Image credit: The Lindis
The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley1/21
In the middle of nowhere (well, it’s two-and-a-half hours from Queenstown) in the pristine Ahuriri Valley, a hideaway of incredible beauty awaits. Not for many, though – with just two master suites, three luxurious lodge suites and three mirrored pods, The Lindis’s idyllic setting remains quiet and still, and its unobtrusive curved timber façade blends right into the landscape. Suites are calming oases in natural shades of granite, taupe and chocolate with stained timber ceilings, walls and floors.
Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay2/21
Perched dramatically on a sweep of cliffs on Hawkes Bay, the Cape Kidnappers lodge is right in the thick of Cape Sanctuary, New Zealand’s largest privately owned and funded wildlife restoration project. All oak and stone, the central building is designed to look like an Arkansas homestead, albeit one with a Picasso in the lounge room and an amply stocked wine cellar, complete with a house sommelier.
Eagles Nest, Russell3/21
Occupying a private promontory with views over the Bay of Islands, each of the five villas at Eagles Nest is a modern wonder of sleek finishes that blend into the surroundings. There’s nothing jarring here; elegant fixtures include white leather sofas, private infinity pools and enormous sunny decks. Even leaving for an infra-red sauna in the gym or a private-island picnic may prove challenging.
Wharekauhau Lodge, Featherston4/21
There’s almost 140 years of history colouring this cosy lodge, a favourite of royals and celebrities alike (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a sojourn here back in 2014). As well as being a 5500-hectare working sheep station, there’s a private native forest, wetlands and rivers, all framed by the snow-dusted Rimutaka Ranges.
The Landing, Bay of Islands5/21
Located in New Zealand’s far north, where the waters are as warm as they get in this country, The Landing offers only four residences but six private beaches so the odds of snaring a strip of sand all to yourself are high. The 400-hectare property is also home to a vineyard producing chardonnay and syrah drops among others, as well as bird sanctuaries – take a night walk and you may even spot a kiwi.
Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay7/21
Amid rolling hills and the roar of the ocean at Matauri Bay, lies Kauri Cliffs, a Hamptons-esque lodge that devotes some of its almost 2500 hectares to a par 72 championship golf course. Book a Deluxe Suite and watch the sun rise as you look out to the Cavalli Islands from your balcony. There’s also the Owner’s Cottage, with two bedrooms and a generous living room that opens onto a private patio with an infinity-edge swimming pool.
Acacia Cliffs, Taupo8/21
Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua9/21
Tomtits, waxeyes, fantails, kererus, tuis and chaffinches… the birdlife that darts amongst the flora of the 55,000-hectare Whakarewarewa Forest of the North Island reads like a roll call of the most fascinating species in the area. Just over ten kilometres from the forest’s edge, Solitaire Lodge is perfectly situated for multiple visits; hikes and bike rides are popular with outdoorsy guests.
Treetops Lodge and Estate, Rotorua10/21
Your own private wilderness awaits at this 1000-hectare property just south of the North Island’s Bay of Plenty. Surrounded by 800 year-old native forest, the staff at Treetops Lodge take guests on a tour of the estate in 4WDs to discover the majestic Indian water buffalo, wapiti (commonly known as ‘elk’), adorable tammar wallaby and other animals that call it home.
Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown11/21
Positioned on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge makes a strong case for the Land of the Long White Cloud. Beyond the blue water are green mountain ranges stretching in either direction, their peaks often obscured by the aforementioned clouds. There are four rooms within the main lodge, eight palatial suites snuggled into the lakefront and the four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage with an enormous deck.
Blanket Bay, Glenorchy12/21
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. 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
Minaret Station, Minaret Bay13/21
Accessible only by helicopter from nearby Wanaka Airport, Minaret Station is settled in the valley of some of the most spectacular alpine ranges in the country. As the mode of arrival suggests, luxury knows no bounds at this homestead, which offers guests private in-deck hot tubs and complimentary mini bar goodies.
Scrubby Bay, Annandale14/21
Encircled by a rugged, cliff-edged bay, this cedar-gabled homestead keeps a close eye on the wild Tasman Sea at the coastal edge of the working farm of Annandale, on the South Island’s Banks Peninsula. Offering what the estate’s owners affectionately refer to as ‘gumboot luxury’, this charming shack is no slouch: within its simple walls, there’s a soaking tub, an open fireplace and an expansive pool for the ultimate in secluded relaxation.
Image credit: Alex Lovell-Smith
Hereweka Garden Retreat, Otago15/21
It’s only half an hour from Dunedin but this eco retreat feels like it’s marooned on its own private island. The wind-swept location is prime bird-watching territory – look out for albatrosses, herons and plovers. Local wildlife tours take in New Zealand fur seals, sea lions and blue penguins and self-guided walks offer stunning views of the Otago Peninsula.
Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka16/21
Set within four hectares of carefully tended gardens, Lime Tree Lodge is named for the native tree that lines the drive leading to this country estate. Built from local schist stone and wood, the lodge is comfortably luxe rather than intimidating. There’s a cosy lounge area with wood fire, a communal kitchen and spacious dining room.
Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch17/21
This Victorian beauty would look at home among the grand residences of the English countryside. Instead, it’s plonked in the wilderness outside of Christchurch. The house was built in 1895; its current owners have meticulously furnished the property to period effect but it lacks nothing in terms of ease and comfort. None of the seven suites has a television – it would detract from the views of the garden and ancient inactive volcano –but they’re available on request.
Hapuku Lodge, Kaikoura18/21
Hapuku Lodge is a cluster of luxury accommodation options that blend into the rugged surrounds as easily as a seal twists through water. The timber tree house suites are the obvious choice for outdoor enthusiasts – from the fireplace you can observe the property’s 800-strong herd of deer grazing as the sun sets behind the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range.
Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, Lake Moeraki19/21
Established by two keen conservationists, Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki at Arthur’s Pass specifically spotlights native New Zealand wildlife, carefully preserving and protecting it as part of their 1600 hectare property. The star? The Tawaki (Fiordland Crested) penguin, which has been fiercely protected on-site since 1989.
The Marlborough Lodge, Blenheim20/21
As New Zealand’s leading wine region, Marlborough is one of the country’s major drawcards. Sidestep any human traffic with a stay at country-chic The Marlborough Lodge. If you’re keen on exploring nearby vineyards, a full-day cycling tour can be arranged. Finish the day with a three-course meal at the property’s renowned Harvest Restaurant, which follows an intriguing rule – no more than five flavours to a dish.
Image credit: Getty Images