Romantic Getaway Review: New Zealand's Azur Lodge

For the ISLANDS Romantic Getaways Guide, contributing editor Jad Davenport enjoyed an epic adventure with his wife through the beautiful interior of New Zealand's South Island. Their activities included a helicopter flight to Cecil Peak and the Ledge, billed as the most beautiful spot in the country, as well as a dip in the Onsen Hot Pools, a cruise on the Fiordland Navigator and more. They used the Azur Lodge outside Queenstown as the base for many of their adventures.

Plan Your Trip

  • Fly on Air New Zealand, the flagship carrier here. Yes, it's a long flight from the U.S. — 13 hours from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL), and you lose a day crossing the International Dateline. But in business class, you can dine on poached Manuka prawns and New Zealand lamb while sipping some of the best Kiwi wines. Personal entertainment screens are loaded with movies and TV shows. For the ultimate in privacy on 747-400 planes, snag the coveted A-1 and K-1 seat combination. You'll be in the quiet nose of the plane facing one another. The connecting flight to Queenstown (ZQN) on the South Island is under two hours.
  • Stay in the Queenstown area, billed as "the adventure capital of the world." The Azur Lodge offers a taste of luxury in nine villas, which feature gas fireplaces, private decks and "rainforest shower heads."
  • See the scenery from Queenstown to Milford Sound on the Helicopter Line's ultimate sightseeing combination, the Fly Cruise Heli tour. Fly by plane to Milford Sound for a cruise up the fiord; the return helicopter flight includes an alpine landing.
  • Find more romantic getaways in the ISLANDS Romantic Getaways Vacation Guide.