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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Relax and Rejuvenate at New Zealand’s Luxury Lodges

New Zealand’s mountains, lakes and beaches are even more memorable when you stay in one of the country’s exclusive, luxury lodges.

From stargazing by roaring outdoor fires on working farms to wilderness retreats and trout-fishing lodges, these homesteads catering for couples, families and groups offer a flavour of the country’s glorious landscape and renowned Kiwi hospitality like no other.
unnamed (18)In the North Island, luxury lodges offer an enticing menu of wonderful experiences, from swimming with wild dolphins, landing on the edge of a volcano and riding horses with an Olympian or find perfect peace on your private balcony, savouring finest local food and wine.
At Eagles Nest, you get a 360-degree view of New Zealand’s most-admired aquatic playground, the Bay of Islands, known for exceptional diving, sailing, game fishing and one-to-one dolphin encounters. Guests return from daytime adventures to Pacific Rim cuisine and their own spa under the stars.
A legend in the golfing world, Kauri Cliffs combines panoramic views of the Pacific and Bay of Islands with a championship golf course. You can explore Kauri Station on horseback with Olympian eventer Kate Hewlett, host a private beach barbecue or take a ‘bird walk’ with a local ornithologist.
Nestled along the Waikato River just 300m upstream from a thundering waterfall, Huka Lodge at Lake Taupo began life as a 1920s trout-fishing retreat. Today it’s widely regarded to be one of the world’s very best exclusive lodges, frequented by royalty and celebrities too numerous to list. Seventeen acres of park-like grounds provide all kinds of recreation, and ‘the Huka Experience’ is an all-day adventure that features volcano-top helicopter landings, geothermal valleys and crater lake gourmet cruising, with a spot of trout fishing for good measure.
Acclaimed as ‘farm luxe’, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay echoes the rural feeling of a New Zealand sheep station, with massive fire places, huge Pacific views, accomplished modern New Zealand cuisine and a golf course that ranks in the world’s Top 30. It is also amid a wine region famed for Australasia’s best cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay wines. You can also visit the world’s largest mainland gannet colony or a radio-tracked kiwi discovery walk with a local expert.
On South Island, Annandale Coastal Farm Escape & Luxury Villa Collection in beautiful Pigeon Bay on the northern edge of Banks Peninsula near Christchurch is one of Canterbury's original pioneering farms, offering “a slice of real New Zealand” from sheep-shearing and cooking classes to nature tours, mountain biking and hiking on the farm's many tracks.
Dating back to the 1880s, Annandale Homestead has been restored to create an elegant five-bedroom home with verandas and bedrooms overlooking a 15-acre garden that includes a pool, gym and heritage orchard. There's also a bunkroom for up to six and extra accommodation adjacent in The Stables, a self-contained loft sleeping up to four.
Formerly home to generations of Annandale shepherds, Shepherd's Cottage is a one-bedroom colonial gem restored as a cosy romantic hideaway with an open fire on a hill above the ocean, 30-minutes by 4WD across the paddocks from Annandale Homestead.
Another 30 minutes down the farm tracks, Seascape offers romance in the seclusion of a wild coastal landscape, complete with outdoor spa and fireplace. Scrubby Bay is a contemporary edition of a traditional Kiwi beach house, perfect for a special gathering or family celebrations for groups of up to 14, with sundecks, outdoor spa and big open plan dining and living space stocked with books unnamed (19)and games.
Minaret Station is New Zealand’s first luxury tented lodge, at the head of a stunningly picturesque glacial valley in the heart of the Southern Alps. Accessible only by helicopter, guests stay under canvas in luxuriously furnished tented suites complete with wall to wall sheepskin carpets, king beds and private decks with hot tubs. Facilities include a ‘Mountain Kitchen’, library, open fires, a first class chef and on-site private guides. Activities range from hiking trails and fly-fishing to experiencing the life of high country farmers, spotting wild game and exploring the rugged Fiordland West Coast by helicopter.
Blanket Bay at Southern Lakes, 45 minutes from Queenstown Airport, was voted top lodge in New Zealand and 6th in the world by the Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report. The quintessential experience here is your own expansive suite with an open fire and vast outdoor balcony with breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the jagged Humboldt Mountains. Every meal is a masterpiece, and the most inspired activity is heli-fishing for wild salmon for dinner.
Also in the Southern Lakes, Matakauri Lodge is the most romantic of all Julian Robertson’s exquisite New Zealand lodges, popular with honeymooners, with just 11 suites, each with massive picture windows gazing across Lake Wakatipu. You can take on Queenstown’s signature adventures – bungy jumping, jet boating, river rafting and heli-skiing. And if that sounds all too vigorous, there are wine trails, world-class golf courses and a tasty assortment of designer shops.
Split Apple Retreat near Nelson was recently voted among Tatler's top spas in the world. The unique wellness retreat is steeped in serenity and ocean-scented beauty, built into a cliff overlooking the Tasman Sea, Here you can learn how to meditate, enjoy personalised aromatherapy massages and receive personalised health consultations with the resident doctor. Split Apple is also famous for exquisite food and wine. For time out from a hectic city lifestyle, the lodge is on the doorstep of the gorgeous Abel Tasman National Park, which includes New Zealand’s premier coastal hiking track.
Elegant English-style country house Edenhouse, on the edge of Nelson just 30 minutes from the walking and sea-kayaking adventures of Abel Tasman National Park, was voted among Tatler’s ‘101 Best Hotels of the World’. With views over the beautiful Orinoco Valley, Edenhouse offers a uniquely ‘Kiwi’ five-star vacation – a little bit of everything that makes New Zealand wonderful. You can walk the Abel Tasman’s famous coastal track, spy on fur seals at the Tonga Island colony, fish for trout in pristine rivers and lakes, discover the local arts community, visit local vineyards and loop-the-loop in a Pitts Special stunt plane.
“These luxury lodges are the quintessential New Zealand experience, offering world class hospitality, cuisine and wine with adventure on your doorstep amid stunning scenery,” said Mischa Mannix-Opie, Regional Manager South & South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand.
More information on New Zealand’s luxury lodges is at www.newzealand.com/sg/utilities/search/?q=luxury+lodges
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