Cape Kidnappers is situated on a working sheep farm, yes, but words don’t begin to touch where the property is actually located. Perched atop a series of sloping ridges over the span of 6,000 hectares, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers is sprung from a storybook. From the main reception area, your line of sight sweeps across the ridges below you, from the golf course to the expansive view of Hawke’s Bay to the mountain ridge looming in the distance, which we’d just driven over (and over and over and up and down) coming from Taupo. True to the nature of New Zealand, everything feels like a utopia. Very utopic, which my computer is underlining as though it’s not a word (I guess the word is “utopian”) I feel like we should use the word “utopic” here and it should only be reserved for a land filled with this many kind people and beautiful sights and lack of hatred or cruelty or even vicious animals. When we arrived at Kidnappers, we passed two security gates, where we’d actually said to ourselves, “Huh, if this place is so safe, why would they need two gates?” We were later informed that these gates are to keep out the predators of their ground birds on properties. The gates of New Zealand are not used to protect people from one another – they are TO KEEP OUT THE FERRETS. New Zealand is Wisteria Lane without the desperation. It is Whoville without the Grinch. It appears to us that nothing dodgy (my new favorite word after being called this by a well-intentioned TSA Agent, shorty after another one called me “Love” because EVEN THE TSA AGENTS ARE GREAT) has actually happened since Cape Kidnappers got its name, which occurred when Captain Cook first discovered the area in the 1700s. The Mauri people confused one of Captain Cook’s men, a Tahitian, as Mauri, so they kidnapped the Tahitian to bring him to safety, only to find out he was, in fact, not of Mauri descent. Too late, though, as Cook already decided to call it Cape Kidnappers. And that was the last of the badness in this part of the world, as far as I can tell. Spending two nights at Kidnappers allowed us the beautiful opportunity to pause and catch our breath. While there are a number of awesome activities offered by the property, including one of the only places in the world where guests can see the famed kiwi birds in their natural habitat (Kidnappers is also a nature reserve), clay shooting, a shepherding experience, you name it – we needed some down time. One of the most unexpected joys of this getaway has been our opportunities to spend a few hours on gorgeous trails throughout the various settings. From a long walk through the Grimm Brother’s-style forest outside of Kinloch Club, a trail that led to the calm shores of Lake Taupo, to the Black Reef Trail at Kidnappers, where we strolled out to the Gannet Colony, many of which have already flocked away for winter. We trekked (that’s a bold word, it was pretty light walking if I’m being honest) through the sheep fields where they looked at us inquisitively, and we did the same back. The grazed peacefully along the hillside, which eventually turned into a dramatic cliffside with stunning views. How in this world did we get in that moment, staying at one of the top properties in all of Oceania, in a staring contest their sheep? These are the kind of rolling green hills and infinite, endless seas that make you step back and think that your own fears and fortitudes pale so much in comparison to this big, great world and what it has to offer. Our next out of body experience happened just two days later. After leaving Kidnappers, we made our way down to Queenstown, where our helicopter tour overshadowed the majority of the sights I’ve seen across the globe. But first, the hotel scene. We spent our first evening at Matakauri, the sister property to Kidnappers that’s situated just a ten minute drive outside of Queenstown. The lodge-within-a-city style escape is pulled off effortlessly. I’ve had clients ask whether it makes more sense to stay in the city versus outside of it and, truth be told, it is completely a personal preference. For each person that likes to be in the hustle and bustle (like myself), there’s another that would prefer to feel more remote, which is exactly what Matakauri achieves. You’ll find views like this around every corner: We were able to quickly compare the experiences the next day when we checked into Eichardt’s Private Hotel, situated right in the heart of the city. This charming boutique hotel, well appointed and located right on the lake, sits in the heart of Queenstown, just a block over from its sister property, The Spire Hotel. “Is the rooftop bar open this evening?” we asked the front desk agent at Eichardt’s Private Hotel when we came back from a delectable lunch of Fergbaker’s pies, the counterpart shop to the famous Fergburger in Queenstown. “We don’t actually have a rooftop bar,” the agent replied nicely. “I think what you’re seeing is the photo shoot that’s happening in the Penthouse. We’re actually moving you guys into that room afterwards, does that work for you?” DOES THAT WORK FOR US. We didn’t intend for our time in Queenstown to be spent in front of a fireplace bundled up in matching fur blankets while reading and writing and working, but that is what has happened. A million times thank you to Eichardt’s for going above and beyond for us, just like they do for our clients. And, of course, we spent some time on the rooftop bar (aka, the patio overlooking the town square and stunning lakefront location – complete with a hot tub). This adventure capital of the world is an obvious must-do for any New Zealand itinerary. From bungee jumping to the jet boat rides and beyond, there’s a little something for every thrill seeker. For us, though, the thrill of a lifetime came from the two hours we spent touring Milford Sound and Fjordlands via helicopter. Seasonz (our tour partner who put everything together on this amazing trip!) had arranged a spectacular experience with Glacier Southern Lakes, which showcased their newest helicopter, a luxury machine with an estimated cost of anywhere between $3-4 million. This luxury yacht of the sky took us all across Fjordland National Park, where we viewed jaw-dropping scenes from the cloud-covered mountains to the monolithic glaciers. I might not have ever believed it was anything besides virtual reality and we not been able to jump out of the helicopter for three different landings: once in front of the famed Milford Sounds, another time on a remote boulder beach, and finally atop a glacier on Mt. Aspiring. The photos speak for themselves: Not that you need any more convincing to come see New Zealand for yourself after those photos, but Jeremy and I spent a good amount of time trying to put into words how this could be described so clients would just get it. The best analogy we could come up with, God help us: imagine if you put a “pretty filter” on America. Coming to New Zealand does not force you outside of your comfort zone as a traveler – instead, it heightens the things you love and never knew you were missing. It’s not just safe, it’s ultra-safe. The scenery is not just beautiful, it’s stunning. The people are not just kind, they’re loving and funny and charming and real. The destination is not just approachable, it welcomes travelers with open arms – and you definitely need to be one of those travelers.