Auckland is often the entry and departure point for visitors, and therefore somewhere where some time is spent. People often accept lower standards in Auckland, thinking that we have nothing as spectacular here as we do in other parts of the country. That's wrong!
Just a short scenic 10-minute helicopter ride from the airport, or a 50-minute ferry ride, is Delamore Lodge, set on Waiheke Island. Waiheke is a small island, 19 kilometres by 11 kilometres and has been recently developed. Historically home to hippies, druggies and alternative lifestylers, they have been joined by bankers, stockbrokers, winemakers, artists and olive oil growers. It has a great feel, and a climate which is warmer than Auckland's.
Delamore Lodge is another original lodge. New architecture framing superb views, only four lovely rooms and a womb-like feeling of comfort and privacy, and a new swimming pool, they also specialise in hot stone massages. My memories here are of downing bottles of wine on the terrace and enjoying the views from the bathroom. A lovely, relaxed, informal feeling - a kitchen open to guests - and a great place to start or finish your trip to New Zealand.
In terms of activities, there is the whole of the Auckland region to choose from, as well as activities on Waiheke itself. We recommend:
Waiheke tour - either self-drive or with a guide, focussing on whichever angle of Waiheke interests you - wine, food, olive oil, art, or beach life. Add to this a lovely lunch at a lovely boutique restaurant - our favourite is Te Whau.
Hauraki cruise. There is a reason why Auckland has more sailboats per capita than anywhere in the world. And the reason is the playground - the Hauraki Gulf. Spend a day on this on anything from a racing sailboat through to luxury launches. Our favourite here is Lady Gay, a beautiful historic kauri launch, captained by highly experienced sailor and maritime icon Chad Thompson.
West Coast visit - the West Coast of Auckland is like Hawaii. Big hills covered in rainforest coming down to black sand beaches and crashing surf. Very different, and where The Piano, Xena, and Hercules were all filmed. Come for a tour, a walk, or a surfing lesson.
Auckland city tour - either a quick overview or a more in-depth tour with a twist - Maori culture, private landscaped gardens, boutiques, even real estate. If you have an interest, tell us. We have contacts.
Adventure - want to dive bomb a 1930s fighter-bomber, fly a helicopter, drive a rally car, learn how to four wheel drive? Yes - all possible here in Auckland. We can also do sailing lessons, or help you learn how to drive a launch.
Nightlife - need a chauffeur and a list of restaurants and clubs? Want to see why Auckland is called the Polynesian capital of the world? Want to see what people are getting up to in the early hours of the morning. Yes, we can fix that up too. Auckland is where we have our event capability, and so we can do even more here than in other parts of the country.