What I love most about New Zealand 96



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Being an AAT Kings Travel Director means that each and every day I am lucky enough to show-off my beautiful country to people who are curious to explore and understand more about Aotearoa – the land of the long white cloud.

Everything about New Zealand is so special and much of it unique, from the geography and geology to the people.

As a proud Kiwi, I love sharing my local secrets with travellers who simply wouldn’t uncover them if they were exploring independently. At AAT Kings, we really strive to ensure our guests are inspired and enthralled by the destination they are visiting. We are encouraged to take our guests to our favourite places, so they have that true sense of an authentic local experience. It’s these encounters which make for the best stories they want to tell their friends about back home.


The list of my favourite places in New Zealand is endless, but Fiordland National Park is certainly up there. It is breathtakingly beautiful, the views never cease to amaze me and my guests are always completely mesmerised by the landscapes. The Moeraki Boulders are also rather special and they present guests with some really fun photo opportunities – and let me tell you, I’ve seen some pretty inventive poses!

Milford Sound

Of course it’s not just the places you visit which make memories, it’s also the people you meet along the way. One of my most memorable guests was a lady from the Netherlands who had an artificial limb. We visited the adrenaline capital of the world, Queenstown, and she was concerned that she might not be able to fully participate in everything on offer. I was there to make sure she could take part in everything she wanted to, including the amazing glacier valley walks and the ultimate thrill seekers activity, a sky dive. She had always dreamt of doing this in Queenstown but never thought she would. Needless to say, she loved every second of it!


Working for AAT Kings means I am part of a wonderful team of people whose passion, professionalism and warmth really shines through in all that we do. We are encouraged to be ourselves, demonstrate that natural warmth of welcome that New Zealanders are known for and allow our guests to experience our country as a friend. There’s nothing quite like going to work every morning and sharing your culture and way of life with a new group of friends.


Want to see this gorgeous part of the world for yourself?

AAT Kings is Australia’s favourite Guided Holiday company, with over 100 years of experience. Their wide range of Day Tours, Short Breaks and Guided Holidays are the perfect way to experience the best of Australia & New Zealand.

Click here to learn more about AAT Kings’ Guided Holidays of New Zealand, or download a brochure to begin dreaming about your next trip!


This blog post is sponsored by AAT Kings. It was published as we believe it offers helpful insights into a subject important to the Starts at 60 community. For more information on AAT Kings’ Guided Holidays, please click here.

Lu Tyree

Lu Tyree-Travel is a Travel Director for AAT Kings in New Zealand.

  1. My late husband hailed from Wellington so we spent several holidays in NZ. and travelled both north and south islands. I love it all, especially Maori culture.

  2. The roads, and food, wine and accomodation are great – the kiwis really know how to do tourism – and it’s soooo beautiful!

  3. A few years ago I spent 6 weeks there with some friends, we visited both islands and I would have to say my two favourite places would have had to be Queenstown on the South Island and definitely the Bay of Islands on the North island, would love to visit both again.

  4. I love all parts of New Zealand, our best friends live in Auckland, Bay of islands down to Queenstown all beautiful country, we went to Milford sound on a cruise ship last January, just amazing.

  5. Love NZ been to both south and north islands. Christchurch was our go to get away and tried it again for a wk last Christmas but unfortunately not the same. Hopefully will be back in a few years, but this Christmas off to Auckland for a wk. Great city, lots to do, easy walking or bus if you prefer, lots of great eateries and not too big.

  6. Our last trip to NZ included floods, landslides a car that caught fire and Christchurch even turned on a small earth tremor. Plus a car hire firm that took our $3000 excess and didn’t provide us with any off the paperwork to claim it off our travel insurance. The scenery is however spectacular, the people lovely and most places not excessively dear.

    10 REPLY
    • How sad, Barbara to have had such personal misfortune. Was your car hire a main-stream business? Glad the NZ beauty out-did your misadventures!

    • Allison it wasn’t a good time, we learned three days before we flew out of NZ that my father had been hospitalised and he died only a few days after our return. Had it not been for that I might have been more on the ball to take it up with the car hire firm but we missed noticing the greatly reduced balance as it came off our travel debit card not a regularly used one. It was a mainstream hire firm Budget. I’ve not hired a car from them since I have noticed going through airports that most hire companies have staff at their counter but not Budget which is what happened when we left Christchurch we just dropped off the keys of our replacement car and there was nobody there to discus the situation with the car that caught fire.

    • When we hired a car at the airport we had to tell them we only wanted to hire the bloody thing not buy it! It was only a little Barina! We made them take cash and told them we didn’t have a credit card! We got caught in floods and the car got a little water inside. We didn’t pay any damages once we pointed out that we could have let the car float away! Our excess would not have cover the total loss! And the back floor was barely damp. That was Budget too!

    • That’s what angered me Mary in pouring rain on a very narrow windy road we took considerable trouble to push the car along and off the road onto one of the few spaces we could get it so it wouldn’t cause injury to others or get further damaged itself. I spoke to Budget a few times about sending the paperwork and even wrote to them, appalling lack of customer service.

    • Barbara, we were travelling to Tiki Wiki and it was pouring. We just missed being caught in a landslide but the cars behind us got caught! We didn’t know about it but wondered when their car lights disappeared. We were heading to a friend’s brother’s deer farm and when we reached Tiki Wiki they told us about it. They took us out to the farm and it was a nightmare journey through a storm. When we woke up next morning the water was as high as the deer fences in places. That’s where we got the flood damage! So, our experiences had similarities! Not surprised Budget shafted you! It’s common practice. That’s why we wouldn’t give them a credit card!

    • We were headed from Picton to Richmond, got a replacement car from Budget at Nelson Airport after being rescued by a lovely local chap who bunged all our stuff in his 4wd and drove us over there, we called Budget to organise this, from a ridge top as there was no phone coverage where the car caught fire.

    • Poor buggers! What a mess. It would sour your trip somewhat, especially with worry about your father! At least you met someone kind!

    • Mary , I think you mean Te Kuiti.

      I run a B&B / Homestay, and we have a lot of fun with our guests trying to pronounce the Maori place names; but when they leave, they are quite proud of the fact that they have improved their pronunciation. Gets funnier still if we have shared a wine or two and some beer.

    • I have to agree B&B worked out to be one of our highlights for the trip. Tom Cruise with Penelope Cruze and his kids were in Queenstown, it was their high season, accommodation a problem. We were lucky we had the most hospitable B&B with all homemade produce.

    • that is why i commented above that we need your tourist dollars Aussies because apparently there isnt enough money in our govt kitty to extend to all people affected by all our natural disasters of late. some of who are still living out of their own homes in a cold climate due to waiting for insurers to come up with their payments and, also in CHCH cant afford the climbing rental prices being imposed on them since the quakes struck I experienced nearly 2 years of them not one minor tremor. and now live elsewhere in NZ where we recently experienced the biggest floods for many decades causing yet more peoples homes and livelihoods to be upset in NZ and apparently not enough money to stretch to all affected Please if you’re visiting consider Whanganui as a destination Our river is very long and full of history and back to normal levels , we are near a group of volcanoes that dont have any inclination of erupting any time soon as they are monitored so this we know and in late January we have an awesome vintage weekend on here with events We have no high rises here and no three lane highways but we need tourists asap

  7. Well this is an advertisement and an opportunity for booking despite SaS loading it as an opportunity for discussion…but nonetheless – NZ is a beautiful place and the people are lovely. Hilites; skiing Mt Hut while there was powder snow. The gorgeous scenery around Queenstown and the stunning wineries on the Southern Island. Polynesia Spa at Rotorua. The fabulous tour of an old Maori village and eating the Hungi -and my husband learned the Hukka with great gusto, abandonment and enjoyment. Beautiful windy Mt Wellington – bit like Melbourne. Fishing in the Bay of islands – pity we were taken out fishing by Hitler’s brother!! – but the locals made up for it in the pub later that night – they saw us on the water and laughed at us being so dutiful on Hitler’s boat. Hilarious evening nudged along by local wine and humour. Oh yes – a lovely place to holiday. We will go back and do the South Island again and fly into Queenstown – squeezing past the stunning mountains. Aaahhh…

    9 REPLY
    • Thanks Christine. hhmm…did you get anything from my comments at all other than the incorrect spelling…after all – I am not from there – I guess you must be an NZer.

    • tourist’s account of NZ – I noticed the spelling mistakes, but thought – oh, leave it. Sorry about Hitler’s boat – I hadn’t heard of it, sorry! One of my most wonderful views was flying into Queenstown between high snow covered alps either side. Hope to repeat this 2017.

    • Jan, Allison and Anne, thank you so much. 💐💐💐 It was a while ago and sorry for the mistakes in spelling. I was so pleased to bring some experiences of the trip together – great memories – and we do want to go back – to fly in Queenstown and we want to experience the wineries again and also Milton Sound….really worth a look I hear. I would love my husband to try a spot of fly fishing on Lake Taupo too – (I want to also go back to the Polynesian Spa that is not too far from there). NZ is a spectacular country. Allison the guy I referred to as Hitler ran fishing day trips – his wife was lovely but gee he was cranky and dominating. The other people who were also fishing on other boats laughed at us because he would not allow us to bring our fishing catch in, or put the bait on – he made us sit rather than stand and move about the boat. Nowadays I would speak up a bit – but decided not to then. At least we can have a laugh about it now. All good – and hope to return.

    • Merran, next time you go to the South Island try and get to our 3rd Island, Stewart Island also. Often forgotten but very beautiful, with the most amazing sunsets. Oh and don’t worry too much about the spelling Nazi’s, they will be negative about everything, their cup will always be half empty.

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