Blanket Bay is the luxury lodge of your dreams plonked down in one of the world’s prettiest spots with New Zealand’s longest lake at its door. Call it a Kiwi trifecta.
A best-in-class alpine getaway for the past 20 years, the property often partners with Minaret Station to give guests a dual-lodge experience. Just a 45-minute drive from Queenstown, the lodge is indulgent but never pretentious, thanks to generous couches (with fireplaces) that beg you to sink into them, and oh-so-genial staff.
There are just 17 rooms, including four chalets, plus a four-suite villa and the Owner’s Residence, with a tariff including breakfast, pre-dinner cocktails and a five course dégustation. The food is a highlight – the produce is local, featuring everything from Wakanui beef short rib to Big Glory Bay salmon – and the wine list is extensive (make it easy on yourself and drink tipples from the nearby Central Otago vineyards).
You can do as little or as much as you’d like. There is a sweet joy in ambling around the gardens of the 20-hectare property, lolling in the pool, waiting for the next meal. Or there’s a raft of options if you want to get out amongst it. Take a “fly, cruise, fly” day trip to Milford Sound, do a spot of heli-skiing in the mountains surrounding the lodge or go horseriding in the retreat’s adjoining sheep and cattle station. Its owner, Tom Tusher, has been fishing the South Island since the ’70s and his team can help anglers discover rivers near the lodge or organise a chopper to fly you to more inaccessible areas to stalk wild rainbow and brown trout.
Then there’s the lake. Blanket Bay is set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the colours of which shift from emerald to jade and from diamond-clear to milk. It’s remiss not to go out on it. Kayaks are available from the lodge or take a jet-boat ride out of neighbouring Glenorchy with Dart River Adventures. The jet boat will take you into Dart River Valley in Mount Aspiring National Park and among scenery that had a starring role in Lord of the Rings.
New Zealand to its very core? You bet.
If you like Blanket Bay...
Consider a stay at THE LINDIS
From a distance, it’s hard to imagine how this low-slung structure could house eight exquisitely designed rooms, a restaurant and bar, lounge, games and billiards rooms. But it’s all there under a spotted-gum roof built to mimic the undulating landscape. Located in the South Island’s rugged Ahuriri Valley, The Lindis has a James Bond-like aesthetic, with panoramic views, rich wood interiors and metallic accents.
Image credit: Chris McLennan