Holiday Swap Out: trade these European hotspots for some New Zealand destinations a little closer to home

9th April 2020

Whilst we are currently mid way through the current New Zealand lockdown (how’s everyone holding up?), we can’t help but look ahead to start thinking about where we’d like to visit once the travel restrictions have been lifted. We know that there are a lot of disappointed travellers who have had travel plans disrupted by the Coronavirus, but when you can’t travel overseas, don’t lose hope!  Keep daydreaming and start planning for when we can start to travel domestically again – Back your backyard and swap out these European holiday destinations for somewhere a little closer to home…. 

Swap:  Barcelona for Wellington

The culture capital of New Zealand, Wellington can give most European cities a run for their money – think arts, culture, fashion, and food.  Wellington may offer a little more of a breeze in your hair, but who can resist the charm of our capital city.  Wander around the harbor, explore the local walks, and spend your days wining, dining, and exploring museums, galleries, and boutique shops.

Swap:  Greek Islands for Waiheke Island

Picturesque sweeping white sand beaches and a tropical climate make Waiheke Island a perfect swap out for your Greek Island holiday. Relax on the beach with a book, or hang out at your bach and enjoy a family BBQ. Swap out the cocktails for some divine wines, and make the most of the “island time” approach to life, where everything moves at a slower pace, and you’ll find it easy to forget that you’re still on New Zealand soil.

Swap:  South of France for Hawke’s Bay

If sampling local cuisines around the world are your thing, why not head to foodie-heaven in Hawke’s Bay and see what New Zealand has on offer for all things food and wine. Swap out the French food markets for the local farmers’ markets, and spend your afternoons’ sampling sips of locally made wines and wander the charming character-filled art deco inspired streets of Napier.  When you tire of tasting delicacies and exploring the local architecture, make the most of the Hawke’s Bay Coastline for some jaw-dropping scenery.

Swap:  French Alps for the Southern Alps

OK, so the slopes aren’t as big, and the snow isn’t quite as powdery BUT the Southern Alps still offer some damn fine skiing and mean that you can get your snow fix for the year.  Set yourself up in either Queenstown or Wanaka and you can visit four different mountains to really maximise the terrain.  Off-mountain, both towns offer plenty to keep you busy, so if you need a no-ski-day to give your legs a break, indulge in world-class dining, explore local vineyards, exciting activities, or even a day curled up next to the open fireplace in your villa.

Swap:  Croatia for Bay of Islands

Planning a sailing holiday in Croatia? Why not head to Bay of Islands at the top of the North Island. Whether you’re a history buff interested in learning about the rich culture of the area, a beach bum looking for a relaxing day on the sand, or a sea hound who loves nothing more than time on the ocean, bay of Islands is a great swap out for your Croatia holiday.

Swap:  Italian Foothills for Central Otago

Spend your days cycling through beautiful Central Otago scenery visiting boutique wineries and local galleries along the way.  Meet the winemakers and artists directly and learn the gorgeous stories behind each wine or artwork.  Explore the famous Central Otago rail trail, wander walking trails along the Clutha River, and enjoy chatting to the local characters who love to spin a yarn and bring the area to life.

Swap:  The Algarve for Nelson

Pictured yourself on golden beaches in the Algarve? Don’t fret, Nelson offers glorious sunshine and some of the most beautiful golden beaches in the country. If you’re more of a hiker and like exploring national parks and beautiful landscapes, head up north to the Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay area for a little exploration.

Swap:  Norway for Fiordland

Norway is a bucket list destination for many – if breathtaking dramatic landscapes are what get you excited, it’s hard to beat the Fiordland area of New Zealand’s South Island. Take advantage of there being less international visitors and head to NZ’s #1 tourist destination, Milford Sound, enjoy a more relaxed slow journey with an overnight boast on Doubtful Sound, or for the VERY adventurous, heli down to Dusky Sound for a day trip like no other exploring New Zealand’s wilderness and the Fiordland forests.

OK, so it might not be exactly what you had in mind, but take this unique opportunity to embrace local travel and explore your local area!  Our team are still on hand throughout lockdown to assist with any queries and help with your planning, so do get in touch to discuss your travel dreams and get ready to explore the land of the long white cloud once the travel restrictions have been lifted!

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