Incredible Eco-Resorts to Book in New Zealand

The Te Arai Lodge is brimming with relaxing facilities
The Te Arai Lodge is brimming with relaxing facilities | Courtesy of Te Arai Lodge / Expedia
Thalita Alves

New Zealand’s astonishing landscapes attract visitors from all over the world. If you want to get up close and personal to some of the country’s untapped wilderness, stop by an eco-resort, where you’ll find many idyllic lodges and natural retreats. Here are some excellent places to inspire your next journey.

1. Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses

Hotel

Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses
Courtesy of Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses

Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses is a luxurious South Island retreat, just 12km (7mi) north of Kaikoura. It sits on a deer-breeding farm, where you can marvel at a combination of greenery and maritime vistas. A collection of treehouses are tucked away in a canopy of native trees 10m (33ft) above ground. Each accommodation at this eco-friendly getaway has double glazing and beautiful custom-made furniture; some even have an efficient fireplace. Food-wise, it has an organic garden and sources the majority of its ingredients from local farmers.

2. Awaroa Lodge

Eco-Lodge

Courtesy of Awaroa Lodge / Expedia

You can’t get more nature-friendly than a resort in the middle of a national park. The Awaroa Lodge prides itself in being able to keep its environmental footprint low while catering to passing hikers and travellers looking for an extended stay. Along with close-range access to the Abel Tasman Coast Track, this serene South Island accommodation is surrounded by coastlines, waterfalls and wilderness.

3. Minaret Station Alpine Lodge

Eco-Lodge

Outdoor deck area at Minaret Station Alpine Lodge with a breakfast table setting and stunning mountain views
Courtesy of Minaret Station Alpine Lodge / Expedia
Minaret Station Alpine Lodge is a boutique bed and breakfast near one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations, Wanaka. Local timbers, schist stone and non-toxic materials were used in crafting this luxurious nature retreat. If you happen to be a Lord of the Rings fan, this resort has a unique Hobbit-esque room on-site. No matter which accommodation you choose for yourself, though, you’re bound to be enthralled by the glacial lakeside scenery.

4. Hidden Lodge

Boutique Hotel

Courtesy of Hidden Lodge / Expedia

By car, you’re mere minutes away from downtown Queenstown, but you wouldn’t know it as you enjoy your breakfast at this peaceful hillside B&B in New Zealand’s South Island. Book the Tahi room for glinting, balcony views of Lake Wakatipu and the snow-laced Remarkables mountain range filling the frame beyond. Even without outdoor space, the other three rooms radiate calmness and luxury, with oat-tone fabrics and furnishings crafted from kiwi wood for a warm family-home feel. After a day of exploring, enjoy some wine while sitting around the toasty firepit outside.

5. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

Eco Hotel, Lodge, Luxury

Courtesy of Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat / Expedia

This high-country wilderness retreat, a three-hour drive north of Queenstown, has sweeping views of the Southern Alps. With a huge focus on food, it features an organic garden that supplies straight-to-plate produce – including berries, herbs and vegetables – and locally sources others ingredients, such as manuka honey, salmon and lamb. While the villa interiors may be pared down – as if to defer to the drama of peaks and waters beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows – they don’t stint on comfort, with dream-soft beds and deep tubs. Before turning in, gaze skyward in the on-site observatory; there’s a fine wine cellar right next door, ensuring those stars will shine even more brightly.

6. River Valley Lodge

Eco-Lodge

Courtesy of River Valley Lodge / Expedia

At this central North Island institution, expect major adrenaline thrills. The River Valley Lodge is a thriving 1980s family-run raft-outing operation, complete with added beds and food. It’s tucked in a quiet bend in the routinely boiling white Rangitikei, a bucking bronco of a river with 10 major rapids along its local 11km (7mi) run. You’ll return flushed and exhilarated from afternoon (or even multi-day) expeditions. Accommodation is gentler on the pulse, whether entry-level bunk beds or comfy deluxe rooms, with their jazzy curtains and bedspreads. And the complimentary sauna is just what sore limbs need after all that excitement.

7. Te Arai Lodge

Eco-Lodge

Courtesy of Te Arai Lodge / Expedia

Experiments in eco-awareness don’t come more textbook than boutique Te Arai Lodge, an hour’s journey from Auckland. Perched on a ridge amid lush trees, overlooking hazy offshore islands, it pays full homage to nature. The communal dining table is repurposed elm, while the kitchen incorporates photogenic, almost-blond NZ tawa wood. Outside, a terrace of vibrant purpleheart timber makes a lovely spot for the dusk wine hour. You might chill in a cedar hot tub, peer through binoculars at oystercatchers and falcons gliding over local shrubs or relax with a home-made gnocchi dinner after surfing or fat-tyre biking on nearby sandy shores.

For more options, discover our guide to the best mountain lodges in New Zealand and book now on Culture Trip.

Additional reporting by Nick Redman

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