New Zealand is filled with scenic wonders, so it’s no wonder that some of the most incredible lodges appear in its marvelous mountains. Whether you’re looking to get closer to the country’s idyllic natural landscapes, or you want to splurge on the retreat of a lifetime, these are some of the finest places to visit.
Eagles Nest, Russell
Set atop a private ridgeline near the historic town of Russell, the luxurious Eagles Nest offers some of the nicest coastal views you’ll find in the underrated Bay of Islands region. Five contemporary villas, each with their own special elegance and flair, invite its guests to unwind and embrace the spectacular landscapes all around. The minimalist Rahimoana is the retreat’s top contender — all four of its suites are fitted with granite balconies that provide a jaw-dropping, front-seat glimpse of the sunset.
Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Luxury, Bed and Breakfast, Lodge
This lovely boutique hotel in Queenstown is perfectly placed on a hilltop that overlooks the exquisite Lake Wakatipu. Private views are aplenty in the Azur Lodge’s stone villas, from the mountain-facing bay windows by the bathtubs right through to the invigorating open-plan rooms and outer decks. The main lodge, where you’ll find the hotel’s cocktail bar and restaurant, is also adorned with expansive alpine vistas.
A 90 minute drive from Wellington to the Rimutaka Hills will lead you to the serene Wharekauhau Luxury Country Estate. The Edwardian-style lodge brings a sense of grandeur to an intimate farm setting. Explore the farms, gardens, orchards and native forests as you soak up the surrounding valley vistas. Each room is lined with timeless antique furnishings, and the formal dining area invites all guests to relish some home-style cooking made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Sky high and proud, the alpine Minaret Station is Wanaka’s best kept secret. Seriously — the only way to access this splendid mountain lodge is to take a helicopter ride up the Southern Alps. Each of the stylish, high country chalets are positioned over the alpine grasslands, making its guests fully experience the area’s mountainous beauty. On those nippy winter days, you either can cozy up on your own private in-deck hot tub, or you can head over to the large log-burning fireplace by the communal living area and kitchen.
Propped against the pastures of a fluted volcano, the Victorian-style Otahuna Lodge has an unbeatable timelessness to it. Originally built in 1895 by Sir Heaton Rhodes, the place is filled with local history and finesse. Manicured gardens surround its seven suites, all of which have a special character of their own. New Zealand artworks, spacious bathrooms and plentiful mountain views are common features among each room. The estate’s kitchen offers a five-course degustation menu for keen fine diners, and personalized breakfasts are part of the deal too.
Embrace the Otago Pensinsula’s beauty from higher ground at the luxurious Kaimata Retreat. Located 30 minutes from Dunedin, this lush highland hotel is renowned for its serene ambiance. Three macrocarpa wood cabins, named after the native birds you can find right on the retreat’s doorstep, provide plentiful views of the estuary and its enveloping landscapes. Since 2015, the lodge also became available as a self-contained holiday home, dutifully accommodating anyone who needs a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
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Since opening its doors in 2008, Acacia Cliffs has wowed visitors from the world over with its modern design, stunning lake and mountain views, and welcoming family vibes. Guests can choose to retreat in the privacy of one of four beautiful rooms, designed by New Zealand architect Kelvin Peck, or to wine and dine with the company of the owners and other visitors. Rick and Linda Whitlock are your hosts, and they’re quite hands-on about all things hospitality. Not only will the duo help all guests make the most of Taupo’s attractions, but Rick is also willing and able to share his passion for local cuisine (in fact, he’s the one who cooks all the lodge’s meals).