Unique places to stay in New Zealand
Yes, it has pristine wilderness, vibrant culture, and super friendly locals, but did you know New Zealand is also blessed with some of the best accommodation in the world? Aotearoa’s luxury lodges don’t just offer security and privacy – guests have exclusive access to memorable experiences such as mountain pasture riding, heliskiing, and fly fishing.
As we begin to enter a post-COVID world and green tourism shoots emerge, it is clear that travelers will be more demanding about where and how they will spend their vacations. With less spending on plane tickets, luxury accommodation is now a more accessible proposition for many travelers. Plus, by creating routes around unique places to stay, vacationers can sleep in an amazing place and experience the best of New Zealand.
Te Arai Lodge
Inland from the Mangawhai Coast, a short drive from the nation’s capital, Auckland, and close to great surfing beaches is Te Arai Lodge. What sets this family lodge apart is its passion for the environment, gardening and cooking. Guests dine here from a garden-to-table menu that mixes the estate’s organic produce with local treasures such as line-caught fish and grass-fed beef.
Like many New Zealanders, owners Vince and Kathy are both global travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as hospitality professionals.
The lodge can be rented exclusively, or guests can retreat to separate quarters, meeting for social meals if desired. There is a 20m saltwater pool and cedar spa with views of the lush green forest and farmland, as well as an on-site sauna, gym and yoga studio. Some of the experiences guests enjoy here in the subtropical Northland include guided walks, bird watching, surf lessons, golf, and beach biking.
The kidnappers of the cape
A whole different experience awaits you at Cape Kidnappers in the Hawke’s Bay area. Part of a collection of three resorts owned by the Robertson family, Cape Kidnappers was voted the best resort hotel in Australia and New Zealand by Travel + Leisure readers in 2019 and 2020.
This property is open to the public (by reservation only) who can come here to dine, have a spa or play golf. Residents are accommodated in one of the many separate “cottages” (actually as large as your average three bedroom family home) separate and overlooking the golf course and ocean. The rooms are spacious, with an airy Cape Cod feel, which is not surprising given its American providence. You can contemplate the connections across the Pacific while relaxing over a cocktail with a view, or swimming in the infinity pool.
Cape Kidnappers is also a working farm, and the rugged Cape (Te Kauwae-a-Māui) is home to a rare gannet colony, accessible on a 4×4 safari from the lodge. The cape takes its name from an incident in 1769 when local Maori seized Taiata, a 12-year-old crew member of Captain Cook’s Endeavor, because they believed it was being held by explorers against his will. . Rescue or kidnapping? It depends on how you look at it!
Acacia Cliffs Lodge
Next, nestled in the forested hills above Lake Taupō, Acacia Cliffs Lodge stands out with its stunning architecture. Spacious and comfortable, it can be exclusively rented or shared by up to eight people in four carpeted bedrooms with dreamy super king-size beds. An on-site chef provides breakfasts and additional hospitality packages are available. The other main reason to stay is the location, which offers more than just memorable views.
Taupō is the small center of an area teeming with some of the North Island’s top attractions. From here you can access Tongariro National Park, famous for its alpine treks through cinematic terrain (Lord of the Rings fans know what we’re talking about); scenic cruises to the Maori rock carvings of Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay; trout fishing on Lake Taupō; cycling and mountain biking adventures; and geothermal hot springs to relax at the end of the day.
Beyond natural beauty, Taupō is also strong in culture and art. Important pa (fortified villages) of the local iwi (tribes), Ngati Tuwharetoa, are nearby. Book a foraging tour with the Maori locals, visit the museum and art galleries, or schedule your visit for the annual Graffiato Street Art Festival, New Zealand’s oldest.
The Lindis in the Ahuriri Valley
Then you could plant yourself in the middle of the pristine Ahuriri Valley, staying in one of the Lindis pods in Canterbury. The pods are a stone’s throw from the main lodge, harmoniously designed to blend into the valley. Each 18 square meter pod immerses you in an almost panoramic view of the valley behind mirrored glass walls. While you don’t want to leave this incredible accommodation, stays can include unique experiences like heli-tourism in Fiordland and the Southern Alps; fly fishing rivers rarely exploited; or go horseback riding through the streams and fields of the valley.
The Lindis is the flagship property of four exceptional luxury stays in New Zealand belonging to the same hotel group. There is also Chalet New Zermatt near Queenstown; Paroa bay vineyard; villas near Russell in the Bay of Islands without winter; and their latest addition, Mt Isth-mus near Otago Lake Hāwea which opened in 2020.
Next stop on this guided tour of New Zealand’s world-class luxury lodges is Minaret Station. Located at the bottom of a glacial valley on the western shores of Lake Wanaka, it is only accessible by helicopter. This glorious remoteness means that most activities – such as skiing, guided hunting, and mountain biking – are also helicoptered. If you’d rather skip the adrenaline-pumping activities and just relax, there are walks and bike rides in the valley, or you can just squat at the lodge playing board games by the fireside.
Given its unique combination of exclusivity and down-to-earth Kiwi friendliness, Minaret Station is also a working upland farm, raising deer, sheep and cattle. Respect for the environment is taken seriously here, as is most New Zealanders. To keep its light footprint, the Minaret station uses hydropower from a nearby waterfall and recycles as much as possible, reducing the amount of waste that has to be hauled out of the valley.
As Pauline Dwight, Head of Tourism New Zealand Premium & Partnerships, explained: “Kaitiakitanga, or caring for people and places, is deeply rooted in New Zealand, and we look forward to inviting international visitors to enjoy of our environment and our luxury experiences. as soon as we can. “
This breathtaking alpine location deep in a valley on New Zealand’s South Island is about as far away from the worries of the world as it gets. Basking in a hot tub on the patio of your private chalet, enjoying the best of New Zealand’s incredible food and hospitality, is possibly one of the best ways to enjoy this blessed and inspiring country.
On the South Island, near the Kaikōura Whale Watching Center, Hapuku Lodge has five characterful “tree houses” dotted among the branches of its Kanuka Grove. Treehouses may seem rustic, but they come with luxurious deep soaking tubs, fireplaces to stay cozy in the winter, and epic views of the spectacular Kaikōura mountains. They are a great option for families, as a separate bedroom gives parents a private space and families spend time together away from the main lodge.
The “kai” in Kaikōura means “food” (Kaikōura translates from Maori as “crayfish meal”) and food is also one of the other major draws at Hapuku Lodge. Naturally, the seasonal three-course menu includes local crayfish (tenderly grilled with chili, horseradish and lime …) but game is also a specialty: Hapuku Lodge is housed in a deer farm. Products from the vegetable garden are supplemented by regional suppliers, farmers and local fishermen.