Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Returns from New Zealand Trip with Fresh Knowledge on the New Zealand Real Estate Market


1401995159LAKE TAHOE, NV – Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty agent Claudia Thompson returns from a trip to New Zealand this spring with an inside look at the New Zealand real estate market. Thompson’s fresh knowledge of New Zealand home prices and amenities makes her a uniquely qualified point of contact for Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty’s global referral program, facilitating a seamless process for scouting New Zealand luxury properties and referring clients to New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty.

Thompson says the lifestyle in New Zealand is quite similar to the quintessential Lake Tahoe lifestyle, and caters specifically to the demand for year-round outdoor activities for avid sports enthusiasts.

“I see a lot of Lake Tahoe residents choose to vacation in New Zealand, especially as summer arrives in Lake Tahoe and Queenstown, New Zealand prepares for ski season in the surrounding mountains. Many pro skiers from around the world, Lake Tahoe in particular, head to New Zealand during its winter season for skiing and training. Conversely, athletes and visitors who don’t favor winter can head to New Zealand in November as it transitions to summer. The reverse seasons complement each other well for sports enthusiasts who want to follow their passion year round,” Thompson said.


The Central Otago Region on the South Island of New Zealand, and the areas around Queenstown in particular are surprisingly like Lake Tahoe and offer similar lifestyle and scenery. The most apparent similarity between the two areas is the presence of a stunning, turquoise lake. Lake Wakatipu is less populated and developed, has fewer boats, and is geographically long and narrow compared to Lake Tahoe. Similar to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Lake Tahoe, the Southern Alps flank the shores of Lake Wakatipu in dramatic fashion.

In addition to tourism, there is a thriving market for luxury real estate in the surrounding areas. Blanket Bay is considered New Zealand’s ultimate Alpine Lodge and is located about 30 minutes from downtown Queenstown, in the town of Glenorchy. The lodge offers spectacular scenery, with outdoor activities ranging from mild to daring throughout the seasons. Winter (July to September) offers many options for skiing and heli-skiing in the surrounding mountain ranges, unlimited hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, sky diving, and boating. Scenic plane and helicopter trips access the famous Fiordland Heritage Park in the Milford Sound for a bird’s-eye view of the rugged mountains and forested areas of the region.

In regard to travel time, the commute from Queenstown to wine country is much closer than the distance from Lake Tahoe to Napa or Sonoma. The Central Otega Valley produces award winning wines, and the Gibbston Valley, located about 15 minutes from downtown, is home to a number of celebrated vineyards, including the Gibbston Valley Winery. The winery has a fabulous gourmet restaurant, wine cave, retail area, and hosts numerous events including the annual Summer Concert Series. The concert event draws crowds from all over New Zealand and Australia in addition to a large contingent of Lake Tahoe locals who make the annual trek down south to hike, bike, eat great food, drink fine wine, enjoy the scenery, and rock out.


The surrounding land holding company, Gibbston Valley Station, recently opened a large biking enterprise called “Rabbit Ridge” and has plans to develop a golf course, hotel and residential estate lots. The winery recently opened a tasting room and restaurant called “A Taste of Gibbston Valley” in historic Arrowtown, also a short drive from Queenstown.

For travelers who tire of hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, boating, wine tasting and eating, there is also world class golf. There is no shortage of choices for the golf enthusiast with two spectacular courses in the Queenstown vicinity including The Hills and Millbrook. The Hills is an exclusive golf club with a limited membership of 200. Play is along a gorgeous landscaped course, surrounded by mountain vistas and dotted with amazing larger than life iron sculptures. Millbrook is located in a tranquil park-like setting, surrounded by an upscale development that includes homes, a club house, restaurant, spa, and fitness facility. Many of the residents are Americans from the Lake Tahoe region.

New Zealand shares many qualities with the United States in terms of quality of living, stability, and tax system transparency. Kiwi's enjoy their freedom and are very friendly towards Americans. New Zealand has a stable government, a strong economy, stable currency, solid legal system, and a favorable tax structure.

"While in Queenstown this winter, I met with local real estate agents and looked at a number of developments both in downtown and the surrounding areas," Thompson said. "Property selections range from high-tech penthouse apartments with sweeping views over the city, lake and mountains, to homes overlooking manicured golf courses and peaceful, secluded, private properties surrounded by spectacular scenery in every direction."

With a time difference of one day and three hours from the West Coast of the US, it is easy to travel to New Zealand. Daily non-stop flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco go directly to Auckland with an easy connection to Queenstown.

For more information about purchasing a home or vacation property in New Zealand, or potentially trading your Lake Tahoe home for New Zealand property, contact Claudia Thompson at 775-233-4014, or visit

About Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty

Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty has office locations in the Lake Tahoe area including Squaw Valley, Incline Village, South Lake Tahoe, and Zephyr Cove. The Sotheby's International Realty® organization began in 1976 to provide clients estate disposition services and representation of extraordinary luxury real estate throughout the world. Sierra Sotheby's International Realty® local brokerage offices enable sellers and buyers to find representatives experienced in offering exceptional homes in Lake Tahoe, and provide access to our global referral network and extraordinary inventory. For more information, visit, or call one of our offices: (Squaw Valley) 530-581-1800; (Incline Village) 775-832-4900; (Zephyr Cove) 775-588-7710; (South Lake Tahoe) 530-494-7600; (Tahoe Donner) 530-587-3505.