Aroha Luxury New Zealand Tours creates personalized holidays
of a lifetime on the breathtakingly beautiful island nation.
No excursion is off-limits for Veronika Vermeulen and her team. Her private guides have helicoptered travelers onto active volcanoes, or arranged for them to jetbike down
mountains. “No one holiday is the same—each is created to suit
a particular client,” explains Veronika, who founded Aroha
Luxury New Zealand Tours 16 years ago. “And that is what
makes them unforgettable.”
From glaciers to rain forests, there is no shortage of stunning
scenery to visit in New Zealand. Veronika, who was born in
Germany, begun her love affair with the country when she visited
20 years ago, and now lives on a dairy farm on New Zealand’s
North Island with her husband. “The beauty of New Zealand
is that we still have generous access to its natural abundance
and unique experiences,” she says. “It is the most extraordinary
playground on earth.”
An established tour guide herself, she spotted an opening for
bespoke, guide-led holidays. Aroha first quizzes its customers about
their wishes and expectations. It can then take around 10 hours to
design a package for clients, who range from adventure-seeking
families to billionaires.
“We look after people 100 per cent,” says Veronika. “Everything
is crafted around people’s hobbies, interests, and their expectations
of quality. We keep on talking and asking questions until we have
the perfect itinerary, not a pre-set one.”
Aroha—meaning “love” in the Maori language—is an apt
word for a vacation company that’s passionate about customers
experiencing a memorable trip. As well as organizing all their
needs, an Aroha guide is on hand to provide insight and expertise.
“Our private guides aren’t limousine drivers,” says Veronika.
“They act like concierges by accompanying clients the entire trip.
They have excellent people skills including knowing when
holidaymakers want time on their own. And not to be rushed—the
locations here are so special that people want to enjoy them.”
Aroha’s Meet & Greet Service ensures a hassle-free experience
on arrival. And for those in search of luxury, Aroha is happy to
organize private helicopter charters and accommodation at toprated destinations, including Blanket Bay Lodge, which has won
awards from Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report and Australia’s
Luxury Travel magazine, and has been feted by Condé Nast Traveller
and Forbes. The focus for Veronika is always on providing her
clients with an unforgettable holiday.
“We’re about people feeling comfortable and relaxed but
having a special time,” she says. “Even the wealthiest people want to
connect with normality, be it going on a fishing boat or getting
dirty on a hike.”
Although this boutique firm is well-established in the travel
business, it also works with local experts, from hunters to wine
professionals. This ensures holidaymakers get “under the skin” of
the country. This can mean eating from a menu created by a chef
who has picked the ingredients straight from the garden of his
guest-house. Or catching crayfish to cook on the beach.
It’s these touches that bring in word-of-mouth clients,
including those from the US, Middle East, and Europe. And,
whatever their expectations, Veronika and her team will push
themselves to the limit to guarantee they have the perfect holiday—
one that is truly sensational.