New Zealand is renowned for its spectacular and often wild, remote landscapes along with a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventure, but that doesn’t mean your only accommodation option is camping. While that can be a fun way to experience it, if you’re looking to go all out there are plenty of upscale resorts and lodges to choose from. These, in particular, offer some of the most luxurious stays in the country.
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Located at the edge of the Totara Forest on the North Island, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs boasts sweeping views of the Pacific in a beautiful retreat set across 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay. Guests can look forward to enjoying the tranquil beaches, relaxing in the serene spa and teeing off at the clifftop golf course. Each of its romantic rooms includes an open fireplace and a private porch for taking in the stunning 180-degree ocean vista. For the ultimate stay, book the Owner’s Suite, which comes complete with a kitchen and private infinity pool. Schedule a Private Beach Barbecue and a Kauri chef will cook up a delectable feast of fresh seafood and local produce right at surfside.
Azur Lodge is set on a hillside along one of New Zealand’s and the world’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. It provides dazzling views in a tranquil oasis yet it’s just two miles from the heart of the country’s adventure capital. There are luxury villas, all of which come with balconies that provide an uninterrupted vantage point of the lake and the Remarkables Range along with huge windows to bring the magnificence of the outdoors in. It features plenty of upscale perks too, like a minibar, iPod dock and TV with a DVD/CD player. Bathrooms come with high-end toiletries, rainforest showers and double spa baths.
The five-star Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm set in a spectacular Hawke’s Bay location complete with breathtaking ocean views. The sprawling property has its own vegetable garden, providing ingredients for many of the dishes on its menu featuring items such as New Zealand lamb and beef. There’s an 18-hole championship golf course on site as well as a Jacuzzi, heated infinity pool and gym. Located in one of the top wine-producing regions of the country, it also makes an ideal base for wine tasting and touring.
There are no roads that lead to Bay of Many Coves, providing a fabulous secluded destination at the tip of the South Island. Accessed by water taxi through beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound (or a short helicopter ride from Wellington), the staff will be lined up on the jetty to welcome you to this incredible retreat that features luxury suites, all overlooking the glistening bay. There’s a spa, hot tub and outdoor pool, and guests can also enjoy complimentary kayaking, paddle-boarding and use of a dinghy. Dining is especially unforgettable from breakfast to dinner, including dishes such as Wagyu beef fillet and Ora King salmon.
Wharekauhau is an ultra-luxe hideaway in Wairarapa, a place where both filmmaker James Cameron and Peter Jackson have homes. It sits among 5,000 acres that include a dozen miles of coastline, woodland, lakes and rolling fields. Accommodation is in charming crofter-like cottages, all with stunning ocean views, soaking tubs and just about every comfort you can imagine. The very best is the Owners’ Cottage where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge once stayed, and Storm with its uninterrupted views. The self-contained three-bedroom Wharepapa Cottage is ideal for families.
The Matakauri is a six-star luxury lodge that overlooks snow-capped peaks and Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. The location is second to none, and with only 12 rooms and suites plus the Owners’ Cottage that sleeps up to eight, you won’t have to worry about crowds here. Enjoy sipping coffee on the terrace in the morning and soaking in the freestanding tub while taking in the view across the lake through floor-to-ceiling windows. The spa offers gorgeous views as well, with treatment rooms that each have their own private deck.
The intimate Helena Bay Lodge faces Helena Bay north of Whangarei, surrounded by rolling pastures, verdant greenery, formal gardens and natural areas, for gorgeous views in every direction. The main lodge is focused around a large heated pool that enjoys total privacy from the coast, and there’s also an extensive wing with a gym, spa, sauna, steam room and cold plunge pool, along with rooms for private dining with sea views. Accommodation is provided in Villa Suites, each of which come with a private terrace and binoculars for watching the whales and dolphins that pass by.
Originally established as a fishing camp along the Waikato River nearly a century ago, Huka is still a fantastic place to cast a line (your chef will carve up your catch into fresh sashimi), while enjoying the utmost in luxurious accommodation. It’s hosted many heads of state and even the Queen, so it’s unlikely to disappoint. In addition to fishing, enjoy water sports on picturesque Lake Taupo or relax on your private terrace enjoying the sounds of the river rushing past.
Otahuna Lodge provides the ideal place to begin or end your trip in New Zealand if you’re flying in or out of Christchurch. Set within a beautifully restored Victorian mansion on 30 acres of magnificent historic gardens with 20 different kinds of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms, expect a warm welcome, gourmet fare and a wide range of experiences to choose from, including everything from a helicopter tour over the Southern Alps to cooking classes. The seven suites all have their own distinct character, with upscale features like wood-burning fireplaces and private balconies.
Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses is a 5-star eco-retreat located just a couple of miles north of Kaikoura on the South Island’s east coast. Guests can stay in the main lodge or in a unique luxury tree house tucked in a Kanuka Grove underneath the majestic Kaikoura Mountains where wild deer roam, complete with ocean views. Expect gorgeous handcrafted furniture that includes custom-made beds and bathrooms with rain showers as well as fabulous dining on fresh flavors with organic produce and the local specialty, crayfish.