A tapestry of glassy lakes and lush pasture, Wharekauhau Country Estate sits on 1200 hectares, with the imposing Rimutaka Range on one side and the restless surf of Palliser Bay on another. You’ll find it about a 90-minute drive from Wellington, at the southern tip of the New Zealand’s North Island.
At the heart of the property is an Edwardian-style country manor. Check into one of the 16 Cottage Suites, with their high ceilings, exposed beams, open fireplaces and underfloor heating, or if the budget allows, book the three-bedroom Owner’s Cottage – it’s played host to the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This two-storey sanctuary boasts three bathrooms, all with clawfoot baths, and an outdoor heated pool.
There’s plenty to fill your days – fishing, mountain-biking, clay-target shooting or exploring the rugged coastline – while evenings are all about settling down with a book or a board game in front of the roaring fire in the lodge’s living room, gin and tonic in hand (the property’s spring water is used to make Lighthouse Gin).
Just don’t forget to go for a wander once night-time sets in. On cloudless evenings, the lodge’s remote location and vast open skies mean you have front-row seats to some of Mother Nature’s most dazzling constellations – from the Southern Cross to Orion’s Belt.
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Hundreds of cattle and thousands of sheep range across this 1600-hectare coastal farm in a bucolic setting around Pigeon Bay. The property, which is just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch, features five lodging options; our pick is Seascape, a glass-cube structure with modernist interiors softened by cosy details like plush rugs and an open fireplace. It’s secreted away in a hillside overlooking the water, with no other accommodation in sight.
Image credit: Geoff Walker