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Despite its recent tourism boom, the best way to "do" New Zealand remains somewhat elusive. Fortunately, Black Label Retreats is offering a new approach to seeing what the country is all about (hint: it’s not hobbits) by offering private homes for rent and activities to go along with them. Each of the company’s four houses— all on the North Island—has what owner Rhys Arrowsmith calls an x factor, such as, say, a 360-degree view of the mountains or a private beach. And beyond booking nannies and chefs, Black Label will set up dive trips and helicop-ter tours (every property has a helipad). The firm also has houses in Fiji and plans to expand into Australia this year, but rest assured, the goal is to stay small and personal.

From $1,500; blacklabelretreats.com.

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