A who’s who of international celebs – from Jason Statham to Kaley Cuoco – descended on New Zealand over the summer, further proof that New Zealand remains one of the hottest destinations in the world.
Latest in a long line of celeb visitors, Justin Bieber followed up his sold-out Auckland concert by heading south to Arrowtown for some rest and relaxation. Just 20 minutes from the adventure capital of Queenstown, Arrowtown is an historic gold mining town on the banks of the Arrow River. The young superstar took on the nearby Shotover Canyon Swing, an intense activity where brave souls launch themselves from a cliff, 109m over the famous Shotover River. So much for rest and relaxation.
Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
The British it-girl joined Statham in Auckland, where he’s been making a film, and posted pics of health-filled smoothies at Auckland hotspots Little Bird Unbakery and Dear Jervois (Statham was a regular during his New Zealand stay: the café posted this farewell – “Goodbye to our favourite regular @jasonstatham. We have loved having you” – on Instagram). The couple headed to Queenstown and Milford Sound, cavorting in on a snowy slope and posing by helicopters (him) and in very cool boots (her). Huntington-Whiteley was lost for words to describe the experience, but both were clearly smitten by the South Island’s adventure capital (and by each other as well).
The Twilight star and her long-term partner Paul Khoury spent time in the North Island west coast beach town of Raglan, where she posted this: “I can’t get over how beautiful it is… Everywhere you look, it’s nothing short of stunning.” The region will be particularly memorable: at the nearby Bridal Veil Falls, Khoury proposed. “This is the most beautiful moment I could have ever hoped for,” Greene wrote. The couple stayed at the five-star Waoku Lodge in stunning Whale Bay, just outside of Raglan (“Coming back to our room was almost as exciting as our daily adventures”) and also got to Auckland, where Greene got herself a memento: a tattoo at Seventh Day Studio. Her final word on New Zealand: “A magical land where filters aren’t necessary. Couldn’t be in a more beautiful place with a more beautiful human.”
New Zealand model Emma Champtaloup has been chaperoning the Brit pop sensation around the North Island, in the company of her boyfriend, Jack Street, who is also Smith’s manager. The trio were seen on the pristine Coromandel Peninsula and in Rotorua – where they relaxed in a hot pool – as well as dining at Jason Statham's favourite Dear Jervois in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay.
Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen
The couple and their family turned up at several locations, including divine Hawkes Bay in the North Island and rugged Punakaiki on the South Island’s west coast – no doubt they clambered over the amazing Pancake Rocks. Fisher confirmed on Instagram that they were in New Zealand for three weeks, posting several images, including her posing with a snowman on the Tutoko Glacier near Queenstown (hash-tagged #forgottrousers). She even thanked the campervan they’d travelled in: “Farewell trusty steed… We shared unforgettable adventures and discoveries… we will miss you, Mabel.”
The Big Bang Theory star headed to New Zealand with new love, equestrian Karl Cook, to see in the New Year. The couple trekked in picture-perfect Abel Tasman National Park, launched themselves off a 109m-high cliff by a giant rope at the Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown and ate and drank in the picturesque South Island wine region of Nelson, including breakfast at the Cellar Door @ Waimea Estates in Richmond and a tasting at Brightwater Vineyards. The horse lovers also got into the saddle, posting a beautiful image on Instagram, captioned, “New Zealand, you have been incredible. Till next time.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
The Walking Dead’s Morgan, his wife Hilarie Burton and son Gus were also in Queenstown, staying at The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments (which posted a pic of the trio in the foyer). They enjoyed some thrills jet-boating on the Shotover River and riding three-wheeled carts at the Skyline Luge: Morgan called it the “Best day ever!” on his Twitter feed.
The actor, who stars in TV series Shameless, toured the country with fiancé Sam Esmail (creator of the acclaimed Mr Robot) in December and January. They took in some of NZ’s most stunning sights, including Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park and Queenstown. The couple stayed at the award-winning Blanket Bay Lodge on Lake Wakatipu in the South Island, fished in the pristine waters of the Waikato River in the North Island – Rossum posted her catch of the day on Instagram – and celebrated the New Year at the ultra-luxurious Lodge at Kauri Cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. She donned a toy tiara and posted an image wishing her Instagram followers a “Happy New Year from New Zealand aka the future!!!!”
And then there was
The Dark Knight actor Aaron Eckhart, who rode the Shotover Jet in Queenstown; Million Dollar Listing New York agent Ryan Serhant, who spent his honeymoon in Queenstown and the Bay of Islands; UK singer Ed Sheeran on his gap-year travels visited the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in the Marlborough region, where he flew in one of director Peter Jackson’s World War I vintage planes; and Chinese actor Fan Bingbing (X-Men: Days of Future Past), spotted in Queenstown.