Featuring world-class wineries, therapeutic hot springs, unforgettable animal encounters and incredible food experiences, TravelManagers’ famil to New Zealand’s Hurunui and Kaikōura regions introduced a group of personal travel managers (PTMs) to one of the less well-known but most memorable parts of the South Island.
For Andrea Friend, who is based in Cranbourne East, VIC, it was her first visit to these regions, and she confirms that it did not disappoint.
“Many people think that because New Zealand is quite a small country, it is easy to drive each day and still see everything, but this is definitely not the case. You could spend days in this part of the South Island and still not do everything that there is to offer. It’s full of amazing scenery, food, wine and wildlife – there really is something for everyone.”
The group travelled to the thermal spa town of Hanmer Springs via the Waipara Valley, which is one of the country’s emerging stars in the wine industry. They were also treated to an authentic South Island farming experience, which included a hands-on guided farm tour and a thrilling jet-boat ride on the Hurunui River before arriving in the coastal town of Kaikōura.
Kaikōura is renowned for its rich and diverse marine life; sandwiched between soaring, snowcapped mountains and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the famil group were treated to a number of unforgettable opportunities, including the chance to swim with wild Dusky dolphins.
“For me, one of the most amazing experiences was in Kaikōura, lying in bed watching the sunrise across the ocean – it was spectacular,” explains Debbie Bean, who is based in Tarneit, VIC. “The famil has opened my eyes to a region I hadn’t previously thought of recommending to my clients. I would love to travel there again as I feel I have only just scratched the surface.”
Originally from New Zealand but now based in Richmond, VIC, PTM Helen Rolton says the famil proved that New Zealand still offers plenty of surprises even for those who know the destination well.
“I visit New Zealand at least one a year, and every time I learn something new, meet new operators, try new gins and never tire of the scenery. My clients will be the beneficiaries of this latest famil, as I know they’ll love Hanmer’s Hot Springs, dinner at Kaikōura’s Hapuku Kitchen and jetboating on the Hurunui River.”
“I’m even more in awe of New Zealand every time I visit another area of this beautiful country,” agrees her colleague, PTM Teresa Reyes. “Our hosts, Destination Kaikōura, Visit Hurunui, Christchurch Airport and Tourism New Zealand, really know how to show off their country and were so proud in doing so. Every operator we met was dedicated to showing visitors what their beautiful country is all about.”
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