands

Known for its beauty and history, the Bay of Islands is paradise for those who love beaches and water activities. Just a three-hour drive or 35-minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Island consists of 144 islands including Cape Brett, the Purerua Peninsula, Moturua Island and towns such as Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. Whether it’s sand dune surfing in Cape Reinga, a cruise to the famous ‘hole in the rock’, a day at the beach in Paihia or a boat ride around Tapeka Point to spot wild dolphins, whales and marlin, the Bay of Islands has something for everyone.

Where to stay: Eagle Nest

Eagles Nest offers world-class luxury villas each set within their own grounds in a 75-acre private estate on a cliff top in Russell. Guests can choose from one of the five villas including ‘sacred space’, ‘first light temple’, ‘eagle spirit’, ‘the eyrie’ or the ‘rahimoana villa’ where they can enjoy an invigorating swim in a horizon-edge pool or luxuriate in an outdoor spa.

For more information on New Zealand, visit newzealand.com

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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June 16, 2014 | Australasia New Zealand Travel | View comments

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