New Zealand + Fiji: Where the Magic Happens

Trip Report


New Zealand + Fiji: Where the Magic Happens


Sandy Cunningham reports back from her family trip to two of the most breathtaking destinations on earth—New Zealand and Fiji.


Few could dispute that New Zealand and Fiji are among the most breathtaking destinations on earth, but there are plenty of places in the world with gorgeous land-and-sea-scapes. These places offer more than just beauty—they guarantee out-of-this-world experiences and the warmest of people who make them happen for you. 

New Zealand has no shortage of amazing lodges and boutique hotels and, as if to prove the point, our first stop was arguably one of the most beautiful properties on the planet. The Landing is a collection of private residences available for rent, fully staffed and with all the toys we could possibly want to explore the surrounding area. Every minute was perfection, from our day out on a boat to stalking kiwis after dark.  The Bay of Islands where the location of the initial first landings of both Maori and European settlers. The Landing is a worthy destination unto itself, suitable for couples but ideal for multi-generational families looking to settle in for a longer stay.

From here on out our New Zealand tour was one long thrill ride of non-stop adventures, early morning starts and late nights. We hardly rested to catch our breaths, and we did not mind the nonstop action one bit.


“Few could dispute that New Zealand and Fiji are among the most breathtaking destinations on earth."


No time in New Zealand would be complete without a day spent with our phenomenal Maori guides; we were privileged to experience a true Maori welcome and day with Tom, Delani and his family. All I can say is this is one of the top 10 most life-changing days of all time.  

Chopper rides over Taupo, hikes and dinner with friends, made our time on the North Island feel like we had come home. The New Zealanders are naturally warm, welcoming people with a great sense of humor—we laughed from north to south and everywhere in between. 

Our South Island foray was a blur of jagged mountains, wild frothy coast lines, hikes, quad bikes, luges, jet boat rides, and picnics with jaw-dropping vistas. A day and night spent with friends in the central Otago was undoubtedly one of our highlights, our teenage kids connecting over a succulent roast lamb, as the forest of trees behind the house belted out reggae all night. (No kidding, the speakers were in the trees). It was phenomenal! Queenstown ticked all the action and adventure boxes, but my guess is we will be back—10 days is not enough time to see all the best of what the country has to offer. From intimate B&B’s to world-class luxury lodges, New Zealand has something for everyone and we loved it all.


"You’ll surely fall in love with the islands and the reefs, but it will be the Fijian people who will have you yearning to return.”


Next up, island hopping in Fiji. This had long been on my bucket list, but with little time to prepare for our trip, it was a completely virgin experience. You’ll surely fall in love with the islands and the reefs, but it will be the Fijian people who will have you yearning to return. We bopped between the Mamanukas, staying at a wonderful family friendly resort, Malolo, which was the perfect introduction to Fiji, with warm and welcoming people and a never ending array of adventures. We swam, snorkeled, SUP’d and explored the surrounding archipelago of islands, looking for the next best snorkeling cove. We placed coconuts on Castaway Island and spent a long lunch at Like Like, a neighboring resort. The girls played beach volleyball with the staff in the afternoons and we reveled in the company of the Fijian people. 

We then headed off to the Jean Michel Cousteau resort; this meant a boat ride, a car transfer to the airport, an island-hopper flight, and everything worked like clockwork. The JMC resort is legendary, with good reason. Gorgeous bures line the manicured and exotic gardens, and the hospitality team is without a doubt one of the best we have ever encountered. The girls took their PADI intro to scuba course and have gotten the diving bug for sure. The snorkeling was world-class (this was to be expected but it blew us all away nevertheless).


Fiji is a wonderful stand-alone destination, but if you’ve got the time, it combines perfectly with New Zealand. We cannot wait to go back to both of them!

Get in touch to start planning your own unexpected journey today, or check out a similar trip to Sandy’s at the link below!


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New Zealand + Fiji: Where the Magic Happens


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