Dreaming of paradise? Then head to New Zealand where elemental nature plays a starring role. From panoramic lake views and marine-life trails to bush walking and natural thermal springs, base yourself at any one of these five lodges
There are few places in the world that can be deemed to be a paradise to all who visit, but New Zealand is a top contender. The enormous national parks, for example, which are perfect for hiking trails and scenic walks in summer, turn into a skier’s playground in winter. Then there are the wine regions stretching from north to south on both the North and South Islands and the extensive wildlife that can be found with such variation in almost every region. This country really does offer something for everyone.
You can also find superb accommodation that matches your surroundings. Tucked away in magnificent, scenic locations all over New Zealand lie a selection of luxury lodges offering unique experiences and outstanding Kiwi hospitality. Here are five of the best.
SOLITAIRE LODGE, LAKE TARAWERA
Located just outside beautiful Rotorua, Lake Tarawera is the largest of the lakes that surround the volcano Mount Tarawera and one of the largest in all New Zealand. Known for its great hiking trails and geothermal springs at both the northern and southern shores, it is the perfect place to stay for those looking for something a little bit different to the usual tourist haunts.
Solitaire Lodge is blessed with a spectacular location on the shores of the lake and provides panoramic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition to the jaw-dropping views, you can enjoy renowned fine dining where gourmet food is served using the finest home-grown ingredients, accompanied by delicious wines selected from local vineyards.
You can explore the tranquil waters by kayak, or seek out secluded hot water beaches and the natural thermal hot springs.
Solitare Lodge, Lake Tarawera
BAY OF MANY COVES, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
Taking up 150km of New Zealand’s coastline, Marlborough Sounds is a collection of sunken river valleys located at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. The area is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, amazing walks and some of the country’s best wines.
Just a 30-minute water taxi from Picton – an incredible sight-seeing experience in its own right – lies the beautiful Bay of Many Coves. This exclusive retreat lies at the western end of the Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand’s finest wine-growing country.
There is a host of outdoor activities in the area ranging from bush walking to kayaking and fishing. In the evening take a short walk to see glow-worms in their natural habitat or simply relax and enjoy the spectacular views of this unspoilt natural environment.
Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds
HAPUKU LODGE & TREE HOUSES, KAIKOURA
Just three hours north of Christchurch, you’ll find the picturesque town of Kaikoura. Well-known internationally for its whale watching, this is a haven of marine life. The area also offers uplifting coastal walks, and the chance to tuck into fresh local crayfish.
The beautiful Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses is a luxurious retreat boasting stunning contemporary accommodation created entirely from natural products. At the heart of the lodge experience is a passion for good food and wine, with home-grown and locally sourced produce as well as an extensive, exclusively from New Zealand wine list. The one-of-a-kind accommodation offers true Kiwi hospitality for the discerning traveller.
THE SANCTUARY @ BAY OF ISLANDS
If you are looking for pristine beaches and water activities, then Bay of Islands will deliver. Explore the 144 islands by sea, taking to kayaks or using the passenger ferry between the larger towns. Alternatively, enjoy the beautiful seaside walks and revel in the beauty of the region.
Overlooking the Veronica Channel running between Paihia and Russell, and set in a private, native bush reserve, The Sanctuary @ Bay of Islands is a beautiful luxury lodge. Dining at the lodge offers delicious contemporary cuisine using the freshest local produce paired with superb New Zealand wines. To work all that off, you can walk through the rainforest, take a boat trip, go dolphin watching or simply explore pretty Paihia and Russell.
The Sanctuary @ Bay of Islands
LAKESTONE LODGE, LAKE PUKAKI
Lake Pukaki is known as the most beautiful in New Zealand because of its vibrant blue. The largest of the three alpine lakes in the central South Island region, it is fed by glacier water, which endows it with its outstanding colour. Surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Southern Alps, including the famous Mount Cook, standing on the shores of the lake is a sublime experience.
Poised on a hillside overlooking the shimmering waters of the lake, you’ll find Lakestone Lodge, a property with just six rooms, boasting understated luxury and breath-taking views of the snow-tipped Mount Cook. Stroll through the beautiful gardens, planted with over 1,000 native trees and shrubs, spot the resident birdlife or enjoy a bike ride alongside the crystal clear lake.
Lakestone Lodge, Lake Pukaki
These top spots and tips were compiled with the help of the team of travel experts at Trailfinders. The travel centre is at 5 Union Street, Bath. Tel: 01225 724 000; trailfinders.com