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.
Eagles Nest, 60 Tapeka Rd, Russell 0242, New Zealand, +64 9-403 8333
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).