Some travel experiences are so magical they fall into a class of their own. Where luxury is found in every element of a lovingly crafted itinerary, and where each day is filled with rare opportunities to unlock the best kept secrets of the country you are exploring. We bring this style of travel to life with our Classe collection – a suite of luxury tours that have been designed to reaffirm that every minute of your travel time is precious. From the most exquisite accommodation, to exclusive experiences that will take your breath away, our Classe range will impress and enthrall.
We are delighted to introduce New Zealand as our latest Classe destination, a country with terrain so beautiful it borders on otherworldly. From mountain panoramas that have inspired many a screensaver, through to glaciers, lakes, forests and fjords, New Zealand has been blessed with a phenomenal topography that will have your jaw dropping in wonder around every corner.
If you can drag your eyes away from the impressive horizon, you will find the rich and fascinating ancient culture of New Zealand’s Indigenous Maori people, who have inhabited this land for over 1000 years. Their beliefs, customs and language form an integral part of New Zealand life. Add to that the dynamic and varied cities, unique wildlife and friendly locals, and you have a country that is a dream come true for the curious traveller. Here is a glimpse of what to expect on our New Zealand tours.
The most enthralling way to learn about Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand), is from its Indigenous people, the Maori, who have a long and intriguing history, and a strong spiritual link with the water, earth and sky. We provide rare and exclusive opportunities to connect with this compelling culture including visiting the sacred Maori site of Te K?ripitanga o Tama-nui-te-Ra – the place where the stars and the sun emerge from the waters of the great Lake of Kiwa. Your guides are members of the local Waimarama Tribe and we have been granted rare permission to enter and have the privilege of experiencing this spiritual place, and sharing food with the tribe members at the end of the visit, as a custom. In the South on Stewart Island, we have the exclusive experience of learning about native and endemic flora, fauna and wildlife from Ulva, a direct descendant of the first Maori people of Stewart Island who is deeply knowledgeable and passionate about this special place.
There is a beautiful quote often attributed to poet Mary Angelou that says, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”. Our itineraries have been crafted with this in mind. Imagine kayaking through century old canyons at night, your path illuminated by thousands of glow worms that sparkle like Christmas lights as you float silently downstream. Or feeling the adrenaline-fuelled awe of being given a bird’s eye view from your helicopter of the hidden lakes and beech forests that aren’t accessible any other way.
Meals to Remember
If the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, then prepare to fall madly in love with New Zealand. Whether it be an exciting tasting menu at an award-winning restaurant, a gourmet picnic platter, or 5-course degustation dinner paired with wine, we take every opportunity to showcase the fresh local produce of the regions visited. In Kawakawa Bay, a morning hike will be rewarded with a sumptuous barbeque lunch including local wine, and a chance to try your hand at trout fishing. In the beautiful Hawkes Bay, you can learn to shuck your own oysters as you spend the day cycling between olive groves, orchards, and farmlands sampling cheese and wine. Of course, if cycling is not quite your style, we have you covered, with private transportation between venues and extra time to sit back and relax.
After an exciting day of exploring, is there anything that feels quite as good as arriving at your accommodation to find it is a little slice of heaven? We know how a stunningly designed property can elevate your travel experience to the next level, and have handpicked our properties for their style, charm and luxe touches. Whether it be a luxurious cottage nestled in the vineyards, an opulent lake front estate, a beautifully appointed villa in the countryside, or a sumptuous river retreat, the accommodation on your journey will compliment it’s beautiful surroundings, and provide a stay that will be an experience in itself.
What are you waiting for? Make this experience yours and join our small group tours to New Zealand to explore this natural wonder in pure classe!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.