This is big sky country. New Zealand’s newest luxury lodge, The Lindis, sits above a switchback in the Ahuriri River (the border between Otago and Canterbury regions) and, for miles, all you can see is a seemingly endless row of majestic, snow-capped peaks. Even the building itself is cleverly concealed in the hillside, its roofline mimicking the undulating landscape (so well that as you approach all you’re able to distinguish is a few chimneys poking up between tussocks of grass), which translates into soaring ceilings inside. There are just five suites on site, each are adorned in dark wood, as well as a common lounge, dining area, billiard room and bar. Activities that allow you to better appreciate this Arcadia, from horse-riding to helicopter wine tours, can be arranged by the staff so there’s really no reason to leave once you arrive.
The secluded lodge is an almost a 2.5-hour drive from Queenstown. After winding through the Lindis Pass, turn off the highway onto Birchwood Road and continue along the gravel road for around 15 minutes. You’ll think you’ve gone too far – you haven’t: keep going towards the snow-capped mountains until you reach the Lindis’ distinctive gate. You’ll know it when you see it.
The five suites – including two masters with deep bathtubs by the windows – are akin to being cocooned in a very luxe, very plush cave. The bed is piled with pillows and cosy throws and fitted with crisp white sheets, one of the few bright highlights in a room that’s otherwise decorated in coffee and chocolate tones. There’s a sitting area, bathroom and entry area, the distinct spaces flowing seamlessly from one to the next under the curved spotted gum roof. The amenities and mini bar are well stocked with a sustainable, local focus, including New Zealand sweets and a bamboo toothbrush. From 1 October, three outdoor “pods” will also be available.
Food and drink
Breakfast and dinner are served in the impressive dining room, with a view of the sky and the mountains your constant companions. The evening meal (following pre dinner drinks and a huge array of canapes) changes regularly based on what head chef Cesare Stella is growing in the kitchen garden a short drive into the valley – entree could be a fresh salad of tomatoes plucked from the vine an hour ago, mains might be venison sourced from nearby farms and dessert a selection of locally made cheeses. Breakfast features help-yourself fresh fruit, pastries, juices and yoghurt as well as an a la carte menu of pancakes and impressive egg dishes. Both are included in the tariff.
For business travellers
Don’t even think about it. Though there is a desk in each suite, a stay here is about filling your days with activities other than work.
For wellness travellers
In-room massages can be arranged but the wellness philosophy at The Lindis is all about letting nature heal you. Sitting in the deep chair on your balcony, pinot in hand, and gazing out at the valley before you is rejuvenating enough but there’s a plethora of outdoor activities designed to get you out and about, too: horse trekking through the high country, a series of well-marked walking and cycling trails through the almost 49,000 hectares of the valley (e-bikes are available, as are guided treks) and fly-fishing in the Ahuriri River. There’s also a hot tub built for two on the roof – simply soak and watch the skies
The fab factor
On the night we visited the moon is too bright to allow for proper stargazing.
Best for: Couples
Number of suites: 5
From: NZD$2000/night (A$1897)
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Parking: Free; the staff will take your keys and park your car on arrival.
Address:1490 Birchwood Road, Ahuriri Valley
Telephone: +64 3 976 1589
Image credit: Courtesy of The Lindis