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Top Lodges in New Zealand

Michaela Atiae, Staff Writer

Huka Lodge New Zealand

We don’t know if you travel to New Zealand for the stunning scenery, the luxury hotels or to see Hobbit Land. So why choose, when you can have it all? All is exactly what you get in New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people. It’s a land of waterfalls, mountain ranges, vineyards, and the occasional golf course owned by a billionaire.  With all the Americans who’ve been buying up land in New Zealand, it’s clearly the end game, or at least escape plan, for those with deep enough pockets. So, these are the best places to stay in the country that are also tops in the world. And yes, you’ll probably be inspired to make a real estate investment yourself.

The Lodge: Huka Lodge

Location: Taupo, New Zealand

It only feels fitting to start with the Huka Lodge, one of the top luxury hotels in New Zealand that combines luxury with down to earth New Zealand charm. The owners, Baillie Lodges, specialize in luxurious and experimental travel for those seeking culturally rich experiences. You’ll find the property alongside the Waikato River, a walk downstream taking you directly to the Huka falls. A central lodge holds the restaurant and lounge with surrounding suites, cottages, and private dining nooks.Huka Lodge is ideal for thrill seekers, with helicopter tours, 80km per hour boat jetting, and white water rafting. Those wanting a gentler experience will have plenty of opportunity too. The Spa Park circuit walk and a leisurely lunch on a scenic lake cruise or in the gardens are higlights of the trip.

The Lodge: Otahuna Lodge

Location: Canterbury

This is one of the best luxury hotels in New Zealand for the history buffs, located in a Victorian mansion built upon a love story. The Otahuna Lodge was originally owned by Sir Heaton Rhodes. The parliamentarian and horticulturist President of Canterbury built the home as a birthday gift to his wife. You can stay in suites named after the love birds or even rent out the entire mansion for a group of ten. Set near an ancient volcano, views of the Southern Alps and many property gardens are visible from inside. Expect a five course dinner, with menus changing daily based on garden variety.  All meals can be shared around a grand communal table by the fireside. If frolicking through fields of daffodils and learning about the exotic fruits and veggies of the Victorian era sounds tempting, Otahuna Lodge is the place for you. 

The Lodge: Wharekauhau Lodge

Location: Wairarapa

What about a light and bright farm style villa stay? Surrounded by the Remutaka Mountains and Palliser Bay, Wharekauhau Lodge has a little bit of everything as far as the best luxury hotels in New Zealand go. A shooting range, ATV quad bikes along the black sand beach, and wine and vineyard tours are available. Looking for sheep? The lodge’s farm tour will have shearing demonstrations and sheep dog sightings all watched from a four wheel drive. Wairarapa is also New Zealand’s brand new and biggest dark sky reserve, which means lots of stars. Wharekauhau Lodge is also one of the best luxury hotels in New Zealand if you’re looking for an all age friendly option. 

The Lodge: Minaret Station

Location: South Island

Minaret Station is one of the top luxury hotels in New Zealand that is as remote as it gets. Set in an alpine meadow 3,000ft high, this romantic and secluded lodge can only be accessed by a helicopter ride. As you expect the ride is a scenic one at that, passing snowy mountain tops, rivers, and national parks, that would be inaccessible otherwise. If you’d like to chill at the lodge for most of your stay, a library, private hot tub, and locally sourced meals and wine will keep you occupied. But, venturing out for daily excursions via helicopter is encouraged. Some adventures include hunting alpine game and visiting blue ice caves.

 

The Lodge: Eleven Experience Cedar Lodge

Location: South Island

There’s plenty to do at Cedar Lodge, but they are best known for their world class fly fishing which makes this one of the most unique of the top luxury hotels in New Zealand. The Lodge allows the natural beauty of the surrounding area to speak for itself. The Four suites are decorated with an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in. New zealand is a trout capital of the world. Fishing experts will fly guests to pristine waters, where you can learn every step in a successful trophy catch in Mount Aspiring National Park. Also known for its organic cuisine, with Asian and European influences and traditional regional preparation, the food is a reason to visit on its own. If you’ve traveled everywhere, this is for you, not brashly luxurious or frilly; it’s unique and embodies New Zealand’s natural spirit.

The Robertson Empire

This list of luxury hotels in New Zealand isn’t complete without mentioning the Robertson Lodge empire. Billionaire hedge fund founder Julian Robertson put his money to work, creating three world class lodges in New Zealand. After his passing in 2022, Rosewood hotels and resorts have taken over management of the hotels. The environmentally conscious and community based group continue his legacy, and if possible, made it even better.

Kauri Cliffs

The Lodge: Rosewood Kauri Cliffs

Location: Coastline of Northland

First to open in 2001 was Kauri Cliffs, known worldwide for its expansive golf course traversing 7,139 yards. The par 72 course takes you through an array of marshes, forests, farmland and ocean cliffs. The lodge has 6,000 acres of countryside with options for both oceanside suits and villa stays with relaxing neutral tones. Some excursions include ATV tours, dining on pink sand beaches, horse riding, and a Mauri heritage tour. No matter what your interest  may be, Kauri Cliffs is one of the luxury hotels in New Zealand that has something for everyone. 

The Lodge: Rosewood Cape Kidnappers

Location: Hawke’s Bay

Cape Kidnappers is atop a peninsula of staggering golf course cliffs along the ocean. Most notably, this is one of the top luxury hotels in New Zealand that has the largest privately owned animal sanctuary. Protected by fencing, the plants, endangered birds, sheep and cattle farms are all part of the wildlife restorative program. Vistas blanket the beautiful land where activities include migration tours, forest bird feeding, and sheep shearing. The history of the animals occupying the land and passion for its protection is top priority at Cape Kidnappers.

The Lodge: Rosewood Matakauri Lodge

Location: Queenstown

Last but not least of the top luxury hotels in New Zealand, is Matakauri Lodge. Matakauri is the perfect crash pad to explore Queenstown’s adrenaline packed activities. The resort rests along the Wakatipu lake with views of Walter, Cecil, and The Remarkables mountain peaks. You can start your day with winter sports, bungee jumping or the world’s highest swing, and retreat back for award winning regional wines and daily massages. The lodge is child-friendly, decorated with a residential home away from home feel and modern cuisine.

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